Sunday, 23 November 2014

Win With Hotel Chocolat This Christmas - Ends 12/12/14

I must admit, I am huge fan of Hotel Chocolat and have been for a while. This British chocolatier was set up 20 years ago, and produce luxury chocolates with a sense of fun and an ethical conscious. They help support cocoa growing communities in Saint Lucia and Ghana and use high quality ingredients in every single chocolate they produce.

I'm always in my local Cardiff store, and last year I bought their Christmas crackers for my dinner table on Christmas day. No rubbish toys or cringeworthy jokes, just delicious yummy chocolates with a sense of style ( you get three in the individual cracker) and jokes that are actually funny! If you buy three or more they are on multi buy too. 


I have been lucky over the last couple of years to review Hotel Chocolat so this year I couldn't wait to see what they would send me to review for Christmas.




When you order online with Hotel Chocolat everything is beautifully wrapped in their signature bag with a bow. Doesn't this look exciting! Inside was the Hotel Chocolat H box Christmas selection.




This box of delight contains 14 chocolates including the Christmas Eton Mess, Mulled Wine Truffles, Caramel Supernova, Christmas Gianduja, and Caramel Christmas Tree amongst other chocs. Perfect for sharing on Christmas Day, perhaps with coffee after dinner, or keeping all to yourself for an indulgent treat, one thing is sure - everyone will love the delicious chocolates inside.



My Favourites

A mix of white, dark and milk chocolate, the box is perfectly put together to appeal to the whole family.





The Caramel Christmas Tree was yummy, smooth, sweet and creamy. The Christmas Eton mess was delightful - a white chocolate filled cup with a strawberry filling and decorated with meringue and dried cranberry. Caramel Supernova was outstanding, a soft caramel centre with a smooth rich chocolate star. The Nutty Caramel is perfect for nut lovers everywhere - and how can anyone resist a whole Piedmont hazelnut with smooth gianduja and salted caramel.

The Gingerbread Truffle has a mild kick from the gingerbread spices and if you like dark chocolate the Champagne Truffle has a dark chocolate shell with a sweet truffle centre and a hint of champagne. Truly decadent.

Priced at only twelve pounds I think the box represents great value, for the quality, variety and taste on offer. Each chocolate is meant to be nibbled and savoured slowly.


Today on my blog I am giving you the chance to win the Christmas H Box selection as shown above. To enter I want you to pop over to the Hotel Chocolate website and let me know which chocolates you would like for Christmas.

Entry is via the Rafflecopter application below, leave a comment on my blog is a mandatory option and you will get optional extra entries for entering via social media.

While you are here I have other competitions running including win your Christmas presents worth nearly £300 so why don't you check out my competition page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Saturday, 22 November 2014

What To Do In South Wales This Christmas

South Wales has many wonderful activities this Christmas time. Here is my list of what you must see and do across the South Wales area to get you in the festive mood.




Cardiff Castle at Christmas By Ben Salter - Flickr CC Licence.

Christmas Morning Swim Porthcawl

Every year my little seaside town has a Christmas morning swim to raise money for local charities. Now over 1000 people join in the fun, so why don't you don the fancy dress (optional) and take part, or just watch the merriment from the sidelines? Tenby also have a Boxing Day Swim if you live in West Wales.



Porthcawl Morning Swim by John - Flickr CC Licence

A Traditional Christmas at St Fagans

St Fagans, also known as the Museum of Welsh Life, which is just outside Cardiff, has many events over the Christmas period that are free or under £5. You can make Christmas decorations, or sing along to traditional carols with the St Fagins Christmas Songsheet.  Of course a visit to Santa always makes the little one's day.


Swansea Waterfront Wonderland

Swansea's award winning attraction is available from Friday 14 November to Sunday 4 January and is based in the heart of the city. There is ice skating, a children's rink, a festive funfair and Santa's grotto. Lots for the whole family to see and do. Charges vary for activities on offer.



Swansea Winter Wonderland by *Nom and Mac - Flickr CC Licence

Caerphilly Castle Victorian Christmas

From the 13th to the 14th of December, Caerphilly castle hold a fabulous Victorian Christmas with ghost tales, Punch and Judy shows, a Victorian fairground and a Victorian tea room. Adults cost £5.50 for entry and children go free.

