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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

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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 

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.

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.

Last minute Fathers Day Gifts!

18 Jun

It’s never to late to buy your dad a bit more for Father’s Day. Don’t bankrupt yourself, but do spoil him! Here are a few of my faves:

 

SodaStream Power

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Give your dad a blast from the past – only reinvented. We had a SodaStream as kids, and it seemed so magical and fun. As an adult wow have they come on – they are nifty little gadgets. By using tap water you keep all the fluoride to protect your teeth, and can add any flavour you want. What’s more big bottles of water goes flat in a blink, this means you can make your own whenever you want.  I love that you can choose three levels of fizz – so if like me you want mildly sparkling and not super fizz you can make to fit.

There are so many new flavours that you can add including Elderflower, Cloudy Lemonade, Cranberry Raspberry and Pink Grapefruit with a large bottle spreading a long way at £3.99.

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SodaStream is available at Argos, The Range, Lakeland, Robert Dyas, Dunelm Mill, Ocado, Amazon, Selfridges, ASDA and Sainsbury with prices ranging from £89.99 – £149 for the Power model featured below.

Verdict: 10 / 10

 

 

HAIG CLUB WHISKEY
aaaaTreat your dad to HAIG CLUB’s unique blend of butterscotch and toffee notes, with this super fancy whiskey. In a gorgeous bottle and tastes superb too!

A 70cl bottle is available from Selfridges and Waitrose stores, nationwide at around £45, and a mini 5cl bottle is £4.50 from The Whiskey Shop.

Verdict: 9 / 10

 

Animal Frieze High Ball Glasses

To go along with that whiskey why not add a high quality glass? The Animal Frieze High Ball Glasses from Peach Perfect are handsome, and the perfect size for a short drink and room for ice.

stagPriced at £9.50 each they don’t come cheap – but if you’re having a fancy whiskey you must have a fancy cup!

Verdict: 8 / 10

 

 

 

*Note: these products were sent to me by the retailer in exchange for an impartial review. However this northern lass is 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!

Fathers Day Gift Guide: 12 Days to go!

7 Jun

With 12 days to go until Father’s Day don’t be a last-minute diva, and get your gifting sorted. We all have busy lives and I think birthdays, Christmas and occasions like mothers day and fathers day is an opportunity to be truly thoughtful. As a child I loved making them breakfast in bed and carrying it up precariously – it felt very grown up! Now as an adult living far away I don’t have that luxury, so if I am going to jump on the consumer bandwagon I may as well choose products that they’ll really love!

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes
McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes have launched a personalised range this year, where you can type in your own personalised message for on the front of the box. My parents love Jaffa cakes, so I thought that this was a really cute idea!

The McVitie’s Sweet shop can be found at www.mcvities.co.uk and delivery is free for orders over £20.

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Verdict: 8 / 10 (this would be a 10 if they were a little cheaper!)

 

Ripped up Art
I think that cards should fall into one of two categories to be genuine and heartfelt:

1) Home made – awesomeness!
2) Really unique, bespoke shop bought, something really different.

If you run out of time, and buy a standard (some may say dull) convenience store style card, just make sure that you fill it with reams of personal commentary to compensate!

Ripped up Art sent me a gorgeous card to review – they implant seeds into the card so that the card can be used afterwards in the garden to grow wildflowers! Very cute designs to and at £4 a card (with free delivery if you by three) they are not badly priced at all.

The cards are available at www.rippedupart.co.uk/cards

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Verdict: 9 / 10 (this would be a 10 if you could choose your seed type!)

 

LIC frozen cocktails
If you’re making a Father’s day lunch – add these ‘grown up’ frozen lollies to your shopping list. Using their closely guarded secret formula to create a frozen drink with the strength of a regular drink (10%ABV) and completely natural ingredients LIC (Love Iced Cocktails) have created new pina colada and mojito flavours that are absolutely delicious! You can buy them over at www.havealic.com

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Verdict: A tasty 8 / 10

 

Millie’s Cookies – Bake at Home
If you have children and want them to put a real effort into Fathers day for your partner – but don’t want all of the mess that comes with home baking – the Millie’s Cookies bake at home range will be perfect. Bake at home Millie’s Cookies are just £3 at Iceland stores you simply push them out and flatten out onto a tray, bake in the oven and enjoy warm and gooey! They can also be used to make milkshakes, cheesecakes or even ice cream cups.

