7.22.2014

Island smoothies - A Hotel Chocolat review

Summer is finally here! The season of BBQ's, picnics and delicious treats.
One of my absolute favourite treats in summer time is any piece of  fruit paired with chocolate.
Can you think of anything more delicious than chocolate covered strawberries or bananas...neither can I!
Luckily Hotel Chocolat had the same idea and they have an amazing  range of summer selection boxes
 on offer.
I was lucky enough to be asked to do a review of their Island Smoothies.
These chocolates are so delicious, summery, fruity and full of flavour.
The packaging is simple yet stylish, making it A LOT more alluring than supermarket chocolates, but the main star here is the chocolate of course! Hotel Chocolat has a strong ingredients philosophy and only use wholesome, real ingredients. Their overall mantra is "more cocoa, less sugar" and this definitely reflects in the creamy texture and full flavour.

The island smoothies selection box offer four different flavours
apricot smoothie (Magnificently fruity and tender apricot ganache wrapped in soft white chocolate.)
banana smoothie (Lashings of banana paired with our high-cocoa white chocolate.)
passion fruit smoothie (Tangy, juicy Passion Fruit truffle blended with sumptuous white chocolate in a milk chocolate dome.)
Saint Lucian breakfast smoothie (Lashings of zesty lemon and grapefruit blended with smooth coconut, all soothed by creamy white chocolate.)

I served them for dessert with a selection of fresh fruits and they went down a treat.
My favourite was the banana smoothie closely followed by the passion fruit one!


At only £10 these are a bargain and ideal as a teacher gift, as a little surprise for a friend or even as a treat to yourself and oh...just think about how happy you could make the hostess of the next bbq you're invited to when you bring a box of these along for dessert! 

If Island Smoothies aren't your thing don't fret,
they have a huge range of summer selection boxes for you to choose from, all of them perfect for sultry afternoons and magical midsummer eves.

I was sent the Island Smoothies selection box for reviewing purposes and would hereby like to thank Hotel Chocolat for the opportunity!
All opinions are my own.
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4.15.2014

From my kitchen to yours...homemade pork burgers.

Last night I felt completely uninspired when it came to deciding what to do for dinner.
I walked aimlessly around the supermarket trying to come up with something when it hit me....
Homemade burgers!
I hadn't made any in such a long time and it's a meal I definitely do not regret making, or eating.


To make these at your home you'll need
(this make about 6 good sized patties)
500g pork mince
1 onion
1garlic clove
1 carrot
1 egg
bread crumbs
pepper and salt
oxo beef cube
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp ketchup

burger buns and your favourite toppings

In a food processor chop the onion, garlic and carrot.
(if you have kids chop it really fine, they'll eat veggies without knowing, operation hide the veggies complete!)
Add the mince to a bowl and add the chopped mixture.
blend together using a fork or your hands
Crumble up the oxo cube and sprinkle on top, add the remaining ingredients 
and blend together.
Using your hands shape into burger patties and grill until cooked. 

Serve in buns with your favourite toppings. 
I used burger sauce, lettuce, cheese and gherkins, but you can let your imagination go wild here!

enjoy!
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4.14.2014

This week I will...

here

Hello Monday!
I can't believe you showed up so quickly again!
You are no doubt the start of another very busy week.
The kids are in their last week of Easter holiday and I so wish we could spend a bit more time together as a family. Simon and I both work and we've been a bit of a tag team during these holidays.
As soon as one of us comes home from work the other one leaves.
It's a good thing we both have reasonable flexible hours.
I do want to make the holidays as fun as I can,
so this week I will...

Put some more effort into making breakfast fun. I'm thinking pancakes, waffles and toast with faces. Anything to make my little ones smile first thing in the morning!

Get the craft box out so Emily can start her homework project.

Clean out my wardrobe (seriously overdue!).

Take the kids to the park.

Finish part 1 of my online course for work.

Play boardgames with the kids.

Buy some last minute Easter bits and bobs.

Paint my nails and wear perfume every day.

Try and sit out in the garden while reading my book.

Bake some cookies or cupcakes with the kids.

Take the kids to the beach for a walk and some rock pooling.

Call a friend and have a good old catch up.

Have a movie night and cuddle up with the kids.

Eat more fruit.

Take more photo's

Give lots of hugs, cuddles and kisses.



Looks like it will be a busy week!
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4.13.2014

I'm only two weeks late!

I cannot believe I haven't written anything in TWO weeks!
Time just seems to fly by.
One minute it was Christmas, the next it will be Easter.
Everything in between is a blur.
Seriously, am I the only one who seems to be caught in a time warp!?
So, two weeks...
A lot has happened.
 Mothers day for instance,
and yet I have not found the time to document this.


We had a great day of course, a great weekend even.
Simon had to work which was a bit of a letdown,
but it didn't stop me and the kids having a fun time.
On Saturday I took them on the bus to Canterbury.
My main goal was to visit the Cath Kidston store but somehow we ended up in Build A Bear!
You should have seen the look on my kids faces, both their eyes lit up when they saw the cute big bears, big little ponies, Easter bunnies and don't even get me started on all the outfits. 
 I wasn't going to buy them one of course,
but somehow, when we walked back out, both my kids were holding a new bear.
In my defence, I did manage to talk them down to a tiny bear instead of a big one.
A purple chick and a monkey to be more precise.

