Saturday, 31 October 2015

Win With My Christmas Gift Guide And Competition 2015

With Christmas just around the corner, it's that time of the year again where you will be looking for inspiration for that perfect gift. My Christmas gift guide has a range of presents for all budgets and for all loved ones. The best thing is, you could win them all in my big Christmas Gift Guide Competition too!

For Your Mum Or Sister




Joshua James Jewellery is one of those independent jewellers that has a great reputation.  Winning numerous awards on the jewellery scene, they are the place to go for fashionistas in the know. With a range of well known brands, such as Thomas Sabo, Nomination and Hot Diamonds and excellent well trained staff, it is one jeweller I can highly recommend.

This rose tone 'Stardust' bracelet from Links of London above, really caught my eye. I am a massive fan of rose gold and this bracelet would be a fabulous addition to any New Year party outfit. I would love it for myself but equally I would give it to my mum as a surprise gift for Christmas. In a rich rose colour this bracelet is tres chic!

You can read my review of the Pandora bracelet I received from Joshua James Jewellery here.

For Your Husband or Dad




For hair, moustache and beard styling products for the well groomed man in your life, The Old Street Barber Co is the place to go for those luxury items. Based In their London HQ, they work tirelessly to create high quality products that bearded and unbearded gentlemen would be proud to use. 


Everything exudes class about their products and their clean minimalistc website. The hair pomade is super for styling short and medium length hair, whilst the peppermint and lemon peel shave oil moisturises whilst leaving skin refreshed, smooth and invigorated. For those bearded hipsters they also sell interesting beard oils to keep your beard in tip top conditions, and for those with moustaches, they sell moustache wax to keep it in place. 

Perfect items to put in a stocking too, he won't be disappointed with these stylish grooming products.

For Your Daughter


Gift And Wrap are a Northumberland jewellers with two stores and an easy to use website where you can order at your convenience. Selling a range of contemporary brands such as Pandora, Ti Sento and Tresor Paris they offer that personal service you get in a small jewellers.

Incredibly proud and passionate about Pandora jewellery, the Gift And Wrap range includes something for everyone, including the iconic Pandora bracelet collection and the entire range of Pandora charms, earrings and rings.


I was immediately drawn to the Pandora 'Dazzling Daisy' flower earrings from Gift And Wrap. Twinkling with cubic zirconia stones and superbly crafted from sterling silver, they are simply gorgeous. Suitable as a special gift for your daughter, sister or even best friend, you also know you get quality when you order a Pandora item. Can I have them please?!



For Your Son Or Brother


When you are looking for Christmas gifts for men, such as your son or brother, Querkity - Presents For Men, is a website with a huge range of gifts for all budgets. From home, garden and DIY gifts to gadgets, travel and clothing gifts, it is a great website for that present that is just that bit different.

This cool virtual reality gift set is a nifty bit of kit, well priced and a must have gadget this season.

It allows you to watch 3d movies and 3d games from the comfort of your armchair. You can use it with Apple, Android and Windows phones and you can even download content from Google Play or the App Store. For a complete immersive experience at a budget price you really can't go wrong with this present for any gadget lover.

For You

Chantelle is the byword in French lingerie, made with love and craftsmanship.

From sports styles, to every day t-shirt bras, to sexy eyelash lace lingerie and support and shape wear, Chantelle sells it all.  Everything is also supremely made, in quality fabrics in their workshop in France. What woman wouldn't feel special with some Chantelle lingerie for Christmas?

A tip for the men out there, sneak a look in her underwear drawer to get the right size and the style she likes - this prevents you having to return items after Christmas. You can read my review of Chantelle lingerie here.

For Your Friend


Oh Come All Ye Tasteful is one of those Christmas recipe books by Ian Flitcroft that will impress everyone - even the mother-in-law. The book is an entertaining mix of recipes and narration that will help you celebrate the festive period. Read this with your tongue firmly in cheek. Who says there is a recession on?!

With recipes such as truffled turkey, brussels sprout petit fours and reindeer nibbles this over-the-top guide to the festive period is a great fun read from Legend Press. As well as being entertaining, this present won't break the bank.

For All The Family



With the dark mornings upon us, it can be difficult to get up for school, college or work. If you feel like that you really need a Lumie Bodyclock in your life.

