Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Lush Valentines Haul 2017

Lush Valentines
As all I have time for now are showers, I can't remember the last time I used a Lush bath bomb. Sad times as its definitely my guilty pleasure. 

So as Valentine's Day approached, I thought why not treat myself to some Lush Valentines treats. 

Cupid bath bomb (£2.95):
This little beauty didn't last long but the smell of rose, bergamot and lime more than made up for it. The bathroom smelt absolutely heavenly and it left the bath a beautiful pink. I hope that this is a keeper for Lush as I love the smell. I already have a bathroom stocked up just in case. 

Lovestruck bubble bar (£4.25):
An emoji with hearts for eyes now who couldn't love this cheeky little fella? Well it would seem me. Let's start with the positives like their other bubble bars it makes great bubbles. But that is where the complements end, as what is meant to be a fresh floral smell of lemon smells synthetic and my lovely bath was overpowered by a smell that was not pleasant and at £4.25 definitely better bubble bars in their range.

Two Hearts Beating As One bath melt (£3.95): 
Lush Valentines
This is a lovely product smelling of Rose, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine and apricot. I managed to get three baths out of it which was fab, the only challenge is where to store it, with the central heating on the little blighter kept melting. 

Over and Over bath bomb (£4.25):
Lush Valentines
This beauty is definitely my favourite of all the Valentine's Day offerings. The addition of cocoa butter to the outer part of the bath bomb is ingenious, not only does it mean the bomb is slower to fizz but it also is wonderfully moisturising and softening on my skin. A wonderful citrus smell and turns the bath a vibrant orange.  

Lover Lamp bath bomb (£4.25):

Lush Valentines
I have to admit that I picked this up because of how cute it looked. It reminded me of love heart sweets, on melting it gives off a warming vanilla and orange scent. It is a wonderfully moisturising bath bomb with cocoa hearts and red confetti as it melts. 

A common complaint with Lush bath bombs are that some of the ingredients stain the bath. This is no different with the red confetti in this bath bomb, sticking to both me and the tub. But i'm pleased to say a little bit of elbow grease and it cleans up a treat.

I'm making a speedy dash to my nearest Lush at the weekend to stock up on Over and Over. 
Lush Valentines
Did you try any of the Lush Valentines offerings?

What is your favourite treat for Valentines? 

Wishing you all a lovely Valentines...


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Monday, 23 January 2017

Aromatherapy Associates

Aromatherapy Associates
Aromatherapy Associates is a brand I've loved for years, starting with their essential bath oils many years ago; divine scents in a bottle, that instantly help relax my mind and body. If you want to read my review on the essential bath oils have a look here

Over time I've been lucky enough to try other products in their range. They have been so lovely that I thought I would share them in a post with you. 

Aromatherapy Associates
In the winter I suffer with very dry skin. If left to its own devices it becomes dry, flaky and I suffer from rosacea. For the last couple of months I have been using this face mask once a week. It smells divine; Rose, Bergamot and Geranium enriched with Aloe Vera and Chamomile, it's wonderfully hydrating and a perfect pick me up for my skin.

Aromatherapy Associates
During the winter I get these annoying little bumps on the top of my arms. I have no idea what they are but this little beauty is wonderfully moisturising and makes my skin look noticeably smoother. The Shea and Coco Butter soften and brighten my skin and the essential oils of grapefruit, juniper and rosemary make you smell divine, good enough to eat. 

Deep Relax Balm (£19)
Aromatherapy Associates
Since having Noah relaxing has gone out of the window. In part because I used to have a relaxing soak in the bath as my means of unwinding and with a little one in tow, long lazy soaks are definitely a thing of the past.That is where this little beauty comes in. Even the art of opening it up and smelling the essential oils of Sandalwood, Chamomile, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang bring a reassuring sense of calm. It is an ideal size for my handbag and helps to gently soothe my mind. 

Have you tried any Aromatherapy Associates? Or other beauty pick me ups? Let me know in the comments below. 

