Mango Tree Treat

image - mango tree sign

image strawberry monkey mocktailYou may have noticed that I like my food…..I also like eating out so I was really pleased when I was invited to eat at Mango Tree in Belgravia as a blog reviewer! What was even better was the chance coincided with my recent birthday, and as we planned to be in London I obviously leapt at the chance.  What follows is my review, and all views are my own. Mango Tree is conveniently situated on Grosvenor Place, Belgravia pretty much at the bottom of the Queen’s back garden.  It’s a short walk from Victoria, Hyde Park Corner and actually most of central London, if like me, you like a good wander!  The restaurant opens at 6pm for dinner and we had booked for opening as I like to eat early.  I am always hungry and once nearly chewed my arm off on a business trip to Madrid because we didn’t get seated for dinner until about 10pm!

image - Thai SunriseWe were slightly early, and so we were seated in the bar with a few other groups whilst the final touches were being put in place in the dining room.  This was a great opportunity to have one of the many cocktails on offer.  There was a lot of choice, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options were available, and in the end the Boyf and I managed to narrow it down.  Being a lover of both Tequila and Gin, I had to go for the Thai Sunrise which has them both in…the Boyf went mocktail, and had a Strawberry Monkey.  They were both really well presented and more importantly, really tasty!

This was obviously to be the theme for the evening!

We were taken through to the dining area and were situated by the window, great for a bit of people watching.  As we perused the menu we were treated to some spicy prawn crackers.  I am not normally a prawn cracker fan but these were great, and were balanced well with the house white we were drinking.  We were to be eating from a set menu, but the cool thing was we were going to be treated to all 3 options on the menu.  Three starters, three mains and just the one dessert….but it was a taster option so we still had lots to try. It was actually nice to have the food choices already pre-determined as their main menu has a lot of choice.  I think we would have struggled to narrow it down, or would have stuck to tired and tested dishes.  This would have been a real shame as having expanded my horizons more than usual I tried some great dishes that I wouldn’t normally have gone near.

image - Chicken Prawn SatayFirst up were the starters.  Thankfully my favourite, chicken satay was one of the dishes we were served.  I do love a good satay (it’s spicy peanut butter, how could I not like it?), and we had skewers of chicken and prawn.  It tasted great and was really well presented on a mini-grill to keep them warm as we worked our way through everything.  I was glad that one of the other dishes, gai yang jeerapan was also chicken based as it meant the Boyf and I weren’t fighting over the satay.  That dish had a sweet chilli sauce and we also had goong ten which was king prawns in a chilli and garlic sauce.  All three dishes looked amazing and had their own distinct flavours.  This is really important to me as I hate everything tasting the same despite the menu descriptions being really different.

 

Onto the mains and again, they looked amazing when they arrived.  We had a red curry with duck which was served up inside a pineapple….this was a mild dish which was as yummy as the fruit it was served in, and as it also contained grapes, pineapple and tomato meant I was in with a chance of hitting my five a day for a change.  The second dish was wok fried seafood and it was my least favourite of the day.  This is only really because I am not a fan of squid or mussels (I did try them though).  The prawns and scallops were nice and the sauce tasted good too.  If you are a seafood fan then I am sure you would enjoy it.

The best looking dish had to be the pad thai goong Yai though, it was served in a sort of deconstructed state, allowing you to mix the rice noodles, prawns, peanuts and other bits and bobs together with as much chilli as you liked.  I kept it fairly mild, but if you like spicy food then you definitely had enough chilli available to give it an extra kick.

Finally it was time for dessert….my blogger contact had passed on to the team that it was my birthday, so when the platter was brought out, it was accompanied by singing servers and had a giant sparkler image - pad thaiin it!  Great fun and a nice touch that I had seen happening for other diners as well.  It seems a few of us Aries were out celebrating that night!  What did we have?  Three chocolate cake, banana and pistachio pudding, coffee cheesecake and vanilla-pandan ice cream.  They were small snippets but perfectly sized for sharing and again it means you get to experience many desserts not just be stuck with one, wishing you were eating what your friend chose instead!

The service was great, and whilst the restaurant filled up quite quickly there seemed to be plenty of staff working.  Certainly no one seemed to be waiting long for their food or looked irritated at not being looked after. Would I go back? Definitely!  There is lots on the menu that I would like to try and it’s convenient location means that we can easily get home after an evening out.  For those of you with families, there were plenty of family groups there as well, so you don’t need to feel you can’t take them along….of course you may want to use it as an excuse to get a baby-sitter and escape for some peace and quiet without them. If you like Thai food then I really do think the Mango Tree is worth checking out, and I am looking forward to my next visit.

image - birthday dessert

 

Crystal Crazy?

image text - crystal crazy?

I’ve always had an affinity to stones and crystals.  At the Science Museum I love the gift shop section that has all the tumble stone pebbles, and I have a malachite necklace which has the most amazing patterns on it.

It’s hard to say why I like them, or whether I believe in their healing powers, but what I do know is that the patterns in the stones make me happy.  Perhaps it’s because whilst I love the floral part of nature from a distance (flowers often equal sneezes!), with rocks and crystals I don’t suffer any ill effects.  I can enjoy the way nature takes the elements and makes them into such different substances, all with their own unique look and feel.

