Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Bomb Cosmetics Pink Elephants & Lemonade Bath Blaster Review...

I'm sure regular readers of my blog will know of my love for bath bombs. I post reviews quite a lot and when I saw this adorable one in a shop in Leeds recently, I knew not only did I need to buy it, I needed to blog about it. Just look at it! 
There is a shop called The Yorkshire Soap Company in Leeds which sells the cutest bath products, ranging from soaps which look like cake slices to mini bath bombs to candles and so many beautiful bath bombs like the one above. I was in actual heaven in that shop, and it took me such a long time to choose one but I finally did and I went for the one called Pink Elephants and Lemonade. Not only did it look just so cute, but it also had such a lovely sweet scent, and I had a feeling it would be perfect for a little pamper night.

I got round to using this a few weeks ago and I almost instantly wanted to write this review! The only brand I tend to go to when shopping for bath bombs is Lush and I really do have my favourites so I was really intrigued in how this would compare and if it would be better or worse than theirs. I have to say this is the best bath bomb I've used in a long time. As I've already said, the bath bomb itself is just beautiful, and the scent which is so fruity and sweet is amazing. It's a lemonade scent with plum berry combined with litsea cubeba and mandarin essentials oils so together those things just make the whole bathroom smell so nice! When I placed this in the water, instantly it started fizzing away and compared the disappointment of the last bomb I reviewed, it was so fun to watch. This wasn't a bath bomb that had loads of colours coming out of it or anything, but the colour got darker and darker and eventually the water was a deep, hot pink and looked so inviting. It was quite like the Sex Bomb Bath Bomb which is one of my favourites, just as impressive! As with most bath bombs, this left my skin feeling really soft and nourished. It contains cocoa and shea butter so that made my skin feel so lovely and afterwards I really did feel like I'd had a proper pamper. That day we had been out for quite a while and my legs and feet were so sore but this bath proper sorted me out and relaxed me. It was amazing.
I already want to get more Bomb Cosmetics products! This is technically called a bath blaster but it's the same as a bath bomb and they have such a wide range to choose from on their website. One thing I really love is the price. These vary from about £2.99 to around £3.50 which compared to some bath bombs I've had for almost £5, is incredible. I had such a nice experience with this and have already added some to my Christmas wishlist as they really are worth the money and I felt I got a lot for it. I couldn't recommend this enough, let me know if you've tried any from Bomb Cosmetics and what I should try next!

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Christmas At La Sala Chigwell*

Now we're well into October I feel it's acceptable to start talking more and more about Christmas, because it is fast approaching! I genuinely can't believe how fast the past 10 months have gone and already I'm worrying I'm not prepared enough for Christmas, the weeks are just going so quickly at the moment and I feel like I still have so much to do and so much to buy! Because this year is flying by, it's important to get any plans for Christmas Day sorted soon. If you're someone who likes to go out for Christmas Dinner and doesn't like the hassle of all the washing up afterwards (the worst bit) then maybe heading out and having it all made for you is a good option. There are so many places that offer Christmas dinner but the one I really wanted to mention today is La Sala.
The La Sala restaurant is based in Chigwell and they offer a wide range of food and dining options throughout the week. The restaurant, open 5 days a week, is renowned for it's vivacious ambiance, beautiful food and value for money. First opening in 2014 in the UK, after success in Spain, the restaurant has gone from strength to strength and it now attracts various celebrities, past clientele includes Prince Albert of Monaco, Jamie Oliver, Little Mix, Eva Longoria and many more. The La Sala concept offers the 'ultimate social and dining experience', available day and night for all customers. You can choose from a varied menu which has a range of international and spanish dishes, all made from the highest quality ingredients, all while listening to live music each evening, sipping on champagne. This year, whether you want a memorable Christmas dinner with family, an unforgettable New Year or you want a place for your work Christmas party, La Sala have you covered. Everything you need can be found at their beautiful venues, carefully selected menus including food everyone will love, live entertainment and incredible service from the staff. Some of the food on offer for all three things I've mentioned below, so you can get a little taste of what is available.
Christmas Day Menu - £75pp

Choose from Cauliflower Soup, Game Terrine, Caramelised Shallot & Chestnut Tart & More

Main Course -
Roast Turkey Breast, Bacon rolled Sausage and Sage Stuffing, Roast Potatoes, Festive Trimmings, Parsnip Puree, Parsnip Crisps

Nut Roast, Roast Potatoes,Cranberry Sauce, Festive Trimmings, Parsnip Puree, Parsnip Crisps

Halibut Fillet, Black Truffle Dauphinoise and Wild Mushroom Sauce
Beef Fillet, Beef Cheek Croquette, Caramelised Baby Onions

Desserts - 
Choose from Christmas Pudding, Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Tart, Cheeseboard & More

New Years Eve Menu - £90pp (Champagne and canapes available for the table)

Starters -
Choose from Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, Smoked Duck Breast, Gin Cured Salmon & More

Main Course - 
Chateaubriand for Two, served with Hand Cut Chips, Onion Rings, Grilled Tomato & Portobello Mushroom
Pan fried Halibut, Poached Lobster
Cauliflower Steak, Curried Cauliflower Cheese Croquets
Pork Belly and Loin

Desserts - 
Choose from White Chocolate and Pistachio Parfait, Cherry and Almond Tart, Selection of Ice Cream & Sorbets, & More
Christmas Party Menu - £35pp Tuesday to Thursday, £45pp Friday to Sunday

Starters -
Choose from Roasted Celeriac Soup, Duck Liver Parfait, Smoked Salmon & More

Main Courses - 
Roast Turkey Breast, Bacon rolled Sausage and Sage Stuffing, Roast Potatoes, Festive Trimmings, Parsnip Puree, Parsnip Crisps
Beef Short Rib, Creamed Potatoes, Braised Carrots, Red Wine Jus
Sea Bream, Lobster Bisque, Crushed New Potatoes
Curried Sweet Potato Dahl

Desserts - 
Choose from Christmas Pudding, Baileys Cheesecake, Mulled Wine Poached Pear & More
La Sala is without a doubt the place to be this Christmas. Whatever the occassion you can find a perfect meal for everyone, in a beautiful setting, for an extra special day or night. If you want to get booked in soon (which I really recommend you do) then check out their website here where you can find out more about what they have to offer this Christmas.

