Red's True BBQ Leeds Review

There are some food experiences that I just know from the word go that I'm going to share on here, Red's True BBQ was one of them. Situated right near the Corn Exchange in Leeds, Red's is an American style BBQ restaurant offering different types of meats smoked low and slow with glazes and rubs. They go on an annual pilgrimage to the Southern States of America to meet and learn from the worlds best BBQ joints to bring back stacks of new ideas to keep it as authentic as possible for us UK heathens who don't really have a clue what a proper BBQ really is. 

Red's has definitely taught me a few things about how BBQ-ing should be done.



Firstly, the menu is immense and it does take a while to get your head around it; we had a really helpful server who showed us the ropes and gave us some recommendations because we were a little bit overwhelmed with choice. We decided to order a couple of things from the 'Little Plates' menu just to eat while we were deciding which turned out to be a very good call because we got a little taster of what was to come. The service was lightening fast, they were literally with us within about 5 minutes of ordering which I was really impressed with.


On the left we have the BBQ Rib Taster which is a selection of Red's legendary pork ribs, they are so unbelievably tender, moist and tasty; definitely the best ribs I've ever tasted. On the right there's the BBQ Wrapped JalapeƱos, we chose these because it was something different that we'd never tasted before. They were definitely tasty but a little too hot for Kayley to handle (I know, it's a jalapeƱo but she insisted the one she had was hotter than any she'd had before), so hot that she had to ask the server for something to cool her mouth down because the Diet Pepsi she had wasn't cutting it; so she recommended a milkshake (more on that later). 

We eventually decided on a selection of meats from the 'Meat Combos' list because neither of us wanted to leave feeling like we'd missed out so here goes...


Beef Long Ribs, Mashed 'Taters, Giant Onion Rings 

I've never tried beef ribs so after the pork ribs were so amazing in the starter this was an obvious choice especially as the server recommended them. They were melt-in-your-mouth tender smothered in the amazing Red's Unholy BBQ sauce. I think ribs can be a little thin on the ground where meat is concerned and they can often be more bone than anything else but these were the total opposite; so much meat! The mashed 'taters with white gravy were a gorgeous alternative to fries and I felt like I was really getting an authentic taste of how they do it in Southern America; white gravy is an odd concept but it totally works. As for the onion rings, don't be fooled into thinking 'there's only two, that's not enough' because they are massive; I didn't actually eat any of them but Kayley said 'They were really crispy, probably double fried and the onion inside was huge'.


Black Angus Beef Brisket, 7oz Pulled Pork, 2 Mild BBQ Wings & Corn on the Cob

This was what is known as a 'Meat Combo'; three types of meat plus a Divine side. I'm going to start with the BBQ Wings because they were probably my least favourite and what I would leave out next time; they are massive on the face of things and different to any other wing I've had (they're usually tiny, aren't they?) but the amount of meat on them was a little disappointing, what was on there was tasty but there just wasn't enough. The Brisket however was plentiful and so, so moist. It's obvious that it's been cooked as low and slow as possible because it was so flavoursome and just melted in my mouth. The Pulled Pork was to die for; the server said that it was a really popular choice and I can totally see why. If you wanted to make more of a meal of the pulled pork you could do because there was an option to have it with slaw, crackling and apple sauce (I've just eaten and the thought of that is making my mouth water).

Alongside your meats there's a selection of sauces available on the table which I was really impressed with and it meant that for the first time in a long time, I didn't feel the need to ask for mayo (I also thought it would be a cardinal sin to ask for such a thing in a place like Red's). My favourites were probably Kansas City BBQ and North Carolina BBQ (who knew there could be so many variations of BBQ sauce?!), the Judas Ketchup would be a good one to try if you're a red sauce lover because it's a sweeter take on the regular stuff which makes it a perfect combination for the meats.



There wasn't really anything that tickled my fancy on the dessert menu but I was glad that we had the milkshake for pudding because it was really nice and creamy. Kayley chose the Banana and Peanut butter one and it was just what we needed as something sweet after a meaty main. As you can see, it was served in a milk bottle which although simple, was a really good idea I thought!

The bill came and it was just under £60 which although quite pricey, I thought was fairly reasonable considering what we had eaten and drank. We left the server a nice tip (American style!) because she was so nice and helpful and I walked out knowing that I would definitely be back as soon as I could because it was a brilliant eating experience both in environment and quality of food. 

Leeds city centre isn't the only Red's True BBQ, they also have restaurants in Headingley, Nottingham, Manchester and Shorditch. You can view the full menu online which I highly recommend before you go because it'd be less overwhelming if you had an idea of what you might want to try before you get there.  

