Friday, 25 March 2016

Shop. Cook. Eat.

This type of review is definitely out of the ordinary for me, I've considered doing recipe book reviews before but I've just never got round to it. I've been using a recipe book recently called Shop. Cook. Eat.* by Katherine Frelon, which is essentially, exactly what it says on the tin.

My first impressions of the book were great, I loved the simplicity of the front cover and if I was looking at it in a shop or online, it would definitely catch my eye and I would pick it up to take a look. Secondly, there are plenty of pictures inside. I'm definitely one of those people who has to have lots of pictures of the food I'm making if I'm following a recipe so that I can see what it is supposed to look like, whether it turns out like that is another matter...

The first few pages is really getting to know the Author and her background and it was really interesting to find out where all her inspiration for the book and recipes came from. I found the first few chapters irrelevant to myself, for some people who are more interested in topics such as the Vineyards of Burgundy and preparing bones it would be perfect, but for me it wasn't ideal. However, it did make a very interesting read.

Absolutely everything Katherine makes is from scratch, from tomato ketchup to spiced oils, which is really refreshing as there are certain things I completely agree should be made from scratch, my past University self would not agree with this, and I loved the chapter on Bread and Pastry, although I probably won't be making Puff Pastry myself as my young School self had to make it a billion and one times and man is it tedious, 100% shop bought for me. I've actually been day dreaming about making a crumble soon and she makes a lovely crumble mix with oats that I just need to try!

She then goes on to talk about broths, soups, pates and canap├ęs, all of which looked amazing and my rumbling stomach definitely agreed. Even though it's getting warmer slowly, there's still a bitter chill in the air which makes me want lots of home cooked comfort foods and some of Katherine's soup and homemade bread would go down a treat. 

When you get to the chapter on Mains, there's a double page picture of Beef, literally still bleeding, and for anyone that knows me well enough, this is my idea of heaven. The Mains and Salads in the book sound incredible, however not your typical every day dinner. More a once in a while dinner party treat

The book ended with Desserts and Baking, which I quickly skipped through to not get tempted and drawn in by the chocolate cakes and fruity desserts. Just OMG. I have no words.

My thoughts in a nutshell
  • The book, Shop. Cook. Eat., is amazing. It has covered absolutely every topic you would want in a recipe.
  • I want every single sweet treat in this book.
  • I also want to throw a Blogger Dinner Party with all the delicious food in this book.
  • It's so well written and has beautiful photography and it's one of the best recipe books I've had the joy of reading.
  • You can buy your own right here, you know you need it.

What do you think of this Recipe Book?

*PR Sample

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

Clif Bar

I was talking to a friend the other day about how exhausting the last few weeks have been, work has been crazy manic with lots of changes happening and there just seems like so much more to do than normal.

I've found one very easy way to deal with this! I've been eating Clif Bars* to give me the energy boost I need to get through the working day! The bars are made with rolled oats, and they are a source of protein and fibre, winning. They also contain vitamins B6 and B12 to contribute to the normal release of energy.

I got to try Chocolate Chip - a cookie lover's dream, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut and Blueberry Crisp. Honestly, Chocolate Chip was heavenly, a really great take on the traditional chocolate cookie. I also enjoyed the Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar, and for someone who doesn't particularly enjoy peanut butter that is saying something!

I preferred to eat these half at a time as they are relatively big for what they are and since I just needed a little pick me up, half the bar was enough for me! I mean this with a cup of tea mid afternoon is perfect for anyone! I often find energy bars and drinks are just not for me, but I really loved trying these and would definitely consider them again if I found them in store, and since they sell them right next door to where I work, this is possible.

*PR Sample

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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

DIY Easter Gifts

For anyone who doesn't know, I'm super cute and give the best presents. I don't particularly celebrate Easter and I'm not expecting anything this year. However, I do like gift giving and when I found these cute Easter tin eggs, I couldn't resist but to buy them and fill them.

This is a very photo heavy post as there's not actually much that goes into making this.

You will need:
1 Tin Easter Egg, mine are from Tiger Stores
1 Bag Chocolate Eggs
Various Lindt Chocolates, I went for the classic Lindt Bunnies and then the new Lindt Bugs

Fill up the egg with a layer of chocolate eggs then place the bunnies and bugs on top. Chocolate heaven. Pop the lid to the tin on top and tie a piece of ribbon round it. Give to the ones you love, or keep one for yourself!

What do you do for Easter?

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Jools Drinks

After browsing The Bloggers Hangout recently, I came across a brand I recognised but couldn't quite place it, then remembered I had bought one of their drinks a couple of days before but hadn't got round to drinking it. Jools* kindly sent me one of each of their flavours and when I told my sister how good they were, she was dying to try one, so I gave her the one I hadn't got round to drinking, aren't I nice?

