Ja-maica your pancakes a little more special this week with @appletonrumuk #pancakeday #recipe

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Yes that’s right it really is Pancake Day tomorrow. We’ve been rattling our brains to find out how best to make our pancakes a little different this year and nothing says ‘step away from the children’ and indulge yourself like a little bit of boozy pancake offerings!

Ynxj4gxfscYmk02APD3gwGekjCmI_l6BzRris7cccqMSo forget Blue Peter, lets get down to business with an old (but new to us) recipe from the world famous Appleton Estate rum makers, that dates back to 1749!

And to make it a little more fun, even the recipes look like they’ve come from the olden days – well, the 1980’s at least! (We can thank the PR’s for that!)

Enjoy, but if the kids are going mad from the sugar and lemon toppings, then stay safe in the knowledge that these ones are all for yourself and you deserve it!

Happy Pancake Day Snoochers!

 

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What would you #GiveUp2GiveBack and help @planuk improve the lives of children in desperate need?

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Did you have a New Year’s resolution? Going to hit the gym three times a week and bust that gut? Cut back on the booze and un-pickle your liver? You tried hard too didn’t you, but by about mid-January, well…

Don’t beat yourself up though. It can be tough to make big changes to your life, and sometimes making a small change can be more sustainable and have a surprisingly big impact. That’s the idea behind Plan UK’s new campaign Give Up To Give Back.

If you don’t know about them, Plan UK is a global charity that works around the world to help improve the lives of some of the most disadvantaged children. We’re talking about kids who have no access to clean drinking water, no schools, no hospitals and those affected by disasters like the recent typhoon in the Philippines. Plan UK get their hands dirty at the ground level to provide resources, help train and educate people and build vital infrastructure to improve entire communities.

Most people want to give to charity, but somehow the financial aspect of a monthly donation seems a bit scary in this day and age, so they’ll flick a few coins in a collection bucket and leave it at that. But what if by giving up something for a renewed New Year’s resolution, something small, something that would help improve your life, you then gave that money back as a child sponsor? Not only would you see your belly shrink a bit, but you could help someone who really, really needs it.

Need an idea? Then have a look at this infographic from Plan UK, and you can see how something small and seemingly inconsequential can have a meaningful effect:

Plan UK GUTGB infographic_v3

See. You don’t have to go all-or-nothing to make a difference. Would you really notice one less pint on a Saturday night? Not there and then, but over the course of a month you’ll feel better for it and that money will have a monumental effect on a child’s life. What’s even better is that when you sponsor a child the money doesn’t just go to helping them, a further 55 kids will benefit directly from your money.

So don’t sweep your broken New Year’s resolutions under the rug. Instead of going large, go small and #GiveUp2GiveBack.

You can find out more about the campaign and sign up here  http://ow.ly/tdt2h

Can’t garden? Won’t Garden? Don’t worry @suttons_seeds is here to help and make gardening super cool! #garden #gardening #home #lifestyle

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Fancy yourself as a bit of a green fingered god or goddess? Or are you like us and find it difficult working out your sunflowers from your pansies? Well as more and more of us start to buy our own houses and inherit a mud pit that we would one day like to turn into a garden  that is sharp, contemporary and something to be proud of,  we’re all asking what is that quick fix?

Well unless you’re willing to bring in the professionals, which could cost a pretty penny, the best thing you can probably do is take matters into your own hands. This is where Suttons Seeds comes in. Based down in Devon, this gardening company prides itself on quality and innovation, and see us, the twenty something’s as the next generation of gardening maestros (sure!) so they’re bringing out some great products, and prove that they’re way more than just a seed company, that helps us get up and go in our gardens. From beginners vegetable planting guides through to handy seeding packs that make planting minimum hassle, these guys really are on our young side and might just make gardening cool (again!!).

Here are some of our top picks from Suttons Seeds : 

A Fusion Of Colour And Musical Romance From Suttons Seeds 

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Suttons new Floral Fusions Flower Seed Mixes are  a great way to transform gardens quickly, easily and successfully.  Each mix contains up to 20 different varieties of seed as well as an inert natural buckwheat to assist with the sowing of the seed.  The collection includes six different varieties to meet consumer demands; from brightening a shady corner to super-quick blooms, Suttons new Floral Fusions has it all!

