#COYOPops ice lolly

Coyo Yogurt Ice Lolly – review


Yesterday, I mentioned how the audience were invited to sample COYO lollies at the Culture Cloud – Lulu Guinness wellness event in Covent Garden. As promised here is a review of the lollies.

Created especially for Lulu Guinness’ in store Picnic Pop-Up, the COYO Pops‬ yoghurt ice lollies are, available exclusively at the Covent Garden shop until late July.

Picnic Pop-Up Lulu Guinness COYO
Lulu Guinness Picnic Pop-Up Limited edition lollies made with CO-YO coconut milk alternative Picture source: https://twitter.com/palm_pr

I tried the Skinny Dip Chocolate Ice lolly, and have to say, it was delicious.

The texture was beautifully creamy, yet the flavour wasn’t the expected sickly, sugary sweet, tongue tieing affair. It was simply a tasty coconut lolly, covered with a good quality chocolate covering. Chocolate and coconut are a natural combination, but if you’re thinking this was a frozen Bounty on a stick, you couldn’t be more wrong. This is truly one of the best lollies I’ve ever had, and I’m going to make a special trip to try the other flavours.

#COYOPops ice lolly
COYO Pops ice Lolly, Lulu Guinness Picnic Pop-UP Picture source: Francesca Hodge via instagram 

Yes, I’m going to make a special trip just for a couple of lollies, they are that good!If you’re in the area, and would like an healthy alternative to regular ice lollies or ice cream, you could do a lot worse than to visit the temporary pop up venue.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Picnic Pop-Up is running until 22nd July, at the Lulu Guinness Covent Garden store. The other flavours, which I didn’t taste, are Sunny Salted Caramel and Very Vanilla. Cost £3.

COYO coconut yogurt alternative is on sale in most supermarkets. I’m going to find some and create some recipes using this product.



COYO Coconut Yoghurt Alternative
COYO Coconut Yoghurt Alternative Natural

Have you tried any of the COYO products? What did you think? Why not comment below. Please don’t forget to like and subscribe if you would like more from Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading, see you soon 🙂

Personal Trainer Harry Jameson Elegant Resort

Culture Cloud – Lulu Guinness Wellness Event with Harry Jameson


Today turned out to be a humid day, one of those days when you don’t want to be anywhere near the sultry, grey, airless city, which of course was the day I had to be in the city.  However, grey London clouds usually have sparkly silver linings. The lining in this case was a brilliant discussion by Harry Jameson, hosted at the Lulu Guinness store in Covent Garden.

Harry is an international personal trainer and lifestyle coach. He is the winner of Tatler’s Best Hotel PT award, and has a wide ranging extensive career including working in Harley Street. Harry is the founder of the Jameson Retreat.

Personal Trainer Harry Jameson Elegant Resort
Harry Jameson

When asked to provide the audience with his key ideas for wellness, Harry gave 3 general tips –

  1. “One meal doesn’t make you fat”. It’s an accumulation of those meals which can determine your health and welling being.  Forward meal planning is a key idea, where everyone can enjoy a glass of wine, a sugary pudding now and again, just not for every single meal. Harry also mentioned that full abstinence leads to feeling miserable and deprived, which defeats the object of enjoying life.
  2. Without energy, you can’t work, or be your best. You need carbs – yes you do. As carbs are easily stored by the body, it is best to exercise and then eat carbs, such as sweet potatoes, brown rice and pulses.
  3. Protein is important. Harry mentioned that women, in his experience, tended not to eat enough protein, so consider upping the chicken and fish in your diet.

Harry advocates the value of a good night’s sleep, and noted that the best sleep is achieved before midnight. As a person who tends to work well after mid-night, I’ve decided for the sake of my health, I need to knock that on the head.

No really.

OK, I’ll be more realistic, I’m going plan a better sleep regime, and will let you know how it’s progressing :). Follow me, to see my plans for a better night’s sleep.

Exercising, before breakfast, is something I have also taken from Harry’s suggestions. I’m also going to boost my intake of brown rice and cut down on my beloved cashews, pistachios and peanuts – I have been known to eat an industrial sized bag in one sitting.

Lulu Guinness - Modern Day Icons Event, Covent Garden
Lulu Guinness – Modern Day Icons

Check out Harry’s retreat here and his guest editor post on the Lulu Guinness/Culture Cloud website here.

Of course if you are thinking of going on any diet, considering a weight loss program or wish to start a training exercise, please, please, please visit your doctor and seek medical advice from a relevantly qualified practitioner first. Prevention is always better than cure.

During the event, the audience were able to sample COYO frozen yogurt lollies and Simplee Aloe fruit juice drinks. Watch for the reviews later this week.