Cardiff Winter Wonderland

Take in the delights of the Alpine village where you can enjoy German snacks and drinks such as gluhwein and bratwurst, let the kids go on the rides at the funfair, listen to singers and bands and try out the ice rink. Charges vary for activities. Be sure to book the skating in advance as it can get busy.



Cardiff Winter Wonderland by Jon Candy - Flickr CC Licence

Watch The Turning On Of The Christmas Lights

Nothing feels more Christmassy than the turning on of the Christmas lights. Local celebrities and carol singers, and Christmas stalls can add to the festive fun. Cardiff and Swansea's lights were turned on this week and Barry's lights get turned on, on the 29th Of November, whilst for Llanelli it's the 21st of November. 




Cardiff Christmas Lights St Mary's Street by Mark Hesteltine - Flickr CC Licence

Brecon Mountain Railway Santa Specials

This was recommended to me by a number of friends. Ride the steam train to see Santa in his grotto. My son would have adored this when he was little! All adults and children receive a present whilst sherry and mince pies are served to the adults. Prices from £8.50 and under 3's go free.




Brecon Mountain Railway by Will Richards - Flickr CC Licence

So this is my pick of what to do in South Wales this Christmas. There are loads more to do in the area, from Christmas afternoon tea in the Vale Hotel or the Celtic Manor, to watching Santa feed the deer in Margam Park. Also don't forget a panto, Cinderella is on at The New Theatre Cardiff and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at the Swansea Grand ... but watch out, he's behind you!

Tell me do you have any tips or recommendations on what to do this Christmas in South Wales?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Make Jewel Street Your Destination This Christmas

I have a lot of jewellery. This comes from owning my own jewellers in the past and obviously blogging about jewellery and fashion. I like to look out for independent designers, with great craftsmanship and uniqueness. So I was interested to find over 250 independent designers together in one place at Jewel Street. It is a browsing mecca for jewellery lovers everywhere!


The Choosing Process


What I loved on first glance is the professionalism of the website. The website is well laid out, the top of the page highlighting the beautiful jewellery, and sections such as Men, Women, Christmas and Browse, with the bottom of the page explaining more such as 'How It Works' , and 'As Seen In' being in prominent positions. This is extremely useful for those that haven't shopped with this company before, and it's also nice to read the coverage of the jewellery in different publications.

As an online shopper to a website I have never been to before, I look for security in shopping and the logos on the home page of Verified by Visa, Paypal Verified and Mastercard SecureCode are very reassuring. I also noticed that they are members of the BJA. The BJA or British Jewellery Association is a national trade organisation that supports jewellery companies. If you are wondering why it is important to the consumer, it is that companies have to adhere to a code of a high level of service, business ethics and quality.

To choose two items from their website I clicked on the 'Women' section at the top of the page, then clicked on 'Types Of Jewellery' and 'Earrings'. You can order these in price order which I did as I was looking for earrings under £35 and you can also select type of earrings so I chose drops. Then I selected the two designs to review below.

The Jewellery

Cavendish French

Cavendish French create stunning and unique silver jewellery for the individual. A unique collection of handcrafted sterling silver and stone set jewellery which is all about style, quality and individuality.

Shiny beaten silver drop earrings




Cavendish French designs have a large boutique on Jewel Street so there are a lot of interesting pieces to choose from. Hearts, flowers, stone set, classic or contemporary there is something for everyone here.

The silver drop earrings I chose are very versatile, and can be worn every day or when going out. The beaten effect adds a touch of sparkle when they catch the light and a little bit of glamour without going over the top. Priced at just £30 they would make an excellent Christmas gift for jewellery lovers.




Kali Ma Designs

Kali Ma Designs was created in 1996 by Emma Perkins to bring together a collection of affordable, timeless silver jewellery for women of all ages made with Sterling Silver.

Chalcedony silver drop earrings




Kali Ma have a small boutique on Jewel Street. What I love about the designs from Kali Ma, is that they are cute, and supremely affordable. I chose to pick a pair of drop earrings made from blue chalcedony. These pretty earrings have a fluted bezel setting which adds that extra detail to the earring. The stone is cut in a chequerboard way and the hook design is easy to wear.

When the earrings arrived I was taken by the uniqueness of the stone. On the website the stone is more opaque than in real life but that is the beauty of natural gemstones, you never know exactly what you are going to get as each stone is unique. Priced just under £20 these make a perfect pay day treat for yourself.




