London Eats: Tayyabs, Whitechapel

25 Sep

Established in 1972, Tayyabbs has long been serving the people of east London the most delicious Pakistani cooking around. It’s a firm favourite with my friendship group, as with a BYOB policy you can go stuff your face, drink your own wine and pay no more than £20.

My absolute favourite dish is the spiced and sizzling lamb chop platter, I also find the naan breads so flavourful and fresh. The curry is amazing full of lamb (or chicken) and all with their own spicy twists. My only criticism is that they can be a little greasy. It must be said, the atmosphere is simply mad. Even with a booking there’s crowding, pushing shouting and often chaos. The restaurant greeter does have it all in hand (usually) and when you do eventually get a table – you will be shouted at in the nicest way possible to place your order. They always remember i without writing it down, even for tables of 11! It’s not for the faint hearted if you want a quiet corner – go elsewhere. Typically its fun folk getting together and a lot of laughter and joy. There is always the obligatory table of suited ‘*rhymes with Anchor* banker types who are just that bit too loud, grating and vulgar. Just ignore those and you’ll be okay!

Here are some pictures to entice your taste buds:

Verdict: 9 / 10

Where?
83-89 Fieldgate St, Whitechapel, London E1 1JU
Top Tip: Booking in advance is absolutely necessary www.tayyabs.co.uk

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Happy 31st Anniversary Mam and Dad

12 May

I want to wish the best parents in the world a very happy 31st anniversay! They truly are the best.

Lots of Love,

Rachel

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Fathers Day Gift Guide

12 May

With Father’s day only a month away, I’ve tried and tested some really unique products, to help with your gift buying decisions!

Janjira Grapefruit & Tangerine Therapy Massage Candle
A lot of people only give candles as gifts to women. My dad for one, certainly loves them too – as does my boyfriend, so they should be a versatile gift for everyone!
I love the Janjira range of candles, as they are spa-inspired they have a glorious scent that is made from natural ingredients including beeswax, soybean and coconut oil  that is paraben and SLS free.
As it heats, the candle also produces an oil that you can use for massage, I love that this then doesn’t waste any of the wax at all. it comes with a handy lid too, which if like me you have pets running around is useful for after you blow it out.
Available to buy at www.janjira.co.uk at £30 each.

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Verdict: Such a strong fruity smell 8 / 10

Jockey Everyday Socks
Before designing underwear in 1935, Jockey originally began as a sock production company, with its origins dating back to as early as 1876. their ‘everyday’ sock range are a great Fathers day gift, really useful but also of such a lovely texture that they do feel special too. They’re made of cotton, to help the feet breath but have a tight top which will keep them held up also, and I love the striped ones in particular!

Available to buy at www.jockey.co.uk/collections/socks £9 for three pairs.

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Verdict: really good quality, nice and easy gift giving! 8 / 10

ChariTable Signature Dish Book
For the father who has every standard cook book, why not treat him to a book that is filled with the signature dishes of 365 top chefs (including John Williams at The Ritz)

ChariTable Bookings is a philanthropic restaurant booking platform that raises funds for UK registered charities at absolutely no cost – when making a booking through charitablebookings.org £1 for EVERY diner will be donated to charity. They have launched this book just in time for fathers day, and the recipes are amazing! I love how full and sturdy the book is, it would take my dad months to cook his way through this.

Available at https://charitablebookings.org/signature-dish/about for £40, of which £5 will go to the charity of your choice.

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Verdict: A little pricey, but given the sheer volume of recipes, it may be worth it 7 / 10

Lyons Coffee Bags
For the coffee loving dad, surprise him with a new product, Lyons Coffee Bags – they’re just like a tea bag but with freshly ground coffee beans! Available at major supermarkets for under £3, I think that these are such a handy idea when you are in a ruch for delicious coffee and no more terrible instant. One thing that I would say however, is tht they really do take up a lot of room in the mug – they are 4x as large as a teabag! So have a big mug ready or there will be spills.

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Verdict: A delicious 8 / 10

Valentines Gift Guide – 4 Days to go!

