Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Restaurant Review: Jamie's Italian

Hello guys! Recently, hubby had a week of holidays to coincide with our son's three day soccer clinic, so we used the time to explore the city's gardens, Glenelg and of course, go to some restaurants for lunch! This is roughly our fourth visit to Jamie's Italian, the restaurant chain of popular UK chef Jamie Oliver, and here's what we thought of it this time!

We always get the Homemade Lemonade and Lime Bitters (containing fresh lemon juice, lime juice & gomme syrup) when we come to Jamie's Italian. It's just a ritual we have and it helps that they are very tangy and refreshing to drink!

We ordered the SuperLunch offer of three courses from a special selection for $30 per person, which is pretty great value for money. For Starters, I had the Truffle Tagliatelle. This is described on the menu as 'Our famous handmade pasta served in a luxurious, silky black truffle butter with aged Parmesan, nutmeg & more shaved black truffle.' I thought this pasta dish was absolutely delicious and I was also pleasantly surprised by the generous portion size, as I was expecting a much smaller amount for a starter. I'd definitely order this creamy, perfectly cooked pasta again!
Hubby ordered the Tomato Bruschetta, described on the menu as 'Slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, whipped ricotta, basil & extra virgin olive oil.' He thought it was OK, but perhaps was overpowered by too much ricotta cheese.

It took a really long time for our mains to arrive, and quite frankly, they didn't seem put together with as much care as our Starters. I was underwhelmed with the look of mine and didn't even bother taking photos, as it didn't look great. I ordered the Gennaro's Chicken Club, described on the menu as 'A soft seeded bun stuffed with chargrilled, marinated free-range chicken, mortadella, spicy ‘nduja mayo, fontal cheese, tomato & rocket.' My main complaint; the piece of chicken in the bun was quite small, and calling it chargrilled is putting it nicely. When the underside is black and the main taste is 'burnt' it's taking 'chargrilled' to another (not so pleasant) level.
Hubby ordered the Fish Of The Day, which is a responsibly sourced market special that changes daily. When we dined, it was barramundi, which he thought was unevenly cooked, as some bits were firm, some were soft and the flesh colour ranged from grey to white.
The waitress did ask how everything was and when I said 'the chicken is burnt' she did offer to get me a new dish, but I declined as we were running out of time, given how long mains had taken to arrive and the fact we still had dessert to come!

If we thought mains took their merry time to arrive, dessert was either just as long or longer. We were seated at 12 noon, and at 1:50 we had to ask for our plates, as it was taking so long. Anyway, I ordered the Epic Chocolate Brownie, which is 'Rich chocolate sauce, salted caramel gelato & caramelised popcorn' with a square chocolate brownie. I've ordered this before and it's a favourite. It's deliciously chocolatey, the icecream is smooth and creamy and the caramelised popcorn adds a fun, crunchy element that suits the dish perfectly. Recommended!
Hubby ordered the Orange Blossom Polenta Cake which was 'served with whipped crème fraîche, fresh orange & pomegranate.' He said it could have had more flavour, but still this is a super-pretty dish that I'm bummed I didn't get time to photograph, as we were rushing at this point!

The standouts for me were the Truffle Tagliatelle and the Epic Chocolate Brownie. We have had better experiences on our previous visits to Jamie's Italian, but still the SuperLunch is a great deal and this is a fun place to dine. Make sure you check out the toilets, which are set downstairs in the old bank vaults. It's like being in jail!

You may also be interested in Lunch Series: Gondola Gondola

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Disclaimer: We paid for our own meals and reviews are honest and unbiased. There are no affiliate links in this post. Please see the Disclosure page for further information.

Have you been to Jamie's Italian in your city? What type of food do you like?

Monday, October 16, 2017

REVIEW: Weleda KIDS 2in1 Shampoo & Body Wash*

Hi guys! Today I want to tell you about a new range from Weleda, designed especially for kids, the Weleda KIDS 2in1 Shampoo & Body Wash*! I was kindly sent the Happy Orange fragrance for my 10 year old son to try, and he's loving it. To be honest, it's a bit of a struggle to get him into the shower, so anything that's going to make the cleaning and hair-washing process easier gets the tick of approval from me!

I love that this is a multi-tasking product, because that cuts down on time and effort, and just quietly, the barrage of questions being yelled out from the bathroom. "What do I do next?", "Which shampoo do I use?", "Should I use conditioner now?". Kids can use this to wash their bodies and their hair; one tube = less confusion, more speed and less questions for Mum. It's a win win!

We received the Happy Orange fragrance. This is a beautiful citrus scent that's uplifting, refreshing and zingy-smelling (it doesn't make your body tingle though, thank goodness!). I'm really glad we got orange because my son is a big fan and I've always preferred citrus scents over most others. Tangy orange essential oil has been blended with vanilla to create this fruity, happy scent. Alternate fragrances in the KIDS 2in1 Shampoo & Body Wash range are Lively Lime and Very Vanilla. In a world full of gender stereotyping, Weleda have strived to make this range gender-neutral, with their coloured packaging and cute animal-themed design featuring pictures of hippos, dolphins and seals that will appeal equally to boys and girls.

The wash is NATRUE-certified natural, cruelty free, vegan-friendly and free from mineral oils, silicones, artificial preservatives and harsh synthetic detergents. The detergents used in this KIDS range are biodegradable, plant-based and made from fermented sugar and coconut oil. Organic sesame oil helps to preserve the skin's natural moisture balance, since it's rich in vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids.

The formula is lovely and creamy and perfect for kids. Weleda have used carefully formulated ingredients specifically for kids, as their skin tends to be dry with an underdeveloped barrier function before the age of puberty. I actually can't think of anything negative about this product, which is always a good sign! In Mr 10's own words, he described this Weleda product thusly: "the smell of it is really, really good, like an orange lollipop". Hehe.

