Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hot Hazelnut Chocolate

Hot Hazelnut Chocolate

This certainly does not qualify as a 'recipe' but is so good I had to share it with you! ...It's my latest discovery and just in time for the cold season.

Whenever Bella is having her afternoon nap I like to indulge in a hot mug of this and the next chapter of Fifty... Bliss!!

You need just these 2 things:-

  • Green and Blacks Hot Chocolate
  • Alpro Soya Hazelnut Drink

Put 4 teaspoons of your hot chocolate in a mug and fill up with Hazelnut milk pop in the microwave for 1 min 30 and stir well when finished.

Sit back and enjoy with Christian Grey!!

Monday, 29 October 2012



The best thing about a restaurant located just off of Oxford Street is that it is located just off of Oxford Street. The perfect face-filling location after a full-on day of high street trawling.

Not only is it located within spitting distance of Topshop, H&M and Zara, but MEATliquor also offers the PERFECT dinner when you've worked up a huge appetite after being on your feet all day. Full fat, cheesy, chilli burgers, chips, deep fried whatever-takes-your-fancy and a menu full of tasty desserts too!

I must say, if you don't want to be queuing round the corner of the street for (yes) around 2 hours, then you should definitely arrive early. MEATliquor is a popular place and they don't take reservations - its a first come first served kinda place!

Decor is Gothic; blood, werewolves, bears, strange smiley pigs and a lot of black, red and white sprayed all over the place, with graffiti messages like "I do not live in the world of sobriety."

To start, Sophia ordered some extremely naughty deep fried pickles that came with a tasty dip. Apologies for the darkness of the pictures... low level lighting would be an understatement... 

Sophia AKA Meat Madam / Chief Burgerette sucking on a Battered Pickle
Deep Fried Deliciousness!

There's also a variety of cocktails which had to be sampled - it would have been rude not to! I went for the 3 rum Grog on recommendation!

For main courses, I went for the bacon cheeseburger, Sophia had the philly-cheese-chilli-steak-heartattack-mountain and we both opted for some chilli cheese fries... just in case we'd under-ordered!

Perfectly timed as we finished dinner, one of the waitresses appeared with a tannoy announcing the bravest man of all men, Will, who was about to take on the 10 minute challenge! Managing to overcome paralysis-by-over-indulgence, we scooted over to join in the cheering as the restaurant accompanied Will's friends in banging fists and shouting 'You can do it Will!!!'

The challenge is that the contestant must polish off 3 hot chilli dinners in under 10 minutes. If they manage it, the £20 meal is free, and should they finish the platter in close to 3 minutes, they're added to the leader board just to prove their utter eating amazingness!

 I was also thoroughly impressed with the toilet signage - because everyone loves a naughty word...

On top of the excitement of Will coming in at under 10 minutes and getting his whole meal for free, there's also a photobooth for hours of fun at the end of the evening, when one has over-indulged in rum cocktails!

MEATliquor on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Millionaires Shortcake

This has to be one of my favourite puds and with the girls coming over for a little dinner party I shrugged my shoulders and headed off to Tesco deciding to give it a go. Needless to say the girls were suitably impressed and I beamed a little inside at my handiwork!

I have to say it was very easy to make but looked as though I could have been slaving away at it for hours which was exactly what I was hoping for. So for those of you who like myself enjoy 'moonlighting' as a domestic goddess I thoroughly recommend you try this!

This is what you will need ...

  • 250g plain flour
  • 75g Caster Sugar
  • 175g Butter softened
  • 1 tin carnation caramel
  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 80g white chocolate 

To make the shortbread base, mix the flour and caster sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter with your hands until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Knead the mixture together until it forms a dough, then press into the base of the prepared tin. Prick the shortbread lightly with a fork and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 min or until firm to the touch and very lightly browned. Cool in the tin.

After the base is cool (and this is the hard bit) open your tin of carnation caramel and using a spoon spread over the shortbread. Once this is done suck spoon to efficiently remove all traces of caramel (this part is essential to show thanks to the caramel god)

For the topping, melt the chocolate slowly in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Pour over the cold caramel and leave to set.

Finally melt down your white choc using the same method as before and then drizzle randomly all over cake to create a lovely Jackson pollock type effect!

Leave to set for at least an hour before your guests arrive, serve with ice cream and sit back and enjoy the praise!

Easy Chicken Noodle Stir Fry

This fragrant stir fry dish takes about 20 minutes from start to finish - perfect if you're home late and just want a tasty dinner on the table as quickly as possible. It's really healthy but the best bit is that it tastes like it's straight from the Thai local take away!

These Thai flavours certainly pack a punch so if you're not a fan of spice go easy on the ginger and chilli.