In Conclusion

The browsing and choosing process was easy to do and a pleasurable experience. I was also pleased to find out that approximately three quarters of the sale of an item goes directly to the independent designers. This is actually a lot more than if you bought in many shops.

All items are price matched and you have a 30 day money back guarantee should you change your mind about an item * certain restrictions may apply.

Christmas shopping can be tough, you have to wrap up warm for the weather, then fight the crowds, realise you are so warm you can't breathe, stand in a queue so a 'barista' can make you a cappuccino, then brave the busy roads or over stuffed public transport until you get back to your door. At Jewel Street you can put your feet up with a home made latte, and browse all the great designers from the warmth and comfort of your own home. I know what I would choose any day.

Tell me would you shop at Jewel Street? What do you think of the designs I have chosen.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

How To Style Mom Jeans

A guest post by Esther from Inside Out and About Blog.

How to style the ‘MOM’ jeans

I have been determined to ignore the appearance of ‘MOM’ jeans because I live in skinny jeans. Skinny jeans gave me a mild heart attack when they reemerged circa 2004, but now I can’t imagine wearing anything else. I was hoping the ‘MOM’ jean would quietly go away, as apparently ladies with a larger bum and thighs (such as myself) should steer clear of them at all costs! They are straight out of the 90s - vintage wash, with a high waist and tapered leg. They certainly look comfier than skinny jeans, so I did what I usually do in these situations - bought some from eBay, that way I can sell them on if they turn out to look hideous.

When I first put them on I was instantly transported back a decade (or so) and I felt ridiculous. I swiftly removed them, and decided to do a bit of outfit research with the help of my best friend (Google) and my other stylish friend (Pinterest). Gosh - there are some gorgeous people out there wearing MOM jeans! I had a little look through my wardrobe and put together some combos that would make wearing MOM jeans palatable. I didn’t realise how easily they could be dressed up and with very basic pieces. They are far more versatile than they look.

Here are three looks that I’ve tried and tested over the last few weeks. MOM jeans are comfortable, fun and I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter two hoots what your body shape is...or your age for that matter.

Look 1






Jeans - Topshop, Tee - GAP, Leather Jacket - Miss Selfridge, Shoes - Topshop, Necklace - Vintage

Look 2





Jeans - Topshop, Blouse - H&M, Leather Jacket - Miss Selfridge, Shoes - Faith, Clutch - New Look

Look 3






Jeans - Topshop, Stripy Tee - Hobbs, Trainers - Converse

Do you love or hate the MOM jea or have you been sporting them since the 90s, and wondering what all the fuss is about? I know what I’ll be slipping on when I want to instantly feel 10 years younger!

Another tip - do not wear your hair in a ponytail whilst wearing MOM jeans. Try it, and you will know exactly what I mean.

Esther xx

Monday, 17 November 2014

Great Voucher Codes To Save Money At Christmas With Voucher Sky

I love spending money, don't we all? But my love of spending money on the nice things in life is balanced with my love of saving money on things that matter.

There are lots of ways to save money including cancelling unused subscriptions and memberships, using comparison websites for everything from travel insurance to food shopping, and simply using voucher codes and offers to get a great deal.

Vouchersky is a voucher coupon website that brings you the latest bargains and online shopping deals all in one place.  




What I liked about the website is that the voucher codes are updated in a daily basis so you never have to worry about the codes being out of date. The website is packed full of promotional codes, free delivery vouchers and special offers from thousands of the UK best and most recognisable online retailers. We are talking big names here from Currys and Zavvi to John Lewis and Appliances Online.

I think it's well worth spending ten minutes checking out the website to find some great offers, especially when buying an expensive item or when doing your Christmas shopping. Electrical retailers, kitchenware, gadgets, electronics, experience tickets, travel and hotel offers are all in one place. They even have an A to Z of companies so you can browse quickly in no time at all.

And the best thing about Voucher Sky is that you save money and it doesn't cost you at all. You may wonder how this company works, but for every person who buys something through their links they get a small commission.

I'm a big fan of John Lewis and this is just some of the offers that are available at the moment by going through the Voucher Sky website.


As you can see lots of offers, promotions and deals. If you are looking for a specific company there is an easy to use search bar at the top of the screen too.

