Friday 24 February 2017

Recipe: Chocolate Orange Fudge Cookies, Feat. The Devon Fudge Company

I was recently contacted by the super duper lovely Nicole (Hello Sleekchicblog!) on behalf of The Devon Fudge Company, asking me if I would like to try out some of their fudge. As a Devon gal through and through I of course jumped at the chance, I mean, who turns down Devon fudge? The Devon Fudge Company is a family run business based in beautiful Dartmoor. A stones throw from where I was born in Torquay, which brings back such fond memories. In their own words: 'All of their fudge is handmade in a copper kettle, with each batch taking an hour to cook and is lovingly stirred continuously with an extremely large wooden spoon! The temperature and cooling process is essential to the scrumptious creamy product, and all the fudges are cut and packed by hand.' Packed into their lovingly made fudge are only natural ingredients, such as local butter and clotted cream (of course!) All of their delicious fudge flavours are free from gluten, palm oil and artificial nasties.

I chose the zesty chocolate orange fudge, as Terry's chocolate orange is one of my favourites and I thought why not try it in fudge form? It did not disappoint! I have created a cookie recipe to share with you lovelies, using the chocolate orange fudge (that I tried not to munch my way through whilst baking...) that is delicious and pretty easy to make.
This recipe makes six cookies.
You will need:
40g of butter or margarine (I used Flora Light)
40g of coconut sugar (You can swap this for soft brown sugar)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 medium egg
80g of self raising flour
6 - 8 squares of fudge, chopped into small chunks (You can use more or less depending on the size of your fudge, but try not to overload your cookies)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (fan-assisted electric oven) Beat the margarine and coconut sugar using an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon, until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and egg, beat until the egg is fully combined. Fold in the flour and fudge chunks. You now have your fudgy mixture, it may look a little runny, you can always add a little more flour, until you get a thicker consistency. Place each blob onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 12 - 14 minutes until golden brown and gooey in the middle. Allow to cool and enjoy! These cookies are best eaten the same day, as the fudge will harden too much, but will last one or two days max in an airtight container. 

These cookies are crunchy on the outside, but soft and fudgy in the middle, the perfect afternoon sweet treat with a cup of tea. I hope you enjoyed this chocolate orange cookie recipe - Are you a fudge fan? Have you ever tried The Devon Fudge Company fudge? I can highly recommend the zesty chocolate orange flavour, but you can never go wrong with classic clotted cream fudge! If you give my cookie recipe a whirl, please tag me on social media as I'd love to see your creations.

If you fancy getting your hands on some delicious Devon fudge check out The Devon Fudge Company website here for a nosy, and a drool over their delicious flavours.

If you love foodie snaps, fitness and motivation, be a babe and give me a cheeky follow.
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Love Lauren x

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Lifestyle: New Year, Same Me, Different Mindset

Happy New Year! I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas full of fun and food, and a great start to 2017. It's been a long while since I last sat down and typed up a blog post. It's been a difficult time for me and my family lately, my grandma sadly passed away before Christmas which has suddenly brought up a lot of grief, sadness, shock and feelings I experienced when my mum passed away when I was 15. It's been a tough time for me lately, and it still is hard and upsetting and I do cry a lot but I thought I would try to lift myself up and make myself smile, by writing out a happy/positive/can't wait for/let's bloody smash it life list.

Every year come January, everyone starts making 'new year, new me' resolutions. Which is a great thing, it's so nice to see people feeling positive and motivated about a new year and the things that they want to achieve. I just love the positivity! But for me personally I don't feel that I necessarily need to change who I am or 'become a brand new me' to have a positive and happy 2017. So instead of the classic 'new year's resolutions' I thought I would write a list of the things I want to do and the things I want to stop doing, to be able to go back to the person I always have been, she's in here somewhere it's just a matter of finding her again.
Visit Bath
It's one of those places that is just so beautiful and unique. With it's cobbled streets, cute little cafes and magnificent historical features - it's definitely a place I want to explore. Me and the boyfriend have a three day trip planned for the end of January. I can't wait to be able to unwind, take my mind off everything and take in all the wonder that Bath has to offer. P.S If you have any Bath travel tips, send them my way!

Spa Day
I've never been to a spa before nor had a manicure/pedicure/facial/massage (I know! I need to get my pamper on) so I would love to have a day (or maybe even a weekend) of pampering, relaxation and zoning out from the world. My sister's thirtieth birthday is in July so I might whisk her away for a spa day as a birthday treat. My best friend Katie and I have also always wanted to have a lazy, girly spa day so maybe I'll be lucky enough to have two pamper days this year - winner!