To make this you'll need:

  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 clove garlic,sliced
  • 200g egg noodles
  • 1 limes, juice and zest
  • 4 spring onions , sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced with the peeler
  • 1 tbsp mint
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cm root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breast fillets , skinless, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce 

Mix your lime zest and juice with the sugar, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, chilli and 1 tbsp of the Sesame oil and set to one side.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of the Sesame oil in a large frying pan or wok and stir fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes until golden in places and cooked through.

Add the carrots, spring onions and noodles and stir fry until piping hot.

Using a peeler to slice your way through the carrots gives the perfect stir fry result!

Remove from the heat add the dressing you made earlier, the mint and the coriander then toss to mix and serve.  Delicious!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Home Comforts

Home Best Buys...

When Robbie and I first moved into our home, every shop I visited warranted a purchase for my new abode! However, almost 800 days later, I have grown to know and love my staple purchases that no cosy home should be without!


With a two year old Great Dane to contend with, we need as much help as possible when it comes to keeping bad odours out and good odours in! 

Boycey Mac taking up resident spot on the rug!

Not only do these Jo Malone candles look the part, but they smell divine and last for ages! My personal choice is the classic Lime, Basil and Mandarin, but pretty much all of their flavours give off an amazing scent that will have your guests oo-ing and mmm-ing all night! Buy yours online here.

Even the packaging is sumptuous!

Photo Albums

I can't remember the last time I took a film to be developed or even saw a disposable camera! With so many of us now using digital cameras and sharing picture through social media, I think fewer and fewer of us have hard copies of our memories. There's something quite special about sitting on the couch and laughing with friends over a glass of wine as you remind yourselves of terrible haircuts and outfits that shouldn't have ever been designed... ever!

I can't stand clutter, but a couple of albums grouped together like these Anna Bilton Crocodile Embossed Leather Photo Albums offer an ideal way to showcase your treasured pictures and decorate your coffee table with a chic edge.



No couch, bed or chair is complete without a pile of decorative cushions added to it! I love Catherine Tough's Creature Cushions that come with appliqued chicks, sausage dogs or owl designs!

Too cute to resist!


Elemis Bath Milk

If you like to drown yourself in luxury then look no further then Elemis Milk Bath. Pouring a few drops of this heavenly scent into a hot bath will have you relaxed and smelling gorgeous in no time. You can also apply it directly to the skin - it's great if you suffer from dry skin and is also said to help eczema and psoriasis.

Elemis marked their 20th anniversary with this rather sumptuous limited edition glass decanter. Being a fan of the product I had to have this large bottle adorning my bathroom shelf, and now I just top up the decanter with the bath milk as and when it runs out. If you're a fan grab one here before they're all gone!


Fleecy Blanket

When it's cold outside and you're snuggled up indoors with the dog and Channing Tatum or Ashton Kutcher on your screen, every girl (and most men - not that they'd admit to it!) needs a cosy throw to balance one's chocolate on and tuck in one's tootsies. I love this Biba one that even has a leather carrier should it require transporting to a friend's house!



I love having flowers in the house, and really think they add a freshness that no amount of Febreeze or wide open windows could add up to.

Changing flowers every week started off as being a fun element to the weekly shop, but chucking out endless amounts of dead tulips and washing dirty vases soon became pretty arduous - not to mention pretty expensive!

I found some fantastic artificial flowers in Selfridges, and these rather handsome Hydrangeas adorn my dining table week in week out! And the only attention they require is a little dusting every now and again!

At almost £18 each they're not exactly cheap - but they won't be dying on you anytime soon!
Of course nothing beats the real thing, but now I save my real flower purchases for when I've got people over, and that means I can get something much more special!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

BB Bakery County Hall

Naughty but Nice

On strolling through London in the sun, we happened (by chance) to stumble across a little sanctuary that has definitely been added to my Little Black Book!

The BB Bakery, County Hall. Where every cake / biscuit / chocolate / tart / pastry lover's fantasy can be a reality!

The bakery itself is a little haven of quaint tables and chairs, cake stands, amazing macaroon towers, Baroque photo frames and much more besides - the majority of which (you'll be delighted to know) are for sale. But the true delights are in the edible treats!

After umm-ing and ahh-ing over the homemade pizzas, pastries, foot long baguettes and other savoury snacks, we ventured over to the cake counter and spent about 20 minutes trying to decide which piece of art took our fancy. Reluctantly, we managed to keep to one each:

Lemon Meringue Tart - the husband-to-be's and I didn't get a look in!

A piece of art - Apricot Jelly, White Chocolate Mousse, Brownie Base and a Macaroon Topper! Delicious

Traditional Chocolate Eclair - with the added surprise of a chocolate cream inside

Red Velvet - with one hell of a topping! (Not that ANYONE was complaining)

As we were in a bit of a rush we had our cakes boxed and bagged and took them home to devour over a cup of tea. Bliss!

Puj Tub

Bath Time with Bella

One Happy Bath Time Baby!

I just thought I'd write a quick post of praise about a newborn baby bath time gem!

All praise the Puj Tub....!