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Friday, 13 January 2017

Ottolenghi Spitalfields

Ottolenghi Spitalfields
Since the birth of Noah, going out for meals as a couple have been a scarcity. But as Noah is getting older it is becoming far easier to sit down and enjoy a meal with the little man in tow. 

As a foodie I have really missed eating out and as a consequence have created quite a long list of restaurants that I want to try. Well I have been dreaming of food offerings for well over a year. 

Last month the restaurant abstinence was broken with a visit to Ottolenghi in Spitafields. Hidden down a side street away from the hustle and bustle of the thriving market, Ottolenghi's window of cakes is positioned beautifully to entice you in. 
Ottolenghi Spitalfields 
The menu whilst concise offers creative food utilising exciting ingredients. Salads here take centre stage, now before you turn your nose up the salads here are wonderfully fresh, using imaginative ingredients and offer an interesting change to the usually stodgy wintry accompaniments that come with some meals as an afterthought. 

I was a little bit disappointed that starters don't exist here but the mains more than made up for this. Here you have the choice of hot mains which come with two side salads (£21.75). Cold mains from the counter with two salad accompaniments (£15.70) or a selection of three or four salads on their own (£12.90/£15.50).

The menu offered quite a few mains that I would have happily tried. I settle in the end on the cod cakes in mint and tomato sauce. 
Ottolenghi Spitalfields

I'm pleased to say that the fish cakes maintained their crispy outer crust with wonderful moist flakes of cod despite being in a tomato sauce. The sauce whilst nice had no taste of mint and was reminiscent of tomato passata; but the fish cakes had more than enough flavour that this didn't really matter. 

To go with my main I chose toasted Orzo pasta, red onion, sundried tomato with goats cheese and hazelnut salad. 
Ottolenghi Spitalfields
I really love Orzo pasta and the addition of soft gooey goats cheese and crunchy hazelnuts was the perfect addition.

My second salad was green beans, mangetout, pickled cucumbers, mustard seeds, chilli and peanuts. Whilst this was nice it wasn't an amazing salad. 

Friends settle on the pan fried grey mullet with pickled beetroot and sunflower seed salsa.  
Ottolenghi Spitalfields
I am reliably informed that the mullet was cooked perfectly and the addition of the beetroot really added to the dish. The only complaint was that the portion size was just not sufficient as a main. 

I would have to agree that at a £21.75 price tag this main was overpriced with the serving more reminiscent of a starter. 

The remaining member of the table opts for sun-dried tomato and ricotta croquettes with basil and lime yoghurt. 
Ottolenghi Spitalfields
In comparison to the mullet the croquettes were huge in size. I am told these are delicious.
Ottolenghi Spitalfields
The two salads of choice to accompany the croquettes char-grilled broccoli with chilli and garlic. Hummus, with zhoug, crispy chickpeas and roasted peppers. 

The hummus with the pomegranate is an absolute delight an explosion of flavours. If your interested in making some Ottolenghi salads yourself at home have a look at their website for some divine inspiration. 
Our mains went perfectly with a cold crisp bottle of Barbera Bianca, Castello di Cigognola (£35).
Ottolenghi Spitalfields
I really enjoy Italian wine and this bottle was wonderfully fruity perfect with the fish and goats cheese in the salad.

The star of the show however has to be the desserts. I will be dreaming about these for quite a while. 

I instantly knew what I wanted passion fruit meringue .  
This was the perfect combination of sweet from the meringue, pastry, mixed with the tartness of the passion fruit. Definitely one of the nicest dessert I have had in a while. 

The wonderful thing of dining with friends is you get to sample all the desserts. Next up was carrot and Walnut cake with cream cheese icing (£5.50). 
The cake was lovely and moist but best of all was the quantity of cream cheese icing. No scrimping here. 

Next up was Vanilla Financier with plum, mixed berries and poached pear (£5.50). 
The sponge was deliciously moist and the tartness of berries against the poached pear yummy.

Last in our dessert offerings was apple and sultana galette (£5.50).
Ottolenghi Spitalfields
Now whilst I wouldn't have picked this myself I am reliably informed it was delicious. 

So there you have it, Ottolenghi offers a relaxed family friendly restaurant, with good food and service if you love your salads and smaller portions.  