They have a great range of fashion retailers including Wallis, Daxon, Bon Marche, AX Paris, Bench and Quiz Fashion. 

My pick of offers include sign up to their newsletter and get 20% with your first order with jewellery retailer Gemondo, save 10% with spabreaks.com and £15 off your first order over £30 for new customers with La Redoute.

Tell me, how do you save money? Would you consider using this voucher codes website to make your money go further?

* This is a sponsored post, offers may vary and be date specific.

Friday, 14 November 2014

What To Do In And Around Peterborough

Today's guest post is by Codie Louise Austin from www.codiekinz.co.uk. Codie blogs about life 
 and being a young woman in the North West of the UK.

On the odd occasion the love of my life and I travel down to my home town of Peterborough, I am struck by how a place can seem in the eyes of someone who did not grow up there. My entire life I had been desperate to escape my ‘Paper Town’, and move to somewhere where life was actually happening. During our time ‘down South’ Steven insists we stop to take pictures of endless rolling fields (yawn!) and marvels at thatched cottages (cute, but a total fire hazard!) as if they are one of the several wonders of the world. As much as I mock, I know that I am almost as bad when it comes to his hometown of Southport. The boy grew up by the seaside! I can’t possibly imagine growing up a literal stones throw from the beach (as devoid of actual sand as Southport is) and feel like everyday must have been like the Bank Holiday Monday’s that my family and I drove the 2.5 hours to Mabletherpe - Heaven!

However, as is often the way when you become too used to a place, both Steven and myself seem utterly desensitised by the places we grew up, and quite often, the ‘tourist’ hot spots that everyone else is dying to visit, are places we have never even ventured.






It is for this reason, however, that I am basing a ‘travel’ post, on staying at home. Bare with me here. When I do get to take Steven to the place I grew up, it takes a while to think of anything to do. When I really look though, tourist centre leaflets strewn around me, and I try to see ‘home’ from his point of view, I realise that everywhere has a treasure trove of hidden gems. 


For Peterborough it’s the Cathedral (I spent many a teenage day kissing in the grounds with an acne ridden hormone-machine, but never once actually ventured inside the beautiful building), Ferry Meadows (for bike rides, boating on the lake and fairytale picnics) and Queensgate, the shopping centre that seems to have the exact right shops in for me (Y’know, McDonalds, Thorntons, HMV). 

For Steven’s Southport, my heart gets excited for Splashworld (so many flumes!), Pleasure Land (not what it sounds like - it’s a fairground!), and the infinite amounts of amusements, Ice Cream parlours and buckets and spades! We will both readily admit that until we had to find something interesting to do in our home towns, we didn’t think there was anything to do! So now, we make a special effort, to rediscover the towns just as we would Paris, New York or London. With open eyes and ready minds, to find adventure everywhere - even Peterborough!




So try it this weekend! Try and do the touristy activities that you often actively avoid, and endeavour to enjoy the places you’ve always taken for granted - you don’t have to hop on a plane to find excitement!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Visiting South Africa

A guest post by Lisa from the­dame.com 

South Africa is a vast and beautiful land filled with a variety of cultures, colours, tastes, sounds, smells and experiences. You will see locals with a ready smile on their faces everywhere you go. You will experience some of the most delicious food you will ever eat, served to you by joyous people in sumptuous surroundings. South Africa is a smorgasbord of delight and not as scary as you might assume.


Juergen)

There are three main cities in South Africa, Gauteng (also known as Johannesburg), Durban and Cape Town. When visiting South Africa, it’s a good idea to try to visit each city and see how they differ from each other. Read on to find out more about each major city. 


Gauteng



Marjo van Diem)

Gauteng is the big city. It’s where business is brokered and stars are made. The capital of South Africa is nearby at Pretoria (now called Tshwane) but Gauteng is where most people travel to. It is a juxtaposition of luxurious leafy suburbs and less so, you will be met with high security homes with large gardens and upmarket cars in behind their electric gates. Yes, it may be disconcerting, but if you look past this way of life, you will see South Africa has much more to offer.

Gauteng is split into North, South, East and West with each area having a distinct neighbourhood. The north being where the monied live and where you will find the business district full of fancy high rise buildings and beautiful shopping malls. In fact, you will find enormous shopping malls in every part of Gauteng.