10 Feb

For the no-flowers girl
I was watching Channel  4’s The Undateables last week and one of the young lads said something along the lines of ‘what exactly is the point in giving flowers, something dead, that just keeps dying’ and it’s so true! Flowers wither and fade and though I do make natural confetti from the petals afterwards (wedding brain!) it is a real waste. Instead, try giving a plant, it’s a great alternative as you are able to watch it grow as your love does each day (instead of throwing it in the rubbish bin a week later!) Lubera do an amazing range of fruit trees (see the Gustissimo Califfo Blue below – or ‘Mr Fig’ as I like to call him) which would be the perfect valentines gift.
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Prices start at £25 and are available online here
Verdict: 10 / 10

Printerpix – Personalised Gifts
A personalised gift can cost a fraction of any other gift but get the biggest wow on a special day. Gifting some photo coasters to my mother-in-law to be this Christmas got such a great response in comparison to her other presents, even if my partner had spent more!

Online gift retailer Printerpix do a whole range of gifts with photo-upload, and one of the most unusual is their personalised chopping board. I’ve chosen a picture of my two kitties, and will give this to my fiancé on Valentines – it will make the perfect bench protector, and will always remind us of when the cats were little.

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Verdict: 10 / 10
Ecoffee Cups
Keep your loved one caffeinated with these gorgeous Ecoffee cups from http://ecoff.ee The new William Morris collection is particularly special and made from bamboo fibre they are completely eco-friendly. The cups are available in 12oz and 14oz with prices starting from £8.95.

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Verdict: This will save me a pretty penny instead of shop bought coffee’s while wandering around London, and I just love the floral design! 9 / 10

For the beer connoisseur
If your partner is of the beer loving variety why not help him on his taste journey with these lively beer glasses from Riedel Crystal & Spiegelau Glassware. Each glass is made of the finest Bavarian craftmanship and very thin so be careful when unpacking (one of mine broke in transit) but aren’t the delicate things always the most precious – these glasses bring a touch of elegance to the ‘art’ of beer tasting, each shaped in a different design to best bring out the flavour in each beer type.

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Available here at £19,95 for three.

Verdict: 8 / 10

Chocolate is an aphrodisiac after all
In 1902, a chocolate shop called Prestat was opened in London by descendants of Louis Dufour, the man who created the world’s first recorded chocolate truffle in Chambery, France in 1896. I adore their heart-shaped valentines box – so simple yet effective to gift to a loved one. Prestat is one of the few British artisan chocolatiers to make all its own chocolates – giving it complete control of recipes and the sourcing of ingredients as well as the opportunity to nurture the traditional skills needed to create its handcrafted chocolates.
Very tasty, high quality and high cocoa content within and pretty on the outside. Yes hearts are cheesy, but on Valentine’s Day you can embrace them like a Christmas jumper – a huge necessity to complete the feel. After all, what other picture would you upload to Instagram on the 14th?

Available from www.prestat.co.uk, Waitrose, Ocado and at Prestat’s Concession in the Harrods Foodhalls (www.harrods.com) Priced from £7.50 – £35
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Verdict: 9 / 10

Cohorted Beauty Box
Give a girl the gift of delicately boxed little beauty treats! Buyers can gift a subscription, or a one-off box, with prices from £30. The box contains a selection of must-have, high-end products for each month, perfect for trying out brands and products that you may not have known of otherwise!

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Verdict: 8 / 10 the element of surprise was very fun!

 

“Why shouldn’t men wear elegant underwear?”
Charles Belpaume, HOM founder, 1968.

Indeed! Why shouldn’t they. There is an extensive range of high quality, and gorgeous men’s underwear at www.hom.com My favourite is the cheeky ‘Valentine Love’ pack – perfectly boxed for gifting.

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Verdict: 9 / 10

 

*Note: Some of these products were sent to me by the retailer in exchange for an impartial review. As a northern lass I am quite opinionated, and all views are my own. Honestly, if I hate something I will tell you, and if I love it I will rave about it.