The Lumie Bodyclock is a range of dawn simulators. These special alarm clocks wake you up gently with increasing light and dawn sounds, helping you beat the winter blues. The result is that you wake up feeling alert and refreshed. They say it can help treat the sleep disorder associated with Seasonal Affected Disorder or S.A.D when used in conjunction with other therapy. With a range of features including a FM digital radio and security light settings this Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 would make a great Christmas present.

I reviewed the Bodyclock Active 250 recently and it really helped us, especially my husband to get up in the morning.

COMPETITION


To win all these prizes worth over £400 please enter the competition through the Gleam application below.  If you haven't used Gleam before it's easy to do, check out this post here. Most entries just need a click, it's as simple as that!

Don't forget to bookmark this page as you can come back and tweet daily for an extra entry and click daily for an extra entry too. Check out my other competitions running on my competition page here. Good Luck!



***YOU COULD WIN ALL THIS***



Picture for illustrative purposes only - Copyright: Minipop Shutterstock


A Chantelle gift voucher worth £100
A virtual reality headset from Querkity worth £29.99
Pandora flower earrings from Gift And Wrap jewellers worth £45
Links Of London rose stardust bracelet from Joshua James Jewellery worth £110
Come All Ye Tasteful book worth £5.99 
Shave oil, hair pomade and a Kent comb from Old Street Barber Co worth £40 
Lumie Active Bodyclock 250 worth £99.95


Win Your Christmas Presents 2015

Terms and Conditions

You must be 18 + to enter 
Open to UK residents only 
One entry per household 
Winner will be contacted within 7 days of the competition ending 
If I do not hear from the winner within 28 days I reserve the right to redraw 
Prizes are coming from separate suppliers please allow 28 days for delivery 

End Date 30/11/15 11:59:59 PM

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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 Review

So the night's are drawing in and before long it will be dark in the mornings. For me it's always a struggle to get up when it's dark and cold outside. This is where the Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 comes in.




The Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 is the original wake up light. It works by simulating the natural light that happens at dawn, waking you up slowly and naturally. They say by doing this, your natural cortisol hormone increases making you want to get up bright and alert.

Features include

FM radio with digital tuning
A dawn chorus of birdsong or rooster call to alert you to sunrise
Wave sounds to help lull you off to sleep
A sun ray effect to wake you up
A dimmable light useful as a reading light
A snooze function
A security option that allows the light to come on at random when away
An adjustable sunrise to wake naturally
An adjustable sunset to wind down 

Lumie produce a range of these products that are backed by sad.org.uk. This organisation is dedicated to supporting people who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It's important to note that this isn't a treatment for S.A.D as a whole but it can useful to treat the sleep disorder associated with S.A.D. 

My husband especially is not a morning person, and he always seems more grumpy in the Winter, so I was interested in testing out the Lumie Bodyclock Active 250.


The design is simple yet modern. The light is plastic so you have no worries about glass breaking. Even though it is plastic it doesn't feel cheap due to it's sleek modern design. The alarm has different noise settings from a cockerel crowing at sunrise to bird song at dawn. You can also set the sounds to rolling waves, white noise or a simple alarm beep. My only criticism of the bird song is that it is a recorded noise that is very short, after about ten seconds it repeats again which can be a bit annoying. Still it's nice to hear bird song when you wake up, I think the subconscious mind realises it's a morning sound.

The display is easy to see and the bedside light is adjustable in brightness and also bright enough to read by. The light comes on gradually in the morning giving you that bright morning feel in conjunction with the alarm. It certainly makes you want to get up out of bed.

There is a simple to use snooze function and an FM radio. The radio is digital but not DAB and is easy to operate.

A very useful feature is the security setting. Once this is on the light comes on a random making your house looked lived in, between the hours of 16:00 and 23:00. A simple idea but a great idea for when you are not at home.


Some of the alarm settings

So did it get my husband up in the morning, you may ask? Well yes, it did. He says it felt less intrusive than a normal alarm, you don't get that jolting noise, and the light gradually gets brighter to wake you. At night you can set the light to slowly get darker too, which is perfect for those that don't like the dark. It's a great idea to try different settings to find the right ones for you.

Soon I will be giving one of these away in my big Christmas blog competition and gift guide starting the 31st of October, as well as loads of other prizes so keep a watch out!

So tell me, what do you think of the Lumie Bodyclock Active 250? Would you buy one?
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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Win £50 With My Blogger Friends Competition - Ends 26/11

I have a group of bloggers friends that really are the best and we have clubbed together to bring our readers a lovely competition for Christmas.


