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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! 🎄🎁🍾🎉❄️☃️

Wishing you all the best in 2018! Thank you for all your support & love this year!

Looking forward to lots more fun in 2018!

Love from my family to yours 😘😘😘

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Auntie Bertie Bans Christmas ❄️☃️💙 a fantastically colourful Christmas treat 📚

It’s Christmas Day in 5 days time! I just cannot wait! The boys are so so excited they are counting down the minutes!

For grandparents, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles all over the world who celebrate it is a very busy time indeed, buying & wrapping gifts ready for the big day.

So here is a wonderfully festive book perfect for Christmas by one of my authors.

The Book –

Auntie Bertie bans Christmas. Her nephew, Johnnie, and friend Farah are staying because of a family dilemma. Rescue cats Molly and Georgie save the day!

Esther the author is a colour therapist and uses colour to an advantage.

Colour is also great for learning disabilities and holds the attention span and has a calming therapeutic effect.

Another Auntie Bertie adventure! READ, LAUGH & LEARN!

Verdict –

Another lovely story from the very talented Esther.

The illustrations, the colourful pages make this not just a book but a magical adventure.

Each pair of pages is a vivid bright or deep colour which adds to the overall reading experience. The colours are soothing, calming and exciting.

My boys loved every word and couldnt wait to see what happens next.

This book would make a lovely Christmas gift for children of all ages. I think I enjoyed it just as much as the children.

Available to purchase on Amazon Uk now!

Find out more about Esther & her lovely books on her website below-

http://www.colourtherapytwist.co.uk/

http://www.auntiebertiesadventures.com

Sparkling white teeth with the help of charcoal! 😃❤️

This year one of my biggest resolutions was to take better care of my teeth. And I am very proud to say I have. I have been to the dentist for my routine check ups, and have been to the hygienist several times already. I feel so much better for it.

Of course its not the most enjoyable thing in the world, but Ive learnt that if you overcome the initial fear of going to the dentist, the longterm rewards are just amazing. You feel so much fresher and I can now say my tooth sensitivity has completely disappeared.

So now I have healthier teeth and gums I am now looking to improve my teeth hygiene even more with things that are available on the market.

I would love to have brighter, whiter teeth and you may have heard ‘charcoal’ is the latest way to achieve this.

The Product –

Swiftwhite Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder. Premium Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder to help whiten and brighten smile.

Achieve teeth whitening results and remove years of tobacco, wine, tea and coffee stains using Swiftwhite Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder.

  • AVG. 6 SHADES WHITER IN 7 DAYS
  • VEGAN, CRUELTY & GLUTEN FREE
  • COCONUT CHARCOAL, NOT HARDWOOD
  • Get the Perfect Bright Smile: No matter how well you take care of your teeth, some discolouration is bound to happen. Well, not anymore: this amazing natural activated charcoal teeth whitening powder will help your smile get white, bright and charming – just how it’s supposed to be!
  • 100% Natural, Pure & Safe for Your Teeth & Gums: If you’re concerned about how this great teeth whitening product affects your dental health, don’t be: this natural activated charcoal powder is perfectly safe and healthy for your teeth, gum, and enamel.
  • No More Coffee, Wine & Cigarette Stains: Chronic habits like smoking and drinking coffee, tea, or wine can have a significant, aesthetically unpleasant effect on your teeth colour. The teeth whitening powder is here to take care of that too, helping your teeth to gradually revert to their natural colour.
  • Premium Quality Activated Charcoal: When it comes to our premium teeth whitening powder, we make a point of using nothing but premium quality natural and non-toxic activated charcoal powder, as well as state-of-the-art production processes and strict quality control.

Directions –

Dip wet toothpaste into powder, brush for 1-2 minutes then rinse thoroughly. Use twice daily for best results.

Ingredients – 100% Natural Coconut Shell Activated Charcoal

Verdict –

First of all let me tell you that yes the powder is jet black, it is pure powdered charcoal. But thankfully it doesn’t taste of anything, even though I wouldn’t really know what charcoal would taste like, it is good to find out that this powder has no bad taste. In fact it is tasteless.