If you've already got plans for Christmas then why not visit mid week for a date night where you can try something from their Lobster & Burger menu, or you could go for brunch on a Saturday? Bottomless Brunch is served 12pm to 6pm and would make a perfect day with one of your best friends or sister, you could even treat someone for their birthday if you're a bit stuck on gifts! They even do Private Dining Areas if you want to splash out for an event or birthday. Whatever it is, La Sala have you covered. For any booking enquiries, contact them via 03330063008 or find them online here!

Have you ever visited La Sala before? What have you got planned for Christmas?

*Sponsored post. I only work with brands I feel are relevant to my blog


Taking Blogging Seriously & Improving My Blog...

Just a little warning, this blog post is going to be quite long! I have a lot I want to say about this so you might want to grab a cup of tea before sitting down for a read. Basically this year I really decided to take a step up with my blog and see how well I could do with it. After leaving my job last year, I was just so bored and thought as I love blogging so much, why not try and see where it takes me if I really push myself? I've put so much effort into it since the beginning of the year, I've had a new theme and blog header made, both I love, and I've been posting loads more than ever before. I'm so aware I'm still such a small blogger and probably always will be, but I never expected to do as well as I have done so I wanted to just write about some of the things I've done this year with my blog to improve it, why and how it's helped.
1. Posting 5 Days A Week & Being Consistent - This is the main thing I wanted to do this year. After trying to post 3 times a week last year, I decided this year as I wasn't working, to try and up that and keep with it all year. So far I've done that! It's definitely hard to keep coming up with new blog posts sometimes and I go through phases where I love it, and others where I don't as much but I'm so proud I've managed to keep up with it. I thought if I really want to make something of my blog then I needed to be more consistent with it, post reguarly and just try and keep things new. I love knowing when I can expect a post from other bloggers so I thought instead of posting randomly (not that there is anything wrong with that), I'd have a proper Monday-Friday schedule. 

2. Using Social Media More - Aswell as posting on my blog more, I wanted to do the same for my social media. I've generally just tried to be active on all of the ones I use. So I've posted everyday on Instagram most of the year and I've been trying to tweet more general and personal things rather than just scheduled blog promotion. I've also started promoting all of my blog posts on my blog Facebook page aswell and also Pinterest. I've now got a whole board dedicated to my blog posts so any new ones get pinned there straight away as I know a lot of people have success with traffic that way. I think as a blogger it's important to be active on social media and to show your personality where you can. I've also joined some Twitter and Instagram groups/pods to help with liking and commenting just so we can all support each other which I really like.

3. Contacting PRs & Brands - For a while now I've been okay with contacting brands I'm interested in working with. Not in a pushy or arrogant way for them to just send me some products, but there are some brands I've always been interested in working with so I see no harm in sending details across and if they choose to email back, then brilliant. This year though I really stepped it up. I've emailed lots of brands that I would love to work with in the future and I've also contacted a few PR companies about being added to their press list. There are so many that never got back to me, which I expected, and some have and now I've got some great relationships with those people. As much as it's nice to receive emails occassionally from people wanting to work me, I think it's just as nice for them to receive those sorts of emails and if I was the PR person for a brand, I think I'd be flattered to see emails from bloggers wanting to work together. I just think if there is something you're passionate about or a brand you use and love anyway, what's the harm in getting in touch? I've been lucky enough this year especially to work with some incredible brands and I really don't take any of the opportunities for granted, I know I'm still a small blogger!

4. LinkedIn - When it comes to working with PR people and brands, after completing/publishing any posts I've been working on for them, I like to add them on LinkedIn. I'm still relatively new to the app but it's brilliant for so many things and I've managed to add quite a lot of people that I've had communication with over email for product reviews/sponsored posts and I personally think it's a good way to build up a little portfolio of people you've worked with. You can list your skills on there and if they want to, they can endorse them and generally it keeps you on their radar. It might mean they come back to you in future for more campaigns and it really can't hurt to have these people you've worked with as a connection. It could even help with getting work in future. I put a little status on there most days with my latest blog post, especially if I've done a review or collaborative post with a brand, you never know who might see it, be impressed and get in touch!

5. Upping My Photography Game - My photography definitely isn't brilliant, it's something I've worked hard on though this year and I'm really starting to see an improvement. I know I still have a long way to go with it and I'm always comparing my photos to other thinking mine aren't good enough but compared to over 3 years ago when I started this, there has been a dramatic improvement! Now I know what sorts of photos I like to create, what props I like to include and I just love experimenting all the time when I have something new to photograph. I'm really proud of myself for trying some different things this year and hopefully that will continue in the future as I think photography is definitely a big part of blogging.

6. Saying No - As I've said I'm still such a small blogger so I don't get loads of emails, in fact I can go ages without anyone wanting to be featured on my blog or work with me, and that's fine but there have been times this year where I've been contacted about things and I've had to say no. As exciting as it can be getting these opportunities for product reviews and even sponsored posts, it has to be relevant for my blog, and this year I've been much more picky with what I feature. I've also started saying no to people who just refuse to pay what I'm actually worth. I take each thing as it comes and if they can't offer any money but it seems like a great opportunity, sometimes I will take it as working for free can lead to other things but other times it's quite obvious when someone is just trying to be cheeky and if it doesn't feel right in my gut, I won't accept. It's all about what you personally feel comfortable with and the majority of the time now I'm much more clear of what I expect. I like to think eventually it'll be respected that bloggers actually stand their ground and don't budge when offered a small amount for a post, and that we will all be treated a bit more fairly!

I think overall all of these things have really helped with growing my blog and even though it really is still SO small compared to some, I've already smashed my blogging goals for this year and I don't think I would have if I'd not taken it all a bit more seriously. Posting throughout the week all year so far has really helped with my blog views, and being more active on social media without a doubt has grown my following that way and I'm so happy with how I've done with my Twitter and Instagram already. There are definitely still things I need to work on and I'll always want to improve but I think I'm doing okay so far, so I just wanted to share that really in case anyone needs any tips. If you've got any tips with growing and improving your blog, let me know in the comments!

