Posts tagged Vanilla
It might still be a bit chilly out some days, but it’s slowly but surely becoming more like summer, and what better way to enjoy the sun than with an ice cream sundae?
I’m not one for eating ice cream plain, I love it piled high with sweet, sticky toppings, and sundaes are a fun way to customise your pudding just the way you want it. I recently got hold of these cute little sundae glasses which are made to look like waffle cones, so to stick to the theme I wanted to share with you my easy but delicious waffle sundae!
Ingredients (Serves 2):
2 Belgian Chocolate Waffles
Carte Dor Vanilla Ice Cream
Askeys Toffee Sauce
This isn’t a recipe as such as it’s so simple to make. You just chop the waffle into bite size pieces (you can warm it through first for extra melty luxury), and then layer as much ice cream, waffle and toffee sauce as you like! Minimum effort, maximum deliciousness.
The sundae glasses are from Drinkstuff, and cost £9.99 for a set of four. They’re made of thick acrylic, which is supposed to keep the ice cream cooler for longer, and I can definitely vouch for the fact that my incredibly soft scoop Carte Dor didn’t melt before I finished my sundae. I quite like the fact that they’re made of plastic as they’re almost impossible to break, which is perfect for clumsy souls like myself, especially when eating outside on the patio! They’re the ideal size for a generous single serving, and you’ll be pleased to hear that you can even get your sundae spoon right to the bottom to dig out the last morsels of yum!
What are your perfect sundae toppings?
I absolutely love putting together gift boxes for people, and of course I love surprises myself, so a little while ago I suggested to Chrissie of +10 Kapow that we do a Christmas Swap, and luckily she was up for the idea! We decided on a budget of £20, and agreed to fill a shoebox with little gifts that we thought the other would like. I had a lot of fun searching for items to give to Chrissie, and after a few weeks of browsing, buying and wrapping, the box was ready to send. Our deadline for posting was 5th December, and last week we each received our box of goodies!
As both of us are impatient we decided to open and blog about our gifts before Christmas, so without further ado, here’s what I received!
As you can see, my swap from Chrissie came beautifully packaged. The box itself is stunning, and puts the cardboard one I sent her to shame! I’ll definitely be using it to store things in, probably rings or nail varnishes.
There were eight wrapped gifts in the box, including a jewellery box which I was really excited about. I hurriedly unwrapped everything, and was delighted with all that Chrissie sent. I must say she chose well! Here’s what I got…
The first gift is this Baked Merged Trio Eyeshadow from MUA, in shade ‘Emotions’. All three shades have a slight shimmer to them, and are impressively pigmented. The neutral tones are perfect for a daytime look, and I can see myself using these shades a lot for a work make up look, although with some dramatic eyeliner they could easily be dressed up.
My lips get very dry at this time of year, so finding this Nivea Lip Butter in the box was much appreciated! The lip butter feels lovely and nourishing, and smells amazing too, like vanilla and macadamia. This has now become a winter essential for me and comes everywhere with me.
I spotted this Body Shop Glazed Apple Body Butter when browsing The Body Shop website a few weeks, and was really intrigued by it, so as you can imagine I was pleased to find this in the box too! I use body butters on a daily basis and have done for years, so this was very well chosen, and is incredibly moisturising. The Glazed Apple scent is lovely too – fruity, but also sweet and creamy.
Yet another product that I’ve been wanting to try – MUA Luxe Velvet Lips! This shade is called ‘Serene’, and is a dark peach shade with a pink undertone. It’s very highly pigmented, has a creamy texture so applies beautifully, and is long-lasting. I like it, and aesthetically, I also like the frosted tube.
This awesome keyring is triple awesome – it’s Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I’ve loved since I was a kid, he’s a rat, and it’s lego! I’m going to hang this from my bag because I’m cool like that. Isn’t he fab?!
Chrissie made this galaxy necklace herself, and it’s my favourite item that she sent me. It’s really well made, and purple, pink and turquoise happen to be my favourite colours. I’ve been wearing it a lot since I got it, sometimes alone, but also layered with a couple of my other favourite necklaces, which I think looks great on a plain top.
Batman! A Batman ring! I’m sure it’s clear by now that I’m a big Batman fan, and this ring is absolutely fab. I really like how subtle it is, whilst also being super cool.
This pretty galaxy scarf has the same colour palette as the necklace Chrissie made, and is so soft and snuggly and warm. I’ve been wearing this lately to add a splash of colour to some of my darker winter outfits, and it seems to attract compliments!
