Aloe-mentary my dear, JASON

Jason products are great. We tested C-Effects Ultra-C Eye Lift at £17.49, which as you can see is light, glides on easily and instantly absorbed. And most of all,  it’s effective.  The multi antioxidant complex of Ester-C, Vitamin C, Thioctic Acid, Vitamin E and Green Tea nourishes the delicate skin around the eyes softening fine lines and wrinkles. With use, eyes appear more awake, while skin feels soft and smooth. What’s not to love about bright eyes?  We were fans of Keihl’s Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate at £35 a pop  but it’s a little too powerful and astringent for our delicate skins :)

Anti-Aging Treatment Helps smooth and firm around the eyes

Anti-Aging Treatment Helps smooth and firm around the eyes

Jason also have these soothing aloe vera cremes and gels – what with the sun blasting out in London there might be some prickly skins after this weekend.

Aloe Vera was known as the ‘plant of immortality’ by ancient Egyptians and is still known for its healing properties. The phyto chemicals and nutrients in Aloe Vera are beneficial to hair, health and skin, and Aloe Vera is 4 times more rapidly absorbed by skin than water. A cocktail of  vitamins A, B, C and E, folic acid, niacin, copper, iron, sodium, calcium, zinc, potassium, chromium, magnesium and manganese.

Pure Natural Moisturizing Gel – Soothing 98% Aloe Vera

Pure Natural Moisturizing Gel - Soothing 98% Aloe Vera

Pure Natural Moisturizing Gel – Soothing 98% Aloe Vera

This 98% Aloe Vera relieves discomforts of dry, irritated, sun damaged or newly shaven skin while nourishing Allantoin and Vitamin B5 replenish moisture. Available in 113g (4oz) £3.99, 227g (8oz) £5.99, and 454g (16oz) £8.99


Pure Natural Moisturizing Crème – Soothing 84% Aloe Vera

Pure Natural Moisturizing Crème

Pure Natural Moisturizing Crème

Pure Natural Moisturizing Crème – a soothing 84% Aloe Vera daily crème naturally delivering deep, long-lasting moisturization and calms that irritated skin. Highly concentrated Aloe Vera Gel plus natural Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E instantly soothe dry, irritated, sun damaged or newly shaven skin. 113 g (4oz) £7.49

All products are available from and highly recommended.

Enhance your Experience at Adrián Hoteles Tenerife with their Online Shop

Adrián Hoteles has just launched a new online shop where you can pre-book lots of extras like spa treatments, bikesbirthday cakes and flowers. It’d make a great gift for  yourself or someone you know is staying at one of their three luxury hotels on Tenerife’s Costa Adeje.

Jardines de Nivaria, an oasis for all those seeking quality, service and relaxation

Jardines de Nivaria, an oasis for all those seeking quality, service and relaxation

The 5* Hotel Jardines de Nivaria is a mixture of Art-deco and Spanish traditional style with a dome that shows the stars and constellations visible from the hotel during the spring equinox. The 5* Roca Nivaria Gran Hotel has 289 rooms – all of them with a terrace – one infinity edge pools with ocean views and a ‘mini club’ for children between 10 months and 12 years old.  Hotel Colón Guanahaní is an adults-only 4-star hotel located in Playa de Fañabé. Opened in 1990 and completely refurbished in 2014, the rooms are decorated in a colourful colonial style.

From the Your Welfare menu you can pre book  a Canarian aloe vera massage (70 Euros) and a top-to-toe Beauty Pack (130 Euros), plus the option to privately hire a pool-side Balinese bed for the day with drinks and snacks (45 Euros).

A massage with intense moisturizing Canarian Aloe Vera, known for its many healing and skin moisturizing properties.

A massage Canarian Aloe Vera, known for its many healing and skin moisturising properties.


Smaller extras such as birthday cakes (12 Euros) and bouquets of flowers (31 Euros) are also available.<

Absolut, Punchdrunk and Somethin’ Else invite you to play Silverpoint

At the heart of the game Silverpoint is a mystery: the disappearance of Chloe. The only way to unlock her story is to play the app game.  The more you play, the more you discover, edging ever closer to the truth.

Silverpoint Palm


Silverpoint celebrates the nationwide launch of the Absolut Andy Warhol limited edition bottle, with a unique digital experiment.

The game will launch on iOS on 14th April, in the iTunes App store unfolding over a two week period.

The game features some of Andy Warhol’s rarely seen blotted-line ‘Silverpoint’ drawings, a style he used early in his career to replicate a design. As players proceed through the casual ‘match three’ style game, they earn stars which opens up the mystery story about a woman named Chloe. As they delve deeper into her story, and into the game, they will discover all is not quite as it seems.