These little bottles of goodness come in 3 flavours: Lychee Jools in Apple Green Tea, Acai Jools in Cranberry Green Tea and Acerola Cherry Jools in Mango Green Tea. Can I just get an amen for Green Tea?

Obviously the green tea part was a huge selling point for me, as well as the packaging which definitely caught my eye on the shelf. Plus I'd never actually got round to trying Bubble Tea, which is essentially what this is.

So what is Jools? Well it is flavoured green tea with little fruity pearls in it. It of course comes with a straw (in a matching colour, I appreciate this a lot), so you can drink up those pearls with the green tea. Another thing I absolutely love about them is that they have 100% of your daily intake of 8 vitamins, no added sugar, no preservatives, it is gluten free and is less than 90 calories per bottle. I would have no problem drinking one of these each day knowing how much I was getting from one bottle and for all of that there isn't many calories in it.

I personally love these drinks, they are different to anything I've tried before and the Mango one has got to be my favourite! They are definitely the perfect drink for blogging too!

Each bottle is £1.99 in all good stockists (you can find a full list on their website), which does set you back a bit and in my opinion is a little on the pricey side but when you take into account the health benefits, is it really that much?

What do you think of these drinks?

*PR Sample

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Monday, 21 March 2016

Hovis Blogger Brunch

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a very exciting event, one that has definitely got to be one of the best blogger events I've attended. Following on from yesterdays post on Adele Louise Smith, I thought it was best to seize every opportunity I was given, so I of course attended the event.

I made my way up to London to the Grey London building, which by the way, is totally office goals. We got a lovely welcome and were offered a range of drinks! We were introduced to the new Hovis Seed Sensations Chia Bread. They have used this to introduce Chia Seeds into the everyday life of consumers and a very easy way to incorporate them into their diet. I must say I was a little apprehensive on how this would taste, but oh my it's delicious. It is mainly white bread with the chia seeds baked into the mixture. It adds to the texture and flavour and of course has the added health benefits.

I know you're all wondering, what is chia? Well, they are little tiny seeds with are the highest plant based source of Omega 3, fibre and protein meaning it is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In each tbsp there is 6g fibre, 3g Omega 3 and 3g protein, plus calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. I mean if I can get all of this and more from a loaf of bread, I'm going to go buy some right now. I don't want to bore you with all the science, but you can head to The Chia Co to find out more and also about the other products they do. I highly recommend the Mango Chia Pod.

During my morning with Hovis and 8 other lovely bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting, we had two challenges to make with the Hovis Chia Bread. The first being make the Ultimate Chiaful Hovis Sandwich. I went for a classic which I love. We had a whole load of ingredients in front of us, a bloggers dream. Think Zoella's breakfast/brunch table. I wish I could have it every day. I went for slices of chicken, topped with avocado, a layer of thin ham and lastly some rocket. Between two delicious slices of Chia Seed Bread. Chicken & Avocado is one of my favourite sandwiches so I thought I would add some more to it and omg, it was heavenly.

The second challenge we were set was Chia Up Your Plate Challenge. I already had an idea of what I wanted to do, meaning it was really quick for me to finish my topping, oops! So I had a chat to the other bloggers while they made theirs! And of course, ate some of the delicious fruit in front of me. On my toast, I put a drizzle of honey, followed by some strawberries slice up, some raspberries and pomegranate and some more honey. Topped with some Chia Seeds of course. It was delicious! And definitely the perfect brunch that I need to create on my day off!

It was such a lovely morning and so great to meet all of the bloggers I did! Thank you to Hovis and Cirkle PR for inviting me, and for the lovely crate of goodies which I'm excited to receive soon and make lots more Sandwiches and Toast Toppings!

I also have to share this amazing lunch I had with my Dad after at Smith of Smithfield.

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Being Me.

This post could definitely go either way right now, I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks, not properly anyway. So here's a little check in with you all. I've got blog posts I want to write, and I do want to write them, but I just can't seem to sit down and let the thoughts spill onto the page like they normally would. It's so frustrating and annoying that I can't blog when I still talk about it and do everything that I would normally do, just without the posts.

I went through a stage a couple of weeks ago, I was literally ready to give it all up, pack it in, delete the site, all over a situation I was put in. It was definitely a low place and I didn't particularly enjoy what was going on, nor would anyone. A lot of people told me to take a couple of weeks off and see how I feel then come back to it. You were all right. So thank you all for the advice, I definitely do feel better about it.

There is one other motivating factor that is playing in me getting back to writing - I watch a lot of Youtube. Like more than is socially acceptable. Like so much that I am considering writing a post on my favourite YouTubers. WHAT IS MY LIFE. Anyway, I found them so motivating, I know they do it for a living but they're going out there to seize every opportunity, what am I doing? Not enough that's for sure. So I think if I want to have this great life through my little bit of the internet, I need to sort myself out and get writing, exactly what I will be doing from now on. 

