Life Style

FOOD AND DRINK | Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It feels like we should be in prime barbeque season, it’s almost June and the sun is trying it’s best to come out but it seems like the April showers are still finding their way through. When I was offered the chance to receive and try some of the Jack Daniel’s Barbeque sauces and I was interested.

I was sent two bottles the original and then Honey Glaze, I have a few ideas how I’d use these if we were to have a barbeque, I haven’t been able to put those plans into actions.

My ideas included glazing pork loins with the original one and using the honey glaze over chicken and veg kebabs. I know could have just done these in my oven but where is the fun in that. I still want to try both sauces with pork chops. (tomorrows tea?)

We decided to think creatively, as we had all the ingredients in to make a stir fry, why not try the honey sauce.

I’m no food blogger so I won’t insult you with a recipe and my style of cooking is chuck it all in a pan and hope for the best. Fingers crossed I haven’t come unstuck so far.

We used around a third of a bottle of the honey glaze poured over chicken and veg that had been stir fried in a wok until cooked.

Severed with homemade oven chips, these are so easy to make, just cut up a potato or two and cook in the oven with fry light (it works better than poured oil in my opinion)

For a final flourish, we served with a Lancashire pitta (oven bottom muffin) that had been reheated (burnt) in the oven.  

We haven’t tried the original sauce as yet but from having a quick taste, this would be good as a dipping sauce as well as used in cooking

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SHOPPING | Crafty Praxis - Huddersfield Haul

Monday, May 22, 2017

Last weekend I met a couple of friends in Huddersfield, we’d planned food and cocktails which I must say was a great success. 

Before we went to Crafty Praxis a craft shop Byram Arcade, 7/8 Westgate, Huddersfield HD1 1ND. I’ve been to Huddersfield a number of times but I haven’t been to that side of town and now I realise I’ve missed a little gem

The shop has a mix of different sells wares and the first person’s section I was drawn to was Life’s Big Canva. I’ve known Chloe a long time and I love all her creations, she is a paper folding ninja and amazing badge maker. I picked up three badges. “On Wednesday, we wear pink”, “You can’t sit with us” and “Looking for all the fucks I don’t give” I love the cute pictures that go with these and will be a great addition to my collection.

The next badge I picked up was the cute blue cupcake badge, this is very sweet and will look very cute on my coat. 

The final purchase is from Craftevan and I was determined not to buy this, I didn’t need another badge. They also had earrings but they didn’t have this print in the earrings. But I walked past and picked this up so many times I thought I’d better buy it as I was in danger of wearing the print off it I’d touched it that many times. I do love it and I feel that it is very me, but I can’t help thinking about a pair of earrings to match. 

This means I need to go back again soon. 

Life Style


Saturday, May 20, 2017

I was recently sent a couple of jars of Duerr’s Seville marmalade to try, I’ve always liked marmalade and used to always insist we got the shred less kind but over the years I’ve come to appreciate all varieties of marmalade (well most of them)

I was sent two of the Seville orange range;

The Golden Orange Conserve, this is more like a curd rather than a marmalade or jam and the Fine Cut Half Sugar Seville Orange Marmalade

I always have mine on toast. It must be piping hot, very pale and freshly popped from the toaster. My mum, on the other hand, she likes to have hers fairly dark and cold. We use the toast tent technique to cool it down. How do you have your toast?

The Golden Orange Conserve, this is more like a curd rather than a marmalade as I've said. It is very smooth and has a nice orange flavour which is very smooth and refreshing.

This would be good for people who say they don't like marmalade but like orange flavours and it isn't as tangy as marmalades. It's also shred free so for those shred haters, it is perfect.

Another thing about how I have my toast is I like to cut the top and bottom crusts off and then cut it in half down the middle! This is a new thing that I’ve been doing over the past few months. I’ve never been a toast in triangles kinda girl.

The second jar was the Fine Cut Half Sugar Seville Orange Marmalade, of the two I think this was my favourite. I liked the fine shred in the marmalade, it wasn’t as sweet as full sugar marmalade and I liked the tanginess of this marmalade.

I love the shape of these jars, they are astatically pleasing to my eyes and the products inside are tasty and I really enjoyed them.

I was sent these product as a sample to try, I have not be paid for this review and all words and opinions are my own. 

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Food and Drink | Tassimo Coffee Machine

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We have had a Tassimo for years and years. When we first bought one we made the mistake of ordering far too many Decaf pods (none of us drinks decaf – there was an offer and we didn’t notice they were decaf)

The machine got put away and not used for a few years, I can’t quite remember why it was brought back out but I know we had builders in and I’m not thinking one of them drank decaf. The machine then stayed out and we invested in some pods we liked. We did go through a phase where we had to use 2 decaf pods for every with caffeine pod just to get through them.

We now love the machine and couldn’t live without it, ok that might be an exaggeration as it is a luxury item for sure.

Recently we have noticed a slight leak from under the machine and decided to look at other coffee machines. 