Yet another brilliant and highly informative event at Lulu Guinness, I look forward to the next one.





macarons photo collage - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Ladurée macarons – review

macaron (/ˌmɑːkəˈrɒn/ mah-kə-rohn;[1] French pronunciation: [makaʁɔ̃]) is a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg whiteicing sugargranulated sugaralmond powder or ground almond, and food colouring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganachebuttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. The name is derived from the Italian word macaronemaccaroneor maccherone, the meringue.

Why the definition intro?  Because I think Ladurée need to read it.

I admit I have been extremely late to the macaron bandwagon, as I favour the much more robust macaroons.  But, having heard so much of the craze, I decided at long last to take the macaron plunge.

I selected a set box of 8, and spent time deliberating over the large range of flavours.  I ventured home, taking great care of the precious contents of my thin, green cardboard cartoon.  Sadly, one of the macarons, despite my best efforts was damaged. I think the cartoon provided was too big, easily having enough room for 9 or 10 macarons rather than 8.  Macarons, are delicate in nature and so I’m rather surprised that this was not considered when designing the packaging.

Macarons - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

With colourful 8 macarons to try, I invited my friend Lee to pop round for tea and a macaron taste test. A self confessed connoisseur of fine foods, Lee was more than happy to indulge.

Then we tried the macarons … Oh dear! Here’s the table of results …

Champagne Twist - Laduree macarons
Ladurée Macarons


Lee – Not bad, not immediately obvious it’s raspberry flavour 3/5

Me – The filling is fruity in texture, but artificial in taste.  Meringue a little disappointing too 3/5



Lee – Yuk, don’t like that! The taste is far too strong 2/5

Me – I like it! Nice delicate floral notes, the meringue has a crisp exterior and soft centre 2.5/5



Lee – Tastes more like coconut! 2.5/5

Me – Nice subtle flavour, but couldn’t tell it was vanilla, which is a bit worrying. The meringue doesn’t taste of much either 2.5/5



Lee – Can’t tell what flavour this is supposed to be, but I don’t get pistachio 2.5/5

Me – OK, but nothing special, and it doesn’t taste particularly nutty 2/5



Lee – Best one so far, you can taste chocolate, and its not too sweet 3.5/5

Me – Agree, it’s the best so far, chocolate favour is obvious, but I wonder if they used top quality cocoa. The meringue has a nice flavour 4/5


6.Marie Antoinette

Lee – Nice on the palette 3.5/5

Me – Unusual, pleasant flavour, would go well with the chocolate macaron 3.5/5


7.Green Apple

Lee – Nah!  That’s apple concentrate, straight out of a bottle 2/5

Me – OMG! How can ANYONE sell something that tastes so bad and call it FOOD! This is supposed to be a treat, not punishment. Oh and the aftertaste, it just keeps on going -2/5



Lee – Didn’t get the lemon immediately, but there’s a hint of lemon in the aftertaste 2/5

Me – I can still taste the Green Apple! The lemon flavour isn’t very strong, and there isn’t any in the meringue that I can tell 2/5

macarons photo collage - champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Of the 8, top score went to the chocolate macaron, gaining a combined score of 7 out of 10.  The worse macaron, in a disappointing mix of pretty below average tasting ones, was the green apple favour,  receiving a combined score of zero. In my opinion the green apple macaron is so vile, it should be considered an instrument of culinary torture.

With little change from £15 for 8 macarons, from an establishment that is said to specialise in such ‘treats’, I expected so much more. One passable chocolate macaron does not make up for the rest, which ranged from interesting, but not worth nearly £2, to downright disgusting.

I could have made a lovely cake with £15 worth of quality ingredients.  The cake would easily feed at least 6 people, so it makes me wonder why these macarons are considered so ‘en vogue’.  These macarons may be pretty to look at, but that was mostly at the cost of flavour – at one point the cardboard box they came in looked more appetising.

Overall score: 1 out of 10, and that’s only because of the nice packaging, and the macarons  provided some interesting food photography shots!

Sorry Lee, I owe you a cake.






Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons

Lulu Guinness -Modern Day Icons event part 2 – review

Yesterday, I teased about the Modern Day Icons event, at the Lulu Guinness Covent Garden store. Well, as promised, here’s the low down of what was truly a fabulous and inspiring event.

Treated to generous glasses of champers and delicious canapés created by some of the panelists, the early birds were permitted to pursue the glorious store stock of beautiful bags and accessories.

But the real event was yet to come. The audience were introduced to 6 inspiring women, over 2 panels, where they discussed various topics regarding their status as ‘Modern Day Icons‘.  This event is being heavily promoted by Lulu Guinness in their aim to show their “love of culturally interesting women”.

Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons
1st Panel (from left to right) Meredith O’Shaughnessy, Lucy Brown, Jenny Quintero and event host Francesca Hodge (Photo Source Francesca Hodge Instagram)

Photo source: https://www.instagram.com/francescahodge/?hl=en

1st Panel

Meredith O’Shaughnessy

Creator of the Meredith Collective brand, Meredith spoke of the development of her businesses, offering the insightful tip, to talk to people about your ideas, once they get excited, then you should do something about it.  Ideas need follow up action, “ideas are the easy part”.