10 Sleeps Until Christmas!

15 Dec

Mmm mmm he smells good!
When stuck for a last minute gift, you cannot go wrong with a nice aftershave. Jaguar Pace, designed to mark the arrival of the all-new Jaguar F-Pace family sports car, claims to be an expression of true masculinity, emanating power, confidence and charisma. Quite a bold claim, and probably a little exaggerated, but it does smell amazing. I can’t wait to snuggle my boyfriend when he’s had a spritz!
Jaguar Pace is priced at £28.99 and is available from selected Marks and Spencer’s stores around the country and from Marks and Spencer’s online at www.marksandspencer.com

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Verdict: 9 / 10

 

Pogues Irish Whiskey
Launched in 2015, The Pogues Irish whiskey has as much character as the band itself.  Produced by West Cork Distillers in Ireland’s rugged coastal spot, Skibbereen, The Pogues rebels against the grain with its blend of 50% Irish grain whiskey aged in bourbon oak casks and 50% single malt Irish whiskey aged in sherry casks. The Pogues is crafted in small batches in handmade copper stills and aged for three years and a day. The mutinous soul and passion of The Pogues has been captured in the blend and fashioned to the band’s own taste and rebellion of the norm.

It has a malty yet nutty flavour that is really moreish! The Pogues’ Irish whiskey is available at DrinkSupermarket priced £29.99.

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Verdict: 8 / 10

Patron Stocking Fillers

Patrón Miniatures
The perfect stocking filler – Patrón Silver and Patrón XO Cafe 50ml bottles offer a taste of ultra-premium tequila in sleek miniature bottles.

Patrón Silver tequila is the perfect ultra-premium white spirit.  Crystal clear with fresh Agave aromas, it is handmade in small batches and created using the finest 100% Weber Blue Agave

50cl, RRP £7.15 – The Whisky Exchange

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Verdict: 9 / 10 – so cute!

13 Sleeps until Christmas!

12 Dec

13 sleeps – two weeks – may seem like plenty of time to stock up on presents. But the early bird catches the worm so take today’s gift inspiration and find the perfect gifts to spoil your loved ones!

 

Grants Family Reserve Whiskey
Grant’s whiskey is Scotland’s oldest family run blend – I remember my Grandad used to keep a bottle of grants in the cupboard and have a little nip in the evening. It’s a timeless classic and a perfect gift for any whiskey lover. Grants Family Reserve 70cl is only £17.19 and available in most supermarkets too so super for any last minute present buyers as you can grab a bottle on your way even! I liked that it was very smooth and easy to drink – I’m sure there are ‘fancy’  whiskeys with a sharper woodier taste that a connoisseur may keep for special occasions, but actually for a Friday night tipple by the TV the mellow flavour works very well.

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Verdict: 8 / 10

 

HoMedics Foldaway Footspa
Ah the footspa! A classic go to gift for your mam, dad, nana or grandad. But… they are usually so big and clunky really hard to store. HoMedics have the solution, with their foldaway footspa. It has a soothing vibrating massage, and raised acunodes for stimulating those tired tootsies. No more refills with the kettle either as it’s keep warm feature proves to be mega useful! Add some bath salts, and relax! Available at www.homedics.co.uk for £39.99

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Verdict: 8 / 10

Stampin’ Up!
For the crafters out there I would recommend anything from the Stampin’ Up! collection. My favourite is the Forever Evergreen Project Kit, where for around £20 you can build your own gorgous table top christmas trees. The kit includes all of the ribbons, trims, dowels hooks and snowflakes as well as the high quality die-cut cardstock.

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Verdict: A very fun 7 / 10

 

Wisdom While you Work
If you are looking for something a little different to gift to your children or grandchildren this year, Libbla Kelly has released a book ‘Wisdom While You Work’ a mindfullness gem full of core values and ‘pass me down’ pearls of wisdom with a tear and share section in the middle. The book is a culmination of Libbla’s life; being a nanny, having 12 godchildren, nephews and nieces, cousins, stepsons etc… There has not been one day without the presence of children in her life which makes her ideally placed to write such a book!
Priced at £10.00 (plus P&P), Libbla’s book may be purchased direct from www.wisdomwhileyouwork.com
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Verdict: 7 / 10

Freedom Brewery’s Taster Box
British pioneers of craft beer, Freedom Brewery, has the perfect gift option for the discerning craft beer fan. Their award winning range of craft lager comes as a gift pack – choose from Organic Helles, East India Pale and King Koing to Boston Beech, Liberty Pils and Freedom Authentic.
Available at Freedom Brewery online and other specialist retailers – choose three bottles for £6, six bottles for £10 or a case of twenty four for £30.
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Verdict: A very tasty 9 / 10

Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale
All your boyfriends sweet and beer dreams have come true this year, because Meantime Brewing Company has teamed up with the Master Pâtissier to create ‘Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale’, a nutty dark ale that’s perfect for the festive season.

