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Friday, 23 February 2018

Food I Have Been Loving This Week #25

I don't know what's wrong with me at the moment but I actually can't stop thinking about food! I've been really enjoying making some new meals which I'm now desperate to make again, and some old favourites which have already been mentioned on my blog many times but I can't help but include them again.
food
Krispy Kreme - We very rarely have Krispy Kreme Doughnuts but a few weeks ago we had a few offers to use so we picked a some up and they were so delicious! I went for one of the Valentines ones which was the Raspberry Chocolate Heart. It was filled with a chocolate truffle kreme and it was heaven.

Smarties Orange Eggs - I love Easter chocolate. As soon as I saw these, I had to get them. I love any sort of orange chocolate so I knew I would like these and they're actually not too sharp or strong which is nice. The orange flavouring is actually quite subtle and not too over the top. They were £1 a think and I'm definitely going to be getting more while I can.

Homemade Chilli - I'm pretty sure I mentioned this in my last one of these posts or if not, it wasn't too long ago but I'm loving making chilli at the moment. It's always been one of my favourite meals but each time it just seems to get better and better! It's one of my go to meals when I'm planning the food shop as it's so easy and I know it's one we'll always enjoy.

Quorn Sausage Patties - I've been really enjoying making my own sort of McDonalds breakfast with these Quorn Sausage Patties recently. I'm such a big fan of Quorn products, especially these and their chicken nuggets which genuinely taste like the real thing! I don't think you can tell at all that these aren't meat and they're so filling. We've been having these in a muffin with bacon, egg and a cheese slice and it's been like our own little McDonalds for much less money.

Mr Kipling Valentines - Last year Mr Kipling rebranded some of their products for Valentines and I was so pleased to see they'd done it again this year. I'm such a sucker for things like this, I'm exactly the type of person who falls for these things even though the product is never actually any different. I picked up some of the Pink Fancies for £1 and got through them so quickly, the cake is just the softest thing. We also had some of the Valentines Whirls aswell which were a cheesecake and strawberry jam flavour, they were so good!

Homemade Cornish Pasties - I had been wanting to make my own Cornish Pasties for literally years and last month I finally did! I remember years ago we had homemade ones at Georges and we'd always said since we have to try and make our own but we just never got round to it, and really I never expected ours to turn out quite so well. After finding a simple recipe online, George and I made them together and they went so well! I couldn't believe how they turned out. The pastry was beautiful and the filling was so tasty, and together with mash, they were the perfect winter meal! I just about managed one as they were so filling but that meant we had some leftover for lunch the next day, winner. I can't wait to make these again!

All The Rice - I'm actually a little bit addicted to rice at the moment. I've always been all about the carbs but for the last few weeks now I've just wanted rice with as many meals as possible. I've been picking up pouches of Tilda rice as they do some really nice flavours and these have been brilliant for lunches. I like to have them with halloumi or sometimes things like Quorn Nuggets and it leaves me full for ages. Things like this are so good to have in when I'm not sure what to have or if we don't have much planned to go with a meal.

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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Gemporia Ombre Birthstone Candle Review*

If you were to ask me for one thing that I'm obsessed with buying, it would always be candles! I just can't help myself. Obviously the scent is the main thing and I love a huge range from sweet to floral and even baked goods, but I also like them to look pretty, so this beautiful candle from Gemporia is a winner on both parts! As my birthday was in January, I was sent one of their Ombre Birthstone Candles and I have absolutely loved using it over the last month.
Gemporia Garnet Candle
Gemporia were a relatively new brand to me but I was really impressed at the range of products available and how gorgeous they all were. Gemporia offer the very best in stylish, affordable and responsibly made genuine gemstone jewellery so they are a brilliant brand to consider for any birthdays coming up for that extra special present. Gemporia believe that jewellery shouldn't be over the top expensive but it should be something that each person who makes it and wears it appreciates. In all of the products available at Gemporia, only genuine gemstones are used and precious metals meaning everything is original and ethical. 

As soon as I unwrapped the parcel I loved just the packaging of the candle alone! It comes in a white and purple box and it looks so sleek and elegant. I think the simple added touch of the box makes it such a great idea for a gift as it seems like so much thought has gone into making it special. I then discovered the beautiful Garnet Birthstone Candle inside and I couldn't believe how stunning it was. The ombre red is so unique and totally different to any other candles I currently have or have had in the past. I knew straight away that this could go in our living room as that has hints of red and it really does go perfectly. I didn't actually know much about my birthstone so it was nice to find out a bit more about it through Gemporia. 

'Garnet Legends and folklore place Garnet among the most ancient of talismans. Not only was it prized as an ornamental jewel, but its strong curative powers and protective energies made it invaluable.'
What I love about this candle that makes it different to the others I currently have placed around the flat is that it's only made from eco friendly products including natural oils and 100% soy wax. This gives it a very clean burn which is important as I hate it when you burn a candle and it starts to go black around the glass ruining the whole look! Something else I really like about this candle in particular is the 6 carats of Garnet which are fused into the top layer of the wax which is infused with a Fressia fragrance. As the wax melts, the gemstones start to gently float in it and you can see it happening which I actually find quite calming to watch! I'd not seen anything like it before and it's just something else that adds to the uniqueness of the candle. Though the scent isn't the strongest, the longer it burns the more intense it gets. I tend to leave this burning for a few hours in the evening and it does eventually start to fill the room, it's not an instant hit of fragrance but that's really only a small downside. It's still a lovely scent and the look of it makes up for that I think. If you're also a January baby like me, this is currently on offer for just £14.99 on the Gemporia website.
Gemporia Garnet Candle
If your birthday is coming up and you want to treat yourself, it's definitely worth having a look at what products are available for your birthstone, and if any friends or family are celebrating a birthday soon, something from their birthday month would be such a thoughtful gift! They really do have some beautiful pieces from the more high end side to more affordable gifts, so something for everyone. If you would like to find your own birthstone or just want to see what other products are available, you can find lots of information on their website. You can also find them on Instagram and Twitter!

