Sunday, 26 April 2015

#MyChocBloggers Chocolate Workshop


My day our chocolate making workshop started at 6.30am, and I was out of the house by 7.15! I got the bus with Vicky and made the trek into London which was made worse by the lack of trains running on a Sunday and the London marathon that day! But we made it on time and took our seats to start the chocolate making!


decorations


selfie


The table was set out so well and I was definitely intrigued about what we were going to be doing that's for sure. We started with a bit of chocolate tasting which I'm sure everyone was eager to do! We were told about the difference between good quality and bad quality chocolate and it was very obvious in my opinion. Then we got to try 2 different flavoured chocolates, the first being lemon and poppy seed white chocolate and the second being ginger, cardamon and cinnamon dark chocolate! Neither of which were to my taste unfortunately but it was a good experience to try something that I wouldn't choose for myself normally.


table


mychocolateuk


I loved the decor, it was so minimalistic which was great for the atmosphere


We were then given a demonstration of how to make truffles and we were literally stood around like little children, completely fascinated! It's actually relatively easy to make truffles and I was pleasantly surprised, so guess what everyone is going to be getting for homemade presents!



After we had made the truffles, we had to let them set for a few minutes and we were given another demonstration of how to decorate the truffles, fudge and some marshmallows! Mine aren't quite pieces of art and they got a bit squashed in my bag which is a bit annoying but you get the idea of what we did. I only used the milk chocolate really because I prefer that over dark chocolate.


my chocolate uk my chocolate uk my chocolate uk


What I made! An absolute mess...


I learnt a lot on the day and I think the best thing that I learnt was that chocolate was originally invented to be a savoury food.


After the workshop was over, a smaller group of us headed to The Diner in Islington and had lunch. There wasn't quite as much chocolate eating as I expected so we were all starving and literally inhaled our burgers and fries (at least I did anyway). It also gave us a chance to talk to the other bloggers that we might not have been with during the chocolate workshop, and also for those of us going to Centerparcs we got to talk a bit more and break the ice before a weekend together!


the diner


For my first ever bloggers meet up, it was a little bit daunting at first but after I managed to calm down, it was great fun and we laughed an awful lot! The great thing about other bloggers is that you have so much in common and there is so much to talk about that you wouldn't normally talk to anyone else about.


Even though I didn't get to talk to everyone that was at the event, I would love to read your posts and I'm sure I will see you at a future event soon!


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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Buckley London - Miniature Heart Pendant

On Monday I took part in the #BHTwitterParty hosted by Bloggers Love Hub. The topic of the night was What Changes Would You Like To See When Interacting With Brands via Social Media?

selfie necklace

It was a great evening and one of the brands involved was Buckley London*. I was lucky to be gifted with a Miniature Heart Pendant which is gorgeous.

necklacenecklace

It has a 16" chain with a 2" extender and a small heart hand crafted with clear Austrian crystals and plated with cool rhodium and rose gold.

I'm actually in love with it!

It's great because you can wear it with the crystals showing or swap it to the other way around and have a rose gold heart. It's basically 2 for the price of 1!

For me personally, the chain was a little bit too short and if it was a couple of inches longer it would be perfect. This won't stop me wearing it nonetheless, and it is the perfect addition to any outfit.

*I was sent this product for review purposes and as always my views are my own.

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Friday, 24 April 2015

#WeAreTheThey

A couple of days ago my twitter feed literally blew up. You will probably have noticed the hashtag #WeAreTheThey, which hit back at the comments Jamelia made during Loose Women that day, which I seriously hope she regrets.
#wearethethey

I felt so good wearing this on my birthday


The discussion was on plus-sized clothing for teenage girls. What a dangerous topic already. At no point do I justify that it is ok to lead an unhealthy lifestyle. That's what this blog is all about at the end of the day, to lead a better lifestyle. No doubt there are a lot of people who have comfort eaten their way to being plus sized, just like I have but I also understand there will have been reasons behind it and also there may be medical reasons behind it. But damn that chocolate tastes so good when you're having a bad day.

What really puzzles me is that no one is really doing anything about it. Some healthy food is unnecessarily expensive and some unhealthy food is so stupidly cheap. If you are on a strict budget then surely you are going to go for the cheaper option? Someone please correct me if I have completely missed the point here. I'm sure there was talk about taxing junk food a while back, and I was thinking about this the other day (mid breakdown), please do. I would be so less tempted to buy all the crap if it was more expensive and the healthy stuff was cheaper. For me it makes so much sense and I don't understand why they haven't done this already. If healthy food was cheaper I'm sure they would be more likely to buy that.