Meredith discussed how said running a business is hard work – “you can’t stop, it’s relentless … can be lonely at times”.  However the rewards are there, as her business testifies.

Her company, ‘Ohlala’, provided some delicious macarons for the event. Check out my  review soon.

Lucy Brown and Jenny Quintero

A former model agent and magazine publishing manager, Lucy and Jenny both quit their jobs to develop ‘Jar Kitchen‘ situated in Drury Lane, Covent Garden.

Lucy spoke of how members of her family gave her emotionally support, which proved very confidence building.  I think this kind of support is crucial to self development, especially when you’re embarking on a new business venture.

All 3 ladies are proof positive that hard work, dedication and love for the work you do, can provide life fulfilment.   There will be detractors, but you don’t have to work or collaborate with anyone who shows a lack of respect for your position or ideas.

That’s all for today, tomorrow I will post about the 2nd panel which was a brilliant as the first. In the meanwhile you can read more about Lulu Guinness’ Modern Day Icons on the official website here.

Thanks for reading.

Modern Day Icons part 1

Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons

Modern Day Icons, Lulu Guinness Event

Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons
Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons

Today was one of those days. A rare day when I didn’t feel like doing anything, sapped of energy and on my 3rd measure of anti flu meds, while the world outside was busy running around with their daily lives.

I had recently received an invite to attend a panel discussion at the world famous Lulu Guinness store, in Covent Garden.  I immediately jumped at the chance,  Lulu Guinness is one of my most favourite designers of all time! I’ve collected her bags since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

But then Thursday morning arrived, my head full of cold, the unexpected sun shine, which of course meant the outfit I had planned was completely unsuitable, I resolved my attendance was not meant to be.

As the hours passed from morning to afternoon, my inner voice of reason spoke (we have regular convos, which worries my Mother somewhat) and said, “What on earth are you thinking? Of course you’re going – you’ve been invited to spend an entire evening surrounded by Lulu Guinness bags, and listen to 6 inspiring women talk about their work. Oh and did I mention you’re going to spend the entire evening surrounded by Lulu Guinness bags?”

Isn’t it remarkable how a week long flu can disappear in a matter of moments.

Almost as remarkable, my outfit wasn’t deemed as inappropriate anymore – although that was more to do with the fact that I had co-ordinated my clothes to match my vintage Lulu Guinness bag, and I wasn’t about to start another conversation with my inner Gok Wan.

Lulu Guinness - Modern Day Icons Event, Covent Garden
Lulu Guinness – Modern Day Icons

The venue: Covent Garden.

The atmosphere: Exciting.

The facilities: Put it this way, when you walk into a luxury accessories store and the very first thing that happens, when you’ve barely stepped over the threshold, some kind soul offers a glass of champagne adorned with a strawberry. It’s safe to say when that happens, you’re in for a treat.

Me Made May 16 Pineapple Print Skirt, Lulu Guinness Modern Day Icons Event
Me Made May 16 Pineapple Print Skirt

Having the chance to pursue the beautiful array of handbags and accessories, whilst sampling delicious canapés doesn’t happen every day.  It should.


More on the Modern Day Icons event tomorrow.  Tonight, I’m going to bed, to dream of my evening with Marcie, Chloe, Rachel … oh Rachel …

Art Tuesdays: Artists to follow – Stik

Big Mother by Stik, on the side of Charles Hocking House, a condemned tower block in Ealing, London. Photograph excerpt: Joce Division
Big Mother by Stik, on the side of Charles Hocking House, a condemned tower block in Ealing, London.
Photograph excerpt: Joyce/ Division

I first discovered ‘Big Mother’ by Stik whilst travelling on the Piccadilly line. It was such an eye catching, bright yet simple piece of art which brightened up the surrounding grey landscape, and fast became a highlight of the journey.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 10.19.38
Source: Image © Stik (by Joyce/Division)

Stik’s own story is fascinating – check out an article in the Guardian which features more of Stik’s inspiring work and his own personal life journey.  Click here to read the article.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 10.30.54
Sleeping baby mural, Homerton hospital, London

Picture source: Guardian.com

Charles Petillon – Heartbeat, Art installation, Covent Garden

This is the second of my Charles Petillon videos, featuring his amazing work. Check out his first UK art installation currently at the Market Building, Covent Garden.

Check out my first video here – Charles Petillon – Invasion photography exhibition

Charles Petillon ‘Invasion’ – Photography exhibition highlights

Below is a highlight video of Charles Petillon’s  Invasion – a free photography exhibition currently held at the Royal Opera House Arcade, Covent Garden.

The exhibition runs until 27th September 2015.

For for information about the artist, check out his website : http://www.charlespetillon.com