The ale is really deep and refreshing, the nuttiness pokes through the 5% alcohol and gives you a lovely warm winter buzz! It would make a fab stocking filler, and is available at www.meantimebrewing.com for £2.10 per bottle

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Verdict: 8 / 10

CHIKA’s Snacks
Fill your stockings this year with healthy alternatives that will help for a guilt free Christmas! (There’s enough calories in that big dinner never mind chocolates on top!) CHIKA’s is a flavoursome, gluten free, non GMO snack range, and they have launched ‘Snack4Change’, a new snack box initiative designed entirely to fund and support the schooling of underprivileged children in west Africa.
Each subscription purchased funds one child’s school fees and contains four delicious CHIKA’S snacks such as chili plantain crisps, smoked almonds and hand toasted peanuts. Priced at an introductory £4.99, one box sold sends one child to school. From spiced plaintain to salt and pepper cashews I have heartily nibbled my way through the collection – and can safely say that they are delicious!
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Verdict: 7 / 10

Twist, Drink & Go – Zingo
Root7 have created a nifty little bottle that they call Zingo. Very catchy! You add your half lemon, lime, orange, whatever citrus fruit to the bottom, and it gets speared onto the reamer. You then add water to the main bottle and the flavours infuse as you drink. I love that this is a healthy way to enjoy a fruity drink, no chemicals, preservatives or sweeteners – just natural fruit and water.
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Verdict: 8 / 10

 

17 Sleeps until Christmas!

7 Dec

The London No.1 Gin
For those gin lovers out there, The London No.1 Gin  has launched a gift pack which includes a stirrer in a London-landmark inspired design and is just so pretty you willalmost not want to drink it. Almost. Launched in 1771, when the 1st Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, built his London townhouse on the southeast facing corner of Hyde Park it’s a really smooth gin with great heritage. It pairs well with a plain tonic – or if like me you like to fancy it up try a dash of elderflower. Delicious! It can be purchased nationwide from Ocado and Oddbins for RRP £34.00.

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Verdict: 9 / 10

 

PHIZZ
If you are gifting alcohol this Christmas, do your family a favour and attach a little tube of the miracle that is PHIZZ. It’s a pocket size, Swiss made effervescent tablet combining a rehydration formula with a mix of essential vitamins and minerals. I tested this after a Christmas party – and it really helped to perk me up. I think it would make a really useful stocking filler. Available from Ocado, Amazon and select independent pharmacies.

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Verdict: 10 / 10

Pusheen Cat Watch
For the emoti-lover in your life you will be very pleased to know that they can now see their favourite Facebook cat, Pusheen in watch format. These cute watches from www.WatchShop.com are a bargain at £11.99 and would make a perfect gift for children or anyone who is a fan of the cue and quirky!

If only they did one for men – my dad loves this emoji – a cat with kisses, a cat with hearts, a cat with wool. Pusheen really does get about on her travels!
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Verdict: 8 / 10

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Puzzle
When buying gifts for children it can be a fine balance as they proabably have a lot of toys clogging up the house already. The solution is to keep it educational too! I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar – 4 in 1 Puzzles aimed at Preschoolers it contains four colourful jigsaws of 12, 16, 20 and 24 pieces. Each puzzle features a different image including: The Very Hungry Caterpillar in the sun, The Very Hungry Caterpillar with some of his favourite fruits and also the lifecycle of the butterfly. It’s great fun, but the box isn’t very sturdy, so make sure its not squished in your pile of presents before you give this away!

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Available from Amazon at only £8.95, great for a last-minute gift if you have prime.

