Love: Livia’s Kitchen

As you try and discover a career path in life, you often face several knockbacks and a lot of ups and downs. This year, as I knew it would, I have gone through a rollercoaster of emotions as I try and settle on something that I want to do and trying to work towards it.

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Searching through YouTube for another video to watch I stumbled across Livia’s Kitchen.
I recognised the products from Olivia instantly as Lily Pebbles had talked about her Crumbles, and I had seen other Instagrams of her Raw Millionaire Bites. I started to watch some of her  recipe videos and vlogs and it suddenly hit me when learning about her journey to her success. I knew already that finding your dream job or starting your own business doesn’t just come to you instantly. You have to work bloody hard, have an amazing idea, and push the limits like never before. But, seeing Olivia broadcast her highs and lows, the ups and downs, her story, the journey.. just everything put together… made me realise that I wasn’t alone in this weird and wonderful world; and if you work for something then your dreams can become a reality. I love Olivia’s positive outlook on life, showing her viewers recipe developments, how not everything goes to plan, how she works late evenings replying to emails and getting up early to start again. She also shows how she doesn’t give herself enough credit or time to just chill out. Olivia dedicates herself to her team of Elves and her brand and doesn’t stop until she reaches the top! And By Joe has she done just that!

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That evening things just felt like they fell that little bit more into place. It motivated me to start researching towards something that I had dreamt of doing for such a long time, and I told myself that although I may not be where I want to be in life right now, to appreciate what I have got and create plans and dreams for the future. I have a lotta lotta respect for Olivia and love following her along on her empowering and aspiring journey. I’ve tried making her ‘guilt-free’ treats such as the peanut butter slabs which are amazingly yummy and have found her raw millionaire bites stocked at an independent coffee shop called ‘Epicure’ in Berkhamsted, which are again, so good!

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I can’t wait to see where Olivia and her products go in the future, as well as aspiring to be like her as I continue my journey  on something very exciting coming up soon… so watch this space! I would highly recommend checking out her site Livia’s Kitchen and making some of her really easy recipes!

Love,
Lou x

Tanya Bakes

For my Dad’s Birthday this year I decided to make a selection of biscuits and cookies from Tanya Burr’s new recipe book Tanya Bakes. I decided to do the Chocolate Chip Shortbread, Vanilla and Pistachio Biscuits, and the Salted Nutella Cookies.

All were very simple to make, and with a friend, take no time at all. There are some great recipes for loads of different abilities and most recipes can be made up with the ingredients you’re likely to have at home!

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I will say, however, that I did have a couple of issues that you may need to take note if you have a go at making these recipes. With the chocolate chip shortbread, I feel like the oven was too hot at 180° as the chocolate chips were really crunchy inside (either that or the timings are wrong). With the vanilla and pistachio biscuits, we had real issues with the mixture when it came out of the fridge as it was very crumbly. Instead of following the recipe in which you cut the cylinder shape into slices; we decided to roll the mixture into  bite size balls and then press them down with a fork. Both of these recipes do taste absolutely amazing though and were very easy to do. The Nutella Cookies are out of this world good! What I love so much about Tanya though, is that the troubles that you would have at home are what she also faces in her videos! She proves that not everything has to look perfect as long as the end result tastes delicious and you had fun making it!

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My dad was thrilled to receive them and made a lovely and special homemade gift.

Tanya’s book is full of great photographs and step by steps and I can’t wait to give other recipes a go from the Brunch section, as well as the Seasonal ones!

Tanya Bakes on Amazon.

Love,
Lou x

 

Sunny Salcombe

Sunny Salcombe

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If ever you get the chance, I would highly recommend taking a visit down to Salcombe, Devon. Known as England’s very own Santorini, you will find endless amounts of amazing cafes, bars, restaurants, and little things to do which just pulls your little get away altogether and makes you never want to leave!

I was lucky enough to be invited down with my besties and her family as they were partaking in Merlin Rocket Week ( a sailing event which happens every year in Salcombe). Doing something like this always means that you get to see the best bits as they have tried everything and know everyone; so you’re never short of a thing to do or see, and of course, an afternoon tea! Seeing as I only like sharing with you the things I love! I wanted to share some of the amazing things I got to experience, and if you’re heading down to Salcombe anytime soon, here are the places I would truly recommend!

The main road and touristy spot is Fore Street which acts as the main hub. Here you will find shops such as SeaSalt, Cath Kidston, FatFace, Joules, Independent Boutiques, and of course the birthplace of Jack Wills.

For breakfast I would recommend Captain Morgans- they do a great Full English and sausage sandwich, or The Salcombe Coffee Shop, who do an out of this world bacon sandwich and amazing amazing coffee!