This is how we used to look (not really but I couldn't find a photo)

Copyright Syda Productions Shutterstock

My friend Linda I have known the longest. We are in a Welsh compers group I started a few years ago and used to meet up. She has a dry sense of humour, is fabulously witty and her writing is fantastic. She became a mum in her 40's and she writes about her family, beauty, fashion and food. You can catch here at http://www.motherdistracted.co.uk/

My friend Lucy Z is a fabulous lady. She has such a warm heart and is always upbeat and happy. She never fails to make me smile. I just wished I lived closer to her. She writes about life in London, her kids, fashion, home and much more at http://www.londonbirdlucy.co.uk/

Lucy D is one of those bloggers I aspire to be. She writes from the heart, always has something that is interesting to say and is totally mad - and that is why I love her. She is one of my besties. She is also a stickler for grammar - which comes from her volunteering in a primary school. Read her blog at www.theparentgameblog.co.uk

Bex is a busy lady juggling her blogging, her brilliant natural writing and being a parent to a lovely little boy. She is kind, and looks out for her friends. You can catch her at http://ialwaysbelievedinfutures.com/

We all know this time of year is so expensive, what with all the chocolate oranges you have to buy, so wouldn't you like to win a very handy £50!? Just enter the competition below and you could be £50 richer in the run up to Christmas. Good luck everyone!
Copyright joingate Shutterstock

Terms and Conditions

The giveaway is open to those 18 + living in the UK only. 
Winner picked at random via Rafflecopter 
Please allow 28 days for delivery 
No automated entries 
No bulk or third party entries 
One entry per person 
Giveaway ends midnight on 26/11/15


a Rafflecopter giveaway

**If you like the competition then please leave a comment and check out my other competitions here.**
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Monday, 26 October 2015

Winter Hair Care

Now the nights are getting darker, the weather is changing too. Outside it is getting colder and many households have started to put the heating on. At this time of year the cold, wind, rain and centrally heated buildings can play havoc with your hair. Here are some tips on how to protect your hair in the Autumn and Winter.

Winter Hair Care

Tangled Hair


Windy days can mean windswept hair styles. To keep hair looking good, think about tieing long hair back or protect hair under a hat. However if you go for the latter option you then have the flat hair problem.

A light conditioner that won't weigh your hair down will help detangle long hair. Consider a leave-in conditioner like Uniq 1 to carry on nourishing dry and split ends. This product smells divine, and leaves your hair silky smooth whilst protecting and detangling too.


If you have greasy hair don't use conditioner all over as your hair only needs extra conditioning on the ends.

Split Ends

Whatever a hair care product promises to do, it cannot mend split ends. Look after your hair, get regular trims and use conditioners as appropriate. This will help improve your hair's condition.

It is also important to never use a brush on wet hair as this can break the hair. Use a wide tooth comb and comb gently from roots to ends.

If you are using heated stylers use a protective product to minimise the damage such as a thermal hair protector. These will protect your hair from hot hair stylers, heated rollers, and straightening irons.

Allow your hair to dry naturally when possible. You could even consider a traditional method of styling your hair with non heated rollers and styles such as plaits and buns.

Flat Hair



Use shampoo, conditioners and styling products designed to add volume and body to your hair, and use a hairspray to prevent your hair style dropping.

Blow drying wet hair upside down will add volume. A product I have recently found is
 the TIGI Bed Head Superstar Blow Dry Lotion. Smelling of oranges, the liquid feels amazing on your hair, a small amount goes a long way and adds volume and softness without stickiness.

When hair is partially dry turn upright to finish styling and concentrate on getting height at the roots with a barrel brush.

When it's cold out, there is nothing more comforting that wearing a warm hat. This though can give you the 'flat hair' look. Keep some styling spray or dry shampoo in your bag to refresh your look when needed and give that boost to your hair.

Dry Hair



Try not to over process hair in the Winter as this can make hair brittle and dryer than normal. Use a shampoo to add shine and gloss like the TIGI Catwalk Fashionista brunette shampoo.

If you hair is very dry, look for conditioning treatments with Argan oil, after all they have been using it in Morocco for centuries. A weekly deep conditioning mask can also help dry and brittle hair.

If you want to cheat and get that Hollywood red carpet look, spritz with shine spray for healthy glowing locks.

