August 14, 2016

A taste of history with historic newspapers

I just love looking through old recipes. They tell a tale of times gone past and are an interesting read, which is why I was excited to see the new range of old recipe books from Historic Newspapers. They’ve taken the best recipes from the newspapers of the time and added in a few adverts and articles for colour and produced books which capture the essence of the decade in perfect detail.

The books are available from the 1930s through to the 1990s. I chose 1930s and 1970s from the group as I wanted to choose some eras which would make for great recipes!

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The 1930s book looks back on the economic challenges people faced during the period, and effectively dealt with surviving the aftermath of The Wall Street Crash of 1929. At the beginning of the decade, unemployment was widespread across the UK, but people with jobs saw a vast improvement in the home environment, meaning nourishing meals for the whole family.

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Featuring health advice for the industrious housewives, the recipes of this decade were aimed at the domestic goddess to create dashing meals. Create your own 1930s Food from recipes that made the decade iconic, like the popular ‘Lemon Bakewell Tart’.

70s Britain was a period of social progressive values. There was a growing awareness on the liberalisation of women, from figures like Margret Thatcher – the first female prime minster, as well as newspaper icons like Delia Smith. A women’s stability in the workplace was increasing, and with the majority of women in employment, it was essential for fast and tasty meals, featured in this 1970s Recipe Book.

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Thanks to the fridge-freezer revolution, recipes in this book reminisce those fast-paced days of the working mum. From well-known 1970 Recipes like Delia’s ‘Treacle Roley Poley’, to Penny’s ‘Bean and Rice Casserole’ – learn about the 1970s Dishes that meant quick and healthy foods for the busy family.

With tips to create enjoyable grub out of frozen veggies, the Family Food Guide column was vital for working mums and hungry mouths to produce quick, nutritious meals.

A great gift for any cook or anyone interested in history, or for yourself. I’m going to collect the whole series.

Visit www.historic-newspapers.co.uk for more information and to purchase. From £12.99 each, these can also be personalised.

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August 13, 2016

Robert Welch Signature knives Block Set

Following the great event I was invited to the other week to try out the Robert Welch knives and learn more about how they are produced, we were sent home to try the knives for ourselves.

I was lucky enough to receive the Robert Welch Signature Knives Block Set to take home and try for myself.

Set in a beautiful oak knife block, this classic, space-saving design is a great addition to any kitchen. Great for a country style kitchen, like mine. The set comes with four essential kitchen knives and a pair of Signature Household Scissors.

Designed in consultation with professional chefs, these multi-award winning kitchen knives feature fully forged German DIN 1.4116 stainless steel blades with a full tang for extra strength. The Japanese-style blade edges are hand applied at a 15° angle. The handles are made from tactile DuPont™ and ergonomically shaped for comfort, balance and to minimise fatigue.

Having tried the knives for the past few weeks, I can certainly vouch for their quality. I’ve honestly never used knives like this before. They cut through anything easily and maintain their sharpness. Definitely worth buying a set of knives like this, as they’ll last a lifetime and only cost £170 – which for a lifetime investment isn’t bad at all!

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Fancy winning a set for yourself? Visit Robert Welch to enter their competition. Entries must be in by the end of the month – so best get a move on!

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August 13, 2016

What I’m loving this month

July’s ‘what i’m loving this month’ is a little delayed, as it’s been a busy month or two. Here’s my top picks for the month.

1. Motion Nutrition

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Kickstart your metabolism and keep excess body fat in check with Slimline CLA. Each capsule contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), combined with a selection of complementary ingredients, in order to offer you complete support for your weight care goals.

Motion Nutrition’s Enhanced Motion Slimline CLA supplements are designed to:
•Enhance fat metabolism with CLA
•Increase fat burning with green tea extract
•Support your metabolism with wild harvested kelp
•Amplify the effects with piperine

Plus, these natural weight loss supplements are suitable for vegans and free from gelatine, additives, binders, preservatives and bulking agents.

I tried these for a month and while hard to say whether they had an effect or not in that short a time, I’m sure they helped!

Visit www.motionnutrition.com for more information and to buy. £29.99 for a 30 day supply.

