October 20, 2016

Competition time: Win Christmas goodies

I know, I know…I said the C word before Bonfire night, but it’s good to plan early when it comes to Christmas shopping. By planning early you can avoid the last minute rush, the crowds of Christmas shoppers and of course, only buy when the price is right. The best thing about all this? You get to enjoy the best bits of the festive season, such as mulled wine and mince pies without any stress.


To help you on your way, I’ve pulled together a little package of Christmas gifts and goodies to help you get a good head start.

The winner’s package contains:

  • Deadpool Blu-ray
  • Two lovely fun Pug mugs from New Look
  • Champneys Body Souffle
  • Yankee Candles Christmas votive pack
  • Bic fun colours pens
  • The essential scratch & sniff guide to becoming a wine expert

Simply follow the rafflecopter details below to enter. Enter daily to increase your chances!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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October 19, 2016

Lily’s House – Cassandra Parkin

If you are looking for a real page turner of a novel, then this is the book for you. Lily’s House published by Legend follows the difficult dynamics between a grandmother, grand-daughter and her own daughter with twists and turns which are both unexpected and wonderful to read.


Here’s the description on the back of the book:

When Jen goes to her grandmother’s house for the last time, she’s determined not to dwell on the past. As a child, Jen adored Lily and suspected she might be a witch; but the spell was broken long ago, and now her death means there won’t be any reconciliation.

Lily’s gone, but the enchantments she wove and the secrets she kept still remain. In Lily’s house, Jen and her daughter Marianne reluctantly confront the secrets of the past and present – and discover how dangerous we become when we’re trying to protect the ones we love.

The book is well written, drawing you into a colourfully described world, hiding secrets in the open and then unleashing them with great effect. It explores the strength of love and what binds us in a subtle and delightful way.

Find out more here: http://www.legendtimesgroup.co.uk/legend-press/books/1245-lily-s-house  and follow the book tour over the next few weeks across various blogs. See below for details.


Out now in all good bookshops

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October 3, 2016

Crystal Clear with Brita

Brita has launched their new pastel Marella jugs range available in a variety of gorgeous pastel colours. If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your current filter or don’t have one yet, then now’s your opportunity as you can pick up a jug in pastel pink – yes, pastel pink!


The jug holds 2.4litres and fits perfectly into the fridge door. As with all Brita filters it reduces levels of chlorine, heavy metals and limescale in your water to produce cool, clear, crisp water. We use ours all the time, keeping it nice and cold in the fridge for easy access.

The team at Brita have also come up with some delicious recipes using Brita filter water to try at home. The purple smoothie is definitely the winner for me, but why not try them all.







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

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October 2, 2016

Beautiful Bedrooms with Sheridan

One of the things I love most about staying in hotels is the luxurious bedding – from the soft pillows and cosy duvets through to the crisp sheets and beautiful duvet covers. So, why not try to create this hotel luxury at home? Thanks to Sheridan, the producers of the most luxurious linens on the planet, hotel luxury is within reach.

I was sent the Beadmore duvet and pillow set to review and it’s been our favourite duvet cover since. Not only does it look great in our bedroom, but it also feels amazing. You can really tell the difference and my new goal is to have enough Sheridan for every sheet/duvet change for every room in the house. It may cost more initially than a John Lewis own brand duvet set, but in the long run, you know it will work out to be a bargain, as the quality is far superior.

Shot of the Beadmore duvet on my bed


The official shot


Take a look at Sheridan for their range of duvets and to purchase.

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October 1, 2016

What I’m loving this month…

I know everyone says this as we get older, but really, where is the year going?! I can’t believe it’s October already! Anyway, here’s my monthly round up of favourite things.

1.Bar Keepers Friend range


If you’ve been following me on twitter, you will have seen how addicted I became to Bar Keepers Friend. I literally had to hunt around the house to find things grotty enough to clean up. (see above for the amazing transformation on my little copper pot. Left is before/right after)

There’s a reason this has been around since 1882 – this works. Literally anything that needs cleaning up, this is the guy for the job. They have a range of items which can be used in different ways…so why not stock up on them all. They can literally be used anywhere around the house. Visit John Lewis, Lakeland, Wickes and many other good retailers.