Relevant posts - My Opinion On Approaching Brands // My 5 Must Have Apps


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Fat Freezing/CoolSculpting With Pulse Light Clinic*

Today I have a little extra bonus post and it's all about Pulse Light Clinic. I've mentioned them before on my blog, they are based in London and the people who work there are trained in many areas including laser treatments and IPL. Last time I blogged about them, I was talking about their cellulite treatments, but today I'm going to be talking about their Fat Freezing/CoolSculpting treatment. 

Most of us have stubborn fat cells on our body, even those of us who eat healthy and exercise reguarly, it can sometimes seem that there are parts of us which just won't change no matter what. This is where Pulse Light Clinic come in and their new method of losing fat, called Fat Freezing. It's pretty self explanatory, the fat literally gets frozen away and it's done in a safe, effective and FDA approved way. CoolSculpting uses the fat freezing technology of Cryolipolysis and the way it's done, is by placing the CoolSculpting pack over the areas of fat you want treated and leaving for one hour. This leaves you to maybe have a small nap during your busy week, reply to emails or just simply rest. While you're relaxing, the fat is being frozen which causes fat cells to die. The body's natural processes then flush out these dead cells, removing them from the area and eventually the entire body. It's such an effective way of eliminating any stubborn fat cells and doesn't require any sort of needles or surgery, it's also causes no harm to any surrounding tissue or skin. 

CoolSculpting can be done for a number of things - excess fat on belly or back, double chins, thighs, love handles and even your bum. Once it's one, it's gone for good, and it's such a simple and quick process, no downtime is required and you can get on with your day. 
If you're struggling with fat around certain areas that won't budge, then this is definitely worth looking into. Free consultations and walk ins are welcomed at Pulse Light Clinic and they have two clinics to choose from located at Bank/Liverpool Street and Oxford Street/Tottenham Court Road. Both open til 8pm weekdays and til 5pm on weekends. If you are interested you can contact them via their website or via phone on either 02075235158 or 02072054085.

*Sponsored post in collaboration with Pulse Light Clinic


Halloween Cupcakes & Covered Pretzels Recipe With Cake Angels*

Despite doing loads of baking over the last few weeks, I ended up doing more yesterday! I'd spent the majority of the morning blogging and cleaning, so just felt like I needed a few hours in the kitchen, baking. It was a bit of a mixed afternoon in the end as I ended up spilling half a bag of caster sugar all over the kitchen side aswell on as the kettle and toaster, and then when I cleared that up I somehow knocked over a bag of brown sugar 🙊 I've never really been that superstitious when it comes to Friday 13th but yesterday something was out to get me. Anyway, I still got a few things made and I couldn't wait to share them with you. As I had a few things left to use from Cake Angels I thought I'd make some simple halloween cupcakes! They sent me a selection of sprinkles to use recently so I thought cupcakes would be perfect!
125g butter
125g caster sugar
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
Icing sugar & sprinkles

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees and line a baking tray with bun cases
2. In a bowl, add in the butter, sugar, self raising flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp of milk and mix with an electric whisk. It should go very soft and pale. If you don't have an electric whisk, just add in a few ingredients at a time and mix with a wooden spoon
3. Fill each bun case about half way with the mixture and then bake in the oven for around 15 minutes
4. Leaves to cool on a wire rack and then you can decorate! I didn't measure the icing sugar, I never do, but once I'd made that I put 1 tsp on each bun and then topped with sprinkles. For the halloween cupcakes I just used a sugar decoration and I also had some other halloween decorations leftover from last year which I just pushed into the cakes. For the other cupcakes I topped them with rainbow sprinkles and rhubarb and custard sprinkles.
Aswell as making cupcakes I also attempted some chocolate covered pretzels. These were much more difficult than I anticipated them to be but I'm still glad I gave them a go. All I did was get some pretzels from B&M, they only had salted caramel ones at the time and some plain chocolate. I used 100g of Asda dark chocolate and just melted it over a pan of boiling water. When the chocolate was melted, I dipped each pretzel in then covered them in sprinkles. I had a few different ones to use but I think the small chocolate sprinkles came out best! I don't think they look too bad!
I just love baking and I hope you've enjoyed all the recipes I've posted this week! I know my blog has been very food heavy this week but as it's been National Chocolate Week, I thought it would fun to just post only recipes and foodie posts, I had so many I wanted to share. As it's still a few weeks until halloween, you've got plenty of time to give these cupcakes a go, they are honestly so simple to make and just taste so nice, really spongy cakes with sweet icing sugar on top. All the sprinkles from Cake Angels have been brilliant to use so a massive thank you to them for sending me some to feature!

Make sure you give my other recipes from this week a read if you're into cooking and baking -

*Sprinkles sent for the purpose of this post. I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog


Friday, 13 October 2017

Mystery or Misfortune?

Knock on wood, avoid the cracks in the pavement and keep your fingers crossed as it's that time of year again. That's right, coming up is Friday 13th...
Paraskevidekatriaphobia or Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the official name for the phobia of Friday 13th. Fears surrounding the superstition are also surprisingly common, in fact new data reveals that 49 million Brits dread the date. 

The history and origins of Friday 13th fears are widely debated, however two examples are consistently referenced. The first, is that Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus was the 13th guest at the Last Supper. The second event, dates back to 1307 when King Philip IV of France commanded for hundreds of members of the Knights Templar to be arrested, they were then tortured and burned alive!

In the modern day, superstitious people believe that Friday 13th brings bad luck to employment, finances and even love. Dating and relationships can be affected which is proved by the many celebrity breakups. Michael Chopra and Heather Swan married on Friday 13th and argued throughout their honeymoon splitting only a few weeks later. The devastation of divorce has also occurred on the unluckiest day of the year wreaking havoc on celebrity relationships. After ten years of marriage, Bill Murray and Jennifer Butler finalised their divorce on Friday 13th. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's marriage also ended on a Friday 13th after months of arguments. 

