April 25, 2017

Bathing Time

Sometimes all it takes is a long, warm bath to take you away from the stresses of reality. Simple pleasures can often be the best, as we all know.

If you are looking to make your bath time even more indulgent, then why not pick up one of these bathing must-buys.

Malki Dead Sea range

Dead Sea

This beautiful range of natural, paraben free products are based on ingredients from the Dead Sea.

I tried the wonderful mud mask soap. Simply use in place of your soap when sitting in the bath, leave on for a while and clean off for beautifully soft skin. I also tried the Sulpher soap and mineral soap which made my skin super soft. Both are great additions to your bathroom routine.

The full range of Maliki Dead Sea products are available from Boots.

Olverum bath oil

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First created over eight decades ago, this beautiful relaxing bath oil is a timeless classic for one reason. It works. Invented in 1931 and still in the same format today, this beautiful bath oil combines a unique formula of essential oils which help ease stress and relax tension to bring you back to life.

As the oil is so concentrated, you only need to use half a capful per bath, meaning your bottle will last a long time!

Available online here for £26 for 125ml (enough for 25 baths!)

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February 21, 2017

Wanderlust with Lonely Planet

There’s only one thing on my mind this time of year…and that’s where to go next. If you are like me, then you really have to pick up a few great books from Lonely Planet which are packed with inspiration, tips and ideas for your next destination or even how to explore your own home town.

 

Wine Trails (£19.99)

Wine_Trails_LargeLooking for the perfect weekend of vineyard tours, wine drinking and tasting? Then this is the book for you. Featuring detailed itineraries focusing on 52 areas near cities around the world, this guide tells you everything you need to know to create the perfect weekend of vino.

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Areas featured include expected regions such as Australia, New Zealand and Chile, but there are plenty of more unusual countries too such as Hungary & Slovakia, Lebanon and Slovenia too.

Each section includes a map with local wineries marked on the page. Each one has a little explanation and extras in each area include Where To Stay, Where To Eat, What To Do and Celebrations.

This is a great gift for any wine lover, or yourself 🙂

Food Trails (£19.99)

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I’ve reviewed this one before, but wanted to include in this round up, as it’s a fantastic book for inspiring foodie based weekend trips. Laid out in a similar format to the Wine Trails book above, this one takes you on weekend tours of top foodie destinations around the world including of course, where to eat!

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Learn about food markets, tours, trails and the best places for street food in 52 different destinations around the world – a great bucket list book!

The Best Things in Life Are Free (£16.99)

The_Best_Things_in_Life_are_Free_LargeHave the travel bug, but tight on budget? Then this book can help you save a penny or two. Packed with money saving tips and tricks for over 60 major cities around the world, this will inspire you to travel on a budget. The guide includes parks, free experiences, events and museums around the world which can be enjoyed on a low budget trip.

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A must-read for any traveller, this will save pennies and open your eyes to new experiences across the world.

101 Ways To Live Well (£7.99)

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While technically not a travel book, this little life-saver helps you take on the travel mindset any day of the week. Helping you feel less stressed and frazzled with a few small tricks such as mindfulness exercises or yoga moves.

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Just 5 -10 minutes a day working your way through this book can help improve your life in just a few little steps.

The perfect gift for your stressed co-worker, or use it yourself to remain on an even plain – just like me!

The Big Trip (£16.99)

The_Big_Trip_LargeDesigned for the gap year traveller, this book covers everything you need to make your big trip a reality. Don’t feel this is only for the post school backpacker though, as if you are planning a career break at any time in your life, this book is packed with useful information relevant to you too.

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The book takes you through everything from planning your trip before you even leave the country, to finding volunteer work, where to stay, ideas of what to do and how to make your money last. A really useful ‘survival’ guide to your year off.

You Only Live Once (£22.99)

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This is the ultimate bucket list book, not in the traditional sense – this isn’t a list of places to visit and things to do, it’s about helping you find what’s important to you and reigniting your passions for them. Simply choose a chapter which is split into time eg An hour, a day, a month etc and choose an activity which could be ‘dressing up for a day’ or ‘Swimming with fish’.

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Once you’ve chosen the time you want to commit and the activity, there are a list of suggestions of where and how to do it. This is a great coffee table book packed full of inspiring and achievable ideas for those who want to live life to the fullest.

The Ultimate Travelist (£19.99)

10013-Lonely_Planet_s_Ultimate_Travel_List403556_LargeThis book is pure travel inspiration. A great hardback book filled with 500 of the best places to visit in the world. Take your pick or just make your way through the whole list – it may take some time though! This book even comes with a fab map, which you can stick on your wall and mark off with pins as you hit the 500 destinations. Where does your favourite destination come in the list?travelist

There are plenty more great books available from the Lonely Planet Shop, so why not take a look here and pick up something for yourself or a friend. I’m currently reading the Travel Writing and Travel Photography guides – so stay tuned for another Lonely Planet review soon.

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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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January 29, 2017

Feeling hot, hot, hot

New Year resolutions are tough. We all choose to start them straight after the festivities – going from drinking and eating to excess to hard exercise and diet programs. This makes us so likely to quit them before the month is out. According to a recent survey most people have given up their resolutions by the 17th January.

So why not take another look at those resolutions you made a month ago and set yourself some more achievable healthy living goals, now we are heading into February? To get you started I’m going to suggest a really easy thing to be adding to your lists – HOT YOGA.

On a freezing cold Saturday morning a few weeks ago I headed on over to Westminster Lodge in St Albans to try Hot Yoga for the first time ever. It’s always been on my must try list, but I kept chickening out, worried about being able to cope with the heat (and the yoga moves). Westminster Lodge has recently opened its own Hot Yoga Studio, specially made to create the perfect environment for the activity.

 

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(I stupidly forgot to take any lovely pictures myself, as I was too excited! If you want to see some great ones, visit Miss Wheezy’s blog, as she’s got some great ones)

They have a selection of classes which vary in warmth from Hot to Warm, with something for everyone. I headed to a Intro class which was made up of 10 people, who like me, were completely new to Hot Yoga, which definitely made it less scary. Surprisingly I wasn’t the worst one in the room – but even if you are, they let you go at your own pace and recommend that you don’t compare yourself to others (although that’s always hard to do).

We went through a series of moves which not only helped stretch us out, but which also got us sweating in the heat. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The time flew by and the heat wasn’t too much at all.

It really is the perfect, easy addition to your workout schedule and is a great way to warm up on a cold winter’s day. I can’t imagine a better way to whisk yourself off to an exotic location (mentally) while working out!

Here are just a few reasons why you should try Hot Yoga:

  • FLEXIBILITY Heat allows you to reach new levels of flexibility
  • STRENGTH Low impact and uses muscles you didn’t know you had
  • BREATHE Learn to breathe in a full and controlled manner
  • CARDIO A 90-minute class can burn up to 1,000 calories
  • HEALING The primary purpose of this yoga is therapy
  • DETOXIFYING Sweating throughout yoga detoxifies skin

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Find your nearest Hot Yoga Studio at everyoneactive.com or head over to Westminster Lodge in St Albans to sign up to their 15 days of hot yoga for only £20.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 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

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The official shot

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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

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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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