National Tea Day – top 3 teas of the year so far | Champagne Twist

Today is National Tea Day, so you can guess the theme of today’s post.

Here are my top 3 teas, of the year so far.

Teapigs Matcha Green Tea Drink - Elderflower - Champagne Twist ChampagneTwist.wordpress.com
Teapigs Matcha Green Tea Drink, with Elderflower – Champagne Twist

3rd – TeaPigs Matcha Elderflower 

teapigs-liqourice-peppermint

2nd – Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint

Niche Tea, Champagne Twist

1st – Niche co. ‘Skin’

What’s your favourite cuppa? How are you celebrating National Tea Day? Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for reading.

Clothkits bag and purse kit review | Champagne Twist

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

 

I am new to the Clothkits phenomena, which I’m reliably informed was a huge thing back in the 70s and 80s. Clothkits were as the name suggests kits made up of everything you need to make a dress, skirt or doll, all in a kit, including fabric with the printed pattern ready to cut out, doing away with the need of a paper pattern. The system appealed to newbie crafters as well as sewing people who were time short.  After a hiatus, Clothkits were relaunched about 10 years ago, and this year seem to be making a strong impact for people who would like to start crafting.

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

I came across Clothkits after watching the Sewing Quarter, where the demoed a wonderful skirt kit.  Sadly by the time I got around to ordering, they has sold out.  Fortunately, a few days later the kit came back in stock together with a matching bag, which I immediately snapped up.

Yesterday, a week after ordering, both the kits arrived, and I immediately set to work, thinking the bag and purse kit would be the easiest and quickest, before embarking onto the skirt.

Upon opening the well presented package, I was surprised to see how small the printed sections were.  Where I was hoping for a large tote, the final piece was barely large enough to enclose a computer tablet. I add at this point that in my haste to order the bag before it sold out, I didn’t make a note of the size of the bag, and assumed it was the size of a shopper tote, but as you can see below, the Clothkits bag is considerably smaller.  The only picture on display on both the Clothkits website and the Sewing Quarter website show the kit all wrapped up, so you can’t gauge how big the finished bag will be, until you purchase the kit.

Source: sewing quarter.com

So already disappointed, I ventured on with the project, to discover that the rest of the contents where equally ungenerous when compared with the skirt kit. The thread reel was smaller than the one included with the skirt kit, the lining fabric was barely adequate for both the bag and purse, leaving little room for error.  I had the use the striped lining horizontally for the purse and vertically for the bag in order for it to fit, which is a pity as the 2 items won’t exactly match.

There was also little scope for pattern matching, but as this kit is aimed at beginners, and it was lining fabric hitch no one else would see, I could let that slide. I like the striped fabric, but for this kit, maybe a plain lining would have been more suitable.

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

From the instructions, depending on pot luck apparently, the kit includes either webbing, printed straps, or as in my case, extra cord fabric which you cut out yourself. For a supposedly pre printed kit, I thought it was rather odd I had to work out how to cut out the bag straps, while the main body of the bag and purse was printed with cut out lines.  As an introduction to Clothkits, I found this more than a little disappointing.

Most of the instructions were easy to follow, although I’m not sure if that would have been the case if I was an absolute beginner.

Adjustments:

  • From the leftover material from the skirt kit, I made inner pockets for both the bag and purse.

    Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
    Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist
  • I will purchase some webbing to make a longer crossover body strap, as the handles I was supposed to make from the ‘left over’ fabric as instructed, were far too small.
  • I added a piece of the ribbon used to tie up the kit, to the zip pull to create a pull tag.

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - zip pull

  • I attached the inner lining of the purse, by sewing it by hand. I used a natural coloured thread, which matched the lining fabric for a better finish. I didn’t like how the red thread showed up on the inner white and black striped lining fabric.
  • I will make a button closure for the bag, using the leftover scraps from the skirt kit. Details will be posted as soon as the webbing arrives and I have completed the bag.

