Embracing vegan food options as a dairy-free girl.

Now I wanna make this very clear! I am not a Vegan. Right now, I have no intentions to become Vegan either. I don’t think at this point, if I really thought for one minute I could live without meat, and especially eggs! I’d be kidding myself.
I swear that since I and Em started slimming world, we’ve been eating eggs pretty much every day!
I know, however, that a lot of people that wouldn’t consider a vegan option for 2 seconds. but if you are like me having to find alternatives on the menu all the time, that the vegan option is a pretty safe bet. Vegan-friendly isn’t just for the eco-warriors out there.

If this post doesn’t really interest you, how about reading some Monday motivation strategies here.

In 2011 I got ill… and I mean really poorly, went on for months. After months of stomach-clenching pain, I had to cut out most types of food that I really loved the most. Diary. That’s right, Cheese, milk, yoghurt… They were all making me worse.
I had developed Lacto intolerance. It always makes me laugh when people say ‘oh I couldn’t do that I love my cheese too much’. Well me too, I’ve had a naughty pizza now and then and really regretted it afterwards. However, when I had to cut out all things dairy, the free-from section was not what it is now! It was rubbish, A few cartons of dairy-free milk and some rubber tasting Dairy-free cheese!

vegan
vegan pudding at my favourite restaurant!

The vegan craze has really opened dairy-free options for me!

Since Veganism has become so fashionable (and I’m sorry to use the word fashionable but it really does seem to be the IN thing!) The menu and food availability for non-dairy products has greatly improved!
A few weeks ago we went to TGI Fridays! they had Vegan brownie with orange sorbet on the menu! I was like in my element! … but then we went to Franky and bennies recently and O…M….G vegan Ice-cream and Vegan whipped cream! I had my first Ice cream Sunday in 6 years! So yeah to the average pudding lover, an ice cream sundae from the desserts menu isn’t a big deal, but to go out for a special night out and not feel limited in what you can eat because there is plenty of dairy-free items! crap that’s more than a novelty, that’s a miracle.

Now whenever I go to a restaurant, or I’m shopping I check because if its marked Vegan, its safe for me to eat! (and 9 times out of tending a healthier option) so to anyone else struggling with Dairy-free options! check out the Vegan safe options! it is my favourite lesson learnt.

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Garson’s garden centre at Christmas. A wonderful woodland walk.

We all have our favourite places to visit at this time of year, but sometimes its the simplest places that have the most festive atmosphere! One of my favourite types of days out is a little trip out to Garson’s garden centre we have around Hampshire. 

Looking for some festive activities this Christmas, try my 24 festive activities list, here.

This week we took a trip out to Garson’s in Titchfield. It honestly is such a lovely family-friendly place to visit during the Christmas season. Since we got there early. We decided to take a trip upstairs to the cafe for a Costa Coffee and cake! It was lovely seeing how busy it was, with friends and families clearly doing the festive walk round like us.  If you get a chance. I would definitely suggest that a trip up there! 

Garson's garden centre


One of my favourite things about Garson’s garden centre is seeing reindeer. Frosty aged 7, and Cloudy aged 3. Speaking to the staff, these 2 have been rescued from the wildlife where they were being hunted. which is so sad to think that anyone would hurt such a beautiful animal. There is nothing more magical than seeing little kids faces light up as they are introduced with these furry friends. I mean they do live busy lives having to head back to the North Pole soon. To be ready to head out with Santa Clause, Hey? 

Need some last minute Christmas gift inspiration? try here

There is so much to get in and look at whilst you are there that you can easily lose hours by wandering around a garden centre just like Garson’s. The staff at Garson’s have clearly put so much effort into their lovely displays. With Singing Santas, A train that kind of reminds me of the one heading to Hogwarts, and twinkle lights galore! Garden centres are just the perfect way to make you feel the Christmas festive spirit. it is so easy to get carried away! 

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Christmas Food: Perfect Festive Gingerbread

So in yesterdays post ‘10 things I love about Christmas‘ I mentioned that one of my favourite Smells is Gingerbread at Christmas time, So it’s no surprise that my favourite recipe would be Gingerbread. 
So today I wanted to share my recipe for the perfect little Gingerbread Men. 

What you are going to need: 

  • 300 g plain flour 
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 2 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 125 g unsalted butter 
  • 100 g soft light brown sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup (optional)  – I’ve found that if you haven’t got any golden syrup then it hasn’t ruined the recipe! 
gingerbread
Need some Christmas activity ideas? check out my list, here.

What to do:

Step One

First things first, Don’t forget to turn that oven on and Preheat to 180, I’m terrible at forgetting to turn the oven on, make sure that the oven has plenty of time to warm up or your little ginger men will be too soft!  Once that’s has done,  line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

Step Two

Now to get started with the ingredients, In a large bowl combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the spices. Mix those together, so they are evenly spread, but don’t worry too much because your be mixing these again shortly! 

Step Three

Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan over low heat, make sure your continuously stirring and stir until the sugar dissolves, Once you’re sure you have a smooth looking mixture then add it to the dry ingredients you prepared earlier! Stir in until it forms a tough-looking dough. 

Step Four

Time for the fun bit, sprinkle some of your plain flour lightly on a clean kitchen surface and place your dough on top. Roll this out flat but with about a 5mm thickness for a nice Biscuit.  Cut out as many gingerbread characters as you like, I would say gingerbread men, but you could have gingerbread snowmen, Rudolph’s, stars, or anything!. Transfer these to the paper that led out on your baking tray. 