Purple shades and holo effects are two of my favourite things to decorate my nails with, so this nail polish from Freckles Polish is perfect for me. The shade is called ‘I’ll Need Wine’, and is a rich purple colour, a bit like red wine, with a beautiful holo shimmer. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of me wearing it, but it applies nicely and is stunning on – fabulous for the festive season. Chrissie recently sent me some stamping plates too, so I plan on creating some looks soon using them and this polish, which I’ll be posting about soon.
I’m really happy with everything Chrissie sent me (thanks Chrissie!), and I hope we can do another swap one day! To see what I sent Chrissie in return, you can check out her post here.
Have you taken part in any Christmas swaps this year? If so, what did you send/receive? I’d love to see your posts about it!
It’s time again for me to review the latest Degustabox! The June box contained fewer products than usual, with eight brands and only nine individual items (ten if you count the extra freebie), but a couple of them were higher value, bringing the combined total to around £20 – similar to previous months.
Estrella Damm Lager (RRP Unknown)
According to the Degustabox leaflet, ‘Estrella Damm is an authentic imported, award-winning premium pale Spanish lager known internationally as the ‘Beer of Barcelona”. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of lager, so I’ve given this can to my fiancé to enjoy instead, as I wouldn’t be able to give a fair review of it anyway. I will have a sip of it however, just to see if by some miracle I actually like this one. I’ll keep you posted! Also, I’ve put this down as RRP unknown as the leaflet says the cans cost £4 each, which seems unusually high, especially as you can get 4 bottles for about a fiver in Asda.
Elizabeth Shaw Milk Chocolate Amaretto Flutes (RRP £2.59)
I loved the dark chocolate cocoa nib version of these that were in the May box, and these are 100 times better! The milk chocolate is incredibly smooth and creamy, and they have an authentic, and really quite strong flavour of amaretto. Amaretto is one of my favourite liqueurs, which tastes like almonds or marzipan, but unusually these Flutes contain no nuts or alcohol whatsoever! These little sticks of luxury would make a fabulous evening treat for yourself, or to share round after a meal. Sort of like a posh After Eight.
BEAR Alphabites Cereal (RRP £2.69)
I always look forward to breakfast, and I like to have a variety of options available each morning as I often fancy something different, so these BEAR Alphabites have made a nice little addition to my cereal cupboard. Unlike a lot of breakfast cereals, these multigrain letters contain ‘no nonsense’, meaning they’re completely free of refined sugar, salt and additives. Instead, they’re sweetened with coconut blossom nectar, which happens to taste nothing like coconut, and contain wholegrain wheat, oats, corn, rice, and wholegrain barley. Because I’m so used to eating sugar-packed cereals, these took a bit of getting used to as they don’t taste like a conventional cereal, but once you get past the ‘different’ kind of sweetness, they’re actually really nice. And healthy too! They even have my rats’ seal of approval.
Veetee Basmati & Wild Rice (RRP £1.49)
Degustabox describe Veetee as ‘a deliciously convenient range of microwaveable rice products’, and though I’m not a big fan of microwaveable rice, this was surprisingly decent. I received the Basmati and Wild Rice, which I served with a Quorn chicken and vegetable korma. The photo above shows half of the rice, which when served with the curry and a couple of poppadoms is more than enough, so one package can easily serve two. The rice itself is nice and fluffy, and the wild rice adds a touch of texture and flavour. Using this kind of rice is especially great when you want a quick meal, as it only takes two minutes to cook in the microwave or wok. I’d love to try the egg fried and wholegrain brown versions too!
Strawberry Lambrini (RRP £3.29)
Lambrini Strawberry is one of several new flavours to be added to the Lambrini summer range, and it’s really quite yummy. My fiancé and I enjoyed this one evening after chilling it in the fridge, and it made for a light, refreshing treat. The strawberry flavour is quite sweet, but still has an authentic fruity taste, and at only 5% alcohol volume it’s pretty easy to quickly finish the bottle! This would be perfect served at a barbecue. Other flavours include cherry, peach, apple and blackcurrant, and rosé, all of which I would like to try.
Be Fast Banana Breakfast Drink (RRP £1.00 each)
Be Fast is a ‘breakfast on the go’ drink, which is very much like a milkshake, but low in fat and packed full of fibre and protein. Now, I really don’t think one of these would keep me full until lunchtime, as I seem to get very hungry in the morning, so I’ve been having half a bottle with my breakfast as a bit of extra ‘filler’. The drink is fairly runny, just a bit thicker than milk, and it has a nice, refreshing banana flavour that isn’t overly sweet. It would’ve been nice to have two different flavours in the box to try – I bet the chocolate one is fab!