Dream Trip
Me and the boyfriend have been dreaming/wishing/lusting over the Dominican for a couple of years now. 2017 is going to be the year we scrimp and save like crazy, to hopefully jet off and sun ourselves for two blissful weeks in January 2018. Wish us luck! Again, any travel trips are much appreciated.

Date Night
As a couple we usually go out on a dinner date night once a month. It's a nice way to get out of the house, dress up a bit (hello heels, where have you been hiding) chat and connect without being distracted by our phones or the TV or Netflix (By the way bloody loving Fresh Price at the moment, serious nineties vibes!) I think it's important to keep that romantic spark going in a relationship. We've been together four years (3rd Jan, woo!) and we have been a bit lacking in the date night department in 2016, but hopefully 2017 will be the year we're chucking romance around like the fools we are.

I have been saving for a mortgage/house deposit for what seems like a jillion years now (maybe a slight exaggeration, it's been about 3 years but still... snore.) so I'm hoping that this year I will  continue to save, save, save and be a bit closer to buying a place to call my own. 

I haven't been feeling confident in myself, my appearance or my body for a while now. Whenever I feel down and upset I always take it out on my appearance. I feel that in the last four months of 2016 my confidence took a big hit and I haven't yet had the strength to be able to build myself back up. I have always been a big believer in body positivity and happiness in yourself, which makes me feel bad as I always want every single person to feel happy and confident no matter what. 2017 is going to be the year I build myself back up, tone up and keep up with my fitness and healthy intuitive eating. I love exercise as it makes me feel amazing and strong and capable. Exercise is the best mood booster for me, I love to lose myself, forget about everything and just sweat it out. I'm going to up my game, try new workouts and continue to work on myself. After all we are all a work in progress...

Comfort Zone
I am the queen of the comfort zone. I rarely leave mine as my anxiety doesn't make it easy. I'm 24 years old, and I am quite frankly sick and tired of feeling scared/worried/unsure/panicked, 2017 is going to be the year that I finally stop letting my anxiety and insecurities rule me. Who cares what other people think about me, my body, my appearance or my personality? I am me, I can only be myself and I will not change myself to suit someone else. Yes I laugh at my own jokes, yes my laugh is ridiculous, yes I prefer not to drink, yes I love to exercise, yes I love eating healthy, nutritious food, yes I love lazy Netflix nights in and yes I do care about saving over splurging. If you don't like me as I am, then tough luck Chuck. 

Fashion Fright
I love fashion, I love shopping and I bloody love buying clothes, but I feel like I am stuck in a style rut. I often see a dress or skirt and think it's gorgeous, but tell myself I don't have the figure for it/can't pull it off/will look like a potato wearing it. I'm not saying that I'm suddenly going to be head of the fashion pack, but I want to try some new styles, add new pieces to my wardrobe and stop being scared of what other people will think of my outfit. Wish me luck, I'm only slightly terrified. Any tips from you fashion bloggers babes would be super, duper helpful!

What are some of your wants/needs/must dos/kick ass goals you want to smash in 2017? 
I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

If you love foodie snaps, fitness and motivation, be a babe and give me a cheeky follow.
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Love Lauren x

Sunday 20 November 2016

Lifestyle: Life Through My Camera Roll #9

It's been quite a while since I have sat down at my desk and written a blog post. I've not been feeling very motivated or inspired to write anything lately. I love my blog and my little space to share the things I've been loving, life updates, fitness tips, healthy eating, motivation or new recipe creations - but I've always told myself to blog when I want to, not because I feel I 'have to'. So I thought I would share with you another 'Life through my camera roll' post - I love writing these as it's a fun way to update you on the things I've been loving/doing/watching/eating lately.

The past few weeks have been pretty good - autumn/winter is my favourite time of the year. Autumn especially as the weather is at that perfect 'cold enough to wear boots and bundle up in a cosy scarf' - but not so cold that you contemplate wearing three layers and a duvet for a quick trip to the corner shop. I love the crisp air, the beautiful jewel tones and seeing the leaves fall from the trees and change from green to vibrant yellows, oranges and reds. Autumn really is beautiful.
Autumn and Winter is also a great time (read: valid excuse) to stay in and snuggle up. It's cliche but getting cosy on the sofa and whacking on Netflix is kinda the best, isn't it. Two words: Gilmore Girls. My boyfriend actually introduced me to it, he'd seen a few episodes years ago when it was first on TV, and knew that it would be right up my street. So as soon as it popped up on Netflix he insisted that I watch it. He knows me very well, and I bloody love it! It's the perfect show for cosy evenings at home, and is so easy to binge watch. I adore the relationship between Lorelei and Rory, the best friends/mother-daughter/almost sister like duo is so refreshing and hilarious to boot. They bounce off each other so well (especially with all the caffeine running through their veins) that you actually believe that their relationship is real. I also kind of want to move to Star's Hollow immediately - with the never ending autumn vibes and snow filled winters, the town had a magical vintage feel, it's like a step back in time. If you've never seen Gilmore Girls, I would highly recommend giving it a watch - if you love throwback references, all the junk food, small town gossip, sarcastic comebacks, the best puns and more one liners than you can shake a stick at, you'll love it.