In short, had I not purchased the skirt kit, I wouldn’t be able to make the bag work for me at all. For £19.95 plus £2.95 p&p, I don’t think this is good value for money, as the bag is far too small to be useful for an adult, unless you have the skills and knowledge to make it your own. I still have to purchase webbing, as cord fabric handles I don’t think will give a nice finish to a bag of this type. This should have been a quick project, but it will take me a couple of days waiting for extra supplies, for a kit that I think should have included webbing in the first place.

Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Clothkits bag and purse set | Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The purse is the one saving grace for this kit, but it’s not enough to save this product. If I was a starter, this kit would have discouraged me from buying any more Clothkits. In short, very disappointing, and in marked contrast the to skirt kit, I regret purchasing this bag and purse set.

1-star

Yes, the rating is harsh, but when compared with similar products, including other kits from the Clothkits range, this particular one just doesn’t make the grade. I’m glad to say that I’ve started the Clothkits skirt kit, and so far I’m very impressed with the product and can’t wait to finish it, and start wearing it.

I will post my full review of the Clothkits skirt kit on Thursday, so please stay tuned for that. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep updated on all things new on Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint Tea – Review

Teapigs Matcha tea product flat lay by Champagne Twist champagnetwistwordpress.com
Teapigs products – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

This is the 2nd in the series of Teapigs product reviews. This time I tried out the liquorice and peppermint tea. I was impressed with the ingredient list – 70% liquorice, 30% peppermint and that’s it, it’s exactly as it says on the packet.

I will quickly mention the packaging, I love the design, clean, simple and most importantly, recyclable.  The tea bags are also biodegradable, so perfect to add to the compost bin after use.

teapigs-l-and-p

The tea itself is delicious, the peppermint component is tasty, refreshing and easy to drink in vast quantities.  The liquorice adds a sweet dimension to the tea and complements the peppermint flavour. My only gripe, I think there is a little too much liquorice for even my fairly sweet tooth.

That said, in the summer I imagine that a couple of bags would make a beautiful iced tea, with some fresh sprigs of mint and a few orange and lemon slices.  If like me, you find the tea a little too sweet as a hot beverage, try using 1 bag between 2 servings. The quality of the ingredients used means that you can be economical with the tea bags, without compromising on flavour.

teapigs-liqourice-peppermint

I would also suggest drinking this with Moroccan style meals, or using as an healthy alternative to sugary drinks, coffee or black teas.

At £4.49 for 15 bags, it’s a little on the pricy side compared with other herbal teas, but it’s more than justified, because of the high quality ingredients. As I mentioned before, if you find the tea too sweet, you can share a bag between 2 cups, effectively doubling the servings to 30.

4-star

Rating 4 out of 5

Have you tried liquorice and peppermint tea? What did you think of it? Please comment below and subscribe for more reviews from Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading.

Teapigs Matcha Elderflower – Review

Teapigs Matcha tea product flat lay by Champagne Twist champagnetwistwordpress.com
Teapigs products – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Hello folks,

This is the first of a series of reviews based on Teapigs products.  I recently attended a fun Masterclass, hosted by Whole Food Markets in Kensington, lead by co-creator of the brand Louise Cheadle.

Today, I’m reviewing the Matcha green tea drink with elderflower.

The drink, when chilled is so refreshing and tasty. I happen to like elderflower a lot, but adding it to the Matcha gave it a lovely kick of flavour and refreshment.  I would be happy to drink this all day, every day.

Teapigs Matcha Green Tea Drink - Elderflower - Champagne Twist ChampagneTwist.wordpress.com
Teapigs Matcha Green Tea Drink, with Elderflower – Champagne Twist

At 330ml the carton is just right for lunch boxes and could be a useful, healthier alternative midday pick-me-up to the standard black tea or coffee.  At £1.89 per carton, the price is comparable to coffee-shop beverages, if not cheaper.

In this format, the drink is also a good introduction to people new to green teas. Consisting of spring water, grape and elderflower extracts, concentrated lemon juice, matcha green tea and citric acid, the drink is only 21 Kcal per 100ml.