Frizzy Hair

Changes in the environment such as heat, cold, wind and rain can cause hair to go frizzy. To prevent this style your hair with a product that discourages moisture absorption. A waterproof hairspray like Techni Art Fix Anti Frizz Spray can keep hair in place and help prevent the frizz.

If you are prone to frizzy hair, don't brush it. Use your finger to apply product and style gently. A touch of conditioner on the ends of hair can help tame the frizz.


* PR collaboration all words and opinions are my own
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Sunday, 25 October 2015

My Competition Round Up October 2015

My regular readers will know I love running competitions. At the moment I have three I am running. One on my blog, one with Attractiontix on Twitter and one with my Facebook page.

Facebook 


Philip Kingsley are giving away weekly prizes in the run up to Christmas! There is a link on my Facebook post to WIN A LUXURY WEST END EXPERIENCE WORTH £500!

Be sure to enter through my Facebook page and also if you LIKE this post you could also win a travel gift set of Philip Kingsley products.

Remember sharing is caring and commenting is nice too! CD midnight 27/10

Twitter





Attractiontix are giving away 10 pairs of cinema tickets every week for the next few weeks. To enter click on MY LINK on Twitter, watch a very short video and do the survey. The survey is very quick so don't let that put you off as you only add your name and address and answer one question.

What would you go and see if you were so lucky to win? I am hoping to see the new Bond film Spectre out on Monday the 26th!

Blog

Win a selection of natural products including Tooth Oil from Pure Natural Fresh worth over £35.

Have you tried natural body products like this before? The Tooth Oil helps prevent Gingivitis and freshens breath. So enter HERE .

*If you like competitions be sure to sign up to my email list on the top left of my blog as in the future I may be holding subscriber only competitions.*

Also I have three big competitions running in the next week. One to win £50 cash running with a group of blogger friends, another to win a gorgeous silver bracelet and my big Christmas competition with hundreds of pounds full of prizes! YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THAT ONE!
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Saturday, 24 October 2015

Cream Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes With Mixed Leaves

Thank you to Mellissa for having me here at The Diary of a Jewellery Lover while she is away – I hope you’re having a great time! You can usually find me over at The Cherished which captures the things, people and moments that inspire me. 

I’m a mum and step-mum to three girls, based between Cardiff and the beautiful countryside in Somerset and our free time is usually spent on long walks with our two dogs and enjoying good food together.

I like to use the freshest of ingredients, whether that be from the indoor market in Cardiff or from the abundance of organic farm shops in Somerset and our three girls enjoy learning how to cook clean, healthy alternatives to their favourite meals. 

I thought that today I’d share with you one of my favourite, quick and easy dinners – cream cheese stuffed tomatoes, which are both gluten and meat free. It is surprisingly filling with a green salad but I sometimes bulk it up with new potatoes or freshly made bread. 

SERVES: 4 PREPARATION TIME: 15 MINUTES, COOKING TIME: 30 MINUTES

  • Small bunch of mint
  • 350g of soft cream cheese
  • 4 beef tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil (I use coconut oil)
  • Mixed salad leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC / gas mark 4. Finely chop the mint and mix it into the cream cheese with some salt and pepper. Cut the very top off each tomato and scrape out the seeds and as much flesh as you can with a teaspoon, being careful not to scrape through the skin.
  2. Keep the middle safely to one side. Stuff the hollowed-out centres with the minty cheese.
  3. Place the tomatoes in a roasting dish and slide into the oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place the scraped-out bits of tomato in a frying pan, season and pour oil over the top. Put on a medium heat and leave to reduce, stirring occasionally.
  4. To serve, divide the stuffed tomatoes between four plates with the mixed salad leaves and any extras like new potatoes or bread (I personally like to add some quinoa to the salad). Spoon the fried tomato mix on top of the leaves and eat immediately. 


Voila! One quick, easy and delicious dinner! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do and I would love it if you would join me over at The Cherished for more of the same along with my everyday adventures as a city girls gets used to living in the countryside! 

You can join me on:




Thanks again to Mellissa for having me over here at The Diary of a Jewellery Lover and it would be lovely to see you all again soon! Have a great week!

Amy

xx
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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Gousto Food Box Revisited

I have reviewed a number of food boxes on my blog and Gousto remains a firm favourite of mine. Gousto is a home delivered food box full of well balanced nutritious ingredients perfectly proportioned. The end result is a plate full of tasty delicious food.

