Get Healthy the Fun Way!

By this time in January, you’re either powering through your New Years resolutions like a determined stallion, your fridge is full of courgetti spaghetti, or you’ve decided you’re actually pretty awesome, so no need for #NewYearNewMe. To be frank, you can be healthier at any point in the year, but it does make things easier when yoga mats and gym memberships are on sale.

For those who’d like a little fitness inspiration, we’ve been trying out a mix of healthy snacks and quirky exercise classes to see the lighter side of being a healthy bean in 2017! Exercise never has to be a seasonable thing, so expect our active investigations throughout the year 😊

 

The first activity this year to tick off our list: Trampoline Aerobics at Super Tramp Parks! 

Apart from the most obvious benefit of bouncing up and down like a giddy toddler (or maybe that’s just me?), trampolining is also an extremely low impact sport for your joints, especially when compared to jogging or tennis! Repeated classes can also lead to stronger bones, a faster metabolism, and a pretty good bum if your fitness instructors make you do enough lunges.

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I look entirely too happy to be doing a lunge

I unfortunately didn’t finish the class, as I was busy Snap Chatting and Instagramming a lot of it…and that was the biggest mistake of my week.

If you work through all the exercises, the bouncing from one trampoline to the other and the 50 or so sit-ups, you’ll end the class with a nice relaxing series of yoga style moves to gently work through, demonstrated here:

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Notice the missing redhead? 

Without this essential part of the work out, you will be guaranteed to be aching for DAYS. Literally DAYS. For complete transparency, we attended this class on Monday evening, it is now Friday, and only today have I felt comfortable enough to crouch down and stand up again without the aid of a chair or nearest person to grab on to. The cool down part of any exercise class or activity should never really be missed, but with classes that don’t feel too intense on the surface, it’s probably even more import to do them. Lesson = Learnt.

This is not your standard trampoline jaunt; this will leave you feeling like you just bounced up a mountain, and lunged all the way down again, but you feel all the better for it. If you’re looking to brush away those Christmas cobwebs, or you want an exercise class that feels more like fun than work, or you just want to see what Buster the Boxer was so excited about, this is definitely the class for you.

Earth Kind Originals & Portlebay Popcorn

If there’s one thing we like better than making and selling all of our lovely handmade produce, it’s working with other people who love to do the same.

Earth Kind Originals are a Cornish fashion label, that specialise in using organic and sustainable fabrics in all of their clothing. Founder Helen Davies first set the up the business in her parents’ garage back in 2009, and has since upgraded to becoming an award winning ethical fashion label, selling direct from there store in St Just, and through independent retailers around the UK. Go Helen!

“Long coastal walks with Buster the EKO spaniel, wild swims and surfs on blustery winter mornings, reminds us of why we do what we do. We aspire to promote a well-balanced lifestyle and feel good factor in everything we do, and we hope our brand reflects this”

Just like us, Helen and the team draws inspiration from the wild and windy seaside, with the Cornish landscape reflected in their style, their natural materials and of course is a welcome escape from the office!

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This month we’ve teamed with Earth Kind Originals in a Cosy Night-In Giveaway, where you can win some snuggly pyjamas, a movie must-have, and scrumptious Portlebay Popcorn!

To be snug as a bug in an organic rug, pop over to the EKO website here: https://earthkindoriginals.co.uk/cosy-night-in/  

 

The Blindfold Run with the RLSB

Back in August 2016, we were asked by one of the brilliant team at the Royal London Society for Blind People to supply some of our popcorn for their “Blindfold Run” goodie bags. We are not ashamed to say a fair amount of Googling went into finding out just how one runs blindfolded, without falling into streams of traffic, bashing into innocent bystanders, and generally just surviving the journey.

But it really is simpler than you think. How do we know? Because we did it!

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At the start, feeling pretty good…

Those up to the challenge to take part in this extraordinary experience are tethered together in pairs, with one runner being blindfolded and the other being the trusted navigator. Halfway through the 5k or 10k course, you then change roles, so each person gets the experience of being guided blindly through the route.