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

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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

York - Why It's Somewhere I'd Love To Visit This Year...

Though a holiday abroad would be lovely this year, and I'm sure will happen at some point, I do have some places on my list in the UK that I would love to visit. I've mentioned quite a few times on my blog that I love a weekend away, no matter where it is, that time for George and I to get away from life for a little bit is so special and I'm determined to find more time for it this year. The place in the UK that is currently at the top of my list is York and there are a number of reasons why so I'm really hoping we get to book a trip there soon.
York
Source
York Minster - Probably the thing York is most famous for so somewhere we have to go to. It looks absolutely beautiful and I can totally see why it's such a must. When I was younger I'm sure I'd have found something like this boring but now I'd really love to visit it.

The Shambles - This is something that has always drawn me to York because it just looks so beautiful and I love the medieval feel of it. It reminds me a lot of Harry Potter actually! It's known now for little quirky shops and cafes so I'd love to make a visit, I think it's kind of a must if you go to York. I love discovering new independant shops and things like that so this is definitely my sort of place.
The Shambles
Source
York City Walls - Apparently a visit to York isn't complete without a walk around the City Walls. The preserved walls are the longest medieval town walls in England and you can enjoy some amazing views from them. It seems like the perfect way to explore the city and as we've never been before I think it would be a great thing to do on our first day.

York's Chocolate Story - We're both chocolate fiends so when I saw there was a place dedicated to it in York, that only made me want to go even more. This is a tour that takes you through the history of York's most famous chocolate making families and their creations, and you even get to have a go at making some yourself which sounds exciting! I've never done anything like this before so I think it would be something a bit different.

York Designer Outlet - I love a bit of shopping and even though I'm not about designer stuff at all, I would love to make a visit to York Designer Outlet. Looking on the website, there are loads of exciting shops which I've not been too before and I love a bargain. It looks like there are some good homeware stores aswell which is fab because homeware shopping is one of my favourites! There are also some great foodie shops too like the Cadbury store and Lindt store - heaven!

Beautiful Hotels - I've found some really stunning hotels when looking at a weekend away in York. As we're hoping for a few days there before anywhere else this year, we're calling it a little 'minimoon' as we didn't get chance to go anywhere around the time we got married so it would be nice to stay somewhere a bit more fancy than we usually do. At the moment the one I'm leaning towards is The Grand Hotel and Spa which looks like the ultimate place to stay.

Recommended Restaurants - I've seen some really lovely restaurants recommended online that we don't get in Sheffield which I would love to pay a visit to. One that I really like the look of is the Cosy Club. After seeing Chloes review a while ago, I added it to my list because it's just looks like our sort of place. It looks different to anywhere we've been before for a date night and there is some really delicious food on the menu including Tapas which is one of my favourites. They also do a pudding sharing plate which is definitely something we'd have to get. I'd also love to go to Bettys Tea Room for a slice of cake! I featured some of their chocolate in a Christmas gift guide and ever since I've been desperate to go to one of their cafes. Finally Crumbs Cupcakery would be a must, I love the look of their delicious cupcakes.

I'd love to know if you've been to York before and if you have any recommendations! These are the things I've seen online and know of but I'm definitely open to more ideas if you have any. Hopefully we can get something booked soon as everything about it looks wonderful and I'm desperate for a weekend away at the moment.


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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Lavera Skincare Review*

A few months ago I was sent a few products to try out from Skincare brand Lavera so now I've been testing them for a while and have been able to get a real feel for them, I thought it was about time for my review.
lavera
 Lavera have manufactured all natural skincare and cosmetics for over 25 years now, all to the highest quality standards. Their wide range of products all contain herbal ingredients, organic where possible, and they are all formulated without synthetic preservatives, colours or fragrances. This means they are effective but gentle on skin so great for those who suffer with sensitive skin and have to be careful which products they use. As they're so gentle on the skin they are great for all of the family to enjoy, and for the environment which is so important. The two products I was sent to try out was the Refreshing Body Wash and Body Lotion, both of which I couldn't wait to use.

Refreshing Body Wash Organic Lime and Verbena - First of all this has the most refreshing scent! Lime is one of my favourites in a shower gel as it's such a zingy fragrance and it always wakes me up in a morning shower. This Lavera Body Wash gently cleanses your skin with mild and natural surfactants which leave you feeling fresh and ready to go. This has been brilliant to use as it's really made me feel so clean and refreshed, and because the organic limes provide moisture, it's left my skin feeling nourished and soft after using. A little bit goes a long way so the 200ml bottle is more than enough to last you a while. The scent of this body wash also lasts for hours on the skin, or so I've found, which is a bonus as now I just smell like limes! This is currently £6.45 online.
lavera
 Refreshing Body Lotion Organic Lime and Verbena - Body Lotion isn't something I tend to use too often, I usually just stick to my shower gels so I was really excited to try this. The Lavera Body Lotion has extracts of fruity organic lime and organic verbena which leaves your skin feeling soft and supple. It's really easy to apply to dry skin and it soaks in well. The reason I don't tend to use body lotions or moisturisers is because I find a lot of them are quite sticky and I can feel them on my skin whereas with this it absorbed quickly and just left me with super soft skin. Just like the body wash, the tangy scent of lime was so refreshing, and only a small amount is needed so the bottle lasts such a good amount of time. This is currently £8.45.
lavera
Both of these products have been great to use and have honestly left my skin in such good condition after using. It makes my skin so soft to touch and I generally just feel so fresh afterwards. The lotion is brilliant for using after showering and it really is no fuss as it soaks in so well and as I've mentioned numerous times in this post, the scent is the best! If this scent isn't for you, there are many other products to choose from on the Lavera website. I highly recommend having a look if you're looking for some new organic skincare products to try.
lavera
Have you ever tried anything from Lavera before?