To make sowing your seeds even easier, Suttons new Floral Fusions are packaged in a ‘shaker’ style pot with a built-in sprinkler that enables you to sow your seeds quickly and evenly over their beds and borders in a matter of minutes! Plus its only £5.99 (bargain!).

Microgreens Windowsill Allotments are Healthy Fast Food, Full Of FlavourScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 10.43.42

Continue 2014 with a healthy addition to your diet! With resolutions being made to get fit and eat healthier food, many of you will be trying to continue on with your New Year diets. So why not help make a healthy change today with Suttons Microgreens!

Easy to grow, nutritious and full of flavour, these groovy tasty leaves really are a 2014 ‘must have’!

Each box includes everything you need to grow, plus a tasty recipe to try! They are quick and easy to grow – great for children and novice gardeners, with colourful and attractive packaging which is easy to understand.Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 10.43.53

There are 8 delicious varieties to choose from, and as microgreens are harvested younger they contain more nutrients, vitamins and protein. Finally, these kits can be grown at any time of year and are all grown indoors for a thrifty £3.99 per kit.

And finally, it’s not all about seeds you know…it’s about community too!

A New Way To Fundraise For Schools With your Little Green Sprouts!

‘Little Green Sprouts’ is a brand new fundraiser scheme designed specifically for primary and junior schools.

This soon to be launched scheme will help schools to fundraise, provide a central resource hub for teachers and also a one-stop shop for schools to buy all their gardening necessities.  Games for the children and some useful home activities will also be included.

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Suttons will be instrumental in helping schools set up their own microsites and will provide them with marketing materials for distribution to teachers.  For every £10 that parents spend, the school earns 1 sprout.  This sprout can be redeemed against a list of set products all designed to meet the horticultural factors in the national curriculum.

So there you have it, lots of ways to get excited about your garden in the coming months, so even if the rain is pouring, you don’t have to stop gardening, you can at least make a start! Enjoy!

Why sip tea when you can chew it? @chewtea #foodanddrink #drink #coffee #tea #soho #london

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Recently launched in London’s Soho area is a new tea and coffee revolution. Forget Seattle and its Starbucks, its all about the Far East and the rise of Bubble Tea and now for the first time in the UK, Bubble Coffee, housed by brand new franchise Chew.

Where can I Chew?

You can’t really miss the shop if you walk past it, its neon orange lights will be a beacon of hope for those walking the streets upon night fall, and a nightmare for anyone with a hangover!

This first site has been fashioned by Afroditi Krassa, the award-winning designer who created the brand identity for Itsu and was later appointed Creative Director by founder Julian Metcalfe – who also started sandwich chain Pret a Manger. Chew is aiming to pioneer the next step in the bubble beverage evolution by kick-starting the next big drink trend.

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So what is Chew?

Chew, so called as it is literally the drink that you can eat, will be serving adventurous Soho residents not only a new take on freshly brewed coffee, but will also be offering over 30 fruit and milk-based bubble teas. Tea has be reimagined and given the Chew treatment. A variety of black and green flavoured teas have been ‘sexed up’ with the signature bubble tea ingredient, jelly-like tapioca balls – which are freshly prepared on site, and have the strangest, yet most addictive texture!

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Where did Chew come from?

The Bubble Tea phenomenon originated in the streets of Taiwan in the 1980s and the trend has slowly been travelling West ever since. 30 years on the bubble tea movement is far from middle aged and in the UK it’s still in its infancy. Over the last couple of years various concepts have introduced the Far Eastern inspired refreshment to British palettes. Chews founding owners, husband and wife team Karim and Sara Hemsi first came across bubble tea in San Francisco, fell in love with the concept and then travelled to Taiwan to be trained in the art of modern tea making!

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How did it hit the streets of London?