Why I like Gousto:-

You have a variety of dishes to choose from on their website and meals are changed weekly.
Each food box comes with a recipe card, with easy step-by-step instructions.
All the measuring is done for you.
There is no waste.
Meals are nutritionally balanced but still tasty.
Vegetables are organic.
Meat is high welfare.
British products are chosen where ever possible.
It inspires you to try new recipes and stops your cooking getting in a rut.


I liked being able to choose my meals in advance, and for this box I chose Sticky Hoisin Pork, Cheaty Chicken Kieve and Meera's Chicken Curry. Everything is delivered in an insulated box to keep your food fresh. 
The first dish I tried this week was the Sticky Hoisin Pork. We both found this dish very tasty and different to what we would normally cook. Although we do enjoy Chinese food I never make it from scratch so this was nice to try.

The recipe was easy to follow in all. One tip, after you add the pork to the frying pan, do not leave it unattended like I did - whoops! As it is in a marinade, it is easy to burn. I just managed to rescue it, luckily.
My husband is a very fussy eater, and I wasn't sure he would eat the pork as he doesn't as as rule but the flavour of the marinade was delicious and he ate it all up in no time. The wedges were tasty too and I would say don't worry about adding a whole chili to the cucumber relish. As long as you remove the seeds the dish won't be too hot. My only criticism of this dish is the fact that the pork used was neck of pork which was a little fatty. I would use fillet of pork if I was making this dish myself from scratch.

The next dish I made was the Cheaty Chicken Kiev. The chicken for this needs to be cut in half and then dipped in seasoned flour, egg and then breadcrumbs. A tip for you if you are breading chicken like this is to put a food bag over your hand to stop it getting messy when handling the chicken. I then put the chicken in the fridge to firm up. This was a good idea as the breadcrumbs set on the chicken making it easier to handle when cooked. 

The accompaniment for the chicken was potato and broccoli mash. I have to admit I am not a fan of mash at all, as I don't like the smooth texture. What I did when making the mash was to roughly mash it with a fork so it had a rough texture. I seasoned it well with salt and pepper and added a knob of Flora buttery.

Served over the chicken is a garlic butter, which was easy to make. I peeled and then chopped the garlic roughly and used the side of a cook's knife to squash the garlic with a little salt. I then melted some Flora buttery (you can use butter) in the microwave and added the garlic to make a garlic butter.

We both felt this dish was like proper comfort food, really satisfying and tasty. I kept it slightly healthier by using Flora buttery instead of butter but this is up to you. I think this dish would appeal to children too, after all, I don't know any children that doesn't like breaded chicken and this is so much nicer than the chicken nuggets you can buy. 



The last dish we tried was Meera's Chicken Curry. This is where Gousto comes into it's own. I would personally never buy spices myself to make a curry from scratch due to past experience where they just get left in the back of the cupboard, and lose the flavour with age. All the spices with Gousto were perfectly proportioned and weighed out in little packets - no waste here.

The chicken curry was really flavourful without being too hot. You could really pick out the spices such as the cinnamon, and coriander. The coconut milk added to the smooth luxurious flavour of the sauce and the portion size was just right. There is something ultimately satisfying about cooking a curry from scratch and I really enjoyed cooking this dish, and obviously eating it too!

All the dishes I tried were on the table in not much more than 45 minutes and they were suitable for those with little to moderate cooking experience. Portion sizes are generous too. With free nationwide delivery and farm fresh ingredients, get out of your cooking rut and try something new - home cooking made easy from Gousto.

You can follow Gousto on Twitter  and Facebook here and they also have a Pinterest account so you can see their tasty dishes. If you want to try a new box at £25 off your first order use the code RELISH at checkout.

Have you ever tried Gousto? What do you think of the concept? Let me know.
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Monday, 19 October 2015

Are Restaurants Keeping Up With Customers Dietary Needs?

It’s no secret that food allergies are on the up, and generally we’re all becoming more careful with what we eat, but are restaurants keeping up with customers dietary needs?

Whether it’s an allergy, religious belief or specialist diet, just one person with dietary needs in a group can make it harder to plan a meal out.

With more and more people following a gluten-free diet, 80% of Coeliac UK members have said they need safe options and that is the deciding factor when they plan on eating out. Yet with such a poor offerings out there it’s no wonder that the restaurant industry is missing out on an estimated £100 million a year…

If you have a dietary restriction, don’t be afraid to ask your local restaurants what they can do to accommodate you.