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

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Monday, 19 February 2018

Simple Victoria Sponge Recipe...

For Georges birthday this year I really wanted to make a cake myself as I definitely don't bake as often as I used to, and homemade cakes are always better than shop bought I think. The first time I made a Victoria Sponge cake was about 4 years ago and it was a bit of a disaster so even though it should have been one of the easiest cakes to make, that kind of put me off making it again. Though my first attempt ages ago didn't go too well I decided to give it another go for Georges birthday, and luckily it went well! I followed a Jo Wheatley recipe and just changed the filling and it really did taste delicious.
Victoria Sponge
Ingredients: Cake
225g margarine
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla essence
4 eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk

Ingredients: Filling
150g of double cream
3 tbsp Strawberry Jam

Method:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees and grease and line two cake tins 
2. In a mixing bowl, add in your margarine, sugar, self raising flour, baking powder, vanilla essence, eggs and 1 egg yolk and beat with an electric whisk. I whisked it for about 2 minutes until it was nice and smooth. If you don't have an electric whisk, add in the ingredients one by one and mix well with a wooden spoon
3. When mixed well, pour evenly into the two cake tins and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean, leave to cool on a wire rack.
4. When cool, whisk up the double cream for about 2 minutes with an electric whisk and spread over one of the cakes. Add 3 tbsp of jam to the other cake, spread well then sandwich the two cakes together
5. Finally dust the cake with icing sugar and slice

TOP TIP - When leaving the cakes to cool on a wire rack, add a slice of bread to the top of each cake. This stops the cake from going dry while cooling, and instead hardens the bread. When cakes have cooled, remove the bread and you should have a delicous, moist cake.
Victoria Sponge
Victoria Sponge
This is probably one of the easiest cakes I've ever made so it will definitely be one I bake again and again now. I'm so used to making chocolate cake and brownies etc, so this was a very nice change!


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Sunday, 18 February 2018

Laser Hair Removal Treatment With Pulse Light Clinic*

I have an extra blog post this week all about Pulse Light Clinic. I've mentioned them a few times on my blog in the past as they do a variety of different treatments and this time I wanted to talk about their Laser Hair Removal Treatment.

Laser hair removal is the deliberate removal of body hair and it's done using the technology of laser. Hair grows differently for different people so while there might be some of us that have fine hair that is barely noticeable, there are others who are blessed with thicker and darker hair. I know myself how hard dark hair is to completely get rid off, especially if it's in unwanted places or in excessive amounts, so sometimes laser hair removal is an option worth considering to sort it once and for all.

The way laser hair removal works is that it targets the hair follicle with laser light and this destroys it, therefore stopping it from producing further hairs. This process is called photothermolysis and that means the laser only targets the hair (in large amounts at a time) and it ensures surrounding tissue remains unaffected. Compared to a process called electrolysis which works by targeting each individual hair follicle, the service Pulse Light Clinic offer is not only less painful but also less time consuming. After a treatment, dead hair needs to come through the skin and this will shed after a few weeks, and even though it may take a few treatments to ensure different hair follicles have been targeted, there are many benefits to the process. It leaves you with smoother skin that no longer requires shaving or waxing, it causes less irritation, ensures a reduction of ingrown hairs, reduces excessive hair growth and many other things too. The video below has lots more details on the process if you wish to know more!
If you've been thinking about Laser Hair Removal for a while you can find Pulse Light Clinic at their Liverpool Street Clinic in London and their contact details are - info@pulselightclinic.co.uk and 02075938055. You can also find out more information on their website!

*Sponsored post in collaboration with Pulse Light Clinic

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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Where I Find Affordable Blog Props On A Budget...