2. Savse Smoothies


Savse are my favourite smoothies. Packed with only 100% natural ingredients and cold pressed to ensure the quality of the ingredients, these really are the best you can buy.  Available in a variety of options including Protein Punch, Super Purple, Super Green, Super Red, Super Orange and Super Blue.

I actually used my selection of juices to do a three day incredibly tasty juice cleanse. Why not try a quick cleanse yourself or simply add a Super Green into your daily diet to boost your nutrients. Visit www.savse.com to find out where to buy near you.

3. Scrub Love


I’ve seen a lot of lovely Instagram shots of beautiful people covered in coffee scrubs. Great shots, but it did nothing to tell me whether these coffee scrubs were actually any good. So, when I was approached by Scrub Love to try their coffee scrub, I was willing to give it a go and find out more.

Unfortunately for me these delightful scubs have almond oil in them (I’m allergic), so I had a friend test out the Mint Temptation scrub I was sent to review.

Scrub Love only use 100% natural and organic ingredients and the mint temptation scrub smelt amazing. They’ve combined organic roasted coffee, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, Dead Sea salt, Argan Oil and Aloe Vera to create a unique and fantastic smelling combination. All you have to do is get in the bath/shower and cover yourself in the scrub, leave for 5 minutes and wash off. My friend was incredibly impressed, with soft silky smooth skin. Definitely one she’d buy again. Visit uk.scrublove.com for more info and to purchase. (£12.95 each)

4. Tiger Folding Lunchbox


This is such a ridiculously simple idea, and yet, I’ve not seen it before. Tiger has taken the typical lunchbox and made it into a nifty little box which closes down to almost nothing. Take a lunchbox into work with a healthy meal packed and then simply fold down to take home. You can take food or munchies anywhere and then simply shut it down to its smallest form to carry home. Well done Tiger – absolute genius. You don’t need a reason to visit Tiger, there’s already so many, but I’ve just given you permission to pop in on your lunchbreak…

5 & 6 Moma Raspberry & Coconut Bircher Muesli and Stoats Toasted Oaty Flakes


It’s always been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I’ve got two good reasons to make sure you don’t miss it. New Moma Raspberry & Coconut Bircher Muesli is available now. Gluten free and without any added sugar, this Bircher Muesli has been made with quick soak oats – no need for overnight oats…just enjoy quickly in the morning. Delicious!


Stoats Toasted Oaty Flakes are a 100% wholegrain cereal made with premium oats which have been cooked and roasted for flavour. These are really tasty and available now in all good stores.

Thanks to everyone who sent the samples. Opinions are my own as always.

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September 30, 2016

Paul Hollywood takes over my kitchen

Yes, it’s back. The Great British Bake Off is taking over our screens and our hearts for a second season. As such, it’s the time of the year when we all begin to think we are baking superstars and head to the kitchen to bake up a storm.

First things first, there’s no way you can produce the best bakes, cakes and breads without the appropriate equipment. You don’t want anyone having to experience a soggy bottom after all…

The Paul Hollywood collection from KitchenCraft isn’t just beautiful, it’s also incredibly practical, with every item you could possibly desire for baking and bread making. See below for just a small selection from the range.


The range has all been thoroughly tested and approved by the man himself, so you know the range works. From the Pizza Crisper and Baking Stone, to the Brownie Tin and Sandwich tin, everything has been produced to the highest standards.

My Top 5 items from the range:

756x756-fit-phdollylrg_201. Something I’ve always wanted is a Hand Raised Pork Pie Dolly and the range has one. Made from Beechwood and looking gorgeous, this item looks great on the shelf when not being used and makes creating a hand made pork pie easy peasy. This pie dolly has a ‘secret weapon’ that will help you master the art of pie making in minutes. Traditional pork pie moulds are made of solid wood, which tends to get stuck to the pastry case when it has formed. This dolly is drilled with holes and has grooves along the sides that prevent a vacuum forming, so your shaped pastry pops straight off. It’s such a simple idea, but such a timesaver for anyone who enjoys baking their own pies.