I've been loving getting home from work and whipping up a hearty belly-warming dinner (hello comfort food) such as spaghetti bolognese or a vegetable casserole. There is something wonderfully comforting about home cooked classics at this time of year. My favourite dish is mushroom chilli served in a fluffy baked sweet potato - it's like a carby cuddle. Fruit crumble is another winner, it's the perfect warming breakfast or dessert, check out my healthier recipe here.
Autumn/winter has the best fashion. From super snuggly jumpers and ankle boots to oversized blanket scarves and bobble hats. I love being comfortable and cosy, and chilly weather and drizzly days pretty much insist on comfort. I have more jumpers that I care to admit, but my favourite purchase is an oversized fade effect chunky knit - it's ridiculously comfortable and super cute. It has adorable wooden buttons all the way down the back. I love pairing it with classic grey wash jeans and ankle boots, or layering it over a black denim button up skirt and thick tights.
P.S How amazing does this giant Ferrero Rocher look? It's a ferrero rocher chocolate hazelnut 'shell' with two ferrero rochers hidden inside - find at Tesco and devour.

I hope you enjoyed this 'Life through my camera roll' update post. What are your favourite things about Autumn? What have you been loving lately?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Lauren x

Thursday 20 October 2016

Recipe: Broccoli Bruschetta (In Collaboration with Tenderstem*)

I was recently contacted by Tenderstem* who asked me if I would like to try my hand at creating a recipe using tenderstem broccoli - I love broccoli and I love getting creative in the kitchen, so of course I happily accepted! I wanted to create a simple, but delicious recipe that was easy to follow and recreate at home. If you try your hand at recreating any of my recipes, tag me on Twitter or Instagram - so I can have a nosy!
After a lot of brainstorming and endless lists, I finally settled on a broccoli bruschetta. Bruschetta is one of my favourites, whenever I dine out at an Italian restaurant it's always my go-to starter. Bruschetta is traditionally made with grilled bread topped with olive oil, garlic, sea salt, basil and tomatoes. I wanted to try something a bit different and put my own spin on it. 
You will need:
Fresh rye bread
Tenderstem broccoli
Parma ham
Parmesan cheese
French mustard

Bring a pan of water to the boil and allow the broccoli to gently boil away for about five minutes, or until cooked through but still al dente. While the broccoli is cooking, slice the mushrooms and add them to a bowl along with two teaspoons of mustard, mix until the mushrooms are evenly coated. Fry the mushrooms in a pan on a medium heat until soft. Once the mushrooms are cooked, set them aside and begin to wrap your broccoli spears with the slices of parma ham. Gently fry the wrapped spears in a pan until the parma ham begins to crisp. Toast the rye bread, and you're ready to assemble the bruschetta. Top the rye bread with the mushroom mix, add the parma ham wrapped broccoli on top and finish with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
The broccoli gives the dish a nice crunch, the crispy parma ham adds a lovely saltiness, combining that with the nuttiness from the parmesan and tang from the mustard - makes for a delicious and flavoursome combination.

I hope you enjoyed this 'Broccoli Bruschetta' recipe post. Will you be recreating my recipe? What's your favourite way to cook with broccoli?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Lauren x

*This post is in collaboration with Tenderstem. The above recipe is my own creation. All thoughts and opinions are my own - please see the contact/pr section of my blog for more information.

Thursday 13 October 2016

Healthy Recipe: Breakfast Bowls

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day - I go to bed dreaming of what deliciousness I'm going to whip up come morning. I don't always have a ton of time in the morning before heading off to work to whip up a fancy meal, so breakfast bowls are one of my favourite go-to dishes. Here are three of my favourite (ridiculously simple, but delicious) breakfast bowl combinations. If you recreate any of my recipes please tag me on Twitter or Instagram - so I can have a nosy!

