Monday, 11 July 2016

Maple Chocolate Rice Pudding | Naughty But Rice


This weekend, Naughty But Rice* invited me to try out some of their handy pots of rice pudding in the delicious flavours of creamy Salted Caramel, refreshing Coconut & Raspberry and tangy Chocolate Orange. I'd never tried these before, but after a few scoops I knew that these little pots would soon become a lunchbox regular.

I prefer to heat mine up in the microwave, which only takes a minute (literally); however, you can enjoy these cold if you prefer - perfect for coolbox picnics!

The brand also challenged me to create my own rice pudding flavour. 


Challenge accepted.

I have a huge sweet-tooth, so I wanted to create something that would provide the ultimate sweet-tooth-satisfaction. I combined maple syrup, plain chocolate, cinnamon and just a hint of nutmeg to produce a flavour that would take me back to my childhood when my mum had a huge pot of rice pudding slow-cooking on the stove for a good two hours, making me salivate until I could finally tuck in after dinner.

I used whole chunks of chocolate in this dessert, to give that nice, rich, surprise burst of flavour when you pop a spoonful into your mouth. Here's my recipe:

Ingredients


- 100g pudding rice
- 50g sugar
- 700ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 75g plain chocolate

Method


1. Preheat the over to 150C/fan 130C/gas mark 2.

2. Wash the rice and drain.

3. Butter an 850ml baking dish. Tip in the rice and sugar and stir in the milk, maple syrup, nutmeg and cinnamon.

4. Place chunks of the plain chocolate randomly throughout the dish.

5. Cook for 2 hours or until the pudding wobbles ever so slightly when shaken.

*Products gifted for review
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Thursday, 9 June 2016

2 Puddings That'll Make You Look Like a Dessert Hero


   I'm no dessert hero, but I know who is: Mary Berry. The Queen of Puddings herself. Everybody's favourite TV cooking personality and the woman whose fabulousness and culinary prowess I aspire to attain by the time I'm 81.

  It's coming to that time of year again when the scent of freshly cut grass is the first thing you notice when you step out the door, you've probably planned an afternoon with the family picking strawberries at the weekend, and the Great British Bake Off is just around the corner. Yep, these are some of my absolute favourite things about summer - not to mention endless Pimms and Wimbledon nonstop on the tele - and it makes me want to dust off my copy of Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites and bake my way through June, July and August, slowly fattening myself up for the winter ahead.

   But wait, I'm not actually that great at baking... I mean, I successfully made macarons that one time, and a questionable batch of golf-themed cupcakes for my boyfriend's 21st, but I'm definitely not a dessert hero. Plus, I'm way too busy at the moment, running a blog, my own business and working as a journalist alongside it all to even think about turning on the oven to make something tasty and pretty.

   Searching around the shops for something decent to pass off as my own creation, I come across Mary Berry's sharing desserts - one, a rich Belgian Chocolate Brownie Pudding*, looks like it would be perfect for a date night in, whilst the other, a Luxury Summer Fruit Pudding* appears ideal for a post-Sunday lunch sweet treat. Perfect!


   With easy-to-read instructions and even a little pot of sauce for pouring, I popped the Brownie Pudding in the microwave until it was piping hot and served it up with some strawberries and rosé (of course) to eat with dear boyfriend. We demolished the whole thing, even though it could have fed five people. Gooey, rich and, above all, chocolately, this is the ideal pudding for any chocoholic. It's great for, as I said, date nights, but it's also perfect for a dessert after a family dinner with a dollop of ice cream each, or to share with friends and a good movie. I would happily repurchase.


  The Luxury Summer Fruit Pudding was even easier to prepare; simply remove the packaging and tip upside down onto a plate, et voila! The strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blackcurrants create the most perfect medley of summer berries, while the summer syrup and soft white bread layers make this into a delicious treat for you and your family and friends: a tasty and tangy bite of summer to enjoy on an afternoon in the garden, wide-brimmed hat tipped back and sunglasses on, feeling a little bit like Audrey Hepburn whilst perching on a bistro seat. Ahh, summer, you do bring happiness to us all.

*

    Now, I couldn't complete this post without a little word from Mary Berry herself, now could I? Here's what the Queen of Puddings has to say about her delicious new line, available from Tesco, Ocado and Waitrose at just £3.50 each:

1. What inspired you to create the new range of traditional puddings to share?

British Classic puddings are great for family occasions and I want to share my favourites.

2. Why do you think classic pudding recipes will always be popular?

These are the puddings that people love and remember.

3. Was there a reason that you chose to launch with the Belgian Chocolate Brownie Pudding and Luxury Summer Fruit Pudding?

I love brownies and this was a perfect excuse to make it into a pudding.  Summer is my absolute favourite and there is no reason not to have it all year round.

4. Have you always had a sweet tooth?

It's not about having a sweet tooth, I love to end a meal with something on the sweet side and these puddings are very tempting !

5. You mention that your mother was an inspiration for the new products, what was her favourite dessert and were you inspired to bake because of her?