It's taken me a long time to be happy with my blog photos, and even though I know I'm not the queen of flatlays, I've dramatically improved since I first started and I think that's all down to different props and backgrounds. Over the last year in particular I've really got into the photography side of blogging and I now love picking up new bits to add to my photos, and all of them are on the cheaper side! Blog props don't have to be expensive and if you shop around you can find some fab bits, so I thought I'd share some of my favourite affordable extras and let you know where I found them!
blog props on a budget
Trinket Dishes & Candles - Small trinket dishes are always a winner when it comes to photos. They just fill a space and are great to grab when you're stuck. I have a few different ones which I tend to use quite a lot, these being a pineapple dish that I picked up from New Look for about £5 (similar here), a Winnie the Pooh gold dish which was £8 from Clintons and a little white and gold pineapple dish from Wilkinsons which was only about £1.50! You can find a variety of cute trinket dishes for under £10 from all sorts of place and they look great with lots of different products. I love to use the pineapple one with beauty products especially, and it's a staple for photos throughout summer! I also love to add candles to photos. Recently I've been adding my Bath and Body Works dupe to the background whenever there is a space and this is £3.99 from B&M. As the copper lid is so pretty I also sometimes use this in my photos and you would never know what it is! Another candle I love to use and have done for a long time is a copper geometric style holder from the Card Factory which was only £1.99. 
trinket dishes
Fake Flowers - I love love love adding fake flowers to my photos. I find they can just completely change a photo and I can go from absolutely hating what I see to loving it. I have a few different ones I like to rotate, some fake peonies from Ebay which were around £3.50 at the time, some white carnations from IKEA which were 40p each, a pink orchard stem which was £1.25 from Wilkinsons and also some dried rose petals which I got in my Asda food shop for £1.50 and they are my current favourite to add to photos. Artificial flowers really don't have to be expensive and when you shop around you can find some beautiful ones. Something else I like to use in Autumn is fake maple leaves which I found on Amazon last year. They were for £1.99 for 100 and they were perfect for the last few months of 2017! I don't tend to stick to themes on Instagram but I do like to add little extras in to reflect the season when I can.
beauty flatlay
Cheap Wrapping Paper - As you can see from the photo above and the one below, I love to use wrapping paper as a prop. I only have one white background in this whole flat which is suitable for photos but I don't always like to stick with that so wrapping paper has been a great find! Whenever I buy any, I cut a large rectangular piece off and just keep with the rest of my blog props. I currently have quite a few so when I need to, I have a few to choose from. The one in the photo above was from Asda and was £2, and the one in the photo below was from Paperchase which if I remember correctly was around £1.50 for a sheet. I currently have my eye on this Gold Wood Grain one but they have loads to choose from instore. Wallpaper samples are also brilliant and you can get these totally free! I recently ordered a few from Next and delivery was also free but you can find many in stores like B&M and B&Q.
evening routine
Blankets & Fabrics - One of the first things I started to use when taking blog photos was any blankets I could find! I've got quite a chunky fluffy one which I've used multiple times in photos and I've also got a lighter winter themed one which I love to use around Christmas time. These are things I had anyway so didn't cost me anything but you can find things like this in Primark for around £5. I also like to use other bits of fabric I can find and a favourite of mine is a thin scarf. I like how this looks in the corner of photos and it's so simple but adds a nice bit of texture and colour. Lastly in Winter I love to use a tartan pillowcase I have. Random I know but I didn't have a red tartan scarf which I thought would be perfect for Christmas themed photos and then I noticed the bedding in the spare room! There's no harm in getting inventive and using things you might not usually think of.
wedding makeup
Stationery & Magazines - I love using a magazine as a backdrop to my photos. I find they're great for placing beauty products on or for placing to the side as an extra just to change up the white background. I've got a few different £1 Glamour and Cosmopolitan magazines which I flick through every so often and I try to find a page relevant to the products I'm wanting to photograph. Aswell as magazines, I also love to use notebooks. You can buy really cheap ones from places like Home Bargains and Wilkinsons and they're really, really pretty! I have few pastel pinks one which I like to use and I love how they look in flatlays.
beauty
Makeup - Though with a lot of my photos, makeup is the main focus, I also like to add little beauty items when I'm photographing other things. If I'm struggling with ideas and don't know how to fill the space I'll just add a few nail polishes, bits of jewellery and lipstick. These are things I have in my makeup bag anyway so cost no extra and they're fab to just grab when you're in a bit of a rut!
winnie the pooh
Ribbons & Fairy Lights - The last few bits I have in my props basket which I like to use to finish any photos is ribbon and fairy lights. I picked up some gold glittery ribbon from Hobbycraft for £1 around Christmas and now I tend to use it in most photos. I find they photograph quite well and just cover any little spaces. Fairy lights are also great especially to drape over any products and I find it instantly changes the photo up. I currently use some from Primark which were £2.50 and as they're copper wire they go really well with other props I tend to use and they're easy to position exactly how you want.
nails inc
I had no intention of this post being so long but I just had so many things I wanted to share! It really is worth shopping around for extras for your photos as you can find some real gems. Places like B&M, Primark and Ebay are always a winner and brilliant for a bargain. Though aswell as that, it's always worth having a look around your home and finding some bits to include as I mentioned above, you can honestly create some beautiful photos at no extra cost at all!

Where do you tend to find your blog props?


*Affiliate links used in this post

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Friday, 16 February 2018

3 Money Saving & Budgeting Tips*

I've written quite a few money saving blog posts over the last year or so, because who doesn't want to have a little bit of spare money at the end of the month? I've mentioned things like survey sites, buying value items and reward cards before, but recently I've started using a few different apps which I had to recommend and I've also found some other gems online which I think could be really useful for some people. I think no matter how much you earn, it's always nice to be able to save where you can and find ways to make life a little bit easier.
Money Saving Apps - Recently I downloaded 2 different money saving apps which have been brilliant for vouchers and freebies. The first one is Shopmium which has new offers each week, some are for completely free products, and others have money off. The app is really simple to use, just pick up the product in store which takes your fancy, scan the product and the receipt once your home and then they'll reimburse you. My first offer when I signed up was a free bar of Cadbury for £1.50, within a few days of scanning my receipt I had the money back in my account! At the moment if you sign up with my code you can get yourself a free jar of Nutella! It's well worth doing and my referral code is 6WY46. Another app I've recently downloaded is Shoppix. All you have to do with this is scan your receipt every time you shop, you'll get tokens and eventually you can convert these to cash or vouchers! It really is as simple as that and it's brilliant for any little top up shops you do as you can really get something for nothing. For an extra 200 points you can sign up with my referral code CLPPLIXU. With this app you also get surveys each week to complete which give you more points.
shopmium
Payday Loans - Before applying for a payday loan you really need to be sure that you can pay the money back, and if you can and you're in urgent need of cash, then it might not be such a bad idea. I wanted to mention this as though it's preferred to have money set aside for any emergencies, that isn't always the case. There are many payday loan companies out there now but the one I wanted to mention in this post is Cash Lady. They are a well-established and reputable business who really care about all of their customers. When considering taking out a loan it's important you are well informed and are clear about what you are signing up for. Cash Lady are always honest and transparent when advising on payday loans and they are always working to get the best outcome for you. You can find heaps on helpful information on their website and also as there is no charge for making an application, there is definitely no harm in getting in touch and chatting with someone to find out more and get the best advice before going ahead. As payday loans can help with your finance on a short term basis, they are a great backup plan if something goes wrong with your paycheck or if something breaks unexpectedly. As long as you have money coming in and can cover the cost of repaying then it's worth considering for the future.
cash lady
Check Your Budget - It's really important if you're wanting to save money or cut back that you budget each month and know exactly what is coming in and going out. It's easy if you're struggling to act as if it isn't happening and ignore it but that only makes things worse. Sit down and make a list, and go through what could be done. You might find you're paying for things and not actually using them, Netlflix? Well if you're not getting much use out of it, cancel it and you've saved yourself almost £10 there. The same goes for things like Gym memberships. If you're not going, cancel and use that money for something else! Only by budgeting will you find things like this and you might surprise yourself and find many ways you can save yourself some money. Aswell as making sure you budget each month, it's also worth checking out some freebie sites for any little extras. I literally just Google free stuff sometimes and so many sites come up, and you can get yourself free bits of food, samples of laundry bits, and loads more. It's always worth having a browse each week.