Kruger National Park


Charles (Chuck) Peterson)

Just a couple hours drive north of Gauteng is the world famous Kruger National Park. This park spans across land as big as England and houses all of South Africa’s big five game; Rhino, Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Water Buffalo. Taking a few days to explore this incredible game reserve will give you memories for a lifetime. There are plenty of places to stay in the reserve and you can hire a car (a must when traveling in South Africa) to drive around the reserve spotting animals, many of which will be close to the roads. You will see elephants cross the road right in front of your eyes, giraffe munching on trees on the side of the road, zebras and all kinds of buck, plenty of monkeys and baboons and a wealth of birdlife. It is an incredible experience that is well worth including in your trip to South Africa.

Durban




kriscip)

Durban is on the east coast of South Africa and enjoys the warm water of the Indian Ocean which gifts the coast line with some of the best surfing waves in the world. Durban is hot, it’s humid and it’s chock full of culture. Durban is vibrant and has an old timey feel that refuses to let go. You will feel like you are going back in time.

Beachfront


Lisa Walton)

Durban is most famous for it’s beachfront, spanning up to 10kms in length and presided over by many famous hotels as well as apartment blocks built in the 1920’s so if you love art deco architecture, you will love Durban beachfront.

The beachfront is bookended on both ends by tourist favourites. In the north you can marvel at the Moses Mabhida stadium and in the south you will find uShaka Seaworld.

Markets 




faz besharatian)

Given that Durban is home to the largest Indian population outside of India, you will find every spice under the sun being sold in Durban’s famous markets which are a delicious assault to the senses. Be sure to try Durban’s most famous food, the bunny chow. No, it’s not made from rabbits, it’s in fact a loaf of bread cut in half with the filling scooped out and then filled with a delicious curry, an absolute must try when you are there!

Cape Town 




Werner Bayer)

Cape Town is for the hippies, the bohemians, the creatives. Tumbling down from the base of Table Mountain to the edge of the Atlantic (or Indian) ocean, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with so much to do. 

After choosing from world class hotels, you will want to either hike up (or take a rail car up) Table Mountain on a clear day. The views are spectacular. If you decide to take the car, there are smaller hills (Signal Hill or Lion’s Head) on either side of Table Mountain that offer robust hikes.



Danie van der Merwe) )  

Once you finally descend from the mountain, spend the twilight hours at the harbour choosing from many restaurants to dine in or just taking in a stroll around the tinkling boats.


© Andrew Miller)

Before you leave Cape Town, be sure to check in on the penguins at Boulders Beach in Simonstown. Depending on what time of the year you visit, you could also take in a bit of whale watching around beautiful, sleepy Hermanus.

Cape Wine Route


Damien du Toit)

Cape Town is famous for it’s wine regions and you will find plenty day trips into the vineyards of Stellenbosch. This is a must do as there is plenty to see and marvel at. Truly, Cape Town is South Africa’s jewel!

The Garden Route


Meraj Chhaya)

Last but certainly not least, be sure to add a trip along The Garden Route to the Eastern Cape. This drive will take you along South Africa’s coastal countryside with incredible views of the changing landscape and all kinds of adventures to explore.

By the time you leave South Africa you will be drunk with the beauty and pleasure of it all having been taken care of by the most hospitable people, experience all kinds of adventures and certainly kept on your toes. You will highly recommend a visit to South Africa to all that you know.

Essentials when traveling to South Africa

● Hire a car.

● Stay in a reputable hotel that can tell you where to go and what to do.

● Keep your valuables hidden but don’t expect to be mugged at every turn!

● Smile and be open to it’s cultural diversity and hospitality.

● Try biltong and boerewors!

Author Bio

Lisa Walton is the dame behind the­dame.com a lifestyle blog unconvering the unconventional, curating the creative and championing the self­made path. Lisa was born and raised in South Africa and is now an expat living in the UK. Lisa visits South Africa as often as possible and has traveled all over the world. Her motto is to live life bold and be unapologetically authentic.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Save On Energy Bills This Winter

It's that time of the year again, the weather is getting colder and nights are getting darker, and Christmas is just around the corner. Many households will be putting their heating on, and those on a low income will be worrying about the heating costs.


Image courtesy of AlexMaster Shutterstock 

In 2013 Saga reported that energy bills for older people have more than doubled in the last eight years. The average annual spend on gas and electricity for the over-65s soared to *£1,355.90 in the year previous and this will no doubt will be bigger this Winter.