2. Another favourite from the new range is the Stainless Steel Star Pattern Bread Stamp. A simple idea that turns your bakes up a notch, by making them look like professional rolls. The stamp is made of sturdy stainless steel, so it will last for ages, and it has a comfort-shaped handle. This means you can stamp big batches of bread rolls without straining your hands.


3.  The Paul Hollywood Electronic Scales are another must-buy item.We all know that baking is a science, and if your scales are off, your cakes won’t rise and your bread will be a flop. These scales have been created to make sure they are incredibly accurate and handily have measurement conversions printed on the front.


4. The Loose Base Mini Sandwich Tin is a great idea. With removable bottoms, nothing will get stuck and it’s been designed to be incredibly sturdy, versatile and practical, with a strong carbon steel construction and superior non-stick coating. With a unique way of easily removing individual desserts and cakes, simply pop up each of the individual loose bases to remove.


5.  The Rattan Round Proving Basket is really useful if you are trying to free bake, without using a tin, as while proving, it keeps the dough in lovely round shape and the spiral textured interior leave an attractive imprint on the dough, which gives the loaf a rustic finish when it comes out of the oven. Great for making a delicious sourdough loaf.

These were just a few of my favourites, but there are so many to choose from. Visit www.kitchencraft.co.uk to find out more and discover where to purchase your favourites.

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September 29, 2016

Laundry days

Yes, this is another post in which I’ll be professing my love for all things Brabantia, but just to jazz it up a bit, I’m also including Vileda today.

Laundry might not seem like the most exciting topic in the world, but when it all goes smoothly, it can really knock a good few hours off your housekeeping chores in the week…and we all know that every minute counts!

I was recently sent the wonderful Brabantia Wallfix Rotary Dryer to try. It might be heading into the Autumn days now, but we’ve still been lucky to experience some fantastic sunny days (or hours), so I’m using this while I can to dry the laundry. Tumble dryers are great inventions, but when we’ve got the weather, why not let nature do the hard work!
brabantia-wallfixThe Wallfix is the perfect washing line for the UK weather. It is permanently fixed to the wall and can be pulled out to use whenever you need to. It’s a great space saver, doesn’t take up any room on the lawn for the 9 months you won’t be using it and looks lovely when tucked away. It opens easily and can take quite a weight of washing. It’s a really nifty gadget which I will make my husband take down and bring with us if we ever move house.


If however, you find yourself battling with rain clouds and drizzle, why not try the Vileda Cascade (£31.99). This strong indoor 3-tier airer has 15m of drying space and has clothes hanger hooks on each corner. It has an easy opening and closing mechanism, three drying heights and foot protectors to prevent floor scratches. It can be closed up flat and stored away easily too. A great invention, that holds as many clothes as you want to dry!

Another laundry changer has been the Brabantia Laundry Bin.



This stunner doesn’t look out of place in our hallway upstairs. Bright white, with a small hole in the middle, it hides your laundry away from prying eyes but also makes throwing something in a doddle. It literally just slides into the centre. Inside is a sack, which means you can carry the goods over your shoulder down the stairs (like a rather depressing Father Christmas figure, handing out smelly socks). It can also just pop in the washing machine, so I fling it in every time to make sure it’s sweet smelling. A real beauty of a laundry bin, which is also covered by the fantastic Brabantia 10 year guarantee, meaning this will see me through a LOT of laundry.


Need something a little smaller in the kids bedrooms, or in our case in the bathroom, then why not pick up a stackable laundry box. Available in pretty much any colour going, it will fit in with any décor and can be opened from the top or from the front opening.

Brabantia and Vileda have made laundry a doddle.

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September 28, 2016

Jane Plan – the second week

To everyone out there wondering how my second week on Jane Plan went, it went incredibly well. In total I lost 3lbs over the week. Not as good as the first week, but not bad at all. You often lose more in the first week when starting a diet, so it was no surprise that I didn’t quite reach the same figure in the second week.

The second week featured more delicious meals packed with flavour and freshness. Here’s just a couple of examples. For more information on options, have a look at my last post.

img_0487 img_0491 img_0492

I would definitely do Jane Plan again. It’s a great diet which could work long term or just for a couple of weeks to get into a party dress. A great plan to do in the run up to Christmas.