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For lunch, there is a plenty! You can grab yourself a pasty, fish & chips, or a crab sandwich. Other great places include Sailor V who do smoothies and lots of different things, or there are The Fortescue and The Ferry Inn for a pub lunch! For afternoon tea go to The Ward Room which is hidden behind Crew Clothing. You get a great view over the estuary and can see all the boats going by.

For dinner definitely, check out Captain Flints! They have amazing pasta and pizza, as well as burgers and fresh fish. There tends to be a queue but the wait is worthwhile! After flints just across is The Bakehouse. During the day they are a bakery, but in the evening they turn into a Creperié. I had a Nutella and banana one! If you fancy a coastline walk which isn’t too far then I would recommend heading to The Winking Prawn for their BBQ. Walk along Cliff Road to Salcombe North Sands and you will stumble across their Beach Cafe. It is hands down the best BBQ I’ve ever had and it was lovely being sat outside, the beach next to us and watching the sunset. You even get ice cream included! There is no need to book unless you want to eat in the restaurant.

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The rest of the time I spent either on land or sea watching the sailing which I thoroughly enjoyed! It really was a great week and I cannot wait to do it again!!

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Love,
Lou x

Say it with Biscuiteers!

Say it with Biscuiteers!

With exam season in full swing, revision is well under way for many students out there! Luckily I don’t have the pressure of exams this year as I am no longer a student, but completely understand the stress that everyone is under!

With that in mind, a friend and I decided that we wanted to do something special to help make revision that little bit easier, and called upon the Biscuiteers to help!

With lots of beautiful products to choose from, we decided to go with a box of colourful chocolate pencils that we could personalise with her name.
We managed to order the biscuits so that they would arrive on the first day of her exams using the 2-3 day delivery service and they arrived right on time!

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Delighted with the biscuits we received a lovely message back, as well as snapchats and social media posts galore to say how delighted she was with them!

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Other products in the collection include a great pencil case and a revision tin!

 Biscuiteers have lots of lovely products on their site and are sure to put a smile on everyones face.. they even ship internationally!
Now… I’m just waiting for Alice to reply with a thank you biccie 😉

http://www.biscuiteers.com

Love,
Lou x

London Calling 101.

London Calling 101.

London is full of exciting, new things to do! But, sometimes it’s hard to know what to do in a city that never sleeps. So I thought it might be nice to capture a little of what you can do when the ‘touristy’ things have been done and you need something new to do.

So first up is Pizza and Prosecco!

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If that hasn’t got you sold I don’t know what will! Whether it’s a week day or the weekend pop into Neal’s Yard, as tucked away is Homeslice- the best pizza I have ever tasted. With prosecco on tap, and pizza by the slice or whole your sure to find something you like. It’s quick, convenient and oh so good that you’ll leave wanting more. We sure did!

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Leicester Square is just around the corner and so we finished the evening watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was amazing!

Love,
Lou x

Easter Chocolate Mini Loaves

Easter Chocolate Mini Loaves

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Easter is fast approaching and I feel like it is the perfect time to get with friends and family. I have created some yummy chocolate mini loaves with mini eggs for you to bake and enjoy together! They are super easy to make and require no effort whatsoever.. well apart from adding the ingredients together and mixing!
Here is how to make them…

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Ingredients:

Makes 12.

175g Butter
175g Golden Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
140g Self Raising Flour
85g Ground Almonds
4 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp of Baking Powder
100ml Milk
100g Chocolate Chunks
Mini Loaf Cases (mine are from Waitrose)

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For the Icing:
140g Softened Butter
280g Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Milk
2 tbsp Vanilla Extract
Piping Bag
Piping Nozzles (optional)
Mini Eggs for decoration

Method:

1. Set the oven to 160° fan/ Gas mark 4.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric whisk.

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2. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, and add in the eggs, milk, ground almonds, and baking powder. Mix all together until all the ingredients have combined.

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3. With a wooden spoon or spatula fold in the chocolate chunks. When completed start spooning the mixture into your loaf cases. About 3 to 4 teaspoons make the perfect amount.

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4. Pop into the oven for about 20/30 minutes or until completely cooked through.
Once cooked leave aside to cool and move onto the buttercream.

5. For the buttercream, whisk your butter until pale and fluffy. Then sieve in half of the icing sugar with half of the milk.

6. Add in the remaining icing sugar and milk with the vanilla extract. Beat together until your mixture resembles buttercream.

7. Pop a piping bag into a tall glass and spoon in the buttercream. If you want to use a nozzle add this before the buttercream. I decided not to use a nozzle in the end as it would give the same effect with or without. Snip off the bottom of the piping bag and push the buttercream down to get an even distribution.