2. LSQ Skin, Hair and Nails

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Whilst it can’t promise eternal youth, LQ Skin, Hair & Nails, may offer the next best thing. Heralded as the non-invasive answer to collagen fillers, the ‘super shot’ drink is the first of its kind to contain all three of the most effective skin anti-agers in one hit – collagen, resveratrol and hyaluronic acid – along with a broad spectrum of advanced antioxidants to fight off lines and wrinkles and loss of skin tone. (Holland and Barrett & www.lqliquidhealth.com) £29.99 Easy to drink, these are great little supplements to take daily.

3. London’s Best Brunches

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This book has inspired me to do a brunch tour of London. Just to make sure I’ve tried everywhere. A really great guide packed with fantastic suggestions. Want to know the best place near you for avocado on toast or some freshly baked granola? Or perhaps a fry-up and a bottomless jug of Bloody Mary? This book has the 50 best spots in London to enjoy our new favourite meal. From coffee and eggs in an art gallery (No67) to a toastie by the canal (Towpath café), waffles with views over London (Duck and Waffle), or a fry-up after a stroll in the park (The Pavilion Café), weve eaten, drunk, reordered and reviewed so that you can perfectly satisfy those mid-morning munchies.

Buy from Hive for £9.15

4. Vita Coco

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Everyone is going loco for coconut at the moment and Vita Coco is the best Coconut Butter as it’s 100& raw, cold pressed and organic. Use it to cook, slather it on your body as a moisturiser, use it to ‘oil pull’ or spread on your toast. Delicious in any dish.

£7.99 for 250ml. Visit www.vitacoco.com for more information

5. Ventus KISS 4000mAh Portable Charger from QVC

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This is a particularly cool little gadget from QVC. This portable charger is in the shape of a pair of lips and designed to re-charge most portable devices when you can’t get to a plug socket. Pop this in your handbag and never run out of charge on your mobile again or pop in your suitcase when you head away and don’t worry about packing chargers for all your Android and IPhone/IPad devices.

Comes with a 3 in 1 USB for charging.

£16.48 and available here: www.qvcuk.com

6. Cracker Drinks Company

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These tasty sugar-free juices are perfectly blended to create new and exciting flavours to tickle the tastebuds. Try Pineapple, Coconut & Lime or Mango and Passion Fruit or Still & Cloudy Lemonade or Apple, Raspberry & Sloe. Great on their own or with a dash of vodka :-)

Available in most supermarkets. Find out more here: www.crackerdrinks.com

7.  Nature’s Finest

86065_Pineapple-in-Coconut-webNature’s Finest produce freshly packed fruit in fruit juice or water (or coconut water) which are great as an anytime snack, serving with yoghurt or of course, using in recipes. There’s so much you can do with these great tasting snack pots. Personally my favourite is the mandarin. I could literally eat them all day long. Delicious.

Visit www.naturesfinestfoods.co.uk for more information.

Note: All of the above were sent to me to try, but opinions are 100% my own and I am not required to write a positive review.

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July 15, 2016

One in a million with Robert Welch

This week I spent a great afternoon at the Good Housekeeping Institute in Central London with the team from Robert Welch, learning about the perfect knife and of course, having a go myself.

I love cooking, but knife skills are something I’m definitely lacking, so I was a little anxious about being left alone to tackle some chopping with these super sharp new knives. However, believe it or not, due to the fact they slice through food so easily, there really wasn’t much of a chance to cut yourself. Cutting was made incredibly easy!

Anyway, getting a little ahead of myself there….so now to catch you up.

We were welcomed by the team from Robert Welch who introduced us to their range of knives and showed us the process behind making a great quality knife. It really surprised me that there was such a process involved – I think I just assumed they were cut out of metal in a cookie cutter fashion…which Robert Welch knives really aren’t.

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Being shown the process of knife production. Each knife is forged from a single piece of stainless steel which makes it pretty much unbreakeable!

20160713_155021Here’s a picture showcasing the different areas of the actual process of creation

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Apparently the key to keeping your knives as sharp as they should be is using the knife sharpener before or after every time you use them. Just a couple of swipes back and forth in the attached sharpener and they’ll be as sharp as ever.

The next step of the class was to be shown a recipe by chef, Georgina Davies and then go off to our stations to replicate it.

20160713_144044The recipe Georgina demonstrated was a great one to showcase the best aspects of the knives as they sliced through fennel,radish,fig, courgette and garlic with ease.