Ideas For Restaurants

1. Cater for as many dietary requirements as you can

Gone are the days when nut-free dishes were all a restaurant could get away with offering. Most of us will know at least one person with diabetes, lactose intolerance, coeliac disease or IBS. It’s not just allergies and intolerances that we’re wary of when we eat out; besides religious requirements like Halal or Kosher, diets like paleo and vegetarianism are so much more popular than they used to be.

A restaurant’s menu should be flexible, with chefs able to adapt dishes for a range of requirements. It’s not often easy to modify meals at short notice or prevent cross-contamination though, but if you contact the restaurant in advance, they should be able to offer a solution that makes everyone happy.

It’s really a no-brainer: they’ll build up a wider customer base while you’ll be more likely to return and to recommend them to your friends. Who doesn’t win in that situation? It’s up to us, the consumers, to create the demand for what we want.

2. Give us the info we need



Copyright: redheadedgirl Shutterstock


Research carried out by the Food Standards Agency and Allergy UK found that 53% of those with allergies avoid eating in restaurants because they’re too scared to.

In this day and age we should be able to visit a website and immediately see how a restaurant can handle special dietary requests. Allergy information and dietary options should be easy to find in the top menu of a website – you’d be surprised how few restaurants have this information on their website at all. We don’t all have time to contact each and every restaurant to ask about menus, so that information should be easily available.

3. Help us find you online

So a restaurant has a top-notch chef with an all-singing all-dancing menu. That’s great – except we can’t find them on Google when we’re searching for “Gluten-free vegetarian restaurant near me”. Burying a note to ‘tell your waiter if you have an allergy’ deep within a website just isn’t going to cut it. 

If you know of an amazing little place but they have an invisible website, help them out by letting them know how they can optimise it for the search engines:-
  • Link their business Google Plus page with Google My Business and create a landing page on their website that addresses the allergies and/or diets they cater for, with details on how their kitchen handles cross-contamination.
  • Give every web page a unique meta title and meta description to make them easier for search engines to categorise.
  • Include local keywords wherever possible – but don’t stuff the keywords in.
  • Place keywords close to the beginning of titles and descriptions while still being natural.
  • Make sure the URL of any web page is brief and descriptive.
  • Make images search engine friendly by using concise, relevant and keyword-rich file names and alt tags.
  • Host reviews on your website – search engines like unique content that is updated often and this will help improve your search rankings.


4. Tell us what you have to offer!


Copyright: Luis Molinero Shutterstock


Restaurants need to use a mix of advertising, press releases, social media and word of mouth to get their special menus in front of the consumer.

Blogs also offer a great opportunity to shout about ‘free-from’ products and no doubt you will already know of some niche websites you could recommend, so point your favourite restaurant owner in their direction.

Because diets like gluten free are much talked about in mainstream media, journalists are often looking for case studies. It doesn’t take much time for a restaurant owner or manager to give an interview with PR coverage and this will get them in front of a new audience as a specialist in dietary needs. It will also help them to build valuable links to their website and rise up the search engine rankings, capturing even more new customers.

Conclusion

Restaurants that cater for dietary restrictions are a big deal to people who have limited options. It is a market that is constanly growing and is worth millions.

In some cases it can mean a lot of change and investment, but it doesn’t have to be too difficult or expensive. Restaurants can even get business loans for bad credit if they can’t afford the upfront costs of updating their websites, their preparation areas and recruiting chefs with specialist knowledge of dietary needs.

With a growing number of customers avoiding certain foods, can they really afford not to accommodate everyone?

* A guest sponsored post on behalf of Liberis - a company that provides finance for small to medium sized businesses.
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Sunday, 18 October 2015

Slow Cooker Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Hello / Bore Da

I'm Su and I blog at Soosie Wales (http://soosie.wales).

This is my first guest post for Mel. When we discussed what I'll be writing about, Mel asked if I had done any baking in my slow cooker. I love my slow cooker and that sounded like a challenge so the gauntlet was firmly dropped! 

After looking back at the sort of puddings we enjoy I decided to make a Pineapple Upsidedown Cake.

If I was to make it again I would brown off the pineapple first to enhance the finished look. The sponge is very light and fluffy and had a bonus of nice crispy edges which added to the overall texture.


Recipe:
Ingredients:
4ozs / 100gms Butter (or buttery spread)
4ozs / 100gms caster sugar
4ozs / 100gms Flour - sieved
2 large eggs
400g (approx) Tinned Pineapple slices.