I have been using the powder for 5 days now. Every morning and evening after flossing and brushing, I dip my toothbrush into the powder, then brush for a minute or two. Then rinse.

It is very weird having black teeth whilst brushing, but the results are totally and utterly worth it!

The biggest problem with my teeth, as my dental hygienist tells me, are the stains caused by coffee, tea and red wine. This powder is the perfect natural solution.

After five days of use, my teeth look and feel so much cleaner, as if they have been polished at the hygienist.

This powder is so much better than teeth whitening strips as it is 100% natural, suitable for vegans and just so easy to use!

Available on Amazon Uk now!

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella 💛 a book review 📚 a young adult story

I find life far too serious at times. Especially around this time of the year when we are so busy trying to get everything done. I find myself thinking far too much about things that are really out of my control.

The best way to let all those negative thoughts go and to just sit back and enjoy the ride is to read a good book that makes you laugh, think and appreciate life! After all laughter is the best medicine for anything in life. Laughter, love and understanding. Sometimes even when the subject matter of books is serious, a little laughter here and there can make it all bearable.

You can always count of Sophie Kinsella to make you laugh out loud, and ever since reading the Shopaholic series of books, I have been a mega fan of her books!

The Book –

Audrey can’t leave the house. She can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly orange-slice smile, and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do things she’d thought were too scary.

Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you think you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .

Verdict –

Now, this book is a little different from Sophie Kinsella’s normal novels, but different in a good and enlightening sort of way. It is not just about the fun things in life, but about a family who have issues and problems, which can be overcome.

It is a book aimed towards the ‘Young Adult’ market, so teenagers and above. The storyline touches all realms of subject matters in the subtle lovely way only a fantastic author like Sophie Kinsella could do – bullying, mental health. I am not a teenager but enjoyed it very much.

Audrey is such a lovable character, although she has problems, the story takes us through how things can change and we watch her blossom. She suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder, has been bullied, which has driven her to stay at home all the time. But with the help of Linus she learns to break free.

I think this book would be a perfect gift for those with teenage girls or preteen daughters. It is a wonderful story of getting better.

Available on Amazon uk and in all bookstores Nationwide. Find out more on Sophie Kinsella’s lovely website –

https://www.sophiekinsella.co.uk

 

 

Spring/Summer 2018 interior design trends from Crown Paints ❤️

I still cannot believe it is December, in a few weeks when all the Christmas festivities are over we will be ringing in the new year. I do very much hope that 2018 is a fresh start for the world we live in, and I very much hope this beautiful world looks forward to days of peace and happiness.

As you may know this year was a big year in our household, now my living room as a beautifully enlarged living room and my home is complete. We have the space we so wanted and a lovely large dining table to dine around.

But I think it is true to say that once you start decorating or building your home, you start getting ideas. How can I add more to my home? What little changes can make my home even nicer?

I attended Crown Paints press event a few weeks ago, and they have some wonderful ideas and colours for those of you wishing to add something new to your homes in 2018!

Crown Paints – Spring/Summer Colour Influences – 

Crown Paints has been manufactured in Britain since 1777, starting out in a small independent print shop in Darwen, Lancashire, where its headquarters remains.

A lot has happened over the last 200years, but it is still their mission to empower homeowners to realise the potential of colour. Paint is not just about home decoration, it’s about using colour to turn an ordinary space into something personal.

Crown Paints has a fantastic team of colour influencers who have put together the trends for 2018. Consultants, specialists and designers who have colour at the heart of everything they do and inspire people to decorate their homes with colour.