There are so many websites and apps out there now which help you budget and save money but these are the 3 things I really wanted to talk about as I think they're all useful for different people in different situations. I'm always looking for new ways to save so let me know if you have any other tips or if you've used any of these too!

Similar Posts - How I Budget // Saving Money On Your Food Shopping

*Sponsored post in collaboration with Cash Lady. I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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Thursday, 15 February 2018

Crafted By Cracker Drinks Review*

I'm always on the lookout for new drinks to try, whether that's juice, teas or fizzy pop, I just love discovering new brands and new flavours. One of my favourite things at the weekend is breakfast in bed with some warm croissants and an ice cold glass of juice, so these few drinks from Crafted Drinks that I was sent recently have been perfect!
crafted drinks
I'd seen Crafted Drinks online a few times and I instantly knew they were something I had to try at some point. Crafted Drinks which are created by the team at Cracker Drinks Co contain exciting combinations of fruit and the highest quality ingredients which make a perfect refreshing treat. All of the flavours which are blended with water aren't filled with added sugars or sweeteners and actually these drinks contain 30% less sugar than 100% apple juice! They are also 1 of your 5 a day which I was very pleased to find that out because fruit juice is one of my absolute favourites but definitely not the best thing in the world for you. Knowing that that you can have fruit juice which isn't actually that bad for you, makes me very happy!

There are four flavours available to buy which I'll go through:

Mango and Passionfruit - The perfect mix of sweet and tangy. This has a beautiful taste of mango first and then a strong hint of passionfruit and together they are the perfect combination. Mango and passionfruit has been a favourite of mine for ages and it always makes me think of summer and fresh smoothies! This was the first flavour I tried and it was everything I hoped. So fruity and refreshing and one I'll definitely be picking up in future.

Still Cloudy Lemonade - Fizzy cloudy lemonade is something I very rarely have but always enjoy so I was really excited to try this. Cloudy lemonade makes me think of warm days sat out in the garden with a BBQ, and this still version is perfect for that. It's not too sharp but has a nice refreshing zingy taste to it and the texture of it is really nice and smooth. I'm saying it now, this was my favourite out of all the ones I was sent and one I will be picking up very soon from the supermarket.
crafted drinks
Pineapple, Coconut & Lime - The thing I really love about Crafted Drinks is their range of flavour combinations and adding coconut and lime to pineapple was the perfect mix. Out of all of them this was the one that really reminded me of cocktails, it's a brilliant non-alcoholic alternative to a pina colada but just as tasty. I did find the coconut flavour quite strong which was a little odd at first but the pineapple comes through the more you drink and of course the hint of lime is a nice addition.

Apple, Mint & Lime - This is another flavour which reminded me of cocktails. I could totally imagine this in a decorative glass full of ice on a hot summers day. Apple juice is my all time favourite and something I get quite reguarly so I was really intrigued by this. I love the addition of lime to it as it just adds something a little bit different and gives it a nice tangy hit. The mint was also a refreshing addition and definitely went well with the other flavours.
crafted drinks
crafted drinks
As I tend to stick to just plain apple or orange juice, it's been so nice to try out all of these delicious flavour combinations and find some new favourites. Out of them all the Cloudy Lemonade was definitely top for me but the Mango and Passionfruit came a close second. I just found both of these so enjoyable and I could honestly go through glass after glass of them. Though I loved the first two, my partner George actually really enjoyed the latter two much more so that shows there is a flavour each person is sure to enjoy. Though the flavours are the main thing, I did just want to quickly mention the packaging because I think it's so eye catching. It's really different to other plain cartons of juice you find now and I know if I saw this in a shop I would be instantly drawn to it.
crafted drinks
 I wouldn't hesitate to pick these up again in future and as I've already said, I've already found the Cloudy Lemonade online at Asda so that will be getting added to my shopping basket very soon. If you would like to pick some of these up for yourself, they can be found in Sainsburys, Asda and Waitrose or you can find out more on their website here! I highly recommend you give them a try, especially in the warmer months of the year for any BBQ's or parties you may plan!

Have you ever tried Crafted Juice Drinks before?

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

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Jens Sweet Shop Subscription Box Review*

Subscription boxes are all the rage now. As I mentioned in one of my Valentines Gift Guides, you can find a variety now from beauty to healthy snacks to American goodies and now even sweets and chocolate which pleases me very much. I was recently sent a sweet box to try from the lovely people at Jen's Sweet Shop and I have thoroughly enjoyed going through everything!
jens sweet shop
Jen's Sweet Shop is a proper traditional sweet shop, both online and offline. They started over 8 years ago in a small indoor market but they now have a fully fledged shop and also stock lots of sweet favourites online. You can buy any sweets you want in either 200g bags, small jars or large jars or you can order a subscription box which is the thing I was lucky enough to try out. There are 3 subscription boxes available, the Ultimate Mystery Box which contains a mix up and 2 lollies, the Perfect Pick n Mix Up which contains a range of gummy, fizzy and jelly sweets aswell as lollies, and finally the Tasty Traditional Mixup which includes a mix up of lots of old favourites.