Verdict: 7 / 10

 

Four Legged Fancies
Best not to forget your loyal pets this Christmas morning – at the very least it will not be worth the hassle of fighting them away from your mince pie! Joking aside, if your furry ones are part of the family why not give them the best. Four Legged Fancies (FLF) has some gorgeous handmade, natural and wheat free treats for dogs this Christmas. I would ask my dogs Bob and Harry what they thought of them – but unfortunately they gobbled them down so quickly that I’m not even sure they took a moment to taste! 😉 Treats start at under a fiver and are available at www.fourleggedfancies.co.uk

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Verdict: I love how they look, that they are healthy and the dogs certainly approved. 10 /10 

Winter Eats: Homeburger

6 Dec

Sometimes you just want to stay indoors in the winter months, but it does mean that you miss out weekend treats at your favourite burger joint. I tried out Homeburger last weekend – and I was suitable impressed that restaurant quality burgers can indeed make their way to your front door with no compromise on the taste. I tried the delicious Bacon Bungalow with Cheese, at 9.50 it’s not the cheapest burger, but wow it is stacked with everything a good burger should be. A generous beef patty, oak smoked bacon, cheddar & American cheese, fried onion relish, pickles, tomato, baby gem lettuce, burger sauce and a lightly toasted bun.

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Verdict: 9 / 10

On the side I’d also reccommend the melt in the mouth ‘Camemballs’ breaded little balls of heaven oozing with Camembert cheese and a cranberry jam to dip.

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Verdict: 8 / 10

The Onion shards were pretty unique, buttermilk crispy fried sticks of onion, perfect to crunch your way through on the side or even add to a burger for some oomph.

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Verdict: 8 / 10

Last but not least, the home fries are thick cut, extra chunky, extra crispy, and triple cooked. Perfect for dipping in the creamy (with a kick) chipotle mayo.

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Verdict: 8 / 10

 

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4 weeks until Christmas!

30 Nov

With the Christmas countdown now officially upon us, I hope that you enjoy part one of my Christmas gift guide. As usual expect a mixture of quirky ideas, fab value products and those luxury ‘splurge’ gifts that are too unique to miss!

Vintage Puzzles
Gibson Games have created the perfect gift for puzzlers this Christmas. Their Vintage Kellogg’s puzzle tin has 250 pieces perfect for cornflake lovers and the tin is just so pretty to keep afterwards. If crisps are more your thing they also have a double sided Pringle’s puzzle gift. I love that it is double-sided one side with the tub as the main image for beginners, and the other a stack of crisps a lot harder to complete!

The games are sold online or you can find a local retailer here

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Verdict: A truly unique 9 / 10

Relax, sooth and pamper
Treat someone with a perfect stocking filler to relax and unwind (I think we all know a few people who could do with this!) in the form of Olverum Bath Oil.

First produced in 1931, it has a ‘mystical reputation’ for its rejuvenating effects, which come from the aromatic blend of essential oils said to ease stress and relax tension in both mind and body, aiding restorative sleep.

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It’s a luxury gift – as the 125ml size is £26.00 but it is also highly concentrated as only 5ml is needed per bath. You can find Olverum in Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Fenwick and at www.houseoffraser.co.uk

Verdict: At first it was hard to get my mind around the price tag. But… my muscles loved it. To quote a little bump and grind: “My mind is telling me no – but my body, my body is telling me yes!” 8 / 10

For the party girl
Who doesn’t love a great cocktail? Yet when you kick off your shoes on a Friday night in the house so often its the boring wine or beer that we open. I love the idea of this little  Kahlúa and Absolut Vodka Expresso Martini kit. With the small bottles and gorgeous martini glass (and even the coffee!) it has everything that you need for this lush cocktail. At only £10 and available in major supermarkets such as Tesco it’s a bargain too – the perfect price to jazz up your secret Santa offering this year.

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Verdict: It is just to delicious so it has to be a 10 / 10 gift!

