January 30, 2017

What I’m loving this month

It’s time for my round up of things I’m loving this month.

  1. Sistema Storage

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One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get organised. I’ve been busy clearing out cupboards, selling excess belongings on ebay and sorting out my cupboards this past month and when it comes to organising the kitchen cabinets, Sistema has been a lifesaver. Their Kip-It range are not only super functional for holding all your opened items such as raisins, rice and cereal, but they can make your cupboards organised and beautiful – Just like you always imagined. Find out more on the range by visiting www.sistemaplastics.com  Prices vary by item.

2. Flat Stacks

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These nifty Flat Stacks from Wowzr are a real space saver. Another resolution for this year was to try and save money, so the husband is being sent off to work with lunch pre-packed everyday. The great think about these containers is that they are collapsible. Simply fold them up and they are easy to transport. They not only save room in your bag on the way home from work, but when not being used, simply fold up to be stored away from sight.

3. Itsu snacks

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Everyone is looking for the ultimate snack. Something that staves off hunger, is healthy and of course, low in calories…which is why these seaweed and miso soup snacks from Itsu are so great. Crispy Seaweed thins are available in three different flavours: Wasabi, Sea Salt or Sweet Soy and Sea Salt. At around 20 calories per pack, these are moreish salty little snacks. A great replacement for unhealthy crisps.

Also available are two different Miso Soups – around 40 calories each and available in regular and vegetarian. Find these at all good supermarkets now!

4. Lonely Planet Food Trails

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Another thing I’ve been busy doing during January, is dreaming of trips to take during 2017. This is where Lonely Planet’s Food Trails book comes in.  With a variety of itineraries for trips around the world which take in the best dishes, restaurants, food markets and more, this book highlights the must visit foodie capitals of the world including Buenos Aires, Puglia, Melbourne, Penang and Paris. A great read and a huge inspiration for trips.

Currently available for only £13.99 here.

Note: I was sent all of the above to review, but all opinions are my own.

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December 19, 2016

A review of PizzaExpress by my niece

My niece had to write up a restaurant review for a school project and she chose to do one at PizzaExpress. I couldn’t resist posting it on my blog for her. Enjoy!

PizzaExpress Review

By Harriet Nation

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Harriet (left) and her sister, Abigail (right)

At Christmas time, I had the most wonderful meal at PizzaExpress.

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First, I had a Bambinocino and it was delicious. It looked like this….

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Secondly, I had the loveliest  starter I’ve ever had which was doughballs dipped in butter with salad. The doughballs were very squishy, look….

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For my main course I had Pizza (which is why the restaurant is called “PizzaExpress”). It was very cheesy and yummy. The best bit about it was that I got to eat it! Yum!

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Finally, I had a scrumptious, apple-flavoured ice lolly. This was a great way to end the meal.

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The whole meal was fantastic but my favourite part was that there were activities to do.  The best activity I did was decorating a Christmas Bauble.

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December 11, 2016

What I’m loving this month

I know I’ve been MIA for the past month or so…but things are back on track now and life has settled back to normality, so here’s my round up of my favourite things this month.

1.Homedics Foldaway Footspa (RRP £49.99)

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This is an absolutely genius idea. Finally, a footspa which can collapse and fold flat for easy storage! Not only that but it’s a great quality item. Give family and friends the gift of relaxation this Christmas with their own easy to use spa from Homedics.

The footspa features soothing vibration massage and can be used with bath salts to provide a soothing experience for tired feet. Raised acunodes provide extra stimulation for tired feet and the fab keep warm technology ensures a comfortable water temperature throughout your experience. A great present for anyone (or yourself)

2. Ahmad Dessert Teas (£4 each)

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On a diet or just trying to cut back on sweet things? Then this new range of Dessert teas from Ahmad Tea are a must-buy. Indulge in dessert guilt-free thanks to these delicious flavours. Available in six different flavours reflecting some dessert favourites: Strawberry Velvet Cake, Pear & Cinnamon Strudel, Moroccan Orange Slice, Citrus & Mint Sorbet, Strawberry Basil Coulis and Mango & Lychee Souffle. Available from Ocado or follow the web link above to purchase.

3. Charles Viancin Camellia Tea Magnet & Infuser

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This little gadget makes enjoying tea leaves great fun. Simply fill the metal infuser with your chosen tea, drop into your mug and leave to soak. When it’s time to remove, use the flower (which is magnetised) to retrieve the infuser and place on the green leaf. A cute little addition to any kitchen and a great stocking filler.

4. Vileda Easy Wring & Clean Turbo (£34.99)

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I know, I know…it’s a mop. But this isn’t just any old mop, this is the Easy Wring & Clean Turbo from Vileda. The pedal powered wringer rotates 500-1000 times a minute to wring out excess water, with virtually no effort – a real life saver when you have a dog in the house like us. Apparently this means it gives 20% better particle pick up. All I can say is our floors look spotless and we’ve been using it for months now. There’s also the mop holder and easy pour function to help get rid of the dirty water with little effort. The mop head is machine washable too – simply pop it in the washing machine when it gets dirty and it will keep going.

5. Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Weightless Texture Spray

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This styling spray feels as though it has been designed for me – it works perfectly with my crazy, fine hair. The spray delivers a balance of body and definition for an effortless lasting tousled look. With beautifully fruity ingredients including Shea Butter, Coconut Water, Dragon Fruit, Lychee Berry and Green Apple Extracts. The spray also includes Imbe Oil which helps to block humidity and Aloe to add a weightless shine. This really makes my hair manageable and is a great everyday styling spray.

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

 

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December 11, 2016

Enjoying veggies with Mash Direct

A recent survey by the lovely people at Mash Direct discovered that British parents aren’t being swayed to eat trendy veggies like avocado and kale, even though they have huge marketing campaigns and celebrity faces behind them. The majority of parents surveyed will continue to serve up their old favourites such as potatoes, broccoli and peas.

It turns out the favourites are potatoes (76%), carrots (72%), peas (68%) and tomatoes (67%).

Surprisingly, the top instagrammed vegetables such as beetroot, kale, avocado and celeriac are the least liked by British families.

Over half of parents questioned admitted they wouldn’t buy a particular vegetable without knowing how to cook it in advance, which is why Mash Direct is a great solution, with their huge selection of ready prepared vegetables.

We were happily sent a selection of Mash Direct items to try and they are fantastic! So easy to just stick in the oven, all the preparation has been taken out of your hands and each different dish provides a great weekday solution. Simply pop in the oven when back from work and serve with some quick pan fry fish or meat and you’ve got a delicious, easy and quick meal.img_2frq8r

We tried a large variety, as you can see in the picture and my favourites were definitely the sweet potato fries – deliciously crispy, these will definitely be a family favourite, along with the sweet potato croquettes, which are fantastic home comforts. Great for one of those days when you need something warming and comforting. Mash Direct has so many items to choose from.

Visit MashDirect for more info on where to buy. You’ll find Mash Direct items in Iceland and Budgens as well as many other good retailers.

 

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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!

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 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!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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