The aim here is not to simulate sight loss, or imply that the experience will be the  same for everyone, but simply to get people thinking about sight loss, and be part of something completely unique!

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…nearing the end, feeling less so good

Imagine being in a pitch-black room; it could be your bedroom, sitting room, or just a place you are familiar with and feel comfortable in…but you’re in complete darkness. Sure you can feel your way around it, you can still smell the familiar scents of a place you would call home, but without being able to see, it would still be a touch intimidating.

Now imagine leaving that room, still in darkness, and running through unfamiliar territory. You have no idea  about your surroundings. Is that person you can hear close enough to touch or are they further away? Every tiny bump or slight turn is new and scary as you have no idea how to gauge it. It sounds ridiculous, but you forget how to turn your body left and right, whether you’re jogging too fast or too slow, and it feels like the world is coming in on you, even though it’s exactly the same as before…I blame that last point on running into some low hanging branches.

What a sweet luxury it was to take your blindfold off and see the world, and how lucky we are that we can do that.

The Blindfold Run is understandably the RLSB’s most popular fundraising event, and has raise dover 70k since it’s launch in 2014. All funds that are raised from the amazing participants goes towards goes towards helping blind children and young people living in the capital, with the belief that every single child can build the confidence and skills to fulfil their potential, even in a world that is sometime’s all about the visual.

If you would like to find out more about the brilliant work the RLSB does for those in need, or to check out the run and sign up for next year, check out their website here!: www.rlsb.org.uk

In the Spotlight: Our Popperations Manager

Meet the captain of our poppery ship: lovely Ian. He’s been our Popperations Manager for the past three and half years, and he’s the chap responsible for all the whizzes, bangs and pops that go on in the factory.

As we’re lucky enough to make all of our popcorn ourselves, we can actually have a sit down and hear all about the guy that makes our little packets of sunshine a reality.

Why did you want to work for Portlebay?

“Well, I was headhunted by Jonty and Neil when they first started, and haven’t been allowed out since.”

What is you favourite thing about working here?

“The popcorn, and the people…but mostly the popcorn”…ouch

What is your favourite flavour?

(Speaking as a part-time vegan) “Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup” – it’s just that good.

Where is your happy place?

“Start Point Lighthouse; whenever I have friends or family down we go down and you can see the whole bay from there. It’s also the place that reminds me of home, so when I’ve been away for a little while this is where I like to come back to”

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This is Barney, Ian’s best walking buddy at Start Point 

 What about your favourite thing to do in the sunshine?

“Cycling in the countryside”

What is on your bucket list?

“I want to see the Victoria falls in Zimbabwe – we got very close to visiting when the wife and I were in South Africa, but we didn’t quite get there”

If you could make your own popcorn flavour what would it be?

“Well I really do love bacon, but if I had to make a new one, it would be Thai Green Curry”

Who would play you in a movie about yourself?

“Sean Connery”

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“The name’s Michelmore…Ian Michelmore” 

 

What’s your favourite tipple?

“Real Ale” – a true West Country guy answer.

What is your best feature?

“My wife says it’s my legs, and she’s never wrong!”

How old were you when you had your worst haircut, and what was it?

“I think I was 8 or 9, and I got a crew cut. It was only bad because before that it was down to shoulders!”

 

 

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For some reason Ian didn’t have a picture, so we’ve made a recreation! You’re welcome Ian

What is your biggest fear?

“Probably being trapped in small spaces. It all goes back to when I was a kid, and I climbed into the fridge. This was only a little fridge that was on top on the counter; being little I made it fall from the counter and on to the floor with me inside it, straight on to the door. I only got out after rocking the fridge from side to side”

What is your greatest achievement?

“I always said I wanted to be able to see the sea from my house, and now I can. It’s what I miss the most when I’m away from home, but now I’ve always got that view to come back to.”

If you’d like to hear from Ian first hand, our poppery is always open for tours! Just drop us an email at letspop@portlebaypopcorn.com, or use the contact form on the blog.