And it's all very well writing recipe books with really healthy recipes but when the ingredients cost £5 for the tiniest bag or jar, there is absolutely no way I'm going to be buying those ingredients.

Apparently 60% of teenage girls are overweight but why shouldn't they be allowed to wear high street clothes like anyone of a "normal" size? What even is a normal size anyway? We are no different to anyone of a smaller size, we just have more curves but why should that be discriminated against? Like seriously?

Whenever I go clothes shopping, I basically go into melt down because I can never find anything that fits properly. Do you know what that actually feels like? I can hear you thinking "so why don't you do something about it?". Well I am but it's not so simple sometimes and with a lack of support where it is needed and a hell of a lot of mental issues behind it, they can really get in the way. Right now, I'd be over the moon if I was a size 14. However, I know after a while I wouldn't be happy with that either. Can anyone try say they are really happy with the way they are? Because I would salute you if you are.

Only the day after this twitter fiasco, I was at work wearing my jeggings (which I feel really good in fyi), and I got told that it was really nice to see someone of "my size" wearing the jeggings that we sell. Well what am I supposed to make of that? If I brought this up with someone, I'm sure they would be really surprised! It makes it worse by who it was that said it. I'm not entirely sure where anyone gets off saying something like that to someone who is clearly sensitive about their weight anyway. Especially after they have just referred to themselves as a skinny bitch. They are really just as bad as Jamelia. Thanks, but really no thanks.

All I really want is to be happy, healthy and be accepted by someone who truly loves me. One day I will find the guy that will accept me the way I am. None of this you are disgusting because you are fat BS.

image

And I just want to thank @Beauty7products for her lovely tweet!


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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Degustabox - March Box

This is a good few weeks overdue, my bad. But I couldn’t resist sharing this wonderful Degustabox with you. Hands down my favourite one yet.

march degustabox

Jordans Granola - £3.69

I was really pleased when I fond this in the box. It is a lighter version of Granola with 30% less fat. It reminds me of Special K Red Berries but better, I love it!

Juiceburst - £1.25 each

Two of these were in the box, a cranberry juice and one of their Skinny Juices, Mango and Lime. I was more interested in the skinny juice, it tasted so yummy. IMG_4365

BBQue - £3.99

I was very intrigued by this when I found it in the box, I would say it is very industrial looking, in so many words. A very heavy black bottle that turned out to be barbecue sauce. In the box was the original one which is a Bavarian delicacy with cranberries, beer, honey and apples. Ideal for barbecues, marinades and dips, of which I will be doing all 3 in this lovely weather we’ve been having.

Lindt - 2 x £2

Obviously this box was themed around Easter so in the box were 2 bags of the Lindt Assorted Mini Eggs. Now I love Lindt just as much as the next person, the chocolate is so smooth, but I only really ate the milk chocolate mini eggs. I’m really not a fan of dark chocolate and I’ll only eat white chocolate if I’m desperate! I just don’t see the point in it!degustabox sweets

Jelly Babies Berry Mix - £1.48

Did Degustabox know that berry flavoured sweets are my favourite? I haven’t eaten these yet, I’m saving them for Centerparcs, but there’s no doubt I will like them! I haven’t always liked jelly babies but as I’ve gotten older I don’t mind the texture of them! So it’s all ok!

Sour Patch Kids - £1

Best thing ever! I love sour sweets too much! Again, I’m saving these for Centerparcs as it would seem we’re spending the whole weekend eating junk food!

Crabbie’s Alcoholic Fruits - 2 x £1.50

I got Black Cherry and Raspberry + Rhubarb, again not flavours I would necessarily choose but hey, this box is all about trying new things. The Black Cherry is delicious and I’m yet to try the Raspberry + Rhubarb. I would say that these are worth the money! They have been made up with 10% natural fruit juice and contain no artificial colours or flavourings. Winning!

Kent’s Kitchen Posh Noodles - £1.75

I had this as a lunch 10 minutes after the box arrived! Other Kent’sKitchen products I’ve tried have been great but this one was so not for me! It was bland and just outright unappetising.kents kitchen posh noodles

Natvia - £2

This is a very intriguing product that I wish I had already used so I could say what it was actually like. This is an alternative to artificial sweeteners and sugar and it has zero calories. Sounds great right? 1 tsp of sugar can be swapped for 1 tsp of Natvia. I’ll let you know what it is like when I finally get around to trying it.