For more information and to order, visit www.janeplan.com

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September 27, 2016

What I’m loving this month

As always, here’s my monthly round up of my favourite things, in no particular order 🙂

1 & 2 Kilner Coffee Grinder from Silver Mushroom and Origin Coffee


I’m merging two items this month as one just wouldn’t be complete without the other. Everyone loves a good cup of coffee and Origin coffee certainly do some of the best. Origin source their beans from all over the world, with an emphasis on seasonality and sustainability. They are passionate about their product and carefully roast the beans so that the process enhances the individual flavour characteristics – the result of country, terroir, variety and processing. Also, if you are based in London, they’ve just opened a shop on Euston road, so pop in and say hello to the team. If you aren’t lucky enough to be nearby, then take a look at their brewing guides for some advice on making the perfect cup of coffee.

We received our coffee in bean format from Origin coffee so we could have a go at grinding our own coffee with the lovely Kilner Coffee Grinder from Silver Mushroom (£20.49). Kilner jars are a kitchen staple, but add a grinder on top and not only do you have a fantastic piece to put on display (ours is in pride of place with our cookbooks on our reclaimed wooden shelves) but it also does a fantastic job at making a great cup of coffee even fresher. If you’ve not visited Silver Mushroom before, do take a look, as they literally stock everything you could possibly want for your kitchen (I’ve done a few reviews in the past).

3. Lord & Berry


I love make up, but more than anything I love make up that makes it look like you naturally woke up looking this gorgeous. So I was excited to try out a few items from Lord & Berry in their ‘natural’ range. They’ve got a great selection of items which do the job well and for a great price. Look them up on Asos to buy easily online. I’m a big fan of Bobbi Brown makeup, but I could honestly say that this collection does the job just as well. In the run up to Christmas, stock up for party nights ahead and stocking fillers. Why not use as a secret santa gift in your office – they’ll love you!

4. Charles Viancin


These might be the most useful little things you’ll ever buy. Charles Viancin (available from Lakeland, John Lewis and Wayfair among others) make absolute genius cooking accessories including bottle stoppers, airtight lids, pan lids and pot holders among many many other things.

The pan lid has been such a revelation to us. They can be used in the microwave and oven and can take really high temperatures, however, due to the suction power of the silicon, they can also seal any dishes in the fridge. Great if you are tired of throwing away kitchen foil or clingfilm all the time. We’ve actually thrown away all our pan lids which take up a ridiculous amount of room in the cupboard and have replaced with the one lid from Charles Viancin. As well as being incredibly useful, the range is inspired by nature and includes beautiful poppy, sunflower and even vegetable designs. A must for any cook!

5. Everyday Good Teas from We Are Tea


As you’ll no doubt have noticed by now, I’m a huge fan of tea – green, white, black or with lashings of milk. I love it (and coffee too). So anytime some tea arrives in the post for me to try, I’m genuinely excited. I’ve reviewed We Are Tea before and it’s some of my favourite. However, they’ve now upped the game even more by adding a range of ‘Everyday good teas’ which were produced in conjunction with nutritionist Amanda Hamilton. These three ‘healthy’ teas are not only beneficial for you, but they also taste great. Choose from Svelte – for body balance, Soothe – for tummy relief or Glow – for skin radiance. All available to purchase online now.

Thanks to everyone who sent me these products to review. Opinions are my own.

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September 27, 2016

My not very secret addiction…

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m an addict. I just can’t get enough of the lovely brand Brabantia. You name it, I’ve got it. Fantastically designed and built to last, all Brabantia products are a great addition to your home.

I was recently asked if I wanted to review one of the lovely 30L Touch Bins. Now you’d probably think there isn’t much to say about a bin…but you’d be wrong!

Probably one of the first items that comes to mind when thinking of Brabantia, these bins look fantastic in your kitchen and are available in 13 different varieties including new colours and limited editions from only £60 each.

I chose the Almond colour bin, as we’ve recently done up our kitchen, and our silver bin wasn’t fitting in with the colour scheme. Now everything looks perfect – sometimes it’s the little things!