A lot more cost effective than the cookies form a Millie’s stall too!

Ready to Bake Millie's Cookies - Milk Choc

Verdict: Get me some more they are addictive! 9 / 10

 

 

Aux Anysetiers Du Roy – Chocolate Fondue
For the chocolate loving dad, why not try the deliciousness that is the Aux Anysetiers Du Roy chocolate fondue pots. The chocolate comes in a stoneware pot to maintain the heat – simply remove the lid and microwave. The special stoneware jar keeps the Chocolate Fondue warm and melted on your table for 45 minutes minimum, and contain a delicious minimum of 70% cocoa.

I was sent a variety to review, and my goodness, it was heaven! Chocolate heaven! I even used half a pot to ice some cakes for a charity bake sale so versatile too. I think it would be best enjoyed as a family (or on your own!) with a platter of fruit to dip.

They are available at www.bmcglobal.com and prices start at £6.50, going up to £20 for the larger gift sets.

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Verdict: These are AMAZING. Never mind dad, can I eat them all now? 9 / 10

 

 

Fathers Day: The Perfect Card

25 May

It’s all about the card on father’s day – the one time of year that you can actually put in pen how amazing your dad has been and how much you appreciate him. Here are a few of my favourites this year:

Cardology
Cardology do some amazing pop-up cards that are a bit different to your classic 2D card. With a range of ‘dad’ hobby designs to choose from, and prices starting at £4.50 they are a good deal too. Using the ancient Japanese art of Kirigami (also known as paper engineering) all cards are beautifully handcrafted – a unique offering.

card1 card2 card3 card4 card5Verdict: 10 / 10

 

 

Fathers Day Gift Guide: 26 Days to go!

24 May

Ice Cava
Not all dad’s like beer! My dad, much like me is a massive wine and fizz fan. With summer upon us (rain and all!) and the opportunity to test out Freixenet Ice Cava I was delighted. It’s suggested that you serve it with mint or cucumber over ice and this is how I tried it – but after a sip of it on its own I can say that it’s just as good without! A perfect blend of sweet but not cloying and tiny fizzles that promise to refresh on even the hottest of summer evenings, I will certainly be getting a crate if this in for my next BBQ party!

The Freixenet range is available at Morrison’s and other UK supermarkets.

icVerdict: 8 / 10

 

Grants
Sometimes it’s the old classics that become the favourites and Grants is certainly a whiskey steeped in history. This would make a fab Father’s Day gift for those on a budget and is available at most supermarkets – even better package this up with his usual mixer and a posh bag of nuts and make your own Father’s Day hamper!

The Grant’s Family Reserve Whiskey (70cl) is priced from £16.49 and is available in most supermarkets.

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Verdict: 7 / 10

 

Henry J Socks
Spoil your Dad with something useful, this year – and matching too! Henry J Socks do the cutest matching sets, and they feel so soft he will thank you for the comfort factor (and your Mam will thank you as it’ll be an excuse to throw some holey old ones away!)

Henry J Socks is a really cool subscription idea – for as little as £13.99 a pair of designer socks and matching boxer shorts direct to your dad’s door each month. Each gift-wrapped package contains a pair of socks sporting stripes, spots or bold block colours, as well as a complementary pair of boxer shorts. To send as a gift just sign up for a subscription at www.henryjsocks.co.uk and enter your dad’s name and address. He will receive six packages – with gift-wrapped pairs of socks and boxer shorts arriving on their doorstep each month.

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Henry J Socks in Red and Blue

Verdict: 8 / 10

 

Kopparberg
Kopparberg always makes a fab gift, for cider lovers that is. Fruity, light and perfect over ice in the summer. But what about beer drinkers? Well your time has arrived – Kopparberg have launched a new Fruit Lager, flavoured with Lemon and Lime! I found this to be a lot less sweet than the cider offering, but pleasantly so. The lager is very drinkable – perhaps a bit too much as I had both bottles that they sent me to review in one night!

It is available in most supermarkets for £5.99 for 4 bottles.

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Verdict: 8 / 10

 

Erasmic
Keep dad clean-shaven this year (or for the bearded ones keep their beards nice and fresh!) Get them moisturised and pampered, men may not have a beauty regime as intensive as women, but they do love a good toiletry set! Erasmic do a great range, available in savers from £1.50.My dad has personally tested the shaving range for me, and said it gave a good clean shave with plenty of lather – grab a few of your favourites and put these into a gift box.