The Smooth Move
Smoothie bowls are all over instagram and for good reason - they are delicious, nutritious, picture perfect and are kinda like having ice cream for breakfast. (the dream)

You will need:
1 frozen banana
A handful of frozen berries
(I like to use a mixed bag of strawberries, cherries, blackberries and raspberries)
A splash of almond milk

Add all ingredients to your blender, and process for a few minutes until smooth and creamy. Add as much or as little milk as you wish - I prefer my nice cream to be thick and creamy, so I only add a splash or two. Top with whatever you fancy. Granola, chia seeds, sliced banana, fresh berries and cacao nibs are some of my personal favourites.
The Cereal Killer
Cereal is so underrated. I could eat it at any time of the day, breakfast for dinner is the best. #brinner

You will need:
Bran flakes
 (or your favourite cereal)
Sliced peach
Chia seeds
Frozen strawberries
Greek yoghurt

Whack it all into a bowl and enjoy! Greek yoghurt makes your cereal bowl so thick and creamy, as well as being packed full of protein.
How A-mus(eli)ing 
Muesli is another of my favourites. I love how it goes a bit soggy when mixed with milk. I also like adding in frozen fruit as the berries start to defrost and turn the milk a pretty shade of purple. (kinda like with chocolatey coco pops but a bit more nutritious)

You will need:
(I like mine full of nuts and raisins)
Oat milk
(one of my favourites - so creamy)
Sliced banana
Chia seeds

Add the berries, muesli and sliced banana to your bowl, top with milk and a sprinkle of chia seeds.Adding chia seeds to your muesli bowl gives you a morning boost of omega-3, fibre and protein.

 I hope you enjoyed this 'Breakfast bowls' recipe post. What is your favourite breakfast bowl combo? Will you be recreating any of my bowls?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Lauren x

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Healthy Eating: Wild Thing* (You make my heart sing, You make everything groovy!)

....Wild Thing I think I love you! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) The lovely people from Wild Thing* contacted me and asked me if I would like to try some of their products (I of course said yes please!) anything food related, especially good for you food is always a big fat yes! Wild Thing are a paleo food company who create delicious, nutritious, organic products with no added nasties, additives or chemicals - nada, nothing, zip, zilch! If you are unfamiliar with the paleo way of eating it is a diet (as in the food you eat not being 'on a diet') based on the types of foods that early humans would have eaten. Such as meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, and excluding processed foods, dairy and cereal products. It is a great concept if you are trying to eat a 'cleaner' diet and cut down on the amount of processed and junk foods you consume. 

Wild Thing kindly sent me a variety of snack bars and a box of their brand new granola. Let's start with the snack bars shall we... damn, I'm starting to get hungry while typing this. There are four different snack bars, all of which are raw, made of 100% natural ingredients, 100% paleo, gluten free and suitable for vegans. So they really are a great all rounder!
Berries and seeds
A delicious combination of juicy dates, sunflower seeds, sweet cranberries, goji berries and blueberry. This is the perfect fruity bar if you are craving something sweet, without all the added sugar.

Coconut and chia
A mix of dates, cashews, coconut and chia seeds. I loved this bar, it had the perfect balance of coconut and chia. Chia seeds are such a great addition to your daily diet, they are high in protein and fibre, provide a good source of omega-3, calcium and potassium. 

Cacao and almond
This bar of goodness is a blend of sweet dates, almonds, cacao powder, raisins and vanilla. This has to be my favourite of the four bars. I have the biggest sweet tooth, anything chocolate is a winner! This is the perfect bar if you are craving chocolate and don't want to reach for the Dairy Milk - perfect with a cup of tea! 

Nuts and seeds
A mix of dates (there's a recurring theme here...) sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, cashew butter, pumpkin seeds and Himalayan salt. I love the combination of sweetness from the dates, and salty from the cashew butter and seeds. The perfect pre or post workout pick me up.

Granola is one of my favourite breakfasts. I love sprinkling it on top of Greek yoghurt or as a smoothie bowl topper - delicious! I usually steer clear of packaged granola as it can contain a lot of added sugar. But as this is a paleo blend, it is organic, vegan, gluten and grain free - with no added nasties! Wild Thing have created four different granolas: Rainforest Fruit, Mountain Berry, Equatorial Cacao and Island Coconut. I was kindly sent the Rainforest fruit granola, which is a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, dates, coconut sugar, cashew and Brazil nuts, banana, coconut oil and pineapple. The combination of seeds, nuts, dates and banana is delicious, add in the pineapple and coconut sugar and you have a bowl of tropical goodness! I enjoyed this granola with my favourite mango, pineapple and maca smoothie bowl, sprinkled on top of my healthy banana split and simply with oat milk - absolutely delicious and so versatile.
Check out my instagram for food, health, fitness and more food!