Brioche Pasquier Baked Bread Bites - 2 x 50p

These are baked french bread bites in bacon flavour. Each bag is under 90 calories, then again they are tiny 20g bags. They are low in saturated fat and free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. These are absolutely delicious and I will definitely be buying some more when they launch in stores.

bread bites

In total, all of these products come to £24.41 which is one of the best value boxes I have ever gotten so I’m really pleased with that! And I like the majority of the products, so for a fussy eater that’s great as well! Roll on the next box.

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Friday, 17 April 2015

Cooking For The Family & a Beef and Tomato Stew Recipe

If you are lucky enough to follow me on Instagram then you will have seen a week or so ago I cooked a whole meal for my family.

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Since I don’t live with my family, my parents will always cook whenever I go home. However, on Easter Saturday I was adamant that I was going to cook for them for the first time in years.

A while back I read a post from Hannah Gale about some of her favourite meals to make. On there was Beef and Tomato Stew and the sound of it was mouthwatering!

Therefore this is what I made! I swerved it with creamy mashed potato, buttery green beans and warm ciabatta. My family quite literally inhaled and gobbled the lot up. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever made in my opinion.

I know you’re al dying of the recipe, so here you go.

Ingredients:

1 pack of Braising Beef

3 Carrots

3 Celery Sticks

1 Tin of Tomatoes

1 Onion

A Splash of Olive Oil

3 Garlic Cloves

1 Stock Cube, made up into stock

1 tsp of Mixed Herbs

Seasoning

Suet, I always use vegetable - Use the exact quantities on the box

Self Raising Flour

Potatoes

A knob of butter or two

Green Beans

A knob of butter

Method:

Start by dicing the onion and chopping the garlic. Add these to a large pan with the oil and the beef. Cook until the onion has softened and the beef is relatively cooked. The beef doesn’t need to be cooked thoroughly as it will be stewing for 2-3 hours.

Add in the celery, tin of tomatoes, stock and herbs. Mix it all together so it all cooks evenly. Taste it and season it if required.

Leave it to sew for 2-3 hours and in the mean time chop up the carrots and make up the dumplings according to the directions on the box. Add these half an hour before you want to serve up.

At this point, put on the potatoes and cook for 20-25 minutes. After, mash them up with butter. Then 10 minutes before serving, put on the beans to cook and ciabatta in the oven.

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I served mine as self serve so that everyone could pick and choose how much they wanted.

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I then made this chocolate mousse which is healthy (!) for dessert, the recipe is here.

It all went down a treat and I’ll definitely be making this again soon!

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A Day Out in London with Kirsty

On Saturday I went into London for a day out with Kirsty from Just A Little Bit Ginger. I was already really struggling in the morning after a seriously active week in Centerparcs but I was determined that I was going to have a good day, especially since Kirsty made the trip down from Birmingham.

kirsty me london

Kirsty is so lovely and we had a great day! We headed to Oxford Street first, the Primark there is so much better than any other I’ve seen. For a start it was actually tidy! We kept spotting so many things we wanted, in the end I “treated” myself to a little candle for £1 but it smells absolutely incredible.

We wandered down to Hummingbird bakery and across to Forever 21, which was actually so disappointing, but we got Nandos for lunch, standard!

Then it was over to Carnaby Street to Mac and ChockyWockyDooDah, look at all these amazing cakes! I fell in love with all the lipsticks in Mac too and I’ve chosen one I want for payday!

chockywockydoodah cakes

I also had to take Kirsty to Liberty because the flowers are beautiful there and Kirsty had never been.

liberty flowers

Then we headed over to Convent Garden and passed loads of these sheep along the way. You can find more information at shauninthecity.org.uk. I wish I hadn’t looked on the website, there are so many awesome ones. There is a totally of 50 sculptures in London until 25th May so I am definitely heading back to find some more. There’s an app and everything. They are going to auction later in the year so that they can raise funds for Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Charity and The Grand Appeal. I think this is such an amazing idea!

bus shaun in the city american football shaun in the city

 

candy shaun in the city

We had a couple of cocktails at Be At One and we ended up brainstorming some blog ideas…oops! Although we may have come up with some great ideas! I can’t wait to start working with Kirsty too.

be at bar one cocktails

By this point we were ready to pass out! I’m so glad I went despite how tired I was but it’s ok because I’m seeing her in a few weeks for the Shropshire Blogger Meet!