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20160713_143606At each station we were given our own set of knives to use, along with all the key ingredients.

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Here’s a shot of my final dish….yum.

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It was a great event. So interesting to hear about Robert Welch knives and give them a go for myself.

To find out more about some of the best knives money can buy visit: www.robertwelch.com/signature

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July 7, 2016

Walk a mile in my shoes…

Over the last few years I’ve gone through various different trainers, from Nike to Adidas and Asics to Reebok, I’ve tried them all. I do gym classes such as Insanity and BodyAttack as well as hitting the gym and going for long walks with my dog.

All of these activities seem to require a different trainer, and none of them have been quite right.

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So I was excited to discover the Skechers Flex Appeal Next Generation Memory Foam Trainers. These are literally the best trainers I’ve ever had. So incredibly comfy as lined with a memory foam, brightly coloured to add some pop to your workout wear these are great for a variety of exercises or just throwing on with a pair of jeans one day. Absolutely the comfiest yet best looking trainers around!

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Here’s a lovely pic of me in my Skechers

If you are looking for a beautiful pair of trainers, why not visit Brantano? They’ve got a huge selection of trainers and even better…there’s a sale on at the moment. So it’s definitely time to treat yourself.

On my wishlist at the moment are:

The Nike Downshifter

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Skechers Flex Appeal – Cosmic Rays

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Thanks to Brantano for sending me the Skechers to try.

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June 20, 2016

What I’m loving this month

It’s time for my monthly round up of things i’m loving. This month, it’s about healthy eating and wellbeing, as we head towards (hopefully) a beautiful summer.

1. Pukka Herbs

Looking for high quality organic teas or supplements? Pukka Herbs has a huge range of incredible items to make healthy living a doddle.

They have a huge selection of teas which combine organic fruit and herbs to create delicious drinks with relaxing, detoxing or revitalising properties.

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Pukka Herbs also has a range of organic supplements including Clean Greens, Night Time, Vitalise and much much more. They’ve recently launched a range of Turmeric items (hot foodie/health trend at the moment) which are next on my list to try.Pukka2

2. Newton’s Apple Fizzics

Newton’s appl fizzics is a golden apple juice which is completely natural, with no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours. The best bit? There’s also no added sugar or sweeteners…just apple juice blended with sparkling water. A refreshing drink for the summer. I’ll be making sure to have my fridge stocked for BBQs this year.

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Available in 330ml bottles with an RRP of £1.29 and 750ml with an RRP of £2.49 from Amazon.co.uk, Harrods and independent grocers, farm shops and delis. The new sparkling juice is best served chilled and is a wonderfully thirst quenching drink when enjoyed straight from the bottle, or served over ice.

3.Ugly Drinks

Another new healthy drink is Ugly Drinks – a range of all-natural fruit infused sparkling waters (free from sugars, fat, sodium, artificial sweeteners, artificial colourings, artificial preservatives, artificial flavourings, soy, nuts, gluten, GMOs).

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These zero calorie drinks are literally just sparkling water infused with 100% natural fruit oils and essences and natural citric acid to act as preservative (available in 2 flavours, Lemon & Lime and Grapefruit & Pineapple, RRP 99p / 330ml can).

4.ICHAI

If you love Chai tea, you’ll love ICHAI – 8 different varieties of chai that have wellbeing benefits, created by an experienced plant biologist.

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The teas are created using specialist milling and blending techniques (which are unique to the brand) that ensure the best possible retention of taste & aroma after packaging. (£3.95 / 25g).

My favourite has to be the Vanilla Chai, but there’s plenty of others to try!

5. Organic Buko Jam

If you’ve never tried coconut jam before, then you are in for a real treat. This delicious spread has a velvety caramel like taste and texture which makes it ideal for adding to yoghurt, topping ice cream or just spreading thickly on toast.

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It has a unique flavour which will have you coming back for more…and there’s a rumour on the grapevine that they are launching an irresistible sounding chocolate version and there’s already one with a hint of sea salt.

Now available from Amazon and independent health stores

6. Ape Coconut Curls

Coming in at only 109 calories per bag, these are guilt-free snacks. Available in lightly salted or slightly peppered, these will have you throwing out your bags of crisps.