So, with cases like these is it any wonder that we don't want to tempt fate with our love lives?
The Dating Guru, James Preece, has noticed the connection between love and superstition throughout his career as a Dating Coach and Relationship Expert. He said: 'Everyone has their own little quirks and beliefs. I've had dating coaching clients who only want to date singles who are a certain star sign. Or they think that will jinx the relationship by taking certain action.'

James Preece also noticed that he had a lower turnout to his dating event on Friday 13th: 'I once tried to run a singles event on a Friday 13th. I hadn't really given it much thought until I realised ticket sales were low... Rather reluctantly a few did admit to me that they didn't fancy attending due to the date.' He added: 'This wasn't just because they thought they'd be unlucky but also due to them not wanting to travel at such a risky time.'

If you prefer a risk free Friday 13th, why not book the day off and hole up inside with your loved ones?
*Collaborative post, though I didn't receive payment. Just thought it was a good fit for Friday 13th!


Slimming World Nacho Feast Recipe...

I'm really not sure why I've never posted a recipe for this as it's been a favourite of mine for such a long time and I first made it absolutely ages ago! I first found the recipe when I was following slimming world and it's called nacho feast because it's basically their version of chilli nachos, just with homemade wedges instead. It's absolutely delicious and as chilli is one of my favourite meals, I love trying things like this which are just a bit of a twist on the usual chilli and rice.
Ingredients: for 2 people
2 baking potatoes
250g beef mince
1 red onion
1 pepper
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
400ml beef stock
1 tin of kidney beans
1tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp of chilli powder, 1 tsp of chipotle chilli flakes
Salt, pepper, garlic salt
60g of grated cheese

1. First of all start with the potatoes, peel then chop into wedges and put into a saucepan with cold water, boil for around 10 minutes
2. In a frying pan, cook the mince until brown then add in the chopped pepper and onion, leave to soften 
3. When the mince, onion and pepper is cooked, add in 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 400ml of beef stock and a tin of drained kidney beans
5. Add in any seasoning you like, I normally add cumin powder, chilli powder, chipotle chilli flakes, salt, pepper and garlic salt, stir well then leave to simmer for around 45 minutes
6. When potatoes have boiled for 10 minutes, drain well then tip onto a baking tray, cover with salt, pepper and frylight and cook in a 200 degree oven for around 45 minutes
7. The chilli and wedges should be done around the same time, when the wedges are done lay about a quarter of them down in a dish. Then top with the chilli, and place the rest of the wedges around the sides of the dish
8. Add grated cheese on top of the chilli, I use around 30g per person but when I last made this and took this picture, I used a bit more than that and when it melted it looked like a river of cheese!
9. Place the dish in the oven and bake for around 5-10 minutes until all the cheese has melted
This is just such a warm and comforting meal and I know it's going to be one I make a lot during winter. I love a spicy chilli anyway but add in a load of wedges and cheese, even better! 

Let me know if you decide to give this a go, it's incredible!


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Chocolate Sprinkle Cake Recipe featuring Cake Angels*

My second recipe this week for National Chocolate Week and this time it's a chocolate sprinkle cake! I've posted a few basic sponge recipes like my school sponge cake and my lemon drizzle but not too many chocolate cake ones so I thought I'd give this one a go. It's a basic chocolate sponge topped with melted milk chocolate and covered in sprinkles from Cake Angels. Cake Angels were kind enough to send me a selection of sprinkles to feature in some baking posts, and I knew the chocolate ones would be perfect for this post!
Cake Angels are experts in cake decorating and it's their mission to help people create fabulous bakes and creations with their products. They sell such a wide range including marshmallows, royal icing, halloween and christmas themed products and of course sprinkles and if you love to bake they really are worth checking out. Also I just wanted to mention I've included some chocolate in this recipe from Guittard who also kindly sent me some products to feature. If you haven't already seen I posted a recipe a few days ago for chocolate covered brownies so make sure you give that a read!
250g butter
200g golden caster sugar
50g soft dark brown sugar
4 eggs
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate, grated
80ml warm milk
150g milk chocolate
any toppings you like - sprinkles, chocolate chips etc

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees and grease a large square baking tin
2. Beat the butter with an electric whisk in a bowl until soft, then add in both sugars. Whisk again until light and creamy
3. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Then add in the flour, baking powder and cocoa, fold in until everything is combined
4. Add in the grated chocolate and vanilla extract, and around 80ml of warm milk. Mix well until you have a smooth mixture with dropping consistency
5. Pour into your tin and bake in the oven for around 50 minutes, if you insert a skewer, it should come out clean. Then leave to cool on a wire rack
6. For the topping I melted 150g of chocolate, I used Guittard Semisweet Chocolate Chips which taste lovely and then I poured over the cooled cake.
7. Lastly I then added sprinkles, I used the Chocoholic Sprinkles from Cake Angels and then chilled in the fridge until it had just set, before cutting into squares
I'm seriously so pleased with how this went. I just love chocolate cake and with melted chocolate and sprinkles on top, it's just amazing. I will definitely be making this again and really recommend you give it a go if you love baking, or if you know someone who has a birthday coming up and you want to make something a bit different! Thanks so much to Cake Angels and Guittard for providing me with some products to try some new recipes this week, it's been so much fun! Look out for a final recipe featuring Cake Angels in a few days time!

I also just wanted to mention that Guittard are the primary sponsor for The Chocolate Show in London this weekend, so if you have any free time or if you're in the area, definitely pay them a visit!

What's your favourite thing to bake?

*Some products sent for the purpose of this post, I only work with brands that are relevant to me and my blog

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Food I Have Been Loving This Week #20

Carrying on with my week of foodie blog posts, todays post had to be one of these. I just love writing them. There is actually a proper mix this time, a few homecooked meals, new and old favourites and some sweet treats which I've just been obsessed with.
Covered Chicken - This is one of my favourite meals but one I really don't make often enough! I posted a recipe for it a while ago which you can find here but it's really easy to make and doesn't actually take much time at all which is a bonus. It's just chicken breast wrapped in parma ham baked in the oven for around 45 minutes, and it goes lovely and crispy! I usually serve it with rice and salad, this time we also had some seeded flatbreads which were so nice but other times I like to have it with new potatoes and peas, it's something that goes with most things!