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The view working for Portlebay Popcorn gets you! (This may or not be a little fabricated by just a smidge…)

 

The Bake is on!: Week 3

As soon as Autumn tumbles around it seems all of our internal tummy clocks start craving the gentle warmth of cinnamon; whether it be sprinkled over hot chocolate or dusted over pancakes, nothing quite beats the humble cinnamon cookie.

We had Lucy Rocks Paleo’s glorious popcorn and granola cheesecake last week, but for week 3 we’re heading back to biscuits, or more importantly cinnamon swirl and blush granola cookies (yay!).

For this recipe you’ll need to get yours paws on:

  • 225g of soft salted butter
  • 250g of demerara sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 300g of self raising flour 
  • 1/2 tsp on baking powder 
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon 
  • 75g of Portlebay Cinnamon Swirl popcorn 
  • 40g of Lucy Rocks Paleo Blush Granola 
  • Chocolate or toffee sauce (or both) for decorating

Start off by preheating your oven to 180 °C, and lining a baking tin with baking paper. If you don’t have any, lining it with butter and flour works just as well.

Next, you’ve got to beat the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk; once it’s combined, whisk in the egg as well. This isn’t going to be you’re smoother-than-smooth cake batter; it looks a bit like sugary quinoa, so not the best for whisk licking based on personal experience…

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From quinoa…

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…to edible pop-pourri!

Next, tip the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, Cinnamon Swirl Popcorn and Blush Granola in the bowl, and get your guns out because I would NOT recommend mixing this with an electric whisk. Popcorn and granola will fly everywhere, and you’ll end up with more of a popcorn dust than a popcorn crunch; that isn’t personal experience, but pure bakers intuition… and common sense.

Once that’s all combined and you have a stiff mixture of cookie dough, start rolling the dough into golfball sized balls, and put out on to your beautifully lined tray from earlier. Make sure there is a bit of a gap in between them, as they do tend to spread. Leave them there for 12-13 minutes, or until they’re golden brown; if they’re still a little bit soft on top not to worry, they will harden as they cool.

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From balls of dough…

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…too fully fledged cookies!

And they you have it! Decorate them as you like them; we drizzled ours with toffee and chocolate sauce, because we just couldn’t decide between them, and serve with a tall glass of milk or a nice cup of tea. The perfect little Autumn treat!

As with last week, show us your bakes on Facebook or Twitter, using our recipe or your favourite, and win some lovely samples from us and Lucy Rocks Paleo!

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The Bake is On!: Week 1

To celebrate the glorious return of one the best loved baking programmes on the British television, we’ve teamed up with the lovely people at Lucy Rocks Paleo to bring you a baking competition you can do without stepping inside that fabled Bake Off tent.

You can try out our recipes, or make up your own, they just have to be delicious I’m afraid. How difficult can that be when you’re smothering everything in chocolate?

Week 1 kicks off with a classic tray bake (just without the bake): Rocky Road! You may remember we featured our Popcorn Rocky Roads online a while ago, well now they’re back with the delicious addition of Lucy Rocks Paleo Golden Granola.

If you’d like to try out the recipe yourself, you will need:

  • 1 smallish, deep baking tray, greased and lined 
  • 75g of Cappuccino Portlebay Popcorn (although other flavours will work just as well) 
  • 200g of Golden Granola from Lucy Rocks Paleo
  • 50g of Mini Marshmallows 
  • 300g of Dark Chocolate (or whatever chocolate is your favourite)
  • 50g of Salted Butter 
  • A dash of whatever you would like to decorate your masterpiece with 

For you Rocky Road purists out there, I’m sure you’ll be crying out “Where’s the raisins?! Where’s the cherries?! What is this sham of a Rocky Road recipe about!”. Do not fear cake lovers, as Golden Granola has all of these elements and more! With mulberries, goldenberries, coconut chips and tonnes of other healthy bits and bobs, it’s a wonderful alternative to give your bakes that extra crunch!   lucy-rocks-ingredients-better

Get ready for a picture heavy post, with tonnes of craving inducing images of melted chocolate, because that’s going to feature a lot! First of all, melt the chocolate and the butter together in a heat proof bowl, over a shallow pan of simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl, and the chocolate doesn’t get too hot! Chocolate cement is great for tiling a ginger bread house, but not for much else.