I don't know what I would have done without this clever little contraption. At first I found the idea of bathing my precious little package a bit daunting ( I'd envisioned a very shaky handed affair!), but the Puj Tub soon eliminated all my fears and allowed the little lady and I a relaxing bath time.

I now take one along as a baby shower gift for all my expectant friends who have been equally impressed! I love giving something unusual and so useful as well (#SuperMum hee hee).

It allows your baby to be comfortably supported and leaves your hands free for lathering your little one. The fact that you're at the sink also saves you from breaking your back by bending over the bath and the 'Puj' can be easily and conveniently stored away at every bath time.

Costing around £30.00 they're well worth the money. You can buy one here.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Jambalaya Night

A Taste of Cuba...

Whenever I'm cooking for a larger group, I always find it easier and more sociable to cook a gigantic pot of something tasty, that sits on the stove for people to help themselves as and when they fancy.

On this occasion, it was for the boyfriend and me, plus the 'rents, who were over from Spain for the week... so no need to impress with haute cuisine!

Reminiscing about childhood holidays in Cuba, where my family and I would sit on the beach by day, and tuck into a rich, spicy Jambalaya in the evening, got me in the mood to create an old family favourite. This spicy, rice dish originated in the Caribbean Islands. The Spanish culture mixed with the native foods and created what we know as Jambalaya - a mixture of meat, vegetables and seafood topped up with stock and plenty of rice. If you want to make this dish you'll need:

(serves around 8)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 450g skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 450g smoked pork (I used gammon steak)
  • 900g long grain rice
  • 20 odd prawns, raw
  • 2 tins plum tomatoes
  • 500g tomato puree
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 1/2 pints (2 litres) chicken stock
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
If trawling to the supermarket doesn't appeal to you, buy these ingredients online here.

In a large pot, brown the chicken cubes in the sunflower oil, seasoning with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides - about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Do the same with the gammon or smoked pork, (no need for salt and pepper) The smell of the cooking bacon may warrant an early taste.... just make sure it's cooked through! Set aside with the chicken.

Add chopped onions, celery and red pepper to the oil left in the pot. Cook for 5 minutes until onion and celery turn transulcent.

Add tomato puree, and stir for a few minutes. Then add the tins of plum tomatoes, the stock and scrape any tasty sticky bits on the side of the pan into the liquid, stirring until smooth.

Add cayenne (2 tsp is pretty spicy, you may want to start with 1 and see how you go), a bit of pepper, oregano, thyme and bay leaves.

Return the chicken and pork and then add the rice. Stir, cover and cook with the lid on for about 20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the bottom isn't burning.

Once rice is tender and most liquid has been absorbed, add the prawns and cook it for another 10 minutes. When they're perfectly pink, grab some plates and forks, call in the crowds and enjoy!

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. This dish gets tastier by the day as flavours marinade.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Beauty Best Buys

Having worked in the beauty industry for 10 years, I have become very selective with what products tempt me to part with my pennies and these are my absolute must haves!

St Tropez Dark Mousse

When it comes to fake tans I am a self confessed slut! I've literally been round them all! But this latest addition to the St Tropez range collection has me committed!

Although naturally fair myself, I find this formula gives a lovely golden looking colour after just one application (unlike the original formula which takes several coats to build up to a noticeable colour.) Waste no time in topping up for winter; you can buy it here.


Benefit's They're Real Mascara

Having flirted briefly with mascaras from all of the cosmetic houses, I am now head over heels for this one. If you haven't already given it a go I thoroughly recommend you do!

The amazing brush of this formula means you can really grab even the tiniest of lashes and build them up to dramatic lengths! 


Shavata Double-Ended Eyebrow Pencil (teamed with their Arch Enhancer)

Everyone knows its all about the brow right now! This is the perfect combo, You can be as subtle or daring as you like with this pencil and the arch enhancer does just that!!

By day... Yummy mummy

Mac dazzle glass lip gloss in Stepping out.. 2

"Lip colour that dazzles with light and shine to bring an exciting dimensional pop to your lips"

By night... Sexy mother f***er!!

Mac Viva Glam 1

The most divine red lipstick .. Were talking pouts of Marilyn Monroe-esque proportions!!


Jessica's Gorgeous Garterbelt and Intrigue Nail Polishes


Not quite red, pink or purple but just as its name suggests gorgeous! Purchase here
Suits any occasion, work or play, the perfect mix of glamour and sophistication!Click here to buy it now!


Seche Vite Top Coat

All hype about this little wonder product is much deserved! This super fast drying top coat also means polish lasts unscathed for days.

And when it comes to removing the days war paint it HAS to be ...

Md Formulations Facial Cleanser

No other cleanser on the market comes close to this, it contains glycolic acid which is a natural chemical exfoliant for the skin, you can notice the improvement in the clarity of your skin instantly.

No fancy packaging, no rose smelling aroma just does what it says on the box and does it exceptionally well!You can buy it here.