Monday, June 29, 2015

X50 Supplements

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

I got this at one of the Fitness Expos for free to try it out and so I did.

X50 is a supplement used for detoxing you. They are found at all GNC Livewell stores.

They have green tea and are about 10 cals for each sachet. The drink was mango flavoured and really sweet. I added it to my water.

I had 20 times more energy. But then I could not sleep at night due to all the caffeine in it and I was hungry all the time.

Do drink this drink if you really want to lose weight and don't mind the hunger feeling. For me I won't be buying this drink again. I prefer my water and usual green tea.

Macro Quinoa Snack pots.

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

Herbalife and Bupa say that you should be snacking every two to three hours and at the last workshop we learnt that we were not getting enough protein in a day. They say that you should have 2 grams of protein per day for every kg you weigh to ensure a healthy weight loss.

We could be helping more people to be healthy. 7 out of 10 Australians are overweight due to poor diet practices.

RNIS paid $2.50 for one of the pots which is currant and coconut. We love the Macro brand as its a very clean and healthy brand of food. In it, it has 4 grams of protein per serve. It kept us full for a while. Its small but very moreish. It wasn't too sweet which is good. Lots of sugar is bad for you and lots of sugar is found in many health products on the market.

Did you know that quinoa is a low GI food that has lots of protein to keep you full? Well it is. Do go and buy this product from your local Woolworths.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The chocolate tasting tour

There are lots and lots of chocolate tours all over Melbourne. Some of them cover stores outside of Melbourne and some don't. This one was run by Best Food Tours and for a mere $25 (on a Scoopon that is) we were shown some local Melbournian stores. The tour ran for two hours and involved lots of walking.

There were six stops. Our tour guide was a lovely Indian girl who is a local Melburnian

1) The Cupcake family in QV.
This is where we all met for the day. Here this business is run by a Japanese couple and we sampled their mini cupcakes. I got their matcha one as I was interested in their new flavours. Here this was moist and not as sweet as some of the other ones. In fact it was more like Cupcake centrals one.

2) Chokolait in Emporium
Chokolait has two stores now. One in the Royal Arcade and one in Emporium. The emporium one opened in July and had been really popular with shoppers.


Our tour guide also took us through the lovely history of the Emporium and that it used to be an old Myer building. In fact they take good care of their shoppers on Shopping days with free wine and food.

Back to the tastings, I had a pandan flavoured chocolate which was handmade. It was just a delight to eat. The flavours worked well with the white chocolate

3) Cacao Lab
Situated in Driver Lane in the city Cacao Lab has been opened for at least a year. Here they are laboratory like place which produces some of Melbourne's best flavours. This is where I tried my first chocolate mint shot and it was a hit with everyone
The front of their store


4) Koko Black
Koko Black opened in 2003 and has been going strong since. Here we tried their original Belguim chocolate and it was that good. Several people made chocolate purchases but I live in the city so I can purchase them at any time

5) Ganache
Here we tried their strawberry flavoured chocolate and it was divine! It was like wow!
Image courtesy of Lulu T. Legrand from zomato.com
6) The last stop
The last stop was the Chocomama shop. Here we were treated to fusion like chocolates in which we tried the pretzel one and the white chocolate raspberry. And I finally bought something at last.

Many thanks to Best Food Tours and Study Melbourne for having me. Oh and by the way there are Scoopons for these tours and they are $25 each
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Rocket Fries

Rocket Burger & Fries, CBD Pictures
Image courtesy of zomato.com

Rocket Fries is just outside Flinders st station on the Elizabeth st end. Here they served pretty good salted fries. Their onion rings are not bad.

The service there was alright. But after all it is a takeaway joint and not a sit down place. You order and pay and then leave
Image courtesy of Jim from zomato.com
They did a takeaway order for me within 10 minutes and off I went to the train station. The onion rings were alright but I think they put too much oil in my chips. Hence it was so oily.

I struggled to finish them as the serving was huge. Its best to share them.

Rating: 15/20- not bad chips
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vaucluse hotel

RNIS bought a Groupon for this- $20 to spend $40 on food and they had to spend it all.

Vaucluse is located about a stone's throw away from East Richmond station and a ten minute walk from the MCG. The punters love their football games as they have the live footy on the screen.