Daim Cake - OMG one of my all time favourite desserts. I remember having this when I was a bit younger and now I've found it in Asda it's going to be something I buy a lot! As it says on the box, it's chocolate cake with crunchy caramel and everything about it is just incredible. The smoothness of the chocolate on top with the crunchy daim pieces is just amazing and one slice is never enough. They even do a chocolate orange flavour now which we found in Iceland, I just want to eat this all the time.

Chicken Chasseur - This is one of those meals I seem to go ages without making and then when I do, I always think why don't I make this more! It's always so delicious, it's so easy to make and just such a comforting meal. I just used a Maggi cook in the bag mix so it really didn't require much effort! I just put two chopped up chicken breasts into the bag along with finely diced red onion, the seasoning sachet and 150ml water, gave it a good mix and then put into a dish to cook in the oven for around 50 minutes. I then served it with new potatoes, stuffing and green beans and it was so nice.

Mango Fanta - I'm a little bit addicted to trying different fantas at the moment! I love the normal fanta orange and the lemon one just reminds me of holidays abroad every time, but I've found a few american flavours recently and I now want to try them all. I first tried the Peach Fanta a few months ago which was incredible, and when we were in Leeds I found the Mango one. This was so sweet and had such a strong flavour, so refreshing!

Chicken & Pepper Pie - Oh this meal makes me so excited for winter. It's just so warming and such a perfect meal for a cold evening. I first spotted this on Instagram last month and made it my mission to track down the recipe and give it a go, I am so glad I found it. It was really easy to make, just chicken fried in a pan, with onion and pepper, 50g of chorizo, chopped tomatoes, beef stock and seasoning, I used chilli powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Leave to simmer while potatoes are boiling, I used 2 baking potatoes for 2 of us. When the potatoes are done, drain and set aside. When the chicken mix has thickened, pour into a dish, top with mash, top with grated cheese. Put into a 200 degree oven for around half an hour. We had ours with some fresh crusty bread and it was honestly one of the best meals I've made. I know I'll be making this loads in Winter.

Double Chocolate Magnums - I love these. I used to really like the double caramel magnums, and I still do but I think the double chocolate are even better. They are just a little bit more indulgent than a normal magnum and such a nice little dessert. They are a little expensive so we don't get them loads but they are always so worth it when we do.

Did you see Food I Have Been Loving This Week #19?

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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Chocolate Covered Brownies Recipe With Guittard*

Brownies are one of my favourite things to bake. I just love them and could eat them most days, but recently I was preparing for a Macmillan Coffee Morning at Georges work and wanted to bake something a little bit more indulgent than usual, and I thought chocolate covered brownies would be a hit. Luckily I had a box full of chocolate from Guittard to use so I decided to go for it. Guittard are a chocolate company from San Francisco and they sell a range of products all perfect for baking, I was sent a selection including chocolate chips, baking wafers and bars and they've been perfect. If you decide to make this, beware the recipe makes 36 brownies! I didn't realise til I started so unless you've got a big family gathering or something, you might want to just half the recipe. In the end I didn't put all the mixture in the tin as it was just too much so I ended up making 16, still plenty!
180g of dark chocolate
1 cup and 2 extra tablespoons of butter
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 3/4 cups of plain flour
120g milk chocolate
80g white chocolate

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees, grease a large square baking tin. The recipe I followed recommended a 9x9x2 inch pan but I just used the biggest one I had
2. Melt the broken dark chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water, keep stirring until fully combined and smooth
3. In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt, then mix on a high speed with an electric whisk. It should go really light and creamy, when it has slowly pour in the melted chocolate mixture and whisk on a low setting until combined
4. Add in the flour and mix well, then pour into the prepared tin, bake in the oven for around 40 minutes. A skewer should come out clean, that's how you know it's done
5. Leave to cool in the tin for around 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack
6. While cooling, melt the chocolate for the top. I first melted around 120g of milk chocolate and then poured over the brownies, then I melted around 80g of white chocolate. When the white chocolate had melted, I used a spoon to drizzle it over the brownies and then I used a wooden skewer to create the feather pattern
7. Set in the fridge for around an hour at least, then cut into squares!
These turned out so well and were just delicious. They were definitely more cakey brownies rather than fudgey, gooey ones but I honestly prefer them like this. They had a really nice dark flavour to them because of the chocolate I used (Guittard Baking Bars) but the melted milk and white on top went with it really well. I used the baking wafers from Guittard for the top and they were perfect, the chocolate was so smooth and creamy and combined the flavours were delicious. I definitely recommend giving these a go if you're looking for a little twist on usual brownies or if you have any events at work or family birthdays etc, everyone will love them!

I also just wanted to mention that Guittard are the primary sponsor for The Chocolate Show in London this weekend, so if you have any free time or if you're in the area, definitely pay them a visit!

A similar recipe you might like to try - Salted Caramel Brownies!

*Guittard chocolate was sent for the purpose of this post. As always I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog 