Urban Fruit Pineapple Snack Pack (RRP £1.09)
I’m currently on a mission to eat more fruit, so this Urban Fruit Pineapple came at the perfect time for me. The fruit is apparently baked gently to dry it out, and 20g counts as one of your five a day. That’s great, but the bag contains 35g, so you don’t get two full portions. An extra 5g would be nice! I ate half of this bag as a snack whilst at work, and I had the other half on a bowl of overnight oats one morning (read on for my recipe!). The pineapple has a lovely sweetness to it, and a nice texture – soft and chewy but not too tough, and I’ll definitely be repurchasing.
Dr. Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Grinder (RRP £4.99)
This Dr Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Grinder is such a simple yet innovative idea, and when I found it in the box I was really excited as I do a lot of baking, and authentic vanilla makes cakes and suchlike taste ten times better! The grinder is a little bit like a pepper mill, but has two grinding options – coarse or fine. The vanilla itself has a very strong flavour, and a little goes a long way, so the contents of the mill should last a good while. I’ve been using this in my overnight oats for breakfast, and overnight the flavour infuses into the milk and it’s delicious. I will 100% be repurchasing this!
Seeing as the June box has a bit of a breakfast theme, here’s my recipe for tropical overnight oats, using the Dr Oetker Madagascan Vanilla, and the Urban Fruit Pineapple. These oats are the perfect combination of healthy, filling, and delicious…
Tropical Overnight Oats
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup semi-skimmed milk
Dr. Oetker Madagascan Vanilla
20g Urban Fruit Pineapple
15g Aldi Tropical Granola
– Before going to bed, combine the oats, milk and vanilla in a bowl, cover, and leave in the fridge overnight.
– In the morning, top with half a bag of Urban Fruit pineapple, and a sprinkle of tropical granola.
Again, this is another winning box from Degustabox, and everything in it was delicious. Will they ever disappoint? Hopefully not! Bring on the July box…
PS. You can check out the rest of my Degustabox reviews here.
*This Degustabox was sent to me by Degustabox for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
A few weeks ago I spotted a breakfast craze on Instagram of something called overnight oats. I’d never heard of them before, but they looked delicious and I couldn’t wait to give them a go. Overnight oats is basically just cold porridge, made overnight in the fridge. All you do is mix one part rolled oats, with one part liquid, sweeten it with whatever you choose, then leave it in the fridge overnight to do its thing. The oats absorb the liquid, and in the morning you’re left with plump, moist oats that are ready to eat without any cooking. You can then top it with whatever you want, and enjoy. My basic recipe for one person is half a cup of oats mixed with half a cup of semi-skimmed milk, but I’ve seen people use juice and nut milks too. Also, if you prefer your oats wetter or drier, you can add more or less liquid accordingly.
My favourite thing about overnight oats is how experimental you can get with them. I’ve had oats almost every day this week, but each bowl has had a different topping, which has stopped me getting bored of my breakfasts. They’re also really filling, and where I’d usually be feeling hungry by about 10:30am, I’ve been full until lunch, which for me is a big thing!
Here are a few of my favourite toppings so far…
Caramel Banana Crunch
Sweetened with: 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Topped with: Half a large banana, Lotus Caramel Biscuit spread, and granola.
Fruity Yoghurt and Blueberries
Sweetened with: 1 tablespoon of raspberry, cranberry, and blueberry yoghurt.
Topped with: Raspberry, cranberry, and blueberry yoghurt, and a handful of blueberries.
Sweetened with: 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder.
Topped with: Half a large banana, and milk and white chocolate spread.
Strawberry Coconut Crunch
Sweetened with: Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Topped with: Chopped strawberries, granola, and desiccated coconut.
I have quite a few toppings planned for future overnight oats too, including maple syrup and chopped pecan nuts, apple and cinnamon, and even Oreo biscuits and peanut butter. Definitely more interesting than Cornflakes!
Have you ever tried overnight oats? If so, I’d love to hear your recipe ideas!
Last week I received a very special delivery from Millennium Hotels… A goody bag stuffed full of Hotel Chocolat treats! Millennium Hotels are a luxury hotel company who have many hotels and resorts in exciting locations all around the world. To add something a little extra special to every room, they are currently trying to choose a luxury chocolate to place on their pillows for their guests, and I was asked along with a few other bloggers to help them choose by sampling each chocolate in the goody bag. How could I say no to that?! Here is what the bag contains…
From Left to Right:
Eton Mess Slab.