Slimming World Picnic Ideas and Low Syn Scotch Egg Recipe

Last week me and Kayley took Jasper to Dalby Forest for a day of family time and relaxation, we went for a little walk and we got ourselves sat down in a little picnic area next to a stream (Jasp loves water so it was an obvious choice for us). Picnics are notorious for being full of naughty foods which aren't exactly Slimming World/healthy eating friendly; sausage rolls, crisps and cakes are all obviously loaded with calories but there are ways that you can enjoy some really tasty picnic food without spoiling your healthy eating plan. 


We had a proper bag full of food filled with all kinds of different food both sweet and savoury; that's what I love about picnics, you can graze for hours on lots of different things. Here are some ideas that you could use this summer if you're thinking of doing a healthy picnic:

- Box of fresh mixed salad (a must to get your speed foods in, I much prefer to cut my own rather than using bagged stuff but it's completely up to you)

- Hard Boiled Eggs

- DIY sandwiches (we used Kingsmill Wholemeal Thins which are a Healthy B); you could either fill them with salad and meat from the BBQ or you could bring your own sandwich fillings, I did both because I made some light egg mayo at home - it was so nice!

- Sugar free drinks (we got some big bottles of sugar free flavoured water)

- Slimming World Scotch Eggs (see below for recipe)



Slimming World Scotch Eggs 
These are so easy and they work out at only 1.5 syns each

- Tesco Healthy Choices Cumberland Sausages (1 syn each)
- Cooled Hard Boiled Eggs
- Smash (optional, it can be seen as a 'tweak' but for the amount you would use I wouldn't worry too much, you could also use wholemeal breadcrumbs but this would need to be synned or used as a healthy B choice)


- Squeeze out all the sausage from the casing into a bowl 
- Take a lump of sausage and mould it around the egg (this is a case of practise makes perfect, some will have more sausage than others but the effect is the same)
- If you want, you can roll it in either wholemeal breadcrumbs or smash but this isn't necessary.
- Place on a baking tray, spray with Frylight and bake for around 30 minutes turning frequently

Some will turn out better than others and I know that some of mine maybe didn't have enough sausage around them but they still all tasted really nice. Depending on how much sausage you use for each the syn value may be different, all you'd need to do to work it out is see how many scotch eggs you get from a pack of 8 sausages at 1 syn per sausage then divide it equally to get the syn value. 

There are lots of variations of this recipe on the internet, a quick search of Google will find lots of different ones with slight differences and additions to ingredients.


- The meat we had for the BBQ was pork loins, the Tesco Healthy Choices Cumberland Sausages (1 syn each) and fillet steak but you could have any variation of syn free meats and you can technically eat as much as you want until you're full!  

- Low syn crisps (we got Hula Hoop Pufts which are 3.5 each (15g bag) but other options are Quavers (4.5 for 16g bag), French Fries (4 for a 19g bag) or Skips (4 for a 15.5g bag).

- Babybel Lights (you can have 3 for a healthy A choice, winner!)


- If you can fit in anything sweet the obvious choice is fresh seasonal fruit; we had strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

- Hartley's 10 calorie jellies are only 0.5 syns each, as long as you can keep them cool before you eat them they're a great pudding choice.

We were so full when we'd finished our little picnic but we didn't have one ounce of guilt afterwards because it was all healthy and well within our syn allowance for the day. Just shows that you can do pretty much anything when it comes to eating out with family, it's just all in the planning!

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel for Combination Skin

I'm usually a creature of habit when it comes to face masks, I generally don't go for anything but clay because clay is the most well known formula for helping to calm skin down and reduce redness and inflammation but they are also well known for making a bit of a mess during application and they can take a bit of getting off. Recently I've been trying out a couple of face masks from Elemis which are completely different to what I would have normally have gone for so it's been nice to have a bit of a change. 


The first one I tried was the award winning Papaya Enzyme Peel (£23.60)* which is an exfoliator made with papaya and pineapple fruit enzymes to help 'smooth and clarify the complexion'. I think whenever I hear 'peel' or 'exfoliant' I instantly think of chemicals which I know would probably put some people off using such a product (although I have to point out that an occasional chemical exfoliant should be absolutely fine), but this one relies on natural fruit enzymes which makes it perfect for sensitive skin. 

First of all, it smells amazingly fruity which makes it a pleasure to have on your skin; 10-15 minutes of relaxion with this on my face really is heaven. The creamy consistency makes it easy to apply and also easy to wipe off when you're done, I didn't feel any tingling with this one and it didn't leave any redness when I wiped off which surprised me because lots of exfoliants have sort of irritated my skin before they've made any positive difference. Straight after removing it my skin felt really smooth, especially my nose which is a place in particular where I struggle with blackheads. 