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Monday, 9 October 2017

The Chocolate You Need To Try - National Chocolate Week 2017*

Today marks the start of National Chocolate Week 2017 and this year I've decided I'm going to do a food related post each day, so if you're someone who likes reading my recipes and things like that hopefully you'll like this weeks! I wanted to start with a post all about my favourite chocolate at the moment, because I don't think a day goes by where I don't have some, it's just the best isn't it? and there was so much I wanted to mention.
Prestat Sea Salt Caramel Truffles* - I'm going to start with these Sea Salt Caramel Truffles from Prestat because they have been such a special little treat. I'm all about chocolate truffles, but make them dark chocolate and add salted caramel, heaven. These truffles contain sweet caramel with a sharp hint of crystal sea salt and they are encased in a 70% cocoa chocolate shell which is dusted with fine cocoa powder. They are so indulgent and just feel like such a treat with every bite. Very moreish and just the perfect little box of chocolates. Currently £13.95 which is pricey but I don't know anyone who wouldn't like these, they would make a lovely christmas or birthday gift if want to treat someone to something a bit more luxurious.
Toffifee - Now kind of the other end of the scale, I pick these up from either Asda or B&M for £1 and I just can't get enough of them. I remember first trying these in school years ago and loving them, then a few years ago I tried them again and now I pick boxes of these up quite frequently! As it says on the box, these are hazelnuts in caramel with creamy nougat and chocolate. The combination of the caramel, hazelnut and chocolate is just amazing and it all just sorts of melts in your mouth. I've recently seen a stocking size tube of these so I'm adding that to my Christmas list!
Mr Stanleys White Chocolate & Popping Candy Matches* - As much as I love milk and dark chocolate, and would usually go for those given the choice, I've actually been loving these White Chocolate and Popping Candy Matches from Mr Stanleys. First of all I love the packaging as they do actually look like a proper box of matches and would make such a unique gift. You get two layers of matches and each stick is white chocolate finished with a pink chocolate tip, with hints of popping candy throughout. I would never think to combine popping candy with white chocolate but together this was so nice, there was the creaminess from the white chocolate but then the crackle from the popping candy and it was just amazing. These are currently £6.99 available here.
Mr Stanleys Sea Salted Milk Chocolate Bars* - Something else I've been trying out from Mr Stanleys is these Sea Salted Milk Chocolate Bars. I was so excited when these arrived as I've actually seen them before in a shop in London and always been tempted by them! There is a little shop on the Southbank in London that sells a few different Mr Stanleys bits and I always stand there looking at them, so this was really lovely to receive and definitely made me think back to our last trip there. These are £6.99 and you get two really decent sized bars of chocolate. The shape is almost a bit like toblerone and you can just snap a bit off at a time. They've got a really creamy milk chocolate taste but with each bite you get a little crunch from the sea salt too and just like with the popping candy above, the combination is delicious. It took me a bit longer to get through these just because they are so chunky but that's definitely not a bad thing, I loved having some of this while watching a film at the weekend. Available to buy here.
Kellys Chocolate Brownie Salted Caramel Ice Cream* - So not strictly chocolate but definitely worth a mention in this post, Chocolate Brownie Salted Caramel Ice Cream! I just love ice cream. I'm always looking for a tub of Ben and Jerrys but when it isn't on offer, it is seriously expensive! Luckily Kellys isn't quite as much and you get so much more for the price! They do a variety of flavours, all look delicious too but this is one I'd had my eye on for a while. It's got just about all of my favourite things - Chocolate Ice Cream, Brownie Chunks and Caramel Sauce. Together they are incredible and the ice cream is really nice and soft. We got through a few tubs of this recently after picking it up in Iceland and I already want to go back and buy more! You can find more flavours on the Kellys website here!
Milkybar with Smarties - I first spotted this in Morrisons a few month ago and I've since picked it up a few times because it is just so tasty. Milkybar is amazing anyway but add in tiny smarties for that added crunch, even better. I actually much prefer this now to normal milkybar and want it all the time! I think next time I make some cookies I might add some of this in, I think that would taste incredible!
So I basically just love chocolate. I'm always looking for new things to try and of course I have my old favourites. I really recommend trying a few of these out if you haven't before, I could eat them all over again right now!

What's your go to chocolate brand?

*Some products were sent for the purpose of this post, these are clearly stated with a '*'. As always I only feature brands I feel are relevant to me and my blog


Saturday, 7 October 2017

My Favourite Lip Combo ft. Rimmel & Maybelline...

I wish I could be one of those people that could apply a red lipstick and look insane but unfortunately I'm just not. I don't know why but really dark and bright colours just don't look right on me and I feel so out of my comfort zone if I even try it. That doesn't stop me trying other things though and now I have 2 lip products which I'm just addicted too, and they are both the perfect shades for me.
As I'm sure regular readers of my blog will know, Rimmel are one of my go to makeup brands now. I love their foundation, mascaras, nail polishes and now I'm even a big lover of their lipsticks, especially their Kate Moss collection. I'm also a big fan of Maybelline, their concealers are so good, but I really do like their lip liners too. Together, the two products in the photo are amazing and I love how they make me feel and look so I really wanted to blog about them.

When I use these together I like to start with the lip liner. I use the Colour Sensational Lip Liner in the shade Intense Pink and I put a little bit of this all over my lips. I don't literally just line my lips, I put it all over and then blend out with a lip brush. Despite the name it isn't actually that intense which is why I like it. It gives me a little bit of colour but not too much, and with the lipstick on top, it's just lovely. I picked up this lipstick from the Kate Moss range a while ago now on a whim, and it's the shade Nude 48. The reason I like this is because it's just the perfect nude and really subtle, I never feel with this that it doesn't look right and I find it goes with my skin tone and my usual makeup look really well. Aswell as looking good, it also feels good and I think that's pretty important. I do love the look matte lipsticks give but some are just so drying so that puts me off whereas with this lipstick, even though it's not matte anyway, it's so moisturising and just really smooth and creamy. It's easy to apply and combined with the lip liner it really is a 'your lips but better' colour. I feel so confident when I've used these and just wanted to recommend them if you're looking for some new products to try!

What's your go to lipstick? Do you have a favourite makeup brand?

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Friday, 6 October 2017

Autumn Clothing Wishlist - 2017...