The waitress (I think she was a Canadian) seemed sour. It wasn't her day. She broke one glass and lost my order.
Entrance by zomato.com
They used to have quite a few vegetarian things on the menu and they even posted it online at Zomato. But now they have a lot of meat and seafood dishes. I wanted the pumpkin tart but it was not available. At 1pm they had run out of a few things

But when it came which was 1:30pm by the way, it was alright. The fish was overcooked and the salad was tiny and was a little bit overdressed. Moreover I did not like the taste of the dressing- it tasted off.

But at least the chips were good and the calamari was alright. The side vegetables were frozen and a little bit bland. Some salt would have been great.
Image courtesy of Jacqui Beretta on zomato.com
Rating: 12/20- it will pass. Oh well. Do come by for a pre and post footy game drink if you don't want to battle with the crowds at Richmond station.
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Hophaus with the Plus ones

RNIS was invited by the Plus ones to share food. However they bought their own drink.
Image courtesy of Iceman on zomato.com
It was Hophaus's 1st birthday and there was free bier at their lively bar until it ran out. The bar was such a lively place and the food was great.

The place is open and there were lots of people celebrating their one year.
Bitterballen courtesy of edgeofmyplate.blogspot.com.au
 
I had come for drinks but had some of the chips and the bitterballen which was meatballs and it was yummy. The chips were French fries and they were hugely addictive.
Mustards. Image courtesy of Foodie About Town on zomato.com
The music was very lively though and there was lots of romping. There are two sides to the bar.

Next time when I am here I would love to try their schnitzels and hot dogs and maybe down a beer or two.

 
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Wat Da Pho and being not nominated at the top 100 for Kidspot

As part of Bupa's best blog competition for 2015

Yay! So a few months ago I applied online for the Voices of 2015 which is primarily a bloggers competition where the winner gets a huge cash prize and other things.

So after Masterclass I went to Wat Da Pho for a healthy but happy dinner. Wat Da Pho is a healthy Vietnamese place in Claredon st in South Melbourne. A lot of students will love this sort of place because it is cheap and healthy. Moreover it will keep you full for hours.
Wat Da Pho, South Melbourne Pictures
Image courtesy of zomato.com
Sometimes on Zomato I don't believe all the negativity about a certain place and I refuse to take sides. Zomato is a social sharing website where people can post whatever they like. But I think Zomato has some great clean policies.

And on this occasion I was not invited by Zomato to review the place. I had put this as a side note as I believe in telling the truth and not believing in all the hype about a place.

So what if Wat Da Pho does not do massive phos like the other places? I guess you really can't make everyone happy. In saying that you made me happy with your tofu and bun salad ($11) and of course free tea makes everyone happy.

Tofu salad. Image courtesy of Elizabeth on Instagram.com
And you also made me very happy with your friendly down to earth staff.

Rating: 15/20- love it and love the healthy goodness in my tofu bowl.

Rosa's Kitchen

Rosa's Kitchen is a tiny place in Punch lane in the city. Punch lane is near the corner of Exhibition and Lonsdale st so it is easy to get to by train. There is a little laneaway which leads to Punch Lane.
Image courtesy of zomato.com
I remembered Bomba and the Alyesbury were near that lane.
Image courtesy of zomato.com
Rosa's Kitchen is known for their Italian pastas and risottos. They don't have pizza here.

They are quite small so its best to book ahead for a table. They do have a huge winelist though.

I had the spaghetti with mussels, chilli sauce and tomato sauce. It was yum. For $22 I got some lovely bread with no olive oil, parmesan cheese, salad and the pasta. I was keen to see how the pasta fared seeing as I read lots of rave reviews. In fact I think this place is run by Rosa Mitchell who is known to pop up at the farmers markets to demonstrate some of her pasta recipes.
Image courtesy of Mariposa on zomato.com
The pasta was well cooked and was very doughy. Doughy in a good sense. The mussels were a little bit undercooked though. The parmesan was great and the sauce had that chilli kick. Some people may not like this but I loved it.

The salad was great. It was not too overdressed which I liked. The freshness of the lettuce leaves really shone.

The bread was freshly baked which I enjoyed. Some people might love to have butter and olive oil but I was happy without.

Rating: 18/20- kept me full and happy for a while. Am still tasting the chilli a few hours after. Whenever you are in town do visit this little humble eatery. Kudos to the staff for making it such a place.

This is also a good place for candlelit dinners.
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Three Angels Woodfire Pizza restaurant

Three Angels Woodfire Pizza restaurant is in a shopping strip in Laburnum in Melbourne's east. It is outside a train station. RNIS was invited by Luca from the Couch but they had to pay $20.

The place is very homely and reminds me a little bit of Lentils. They don't do alcohol as such but you are welcome to bring your own.

