January 20, 2019

Cool As Lower Hutt Summer Drink Challenge 2019

Following on the tails of the super successful Sweet As Hutt Chocolate Challenge comes a Summer Drink Challenge, Cool As. With three weeks and 15 drinks, that's enough to have one each week day. (Come back to this page for updates as the challenge progresses)

See the full list of participants here

*Our top picks

Fellow Freak Shake – Fellow Café on The Green
Delightfully messy and vegan this is the most expensive pick at $14. Go with a friend and share though you might still have left overs as we weren't really fans.

Hokey Pokey Summer Fix – Fix Federation
Most highly anticipated as it's from the winners of the hot chocolate challenge but it was disappointing. Cheap, waxy chocolate and tasteless shake but a hint of the award winning salted caramel sauce.

All American Berry – Roadhouse Bar & Grill*
Super (toothache) sweet and refreshing. If you like strawberry you'll like this but drink it slowly to avoid a sugar rush.

The Buzz Soda Bar – Buzz
There's something for every taste as it isn't technically a drink but a menu (which seems a little unfair to other participants and very hard to judge).

Capricious Capricorn – The Crooked Elm
The description doesn't give any indication of what flavour it's meant to be and after drinking it I still couldn't tell you. It just tastes like syrup.

Old Fashioned Lemonade – Bellbird Eatery
The first sip is bitter but then you adjust. Lovely. Might be more for those of us that are old fashioned than the kids (but give it a try!).

Citrus Breeze – Hot Gossip Café*
Somehow both sweet and a little bitter at the same time, beautifully citrusy. All drinks should have crushed ice (and a light-up decorative stick you can take home).

Tinc in the Pink – Fellow Café on the Drive
The watermelon ice cubes are a great innovation. The ginless gin tastes like gin, so this drink only works if you like gin.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake – Chai Coffee*
The peanut butter wasn't overpowering and there was a good mix of chocolate, nice amount of cream and sauce on top too. The best so far unanimously.

Berry Delightful Summer Shake – Colab Café
Essentially a strawberry shake with lots of trimmings. Sweet and messy.

Passionpunchy – Gotham Cafe Lower Hutt
Fizzy and sweet but not really to our taste. 

Wish I Was There – Shine Café
The description isn't appealing but the drink is. The kids will love this one - jelly and smoothie and crumbs and an umbrella. Bonus: it's vegan too!

La Vie en Rose – Beforetime Express
Another one where the description put us off and we were pleasantly surprised. A beautiful pink drink that reminds you of Turkish delight.

Summer Breeze T-licious – Cuffs Café
The first mouthful felt sour, then weird then the lovely sweet aftertaste hit. Accompanied by a gorgeous piece of lindt chocolate.

Giuseppe’s Italian Summer – Giuseppe’s
The service was sweet but the drink was bitter.

Overall thoughts: this was a lot harder to critique than the hot chocolate challenge as you aren't comparing like with like. There was more "paper" hanging around but no way to track which drinks you'd already tried; we preferred the booklets.

Rants in the Dark

Emily Writes first came to my attention when she wrote a beautiful piece about abs. Next I heard, trolls had bullied her off the internet for the crime of being a woman who expressed an opinion. Then, magically she was back with a book, Rants in the Dark, which this play is based on.

Her return is triumphant, as is her story. Despite all odds she had kids, despite illness they're ok, despite sleepless nights she's still functioning. Her writing is so honest it's comedic. Motherhood, parenthood is hard. It's being in the trenches. But it's also delightful. It's your heart growing from love for your children, for your partner. It's realising that life is hard but you're harder. She speaks her truth and she speaks to many people.

How on earth does this translate to the stage? Renee Lyons is the face of Emily while Bronwyn Turei and Ameila Reid-Meredith play every other character from voices on the internet to Emily's child and husband. Scenes and characters jump and flow to create the story in vignettes. Featuring actual text from the book including Emily's words, those of her supporters and detractors. It's like a dance, as the actors twist around each other, twirl apart then come together again as entirely new characters.

If you're a parent, if you know a parent, you will find something to relate to. This is real life on the stage.

Performances: 19 January – 16 February, Tues-Wed 6.30pm, Thurs-Sat 8pm, Sun 4pm
Tickets: $52