Last year I did a New Look and Asos Autumn Clothing Wishlist and I thought I'd do the same this year as there are so many gorgeous pieces out at the moment. I know every season we kind of have to change things up a little bit due to the weather but as soon as Autumn hits I always get this massive urge to change up my whole wardrobe and buy loads of new things! I've been wearing the same sort of stuff for a while now and I'm just bored of it, so soon I think I'm going to have to invest in some new bits. I tend to stick to New Look and Asos because the prices aren't usually too bad, they have a good mix of casual and dressy things and their sizing is the best I find, but please let me know if there is anywhere else you recommend as I do feel like I need to branch out!
I'll start with New Look because it's my go to shop for tops and I'm in serious need for some. The first things I saw are both quite basic, the Stripey 3/4 Sleeve Top and the White Bell Sleeve Top but I really like them. I don't really have anything like this at the moment and I'm desperate for some tops with actual sleeves in now it's getting cold! I think both of these could easily be dressed up with a bit of jewellery too. They're just very me and both decent prices. A top I'm pretty desperate to get is the Black Lace Wide Sleeve Top. When I first saw this I wasn't sure but I've been going back to it and now I really want it. I think it would go so well with some new skinny jeans I got just this week, my leather jacket and some nice pumps or heels. It's £20 which I actually don't think is too bad either. I'll have to pick it up soon before it goes. The last top I saw on New Look is this Lace Hem Oversized T-shirt. I think the lace at the bottom just adds something to it and it's another one that could easily be worn casual or dressed up. I love anything with a bit of lace on it. Now onto jackets and there is one which I was so drawn to. It's the Suedette Biker Jacket and it comes in two colours, grey or burgundy. I think both are gorgeous and would look amazing in winter with a chunky scarf, black jeans and some boots. I love my trusty leather jacket but I think it's time to replace it soon or at least have another option for the next few months.

One of the first things I spotted on Asos was this lovely Polka Dot Mesh top for £20. I don't know why but I like any tops that have a bit of detail around the bottom, I think it just makes a normal t-shirt stand out so much more and like everything else is something that could be worn for a number of occassions. The last top I wanted to mention in this wishlist is this White Lace Sleeve Top. I used to have something like this a few years ago and I've honestly been looking for something similar for so long. For some reason I think it would be a lovely one to wear at Christmas! The sleeves are just so pretty! I'm hoping to pick up some more black jeans soon and I love these High Waisted Jeans. I got some of these recently in a dark blue colour, and they have been my go to ones for ages now, I always repurchase them but I really want another colour so I think these will be next. When I find a good pair of jeans that look nice and fit really well, I like to try and get a few pairs. The last bits I saw were some shoes and a bag, because you can never have too many of either! I'm sure I've mentioned some shoes like these Ballet Flats before in a wishlist but I've still not got round to actually picking any up! and I just loved this Suede Shopper Bag. I think this would be perfect for so many things, it looks like it would hold a lot and would be great for when I go away and need a bag to put a book in, food etc.

I definitely think I need to treat myself to a few bits over the next few weeks as I just love so many of these things. I think I've got a good excuse now it's Autumn and getting really cold, I love it!

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Thursday, 5 October 2017

Exante Diet Review*

A few months ago I was sent some products to try out from the kind people over at Exante. I really didn't want to leave it so long to review everything I was sent but as I wasn't well when I first got them and kind of on and off since then, it never seemed like there was a right time to start until a few weeks ago! But anyway now I've finally had chance to try the majority of it all, I couldn't wait to get this review up.
The Exante Diet was something I'd heard a lot about before but not something I'd ever given a go so I was really happy to get the chance to work with them and try some of their best products out. Exante Diet Plans can be used if you're looking to drop a few dress sizes, tone up or just want to change up your eating habits, and it's a really simple and flexible way of doing it. The way it works is that you can substitute up to 3 meals a day with their nutritious meal replacement products including shakes and bars, but they still give your body the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to support healthy weight loss. There are 4 plans to choose from, the Flexi Solution (the one I decided to follow) which is a 1200 calorie diet, you can enjoy 2 exante products each day, plus a healthy meal and another healthy snack. The 5:2 Diet which is where you have 5 days eating normally and then 2 fasting days where you lower your calories and can enjoy 3 exante products. The Man Plan which is a 800 calorie diet, you can have 3 exante products a day plus 200 calories of high protein (it isn't just for men, recommended for people with a BMI over 25). Finally, the Total Solution Plan which is used for fast and effective weight loss, subsitute your 3 meals a day for 3 exante products. As I mentioned I decided to go for the Flexi Solution and incorporate the exante products into my usual eating plan. I was already calorie counting anyway and sticking to a certain amount of calories so I didn't think it would feel like too much of a diet. I was sent a selection of products including shakes, bars, pancake mixes and smoothies, so I'll talk through what I thought about them and then I'll let you know how I got on overall at the end of the post.
I'm going to start with the shakes as these are just so convenient to have in and to make. I had a few flavours to try and of course I had to start with the chocolate. I just love a chocolate milkshake so anything that even slightly resembles that when trying to lose weight is brilliant. This was really easy to make, I just had to mix it into 200ml of water and whisk well, super quick to do and it actually tasted really nice! It did smell and taste just like chocolate milkshake and even though I could tell a little bit it wasn't quite as indulgent as the real thing, as a healthy replacement, it was brilliant! I also had a strawberry shake to try so I gave that a go another day and just like the chocolate shake I was really impressed. Again you can definitely tell it's not a real full fat mikshake but there isn't a massive difference in taste at all so I could definitely have more of these in future. The only one I haven't tried yet is the banana just because I'm not a big fan of banana shakes but I'm sure George will give it a try one day for a quick, easy breakfast. Exante have such a range of shakes and smoothies to choose from including caramel latte frappe, cookies and cream, strawberry daiquiri and almond vanilla which sounds amazing. I think flavours like this make losing weight much more fun and it actually feels like you're drinking something that's substantial, filling and enjoyable! I really did find having one of these instead of a meal for either breakfast or lunch did leave me feeling full and not tempted to reach for anything else.
Now onto the bars. I was sent a variety including protein wafers, muesli breakfast bars, chocolate caramel crunch bars and some really indulgent chocolate ones. Obviously the first one I tried was the Double Chocolate because I'm all about anything chocolately. I had this in replacement of lunch one day and I felt full for hours, I really did. This was almost like a healthier mars bar, and actually didn't really taste like a 'diet' bar, it had a light chocolate filling, was covered in real milk chocolate and had tiny caramel pieces inside so the flavour was really nice. I would definitely reach for one of these in future if I'm out in the morning or just don't have much in to make a meal. Aswell as this one I really enjoyed the wafer bars. I love wafer chocolate bars anyway so to be able to have one when trying to lose weight was really nice. They had a lovely chocolate, velvety filling which is made of a blend of pea and milk protein, and were a great snack to have. The great thing about these is that they can be used a pre or post gym snack aswell if you're someone who likes to work out or is getting into exercise while trying eat better.
Another product I wanted to mention is the Maple Syrup Pancakes mix. Pancakes when you're trying to eat healthier? I know! These pancakes were really easy to make, I emptied the contents into a bowl, added 100ml of cold water, mixed well then left to sit for a few minutes. It was then just as simple as normal pancakes, fry in a normal pan with frylight and cook on each side. It really didn't take much time and these came out really light and fluffy. They were really sweet and had a nice, strong flavour of maple syrup so no temptation to add anything to them. These were a lovely breakfast and just so easy to make. If you wanted to you could even add some fruit for a few extra calories but as they are so sweet, you really don't need to add any other toppings or sauces.