Method: 

Line the slow cooker with greaseproof paper. (same way as you would for a cake tin)
Sprinkle some brown sugar into the bottom and lay the pineapple slices on top.
Make the sponge mix:
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs a little at a time.
Fold in the sieved flour.
Add a few spoonfuls of the pineapple juice. The mixture should be just dropping off a spoon.
Spoon over the pineapple and smooth out.
Put the crock into the slow cooker and place lid on top.
Cook for 2 - 2and half hours on high. A cocktail stick stuck into the cake should come out clean.
Remove lid and leave for 20 minutes before carefully removing. (You should be able to lift it out then place a plate on top to turn it out.)
Serve with your choice of cream / custard / natural yoghurt.
Served picture here.

If you've never used your slow cooker to make a cake I think this would be an ideal start! The hardest thing is getting the pot lined!
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Friday, 16 October 2015

The Key Benefits of Custom Furniture for Your Home

When it comes to buying furniture for your home, it isn’t always easy to find the perfect items because there are so many things that you have to consider. When you buy readymade furniture you basically have to go with one size fits all, so if it isn’t exactly to your taste or doesn’t fit in with your decor there is little that can be done other than keep hunting and hoping for the best. Many people don’t have time to do this with the busy lifestyles they lead, which is why opting for custom furniture is often the most viable option.

A custom made bed

Copyright: Santiago Cornejo Shutterstock

Opting for custom furniture is a great way to get exactly what you are looking for, and you can get bespoke designs with many of the different types of furnishings you might require for your home. For instance, you can get custom settees for your living room, custom made wardrobes and drawers, and even custom made garden furniture from companies such as Custom Creations.

Why Opt For Bespoke Furniture?

There are many different reasons why opting for bespoke furniture design could be beneficial to you and your home. One of the key reasons why people decide on a custom design is due to space issues. For instance, if you have a small bedroom and you’re pushed for space you may struggle to find the right size bed and mattress. However, opting for a custom mattress from a reputable retailer such as Bedstar helps to resolve this issue and ensure you don’t have to compromise when it comes to comfort or quality.


Custom made kitchen cabinets

Copyright: Breadmaker Shutterstock

When it comes to furniture such as kitchen cabinets, people have their own tastes with regards to what they want and this is another reason why many people choose custom furniture. However, going to a bespoke kitchen cabinet company such as Kitchen Magic means that you can get the perfect cabinets not only in terms of size but also when it comes to appearance and design.

For some people, choosing bespoke designs is all about adding style and something unique to the house, as the chances of visiting a friend and finding exactly the same thing are going to be very slim! This unique touch is another reason why bespoke furniture often appeals to people.

A final benefit of opting for bespoke furniture is that you know that you will not only end up with the result that you are looking for but that the furniture will of high quality. 

Have you ever considered having custom furniture made?

* This article is written by Amy Johnson
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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Pure Natural Fresh Giveaway - Ends 15/11

Pure Natural Fresh introduces products whose unique selling point is that they all use top quality pure and potent substances to produce highly effective natural products. 


Image Copyright Leszek Glasner Shutterstock

Everything is made fresh and contains no chemicals just active natural botanical ingredients. They are proud of the fact that nothing is tested on animals and everything is suitable for vegans. 

To recap their products contain:-

No preservatives

No chemicals

No fragrances

No dyes 


Tooth Oil


Recently they have introduced specially optimised Tooth Oil into the UK market. The origins of this product go back 3000 years to Ayurvedic medicine.


Tooth Oil is often used as an alternative to modern toothpaste. It's a natural oil containing ultra mild cleaning particles which act to “brush the teeth” whilst swishing it around the mouth keeping your teeth and mouth fresh. Active ingredients include green tea extract, xylitol - which is a vegetable sugar know to help keep your teeth clean, eucalyptus oil, menthol, peppermint, myrrh, cinnamon and lemon oil along with several other natural active ingredients. It also contains Babchi - a Chinese medicinal plant used for its tooth whitening properties. It's a product perfect to keep in your briefcase or handbag when you want to freshen your mouth after a meal. 

To use Tooth Oil, use a teaspoon of the oil and swirl it around your mouth, teeth and tongue for one minute, then spit it out. Then take a toothbrush and brush your teeth as normal but use a damp toothbrush, then simply rinse. A fresh mouth feeling in an instant.