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Perfect for those following a Paleo diet or those just looking for a healthier snack alternative. These snacks are ridiculously addictive. Available from Morrison’s, Ocado, Planet Organic, Harvey Nics and many other places now.

7. Sprout Tasty Gardens

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There’s nothing healthier than freshly grown microgreens. Tasty Gardens makes growing your own microgreens simple with little waterproof boxes made from FSC certified cardboard and lined with hemp mats instead of soil. All you have to do is sprinkle the seeds on the mat and keep watered on your windowsill. Within a couple of weeks they’ll provide a harvest of microgreens.

Microgreens are the first, small leaves of a plant which are packed full of flavour and goodness. Microgreens are easy to grow on the window ledge all year round and when added to salads, sandwiches and other dishes they add bursts of flavour, texture, colour as well as nutrients.

Choose from Broccoli, Sunflower, Radish, Cress or Basil. Sprout Tasty Gardens start at £8.90 for a pack of 3 boxes. www.sproutworld.com

Thanks to everyone for sending me samples of the above to review :-) All opinions are my own and I wasn’t forced to write good reviews.

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June 19, 2016

Facing the future…with a beautiful face

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Face the Future or not, but if you haven’t…now’s the time to click on that link. If you are a beauty addict, like me, then there really isn’t a better place to find everything you need. Shop by skin type, pick up big and niche brands and treat yourself to a little beauty luxury.

One of the great brands they stock is Beaute Mediterranea a range of Spanish made products created by a pioneering cosmetic laboratory in Barcelona. With innovative active ingredients at high concentrations, this stuff really works.

I was sent the Bee Venom Lifting Cream to review by Face the Future. Beautifully packaged and smelling gorgeous, this cream was already off to a good start before I started using it.

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Here’s the beauty blurb on this cream: This firming anti-wrinkle cream is formulated with vegetable Botox-like lifting agents for a smoother and more youthful appearance.

The combination of Bee Venom and tropical plant extracts target fine lines and wrinkles to dramatically improve the rough texture of skin. A botanical extract acts as an instant smoothing tensor to provide a rapid lifting and firming effect.

Benefits of Beauté Mediterranea Bee Venom Lifting Cream:
•Firming anti-wrinkle cream with Bee Venom
•Instantly and dramatically improves the appearance of wrinkles
•Paraben free

And here’s my blurb:

I tested the cream for three weeks before posting this review and can say that my skin became softer and fine lines did look faded.

I just loved the texture and smell of this cream so will definitely be purchasing again along with the rest of the range on Face the Future.

 

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June 18, 2016

Lying on a bed of nails…

This is something I’ve been excited to tell you about for a while. I’m completely converted to the idea of lying on a bed of nails everyday!

I’ve been trying this one out for a couple of months to really test it out. Essentially a bed of nails, the Pranamat Eco is a beautiful mat covered with little lotus flowers which activate the body into boosting its natural defences, metabolism, blood circulation and stimulates the lymph nodes. Based on traditional massage principles it’s designed to help you relax and take away any pains which you might suffer from.

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Now, I know lying on a bed of nails isn’t necessarily the most appealing of activities – but trust me on this – you build up gradually over a course of days and weeks until you can spend longer and longer on the mat. I’ve always suffered from migraines, unfortunately, but since I’ve been using this for just 15 minutes a day, I’ve had only one (which is really unusual for me), so there’s definitely something in it.

I’ll keep using it and promise to update you on how it’s going. The mats also look beautiful and are available in either turquoise, orange or lavender. (Mats start at £90 and pillows from £60)

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May 19, 2016

Serving Up Love With IJustloveit

My roast dinners are my signature dish. Thanks to years of watching my Dad in the kitchen preparing the perfect roast potatoes and timing everything perfectly, I can now replicate and have to say my roasties are now on a par with those of my Dad. Beautifully fluffy, yet crisp on the outside.

However, there’s always been one thing my perfect roast dinner has been lacking – great serving spoons. It’s all well and good serving up a bowl of steaming vegetables and crispy potatoes, but unless your guests can serve them up stylishly, they won’t live up to your hype!

So I was very excited to discover the beautiful serving spoons on sale at www.ijustloveit.co.uk.

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These beautiful vintage serving spoons can be purchased with wonderful little sayings on them or you can personalise them to say anything you want. What a great gift idea for the person who has everything! (only £27.99 each).