In 2011 Boba Jam in Chinatown claimed to be the first bubble tea parlour to open in Central London. Bubbleology launched the same year and now has six outlets. Bubble tea appears to thrive where trendy young people converge however it would seem that the Chew brand aims to brew tea of the bubble variety not only for Soho hipsters, but also for the Great British tea-drinking public.

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So how much will this set me back?

Bubble teas are available in two sizes

Medium is 500ml and is £3.45

Large is 700ml and is £3.75

Bubble coffees are available in two sizes

Medium is 500ml and is £3.55

Large is 700ml and is £3.85

I’m sold, lets chew! You can follow chew on Twitter @chewtea and find out much more about the company on its website! 

Forget your Christmas Cooking disasters 2014 is a new year to cook with @smeguk #cooking #recipe #food

 

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So did you to cook the turkey to perfection this year? or did you get ribbed by your family around the table for that slightly over smoked bird? Oh well, either way 2014 is a new year with new goals in work, life and well…cooking! And in terms of the latter, award winning appliance manufacturer Smeg (yes, the one with the uber cook refrigerators everyone wished they had) you can create a new, exciting dish a professional chef would be proud of, from succulent roast pork to melt-in-the-mouth extra lemony sponge cake all because of its brand new recipe card collection? 

 Recipe Cards?? Old School….

Yep, old school style, modern means, via Smegs website,  you can concoct nine delicious, classic British recipes which have been cleverly designed by a qualified home economist to help you produce the tastiest dishes using Smeg’s top-of-the-range, built-in or freestanding cooking appliances (or of course, your own!). SFP390X

The last recipe from this collection, Rotisserie sweet chilli chicken, has just been completed and is now available online. Simply go to www.smeguk.com now where you can download each recipe card and 26 other online recipes from around the globe, which range from party food and starters to sweets and desserts.

 But I just want to start cooking right now…

Oh, ok then, well here’s the recipe just for you!! x

 

Rotisserie sweet chilli chicken

Rotisserie chicken

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

1.6kg whole fresh chicken, finely grated zest 1 lime, 2 tsp dried chilli flakes,1 tbsp sunflower oil

2 tbsp runny honey, flaked sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C on the Rotisserie Grill setting. Place a baking tray lined with foil on the bottom shelf of the oven. This will collect any juices that drip from the chicken.

2. Mix the lime zest with the chilli flakes, a good pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the oil and honey until combined.

3. Place the chicken on a board. Do not remove the string holding the chicken together. Carefully thread the rotisserie rod down through the centre of the chicken.

4. Skewer each end with the clip forks and secure by tightening the screw on each fork. Brush the chilli mixture all over the skin of the chicken until it is evenly coated.

5. Place the rotisserie rod securely on to the rotisserie support according to your oven manual. Spit roast the chicken with the oven door closed for 1 ¼ hours or until the skin is deep golden brown and the chicken is thoroughly cooked. The juices should run clear.

6. Carefully remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a board. Remember, it will be extremely hot and juices could splash. Loosely cover the chicken with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the rotisserie rod and carve the chicken to serve.

Rotisserie works in combination with the grill element whilst constantly turning the food

Plan ahead and sort out your new years hangover RIGHT NOW!! @verywisenutri @nutricentre #health #hangover #newyears

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 13.11.23Do you remember the morning of January 1st 2013… we assume it came part and parcel with a stinking hangover right? Then your family came round wanting to spend New Years day together and all you could think of was crawling under your duvet praying that the room would stop spinning, and knowing that there is not enough paracetamol in the world to stop this pain in your head. 

Well to stop this happening all over again, our friends at Very Wise Nutrition have been doing their research and have some handy hints to get you back to your A-Game come 2014. 

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When it comes to drinking, it’s all about damage limitation, look after your body and your body will look after your hangover.  Shona Wilkinson, Head Nutritionist at www.nutricentre.com shares her top tips to hangover-proof your Christmas!

Power on with Protein!