Crown Paints Trends for Spring/Summer 2018 – 

Linear – 

“This trend is about working with the simplicity of straight lines, keeping to slim black outlines in furniture and lighting as well as on walls gives a new and sophisticated look, a modern elegance.” Judy Smith (Crown Colour Consultant)

Provocative – 

“Brave, bold and provocative. With big blocks of colours and strong geometry that’s breaking free from the restriction of the walls.”  Justyna Korczynska (Crown Design Studio)

Bloom

Bloom is the romantic token of nature at its most magnificent, with fresh floral tones on a long spectrum from lively greens to deep seated pinks and purples. This artistic interpretation picks out the wide brush strokes on an abstract canvas, combining all the fresh colours of a beautiful English garden.

Verdict – 

I found the Crown Paints Spring/Summer colour influences absolutely inspiring and refreshing. I could see so many possibilities, so many ways to transform rooms in our homes beyond just floral wallpaper, or champagne coloured paint.

If you are looking for fresh ways to brighten up your homes, or a specific room, have a look at what Crown Paints has to offer.

https://www.crownpaints.co.uk

My current favourite period drama ❤️ Howards End 🎬

As the nights grow longer and the weather grows colder, there is nothing I enjoy more than snuggling on the sofa with a cosy blanket to watch the latest period drama mini series on the television.

I don’t know what it is I love most about period dramas, but for me they are just pure indulgent pleasure. They take me back to an era where there was no technology; no televisions, iPads and wifi. To a time where great big homes were filled with the sounds of piano music and chatter.

I love seeing the costumes, the ladies dressed in there long petticoated dresses, the gentlemen dressed as smartly as all gentlemen of that era should be, in top hats and formal wear.

Downton Abbey has always been a favourite of mine. The grand home filled with traditional customs and formalities. The amazing costumes and the storylines are always so entertaining, you are at the edge of your seat waiting to see whatever happens next.

Howard End –

The current favourite period drama is Howards End, a dramatisation of the famous book by E.M. Forester. A story about how different classes can become intertwined in love, lies and death. The rich Wilcoxes, the gentle Schlegels, and the lower middle class Basts.

It is wonderful to see how stories are weaved together and how the characters are formed by very famous authors to form an unforgettable story which works wonderfully on the pages of a book, and is just as attractive on the television screen.

Howards End is frequently said to be E. M. Forester’s finest work. I have not seen the previous dramatisations of the book, but this one is very good.

Matthew Macfadyen, who you may remember from the series Spooks, makes a fine Mr. Wilcox, extremely manly and head of his family. After the death of his beloved wife, he falls for the beautiful and very fair Miss Schlegel.

I love movies of course, but there is such a fun anticipation in awaiting these mini dramas.

Howard End ended with its final episode yesterday on BBC1. It was a four part drama, each episode took us through the lives of these three families whose stories intertwined as one.

If you have missed it I strongly recommend watching it soon, maybe get it on catch up tv, or on iTunes, and devour it all in one sitting with a big steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Extra Virgin Olive & Chai Oil 💙 a healthy & yummy addition to your daily meals 😋

I think that if you asked me which kitchen staple I could not do without, it would have to be my favourite go to Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I use it in everything! Cooking, drizzling on salads, and even just poured in a bowl to dip fresh bread into.

Not only is olive oil super healthy it needs to taste fantastic too. But I am always willing to try new things and could not wait to try this new ‘Olive & Chai Oil’ which is on the market.

The Product –

Andean Sol brings you healthy and nutritious superfoods from the Andean region of South America – a wild and remote expanse of diverse cultures and landscapes.

From the sun-baked foothills and windswept Altiplano to the peaks of Patagonia, the Andean region offers an abundance of unique and wholesome foods.

Andean Sol only supplies superfoods that is sourced directly from local farmers and cooperatives in South America. This ensures traceability and the highest quality product at all times. They proudly commit to reinvesting 5% of profits back into the communities in which they work.

Andean Sol Extra Virgin Chia Oil not only tastes amazing – it contains approximately 64% omega-3 fatty acids (ALA), the highest of any known plant based sources of omega-3. The chia oil is cold pressed so that it retains the maximum level of nutrients, active substances and flavour possible. The result is a delicate, vibrantly golden coloured oil that has a delicious light and nutty taste.