And lastly I would like to take this moment to say how amazing these prints from That Lame Company* are. I did a reshuffle on my wall to pop them above my desk so every time I sit down I can see these motivational prints. I REALLY want some gold frames to put them in but I can't find the right ones, so this will do for now! The quality of their products is amazing, the card is thick and the gold cut outs are so cute. They are well worth a look at, plus their Spring Box of Lame is released this week, and omg, so excited.

(This was totally supposed to be a post about fate, but I sort of got sidetracked)

*PR Sample

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Friday, 11 March 2016

Granola and Mixed Berries Cupcakes

I'm back again with a second recipe this week, and I'm sure you've guessed by now - cupcakes!

When I found this recipe (and of course put my own spin on it), I knew I had to make it.

I have completely fallen in love with the Just Live A Little Granola* and have had it for breakfast every day since I opened it. You can see my Breakfast Jars here.

Admittedly with cupcakes, I'm a chuck it all in the mixer and whisk it all together kind of gal. But I've done this recipe step by step, the way it should be done!

300g Plain Flour
1tbsp Baking Powder
½tsp salt
125g Granulated Sugar
1 Egg
2tbsp Sunflower Oil
275ml Milk
100g White Chocolate, broken into small pieces
100g Frozen Mixed Berries
90g Just Live A Little Granola, plus extra for the top
Dark Chocolate, for drizzling on top

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Sieve the plain flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the granulated sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, crack the egg and add in the sunflower oil. Whisk until light and fluffy. Then add the milk and whisk for another minute. 
  4. Fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture. 
  5. Mix in the white chocolate and berries and granola.
  6. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases. Top with some more granola
  7. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate and enjoy!

These cakes are so delicious! You have to try them!

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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Olive It! Recipe Book & Giveaway!

I don't know about you, but I really quite like olives. So when I was asked if I wanted to run a giveaway for a brand new Olive It* recipe book and your own hamper, of course I said yes!

I went on holiday to Athens a couple of years ago and when we were there, we had a starter that had Olive Tapenade, and I loved it! It was so good and when I found a recipe in the Olive It! Recipe Book  that I liked the sound of, I made it right away. So of course, I had to share it with you!

Chilli, Black Olive and Red Pepper Spread

150g Pitted Black Olives in Brine, drained
150g Roasted Red Peppers in Brine, drained
1tsp Very Lazy Piri Piri Chillies (because, ya know, I'm very lazy)
2tbsp Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

  • Put the black olives into a food processor
  • Make sure that the red peppers are thoroughly drained, patting them dry with kitchen paper. Chop them roughly and add to the food processor with the chilli and olive oil. Blend until smooth.
  • Season with a bit of black pepper. Spread on to warm pitta bread or crackers and serve, garnish with strips of roasted red pepper and black olives.

I loved this recipe, so don't forget to be in with a chance of winning your own!

T's & C's:
  • The competition will run till the end of the month
  • The prize will be posted out by the PR representative

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*PR Sample

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Monday, 7 March 2016

Granola Yogurt Jars with Just Live A Little

I have recently been in contact with the lovely Jill from Just Live A Little* and she kindly sent me some of the products from their range.

I was lucky enough to try:

  • Whole Almond Granola
  • Cranberry and Cashew Granola
  • Whole Almond Granola On The Go
  • Cranberry and Cashew Granola On The Go
  • Fruit Chew Bar
  • Yogurtberry Bar
I was instantly drawn in by the packaging. I love the brown cardboard and bold and metallic colours.

What I love most about the granola is that minimal ingredients are used. It's packed full of fruit, nuts and seeds plus the essential ingredients of a few different natural sweeteners, oil and spices to top it all off.

The On The Go packets are so perfect, especially if you need a quick breakfast or you eat at work which is so common! The portion of granola comes in a plastic pot with a spoon with enough room to add a splash of milk or a spoonful of yogurt which is what I opted for!

I thought I would try out a couple of recipes with the granola. The first I tried was this Strawberry, Granola and Yogurt Jars and the second will come very soon!

Strawberry, Granola and Yogurt Jars:
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Just Live A Little Granola, which ever flavour you prefer
  • Yogurt, a few spoonfuls to make a good layer, I used strawberry yogurt but any type and flavour can be used
Possibly the simplest breakfast to make - layer the strawberries over the bottom of the jar, I used ⅔ strawberries to cover it. Several dollops of yogurt to make a good layer. Add a couple of spoonfuls of granola and you're good to go. I like to make a couple of these up and put them in the fridge so I can add the granola for a quick and easy breakfast. 

Plus it just looks amazing in the jar!

I'll be sharing my thoughts on the granola and my next recipe in my next blog post.

What are your favourite breakfasts?

*PR Sample

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