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8. Ice three little nests onto the loaf. Make sure your cake is completely cool before doing this. Add a mini egg on top of your nest to complete.

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And that’s it! Perfect to share and bake over the Easter weekend with friends and family. They taste delicious and look so pretty!

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I hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend.

Love,
Lou x

A Few of My Favourite Things, Feb

A Few of My Favourite Things, Feb

IMG_0940Can you believe that we are already in March! February has gone and Spring is upon us and I cannot wait for some sunshine! But before we jump into March I thought I would share some things I loved throughout February.

Jack Garratt- Phase
I recently discovered the Album ‘Phase’ by Jack Garratt from hearing the song ‘worried’ on the radio. He has also just won a Brit for Critic’s Choice Award and so decided to give the whole album a listen. If you like electric guitar, drums, keyboards, and a bit of friendly R&B electro pop then I would highly recommend giving this a listen. My choreographic brain screams MOVE because it just makes you want to dance to it and groove about. There isn’t one song on the album that I want to skip and is constantly on. I can’t recommend it enough if you like that kind of sound.

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Liz Earle- EyeBright
After a long tiring day all you want to do is remove your makeup, get into your PJs and relax. After cleansing my face I use Liz Earle’s eyebright to remove any stubborn eye makeup and to also make my eyes feel refreshed, clean, and revitalized. The formula is really soothing and gentle so if your eyes are feeling tired and irritated this will instantly calm the situation.I have been using this all month by soaking two cotton pads in the lotion and pressing onto my eyes. After about 30 seconds I wipe away any left over makeup and that’s it! Pretty simple and works wonders.

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Cowshed- Wild Cow Body Lotion
I have been a big fan of Cowshed for many years, and so when I looked in my stash of body lotions for a new one to use I instantly picked up the Wild Cow one! With essential oils of lemongrass, ginger and rosemary the smell is really uplifting and just puts a smile on your face. It is nice and creamy and feels luxurious on the skin. Also containing shea butter and cocoa butter it keeps your skin soft and silky for the whole day. If these scents don’t sound like your kinda thing then check out the other types of cows they have to offer.

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The Body Shop- Jasmine & White Frangipani Room and Linen Spray
Sticking to the theme of relaxing my next favourite is a room spray that makes your room smell like a spa! (heart eye emoji). You only need a few spritz and your room smells heavenly. I’ve enjoyed using this after cleaning up my room and making my bed and this just ties it all together. The spitz also contains fair trade honey which is a lovely touch.

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getbuzzing- banana nut free flapjack
What I love so much about these flapjacks is that they are only made from natural ingredients, and they taste amazing! When you get that peckish feeling in the afternoon this fills the spot and gives you the energy you need to survive the rest of the day. There are lots of different flavours to pick from and come in packs of three.

And that’s everything!
Hopefully, I will be able to do this every month and come up with some exciting new products,
Love,
Lou x

Chocco Fruit Bites

Chocco Fruit Bites

IMG_0822If you have a bit of a sweet tooth you will know that the struggle with chocolate is real. With these chocco fruit bites they are very easy to make, giving you one of your five a day, and of course, chocolate!! What’s more is that they have a bit of bite to them from putting them in the freezer. Wanna make them? Here’s how!

Ingredients:
Any fruit of your choice.
Dark/milk/white chocolate

I decided to use dark to try and make them a bit healthier.
I found that the best fruits to use were strawberries (of course), bananas, oranges, and melon.

How to make them:

  1. Prep your fruit and lay out onto a plate or chopping board. Basically anything you can fit into the freezer.
  2. Simply break up the chocolate into chunks and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. By doing it in 30 second intervals, it allows you to stir the chocolate and stop it from burning.
  3. Then simply dunk your fruit into the chocolate and lay back out onto the board. With the banana, I covered it completely and with the other fruits I went for half and half.
  4. Pop the fruits into the freezer for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.

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When taking out of the freezer leave to thaw for a couple of minutes and then they are ready to eat! The chocolate and banana ones taste like ice cream and the other fruits are really refreshing with a hint of chocolate. They are great for after dinner and will come in really handy for the summer months. What makes them so great is that they are so simple to make!

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Let me know if you make them!

Love,
Lou x

Love: Beating the January Blues

Love: Beating the January Blues

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So you’ve made the new years resolutions, and now you have to stick to them. Healthy eating, exercising more, getting fit, travelling around the world, being more organised. These are just some of the common ones that most people think of first.