Great value

Verdict: 8 / 10

Mother’s Day

4 Mar

Mothering Sunday, it sounds so quaint, old fashioned and some might say even dated. Well that may be because it is – but wonderfully so. I’m all for a tradition where I get to celebrate the most important woman that there will ever be in my life.

When I think of Mother‘s Day I think of my own Mam, how amazing, funny and strong she is and what a brilliant childhood she gave us. I also think of my Nana and my Grandma, and how well they raised their children despite all of the challenges that they faced. We should appreciate these women all year round but if there’s a day to remind us to celebrate, then I am in!
I’ve put together some early gift ideas – spoil them rotten!
Sally Lees Contemporary Jewellery
If you want jewellery that will stand out get a gift for your mam from www.sallylees.com. I Particularly love the Birthflower jewellery range, all of the jewellery, cufflinks and guitar picks are made in Sally’s London studio at Cockpit Arts. Inspiration comes from nature with her original drawings of flowers, birds and butterflies decorating each item.
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Verdict: 10 / 10
Sainsburys
Sainsbury’s have a fab range of gifts for Mother‘s Day this year – and they are reasonably priced too. I’ve included a few of my favourites below:
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Design My World
Treat your mam to a gorgeous heart shaped bowl from www.designmyworld.net. At only £19.95 (and with a very cute heart shaped bamboo spoon included) it’s a great bargain, and beautifully designed. The White on the outside in contrast to the inner red colour will spice up any salad you serve, or look great filled with snacks for guests.

Founded in 2006, Design My World was born out of the idea that great design can be all around us. Products are handpicked to keep the designs fresh, fun and functional, and are all sourced  from  well known and up and coming design houses from around the world.

heart bowl1
Verdict: 10 / 10
Kitchen gadgets!
Crisp is a collection of creative tools which have been engineered to save time, and make perfect gifts. I love the garlic presser, so much tidier than an old school garlic crusher!
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Verdict: 7 / 10
Rhubarb gin
It’s pink and it’s delicious, Warner Edward’s Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin would make a great Mother‘s Day gift. The bottle itself is also very pretty and it tastes great the subtle fruitiness brings back memories of summer – perfect chilled on the warmer days to come.
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Verdict: 8 / 10
Champagne Beer
For something a bit different (and certainly for my beer and shandy loving mam!) champagne beer makes a more unusual gift. The bottle is rather majestic (curvy and tall like a prosecco bottle) and the flavour is spot on, lighter and bubblier than your typical beer.
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Verdict: 9 / 10
Make up lover Mam
It can be hard when buying make up for another lady – each have their own preferences! A concealer pen (I have tested the amazing pen from Paul & Joe) is perfect as it is an essential for any make up bag. The Paul & Joe Beaute pen is priced at £18 and available from Selfridges, Beauty bay and ASOS.
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Verdict: 8 / 10

Valentines Mood Board

12 Feb

Craft ideas, food suggestions, DIY Valentines, quirky gifts, lots of love and huge smiles – here is a Valentines mood board to get you in the mood 🙂

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4 Days Until Valentines!

11 Feb

There is still time to get some lovely treats for your loved one. Spend the weekend on a bit of retail therapy and check out some of these lovely options:

Valentines Cocktails
Absolut have launched the latest of their limited edition bottles, Absolut Electrik. The metallic range – available in blue and silver – are available at supermarkets RRP £18.55 and is very very sleek looking. It would make a great valentines gift, as the cocktails you create can be shared with your loved one.
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Why not try one of Absoluts Electrik Cocktail Recipes?

Blue Mule
1 part Absolut Vodka
2 parts Ginger Beer
Garnish with lime wedge

ElectriK blue
1 part Absolut Vodka
1 part Blue Curacao
1/2 part Lemon Juice
Shake!

Neon Lights:
2 parts Absolut Vodka
1 1/5 parts Lemon Juice
1 1/5 parts Grapefruits Juice
4/5 part Simple Syrup
1/5 part Ginger Syrup

Verdict: A delicious 9 / 10

Jockey
The Jockey range is my partners all time favourite – the hug him in the right places just nicely! I won’t embarrass him with an in action picture, instead I will use one of the model below!
Visit www.jockey.co.uk and prices start from £10 in their current sale, so very cost effective!