Choosing a favourite out of these five delectable delights is very difficult (I am a chocoholic, after all), as they are all different, and all extremely delicious. However, a decision has been made! Read on to see what I thought of each one, and to see which one is my overall winner.
The Smiley Lick consists of a disk of thick milk chocolate on a lollipop stick, which is happily adorned with a smiley face. This one is fun to look at, fun to nibble and it really shows off the high quality of Hotel Chocolat’s chocolate. The chocolate is extremely smooth and has a rich, sweet flavour. I gobbled this up rather quickly in one sitting, and was left wanting more. Delicious, but I don’t think it’s quite right for a hotel pillow as it’s a bit too bulky looking!
Eton Mess Slab
The Eton Mess slab is absolutely beautiful to look at, as the pink chocolate swirled with cream and scattered with strawberry and meringue pieces makes it look like a work of art. The chocolate itself is strawberry flavoured, with vanilla chocolate running throughout. It isn’t as smooth as the milk chocolate as the real fruit bits give it a bit more texture, as do the little chocolate cookies hidden inside (which I wasn’t expecting when I first bit into it!), but it is divine!
If you have a sweet tooth then this is definitely for you – it smells and tastes just like a strawberry milkshake. I can only handle a little bit of this at a time, but at least that means I can make the bar last and savour it. This would be the winner if my sister had a say – it was her favourite out of all five choices.
I have always enjoyed the contrast between sweet chocolate and salty caramel, and these are the best salted caramels I have ever tried – the balance of flavours is perfect! When you first bite into the chocolate the caramel comes oozing out, and you are hit with a toffee sweetness which has a slight tang of sea salt. These perhaps wouldn’t be to everybody’s taste, but I think they’re a very sophisticated little treat and I’d definitely have these again.
Hotel Chocolat’s Gemstones are made of white and dark chocolate drops, which have been fused together to create silky and shiny little spheres, which melt slowly on the tongue. They might be small, but each one gives big flavour, with a creaminess from the white chocolate and a bitter edge from the dark chocolate which stops them being overly sweet. Out of everything in the goody bag, these are the ones I keep going back to… They’re very moreish!
Last but not least, Billionaire’s Shortbread. These unusual truffles are made of milk chocolate, and have a caramel praline inside which has a lovely soft texture. Each one is also sprinkled with little pieces of shortbread cookie, which add a delicious crunch to every bite. These really do taste just like the dessert of the same name, but their delicate size makes them that little bit more refined. My other half absolutely loves the Billionaire’s Shortbread chocolates and I think these would win if it was his choice!
Though I like everything in the goody bag, my overall winner has to be the Gemstones! They might be the simplest chocolate of them all, but I think that would make them suitable for any guest to enjoy, and their beautiful taste and dainty size make them the ideal snack to nibble on throughout the evening, whilst you lounge in your comfortable hotel room. Bliss!
If you fancy a stay at a 4 Star Millennium Hotel (I know I’d love to stay at the London Mayfair hotel myself), now is a good time to book… They are currently offering 30% off room rates until the end of March, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this could be a lovely way to impress your loved one! Click here to find out more, and don’t forget to treat them to some Hotel Chocolat chocolates too.
*The Hotel Chocolat Goody Bag was sent to me by Millennium Hotels for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
I first discovered Lush’s Tuca Tuca Gorilla Perfume in store last month when browsing with a friend. I tried out all of the Gorilla Perfumes, but this one really stood out and I fell in love with it, so onto the birthday list it went! Luckily for me, my wish was granted and I was gifted this for my birthday on Tuesday.
Lush’s Gorilla Perfumes come in 12g tubes and are solid perfume sticks made of natural oils and scents, and are designed to melt directly onto the skin when rubbed onto the wrist. Just push up gently from the bottom and apply, easy!
Tuca Tuca has a very sweet, earthy scent, combining vanilla, sandalwood, vetivert, violet leaf and ylang ylang, amongst others. The natural scents are so concentrated that you really only need to use a small amount. I applied a little of this to my wrists this morning and I can still smell it just as strongly now, and I’ve received lots of compliments on it already! In fact, the scent lasts such a long time that you really don’t need to reapply it (which is good for the bank balance as one tube will last for ages), and even after a shower the delicate notes still linger which is lovely.
Another great thing about this perfume is that it is Vegetarian and Vegan friendly, meaning that everybody can enjoy it with a clear conscience!
Lush’s Tuca Tuca Gorilla Perfume reminds me of summer with its raw aroma, and it is the perfect size to pop into your handbag and use as and when you wish.
Which is your favourite Gorilla Perfume?