The temperature in London has certainly dropped over the last couple of weeks so salads are off the menu for now. Any other good foodie suggestions to add to my ever growing list?

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Friday, 9 December 2016

Tesco Festive Food

Festive Food
There really isn't any better time of the year for a foodie than Christmas. I start dreaming about all the food possibilities I can be eating from about October onward. So when I received an email from Tesco inviting me to their Christmas showcase in June, I didn't have to think very hard before hitting the reply button. The thought of being able to see all their Christmas food offerings early and share them with mini FoodieForce was an exciting proposition. 

Noah had a wonderful day seeing his first Christmas tree, snow and presents
Christmas tree and gifts

So here's a round up of the event and the best food offerings. 

The Night Before Christmas:
Having something to snack on for Christmas Eve is a must, but it has to be low effort. Tesco's Finest have taken the stress out of the foodie feast this year with mini Venison pies, £6. 
Christmas party food
Filled with rich venison, mulled wine ragu and a crispy parsnip, potato rosti star, they are the perfect addition to any table (more specifically mine). 

Another perfect appetiser mini pulled beef toasties with Red Leicester cheese, £5.  
Christmas Party Food
The beef brisket was cooked in a smoky sauce and the tangy Red Leicester cheese was the perfect accompaniment. 

Wow your guests with the Tesco Finest three tiered seafood platter, £32.50. The first thing to say is I'm not sure how Tesco achieved such a great price here. 
Christmas food
Three tiers of seafood heaven, presented on a slate bed. The platter comes with a whole lobster, dressed crab, king prawns, smoked salmon and mackerel pâté. A real showstopper.

Christmas Dinner: 
Festive Food
I personally love a succulent British free range turkey for my Christmas dinner. The meat is full of flavour, garnishing it with bacon means that the breast stays nice and moist, serve with traditional stuffing balls, sausages and vegetables.

Tesco Finest British Free Range Bronze Basted Turkey Crown, £14/kg (1.5-2.25kg).
Christmas Food
Top tips:
For evenly cooked sausages, score down the middle before frying or grilling.

Using stuffing in your bird, only stuff the neck, stuffing the main cavity prevents it cooking evenly. 

Dessert offerings:
The Reveal Dessert, £12. Camera at the ready, swirl the warm toffee sauce across the Belgian chocolate dome to create a show stopping dessert.
Christmas desserts
For the children amongst us, Tesco have some really fabulous novelty cakes this year. 
Novelty Christmas Cakes
Tesco snowman cake, £10 with a delicious vanilla sponge topped with buttercream. Santa cheese cake, bursting with strawberry and marshmallow topping. The perfect cakes to delight and cheer up any Christmas table. 

A cheese board at Christmas is a must, with some lovely chutney's, grapes, figs and crackers. 
Christmas Food

Tea Time Treats:
Decorate your own Gingerbread house, £5.
Christmas food
I love family baking with Noah and a Gingerbread house means the children can let their imaginations run riot and create a masterpiece of pure yummy indulgence. 

Create your very own cute penguin cupcakes.  
Christmas Food

I am one of those strange beings that likes sprouts, I have done since I was very little. Often I can be found clearing sprouts off the plates of those who detest them. 

Don't like sprouts, don't worry Tesco's have come up with the perfect antidote. Chocolate truffle sprouts £3, Belgium chocolate that will have you fighting over the last one. 
Christmas food
Still not convinced, well Tesco has lots of other yummy offerings. The peppermint snowflakes, £3.50 and Belgian milk chocolate honeycomb, £3.50 get my vote.
Festive Food

Festive Drinks:
Christmas calls for a lovely bottle of fizzy and Tesco Finest Prosecco, £10 is a great price. 
Festive drinks
With wonderful flavours of apple, grapefruit and citrus its a great accompaniment with any roast. 

Not a fan of the fizz, why not rustle up some Christmas cocktails? 
Christmas cocktails
Need some inspiration? Have a look here

What are your favourite Christmas food and drink treats? Share in the comments below. 

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year. 
Festive food

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