I have to confess we do have a second machine but it only has a very small water tank and our main one had a 2-litre tank.

In my research, I had thought about swapping to a Nespresso Machine (free George Clooney in every box )(Not really I made that up) but we had around 200 pods so it made sense to buy another Tassimo.

At the time I was lucky enough to find an offer on Tassimo’s website for a machine and 2 packs of pods for £53. While you couldn’t pick which pods you got sent most of them are ones we would drink. 

The offer isn’t showing anymore but it’s worth keeping an eye out as the machine on its own is worth £99 and the packs of pods are approx £4 depending on which ones you buy.

In the box is also an offer to get 2 X £10 vouchers to spend on the Tassimo site. You have to use them in two separate transactions but we have the machine and we’ll always need coffee.

When I went to spend my first voucher there was an offer to get a free pack of Twinnings Tea if you spent over £25 and then free delivery over £35. I hate paying for postage so I decided to spend more. This is my logic and I’m sticking to it.

I know it’s nice to have something new and different but I also like the old and familiar and that’s exactly what we’ve got. A near exact version of what we had before.

Also by getting this new machine, we have been trying new drinks that previously we wouldn’t have as we always but the same Costa Americano pods from Costco and I’m not sure if this works out cheaper or not but it’s handy to be able to buy in bulk. 

My favourite pods are both Teas, the Twinnings English Breakfast and the Twinnings Fruit Tea in a berry flavour. Out of the new coffee’s I likes the L’Or XL coffee pods.

Do you have a coffee machine? What kind do you have or what drink do you order when you go to a coffee shop? 


Fashion | Wingz Fashion Sleeves Review

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Recently I was offered the chance to review a pair of Wingz Fashion Sleeves. This is a product I have tried a few years ago and loved and was more than happy to try something else from their range.

Wingz are a hard product to describe, they are not a top or underwear. Simply put they are sleeves. 

You wear them under a top or a dress to add sleeves, I think the idea is to mainly wear them under dresses but I currently don't have any sleeveless dresses that I felt would work with the pair I was sent.

I decided to wear mine for work with quite a casual vest top and trousers. I also wore a waistcoat cardigan with a hem that mirrored the shape of the sleeves.

Wearing the Wingz this way I smartened up a work look and dressed down the wingz themselves.

The second time I wore them was to a funeral. I still wore trousers and a slightly smarter t-shirt. I didn't get a photo of this look. It felt a little much to take photos of an outfit I wore to a funeral.

I love the delicate material and the lace design, I felt comfortable wearing them and I didn't feel like they were going to slip off my shoulders or that it was obvious I'd added separate sleeves to a top and even had compliments on how nice my new top was. 

My office temperature varies dramatically from  hour to hour and I was warm and cool enough, as a rule, I have no issue walking around with bare arms but in an office environment I always feel like I should at least cover my shoulder and this product was a good way for my to do that without adding bulk. 

There are 4 size ranges offered covering UK Sizes 6 -28 which is a good broad range, I would love it if they covered a large size ranged and do feel that because of the jersey material and the elastic it may fit a couple of sizes either side of the range. I opted for the size 2 which covers sizes 18-22 and while I don't think the size below would have been big enough, the size above would have been too big. 

The below pictures shows a close up of the lace and a picture of how the Wingz look before you add the top layer. 

I'm sure I will be wearing these a lot in the future and I'm going to dust down my other pair, which is plain black and try them with other tops and dresses. 

wingz sleeves product review

This pair of wingz was sent to me as a review item and I have not been paid for this review, as always all words and opinions are my own.



Monday, May 08, 2017

It seems like a lifetime ago now but a few weeks ago I spent a beautiful and much needed weekend away in Matlock with some friends.

I set off on a wet and dreary morning from my local station, but as soon as I got towards Huddersfield the sun came out and I didn't need my coat again for the rest of the weekend.

Sadly I didn't get to see Felix the Huddersfield station cat but there is always next time. There was a large master bedroom and a small back bedroom.

We stayed in a cottage just outside Matlock, it was such a great find by Rebs but it was perfect for the 5 of us.

3 bedrooms, mine was in a small extension downstairs. Small but more than enough We also had a huge bathroom and kitchen diner. The lounge was cosy and had a wood burner, which made for cosy evenings while we watched films, cooked delicious food and relaxed.

Our first afternoon saw us venture out to Bakewell, where we explored the shops and found a cute courtyard with some Harry Potter merchandise.

I loved these wooden storage creates but knew I'd have nowhere to keep them or have half a chance of getting them home in one piece.

We had lunch is a quirky cafe, when we arrived they said we'd have to sit upstairs as if it was the worst thing in the world. In reality, it was probably better and wasn't all that different from downstairs.

We also explore all (most of) the charity shops and I picked up a mystery wrapped book at The Bakewell Book Shop.

I loved spending time with these ladies and I can't say enough that it was exactly what I needed, a bit of R&R.

On Saturday we had a little trip out to Matlock Bath, which is so much like a seaside town without the sea.