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Friday, 10 April 2015

Why Wouldn’t You Go To Centerparcs?

It’s no secret how much I love Centerparcs. If you follow me on twitter then you are probably sick of all my tweets about it, my bad!

Anyway, on to what we did. There were 7 of us to start off the week which increased to 8 half way through, so it made sense to get a 4 bedroom villa but we were very lucky because we also had a games room and a sauna.

games room

centerparcs outdoors villa

This is the first time in a long time that we cooked most of our evening meals in the villa, but with so many of us, it would have gotten overly expensive. That saying, we went out on Thursday evening to the Indian, called Rajinda Pradesh, for my brothers birthday (he’s officially a teenager!).

centerparcs longleat rajinda pradesh

To be honest, we do so many activities during the day that by 5pm we’re about ready to drop! So it was really nice to sit down in the evening and be comfy as opposed to stuck in a restaurant! I just think we enjoyed our evening a little more, despite the fact that it is lovely eating out.

Each day we played tennis and badminton (standard for us!), plus so much cycling. We also enjoyed a couple of rounds of adventure golf and on our last evening we did an Aerial Adventure, which is very similar to Go Ape! and you zip wire across the lake at the end. And of course how could I forget the swimming, as well as pedalos on the lake.

centerparcs longleat zip wire
centerparcs longleat aerial adventureserious hat hair going on here..


centerparcs pedalos


These activities are of course our preference, and there are so many more too - you have the spa where you can have treatments or spend a half/full day, there are other outdoor activities including rock climbing and abseiling, a lake for all kinds of water activities and also indoor activities. This is only for adults, there are even more for children, check out the website here.

centerparcs longleat lake

I think it can be very difficult to spend every day outside unless it is your job! It’s so refreshing to spend this time outside, doing activities, cycling and walking about.

I honestly think that Centerparcs is for absolutely everyone, there is something for for whatever takes your fancy. Cost can always be negotiated, whether you choose an activity and eat in, or go swimming and cycling so that you can eat out. There’s a lot of controversy about this, particularly on Mumsnet, so I’ve decided to do another post about it. Stay tuned!

Obviously I’m completely biased but if you are considering going then go! You won’t regret it at all!

I love it so much that I’m off again in 2 months with @LDNmeetup for #bloggersinvadecenterparcs and I cannot wait!

Have you ever been? What do you think? Or are you considering going?

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Monday, 6 April 2015

Adele's Journey #7 | Birthday Events

siblings

It’s official, I’m 22 and omg I feel SO old.

I finally got to spend quality time with my family which was very much needed.

The night before my birthday I went out for drinks with an old friend from my hometown which was so lovely and she bought me a present back from Vegas which was so unexpected.

The morning of my birthday I was feeling a little bit delicate! But like a trooper, I got up, tucked into some classic birthday pancakes which are always a must in the Smith household. Then lazed around till my Dad got home!

I was ridiculously spoilt by my family and I have finally upgraded from an iPhone 4 to a 6! I also got a few bits for Centerparcs this week.

birthday box booksbath bombs

I chose to go bowling in the afternoon and I’m normally really good but I lost. How harsh are my family for not letting me win?!

For our evening meal, we visited The Jade Restaurant in Salisbury which was so much fun and there was a ridiculous amount of delicious food! With a bit of the hair of the dog too, heck I needed it. We ended up staying there for over 3 hours in the end and about 5 courses too! We’re talking spring rolls and wontons, aromatic duck, lobster, a whole selection of mains and then dessert! That’s not including the prosecco and free birthday cocktails they gave me! Looking back on it makes me feel full up.

lobster mumaromatic duck aromatic duck lobster chilli wine garlic feast oriental sunrise chocolate bomb

It was the first time I had lobster and it was so much better than I could ever have imagined. If you like prawns then you will love lobster! Ours had garlic, chilli and white wine, I could eat it all over again. Plus they brought out the lobster while it was still alive and told us how they were going to cook it. Then put it on my mums shoulder, which was so funny.

I honestly feel so grateful for my birthday and having all my family together was so nice!

Here’s to a great year being 22.

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