The mask I've been trying is the Fruit Active Rejuvenating Mask (£23.20)* which again uses fruit extracts from strawberry and kiwi fruit. Incidentally this is great to use after the Papaya Enzyme Peel and it's great for tired, dull skin which is in need of a boost to give you a glowing complexion. It's the same creamy consistency but maybe slightly thicker with it being a mask; this one does tingle a little bit when you apply it but it's nothing to worry about, in fact I quite like it because it feels like it's 'doing something'. (the only time you should worry is if it feels like it's burning, that's not good and you should wash it off immediately!). I felt like this one was a less suited to my oily skin as it seemed to stimulate the oil in my skin which is presumably how it achieves the 'glow' after use but for me it made my skin produce a little too much oil. I have no doubt that this would be great for dry skins but unfortunately this one isn't for me. 

Although the mask wasn't suited to my skin, overall I'm really impressed with my first experience with Elemis products. The quality shines through and I can totally understand why they're one of the top spa brands in the country, I would recommend the Papaya Enzyme Peel to anyone even if you've got sensitive skin an and the Fruit Active Rejuvenating mask would be fab if you struggle with very dry skin because I do think it'd do a brilliant job of putting some life back into your skin if it's feeling a bit lacklustre. There's actually an 20% off event on the Beauty Expert website at the moment so if you were looking to try something Elemis (or you need to stock up on a favourite), now would be the perfect time!

How to Save Money on a Disneyland Paris Break

You all probably know that I enjoy a fairly frequent Disney fix but you'll also be familiar with the prices that can sometimes be asked of hotels and holiday companies to visit any place associated with Disney. So I thought I'd do a post on how you can try and get a 'cheap deal'. Granted it's not the cheapest place you could take a holiday but it's significantly cheaper than going to America and there are ways you can do it without breaking the bank:


Go out of season
It might seem like a fairly obvious one but by not going in the summer months it could save you hundreds both on travel, accommodation and park tickets. Obviously we all know that hotels and airlines like to inflate prices during kids holidays but the Disneyland parks also operate on a 'seasonal' price basis so they have 'Mini', 'Magic' and 'Super Magic' dates which are all different prices. All weekends are at least 'Magic' price so if you have the luxury of being able to go during the week then you really should because unless it's school holidays all days during the week come under the 'Mini' price bracket which makes the park entrance fee a little bit more affordable.

Buy tickets before you go
This for me is probably one of the most important things because you can save so much money on the gate price by buying in advance. It can feel like a bit of a minefield because there are different ways you can do it and the cheapest will depend on how many days you plan to spend in the parks and also when you choose to go so careful planning really is key to getting the best value. I'd always recommend getting park hopper tickets as this gives you the ultimate freedom while you're there to go in and out of both parks at leisure.

Here's an example of how different the prices could be:

Because Disney works on a tiered pricing format for their day tickets, if you are visiting for more than one day on a day which is classed as 'Magic' or 'Super Magic' the cheapest option for you is to buy the multi day tickets. You can see a calendar which details all dates and prices on the Attraction Tickets Direct website; just select a date and the price underneath will change accordingly. Multi-day tickets currently start from £120 for a 2 day/2 park ticket which means that you get 2 days in the park and you can hop from park to park as much as you like.

However, if you can go during the week, unless it is the school holidays (and even then, some dates in August this year are actually classed as 'Mini'!) it will cost you less to buy single day tickets if you're going for 2 days; any more than 2 days and you need to buy multi-day tickets.

Example:  August 2018 to visit on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th it would cost £110 per adult to buy 2 x 1 day park hopper tickets (so essentially you'd be buying 4 x 1 day park hopper tickets if there were 2 adults going) whereas the multi-day tickets for 2 days would cost £120.

Stay in a 'Partner' hotel rather than an actual Disney hotel
Although there are some deals to be had for the onsite hotels they will nearly always be more expensive than 'partner' hotels. When I went I stayed in The Kyriad which is a really nice hotel and it has a frequent shuttle bus running guests to and from the parks; it's free and really convenient. The benefits of staying in a partner hotel is that although they're not actual Disney hotels they are 'approved' by Disney so they obviously have to meet certain standards and they are usually quite a bit cheaper than the onsite hotels. There are 3 other partner hotels served by the same bus: Dream Castle, Magic Circus and Explorers. 

You could also stay in another hotel around the parks but make sure, for your own convenience, that it has a free shuttle bus to and from the parks every day. 

If you live in Yorkshire and you don't fancy the idea of flying or you want everything organising for you then you could also use a company like CAB Travel who will sort everything out for you and take you door to door on one of their coaches.