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This is what chocolate and butter looks like in a bowl

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Just keep on stirring…

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…until it’s glossy and smooth

Right now you’re going to be fighting back urges to plonk yourself on the sofa and tuck into that bowl of chocolate heaven with a teaspoon and a sense of reckless abandon. Hold yourself together! The next bit is a piece of cake…sorry. 

All your tiny marshmallows (bar a few for decoration), Portlebay Popcorn and Lucy Rocks Golden Granola need to be mixed in with a lot of added elbow grease, to make sure every grain and popcorn piece is thoroughly coated in your butter and chocolate mixture. If you can’t quite get everything covered, melt a little bit more chocolate in the microwave to cover those last few patches. It should look a little something like this:

It will get messy, but where’s the fun in keeping everything tidy, eh? Once it’s all mixed together and coated as much as you can get it, you need to start piling the mixture into the baking tray, making sure to get it into as many nooks and crannies that you can. A little like this:

rocky-road-tray

You can decorate yours in any way your chocolate loving heart desires; we’ve used sugar sprinkles you can find in any supermarket or baking shop, and of course more mini marshmallows.

Place in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours until the chocolate is firm and holds it’s shape, or put it in the freezer for about an hour if you just can’t wait to tuck in! At the end of it all, you will end up with some beautiful popcorn-y granola-ry goodness.

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And there you have it! A simple treat to try at home, and loved by all.

Share your own fantastical tray bakes on The Portlebay Popcorn or the Lucy Rocks Paleo Facebook, for your chance to win some scrumptious popcorn and granola!

Everyday We’re Popping

The lovely thing about making your own popcorn is, well, just that. We pop it, ship it and run everything from under the same roof, which is really rather special. We have a whole host of Popcorn Flavoursmiths working away, filling our little packets of sunshine as we like to call them, and making the whole office smell delicious.

The journey from kernel to popcorn is a short one, as anyone who has made popcorn at home before would know, but there are no massive microwaves here at Portlebay Popcorn. Instead, we use bloomin’ big saucepans to heat up a mix of rapeseed oil and raw cane sugar, to give all our popcorn kernels that glorious crunch.

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A whizz with a wooden spoon

It all starts with this guy, our chief popper and commander. Those saucepans are not to be trusted to pop away without supervision, and Marek is the guy to do it. From here, it’s a race against time to get our popcorn packed away; luckily we’ve mastered popping to bagging, so there’s no popcorn losing crunch and gaining that horrible polystyrene squeakiness. That’s OK for packing tellies, no good popcorn!

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All beards must be bagged, luckily Angus doesn’t mind too much

On to the flavour maker! I’m afraid this stage is pretty hush-hush, so just imagine magical popcorn fairies, delicately dusting each and every popcorn puff with our Original Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup flavour. All that natural goodness is whisked together, and then it’s on to the bagging!

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An overlooked, but integral part of the operation

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From here we do all sorts of technical tests to make sure our popcorn is the best we know it can be.

Anthony there is doing very important things, checking the bagging temperature, pressure, speed and all other kinds other technical buzzwords.

Why do you think Lucas is laughing so much? Because he has it on Easy Street, Professional Taster indeed.

In all seriousness we do need to do regular checks to measure the levels on salt, sugar, crunch and general tastiness. Lucas is the lucky duck that gets his own tasting booth to measure all of these delicious elements!

 

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And here is the finished product! Our signature and original flavour Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup. This is just a tiny part of the popcorn mountain we eventually end up with, but each bag is just as delicious as the last.

This is just a taster of what we do to make sure our packets of sunshine are full of that yumminess you know and love. If you’re a blogger, vlogger or a fellow popcorn fanatic, and would like to get up close and personal with our crew of poppers and our delicious produce, get in touch! We’d love to have you 🙂

Get in touch with Lucy at lucy@portlebaypopcorn.com, or call us on 01752 231 713 if you’d like a guided tour!