Monday, 14 August 2017

The Adult Playground by 9NINE

Last month saw a first of its kind a 2-day adults playground pop up by Super Seed brand 9NINE which took place in London Fields, East London. It goes to show that playgrounds are not just for kids anymore, grown ups should be able to take the weight off their daily lives, play on, join in the fun and increase their happiness and well-being. (just like in the good ol days)

The adult playground was designed strictly for grown ups in mind complete with an adult sized slide, jumbo swings, super-sized see-saws, fireman pole, climbing areas, monkey bars and ball pits.The concept of Play is nothing new – it has helped to form the society we live in today and provides anticipation, pleasure, imagination, social interaction, surprise, fun, liberty and laughter, and that’s just for starters. Playing is good for our mental health as well as our physical well-being, but we seem to stop buying into it once we reach adulthood.  9NINE are about making sure we live life to the fullest and have plenty of fun along the way.

I attended the press launch ahead of its opening on 29th July and like many when I walked through the door - the first thing I laid my eyes on was the massive red slide at the entrance. I was intrigued yet scared but I knew I had to try it. I quickly climbed up like the dotting kid inside me. yet when I got to the top, my heart was beating out of my chest and I couldn’t do it! I guess the fear we face as adults kicked in.(While it may have looked like a simple slide - it dipped and it was quite narrow) Well, at least I couldn’t do it for now. But after checking out the other things to do. I went back on the slide to conquer my fear and this time I went down it. Woohoo! 

Happiness is the heart of the 9NINE brand alongside their nutritional side being their 9NINE products(which are worth checking out) for a nutritional boost. Their edible products include bars, seed fusions, and seed bombs. I really liked the taste of the double cocoa and raspberry bar, alongside the chia seed drink. Very tasty and nutritious. For more information on the 9NINE brand and its products. Visit their website here

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Drinki Summer Party

I attended the Drinki Summer party about two weeks ago. Now if you follow me across my socials you will see I have been banging on about the Drinki App. I was first informed about the app from Timeout.

Drinki hooked up with Emerald Street and threw a summer party which took place at the Brew House in London Fields, East London. It was such a fun afternoon - complete with tunes, tiki pong, burger bear on the 1s and 2’s with their yummy burgers and wait a tequila water pistol was going round! Which was a highlight in itself. Also, on the day prosecco was flowing along with Tommy’s Margafreeta and £5 cocktails which you could get from using the Drinki app. 

Loli Lewis, Myself & Femi Mode 

The app has come at such a good time, particularly if you are a serial socializer and love discovering new drinking holes. Nowadays, we are all wanting to save money on going out, whether that is eating out or drinks without breaking the bank. The app encourages you to bring your squad, your partner or just treat yourself to discover new bars across the London borough as well as your favourite joints. The Drinki app gives you chance to get a drinki on the house, from Shoreditch Sling at Forge & Co, STK Martini at STK Lounge, Drambuie Collins at The Magic Roundabout, Gin at Gillray’s Bar to Expresso Martini at Grind to name a few as well as enjoy the superb discount off drinks. Recently the app has added 52 new bars to celebrate Cocktail Month with Emerald Street.

The app is pretty straight forward to use, all you have to do is download the app, register and you are good to go. Another fun thing about the app, you can collect Drinki’s by sharing your referral code amongst your friends to stack up your drinks. 

The Drinki app is available on iOS and Android and is currently only available in London, but watch this space it may come to a city near you soon.  

Learn more about DRINKI today and Use my code: ‘ANNETTELENS ‘to grab a drinki on me! Cheers to that! 

Monday, 17 July 2017

Aperol Spritz Socials

Last week Thursday, I went along to Aperol’s Spritz Social event which was held at Netil 360 Rooftop bar in Hackney. It was the perfect way to unwind on a Thursday evening with friends, the Netil 360 rooftop was transformed into an Orange Mecca - which was not hard to miss and hey, I sure got the memo and matched the theme of the party right down to a T with my orange dress. 

The ever so popular drink is part of the Italian culture. The word ‘Aprevito’ traditionally is the opportunity to catch up with friends, unwind after a long day and indulge your appetite with an aperitif.

The lovely guys at Aperol Spritz are touring cities across the country to play host with their series of socials all summer long. The aim of the series is to encourage revellers to take part in a memorable, engaging party experiences and of course spritz up with the refreshing luminous orange drink - which is 3 parts prosecco, two parts Aperol, a dash of soda water and a slice of an orange.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with glasses of Aperol Spritz and shown around the orange filled roof top. There were a few attractions such as the Aperol drink masterclasses, glitter makeup, orange manicures, a photo booth (which was against a back drop of orange props), table tennis and a football table. The innovative Chin Chin Labs were on hand doing a one off spin of their liquid nitrogen ice cream, which was infused with Aperol & Prosecco and served in a marshmallow stuffed cone. Last but not least the world’s biggest Cicchetti table by Forza Win - serving a delicious gigantic Italian feast.