We did all the classic touristy things, we had a trip to the Aquarium which is very small but worth a visit.

There is also a gallery of holograms which are not entirely my cup of tea but included in the price so it was worth a look.

We then whiled away our afternoon playing on the 2p machines in the arcades. I've never played them before which might seem a little strange but it's just not something we do. But I loved it. I was like a kid at Christmas.

No seaside adventure would be complete without fish and chip sat outside. We didn't quite go for eating the out of new paper but I can't explain how much it felt like we were at the seaside. We rounded off the afternoon by having an Ice cream cone and the had a look at the nearby Arkwrights mills which is a mix of antiques, charity shops and souvenirs.

Saturday night was a little surprise for Sarah as Rebs had organised a mini hen do for her. She's ordered party bags which contained the obligatory penis straws, shots and lots of sweets. We had penis pasta lasange and a large range of cocktails.

I'm sure she loved it and it was such a good thing to organise for her.

We also had glow sticks, balloons and feather boas. The cleaner was laughing at all feathers we left behind and I picked up as many as I could before we left!

Sunday we waved goodbye to two of the girls and had a nice ride out to Ashbourne and had lunch is a deli and looked round the shops, including a great gift shop called the Village Rainbow. Where I picked up some wooden postcards. They look like old Ladybird books.

Life Style

#VikingArtyParty - Craft Afternoon in Manchester

Friday, May 05, 2017

Last weekend or was it the one before? (The one before - time is running away from me) I was invited to get crafty with Viking at their #VikingArtyParty in Manchester. 

We were greeted with name tags and swizzles sweets, this was going to be a good day and they hadn't let us near any craft supplies. 

The venue was The King Street Townhouse and we were lucky enough to have a sunny day and access to the sixth-floor terrace. 

I could have spent all day looking at that view, but we weren't there for the view. We were there to get arty. 

We'd been allocated different colours on arrival which determined the order we did each of the three activities. The room was a really god sized room with plenty of room for all of us and I love the pastel bunting and I liked that we didn't have to get ourselves in groups. There is always that fear of being picked last. 

My first activity was Caligraphy with Joyce from Artsynibs. I've met Joyce before and she is so calming and patient. She explained how to put the pens together and we worked through the booklet she'd provided. 

I'd love to say this is a task I excel at but sadly my calligraphy skills need a lot more work. I'm sure I had to be reminded to breath more than once. 

The photo below was taken by the photographer Matt and I can see that I'm holding my pen wrong, it should be inline with my arm. 

credit Matt and Viking

My next activity was notebook customisation. This was my favourite of the three activities. look at all that beautiful paper. 

I chose quite a simple design and I love this blue and gold paper. Initially, I'd planned to go down a floral, pink theme but as soon as I saw this paper I knew I had to use it. 

This task suited me, as it involves some of my favourite things;

Cutting, glueing, sticking and washi tape. There was even a bit of ribbon and some gold leaf in the end. 

Matt also managed to capture a picture of me smiling and looking directly at the camera. I don't remember this being taken but I do like this picture a lot. 

Chloe from The Crafty Hen was on hand to guide us through the process of transforming our plain notebooks into something much prettier and showed us easy ways to make pockets on the inside covers. 

credit Matt and Viking

My final task was printing on magazine files. We had the opportunity to carve into an eraser and create our design. This activity was a lot of fun and some of the designs the others created were incredible. I found this the hardest task and took and easy out by trying to create a beach hut design. I'm not sure how successful it was but I have some ideas to improve it. 

Stacey from The Crafty Hen showed us the different techniques on the box file in the picture below. She explained really well how to drop and then press the stamp as the box file was glossy and the stamp just wanted to slide everywhere and not where you wanted it to be. 

If you fancy recreating this task acrylic paint is your friend and the ink filled pads won't dry on this sort of surface. 

Viking not only provided us with all the equipment for the day, they also sent us away with a gift bag of supplies to decorate a mug. I've not had a chance to do this yet but I'm hoping to get creative again soon. 

Viking wrote up a post on the day which I'm sure they would love you to read. I'll leave you with one last photo. Taken by Matt. 

This might be a bit vain but I spent most of the day hiding from him and ducked whenever I spotted him (sorry Matt). He managed to get some photos that I like. I was scanning the file Viking sent over and this is one of the first ones my eye settled on. I'm messy, I'm surprised they let me over the threshold but I'm so glad they did and I'm glad this picture was taken. 
credit Matt and Viking

My gran had passed away the day before the event and I was so torn about attending. There was nothing we could do until the Monday so I made the decision to still go. I don't think I let anyone know what had happened and I was in a bit of a daze for most of the event. 

I might have looked like I wasn't enjoying myself for part of the time but I really did and I think it was the best thing I could have done. It provided a well-needed distraction. I got to meet lots of new people and catch up with some bloggers I already know. I was on an emotional rollercoaster for most of the day and I almost left after the first activity but decided I needed to stay and I really enjoyed the day. 

To Viking and everyone who went into organising this event. Thank You!