On to Cath Kidston.
Emily and I were delighted to look at everything and I had to tell her more than once to not touch that cute mug or open the moisturisers to sniff them.
   Dylan on the other hand wasn't too bothered, cute florals and girly things don't really do it for him!
I choose my mothers day present (the reason we went in the first place) which was a new wallet, and treated myself to a new mug as well.
Mission accomplished.
Sunday I was woken up early and Emily (with help from dad) brought up a cup of coffee, jumped on the bed and gave me her cards. She was so proud to show me the card she'd made in school. It was too cute!


Dylan had a bit of a sleep in and stumbled down half an hour later wishing me happy birthday!
Hahaha, he was still half asleep and obviously a bit confused.
The cards he'd made me in school and scouts were very sweet.
I'm so lucky to have such sweet kiddies.
I do love them more than they'll ever know.

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3.28.2014

She made me tea


On Tuesday  Emily's Brownies group hosted a Mothers day tea party.
The girls were asked to bring in some cakes or biscuits so me and Emily did some baking together.
We decided on triple chocolate chip cookies and they were amazing.
Luckily we had made loads so we had some left over to nibble on later in the evening.
The tea party itself was really sweet.
As I walked into the room Emily had the biggest smile on her face, she took me by the hand and guided me to a chair, which she then pulled out for me to sit on.
She then asked me in her sweetest voice if I would like tea or coffee and then skipped off to go and get it, but not before pointing out the various cakes, cookies and sandwiches on the table.
A couple of minutes later she returned with a cup of tea. You should have seen the look on her face, she was so proud!
Never mind the fact that the tea was cold and weak, to me it was the best cup ever!

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3.26.2014

Hotel Chocolat Review - You Crack Me Up Easter Egg

Back in December I did a review for Hotel Chocolat, which you can read here, so I was over the moon when they asked me if I wanted to do another review for one of their Easter chocolates.
Having the kids in mind I choose the You Crack Me Up extra thick Easter egg.
I just loved all the adorable figures and knew they would be delighted as well.

One of the first things I noticed was the careful wrapping and packing.
Having broken eggs is not a lot of fun and Hotel Chocolat does keep that in mind!
The egg itself came in a gorgeous and sturdy box, which Emily has already laid claim to, no doubt to store some of her many treasures. 

The main star here is of course the chocolate which is just so delicious.
I would recommend everyone who reads this to head over to their nearest Hotel Chocolat shop or go to their website and have a look at their egg-citing (see what I did there, haha) Easter range. You won't regret whatever you add to your basket and you certainly won't regret eating it.

So, back to the You Crack me Up Easter egg.
Both shells are made from their delicious blend of 40% milk chocolate and high cocoa white chocolate.
It makes for the creamiest and smoothest chocolate ever.
Me and my camera were to slow to capture them, before I could blink they were gone.
Blame it on this munchkin and her dad!


I really wish you could have been here to hear the exciting squeals as my kids saw the adorable figures.
Both of them immediately pointed out which ones they wanted to try and continued on to read the menu to find out what was inside these delightful pralines.

Chocolate brownie, milk praline fried egg, smooth caramel bow tie bunny
white soldiers, milk chocolate chick, crunchy praline

I can tell you right now, each and every one of them was delicious!
Full of flavour, creamy and chocalicious.
The kids and husband were of course more than happy to help me sample them and we each had a different favourite.


Simon's favourite was the chocolate brownie, which had crispy chocolate butter cream encased in milk chocolate.
Emily's was the white soldiers, a creamy white chocolate soldier pre-dipped with a dollop of creamy chocolate yolk.
Dylan's was the smooth caramel bow tie bunny, a dapper Easter bunny cast in smooth and sensual caramel milk chocolate.
Mine was the crunchy praline, crunchy biscuit pieces and praline encased in mocha chocolate. I could have easily eaten a whole box of these!

As a family we really enjoyed this Easter egg. Its so much more tastier and a lot more fun than the Easter eggs found in the supermarket.
If you want to make someones Easter extra special this year then I would seriously recommend this egg.
Fun for adults and children and oh so tasty.
It retails at £28 and you can buy it here or at your local Hotel Chocolat store.

I was sent this Easter egg by Hotel Chocolat for reviewing purposes and would hereby like to thank them for this opportunity!
All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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3.25.2014

Easy Easter cupcakes recipe

On Saturday Emily had a friend over and we decided to do some baking.
I don't know about you but I have always loved baking with my kids, I think it stems back from when I was a little girl, sitting on the counter top and helping my mum stirring and adding ingredients whenever she was baking something delicious.
Emily decided on making some cupcakes and that's exactly what we did.
The girls favourite part was decorating them of course, all while munching on mini eggs and giant buttons.


These cupcakes are so quick and easy to make, the girls did most of it themselves!
To make these at your house all you need is

110g softened butter
110g caster sugar
110g self raising flour
2 eggs
tsp of vanilla extract 
salt

Preheat your oven to 180C
Add the sugar and butter to a bowl and beat until pale and fluffy.
Add the flour, eggs, salt and vanilla and beat together.
Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and bake for about 20 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack before decorating.

For the butter icing

100g softened butter
225g icing sugar
a spoon of water
drop of yellow food colouring
Cadbury's mini eggs
chocolate buttons

Beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, water and food colouring.
Use a piping bag to pipe the butter cream onto the cupcakes and decorate with mini eggs and chocolate buttons.
Enjoy!

P.S. Only ONE more day to enter my giveaway! You can do so HERE. Good luck.
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