 

Coffee Lovers
For a gift that will definitely be used why not give the coffee lover in your life a bag of their favourite addiction. The Sailors’ Society have recently launched an ethically sourced ‘BySea’ coffee. It makes an ideal Christmas gift and with 100 per cent of the profits going towards our work supporting seafarers and their families. The Brazillian reserve is my favourite with a smooth deep flavour, but if you like a bit more crema in your cup the Indian reserve is even richer. Very delicious!

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BySea coffee is available to buy at www.bysea.org/shop and is £4.95 a bag.

Verdict: a delicious 9 / 10

Beauty gift with a difference
We all receive beauty gifts at Christmas and some are for pure pampering purposes – but if you know someone well enough you may also know that they would appreciate a beauty solution with a practical purpose. Beauty company Remescar have just launched a new eye bag and dark circles cream which uses ‘Eyesyl’ a technology developed by Sylphar (the company behind Remescar) that works on 3 key actions;

·         Skin tightening

·         Decrease water accumulation

·         Micromuscular-pause

This claims to effectively and immediately erases eye bags and dark circles in just two minutes. I tried this product out for two weeks, and I did notice a difference – I can only imagine it would be a welcome addition to your Mam’s beauty box if bags or dark circles are a concern for her.

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Remescar is available in all major Boots UK stores – and online – for £29.95.

Verdict: 7 / 10

*Note: Some of these products were sent to me by the retailer in exchange for an impartial review. As a northern lass I am quite opinionated, and all views are my own. Honestly, if I hate something I will tell you, and if I love it I will rave about it.

Winter Eats: Zing Zing

19 Nov

With the cold weather seeping into tired bones this winter, after a late night at work it can be far too tempting to order take out (again) for dinner. Zing Zing have the perfect solution – as they make chemical free modern Chinese take out that I can vouch for as delicious!

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The menu was designed by executive chef Jeremy Pang and if you are money conscious like myself you’ll be pleased to know that the average price for a main is only £6.50.

I tried some of the below with my family and here are our favourites:

Firecracker Chicken
The best! So hot and sticky and amazing. I would order this every day if I could.

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Coconut Tamarind Prawns
My second favourite, rich coconut with fresh pawns and lime leaves. Perfect!

Glazed Sesame Chicken
Made with pieces of chicken thigh it made each bite really tender and moist.

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Seasonal Chinese Greens
My mam’s favourite, crunchy broccoli, pak choi, mushrooms and mange tout yet lots of delicious oyster sauce

Sticky Pork Ribs
Infused with a smokey flavouring these were lovely to nibble on

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Nutella and Banana Spring Rolls
A little weird, but anything with nutella gets my vote! I guess it’s a take on the banana fritter (which to be honest I love more) but I imagine this is healthier as not so battered/fried

I love that there are no hidden nasties in this takeaway and will definitely be ordering from here in the future.

Verdict: 9 / 10

Happy Friday!

18 Nov

Happy Friday everyone!

So if you wondering why it’s been a little quiet lately, I must apologize. That is because I have been super busy planning… my wedding! That’s right Mr Jones popped the question and we are very excited be getting married, in a gorgeous little lighthouse next year, followed by a ‘DIY’ wedding reception in a village hall.

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You can expect many money-saving tips around event planning in general in the weeks to come – but fear not I won’t bore you too much as in January I will also launch my new wedding blog. There is a certain type of crazy organised,  idea hungry bride out there and it will be of more interest to them than you fun loving London lot I am sure! But just in case, I’ll let you know more soon.

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In the meantime, soppy yes, but I cannot wait to marry my cute one and for 2017 in general! Happy vibes at the moment, we all deserve them from time to time and I am going to ride along on mine for now. It’ll certainly clear the grey November skies 🙂

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Lots of Love,

Rachel

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London Quote of the Month

1 Nov

“Do you realise that people die of boredom in London suburbs? It’s the second biggest cause of death amongst the English in general. Sheer boredom.”
-Alexander McCall Smith

Christmas gifts for Men

1 Nov

I know, I know – it seems so far away! But, with less than two months to go it’s always best to plan and spread the cost! Here are a few of my favourite gifts for men this year:

Dotcomgiftshop have launched some snazzy new designs that will make unique Christmas gifts this year. Inspired by a halcyon era of bicycle racing between the 1950s – 1980s, they have launched a stylish and contemporary range of cycling and grooming accessories, which beautifully show the enduring romance and iconography of cycling’s golden age. Perfect for the men in your life who caught the olympic fever this year!

