Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas

Can you believe it’s Christmas in FIVE days?

Here’s how the day normally pans out for my family. It starts early, very early, about 8am these days. There used to be years where we would be opening presents at 6am. We were a lot younger then and we value our sleep a lot more now!
The really embarrassing part is that i’m the one who still wakes everyone up, yes I’m a little child inside and there’s no shame!

I still have a stocking but I have a feeling that this will be the last year! Followed by a chocolate croissant breakfast with bucks fizz of course. Then we get ready for our family dog walk, this is the only time of the year that this happens!

This year we are having “elevenses” so we can have a later Christmas dinner. This is all part of my Dads plan to delay our last present a bit longer, I'm sure. 

Obviously after being stuffed from all the food we ate from Christmas dinner, we all collapse on the sofas to watch some classic christmas TV, I mean it would be rude not to right?

Then we normally get our last present that I mentioned earlier. This is called out “tree present”, it’s something unexpected that we haven’t asked for so it’s a huge surprise! it’s pretty exciting! By this time, everyones exhausted from all the excitement. 

Tea is obviously leftover sandwiches followed by more TV.
The best part? All being together of course! Unfortunately this year, I’m working on Boxing Day but that’s fine by me. All the exciting bits are over by then.


How does your Christmas go?


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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

December Degustabox

Hello everyone! I’ve had a bad week already and it’s only Tuesday, however today my second Degustabox arrived, how exciting is that! It seems like only a few weeks ago that I received my first degustabox and it was, or one of, the most exciting things I’ve received in the post!
I loved the surprise element of it and here’s my post on the November box in case you missed it!
My favourite thing in the box would have to be the fajita flavour shots, I ate fajitas all of last week…I’m excited to try the chutney as well but I’m taking that home for Christmas!


So here is what I got in my December box…



First up is Oats+Chiafrom The Chia Co. At first I was quite disappointed but I’ve just read a bit more about it and I’m quite interested in seeing how it tastes! This is a blend of wholegrain oats, chia, fruits and coconut oil. Then you just add water to get a smooth and creamy texture. Sounds good so far right? It also says that chia seed offers the highest combined plant source of omega-3, fibre and protein and is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fun fact eh?



Next up is Pukka Herbs, in other words green tea with lemon! I got way too excited by this. It’s another brand of green tea that I get to try and my all time favourite is when it’s got lemon in it as well. Stay tuned!

The next 3 products are Bahlsen Choco Leibniz, Eisburg Alcohol Free Wine and Bonne Maman Orange Marmalade. All of which will be taken home for Christmas to share with my family.

When I first opened the box I was greeted by a large bag of salt and vinegar Popchips, personally these have nothing on the Kettle Chips I got last month but I’ll give these a chance as I haven’t had this flavour before!

Third to last (saving the best till last of course), are 4 cans of Gloworm mixer drinks. These come in some of the most intriguing flavours, Raspberry and Orris for Vodka, Cucumber and Apple for Gin, Pear, Spice and Lime for Rum and Ginger and Lemongrass for Bourbon. I only drink vodka so I might have to give a couple to my parents for them to mix or just have more with vodka! This is the first mixer of its kind, which are specifically blended to compliment a selection of spirits. They are sugar-free (IT’S A MIRACLE), they also have a lower caffeine content.


I was also pleasantly surprised to find another product from Kent’s Kitchen, the fajita flavour shots I was talking about are from Kent’s Kitchen and in this box I got a “Meal Kit” for Madras curry. Are they trying to set my mouth on fire?! I’m excited to try it though, a new kind of cooking that I haven’t tried before so it will be a nice new experience.

So last up is my favourite by far, Frylight Infuse Chilli oil. This is a way of getting the oil you need without pouring out too much. It comes in a little spray bottle, which is handy and can be used for all sorts of pan-fried or roasted food. It adds a great spicy kick, which is good for me, as I love having a spicy kick to food. Something that they pointed out on the information sheet in the box is that because it is controllable, you can custom flavour the heat level for each member of the family!