There’s also a really cute little butter knife (only £14.99)

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With Father’s Day just around the corner, why not visit www.ijustloveit.co.uk to purchase a personalised gift? They’ve got everything from Personalised Beer & Cider, newspapers and football books through to kitchenware and candles.

Visit www.ijustloveit.co.uk for more info.

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May 6, 2016

What I’m loving this month

Where did April go? I can’t believe it’s May already. I’ve had a ridiculously busy month with one thing and another, enjoying a fantastic holiday in Dubai, spending a girls’ weekend in Malmaison in Oxford and spending a lot of time with family, as my sister recently had a little boy.

Now onto May. I love May. Not only is it my birthday month, it’s my wedding anniversary and it’s traditionally one of the hottest months of the year (Not an official number – just my thoughts!)

Anyway, onto other things. Here’s a round up of my favourite things which I tried in the last month.

1. YumCha’s iced tea cordials

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There is little more refreshing in the hot weather than a cooling glass of iced tea…but have you seen the amount of sugar and flavourings in them? Well YumCha is different. With roughly half the sugar of a regular iced tea, this cordial style iced tea packs a flavour punch without the sugar hit.

The range is available in 5 flavours: Sour Plum, Moroccan Mint, Earl Grey, Jasmine and Lemon Ceylon. I tried the Sour Plum, which is a traditional summer drink in China made with dried Wu Mei plums, liquorice root and sweet osmanthus flowers. Deliciously different, this adds a grown up flavour to iced tea. I also tried the Earl Grey which I absolutely loved. I’m yet to try these cordials with vodka or gin…but I can definitely see it working in cocktails.

£3.95 from Delis, Farm Shops and Amazon. For more information on YumCha visit: www.yumchadrinks.co.uk

2. Arabica Food and Spice

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Arabica Food and Spice was born out of a passion for the food of the Levant — the sun-drenched lands of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Its founders, Jordanian Jad and Londoner James have travelled extensively through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Israel to procure the finest Levantine produce. As well as sourcing the very best ingredients from the area, so we can create delicious meals at home, they’ve also packaged them up in the most beautifully decorated packaging which will want you collecting them all. From Rose Water and Pickled Turnips through to the most delicious Turkish Delight, Cous Cous Spices and Steak Rubs, there is something for every dish and every cook. I was sent a selection to try and we’ve been using them across everything, from covering our fish in spices, to adding rose water to our baking and getting out the pickled turnips at a family gathering for everyone to try.

Arabica Food and Spice also offer hampers, so why not pick up something a little bit different for a good friend’s birthday this year.

Visit www.arabicafoodandspice.com to shop online.

3. We Are Tea

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If you didn’t already guess, I’m a bit of a tea fan. There’s little better than a warm brew to keep you going through the day, which is why I was excited to receive a delivery of a mixture of amazing teas from We Are Tea along with one of the fantastic Simplicitea Infusers.

We Are Tea is an independent tea company whose aim is to make exciting tea blends more accessible to the normal person.  Packed by hand in the UK, they source the finest ingredients from around the world to create beautiful tea combinations. They have a huge range of loose teas but also a core range of tea bags.

They also sell this amazing Simplicitea Infuser which infuses one mug’s worth of tea – it’s hard to explain but you fill it with hot water and tea, leave it to infuse and then place the bottom over a mug and the tea comes out through the bottom – absolute genius.

Available online, Ocado.com and Tesco nationwide. Visit www.wearetea.com for more information.

4. Essential Cuisine Stock

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Used by professional chefs and amateur cooks alike, these stocks are great taste award winning, so you know they are good! These small pots make an amazing amount of delicious stock (6-8 litres) – perfect every time. Simply add water to the granules and then add to dishes wherever stock is required.

You can also add extra flavour, without adding further liquid, to soups, risottos and more, by sprinkling the powder directly into the dish.

Visit http://homecook.essentialcuisine.com for more information

**All of the above were sent to me to review. However, opinions are all my own!**

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March 3, 2016

Nourishing from within: A review of Nutriseed (10% off code)

**Update: If you want to get 10% off your order, use the code ANOSE10 when checking out at Nutriseed**

Let’s face it. Any New Year’s resolutions are long gone. We all started the year with grand plans to stay clear of the booze, chocolate and other temptations and they’ve pretty much all gone to pot now we are into March.