This is something I'd recommend if you have kids and are after something that's easy to use, multitasking, and smells nice. It may even make your kids enjoy shower/bath-time more!

Weleda KIDS 2in1 Shampoo & Body Wash is RRP$14.95 and available from David Jones, selected health stores, pharmacies and from Weleda's online store.

You may also be interested in Brand Focus: Weleda Skincare

Linking up with Open Slather and Life This Week and Mummy Mondays

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Disclaimer: Products marked * were provided for editorial consideration. Reviews are my honest opinion. There are no affiliate links in this post. Please see the Disclosure page for further information.

What's your favourite multi-tasking product?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hints & Tips: Kids Birthday Party Food!

Oh hey everyone! My son turned the big 1-0 recently, and I really can't believe we've hit double digits. Where has the time gone? I thought I'd post about the food I served at his Birthday Party, just because I spent two whole days baking and I want someone to appreciate it, lolol. We have a party for Mr Now-10 every single year, so I am actually learning a few things along the way, that I can pass on and possibly help you out. Here we go! The most important lesson I've learned is....

1. Nobody Actually Gives A Shit
Yeah that's right. I spent a few years stressing and pushing myself and baking 'til 9:30pm on party eve, perfecting things so everything looked beautiful, then noone really noticed my attention to detail or appreciated it. See the photos below for the effort I went to one year FFS.

My son was too fussy to eat them and the kids barely noticed my beautiful tiny teddies in various highly-entertaining situations.  The parents didn't get to see them because most of them dropped off their kids and left straight away. Spending hours meticulously decorating stuff that will get destroyed in three seconds flat is an exercise in futility, and kids are just as happy with this (see below photo) which is what I went with this year. This is packet mix from a box, using the packet icing (I used to make my own from scratch HAHAHA), simply decorated. Which brings me to...

2. Chocolate Everything
Chocolate will always be a hit. My son suggested two batches of chocolate cupcakes but for some reason I insisted on one chocolate and one vanilla. The vanilla ones were decorated with green icing (I let my son put the colouring in) and M&Ms. Again, simple and fairly quick to do. Kids know best. The chocolate ones were demolished and I think someone took pity on me and ate one green cupcake. Needless to say we had leftover green cuppies for days!

3. Rocky Road Is A No-Brainer
I always make rocky road for my son's Parties. He loves it, it's quick and easy to make and it takes so little effort I can easily do two batches. I do a kid-friendly version that doesn't have nuts or coconut; if you're wondering about the recipe I follow this Planning With Kids one. I prefer to use the large pink and white marshmallows and cut them in half. This time I forgot, but usually I swap the M&Ms for Clinkers, which tastes far better. I just fill a large Glad Bag with Clinkers, pushing out any air, seal it then smash them up a bit with a rolling pin to expose the colours. I still got compliments on my rocky road though, so that was great to hear!

4. Jelly Shots Will Be Popular
I'm not talking vodka jelly shots, although they would be popular, but probably more so with the parents, haha. These are just basically different flavoured jellies set into these little plastic hors d'oeuvre spoons I got from a cheap shop. I've served them before and they were so popular I decided to do them again, because they're quick and easy and look good on the party table! They are a bit annoying to transport to the venue, because they slide around unless you jam them in tight next to each other and hold onto the container in the car (only if you are a passenger, not if you're driving!).

5. Pre-Packaged Treats Are Your Friend
Yes, you will be baking for your kid's Party. But you don't need to make everything! That's way too much work, your body will be screaming in pain and you'll be exhausted before the Party even begins. Showcase a few baked treats that look good, but don't be afraid to fill the party table with pre-packaged goodies as well. The three things I like to go with are popcorn, chips and party mix lollies. There are lots of different popcorn varieties these days; you can go with buttered, caramel, rainbow or one of those fancy flavoured ones. I found a cute popcorn container at a cheap shop and went with a big packet of buttered popcorn. Chips are cool because you can use one plain potato packet, then do flavours like barbecue and chicken. Burger Rings and Cheezels will also be a hit!

6. Don't Forget The Essentials
Now this is assuming you are holding the Party at a venue away from home, otherwise all this stuff will be on hand. We always have my son's parties at a game arcade or laserzone place, so it sucks lugging bags of stuff into the venue each time, but we usually get there 15 minutes early to set things up (ask the venue beforehand if you can do this, as they make have another booking). Inevitably, we always forget at least one of these things (this year it was the spoons, lol) but here's my list of things to take:
~ scissors
~ large knife to cut the cake (careful, there are kids around and you don't want a law suit, haha)
~ candles
~ matches/fire-lighter device (check it's working before you leave home)
~ napkins
~ paper or plastic disposable plates
~ plastic cups
~ enough drink/cordial/water to last the whole party duration
~ a texta to write kids names on the cups otherwise you will have 247 half-full drinks on the table, with noone knowing whose is whose and you will run out of clean cups. This happened to us this time lol.

7. Birthday Cake Cheat
I ordered my son's Birthday Cake from a Bakery, because honestly, who can be bothered after all the party food baking? Doing this saved me a lot of stress and allowed me to concentrate on my other baking and organising the food for transport. The funny thing was, my son's actual Birthday was the day after the party, and he wanted a homemade cake for his special day. I was suitably stuffed, so when he was at school I bought a chocolate mud cake, some ready-made Betty Crocker icing (a new level of lazy for me, lol) and 13 KitKats from Coles, and just decorated the store-bought cake, also using the left over M&Ms from the rocky road. He loved it and it literally only took 15 minutes to decorate, no baking required.

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What's your best tip for running kids parties?