This month I paid £12.99 for the box, and for all of the products, they retail at £25.75, which is pretty good going by my standards! This means I paid half of what these products retailed for and that makes me very happy!


How great is this months box? Have I tempted you to buy your own Degustabox yet?
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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Northern Tea Gift Ideas

I’ve teamed up with the guys over at Northern Teas to bring you some great gift ideas, or you might even want to treat yourself. Obviously we all want to feel fresh as we start the New Year and green tea is without a doubt the way to go. You can use green tea instead of detox teas and get plenty of the same benefits.

These green teas are calorie free and are tasty and excellent quality. They are so much better than the ones you get in the supermarket. The ones that I got sent are Ti Quan Yin, Japanese Sencha Fukujyu and Japanese Gyokuro,

Ti Quan Yin
This is a fine quality Chinese Oolong green tea that originates from southern china, and the leaves are rolled tightly into little balls. It takes 3 to 5 minutes for the tea to brew, which is pretty average for green tea. It is a pleasant, aromatic and refined tea. It is one that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.


Sencha Fukujyu
This is also known as Green Spider Leg, because of the look of the tealeaves. It has a sweet, grassy taste but it is a smooth texture. It originates in China but is processed Japanese style. It has a short brew time of 2 to 3 minutes. The leaves are neat, flat green and stalks, flecked with hints of yellow. Indulge in a cup of this at the end of the day, I know I will be.


Japanese Gyokuro
This is a variety of Ryokucha, it is picked during the first round of harvest and shaded from the sun for some time before the harvest. This gives a delightful flavour with a very delicate, pale liquor. This again takes 2 to 3 minutes to brew, and it also has neat, flat green leaves and stalks, flecked with hints of yellow. It has sweet, mild and a very smooth flavour with a pale yellow liquor. This should also be indulged at the end of the day, looks like I’ll be alternating between this and Sencha Fukujyu.





Prices vary from £4.50 to £7.50 for 50g of these teas. This is due to the origin of the teas and the quality, so it’s worth the money! These are a fantastic Christmas present, don’t forget to get your tea strainers as all the teas are loose and I’d also recommend getting a teapot to make it that little bit more special!

PS. Don't forget all views are my own, and we all know how much I love green tea so you know it's the truth!


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Monday, 8 December 2014

Christmas

Isn’t Christmas just great? How could you even not like Christmas?

The build up to Christmas has already started in my family’s house, the Christmas tree is up, most of the presents have been bought and we’ve planned out the events for Christmas. Unfortunately I only have Christmas Eve and Christmas day off but that’s definitely enough for me.

I’m not too fussed by boxing day to be honest, it can sometimes make Christmas drag on a bit too long so for me Christmas eve is fun because a lot of the cooking gets done and obviously Christmas day is pretty great and needs no explanation!


I thought I’d share some current and some old pictures of my Christmases with you!



The first year we got Douglas, doesn't he look adorable in his christmas jumper?



dog has no idea what's going on...

just LOL

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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Cookie Crumbles Awesome Wholesome Brownies

I recently went to the Good Food Show in London and it was so great! My mum and I enjoyed the wine samples a lot!

Anyway, I was looking for some new things to try and found this Brownie Mix. It looked great from the start, I absolutely love the packaging, and it looks so great and is very original!


To make it even better, it is made with wholemeal flour and you use oil as the fat in it. The process to make it is so quick and easy; you put everything into a bowl (the mix, oil, water and eggs) and mix it all together so that it is well combined. Grease and line the tray you want to use with greaseproof paper and pour the mixture into it.



Bake the brownies for 20 minutes and remove from the oven to enjoy.


They were so well received by my work colleagues, they’re asking for more already!

There’s also a little fact on the back of the packaging: “Did you know…that wholemeal flour is an important source of protein and fibre and is also an amazing source of vitamins and minerals?”


These are aimed at children, as it is an easy way for them to learn how to bake.


I would so recommend them, even if you’re a big kid like I am, they’re still really good and they taste so great!
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Thursday, 4 December 2014

November Degustabox


Hello everyone! I feel like I’ve been a bit distant lately and I haven’t given 100% into some of my posts. This is all about to change!