Music on the night was by the Legendary Norman Jay MBE who threw an eccentric mix of soul on the decks, Pixie Geldof and Hackney Colliery Band - who did an acoustic performance of pop classics - They performed ODB - Baby, I got your money and Kanye West - All of the lights just to name a few. 

Overall the atmosphere was pretty laid back,friendly and fun! To apply for a place for you and a guest. Head to their website and click the events page and enter your details. The next Aperol Social Party is in Manchester on 26th July. Book your place here #ItStartsNow 

Thank you, Aperol Spritz for having me & my friends and for throwing this awesome party. It was very enjoyable. 

 Pictures were taken by Ben Achana 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Koko Kanu's Frequent Flyers Cocktail Club

Cue beach music** Immerse yourself in the jet-set lifestyle of Koko Kanu. 

Last week, I attended the press launch of Koko Kanu’s Frequent Flyers Cocktail Club which took place at the Opium Bar, Chinatown. The Koko Kanu’s brand ambassador Russell Burgess gave us a brief history of the 1950s Jamaica rum with coconut flavour - (which is made to be a full-bodied base rum and has 35.7% ABV) along with a cocktail masterclass where we got to try our hands at creating bespoke Koko Kanu cocktails such as Koko Kolada and Koko Daiquiri.

Koko Kanu is a blend of the finest Jamaican rum with coconut. The unique and exotic flavour is created using rums with coconut notes, which are carefully selected before starting the year long ageing process. The delicious, full-bodied rum is then charcoal filtered to ensure it is crystal clear, and then blended with coconut to create Koko Kanu.

Surprisingly these cocktails were pretty straight forward and simple to make making them easy for anyone to make. The Koko Kolada which has a spin on the Pina Colada (which is the UK’s second most frequent drunk cocktail) required 50ml of Koko Kanu, Pineapple juice, a good old shake with plenty of ice and to conclude with a helping of grated nutmeg TAA DAAA! 

The Koko Daiquiri is a classic cocktail with a Koko Kanu twist; start with 50ml of Koko Kanu, 25ml of Lime Juice and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. This cocktail was made in under a minute! It doesn’t come any simpler than that.

As part of the Koko Kanu Summer campaign, throughout the month of July - You can become a frequent flyer Cocktail Club member and here’s how:-

• Head to any of the 6 bar destinations - Trailer Happiness, Bourne Hollingsworth, Opium, Made in Brasil, Rum Kitchen and lastly El Camion.

• To unlock a ticket all you need is a past holiday snap which you present at your closest bar stop!
By showing off your past adventures, you’ll be able to redeem a Koko Kanu passport giving you two complimentary serves.

• With this in hand, you’ll be all set to travel between bars and imbibe around the world in six globally- inspired cocktail bars. You can collect stamps in your Koko Kanu passport at each stop, and enjoy complimentary drinks with every 3rd stamp.

• Once you’ve completed your cocktail journey and collected all six stamps, you can enter a competition to win a beautifully crafted luxury travel luggage set, cocktail masterclass experiences and Koko Kanu cocktail kits.

Thanks to Koko Kanu for inviting me to this enjoyable evening, I had so much fun and it was great to learn more about the Koko Kanu brand. 

Friday, 30 June 2017

Suvlaki, Soho


                                               Address: 21 Bateman Street, London, W1D 3AL

Suvlaki named after the Greek word for little 'skewer' or simply 'stick' is situated in Soho's Bateman Street, this beautiful restaurant is hard to miss with its satirical graffiti on a deep blue exterior complimented by a Greek poem - Ithaca by C.P. Cavafy.

Inside, the cosy space is relatively small yet boasts an intimate setting. The decor is a mix of petrol blue walls with a hint of turquoise, marble table tops with wood effect, Parthenon-style marble columns line one length of the restaurant accompanied by cushioned benches.  On the opposite side of the tables are neatly decked chairs, oversized low lighting hangs from the mirrored ceiling which brightens up the warmth filled space. 

The kitchen is positioned in plain view, meaning you are able to see the chefs preparing your mouth watering dishes.

I visited on a Tuesday afternoon for lunch with my friend Funmi, we were greeted by the co- owner Irene who was very welcoming and seated us by the window. She then offered us something to drink - We both are fans of white wine so, Irene recommended that we try the Alpha Estate Malahuzia wine which was a sweet tasting wine with Rose petal floral aromas and sweet spices, a hint of melon and litchi.