Exante do some great products and I do really think there is something for everyone. The shakes, bars, low calorie meals and more that they do are all so convenient and can be made in a matter of minutes. They are perfect to grab in the morning or could be taken to work, so brilliant if you have a busy, on the go life and struggle to lose weight by preparing your own meals each day. As I mentioned at the start of this post, Exante have a variety of plans so if you are wanting to lose weight for a certain occassion or in quite a short time period, then with these products it can be done, but if you're just wanting to change your eating habits a bit and lead a healthier lifestyle then these are great for that too. That's sort of the path I went down with it and I've really enjoyed trying everything out. As I wasn't well on and off for a few months I didn't feel comfortable following the plan to lose weight, so I just used it to try and get a bit healthier and try some new things. It's been nice to not have to really think about 3 meals a each day, as I do get bored easily and struggle to come up with new things, but with these I've just been able to quickly put together a shake or grab a bar and as I've already said, just so convenient. I really recommend giving Exante a go, and you can find out lots more on their website here! They do such a wide range of products and a lot are on offer at the moment so really worth having a look. I definitely think I'll be trying out more from Exante in the future and following a more strict plan so I'll keep you updated!

Have you ever tried anything from Exante before?

*Products were sent for the purpose of this review. I only work with brands I feel are relevant to my blog

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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

September TV & Film Favourites...

So, I know I've already done my usual Monthly Favourites but there has been so much TV I've been loving over the last few weeks, I really wanted to do a full post on it! There are a few shows I just had to mention and also some films I've absolutely loved, I couldn't fit it all into a normal favourites so I hope you like this little extra post!
Doctor Foster - This had to be the first thing I mentioned, I have been addicted to it! I've mentioned Doctor Foster before on my blog, series 1 was on in 2015 and it came back for a second series last month. In the first series it was about a woman called Gemma who suspects her husband is having an affair. Each week we were left wondering who to believe and whether he really was cheating and there were twists and turns with each episode. It had such an amazing ending and I really was sceptical when it was revealed they were doing a second series, just because sometimes they come back and they can't top the first one, and I really didn't know where they could take it, but series 2, which finished last night was brilliant. I genuinely felt so tense with each episode and just had no idea what would happen next. I think the ending of the second series left it open for another and even though I'm excited for that if it does happen, part of me feels like maybe they should have left it with series 1. I think when something is so good you don't need to try and do anymore! Suranne Jones who plays Gemma is incredible though and I'd love to see more shows with her in.
13 Going On 30 - I remember watching this when I was so young and absolutely loving it. I found it on Netflix a few weeks ago and it was still just as good as I remember, it took me right back to being a young teenager! It's a classic film and I imagine most people have seen it but if not it's about a young girl who on her 13th birthday wishes she could be a 30 year old woman, with her life exactly how she's always imagined. The next day she wakes up and she's got everything she wished for but she has no idea how that's happened and she realises the things she wanted might not have been the best for her. It's a typical romcom sort of film I suppose but it's funny, and heartwarming and just makes me smile. It's a nice one to put on in the background while working or if you just want a nice, chilled film to sit and watch.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates - Another film I've mentioned on my blog before but I've watched it a few times over the last few weeks and each time I find it just as hilarious as the first. I think this is one of those films you either love or hate and I've read very mixed things from people but I just love it and think it's one of the funniest films. It's about Mike and Dave, two brothers who are out of control and always cause havoc at family gatherings. For their sisters wedding, they are told to bring dates so they go on a mission to find two girls and even though they think the two they pick are perfect, it turns out they've fooled them and are actually worse than them when it comes to partying. I probably haven't explained it very well but seriously if you need a laugh, give this a watch!
Once Upon A Time - I started watching this after finishing Pretty Little Liars but I had no idea what to expect. I know it's a show so many people seem to love but it wasn't until last month I really felt like watching it and it was only then I actually decided to find out what it was all about! It tells the story of a new world where fairy tale legends and modern life collide. In the first series we see Emma Swan get her life turned upside down when a young boy called Henry shows up at her flat, saying he's her son, and also he's convinced that she's the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. He thinks a spell was cast on all the classic fairytale characters to bring them to present day and live normal lives in Storybrooke. Again, I probably haven't explained it well but if you're looking for a new series to get stuck into, I really recommend this. I'm only on series 2 at the moment and I've got loads left to go but so far I'm really liking it and it's filled the gap Pretty Little Liars left in my life!
The Great British Bake Off - The last thing I've been loving through September, Bake Off! Like most people I couldn't believe that they were going to carry on without Mary, Mel and Sue and I really didn't think I was going to like the whole new show but I'm absolutely loving it. It feels like nothing has changed! It's still the same show, the same sorts of challenges, Paul is still there and the new additions have been brilliant I think. Prue is a great replacement for Mary, and I think Noel and Sandy are just as good as Mel and Sue. I think they are so funny and together they all fit just as well as the others did on BBC. I'm so glad it's been better than I expected, I love watching this each week.
I'm just addicted to TV at the moment, and there seem to be loads of other good shows coming out soon. So many dramas seem to start around this time of year and I love it!

Have you been watching any of these TV shows? Or have you seen any of the films I mentioned?

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