Recent studies have shown that this method of brushing your teeth which are also known as oil pulling, can help protect your teeth and mouth against halitosis, plaque and gingivitis. 

Other natural products that Pure Natural Fresh recommend include Natural Body Wash, Deodorant, Body Milk and Anti-Wrinkle Serum.
Body Wash

The Body Wash contains Cleomilk® which is a combination of aloe vera with sesame oil and black cumin oil. This substance is a plant based alternative to nourishing milk products, providing elasticity to the skin and also cleaning through the power of argan and almond oils.
Deodorant

The natural Deodorant works hard to keep you dry and fragrant using deodorising amino acids as the active ingredient. With a fresh lemony scent, this product is great for sensitive skins. If you are worried about the aluminium particles in over the counter deodorants then it's worth considering this natural way of staying fresh.

You can order the all natural Tooth Oil, Body Wash and Deodorant from Pure Natural Fresh as well as a range of their other products with no chemical nasties. So if you are looking for an alternative to personal products packed full of preservatives, chemicals, fragrances and dyes consider Pure Natural Fresh - products that are kinder to you and kinder to the environment. 

Today I have a chance for my blog readers to win a selection of these products from Pure Natural Fresh. To win a prize package of the Tooth Oil, Body Wash and Deodorant worth over £35 then enter through the Gleam app below. Good luck everyone!

Pure Natural Fresh Giveaway



Terms and Conditions

You must be 18 + to enter 
Open to UK residents only 
One entry per household 
Winner will be contacted within 7 days of the competition ending 
If I do not hear from the winner within 28 days I reserve the right to redraw 
Please allow 28 days for delivery 
Closing Date 2015-11-15 11:59:59 PM



SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky


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Monday, 12 October 2015

Children's Bedroom Ideas

My friend has recently become a grandma again and is looking to decorate her spare bedroom. As her daughter-in-law is looking to go back to work she will be looking after her new baby grandson on occasion and also her granddaughter who is two. She has therefore asked me to help her plan her new nursery and look for some cute furnishings. Here are some design ideas for a baby and toddler bedroom.
Unisex Bear Themed Bedroom

Buddy Bear Rug - Next
Buddy Bear Curtains with Bear Motif - Next
Bailey Sleigh Cot Bed - Room To Grow

This super cute bear themed bedroom is decorated with a gorgeous soft 'Buddy Bear' rug and neutral bear themed curtains in beige, both from Next. A design suitable for both girls and boys.

The 'Bailey Sleigh' cot bed by specialist children's furniture retailer Room To Grow has a classic stylish design that can grow with the child. It easily converts from a cot to a toddler bed to a day bed. What an excellent idea! With three base heights, this cot bed is super value for money and includes a teething rail too. It also look supremely well made. A great addition to any nursery.

Girls Butterfly Bedroom

Butterfly Duvet Cover - Ollie and Leila
Girls Butterfly Rug - Next
White Personalised Bed - Oillie and Leila

For real girlie girls this pink butterfly duvet cover from Ollie and Leila is super sweet and made of soft 200 thread count cotton that won't irritate a little ones skin. A pretty design that any little girl would love.

To match the butterfly theme, this rug from Next is that perfect pink accessory. 

The beautiful 'Leila' heart petal bed from Ollie and Leila can be personalised with your child's name at the base and has a heart motif. What little girl wouldn't love to have their name on their own bed? What is extra special about this bed is that it is made in the UK too, and with a 5 year guarantee and choice of colours too, you really can't go wrong.




Boys Space Bedroom

Kids Space Mission Toy Box - Dunlem 
Space Duvet Set - Debenhams
Thuka Trendy 4 Cabin Bed - Room To Grow

To fit with a space theme, the kids 'Space Mission' toy box from Dunlem is great for storing all toys and clutter away. Made from solid lacquered wood, it is a fun accessory to any bedroom.

The space duvet set from Debenhams has a reversible print and is a super choice for all the budding astronauts in the world.

This 'Thuka Trendy 4' cabin bed from Room To Grow is made from solid European pine whilst the optional play tent is brilliant for making dens. Another add on is the tower which is perfect for imagining adventures in space. Available in a range of colours from white and natural to blue and purple - I think you will agree that this bed is very versatile. 

Tell me, what do you think of the items I have chosen? 

* A PR collaboration, all words and opinions are my own
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