Did you know that next weekend is the "Great British Switch", this is a campaign where comparethemarket.com is encouraging the UK population to see how much money they could save on their energy bills this Winter by switching to a new supplier? They say that recent research has shown that 95% of over 65's have never tried to switch energy supplier despite the fact that, savings of up to £350 a year can be made. * in a Daily Mirror Survey

With the #GreatBritishSwitch campaign from 14th – 16th November for every switch made comparethemarket.com will donate £5 to Friends of the Elderly. This is a worthy charity dedicated to supporting older people.

So this had me thinking. My father-in-law Keith has recently retired, being self employed for the last forty years, running a local shop. Both him and my mother-in-law Anne are now on a limited income. He doesn't use technology at all but Anne does. I wondered if they had stayed with the same suppliers for their energy needs over the last few years or had ever changed, so I decided to pop in and have a chat with them, showing them the comparethemarket.com website.


Comparethemarket.com is a comparison website that helps you compare companies at a click of a button. It's not just energy companies either, as you can find the best deals for car, home and life insurance, travel insurance, credit cards and energy. On discussion with them they hadn't changed energy suppliers for a long time so I decided to take Anne through the Compare the Market website to see if they could save on their utility bills.

Once you click on energy it takes you to this page below.


As you can see you also get a free Safari Oleg toy whilst stocks last if you switch energy suppliers. 

If you don't have your bill this is the next screen below (in two parts)





After putting in your details the next page asks for your email address.


Then you see the comparison companies and the prices and details. It really is that simple.



As you can see there are a range of savings to be made and you do need to read the terms and conditions of each offer, but it is worth doing this, as within less than 5 minutes you can save a fortune. 

It was easy to show Anne how to use the site, the process is, in the words of a meerkat 'Simples", and as you can see from the information above my mother and father-in-law could save £243 on their energy bills.




There is also an app available called Snapt, which allows the user to photograph their bills and send the information to Compare The Market by phone. At the moment this is available on the Iphone, but I guess it won't be long until it is brought out on Android.

So if you can think of anyone that would benefit from a saving on their utility bills this Winter, especially the elderly, why don't you pop in for a chat and show them what to do. Don't forget with the #GreatBritishSwitch campaign from 14th – 16th November for every switch made Compare the Market will donate £5 to Friends of the Elderly. So they save and the charity gains. Simples!

* As a thanks for taking part in the campaign, comparethemarket.com will donate £50 on my behalf to Friends of the Elderly. This is a sponsored post in conjunction with CTM and Tots100

Degustabox October

This month's Degustabox was an interesting mix of foodstuffs as always, with most being new to the market. The monthly box scheme, always guarantees to provide value for money, with a number of surprise products every month. The value of the items received this month was just under £25. When you consider the box is only £12.99 to buy it is a great surprise for foodies.

This is what I received this month.





Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Jelly Belly jelly beans come in a huge variety of delicious flavours and they are proud of the fact that every jelly bean can take up to 21 days to create. This pack features the sours flavour. The had a hint of tartness to them that was not unpleasant.
£2.50

Enhance Drinks 

These pods contain up to 32 drinks in each container, and each made up drink only contains 1 calorie. Made with real fruit juice this drink is useful to have in your bag if your children do not like the taste of water. Available from Asda and Ocado.
£2.49

Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Sauce

We love sweet chilli sauce in our household as it is the perfect accompaniment to oriental and thai dishes. Vegetable spring rolls will never be the same again without this dipping sauce. Available in Sainsburys, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose.
£1.39

Get Buzzing Original Nutty Bar

This flapjack is packed full of nutrition and makes a tasty treat. Oats and nuts give prolonged slow energy release and I must admit it was the first thing I ate as it looked so scrumptious (it was too!). A perfect afternoon energy boost.
£1.30



Special K Cracker Crisps In Barbecue flavour

I'm always looking for healthy snacks and these cracker crisps in barbecue flavour were really delicious, and have 60% less fat than most other crisps. They were light and crunchy and not greasy like some similar snacks, and the barbecue flavour was really authentic tasting. Recommended.
£1.89

Solo Marshmallow Creme

This is a spreadable marshmallow treat. If you have a sweet tooth you will love this. I think you could also use it to top a hot chocolate drink for that yummy marshmallow dreaminess. I received the toasted flavour to try and it reminded me of marshmallow mixed with golden syrup. You can make fudge with this too.
£1.99