Irene also gave us a simple run through of the menu and informed us to gain a good eating experience we should order 4 dishes per person and share amongst ourselves sort of like tapas.  With that in mind, we ordered the following: Prawn Saganaki, Courgette Fritters, Mount Olympus Wild Boar Suvlaki, Pork Kritharaki, Chicken Kebab, Prawn Suvlaki, Greek Salad and Chips.

The highlight dishes for me were: 

Courgette Fritters - which was very flavoursome packed with grated courgettes, onions, feta cheese, dill and were nicely assembled. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside accompanied by a smoked Applewood cheddar and nigella seed dip. 

Followed by the Prawn Saganaki which was delightful to eat - they were juicy and full of flavour - think of it like a prawn casserole marinated perfectly in white wine, feta, and tomato sauce. 

The Pork Kritharaki was a delicious and hearty dish which reminded me of a Paella - the only difference is instead of using rice, Orzo is used which is a form of short cut pasta served in a tomato based stew with plenty of lashings of pulled pork.

Next out was the Mount Olympus Wild Boar Sausage which I opted for as a skewer (It can also be served in a pita wrap) This was my first time eating Boar and I was pleasantly surprised how good it tasted! Wild Boar is described as being a lean gamey flavour meat, I would compare it to a Spanish chorizo and it was well seasoned.  

The Prawns Suvlaki were plump and juicy seasoned with chilli flakes, lemon and dill.  The Greek Salad as you expect did not disappoint - it was yummy it had loads of tomatoes, crunchy veg and plenty of feta cheese. 

Suvlaki is the perfect spot for lunch and dinner. The menu comprises of simple and authentic flavoursome Greek dishes which are paired with uncomplicated cooking that is perfect for sharing. The staff are friendly and attentive.  A second Suvlaki site will be opening its doors in the middle of July in Brick Lane and it is one to watch. 

*I dined as a guest at Suvlaki. All views and opinions are my own.

Pictures 1 & 2 are from 

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Cottons, Shoreditch ft House of Angostura Rum Masterclass

Address130 – 132 Curtain Road London EC2A 3AR

Cottons newest location on Curtain Road, Shoreditch opened its doors last week, having moved from the previous location at Boxpark, Shoreditch. This is by no means Cottons only location, Curtain Road joins the original branch in Camden and Notting Hill and are set to be expanding with a 4th location later this year in South London -  Vauxhall.

Cottons Rum Shack, Curtain Road boasts the same colourful Caribbean palate displayed at the other branches. On the menu, they will be serving up all the usual Caribbean delights such as Jerk Chicken, Curried Mutton and of course Rum Punch.

When you walk into Cottons you’re instantly drawn to the brightly hued mural on the right-hand side - depicting a vibrant village scene complete with palm trees. In the back, there is a tiki style bar with a beach shack theme stocking a total of 235 different rums, Say WHATTTT!!!

I was invited alongside other food bloggers for a Rum Masterclass with Angostura House Rum and menu taster from the Cottons menu. Leading the masterclass was brand ambassador Sean Duprey, who gave us a compelling and in-depth talk on the history of the Angostura rum, the different types on the market complete with rum tasting to really compliment the story.

The rums we tasted on the evening were:

 • Angostura Aromatic Bitters

 • Angostura Orange Bitters

 • Amaro Di Angostura

 • Angostura Reserva Blanca

 • Angostura 5 Year Old

 • Angostura 7 Year Old

 • Angostura 1919

 • Angostura 1824

A few facts & takeaways from the Angostura Rum Masterclass:

• 5 people know the recipe of the Angostura Rum - Each person knows a different part of the rum

• The master blenders are Females 

• The Amaro Di Angostura won Best New Spirit at the Tales of Cocktails Awards in 2015

After the masterclass, we delved right into the food. We tried various starters such as Caribbean Fish Goujons, Jerk pork ribs with plantain crisps, Saltfish fritters with spiced mango with chutney and chilli jam, Crayfish & Lobster Mac and Cheese, Ebony wings with chargrilled pineapple, and barbequed chicken pieces with mango salsa.

My favs from the starters were the Saltfish fritters, Crayfish & Lobster mac and cheese and Ebony wings which packed lots of delicious jerk flavour.

Next up were the Mains and we had Cottons Signature Platters which included a mixed Meat platter and a Seafood platter. We also were served Trinidadian Fish curry, which came with roasted aubergines and steamed rice, Ital vegetable curry with dumplings, Oxtail and bean stew, Curried Mutton with coleslaw, and plantain. 

My favs from the Mains were the Seafood platter, Curried Mutton and Oxtail and bean stew.

I had such a lovely and enjoyable evening visiting Cottons Shoreditch. We were stuffed to the 9's. Along with our new found knowledge of the House of Angostura Rum empire. If you are in Shoreditch area and after affordable and good quality authentic Caribbean food, make sure you hit up Cottons. 
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