However, there’s one thing you can start now, which is easy to do, tasty to do and comes beautifully packaged – that’s start shopping at Nutriseed. Nutriseed stocks a huge range of all natural raw ingredients -great for healthy baking, smoothie making and general healthy cooking.

With everything from Shelled Hemp Seeds and coconut oil, through to Ashwagandha and Acai Berry Powder, there really is something for everyone!

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  Selection of products I was sent to try

Great for adding to smoothies, Acai bowls, greek yoghurt and fruit or sprinkling on soups and salads. You get plenty in a pack and I’ll have to stock up soon, as I’ve been getting through them all.

Need some healthy recipe inspiration? Then why not try this super simple Ashwagandha Smoothie Recipe from Nutriseed

Super Simple Ashwagandha Smoothie Recipe

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Modern day living is stressful. You don’t need us to tell you that. Ashwagandha, a herb that has been used for the thousands of years has grown in popularity recently, partly due to its adaptogenic quality, which means that it helps you adapt to certain environment, directly lowering stress levels.

Go grab yourself
•250 ml of almond milk (or any other nut milk/coconut milk)
•1 frozen banana
•1 tsp. Nutriseed Ashwagandha powder
•1 tsp. cinnamon
•2 dates
•1 tbsp. Nutriseed Shelled Hemp Seeds
•1 tbsp. peanut butter or a small handful of nuts (Or just leave out, if like me you have an allergy!)

You ready? Here goes…
•Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Simples!

Visit Nutriseed to order your ingredients now.

Quick tip – sign up for the newsletter and get 10% off your first order :-)

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March 2, 2016

A weekend in Suffolk at The Swan, Lavenham

A few weekends ago we headed off into the heart of the Suffolk countryside to visit The Swan Hotel & Spa in Lavenham for an overnight getaway.

This beautiful hotel & spa is set in an old black and white building with cosy corners, creaking stairs and windy corridors – absolute heaven.

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Staying in one of the beautiful suites we had a massive room, beautifully decorated with a large seating area. With Temple Spa products in the bathroom and beautifully soft white linens on the bed, every little aspect of your stay is well thought out.

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Our massive bed with fresh white robes 

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The lovely bathroom

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The lovely sitting room area

Dinner was in AA Two Rosette Gallery restaurant at The Swan, where diners can enjoy their meal in a beautiful setting.

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Once seated we were presented with a little pre-starter – a liquid fish and chips. It sounds a bit odd but was really delicious. Packed full of the good flavour of fish (not too fishy) at all and with a mushy pea puree.

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We then moved onto our starters with the Confit Pork Cheek with piccalilli and pea shoot salad which was amazing.

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Melt in the mouth and with a fantastic flavour, while my other half went for the smoked salmon which was presented fantastically.

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My main course choice was the seared halibut with a white fish cannelloni, braised turnips, shrimps and razor clams. A fantastic dish with great flavours.

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My other half went for the trio of Suffolk pork with summer vegetables and was wolfed down with delight.

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If there’s one dish alone worth coming to The Swan for, it’s the vanilla parfait with elderflower jelly and textures of raspberry. An absolute joy to eat and a dessert I’ll remember for a long time to come.

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My other half opted for the cheese board, which was more than enough for me to enjoy too.

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Dinner was delicious and we’ll be back with friends and family as soon as possible. It’s definitely going on my list as one of the best meals I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

Breakfast at The Swan can be enjoyed in your room for free as a guest, just pre-order the night before and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before check out. However, we decided to pop down for breakfast in the morning and enjoyed scrambled eggs and smoked salmon in the lovely Gallery restaurant once again.

If you have some spare time during your stay pop into the newly opened Weavers’ House Spa which has over thirty different treatments to choose from, including spa packages, perfect for a romantic getaway or a day visit.

The Swan is a fantastic place to getaway for a relaxing weekend, a day out at The Spa with afternoon tea or an evening meal. We will definitely be back.

For further information and to book a hotel stay and treatment in Weavers’ House Spa, telephone 01787 247477 or visit www.theswanatlavenham.co.uk, B&B starts from £185 per room per night for two sharing in 2015 and dogs are welcome at £10 per night.

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