Dr Oetker Premium 90% Extra Dark Chocolate

This chocolate block made of 90% cocoa solids is great for baking and making intensely chocolately desserts. I think I will use this to make my marbled chocolate cheesecake next month for a pre Christmas treat all my family love. I think this would be also perfect for a rich but light chocolate mousse.
£2.49

Dr Oetker Fine Dark Cocoa Powder

This will make a yummy hot chocolate topped with the solo marshmallow creme! This powder is especially created for home baking to give a rich chocolate hit. Each multi pack contains three pre measured 25g sachet and comes with a free recipe card.
£1.89


Brioche Pasquier Pain Au Lait with Chocolate Chips

We have had these before and they are really gorgeous. We ate these warm for breakfast and we couldn't fault the authentic French Pain Au Lait taste. We loved the oozing chocolate. Highly recommended.
£1.60

Brioche Pasquier Sliced Brioche Loaf

This loaf is great for a snack any time of day. Toasted with butter it makes a scrumptious sweet afternoon treat, Useful to have as a stand by in the cupboard. I popped mine in the freezer so I can toast it when I need it. I bet this would also make a delicious brioche (bread) and butter pudding.
£1.69

Bear Paws 

This dried fruit snack has no added sugar, concentrates or "other such nonsense". Shaped into little bear paws, this kid friendly snack is reat for lunch boxes, as they make a great sweet substitute. We shared them in our household, but there was only one problem - the bag wasn't big enough for all of us!
£0.55

Bear Alphabites 

This individual cereal box is made of 5 tasty grains shaped into letters and is sweetened with coconut blossom nectar. Containing no refined sugar or salt this multigrain cereal is kid and adult friendly and each 30g serving served with 125ml of semi-skimmed milk contains only 170 calories.

Kent's Kitchen Meal Kit

These meal kits contain three little pots, to add the correct herbs, oils and spices to make an authentic ethnic dish. From spicy korma, to rogon josh, chilli con carne to Thai red curry these meal kits make a great store cupboard stand by when you want a little bit of spice in your life.
£2.50

If you would like to subscribe a Degustabox subscription costs £12.99 per month, inclusive of delivery. The value of the items is usually a lot higher. If you would like a discount of £3 enter code XWNBX into checkout when registering. 

You can find Degustabox here:-




Tell me what do you think of the food this month?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Corned Beef Pie Recipe

Now Winter is nearly upon us, I love to cook comfort food. There is hardly anything more comforting than a tasty corned beef pie. I love serving it with roast potatoes, broccoli, carrots and gravy or crispy oven chips and baked beans, for a satisfying dinner the whole family will love.

This pie is based loosely on a recipe by Paul Hollywood, although my mum has been making this for years. Paul's recipe adds carrots and a touch Worcestershire sauce for an added richness.




Recipe
1 large baking potato, peeled and diced into large chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and diced into large chunks
1 white onion, peeled and diced into large chunks
1 celery stalk, diced (optional)
1 340g large tin of corned beef, broken up into pieces.
200ml beef stock (I used some of a made up Knorr Stock Pot)
Good splash or two of Worcestershire sauce
1 block of ready made short crust pastry (e.g. Just Roll) or you use your own recipe
1 tablespoon of sunflower or olive oil 

Method
Set oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and have ready a 21cm/8 in or 23cm/9in pie plate.
Add a tablespoon of sunflower or olive oil to a pan and heat. 
Add the onions, carrots and potato and cook for five-ten minutes gently until softened.
Add the can of corned beef, stock and Worcestershire sauce.
Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
Put aside until completely cool.
Divide the pastry into thirds.
Combine two thirds together and roll out on a floured board until it is slightly bigger than the pie dish.
Take the rolling pin and roll the pastry around it.
Move the rolling pin quickly over the pie dish, and allow the pastry to sit on the tin.
Gently push the pasty into the corners of the tin.
Take a knife and trim the pastry on the top of the tin neatly.
Fill the pie tin with filling.
Roll out the rest of the pastry to cover the top and trim.
You can decorate the top of the pie with pastry leaves if you wish.
Brush the top with milk or beaten egg.
Cook for 30/35 mins until golden brown and hot through.