For more information about the Silverpoint experience, visit

Andy Warhol Absolut Sketch

Andy Warhol Absolut Sketch

Absolut’s Andy Warhol Edition is available at supermarkets nationwide, RRP £18.79. A percentage of the proceeds will contribute to The Andy Warhol Foundation’s endowment from which it distributes grants supporting contemporary art. The Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization recognized as among the leading funders of contemporary art.

Check it out here


Read more about Absolut’s contribution to art here


Chocolate Class with Bake With Maria

The challenge – to make those delicious tasting and good-looking soft-centred chocolates you buy for £18 for 10 pieces in places like Melt and Paul A Young. And we did it. It takes time and vigorous stirring but it can be done.

Here’s how – decorate a polycarbonate mould with some coloured white chocolate, pour in some tempered dark chocolate to coat the mould, pipe in some creamy milk chocolate ganache, seal it with more chocolate and let it cool. Give the tray a good bang and out pops these amazing chocolates.

Okay, not quite the finesse of a master chocolatier but we made these ourselves at a class with our fabulous teacher Annamarie Jones at a class in the Bake With Maria lab in London.

If we can do it, any one can. Alan Greenhalgh reports..

Bake With Maria Chocolate Making Class

ta-da! learn how to make chocolates at Bake With Maria


 Decorating the moulds with coloured white chocolate

Moulds and Colours for Chocolate

Moulds and Colours for Chocolate

Coating, filling and sealing the chocolates

Bake With  Maria

Annamarie Jones shows us how to make chocolate at Bake With Maria.

For the decoration you will need some liquid white cocoa butter colour mixed with powdered colours which you can then flick or finger swirl into the mould.

Bake With Maria

Flick or finger paint before coating the mould with tempered dark chocolate

After the decoration has dried, pour in “tempered” chocolate to coat the mould before draining away the excess for use later in sealing the base.

Bake with Maria

Coating the mould with tempered dark chocolate

Tempering is the process of stabilising the chocolate so you don’t get bloom – those whitish streaks, but you do get an incredible shine and a loud snap when you break it! Home tempering is done by taking two bowls of chopped chocolate pieces, one you will use to melt the chocolate over water in a saucepan on the hob, the other bowl you will add gradually to the hot melted chocolate to bring the temperature down – and thereby stabilising it.

To begin, always start off with at least 250g of melting chips or chopped chocolate. Once chocolate is melted and heated to the appropriate temperature, “seed” the chocolate by adding roughly 1/3 more unmelted chocolate. Allow the seeded chocolate to blend in and stabilise at its appropriate seeding temperature. Finally, reheat the chocolate ever so slightly until its appropriate temperature is reached.

Melt dark chocolate at 53-58C before “seeding” at 28-29C and reheating for use at 31-32C. Milk chocolate melt at 45-50C, seed at 26-27C and reheat to 28C. Use a thermometer – we tried out a state-of-art infra-red one.

Once you’ve coated the mould, pipe in this filling of

Milk Chocolate Vanilla Ganache


150 ml whipping cream

25g glucose

Vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the pod or 7g vanilla powder – we hear Ugandan is best!

300 g milk chocolate (chopped)

20 g Butter


Combine the cream and glucose in a saucepan, along with the scraped vanilla seeds and even the pod. Bring to a boil. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream. Pour the hot cream mixture over the bowl of chopped milk chocolate and allow to stand for 60 seconds. Using a spatula or whisk, stir the mixture in small vigorous circles from the centre of the bowl gradually working outwards until the mixture emulsifies, blends, into a smooth glossy liquid. The less air in the mix the better.

If necessary place the ganache over a warm water bath, not exceeding 34C, to melt any pieces of chocolate.

Stir the butter in taking care there are no lumps left.

Pour the ganache into a shallow metal baking tray. Spread a thin layer and cover the surface directly with clingfilm. Refrigerate until cool and is of thick but spreadable consistency – for about half an hour. Alternatively the ganache can be left, covered, and cooled at room temperature, and ready to be used at a maximum temperature of 25C.

When the moulds have been painted and coated with tempered chocolate, then pipe in the ganache before sealing with more tempered chocolate and scraping off the excess.

There you have the finished chocolates. Delicious!

Chocolate Class at Bake With Maria

home made ganache-filled dark chocolates


We used Belcolade Belgian chocolate and colours from HB Ingredients and moulds from the Home Chocolate Factory.

To book classes at Bake With Maria click here:

Chocolate Desserts 

Introduction to Chocolate Making

or check out all kinds of wonderful baking and cookery classes on the calendar 

Highly recommended.