The box I was sent I was very impressed with as it had some of my favourites! There was Assorted Toffee, Fizzy Chips, Snowies, Jelly Snakes and 2 lollies.
jens sweet shop
jens sweet shop
Within a few hours I had got through the Fizzy Fries, they were so moreish! Something I very rarely have so they were really nice to see in the box. The Assorted Toffees were an excellent addition too. I love the mix of Milk Chocolate, Plain Toffee and Chocolate Eclairs, the English Creamy Toffee was my absolute favourite, I'm going to have to get more of those in future. I also really enoyed the Jelly Snakes and my partner George loved the Snowies. I'm not a massive fan of white chocolate so I just had a few of these but he got through them very quickly. Overall the mix included was brilliant and it was nice to have lots of different choice, including the lollies as that's something I never ever buy.
jens sweet shop
The thing I really like about subscription boxes like this is that you really have no idea what you'll get each time. As there are over 400 different sweets available at Jen's Sweet Shop, you can't possibly predict it! Aswell as obviously loving the selection of sweets and the taste, I was also really impressed with how everything was packaged. Each selection of sweets were packaged individually and the box itself was ideal for fitting through the letterbox. This means that no problems with delivery should happen and it doesn't matter whether you're in or not when the box arrives. The 3 subscription boxes available are currently £5.95 but if you enter the code FIRSTBOX at checkout you can get the first box for just £3.95. It's also your choice whether you get the box every 2 weeks or 4 weeks, it depends how much of a sweet tooth you have 😉
jens sweet shop
If you would like to try out Jen's Sweet Shop or want to see the huge range of sweets available then make sure you check out their website for lots more information. I highly recommend them for a little treat to your self each month!

Have you ever tried a sweet subscription box before?

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

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Monday, 12 February 2018

Things I Want To Make More Time For This Year...

Self care is something I think is really important and something everyone should make time for within their week. I've mentioned before some of the things I do to try and relax but there are definitely some other things I feel I need to make more time for this year. All quite simple things which make me happy and chill me out a little but ones I don't do enough.
bomb cosmetics
Reading Magazines - I know, I know, trashy magazines but I used to love reading them. I remember I used to go through a good few a week, I dread the amount I used to spend on them but over the last few years that's sort of dwindled. I think because now everything is so instant with social media, it's almost a bit like there's no need to read magazines anymore which I find a bit sad. I love chilling in the bath with a good magazine so I definitely want to start picking them up every so often.

Reading Books - Following on from my last point, I also really want to make more time for reading books this year. I've mentioned quite a few times recently that I need to get back into it and this year is the year for that. I find magazines less intense than a book so they're great for when I just want a quick 10 mins to take some time out but I do love getting my head stuck in a book at night. It chills me out before bed and gives me something to focus on. 

Coffee Dates - I say coffee dates, I don't like coffee but you get the gist. I used to love when I'd pop to Starbucks with friends and just sit and chat for hours so I'd love to get back into doing things like that, and I'd also love for George and I to take more time for things like that. A drink in Costa or somewhere like that doesn't have to cost loads but it's a nice way to get out and do something a little bit different. When my anxiety is hopefully a lot better, I'd love to go and do some blogging in a coffee shop as I find I'm so much more productive when I'm away from the sofa!

Interacting With Others - This might seem like a bit of an odd one but as I don't currently have a job, I find I don't actually talk to many people! Even though I think I do quite well in social situations, the actual thought of them sometimes is a bit daunting and talking on the phone is quite a big deal for me and has been for a long time because of my anxiety. This year I really want to try and reach out to more people, and even just other bloggers I'd love to interact more. I've got some great bloggers who I consider friends now but I'd love to branch out and find more people similar to me, I just always get a bit shy!

My Hair and Makeup - I mentioned in my wedding hair and makeup post that I used to wear makeup everyday, regardless of if I was going out or not and even though I don't want to get back to that, because it's just not needed, I do want to make a bit more of an effort with it. It can be easy to think well there's no point putting any makeup on today because I'm not going out, but there are days where I feel a bit crap about my appearance and just a bit of makeup really helps. If it's going to make me feel a bit more confident then why not get a bit dressed up for no real reason? I also want to make more of an effort with my hair too. I feel like this is making me sound like a bit of a mess, but I recently had my hair cut after growing it for so long and it's made such a difference. It looks healthier, fresher and I feel so much better about it now. I definitely want to keep on top of that and treat myself every so often to a proper cut and freshen up.

Pamper Nights - This kind of goes hand in hand with my previous point, but I want to make time for proper pamper nights and really indulge. I really started focusing on skincare in 2017 so I want to continue that and have nights where I go all out, exfoliation, face masks, the lot. I had a bit of a pamper night recently and it was lovely! I had a hot bubble bath, did a face mask, washed my hair, did my nails, and I even got a massage out of it, and I just felt amazing. I think pamper nights are great when you've had a hard week or just need to de-stress a little bit.

Baking & Cooking - I do cook anyway but my love for it has sort of been up and down over the last year or so. I seem to have gone through phases where I've wanted to make meals from scratch all week and other times where just putting something in the oven is far easier. At the moment I tend to rotate the same sorts of meals so I'd love to get trying some new things over the next few months and creating some new meals. The same goes for baking too. I absolutely love it and it's something that does chill me out but recently it's felt like far too much effort! I love making cakes, brownies and all sorts of things like that but I really want to branch out and experiement a bit more with my baking.