The service was very friendly and the owner knows Luca. They make their food fresh and from scratch.

The seafood marinara ($17 for a big bowl) was a little bit overcooked. The tomato sauce was very rich. So rich that I could not finish it. But to their credit the bread, salad, olives and potatoes were all fine in my standard.

I really enjoyed the green olives. They had that nice flavour kick to it. The potatoes were very rustic and so addictive. I could not stop myself from eating all of them. The salad was really nice and not too overly dressed.

I also enjoyed the fresh oven baked bread.

Rating: 14/20- come for the antipasto. The only downside is that you have to spend $15 minimum and credit cards are $1-$2 extra. Also they don't accept credit cards for purchases under $20.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

High tea at a student bistro

William Angliss has been around for many years and is a good college for those wanting to do hospitality courses as well as training to work in the hospitality industry.
Image courtesy of Zomato
They are renowned for their lovely meals. One of which I had at a conference last year. They are not so good in Asian food but are great in Western and European cuisine.

I was served by a very nice year 11 student who introduced themselves. It is unusual for a waiter to introduce themself as many don't in a restaurant. Especially in a expensive, high class restaurant. This place is hgih class but not expensive.

When I came the students were training and they worked hard. Yes they made a few mistakes here and there but we all do when we are learning. Just be patient.

Here I had the full High tea which was $10. In other places such the Windsor and Melba it is about $30-$40 and they aren't as nice or as filling as this.
Image courtesy of Curious Charlie on Zomato

It includes two sandwiches, tea, mocha mousse, cupcake and two scones per person and I was full afterwards. The sandwiches were freshly made and I really enjoyed the egg one. Pity there were no cucumber ones but I didn't mind the chicken.

The mousse was decadently rich and it was really nice as a pick me up. It had the right amount of coffee and chocolate in there.

The cupcake was huge and was very nice. It was lime and vanilla flavoured.

The scones were on the smallish side. They were moist and lovely with the fresh cream and jam. The cream was a little bit on the sweetish side but I didn't mind. I also enjoyed the jam.

The tea was from Dilmah and I loved how it came with two pots. Normally in a high tea place I get one pot. But here I got two pots- one filled with water. This is good for those that love to have refills of tea.

Rating: 18/20- good high tea at a great price. Full kudos to the chef who made really nice desserts
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Nestpick: Our review

Nestpick is a European online accommodation business where students can pick their accommodation before arriving. Nestpick have branched out into the Australian market.

Students have a hard time finding housing in Melbourne's CBD. This was mentioned in a report which we will talk about in the near future.

Using the site
It is easy to use, but the only thing is the prices are in European dollars. But they will soon have a currency converter on their site. You pick a property, pay the deposit and then move in.

There is a map of all the suburbs and they will tell how far away it is from the city. This is good for students who have to study in the city

Student's worries with the online system
Online sites such as Gumtree.com and Flatmate finders often have scams and sometimes students have to deposit some money before coming to the house. There is no verification system.

Nestpick has a verification system. Nestpick have their own photographer who verifies the advertisements by visiting the sites and taking photos themselves. But there is still the worry of picking the right flatmates. But luckily though Nestpick has a form in which you fill out about what your ideal housemate would be and they match that.

Do visit Nestpick to find the right house that suits you and your budget.

Cost of living: what you need to know


Students it is now easier to find out the costs of living in Melbourne with this useful guide.

The guys from Insider guides have released a new guide for International students to find out how much it costs to live in Melbourne.

Image result for cost of living guide app from Insider Guides
Image from Insider Guides
The guide was really easy to use and it was divided into five parts. The guys included the hidden extras such as gym membership, car registration and other things such as going to the pubs which universities do not tell them. Students can work out the full cost of studying in Australia beyond the $18,610. The $18,610 is the money that Immigration requires the student to show before they arrive in Melbourne.

In actual fact the cost of living in Melbourne is $31,000 per year.

Also this tool shows the support services that students can expect to receive whilst in Melbourne. They will email you the recommendations and it is worth checking them out. So far they have emailed us two.

But there will be more in the coming months.

The cost of living calculator is only available to students studying in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. You can check it out here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Office

RNIS paid for their food via the Paypal app and it was brilliant. It is an American bar in QV in the city. We were going to also use the Entertainment card offer, but it was not valid with any other offer

Image courtesy of Father's Office on zomato.com

I loved the theatrics. It was so nice in there and it is set for the 1920's. No rude bouncers or anything like that for that matter.