I can’t fault this, (believe me I tried!) and am looking forward to trying out the other products in the range.

Rating 5 out of 5.

Disclosure: The product reviewed was part of a goodie bag as part of a Masterclass. Reviewer paid for the Masterclass ticket.

Niche Co. Tea: Skin – review

I recently attended a Collaborative Store event in Marylebone, where they showcased their beautiful clothes range (which is currently on sale, so go and check them out now), as well as a beauty product, which I will post about on Monday, and a simply marvellous brand new tea range by the Niche Co.

niche-tea-2

The packaging alone is a wonderful feast for the eyes, and is made from recycled card. They are very sturdy, so can be re-used for storage after the tea has been consumed.

niche-tea

A premium tea collection, Niche Tea consists of unique, blended wellness teas, which takes full advantage of the medicinal properties of natural herbs, roots, petals and spices.

A brief conversation with the creator of the brand established that the tea collection was born, like most good things, out of necessity – a need to improve general health and wellbeing, and seeking an alternative to traditional black teas. Marrying the ideology of wellness with an added touch of luxury, the ingredients are ethically sourced globally, and made in the UK.

I liked that this company embraces the notion, what goes inside reflects what happens outside. Having the most expensive creams, lotions and portions will do little without the benefits gained from a healthy diet. I especially like how every aspect of this brand, from the bright environmentally friendly packaging to the ethically sourced ingredients, prove that it is possible to create high-end, high quality products, without it costing a fortune, or the Earth.

niche-3

I sampled the ‘Skin’ tea, and was immediately impressed by its delicious taste. Sometimes, floral or herbal teas have a disappointing bland flavour and a strong, often synthetic aroma that bears no correlation to the actual taste of the tea.  This is not the case with Niche Co. tea, the sample I tried was very drinkable, flavourful and refreshing.

 

For £10 you get 15 biodegradable pyramid bags. The Skin tea is described as a delicate white tea, paired with herbs and flowers thought to promote beautiful skin, including Burdock root, red clover, rose petals and rose hip.

Other teas in the collection are designed to improve hair and energy levels, promote sleep and aid digestion.

I highly recommend the Skin tea in terms of flavour, and hope soon to try the other varieties so I can report back. These teas would be ideal gifts for the tea connoisseur in your life, for people wanting a change from other herbal teas, or for those wishing to supplement their diets with a tea which may aid certain ailments. These teas are most definitely worth a try.

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Proper Corn Smooth Peanut and Almond – review

proper corn.jpgWow! This is INSANE! Popcorn isn’t supposed to taste like this! I have wandered into a dangerous world of Proper Corn, and I’m loving it.

For years I have seen bags upon bags of Proper Corn popcorn, with their varying and often intriguing sounding flavours. I was given a sample of the Smooth Peanut and Almond flavour, and was a little apprehensive, but thought I should give it a try.

WOW! Blow your socks off amazing! Popcorn isn’t supposed to taste like this! I may have said that last line already. The combination of peanut flour and ground almond, together with the popcorn creates what I can honestly describe as the best flavoured popcorn I’ve ever tasted. I say this as a popcorn lover. I say this as the kid who would devour a huge bag of popcorn, before the pre-movie adverts had started. If you see someone ordering 2 extra large popcorn buckets at the cinema, come over and say hi, it’s most probably me!

But this blasts away any cinema popcorn to the little leagues. You’re lucky to see any, as I had scoffed 3/4 of the bag before I remembered I needed to take pics.  It is so nutty, without being clawing. It does contain salt and sugar, but the quantities are more of a gentle seasoning, rather than an overpowering flavour enhancer. My only gripe, the bag should have been way, way bigger.

To boot, this is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and only 120 cals per bag. Where has this product been all my life? Oh yeah, I know, I just kept passing by it, because I didn’t know popcorn was supposed to taste like this.

People, do yourself a favour – if you love popcorn, get this.