Verdict –

I haven’t really used too much chai in my cooking but I am sure you have all heard about the benefits of using chai.

I found out some great facts about chai on the Andean Sol website,

“New scientific research on chia seeds showed them to be an impressive plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, the lack of which in the modern diet contributes to numerous diseases including cancer and heart disease. In addition to being an impressive source of omega-3s, studies showed chia seeds to be high in antioxidants, dietary fibre and plant protein.”

So what better reason to incorporate chai into your daily diet. My boys aren’t always keen on eating seeds when they are visible in foods, but the olive & chai oils are a perfect way to get the benefits of chai without them being visible.

To give the oils a go with my family I decided to make this super yummy recipe using Extra Virgin Chai Oil in place of my regular Olive Oil. And it tasted just as yummy, actually a bit lighter in taste than using regular Olive oil. So a great healthy addition.

Courgettes cooked in Extra Virgin Chai Oil with dill & parsley

Ingredients – (enough for 4)

– 4-5 medium sized courgettes

– 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

– bunch of fresh parsley (finely chopped)

– bunch of fresh dill (finely chopped)

– 2 tables spoons Extra Virgin Chai Oil

– Sea salt & black pepper

– 2 cups warm water

– 1 large onion (finely diced)

Method –
Prepare all the ingredients and set to one side.

Mix together in a large bowl the parsley, dill & garlic.

Peel and slice the courgettes in long thin strips.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the chopped onions and cook over a low heat until cooked and caramelized.

Lower the heat. Line the pan with a layer of the sliced courgettes. Like you are lining a lasagne dish with pasta.

Like making lasagne add a layer of the parsley dill mixture over the courgettes. 

Next another layer of courgette strips.

Then another layer of the parsley dill mixture.

Continue until all the ingredients are used up. Add the water. Sprinkle on salt & pepper. Now leave to cook over a medium heat until the courgettes are soft to taste.

Enjoy cold with a dollop of yogurt! 😋

Find out more about these oils on the Andean Sol website –

https://www.andeansol.com/chia-seeds/

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Murder on the Orient Express 🎬 a movie review

I have always enjoyed a good murder mystery, be it a movie or a book I cannot put down until the very end, when we find out who did it.

Agatha Christie’s unforgettable detectives Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot have been a part of my life since I was about ten. I remember how exciting it was sitting in our cosy family home living room, the fire buring and us all eagerly anticipating the notoriously intelligent Hercule Poirot to solve the murder mystery.

So when I saw one of my favourite Agatha Christie novels was coming back to the big screen remade with a whole cast of wonderful actors, I could not wait to see it.

The Movie –

A lavish trip through Europe quickly unfolds into a race against time to solve a murder aboard a train.

When an avalanche stops the Orient Express dead in its tracks, the world’s greatest detective — Hercule Poirot — arrives to interrogate all passengers and search for clues before the killer can strike again.

Verdict –

The first thing I must ask is, have you been lucky enough to see the original version of this movie?

The one starring Albert Finney as the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Well if you haven’t I believe you will find this version quite pleasing as naturally you will have nothing to compare it to, and you will not know anything about the twists and turns in the storyline.

But, if you have seen the original, I think you might be slightly disappointed. Sadly even with special effects and the high tech filming stamdards of today, the original wins hands down for me.

It is still definately watchable and entertaining though. The cast is a strong one, with Dame Judy Dench and Johnny Depp making memorable appearances. Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot however takes a little more time to get used to.

In one word I found him a bit ‘annoying,’ although he was clever and witty, as Ms. Christie wanted him to be, he is also too overly clever, making others upset along the way.

So all in all a movie that can entertain as the story is of the best quality, in a style only Agatha Christie can write. But if you have seen the original wait, and watch it on dvd.