Walking - There was one weekend in particular a few years ago now where we went out and properly explored the parks around our area for the first time and I always remember it because it was such a nice day out. I'd love to do more of that this year, especially when the weather is a bit nicer. I'd also love to do more visits to places like Bradfield which is so beautiful all year round and so lovely to walk around. It's something that doesn't really cost much money but is always a nice day out.

Date Nights - Depending on what you do, date nights can be a little expensive so we don't have them all that often but whenever we do it's always so much fun. I'd really like to get back into having regular date nights each month where we go for a meal or pop out for the day somewhere we haven't been before.

So that's some of the things I'd like to make more time for this year. I think taking time out to do what makes you happy is so important when most of the time life is so stressful!

What sorts of things do you want to do more of this year?

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Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Sunshine Blogger Award..

It's been quite a while since I last did a tag post so I was very happy to see on Twitter a few days ago that I had been tagged to do the Sunshine Blogger Award (thank you Louisa!)
sunshine blogger award
The rules for this tag are:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you for the blog post and link back to their blog 
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger has asked you
3. Nominate 11 blogs to receive the award and write 11 new questions for them
4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in the post

The Questions I was asked are:

1. What are your favourite types of blog posts to write? - I always enjoy posting recipes as that's why my blog originally started but I also really love writing travel posts. It doesn't really matter where I go, I always like to document on here for me to read back in the future.

2. Cats or dogs? - Always dogs. Cats are cute but I'm such a dog person and would have a house full right now if I could.

3. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why? - My ultimate place would be New York or Disneyworld. I've never been anywhere in America and both of those have been on my list for so long.

4. Are there any bloggers you admire? - So many! Lots of bloggers inspire me. At the moment I'm really enjoying reading Abbeys blog, Zoe'sLucy and Chloe's!

5. What motivates you? - My goals! I always set myself blogging and personal goals so whenever I'm feeling low or a bit rubbish, I look back over my goals and it reminds me of what I want to achieve. Also reading other blogs always motivates and inspires me.

6. What's your favourite beauty/skincare brand? There are so many. At the moment though I'm really enjoying some Soap and Glory skincare bits and Rimmel are always my go to beauty brand for makeup.

7. What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? - The book I'm almost finished with is Darker by EL James (Christian Greys perspective). I personally really enjoy the books as they're such an easy read and they get me back into enjoying books. I know the Fifty Shades films and books aren't everyones favourites but for people who enjoyed the films, I'd definitely say give it a go. It's nice to read it from the other perspective.

8. What was the last song you listened to? - Probably something from The Greatest Showman soundtrack. I'm literally playing it over and over, I'm obsessed!

9. What perfume/fragrance do you wear? - I have a few different ones that I go between. I'm a big fan of Just Pink from Next but I'm also really enjoying my mini Ghost Eclipse at the moment too.

10. What would be your dream job? - I have a few different jobs/careers that I know would make me extremely happy. If I go back to uni, I'd love to train to be a primary school teacher. It's something I've always thought about and think I'd be good at. That being said I've seen a few jobs recently that involve looking after dogs all day and that would pretty much be the dream. Oh, and in an ideal world I'll have my own bakery one day too 😂

11. Sunrise or sunset? - Sunset, I'm not a morning person at all.

The people I've decided to nominate are:
Kirsty - Astoldbykirsty
Chloe - I'mjustagirl
Lucy - Lucycole
Becki - Beckisblog
Tiffany - Tiffanynicole

And my questions for them are:
1. Why did you decide to start a blog?
2. What was the last film you watched and would you recommend it?
3. What is your favourite hobby?
4. The next place you hope to go on holiday?
5. What is your dream job?
6. What is your favourite takeaway?
7. What is your favourite season and why?
8. What are your blogging goals for this year?
9. Do you think you'll still be blogging in 5 years time?
10. Favourite boxset to binge watch?
11. What tips would you give to a new blogger?

If you take part in this, let me know so I can read your answers too!