Rating 5 out of 5

 

Vegan Life Live Goodie Bag – Review

Earlier this week I promised a review of the goodie bag I received at the Vegan Life Live event at Alexandra Palace.  Well, here it is …

First, a nice note with the large reuseable and recyclable paper bag. The printed quotes outside the bag were also a nice touch.

The inside of the bag held a number of treats, and proved to be one of the most generous goodie bags I have been fortunate to receive from many a festival or show.

  1. Linwoods: Milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and goji berries.
  2. Ape: Coconut bites – natural
  3. Vita Coco: Coconut oil, 5ml
  4. Sacla: Free From no.9 basil pesto
  5. Sweet Freedom: Fruit Syrup, 350g
  6. Naturya: Organic wheatgrass powder

Since the show, I have tested the goodies and here are my thoughts on each product;

Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries
Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Linwoods: Milled seed and goji mix

This is a new product for me, and I have to say, I like it. On it’s own it tastes great, adding it to salads and cereals, it’s superb.  I think this would be a useful ingredient in many recipes, especially soups, breads and stews. It could also be used as an alternative seasoning. However, I wonder if making your own seed and berry mix would be more advantageous. It’s a great idea and versatile, but personally I think I would prefer to make my own.

Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries
Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Ape coconut snacks
Ape coconut bites champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Ape: Coconut bites – natural

The actual coconut bites in this sample pack are tasty, but I find the brand name very off putting. Dont really understand why anyone would call a food product aimed at the vegan market after an animal, but hey! Also not sure many people would be comfortable purchasing a product often used as a term of racial abuse.

Ape Coconut Bites natural coconut snacks
Ape Coconut Bites champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The bites are the size of 2, 10 pence coins, have a crunchy texture and a very coconutty flavour. There is some sweetness, but it’s not overpowering.  It would be easy to eat a normal sized pack of these in a sitting.  However, personally I would stick to raw, fresh coconut pieces, but if you like potato crisps, these could be a viable and healthier alternative.

Rating 3 out of 5

Vita Coco Coconut Oil
Vegan Life Live Vita Coco Coconut Oil champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Vita Coco: Coconut oil 5ml

It’s coconut oil! It’s brilliant! Nuff said! Nice and useful pocket size I can use as a hand cream whilst travelling. A fabulous thing I discovered at the Vita Coco stall was fresh popcorn cooked in coconut oil. It was delicious. The money off vouchers included are an added bonus.

Rating 5 out of 5

Sacla no 9 free from basil pesto
Sacla no 9 free from basil pesto champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Sacla: Free From no.9 basil pesto, 190g

As a pesto loving eater, I was very excited to try this tofu version, cheese free version, especially as I just happened to use the last of my pesto stash.  Yes, I usually have a pesto stash. It’s a thing. Don’t judge!

I tried it on a baked potato, and it was lovely. Plenty of basil flavour and has a good creamy consistency. With a sunflower oil base, I do miss the flavour that comes with organic olive oil and I think it could have done with a higher amount of pine nuts and a lower amount of cashew nuts.

http://www.sacla.co.uk/products/pesto/free-from-pesto/no9-free-from-basil-pesto/
Sacle Free From No.9 Basil Pesto Picture source: http://www.sacla.co.uk/products/pesto/free-from-pesto/no9-free-from-basil-pesto/

That said, as a full sized product, I think it was a rather lovely sample size and I have made room in my fridge for this little gem.  Nice to know I have lunch sorted for the next couple of days.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

fruit-syrup

  • Sweet Freedom: Fruit Syrup, 350g

A very generous size, I found this syrup extremely sweet, so a little goes a long way. I used it over unsweetened breakfast cereals and found it very enjoyable.  It’s nice to know that there is only 13 calories per teaspoon, but I only needed to use 1/2 a teaspoon. I hope to try baking with it, but over pancakes this should be great.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

Naturya organic wheatgrass powder
Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder – champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Naturya: Organic wheatgrass powder, 7g

I’m new to the whole wheatgrass vibe, somehow it missed me. So I’m particularly glad to give this a try.  I added a teaspoon to a glass of coconut water and the verdict – I would happily do this again. It gave a fresh ‘green’ taste to the coconut water, and I would say it would be lovely with apple juice, lemon water and an elderflower drink, I can’t imagine this being nice with orange juice, but I’d geive it a try and let you know.

Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder - champagnetwist.wordpress.com Coconut water and green wheatgrass drink
Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The only slight quibble, the powder is so finely milled, it does tend to go everywhere. But as the colour of the year is Greenery, I’m not too bothered as I can say it’s part of my new decorating colour scheme 🙂

Naturya organic wheatgrass powder - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Rating: 4 out of 5

Did you go to Vegan Life Live? What did you think of the goodie bag? Have you used any of these products? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more.

 

The CT Show, Episode 7 ~ Vegan Life Live, now live

Check out my video highlights of the Vegan Life Live Show.


And, check out my review here

Thanks for reading, please subscribe for more!

Vegan Life Live – review

January 2017 Health and Wellbeing January 2017 Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpresss.com
Health and Wellbeing, January 2017. Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpresss.com

I’m trying to post this as quickly as possible to encourage you to visit the Vegan Life Show. If you have any plans for today, cancel them and go to Alexandra Palace.  You can thank me later – and you will!

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-06-31-23

Picture source: www.veganlifelive.com/london/

It is not often for me to attend a show and leave several hours later, wishing I could stay longer. The Vegan Life Live event was one of those rare times.  The 2 day show held at Alexandra Palace, simply isn’t enough for the vegan or wannabe vegan in your life to gather up all the vast array of information and to fully explore the delights of this event.

From start to finish the whole show is well organised, efficient and well thought out. The free shuttle bus to Alexandra Palace arrived on time and delivered us promptly, outside the entrance. Although the W3 bus service is more frequent, if you can wait up to 30 mins, why not save a few quid and enjoy a more direct route to the venue.

The entering, despite the growing queues, was very quick with helpful and polite staff ushering the crowd, leading us to the show freebie bag tables. Yes, the show freebie bag – a huge affair filled with so many goodies – all of which will soon be reviewed on this blog.  I have to say, this is one of the most generous and more impressive show bags I have ever enjoyed at such events, and it was an indication of the quality of this event

Normally, I would advise to take a small flask of tea or coffee, a bottle of water and a small snack, as these events are notorious for selling over-the-top expensive refreshments, and you spend half your time queuing, only to served by stressed out or rude catering staff. But at Vegan Life Live, if you go today, I strongly suggest leaving behind your lunch box and just bring your wallet. The catering staff are owners fo the businesses, and are kind helpful, very friendly and keen to share their knowledge and advise with you. The portions are generous and the prices reasonable. I saw many people returning for seconds.

The variety on offer in the food court is almost overwhelming. Stocked with edibles for the sweetest of teeth, treats from the 4 corners of the globe, including West Indian, Chinese and home-grown British fare. Tacos, wraps, curries, soups, smoothies, cupcakes, brownies – if you can’t find anything to suit your palette, then you will not be able to find it anywhere on Earth!

And that’s just the food you pay for – I was able to fully dine out on just the samples alone, and these were not just silly little morsels, they too were generous and plentiful.  If you have any notion that vegans are starved out individuals who only eat lentils, this show will quickly put that idea to bed.

There is literally something for everyone – even hard-core meat eaters, would find something to rave about the Vegan Life Show. The demonstrations were numerous, the shows informative, there is even an area showing films and documentaries, which sadly I didn’t have time to watch. It’s impossible to leave without learning something new, and in my case a full tummy!

I will post more later today and over the next few days across the Champagne Twist network, including my show highlights. I strongly  urge you, if you love good food, go today to the Vegan Life Live show at Alexandra Palace for an affordable day out and enjoy food at it’s best.

The show ends today at 5pm, tickets available at the venue – click here for more details.

Rating 4.5/5