My favourite winter soup ❤️ Red Lentil & Bulgur Soup

The nights are getting much colder and the days much shorter. I find the perfect way to warm up in these wintery months is with a big bowl of thick wholesome soup. Lunchtimes for me are now a bowl of soup and nothing else. Not only are they superbly filling they are so good for you.

I like thick soup that are like a meal in a bowl. This is my go to soup this winter! It is very similar to my Spicy Red Lentil soup recipe but thanks to some great tips from family & friends, Ive added a few ‘extra’ ingredients which make it yummier, healthier and just so good.

So here it is, super easy to make, I make a huge pot of it at the weekend, then just heat up batches as needed through the week. My boys love it so much they eat at least two bowls each in one meal. Yum yum!

Red Lentil & Bulgur soup!

Ingredients-

– 1 cup of Organic Red Lentils

– 1/2 cup bulgur wheat

– 1 cup Passata or freshly chopped tomatoes

– 2 small onions (finely diced)

– 4 carrots (peeled and finely diced)

– 2 tablespoons Olive oil

– 1 knorr Chicken pot stock

– 1 teaspoon of brown sugar

– Sea salt, ground black pepper & chilli flakes to taste

– 1 teaspoon of ground cumin

 

Method-

Place the lentils, bulgur, carrots, onions and tomatoes in a large saucepan.

Cover with enough water so that all ingredients are covered. Boil until all the ingredients are soft to the taste.

Leave to cool then with the use of a stick blender mix the ingredients into a purée like consistency, make sure it is lump free.

Add enough warm water to make the purée into a more soup like consistency. Add the olive oil, chicken stock, sugar, cumin and sprinkle on a little sea salt & pepper. Mix over a medium heat until all ingredients have dissolved.

Sprinkle on chilli flakes, dried mint and serve with warm crusty bread.

Enjoy! xxxx

The Christmas Chronicles ❤️📚 by Nigel Slater 

I love cookbooks. Its not that I cant cook, I definately can. But I love finding out about new recipes, discovering new meals to try & prepare for my loved ones, and for you lovelies ofcourse.

Nigel Slater has always been one of my favourites. I love watching him on television. His recipes are simple and definately manageable at home, and he has a calming manner which I find so relaxing to watch.

So when I found out that Nigel Slater had a new book out for Christmas I just had to review it for you all.

The Book –


From the BBC1 presenter and bestselling author of Eat, The Kitchen Diaries and Toast comes a new book featuring everything you need for the winter solstice.

The Christmas Chronicles is the story of Nigel Slater’s love for winter, the scent of fir and spruce, ghost stories read with a glass of sloe gin, and beeswax candles with shadows dancing on the ceiling. With recipes, decorations, fables and quick fireside suppers, Nigel guides you through the essential preparations for Christmas and the New Year, with everything you need to enjoy the winter months.

Taking you from 1 November all the way to the end of January, The Christmas Chronicles covers everything from Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year to Epiphany. Throughout the season, Nigel offers over 100 recipes to see you through the build-up, the celebrations and the aftermath. Here are much-loved classics such as goose and turkey (and making the most of the leftovers), mincemeat and the cake; recipes to make the cold months bearable, like ribsticker bread pudding with Comté and Taleggio, salt crust potatoes with blue cheese and goat’s curd, and hot-smoked salmon, potatoes and dill; as well as bright flavours to welcome the new year, including pink grapefruit marmalade, pear and pickled radish salad and rye, linseed and treacle bread.

Packed with feasts, folktales, myths and memoir and all told in Nigel’s warm and intimate signature style, The Christmas Chronicles is the only book you’ll ever need for winter.

Verdict –

It’s my birthday tomorrow, and this was one of my birthday gifts. It is just perfect. Not too big and bulky, or filled with endless pictures, like some cookbooks. 

What makes this so much more than a cookbook are the memories. So many wonderful memories of the festive period.

A definate Christmas gift for that special ‘cook’ in your life.

Available on Amazon & in all major bookshops now.