The first week is all great, and you have stuck with them, and you feel great about yourself! But then the second week of work rolls around and the cheeky chocolate biscuit with a cup of tea is ok because it’s just one.. then two.. then three. Then you skip the gym session you were going to hit because you’re too tired, and then you feel less organised and before you know it you’re back to square one.

BUT. There is hope! I have tried to come up with some ideas that have helped so far in our household!

First up food!!

Say Hello to Hello Fresh.

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The main reason you start to make bad choices with meals is because there isn’t any food in the house and the easiest option when you are tired, is either a ready meal or a takeaway. Hello Fresh aims to remove this aspect from your life and delivers fresh food straight to your door with easy recipe cards to create delicious meals four nights a week. With the exact measurements for you to pour, stir, and dish-up it will keep you on track to eating healthily.

The handy website allows you to log in and track your boxes, as well as to show you what is in upcoming boxes that you can change if you don’t like the look of anything.
Jamie Oliver has also teamed up with the Hello Fresh gang so you can be sure that everything you cook tastes delicious! I have been enjoying using this service and this week we have salmon fish en croute with citrus broccoli, sausage spaghetti bolognese, turkey Milanese with mash and green beans, and teriyaki chicken with coconut rice with cabbage. Now tell me your not jealous!!
Check out the website to find out more: https://www.hellofresh.co.uk
You can also trial the box! https://www.hellofresh.co.uk/boxes/trial-classic-box/

 

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Amelia Freer- Eat. Nourish. Glow.

Whether you want to change up your diet completely, or you want to learn more about your body and the food that you are eating; this book is a great step in the right direction.
Full of easy steps and great tips Freer guides you and encourages you to ditch processed foods for more nutritious alternatives, as well as showing you easy recipes that you can create at home. It really does make you think twice about what you include in your diet that I have really enjoyed learning about it.

LEMONS.

Adding lemons to your water not only tastes really refreshing but can do your body the world of good! Full of vitamin C it has great benefits for clearer skin, aiding digestion, and can also better your mood so is great for beating those January blues! Tom Daley has added a great video on youtube all about them which you can check out here:

 

Exercise!

If you are already bored of the gym then you aren’t going to want to continue!
Find something you enjoy doing like dance, badminton, swimming, walks, or running. By finding something you enjoy and getting active then you are more likely to stick to those new years resolutions!

Being Organised

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Find a small diary that you can pop in your handbag so that you always have it on hand. By writing things down, you are more likely to remember everything that you have planned and is upcoming. Diaries are also a great place to keep track of weeks and food plans so that when you go to the shops you stay on track and don’t over buy. You can also have fun pencilling in holidays and planning ahead so that you have things to look forward to throughout the year!

So go and shake off those January blues and kick 2016 off to a great start!

Love,
Lou x

Caroline Gardner calendar and diary.
http://www.carolinegardner.com

 

 

 

 

 

Love: Homemade Hot Chocolate

Love: Homemade Hot Chocolate

As it is the festive season I thought there were no better time to come up with a hot chocolate recipe. Unfortunately for me I am allergic to many of the hot chocolate powders that are already made up, however this does give me the opportunity to discover other brands!

When I wanted to do this post I wanted to find something I could melt in with milk and so discovered Hasslacher’s Colombian Hot Drinking Chocolate. This had no added ingredients and is 100% cacao which is the main ingredient in chocolate. Buying it in this format enables you to completely design your own hot chocolate which is exactly what I did.

 

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You will need per person*:

1 cup of milk
2 disks of the cacao
2 teaspoons of golden granulated sugar
flavourings of your choice
whipped cream
marshmallows
(by cup I mean pour out each portion of milk in a mug/cup so you can get the exact measurements)
*This is all down to personal preference, but this is how I find that I like making my hot chocolate.

Whisk
saucepan

 

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  1. Start by pouring in the milk and adding the cacao disks to a medium heat and whisk together. It is important to use a whisk to incorporate the chocolate with the milk.
  2. Add the sugar and any flavourings such as vanilla or cinnamon. I love adding cinnamon to make it all christmassy but I also enjoy making it plain and adding toppings.IMG_0273
    Ensure that you taste the hot chocolate to get the flavourings and sweetness correct. You may find that you want to add more sugar.
    This is what it should look like when it is done.

Then just pour your hot chocolate back into your mug and add cream and marshmallows to decorate! You can also sprinkle cinnamon over the cream which is yummy, as well as adding a shot of coffee to turn it into a mocha.
Of course you can also leave it plain and it will still taste delicious! What I love so much about this kind of hot chocolate is that you know exactly what you are adding so you can make it as healthy or luxurious as you like! I hope you enjoy making it in the festive season and Merry Christmas!

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Love,
Lou x