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Friday, 9 February 2018

Valentines Gift Guide For Her #2 featuring Treats Direct*

I put a general Valentines gift guide up last week and today I have another because I just keep finding so many wonderful gifts that I had to share! If you've not already seen I've also spoken about giving the gift of sleep this year with Feather and Down and creating something Unique with Printiki so if you're still stuck for inspiration, hopefully those might help too! I've called this a gift guide for her but really a lot of these are perfect for everyone, and also who says you even need a partner to buy any of these? If you're single this Valentines, why not treat yourself?!
valentines gift guide
The first thing I wanted to mention in this gift guide is Treats Direct, a sweet subscription box! Subscription boxes are so popular now from beauty, to self care, to healthy snacks and so much more so it makes sense that you can also get them for all of your favourite sweet treats. With Treats Direct you can choose to receive a box either every week or every other week and what you get inside is a total surprise. There are so many sweets available including Bonbons, Cherry Cola Bottles, Choc Nibbles, Flying Saucers, Foam Bears, Fizzy Peaches and so many more, the list is endless! With Valentines coming up in just a few days, Treats Direct are currently doing Valentines themed boxes and you can get one for just £3.99. If you're unsure of what to buy for a loved one, well one of these could be perfect! I was sent one of the themed boxes to try and I was so impressed with what was included. Cherries are one of my favourites so I was very happy to see those. I really like how everything was packaged as they all had their own little section making them very secure and the box itself was great as it can easily fit through the letterbox. If you want to get one of these boxes in time for Valentines, make sure you place your order before midnight on Saturday 10th!
treats direct
Whilst the Valentine boxes are available to gift, I just wanted to show you another example of their usual boxes. The one I received had a nice variety of sweets and I honestly couldn't wait to tuck into it! When ordering one of these boxes, if it's your first you can get it for just £2.49!
treats direct
Next I want to mention some great foodie bits that I've found online. If you don't want to spend too much then I think Love Hearts are always a winner. George got me a little pack our first Valentines so they always make me smile now whenever I have them, and I absolutely love the look of this huge tube of them from Wilkinsons. You don't have to spend loads to show someone you love them, so sticking with that, how cute is this Chupa Chups Bouquet! It contains 19 lollies for £3.50 and I think it's such a funny little gift that is so different to anything else. Now onto tea because who doesn't love a good cup of tea on a cold day? Twinings have some lovely gift sets for such reasonable prices. If caramel is your thing then how perfect is this Caramel Indulgence Set? It's £16 but it contains Apple Indulgence Green Tea, Monin Caramel Syrup, Monty Bojangles Truffles and a beautiful Tokyo Design Studio Geometric Mug. I think all of that for that price is really reasonable. Another set Twinings are currently selling is their Be My Valentine Set which is £14. This has a big tub of chocolate truffles and a limited edition English Breakfast Tea Caddy. One place I very rarely think to look at online is TK Maxx but I always spot great finds whenever I do. For people like me who love to bake then Cupcake Kits like this one are such a brilliant choice. I love the little toppers that are included with this! I'm always a fan of supermarkets for Valentines gifts and Sainsburys are completely winning it this year for me! I love this Lunch Box Set which is so handy for work or university and it's only £8.
valentines gift guide
Sticking with Sainsburys I'm also obsessed with this adorable pair of keyrings! Anything dog related is a winner for me so I know I would be extremely happy to see something like this on Valentines day. I really like gifts like this where both you and your partner have something to keep. The last thing I found on Sainsburys is the Professor Puzzle Perfect Match Game. I think if you don't want to spend loads on just one day of the year then little novelty gifts like this are a good option. It's £3.50 and I'm now totally regretting not getting it for George. Another budget friendly option is these quirky mugs from B&M and they are such a bargain at only £1.99 each! They have quite a few to choose from and all of them have a little saying on them. B&M have quite a few valentines gifts to choose from and they're all so cheap so definitely check them out if you don't want to spend too much. The final thing on this gift guide is these Big Spoon, Little Spoon Pillowcases from John Lewis and they actually have quite a few other couples options to choose from too!
valentines gift guide
I know Valentines is only one day out of the year but I always get excited about it. It's nice to treat your other half when you can and if you do buy presents, they don't have to be expensive at all. I hope if you've been stuck for ideas that this gift guide and my previous ones have helped a little bit, and don't forget to check out Treats Direct for a sweet surprise each month!

*This gift guide features products sent to me by Treats Direct. The rest I found myself online. I only work with brands relevant to me and my blog

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Thursday, 8 February 2018

Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe & Taffy Mail Review*

A few weeks ago I was sent a selection of sweets to get baking with from Taffy Mail. If you've not heard of Taffy Mail before, well they are the UK's only American Sweets Subscription Box. They have a range of subscriptions available all for a really reasonable price, where you can get a variety of American sweets, chocolate and drinks each month. The box I was sent had a variety of sweets including Swedish Fish, Nerds, Sour Skittles, Take 5 (which I'm now trying to track down somewhere near me because it was amazing) and lots more. As there were some Peanut Butter M&M's and a Peanut Butter Snickers, I decided I would try and bake with them, and Peanut Butter Brownies seemed perfect.
Taffy Mail
Taffy Mail
Ingredients:
125g butter
325g dark chocolate
150g caster sugar
90g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
1 peanut butter snickers or a regular snickers bar, sliced
1 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
Peanut butter M&Ms

Method:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a square baking tin
2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan until smooth
3. When the chocolate mixture has melted, add in the two sugars, mix well then add in the eggs one at a time
4. Now add in your flour, folding until everything is combined
5. Pour half of the mixture into your baking tin, top with slices of snickers, then pour the remaining mixture on top
6. I then added 1 and a half tablespoons of peanut butter. As it was quite hard, I melted it in a bowl over a pan of water to soften it a little. I then put teaspoons of it over the brownies and swirled with a knife, finally adding the M&Ms on top
7. Bake in the oven for around 35 minutes, then leave to cool in the tin. Beware they will be very wobbly when they come out, no need to insert a skewer to see if it comes out clean because it won't, they're supposed to be gooey
8. Once completely cool, I put the tin into the fridge for an hour before attempting to cut. As they're so gooey you want them quite cold otherwise they'll just break apart and create a mess when you try to cut into them!
Peanut Butter Brownies
Peanut Butter Brownies
Peanut Butter Brownies
I had seen a recipe from Holly Bell a while ago for Mars Bar Brownies so I followed that and just added in the Peanut Butter goodies instead and then I decided to top with melted peanut butter too for an extra nutty taste. I think brownies are one of the best things to make, they pretty much always turn out okay and no matter what they look like, they always taste good! These were so gooey inside yet crisp on the outside and the M&M's gave a nice extra crunch aswell. The peanut butter sweets from the Taffy Mail box were perfect to use for this recipe, and I'll definitely be thinking of baking with more American goodies in the future. It was something I'd never really even thought of before. Overall, I'm really impressed with Taffy Mail and it's definitely a subscription I'll be signing up to in the future. I love that you have no idea what you'll get each month and as there are so many different American sweets compared to what we get in the UK, it's so exciting to have something new to try each time. If you want any more information about Taffy Mail or would like to sign up (their smallest subscription is £7.49 a month) check out their website here.

Have you ever tried a subscription like Taffy Mail before?


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

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