You don't need to tell me twice!

Now I wanted to get this post out sooner as I received this box last week, but I’ve been so busy and today I’ve been off work ill. So I thought I would use my time wisely and do some writing while I’m resting in bed!




About 3 weeks ago I signed up to Degustabox after reading several reviews of their previous boxes. I think it’s amazing, you get 9 to 14 surprises which Degustabox say can be completely new to the market and you receive a box once a month full of goodies. I got my first box for £7.99, and what an absolute bargain that is! However, starting from my next box it will be £12.99.

Needless to say I am thrilled with what I received and with some of the things I can’t wait to get cooking. Others I will share with my family for a Christmas treat, aren’t I so lovely?

I opened my box to be greeted with some cider, talk about winning! But before I get onto the food, there were a couple of recipe cards and some information on Cool Dawn, plus the retail price of all the products received.

So first up is Montano Cider, made from apples that are grown in the foothills of the Dolomites. On the website it says that the result is a golden, elegantly sparkling, medium-dry cider with a refreshing crisp finish. I’m going to be drinking this at the weekend (it’s been a long week), and it’s such a huge bottle…bigger than my head…so I will be enjoying myself a little bit! I’m also told that it’s available at Tesco and also in Strada restaurants.


Next we have Kettle Chips, one of their limited edition flavours for Christmas and I got Salsa and Mesquite, which I am so happy with because I love anything with a tomato flavour. Apparently this was one of the original flavours that the brand did back in 1988 so they’ve bought it back this Christmas. It combines the flavours of tomatoes, chillies, peppers and the aroma of barbecues. Maybe I’ll enjoy this with my cider at the weekend!


Now who doesn’t love finding a hangover cure? Cool Dawn is an effective herbal detox drink, which helps to prevent and cure hangovers. I know you’re already dying to know where you can buy these, so visit this website for more information.


I also found 5 stars in the box, which turned out to be 5 of Lindt Lindor My Melting Moment. They are one hell of a moment indeed! You’ve probably spotted these in the supermarkets, I know I tried one last year and they literally just melt in your mouth but they don’t last long so maybe buy a few if you need a good old chocolate fix.


From other reviews that I’ve read I think that this isn’t the first time a product from Kent’s Kitchen has popped up in the box. This month we got a pack of 4 flavour shots and mine was for fajitas. Which will most likely get used this weekend too. Are you seeing a pattern here? I’m so impressed with the look of these that you should definitely check out their website.


We’re almost at the end now, boo, and I’m sorry for such a long post but I hope you’re enjoying it!

I also got two little bottles of Pip Organic Cloudy Apple Juice which I think I’ll be taking to work with me to try get myself feeling much better again! They are not from concentrate, there are no added sugars, water, preservatives or additives, is this not the perfect juice to you?


Second to last is one of the new Branston Chutneys, which I got in Mediterranean Tomato. I was really hesitant at first but I’ve come round to the idea of it and I’m trying to think of what I can use it in. The suggestion on the Degustabox website is to use it with smokey meats, cheddar and biscuits, so I might try that. You can get it in shops now.


This is where the recipe cards come in handy, there are 2 recipes for this chutney, the first being chutney and cheese sausage rolls which don’t seem too bad but there’s also Mediterranean tomato bubbles and squeak cakes which sound so good! And this is completely perfect for Christmas; we always have bubble and squeak from our leftovers on Boxing Day!


So last, but without a doubt, not least, is the one thing that I’m looking forward to use the most. Two different curry sauces by Holy Cow! in Mughlai Korma Curry Sauce which sounds great and also Madras Chettinad Curry Sauce which I know is going to be spicy, not sure if I’m scared or excited about that one! So these are made with all natural ingredients, no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, they are gluten free and suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs. I am most definitely going to do a review about these when I get round to making it.



I also forgot that I got a Chai Latte sample, but I’m not too excited about this…



So there it is, what do you think? I found out I should get the December box in a couple of weeks so stay tuned for that one.


Do you get a Degustabox each month? Or do you think you might get one?
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