“Before heading out, make sure you eat a meal containing lots of protein (fish, meat, nuts, seeds, eggs, tofu) before you go out. Protein takes a long time to digest so it helps to line the stomach. Also as a preventative measure, take a milk thistle tincture before you party as this helps the liver deal with the toxins that will be introduced to the body.  Before bed, have a snack to help balance blood sugar levels – try marmite, humous or peanut butter on wholegrain toast, ‘’ explains ShonaScreen Shot 2013-12-16 at 13.12.07

Face facts!

Woken up looking like the bride of Dracula with last night’s make-up smeared all over your face?  Let the power of fruit enzymes get your skin glowing in no time!  MyChelle’s new festive White Cranberry Cleanser, £8.50 from www.nutricentre.com naturally exfoliates, cleanses and brightens.  Willow Bark and Totarol™ help bring balance to oily and blemish-prone skin conditions. Pomegranate, a super fruit rich in antioxidants and naturally exfoliating fruit acids, protects against environmental aggressors, while keeping pores clear and skin calm.

Get juiced!

Resist that fat Cola and try a natural nutrient booster instead.  Shona suggests ‘’In the morning, have a smoothie made of banana, kiwi, flaxseed, cinnamon and spirulina and omega 3. This will ensure a good supply of vitamins and help balance blood sugar levels.’’ Add some Omega 3 to make for the ultimate hangover smoothie, VeryWise’s new OmegaWise with mango and peach tastes great and contains your RDA of Omega 3 and Vitamin D, £8.80 from www.verywisenutrition.co.uk

B Prepared

According to Shona, ‘’Alcohol destroys your body’s vital energy boosting and nervous system protecting  B vitamins.  Ensure you keep your B levels topped up the day before a big drinking session with a B complex’’Quest’s new Mega B 50, £6.69 for a month’s supply from www.nutricentre.comScreen Shot 2013-12-16 at 13.12.22

We asked Shona some questions on hangovers to help separate the fact from the fiction…

1. Can food really help with a hangover or is it a myth?

Hangover symptoms show that the body is suffering from dehydration, mineral loss and low blood sugar, as well as the presence of toxic metabolites of alcohol. We can use food to prevent or reduce hangover symptoms, because certain nutrients are used for the body’s detoxification processes. We can use food and drink to counteract dehydration and nutrient loss caused by drinking, as well as to support balanced energy levels.

2. What should you eat before you go out and why?

The best foods and drinks to focus on are those which promote liver function. Firstly ensure you have protein (eggs, meat, fish, beans and lentils) because some amino acids facilitate detoxification, particularly of acetaldehyde which is thought to be a cause of unpleasant hangover symptoms. Secondly ensure you have antioxidant-rich fruits, fresh vegetables and leafy greens because they offer protection from free radicals which are considered another cause of hangovers.
Overall, it’s important that you do eat before drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol and additionally reduce the irritation that it causes to the stomach. Include healthy fats such as an olive oil dressing to slow absorption of alcohol, thereby slowing the work for your liver.

3. What should you eat the next day and why?

Start the day with a protein- and nutrient-rich breakfast.  Ideally choose eggs, because they are rich in cysteine which is needed to break down acetaldehyde. Try a healthier cooked breakfast of poached eggs, green leafy vegetables, grilled tomatoes and wholegrain bread. Keep your energy up by having plenty of slow release carbohydrates from wholegrains and vegetables.
Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, or even better drink coconut water as it’s naturally rich in electrolytes which helps to better hydrate you – like a sports drink but without artificial sweeteners. You could also have a fruit smoothie. Alcohol consumption results in dehydration which contributes to symptoms such as headache and fatigue, so this is very important.

4. What foods and drinks should you avoid (before and after drinking)?

Before, during and after drinking it’s best to avoid sugary foods and drinks, because alcohol consumption tends to play havoc with energy and blood sugar control. Refined sugars will compound this problem so it’s better to focus on protein and unrefined carbohydrates which release glucose slowly.
After drinking it’s best to avoid caffeine because it could worsen the dehydration.  Finally, after drinking the stomach may be irritated so it’s best to avoid very spicy or fatty fried foods.  It’s not wise to start drinking alcohol the next day because it prolongs the period of time for which your liver is processing alcohol.