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Verdict: 8 / 10
It’s in the Bag!
I love the Hello Gorgeous range from Zazzle. This cute personalised bag would go down well as a present this Sunday – or could even be used as the ‘wrapping’ to a jewellery or small gift. Available online, customised for £27.99. A little on the pricey end of the scale, but at the moment they also have a 25% off voucher code: GIFT4MUM2016

zazzle bag

Verdict: A gorgeous 8 / 10

Dotcomgiftshop
If you are looking for gifts that will get the ultimate girlfriend seal of approval head to the Dotcomgiftshop Everything is so pretty, functional and cute that you could literally just pick anything. Their Valentines range is gorgeous (and delivery is free over £10 – though get in there quick!) I have included some of my favourites below. Prices start at under a pound and all items can be bought at www.dotcomgiftshop.com

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Verdict: A very cute 8 / 10

 

Cook up a storm
Charlie Bigham‘s, makers of some very fancy dishes for two, have launched  limited edition romantic red packaging just in time for Valentine’s Day. The meals are very delicious (if at the higher end of the budget) and will certainly give you more time with your partner as opposed to cooking from scratch. I was very impressed with the yummy steak pies, in their own ceramic dishes. The Pastry was amazing!

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PIE

Verdict: 7 / 1o

 

Booze glorious booze!
Valentines may be on a sunday so the hard liquor might be out of the question, but a few nice beers with a romantic dinner would go down very well. The team at There’s A Beer For That has carefully handpicked a selection of quality beers for you to enjoy, but if that’s not enough, there are many more great beers available, which you can find at beerforthat.com

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Blue Moon (660ml)
Available From: Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s
RRP: £1.95
ABV: 5.4%
Blue Moon is a refreshing, medium-bodied, unfiltered Belgian-style wheat beer. It has a uniquely complex taste with notes of citrus, banana, orange peel, coriander and a welcome spicy bite. Try it with a slice of orange to complement the zesty fruitiness of this classic wheat ale.

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Deus Brut De Flandres (75cl)
Available From: TheDrinkShop.com
RRP: £17.09
ABV: 11%
Deus Brut des Flandres is a champagne beer, of medium body and effervescence. You will detect complex, flowery and biscuity flavours as well as peach, gooseberry and lemon followed by a long slightly sour, dry bitter finish. Deus Champagne Beer provides a revolutionary taste sensation for those seeking a matrix of styles.

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Birra Moretti (660ml)
Available From: Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Asda, Sainsbury’s
RRP: £1.99
ABV: 4.6%
Inject some classic Italian romance with a Birra Moretti, a beer that’s brewed to a recipe first used in 1859. This pale lager offers aromas of vanilla, honey and corn with a refreshing sweet taste. There’s also an underlying grassiness that’s brought to life by decent carbonation and falls into a dry finish.

 

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Leffe Ruby (750ml)
Available From: Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Asda
RRP: £2.49
ABV: 5%
Leffe Ruby is a red, refreshing beer with aromas of raspberry, Turkish delight and roses – how very Valentine’s. It has a natural freshness that’s given depth by strawberry, red berry and sharp lemon flavours. You will also enjoy traces of spices, forest fruit and rosewood. There’s a sweet, fruity finish with a subtle dryness. Pour into a Leffe chalice to release all of the red fruit aromas.

 

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Meantime Indian Pale Ale (750ml)
Available From: Waitrose
RRP: £5.35
ABV: 7.4%
This fantastic fat bottomed bottle of British IPA comes champagne corked and cries out to be shared. Enjoy sweet aromas of toffee and caramel as you pour and taste, with extra earthiness and herbal notes leading to a spicy and bitter finish. Superb with Indian cuisine, English cheese and a perfect date.

Verdict: A very tasty 8 / 10

 

Orgasms or Chocolate?
I read a statistic once that said women would choose chocolate over orgasms any day. Why choose – have both!
It’s traditional to buy your partner some sort of treat for Valentines, and the Lindor range is nothing short of heavenly. What’s more you can pick them up in any supermarket – so great for a last minute option! (top tip – if you get the standard shaped box, put the Lindt balls in a heart shape around a baking tray for a Valentines breakfast suprise!)
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Verdict: 10 / 10

 

 

 

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