I hope you enjoyed this 'Wild Thing' review post. I would highly recommend the snack bars if you are looking for a delicious afternoon snack that also happens to be packed full of goodness! The granola is also a delicious breakfast addition. Which snack bar would be your favourite? Are you a granola addict like me?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Lauren x

*I was kindly sent a box of granola, and the snack bars mentioned above by Wild Thing Paleo to try and test for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own - please see the contact/pr section of my blog for more information.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Health: My Top Tips For When You Feel Under The Weather

That time of year is upon us again (well sort of... the sun is currently blinding me and it's muggy as anything today) but it's now September! As soon as mid-September hits I start dreaming of cooler weather, ankle boots, hot chocolates and bobble hats. I mean to be completely honest it's most likely going to be cold, rain a lot and we're all going to moan but let's pretend it's all Autumn leaves falling in slow motion and picture perfect pumpkin spice lattes. Autumn and Winter are my favourite seasons: My birthday is in October, it's not too long until Christmas, you can eat your body weight in Halloween sweets and who doesn't love jumping into piles of crunchy leaves. It's a great time of year!

But when the cooler days roll in and the night's get gloomier, I find myself feeling a little under the weather, the change in seasons always gets me. I start to feel tired, lethargic, I always have sore, dry lips and a stuffed up nose. So with that delightful picture painted for you, I wanted to share my top tips that always work for me when I am feeling run down. 

Tea please
Tea solves pretty much anything (unless you despise tea of course, sorry about that) anyway, tea is always my go to for every situation. When I'm feeling tired, if I want a boost, if I have a slice of cake or if I'm feeling unwell - tea is the answer. I was kindly sent a few samples of different green teas from the lovely people at T Plus*. Each tea is designed to target a different part of your body, and they are all full of goodness and antioxidants which makes them the perfect brew for when you're feeling run down.
There are four green teas in the T Plus range:
A blend of ginseng, Yerba mate, raspberry and pomegranate. This 'boost' tea is designed to energise. Ginseng and Yerba mate are both plants that naturally give a slow release of energy and combined with b vitamins, makes this tea the perfect morning pick me up. 

A blend of milk thistle, ginger root, b and c vitamins, apple and blackcurrant, makes this the ideal cuppa for when your body needs a little TLC. Maybe after an overindulgent weekend, or if you are trying to add some extra goodness into your body. The combination of milk thistle and ginger root helps to support internal cleansing, and leave you feeling fresh as a daisy.

This is my favourite of the four teas, it's the perfect blend for when you're feeling run down or under the weather. The combination of orange, blueberry, echinacea (flowering plants in the daisy family) and ginseng gives your body the vitamin c boost it needs, and also helps to backup your immune system. The hug in a mug you need when you start feeling that cold brewing.

This the perfect all rounder tea, packed full of nine different vitamins and heart healthy antioxidants. A delicious green tea with a mix of cardamom, rosemary, spearmint, peach and lemon. 
Comfort food
I don't know about you, but as soon as I feel even the slightest bit 'under the weather' I crave all the carbs. I'm talking bowls of chilli, fluffy baked potatoes, the pasta heaven that is spaghetti bolognese and warming bowls of soup. (with a chunk of bread for dipping of course!) I love making big batches of my chicken casserole, or a bowlful of mushroom chilli when I'm not feeling my best. It's warm, it's comforting, it's delicious (if I say so myself) and it fills your body with all that goodness it needs to get back to feeling fabulous. Check out my chicken casserole recipe here.

Sweat it out
You're going to roll your eyes at me with this one, but it really does help! I find that even fifteen minutes of moderate exercise gives me a much needed rush of endorphins, and leaves me feeling full of energy. I also find a relaxing yoga session, combined with some gentle stretching a great way to relax, unwind and detox your body.

When you're not feeling your best, water is your best friend. Try to drink at least 2 - 3 litres of water every day to stay hydrated, flush out your system, maintain your body's fluid balance and regulate body temperature. Add in a few slices of lemon, lime or orange for an added vitamin c boost.

I find it so hard to relax, I'm always go go go and it's difficult for me to switch off and just do nothing. When I'm feeling run down I always try to take an hour or two out of the day for myself. Grab a blanket, get into your cosiest pyjamas, whack a good film on (chocolate bar optional but highly recommended) and just be lazy! It's okay to slow down once in a while, especially when you're feeling unwell. It's important to let your body rest and repair itself, and if that means binge watching a whole series on Netflix while it does so - even better!

I hope you enjoyed this 'Top tips for when you feel under the weather' post - Which T Plus tea would be your favourite? Are you a tea addict like me? What are some of your tips for when you're feeling under the weather? 

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Lauren x

 *I was kindly sent the teas mentioned and shown above by T Plus, to try and test for the purpose of a review. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own, for more information see the contact/pr section of my blog.