CrystalifeI was recently sent a review piece by Taylor at Crystalife as we were chatting about the benefits of crystals and how you can incorporate that into gemstone jewellery.  He suggested that they may be beneficial for me on my long races.  I mentioned that I really like hematite and tiger’s eye as stones, but I guess that they can be trickier to make into the style of handmade pieces that Taylor does.  The necklace I received is a clear crystal (I believe it’s clear quartz but have been unable to get that confirmed) and is hand-set in what appears to be copper (you can tell this by the finger print in the setting).  It’s certainly a unique piece as crystal, although shaped into a hexagonal drop, still has the chips and imperfections you can expect in some crystals.  From my reading, clear quartz is a stone that absorbs energy and then releases back at the wearer (rather than other stones which have their own “powers”), and so I will need to be really careful with it as I don’t want one race’s negativity bouncing back to bring me down in a later race.

Whether you believe in crystals or not, I am sure you can believe in the placebo effect, and so if I believe something will work then there’s a high possibility of it working….if I am negative about it then likely a negative mindset will kick in.

The power of positive thinking is definitely something I believe in, but sometimes my positivity gets carried away (as I demonstrated at the Moonlight Challenge).  It’s also something I have seen work well in others too.  When the Boyf’s mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour (thankfully successfully treated), I bought her a small crystal angel at the Munich Christmas Market.  She took it to hospital and placed it on the side so it could watch over her.  She recently let the angel to a friend who was going into hospital, so that it could watch over them as well.  A simple act like this can make someone feel loved enough that it improves their state of mind and this in turn can help whatever treatment is taking place work better.

If someone wants to get well, then thinking positively about the outcome is certainly going to make them feel a lot better than focusing on everything that could go wrong.

AngelsI’ve recently bought myself some little angels from the Wisdom of Wellbeing shop, they’re keeping me company on my desk right now.  Mostly because I like the stones they are made of, but also because who doesn’t need a bit of extra luck or super-power to improve productivity, abundance and prosperity!  The teeny-tiny goldstone angel is said to enhance drive and ambition, whilst the larger opalite is for soothing frayed nerves and providing inner peace and calm.  Sounds like the perfect home-office combo to me.

Whether or not they have actual super powers I don’t know, but they add a bit of colour to my room and I like them….so there’s my mood improved right there!

Do you have any crystals or stones that you keep in your room or in your pocket?  Do you have them just because they look pretty?  Or because you feel some kind of benefit to having them?

Smoothies, potatoes and waffles!

image text - Smoothies, potatoes and waffles!

Here’s this week’s round up of smoothies and other yummy foods that the Boyf has delivered to me in the last 7 days!  Things may be shaken up a bit in future as we are testing out to see how I get on with intermittent fasting.

 

Feed me!

image text - Feed me! Easy smoothies

The Boyf and I thought it would be good to share some of the food related creations he comes up with, as I know people often struggle for ideas for smoothies, healthy snacks and recovery food.  I’ll be posting these up on my @iamkatruns Instagram as and when he makes them, but will also try and do a regular round-up on here for those of you who don’t do Instagram or miss them in the daily flow of random stuff!

So here you go!  I hope this gives you some good ideas.

 

An Audacious Approach to Aqua Acquisition

Image text - An Audacious Approach to Aqua Acquisition

You may have noticed that I like running, I also like supporting other runners and that means that this year I have a few weekends pencilled in where I will be taking care of other runners rather than running myself.  I am always on the lookout for items that are going to make my life easier whilst I am out and about, so I was stoked when Audacious Rhino got in touch to see if I wanted to review one of their flasks.  I was given a free flask in exchange for me testing and reviewing it for them.  As always all views are my own (and you know I am a bit on the fussy side).

I went for their 800ml Camouflage flask because if I am going to be in a car hopping from place to place for over 24 hours I want as much hot water with me as I can, that extra 300ml could make a big difference!  It has a nice rugged feel to it, with a strong handle and an additional strap that you could use to tether the flask to a rucksack if you were on the move.

Audacious Rhino 800ml Camouflage FlaskI really like the outer design, it has some sneaky inclusions like a rhino image and a heart….but it definitely isn’t girly, in fact I doubt anyone would notice it if they weren’t looking.  The flask itself has a wide neck, which means you can easily fit ice cubes in it.  This is going to be essential for me as I plan on using it in summer races so I always have a stock on ice on hand if I start to over-heat.  After last year’s issues I want to be as prepared as I can to keep my core temperature down and allow me to get a long, long run done.

I haven’t tested out the claim that cold drinks stay cold for up to 24 hours, but based on my heat tests I have no reason to doubt it.  I’ve been using the flask in an “in office” test as I haven’t had any races in the last week.  This has meant I have been filling it up in the morning and feeding my herbal tea habit over the course of the day.  The fact that it has a pop-up top means that you can pour the hot water without fully opening the flask.  This must help keep the water hot for longer as you aren’t letting cold air in all the time.

Audacious Rhino 800ml Camouflage FlaskI also did a test where I filled the flask before bed, and then used the water in the morning.  It wasn’t boiling, but it was certainly warm enough that if I was tired and needed coffee that it would be hot enough to drink!  All in all I was very impressed with its heat retention properties!  The cup that comes with it is also sturdy and holds a decent amount of water (something that can’t be said for my 500ml flask which would barely make an espresso in the lid).If you want something a bit more subtle, or don’t need such a large flask, you’ll be pleased to know there are also smaller, more understated designs in their range. You can check them all out on the Audacious Rhino Amazon store.

What are you waiting for?  These are great flasks, perfect for use on the move, or at home…I can now happily keep myself supplied with tea throughout a day of back to back conference calls!

Audacious Rhino 800ml Camouflage Flask