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At £14.95 it would make a great stocking filler – or better still add your own gifts to the bag and make it the stocking!

For the science geek it doesn’t get any better than items decorated with the periodic table. My brother’s doing a chemistry PhD and I think I will have to get him this gorgeous tablet case – and such a bargain at £1!
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For the well-groomed man the ‘Modern Man’ collection – inspired by the  jazz hipsters of the swinging 1950s – would look great in any man’s bathroom. Prices start at £3.95

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All items are available at www.dotcomgiftshop.com

Verdict: 9 / 10

Halloween Recipe time! Skippy Spooky Cookies

25 Oct

It can be so boring handing out pre-packaged sweets to the trick or treaters at your door or the guests at your Halloween party. I love baking, and adore peanut butter so thought that I would give Skippy’s Spooky Cookies a try this year. They were so easy to make and the recipe is pretty simple:

Ingredients
·         1 jar of Smooth SKIPPY® Peanut Butter

·         340g cups all-purpose flour

·         1 teaspoon baking powder

·         1 teaspoon baking soda

·         1/4 teaspoon salt

·         170g butter

·         150g granulated sugar

·         165g firmly packed brown sugar

·         2 large eggs

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Directions:

1.      Heat oven to 180°C/ 350°F.

2.      In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.

3.      In large bowl, beat together peanut butter and margarine with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in granulated and brown sugars, then eggs and vanilla until blended. Beat in flour mixture just until blended.

4.      Shape dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased baking sheets, arrange cookies 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly golden. If decorating like spiders, remove to cool on baking sheets 2 to 3 minutes. Decorate to look like spiders, if desired.

5.      If decorating like spiders, gently press mini chocolate button or chunk into top of each cookie while still warm. When chocolate starts to melt, attach thin pretzel “legs” by placing end of pretzel into melted chocolate. Cool completely then attach mini coated candy pieces for “eyes” and mini sugar pearls for “pupils” with peanut butter.

SKIPPY® Peanut Butter has a RRP of £2.25 per 340g jar and is available in Smooth and Super Crunch varieties, which are currently available in major UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Ocado.

Toffee Apples – Pink Lady Style!

24 Oct

It’s the run up to Halloween weekend, and a great time to spoil your family and friends with sweet treats. Here’s a great recipe to get started – Toffee Apples – Pink Lady Style!

Ingredients

4 – Pink Lady® Apples
400g – Caster sugar
50g – Salted butter
3tbsp – Golden syrup
1tbsp – Cider vinegar
100ml – Water
4 – Thick wooden sticks

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Full preparation

Place the Pink Lady® apples into a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, as this will help the sugar syrup stick better. Remove the apples and dry with kitchen paper. Remove the stalks of the apples and push the wooden sticks through the top to create the handle.
Measure out all of the ingredients and put them all (except the apples) into a medium heavy-based saucepan with deep sides, as you will need to tip to the saucepan to the side while dipping the apples into the sugar syrup. Line a baking tray with parchment paper for when the apples are ready.
Heat the sugar mix on a medium low heat and let it bubble away for a good 10 minutes. The most accurate way to know when the sugar syrup is ready is to use a cooking thermometer; you want the sugar syrup to reach 143 -150°c. Or alternatively if you do not have a thermometer you can place a small amount of the mixture into a bowl of cold water and if it separates into threads that are hard but not brittle, then it is ready.
Once the sugar syrup has reached 143-150°c, turn off the heat and keep stirring to remove all the bubbles and to cool it down slightly. If the sugar syrup is too hot then it will run off the apple so you need to wait until the mixture looks like syrup with no bubbles, which is around 120°c.
Carefully place your apple with the wooden stick into the sugar syrup and tilt the pan to get best coverage for your apple. Keep rotating the apple in the mix to coat. Hold the apple above the pan and keep rotating until the sugar cools and holds its shape better. When you think its holding well place the apple onto the lined tray to cool. Repeat the process with the remaining apples.

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