The wait for food was ten minutes. Luckily though I had a lemonade ($3.50).
Image courtesy of Gab on Instagram

We went on Sunday where their burgers were $10. Normally though it is about $17-$20 for one burger meal. It may look miniscule on the plate when it comes but trust me it is huge. And I loved the melted brie in there. The quinoa patty worked a treat.  The only one thing I found was bland was the mayo. There was no chipotle.
Image courtesy of Father's Office on zomato.com

The shoestring fries were good. It is like McDonalds chips but these were evidently better. Nicely salted this worked well. And I loved the bucket that it came in.

Rating: 15/20- would come again and recommend students to visit on a Sunday.
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Renzo's bar

Renzo's bar is a little Italian bar in the heart of Docklands. It has been opened for 13 years now and the Docklands area is still a ghost town. The manager, Daniel said that they do get busy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and mid week is very quiet.
Image courtesy of renzo's bar

It is right near the waters edge, so this is a nice place to have dinner outside in the summer evenings. It is also right behind Etihad stadium.

I had read many nice things about this place so when the Living Social Deal $25 for $50 credit came, I bought it and they delivered. I chose a mid week dinner as they were a lot quieter then. The service was very attentive and the portions were reasonable.

Moreover they had Italian customers. Now that is a plus sign in my books as it means good food. And they did deliver on that.

For starters the bread was meh but the pasta was good, albeit a little bit overcooked. It was a Spaghetti marinara. The garlic in there was like "WOW!". It was a very good kick. The pasta dish was a little bit salty from the seafood which was fresh. I also loved the cheese in there. The dish was $25.50
Image courtesy of J.B Anchor on zomato.com

The pannacotta was good and the chocolate sauce was a good match for this dish. I loved that strawberry pannacotta. It was not too sweet.
Image courtesy of dimmi.com.au

The hot chocolate was also lovely and they used this lovely Italian hot chocolate powder

Rating: 14/20- good meal on a deal. To all the whingers on Zomato do visit them again as I had have a lovely experience. Its too bad that Docklands is such a ghost town. I really don't know what all the fuss is about.
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The Emperor's New Clothes

RNIS was invited to the screening of this movie which starred Russell Brand.

Directed by Michael Winterbottom this movie was really thought provoking. All throughout the movie they kept to referring to the big banks in London. We can say the same in Australia as well where the richer get richer and the poor get poorer. Whilst the rich don't have to pay much tax, the poor people have to pay lots.

Although it is based in Britain and the US we will also compare it with Australia.

Its very much the same in Australia under Tony Abbott where there is a doctor fee and food is becoming more expensive.  Like London where the big corporations don't pay tax and pay their workers little, Australia is the same. All the people want the big companies to pay their fair share and we all think that its not fair that the low income workers have to pay. There is also a huge gap in yearly salaries. The average worker takes home about 20,000 British pounds

But in Australia most of the fast food, retail and hospitality jobs go to the International students. Melbourne is multicultural in which it owns lots of Asian eateries and stores- some of which don't pay their workers well. Also housing like in the UK is a huge problem in Australia where the poor are homeless. Like the UK, Melbourne and Sydney have a lot of greedy landlords who are willing to charge high prices

They also talk about the GFC where Wall Street came crashing down.

The film was funny in some parts but thought provoking in others. All in all it is a great film for those that love a documentary.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ladro love your pizzas

Ladro is an Italian pizza place which does its pizzas well. It is also a bar in which they serve a wide variety of Italian drinks. In fact on Mondays they have $5 corkage and the money goes towards Prahran Mission. It is good when restaurants supports charities like these that help those in need. I wish that there was more like it in the city to assist the Salvation Army in times of need.

The service was good but slow. I arrived there about 7:15pm and it was very quiet until about 7:30pm when more people arrived.

To start off with I had the crumbed bocconcini with salsa verde ($3.50). I really enjoyed the cheesiness of this. And then the long wait for the pizza.

The garlic bread was good for a mere $2. It was very buttery and herby.

My pizza was the Speciale ($21) which was really good with the proscutto in there which is from San Danielle. The pear gave it that sweetness and tartness. The chilli was really nice. If you were wondering where the onion was it was under the proscutto. They were really generous with the cheese.

The only problem is that it was really hard to cut at times so I had to use hands. Luckily though I had the pizza cutter.

Rating: 14/20- the wait for the pizza was long. But the service, food and atmosphere was good. It's a good thing that they are close to the train station; no need to park on busy Greveille street.
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