All Brabantia bins come with a 10 year guarantee, so should outlive most things in your kitchen. With a soft closing lid, fingerprint proofing technology and an easy lift out plastic bucket for removing waste easily, this really is the ‘king of bins’. I’m sure this bin will be with me for a long time to come!

Visit www.brabantia.com/uk for more information and to purchase.

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September 13, 2016

Jane Plan

September is one of those times of the year for a fresh start. As the seasons change, kids go back to school and the days get shorter, it’s a great time to focus on losing some weight in time for all the Christmas parties.

Which is why I’ve been trying out the fabulous Jane Plan.  I don’t know if you’ve seen the ads on TV or read about Jane Plan, but it’s a great diet that focuses on real food.

The beauty of Jane Plan is that everything is sent to you (without any postage charges) from options you select off the website. So easy.

I was sent a selection of breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners along with a guide to the diet and some sheets to log my food for the weeks I was doing the plan.

When the food arrived it looked great. Gorgeous packaging and as per my direction, no soups at all (I’ve done so many soup diets, I really can’t face soup anymore!)


Breakfast options include granolas, branberry, mueslis and porridge oats. All you have to do is add your own milk or yoghurt for the perfect breakfast.


The lunches I were sent included salads such as Salmon Salad, Couscous Salad, Tuna Salad. There were also hot options available such as a couple of hot pots and of course, a huge selection of soups.


There was a huge variety of dinners including a beautiful Lasagne, a lentil cottage pie topped with mash, an Aloo Saag and absolutely tons of other options.

Snacks include biscuits, almonds and of course, chocolate bars.

The beauty of Jane Plan is that this is real correctly portioned food. Served with a side salad, the dishes are filling and satisfy that need for comfort food that often causes problems when dieting. It’s real food without any artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives. They aim to provide you with 1,200 calories a day, no starvation, just good food.

Was I hungry? Not at all – you have plenty of food and can even have an afternoon biscuit with your tea. It’s the closest thing to real life eating you’ll get on a diet!

I would absolutely recommend this plan to anyone with weight to lose who just wants an easy life. They’ve done all the counting, all the preparing and even deliver it to your door, making weight loss a doddle.

Definitely order the lasagne – it’s amazing.

At the end of the first week I’ve lost a total of 6lbs. A great start and it was so easy to stick to. Pop by the blog next Tuesday for my second week update.

Visit www.janeplan.com to find out more about the plan and order your personalised plan today.

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September 9, 2016

Herman Ze German

Who doesn’t love a good bratwurst? Having spent a good deal of time in Germany, I’ve eaten quite a few and there’s literally nothing more comforting. Whether smothered in curry sauce as Currywurst or served up in a bun at a Christmas market, it’s my favourite sausage by far.

Every now and then I pop into the lovely Herman Ze German in London to get my fill of their lovely sausage, so I was incredibly enthusiastic to be invited along to review the new sausage on their menu…Ze Bratmeister.


This is a novel approach to a wurst and features Herman’s signature Black Forrest Bratwurst, freshly roasted vegetables and aged feta as well as their homemade veal gravy. Lecker!

I absolutely, strangely, loved the combination of Bratwurst, gravy and feta. The roasted vegetables were a bit like ratatouille, so made me feel like I was at least getting a little of my five a day.

They’ve also got a new cocktail menu which is definitely worth checking out.

Fritz-Kola mixers add a refreshingly German twist to the Cuba Libre alongside premium Havana Club rum and fresh lime, while Wyborowa Vodka packs a sweet punch in the Apple and Elderflower Spritz. The Cherry Bomb is a fizzy flight through Herman’s home in the Black Forest, with an enchanting mix of Fritz-Cherry, chocolate liqueur and Asbach brandy. The Hugo adds a sophisticated sparkle to this list of scrumptious serves infusing prosecco with a dash of elderflower and mint – a firm favourite in the motherland. Aperol Spritz, Gin Melon, Margaritas, Jägerbombs and the Mish Mashed featuring rye whiskey, finish off the menu. However, due to the fact this was a lunchbreak during my working day, I just stuck to the Fritz-Kola. Definitely popping back to check out the array of drinks on offer though!
Visit www.herman-ze-german.co.uk to find out more.

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