Mum loved Bread and Butter Pudding and hers was the best.

6. How does creating a ready made dessert recipe differ from creating a recipe for a book? 

They are all very similar but I make sure that only the best ingredients are used.

7. You’ve had a very busy start to 2016, are you looking forward to what’s coming up? 

I certainly am - more Great British Bake Off, my own programme, another book, life is good!

8. Do you manage to enjoy leisurely meals with your family? 

Yes definitely, the more often, the better.

* Gifted for review
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Review: BodyLab TastyShake Total Protein Complex

BodyLab Tasty Shake Total Protein Complex on Art Style Love

   Let's get one thing straight: if I can look anywhere near as stunning as Jennifer Lopez looks when I reach her age, I would be a very happy woman. Not because I'm vain or because I'm afraid of getting old, but because I'm pretty certain that she's an insanely happy and healthy human being.

   I'm by no means a fitness fanatic, and I truly believe that you don't need to be one to achieve a healthy body, but I do like to exercise regularly and eat well. I take a few vitamins and supplements here and there, and I've tried my fair share of protein powders, but I'm pretty impressed with J-Lo's new BodyLab range, consisting of Metabolise capsules, a 14 Day JumpStart Kit and the TastyShake Total Protein Complex in Vanilla and Raspberry Yoghurt.

   These are now available in the UK at Superdrug - and if you're quick, you can save a third on any product from the range. Also, while the deal lasts, if you spend over £15 on any diet and fitness products at Superdrug, you'll get a free shaker! (Note: I'm seriously not being paid to say this, I'm just helping you get a good deal!)


BodyLab Tasty Shake Total Protein Complex on Art Style Love

   Today, I'm reviewing the TastyShake in Classic Vanilla*. This yummy, low-cal protein is designed especially for women, and contains 1g of saturated fat per 20g serving, 15g protein and 1.7g carbohydrate (plus a minimal amount of fibre, calcium and sodium). Each serving is 80 calories, so it's great for those of you who are watching your calorie intake.

   It has no added creatine, which as you might know is an osmotically active ingredient which makes your body retain water - so it's ideal for those of you aiming to lean up with a targeted exercise routine.

   The entire line is actually based on a blend of plant-based compounds. Does this mean it's organic? Well, no, it's not certified organic, but it does appear to contain some natural ingredients designed to burn fat, increase lean muscle, boost energy and support the metabolism.

   After trying this out pre-wourkout, I did feel as if I had more energy for my normal exercise routine, pushing myself slightly further with my reps. I also felt slightly less tired afterwards, which meant that I could get on with making myself a hearty, healthy dinner instead of lounging on the couch for half an hour watching TV.

   It smelled really good (as we all know, half the taste comes in the smell), and it was really nice to sip while I was cooling down. I don't like to gulp down my protein shakes like my boyfriend does, as it makes me feel really bloated afterwards.

   I would, personally, love to try the Raspberry Yoghurt flavour - so if any of you have tried this, please leave a comment below letting me know how you got on!

   If you don't like taking your TastyShake straight with water, you can mix it into shakes with other ingredients, or even healthy snacks. For this post, I created two different options for post workout protein that you can make in less than five minutes with ingredients that can be found in any healthy kitchen - enjoy!


BodyLab Tasty Shake Total Protein Complex on Art Style Love

Protein Fruit Oatmeal

Ingredients:

100g oats
20g (one scoop) BodyLab TastyShake Total Protein Complex in Vanilla
180ml natural yoghurt
4 strawberries
Handful of blueberries
1 banana

Method:

1. Mix together the oats, protein powder and natural yoghurt in a bowl.

2. Slice the fruits (apart from the blueberries) and lay everything on top of the oatmeal.

3. Eat!

BodyLab Tasty Shake Total Protein Complex on Art Style Love

Banana Protein Shake

Ingredients:

20g (one scoop) BodyLab TastyShake Total Protein Complex in Vanilla
180ml water
1 banana

1. Slice the banana.

2. Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend for around 30 seconds.

3. Drink!


* Gifted for review
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Sunday, 5 June 2016

7 Desk Buddies to Brighten Your Day

Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style LoveAlphabet 'J' Mug, Ladybird Books - Vintage Collection by Designed in Colour, £10

   Put your hand up if you remember Ladybird books from your childhood! These nostalgic mugs are a perfect way to make you smile during the office tea round - plus, if you can get one with your initial, your colleagues are less likely to 'accidentally' use it for their own cuppa.
Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style Love
Daisy Place Odds & Ends Dish by Kate Spade at Amara, £42

   I must have a stupid amount of coins, paperclips and rubber bands in my drawers and on my desk itself - now wouldn't it be nice if they were all in one place? This Kate Spade trinket dish is highly Instagrammable and makes for an ideal desk organiser.

Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style Love
(All from Paperchase)

   If you work from home or you're allowed to have candles on your desk at work, these fun animal and object-shaped candles from Paperchase will definitely brighten up your day (literally).

Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style Love
Urban Grow Star Terrarium Planter by Urban Outfitters, £21

   I love keeping plants on my desk, and a terrarium is the perfect place to keep them neat and tidy in the chaotic environment that is a desk space. This one from Urban Outfitters has a futuristic vibe and is great for growing succulents and cacti.

Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style Love
Freshly Baked Cupcake USB Cup Warmer by I Want One of Those, £8.99

   Don't you just hate when you've made yourself a hot cuppa, but all of a sudden twenty emails arrive in your inbox and, half an hour later, that cuppa takes a trip to the microwave to get stewed and ends up being rather unsatisfying? Now, you can pop your mug onto one of these cup warmers, et voila! No more of the dreaded cold tea.

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Thursday, 2 June 2016

2 tasty lunchtime snacks for the girl on the go


   Nobody likes bland food, right? We all love a bit of flavour - me, particularly so. I adore a good slather of rich, salty butter here, some tangy American mustard there, and a drizzle of ranch dressing all over, but I like it even more when my favourite flavours come together to create an infusion that'll liven up any dish.

   Recently, my favourite condiment to pair with my lunchtime snacks has been Lurpak's new Infusions range*. These little boxes of goodness feature Lurpak butter combined with a variety of flavours: Chilli & Lime, a zingy number with an intense bite; Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn, a very savoury and subtly peppery flavour; and my favourite, Smoked Chipotle, a super smokey, meaty, creamy flavour (if I had to pick one thing to spread on my sandwiches for the rest of my life, this might just be it).

   Slather these onto some rye crispbread, toasted tiger bread or some wholemeal tortilla wraps along with your favourite toppings for a super tasty snack, or follow my two recipes below!


NOT YOUR AVERAGE CRISPBREADS

Ingredients:

Lurpak Infusions Chilli & Lime
Lurpak Infusions Smoked Chipotle 
Lurpak Infusions Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn
Smoked Salmon
Coriander
Salami (or your favourite cured meats)
Courgette
Rye Crispbread

Method:

1) Take three rye crispbreads (or however many you can eat) and spread a different Lurpak Infusions flavour on each one.

2) Place on your toppings to match each flavour: smoked salmon and coriander with Chilli & Lime; salami with Smoked Chipotle; and sliced courgette with Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn.

3) Enjoy!

***

GRILLED CHEESE, ARTICHOKE & SUNDRIED TOMATO PANINI WITH LURPAK SPREADABLE INFUSIONS SEA SALT & PINK PEPPERCORN


Ingredients:

1 freshly baked panini
20g Edam cheese, grated
15g Parmesan cheese, grated
3-4 Artichoke hearts (bottled in olive oil), drained
20g Sundried tomatoes
Sprig of fresh basil/flat leaf parsley
Lurpak® Spreadable Infusions Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn

Method:

1) Mix the grated Edam cheese with the Parmesan cheese. Quarter the drained artichoke
hearts and sundried tomatoes, mix with the cheese and a sprig of fresh basil or flat-leaf
parsley. 

2) Spread the panini generously with Lurpak Infusions Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn, top with grated cheese, artichoke and fresh tomato mixture and bake at 180 degrees Celsius until golden.

* Gifted for review
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Monday, 30 May 2016

The Perfect Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin


   I've suffered from hereditary dry skin for all of my adult life which, I admit, can be annoying and a little embarrassing at times. I hate the fact that my makeup won't apply right in certain places, that my skin gets worse in winter and that my skincare routine is twice as long as any of my friends'.

   Luckily, a great product comes out once in a while that really helps me with my skin troubles - and this time, it's Yes To Carrot's Fragrance-Free Exfoliating Cleanser*. This normal-to-dry skin exfoliator is full of beta-carotene, which is great for combating free radicals, thus fighting against wrinkles and imperfections. Its gentle exfoliating beads buff away dry skin whilst cleansing at the same time, leaving your skin feeling clean, fresh and soft.

   I use this after I've taken off my makeup, and it wipes away any dirt that's left after my initial cleanse. I place a small blob onto a damp exfoliating glove and rub in small circles over my skin, before gently wiping away with a clean damp cloth (the product instructions state to rinse skin with warm water, but I find that a warm, damp cloth feels so much nicer!)

   I then follow this up with Yes To Carrot's Moisturising Eye Cream* and either the Daily Facial Moisturiser* or the Intense Hydration Night Cream* from the same range, depending on what time of day I'm cleansing.

   After just a couple of uses, I really felt a difference in the amount of dry skin on my face. Usually, my forehead's the worst area for this kind of skin problem, but I haven't spotted any pesky dry patches or flakes for the past week. My makeup applies smoothly and I find that I'm not anxiously checking my complexion in the mirror as much. With regular use, I'm hoping that my skin will clear up for good - only time will tell!

   For a more in-depth review and a quick demo, watch my YouTube video here.

*Products gifted for review
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Friday, 20 May 2016

Just Need Me a Beat and a Bass


HAT - H&M // SUNGLASSES - ZEROUV* // DRESS - MISSGUIDED // BAG - PRIMARK (similar here) // SHOES - PEACOCKS (similar here)
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