So there you have it, get yourself ready for a new year without the hangover hang-ups!!! 

There’s still time to give an AMAZING Xmas present this year – look see! @otoneaudio @johnlewisretail #gifts #shopping

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Ho Ho Ho we hear you say! Can Christmas REALLY be just round the corner? Well from our experience it looks like the Christmas parties have well and truly started, and the idea of hitting the high street is causing all sorts of hung over dread! So to ease the pain and help you make some quick (and excellent) decisions on what to buy this year, we’ve found some goodies to share just for you! 

BREAKING THE BANK (in a great way!) 

OTONE’s newest speaker system, Soundship  £179.99.

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Soundship is the complete sound system for the home. The Bluetooth Smart dock has a futuristic design with interchangeable connectors, so no matter what device you have, you’re covered.

The system also features an FM radio and alarm.

http://www.otoneaudio.co.uk/products/smartdocking/soundship/

OTONE’s Aporto speaker system, £34.99.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.51.51This truly versatile speaker system manages to specialise in two distinct areas. As a travel speaker, Aporto’s sleek form fits easily into any travel case or bag – working as high quality USB laptop speakers through a simple connection. But thanks to its innovative modular design, Aporto can also be instantly transformed into a universal micro system: simply detach the speakers from each other and you can create a simulated surround sound effect, perfect for music lovers on the go.

http://www.otoneaudio.co.uk/products/portable/aporto/

TOP TEN UNDER £30 FROM JOHN LEWIS 

BaByliss Nano Dryer 1200 – £14.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.31
At less than half the size of a regular hairdryer, the BaByliss Nano Dryer is the perfect travel companion for fast drying performance in a handy little package. Available in pink and purple.

 

YupiiRun – £19.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.39
YupiiRun has been designed to make exercise effective and fun. Each program (from a choice of six) will tell users when to walk or run, at what speed and when to rest, all with the best music to workout to.

John Lewis Spectrum In-Ear Headphones – £19.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.44
Available in gunmetal, cobalt blue, orange and pink, these great value headphones feature silicone buds for comfort, as well as a built in microphone and remote control.

Bone Collection – USB Flash Drive 8GB – from £19.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.51
Searching for a fun Secret Santa? Check out these USB flash drives in Snowman, Gingerbread Man, Monkey, Kungfu Master and Queens Guard designs.

John Lewis Sound Cylinder Bluetooth Mini Speaker – £19.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.56
With a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to three hours on full charge as well as built in microphone, this Bluetooth mini speaker makes a fab gift. Choose from gunmetal, burnt orange, blue or green.

Crockpot 374 Slow Cooker – £22.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.01
A thoughtful present for a busy couple, this brushed chrome slow cooker has two heat settings, a keep-warm function and a removeable stoneware pot and glass lid that can be put in the dishwasher.

Juice Cube, Emergency Mobile Charger – £24.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.06
An ideal choice for technology fans, this mobile charger will make sure their gadgets never run out of juice when on the go. Users just need to charge the compact Cube and attach it to a phone, games console or MP3 player via a USB cable with the appropriate connector.

Lego Builder Case for iPhone 5 and 5S – £24.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.11
A quirky stocking filler; these cases feature a hard plastic back in the style of a Lego base plate, allowing them to be customised with Lego bricks. The shell of the case is also shock absorbent and provides protection for the back, sides and buttons of an iPhone.

Gourmet Gadgetry 3 in 1 Drinks Maker – £29.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.16
With a 1950s inspired design, this drinks maker can be used to prepare milkshakes, smoothies and cocktails. The Gourmet Gadgetry range also includes a retro Chocolate Fountain, £29.95.

Beatrix New York Cases for Tablets up to 10.1″ – £29.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.21
Available in four cute designs, these water resistant, padded and velvet-lined cases provide protection for a child’s tablet.

 There you go… don’t dread it, spend it! Tis the season to give (and receive – hehe!) so go have some fun! 

Happy Holidays! Almost!