Step Five

Place these in your oven for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Keep an eye, and don’t do my trick of forgetting there cooking till black. 

Step Six

Leave to cool on the sheet for a few minutes – if you want to hang them as decorations, now is the time to pierce a hole through the top of each with a skewer – then move to a wire rack.

Step Seven

Once completely cooled down, it is your choice, ice the gingerbread men and decorate with sprinkles, sweets and edible glitter or whatever you fancy.

These go nicely with a nice hot choc!

So If you’ve had a go I’d love to see pictures of your Gingerbread, so leave me a message through my Facebook page. 

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10 Things I love about Christmas and why I love them.

The month is finally upon us! Happy 1st December guys. 
It’s insane how quick 2018 has gone by this year, so much has happened. 
I’m really excited that this is the first post of many this month! I’ve decided to challenge myself more. Since it is the 1st and Christmas is upon us, I thought I would share with you my top 10 on what I love about Christmas.

christmas

Spending time with loved ones

This had to go to the top of my list. One of the best and most important things to me when it comes to the Christmas period is the time spent with my loved ones. 

Festivities

To be honest, I feel like Festivities happen earlier and earlier in the year these days, but I suppose that’s because we’re just too busy as people now, and there’s just so much fun to fit in. Going out around the Christmas market, grabbing a festive hot chocolate and starting to feel the festive feel! 
When it comes to this time of year and you begin to see little kids faces light up with joy as the thought of Santa coming to visit them it cropping up, Elf is causing mischief on the shelf, how can you not think warm festive vibes. 

Stuck on thinking of something to do this Christmas, how about checking out my Christmas activity list, here.

SPARKLES:

Well, this is an obvious one on my list, I love sparkles any time of year! and you should always live by the rule that sparkles and sequins are not just for the holidays! but since they are a holiday favourite, I love how much sparkle is out right now at this time of year. 

Christmas food & drink

There is no way of avoiding it, no matter how hard you’re trying to be good. Maybe it is at home, or maybe it’s in the office, Could even be the multitude of nights and meals out in the run-up to Christmas. Who couldn’t mention the food when it comes for their love about Christmas.

Check out my favourite Gingerbread cookie recipe, here.

Festive Colours

I love them all! when you just look at something and can think ‘oh it’s so Christmasy’. Dark metallic colours always seem to catch my eye. Purples, reds, blues, golds, silver and my favourite colour any way rose gold. It is true that colours really do make the season!

Christmas Decorations

Ok, I admit it If I had my way the Christmas decorations would have been up probably halfway through November. You always know that its officially Christmas when the decorations have gone up, and the tree lights are twinkling in the background whilst chilling on the sofa, glass of wine in one hand and Christmasy cookies in the other! Oh yes!
We don’t have our decorations up just yet! but within the next few days, the lounge will be twinkling! can not wait! 

love about christmas

Christmas Jumpers

They spend all year in our drawers waiting for this month! yep, that’s right, the return of the Christmas jumper and they are definitely on my list of things I love about Christmas. Nothing says Christmas spirit better than a cheesy Christmas selfie in an in-between tasteful but still a little tacky Christmas jumper. HO HO HO. 

Traditions

We all have our traditions at this time of year and granted there’s probably a few that are not on our like list for most of us, BUT traditions are just a thing. It is hard not to get excited about the little things, whether its a day out. a movie you always watch. or whatever it is you do on Christmas eve. I love having traditions that feel just as special every time round!

Christmas winter smells

When it gets to this time of year I love the smells that start popping up, especially gingerbread. Yep, gingerbread ANYTHING. 
I’m a total sucker for Christmassy scented candles, bubble bath, room sprays. Literally the lot. 

Christmas Eve

Finally I think my favourite day, throughout December I think my favourite time of it all has to Christmas eve. Its almost a calm before the storm of Christmas day, but still a very busy day. The hustle and bustle before people eventually just give up and finally start enjoying their Christmas. 

I bet that there’s so many more things that I could list on what I love about Christmas. I found this a really list of things to write. 
I’d love to hear others favourite things? Do you have a favourite tradition, smell, food? Leave a comment!

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My blogging FAIL!

I’ve been blogging for a little whilst now! So although I would call myself a Pro right now, I have definitely learnt a few things through experiences.
As time has passed, my blogging skills have been changing, my writing style improving. But I definitely was not prepared for my Blogging Fail.

blogging fail

My heart stopped a second when I went to log into my WordPress dashboard to find that my site was being diverted to spam sites. I rang up my hosting, Who explained, websites have the same needs as computers and that I was lacking protection on my blog. I mean, am I being stupid? am I the only person that didn’t know my blog needed protection from viruses?

So, The reason this has happened, I hadn’t updated my software on my blog, It hadn’t been that long since my last login, BUT because I had an update waiting, a virus had been able to attack my site, and took over. There was nothing I could do other than letting the very helpful guys at GoDaddy fix my website there end! 

My blogging fail nearly cost me my blog.

On top of a very crappy week, I was literally gutted, the thought of losing my content was devastating, and I really feel that I’ve been rather lucky to get it all back. Unfortunately, I hadn’t made a back up in months! I was told over the phone there was no guarantee that they would be able to fix the issue without wiping everything. I would have lost content! 

so I have definitely learnt a major blogging lesson that I thought I needed to share! just in case I am helping someone not have this happen to them. 
Firstly! Back your blog up regularly! I’ve now set a monthly reminder on my phone to remind me its time to back it up! whilst also keeping up to date with updates! as out of date the software was the main cause of this nightmare! 

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