Bake WIth Maria Chocolate Class 2015

My lovely class and teacher!


 Read more about Bake With Maria here.

Chocolate Classes at Bake with Maria London

Chocolatier and pastry chef Annamarie Jones is to join the Bake with Maria team bringing her experience from Dallmann Fine Chocolates in the United States, Melt and Rococco.

First up on Sunday March 29th is an Easter Chocolate Masterclass  learning how to make honey vanilla caramels, milk chocolate vanilla moulded chocolates, Easter bunny figures and mini-eggs.

Easter Chocolate Class with  /

Easter Chocolate Class with /


A full schedule of classes, to include

Introduction to Chocolate MakingTruffles / Chocolate Lollipops / Orangettes

This is a 2.5 hour long class, coffee tea and a homemade treat is served upon arrival. You will take home all the chocolates you make in the class – beautifully wrapped! £65

Chocolate Desserts Class

In this class you we will be making: Pot de Creme / Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Pecan Brittle Tart / Chocolate Fondants. This is a 4 hour long class, coffee tea and a homemade treat is served upon arrival. You will take home all desserts you make in the class. £105

Bake with Maria, founded by Maria Mayerhofer in 2010, run baking classes taught by experts in their specially designed baking lab in London’s St John’s Wood opposite South Hampstead Overground station.

Classes are kept small to ensure maximum attention, and the equipment is domestic so that pupils can make use of their knowledge and achieve excellent results in their own homes.

For details of upcoming classes and to make a booking see

 Bake With Maria Logo London

The Mac Factory – 21st Century Macaroni and Cheese Pop Up

The Mac Factory are doing interesting and tasty things with 21st century mac n cheese.  Based at Camden Lock Market seven days a week, but with numerous pop ups, we got to see Chef Owner Graham Bradbury in action at the Earlham StreetClubhouse, Covent Garden, where he will be running The Mac Factory pop up for the next few Saturdays.

Earlham Street Clubhouse

that’s exactly the look we had when we found this Mac n Cheese popup

Even for such a seemingly simple dish, there is great chef-ery as Graham’s background is classic French. So you’ll see technique, many steps, in many pans – not in the oven, with flourishes such as a tarragon emulsion and topped with parmesan and thyme crumble.

The Mac Factory at Earlham Street Clubhouse 2015-03-14 15.31.44

The menu is simple  – from a classic mac n cheese in a pot with three cheeses (£6.50) to a Super Mario with wild mushrooms and truffle oil (£7.50). Earlham Street Clubhouse have partnered with a cocktail menu that has a fresh Rain Mac (£5) with gin, elderflower and apple juice to cut through that delicious, unctuous cheese and cep cream.

The Mac Factory

Mac n Cheese from the Mac Factory with cocktails from Earlham Street Clubhouse

Stand out dish was the mac gourmet burger topped with juicy pork, lettuce, tomato and red onion combo – a crisp-on-the-outside and soft-chewy-in-the-middle creation in a brioche bun with a sensational pancetta mayonnaise.

The Mac Factory

Belly pork Mac n Cheese #Burger with Pancetta Mayo @themacfac @esclubhouse

We loved it: Comfort street food for which you don’t even need a hangover.

READ MORE FOOD REVIEWS: Covent Garden Four To Eight 


Feeling The Street – Celebrating The World’s Best Buskers

Around the world, every single day, some of the most vibrant musical performances take place on the world’s street corners. That talent now has a home with the launch of Feeling the Street (, an online campaign that celebrates some of the world’s best buskers.

Feeling the Street #FTS Toyota

Feeling the Street #FTS from Toyota

For the next nine weeks, street musicians will be able to enter clips of their own original performances to enter the competition. Visitors to the site can choose their favourite performers from the hundreds on offer and help to decide which six individuals they would like to see come together in a Global Street Band. 

Three phases of competition:  

Phase 1- Enter and Vote  

Musicians can enter by submitting an original video where they show their skills, playing an original song on their street corner. A global online audience will then vote by throwing money in the hats of the musicians they like most.  Phase 1 runs from March 18, 2015.

Phase 2 – “Pick your band”

The audience will be able to pick a combination of the six favorite artists they would most like to see come together.  Phase 2 runs from May until June, 2015.

Phase 3 – Taking the Global Street Band on the road

The winning participants will travel to New Zealand, for a nine-day tour across the country that will culminate in a live performance on stage.  Six audience winners will also be selected as ‘Roadies’ to travel with the band.  Phase 3 runs from June 13 until June 20, 2015.

See some more of the performers here