Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Yankee Candle Wax Tarts

I own many candles. Tea lights, Yankee Candle jars, home-made candles, votives and Glade Christmas candles but I had never tried wax tarts. So one lunchtime when I fancied spending some pennies I ventured into House of Fraser and indulged in some Yankee Candle scents.

Yankee Candle Tart Review

Yankee Candle Tart Review


Yankee Candle Tart Review

Yankee Candle Tart Review

I picked up a tart burner that would fit in with my living room which featured a white ceramic (well I think it is) open flower which sits on a black metal base. The flower holds the tart and the tea light sits below to melt it. Simple.

I picked up four Yankee Candle wax tarts all together; Champaca Blossom (burning in the holder), Paradise Spice, Black Cherry and Lake Sunset. These are all quite sweet smells so if you are into musky ones I wouldn't suggest picking these up!

When I first lit the tea light and left it for the wax tart to melt I could really smell the fragrance. As I've continued to burn it (at different times) I feel the smell is getting a little more faint each time. I'm yet to get to the end so I can't say what is left in the holder but I do hope it all burns up so there is no scent contamination.

Although my first foray into wax tarts I have to say I quite enjoy them, so much so I've bought some more. That may just be because I am a hoarder...
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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Yorkshire Hot Dog Co.

Whilst at the Bishop Auckland Food Festival we passed many stalls offering up some gorgeous hot foods and after a good look around we decided on a Yorkshire Hot Dog. There were four different versions you could get; a Yorkshire hot dog (just plain with onions), a fruity dog (topped with apple and cranberries),  cheese and chutney dogs (with cheese and chutney) and a chilli dog (topped with chilli, jalapeƱos, cheese and nachos). We settled on a Yorkshire hot dog, not wanting to be too adventurous.

The Yorkshire Hot Dog Co. - Food Stall Review - Bishop Auckland Food Festival

The Yorkshire Hot Dog Co. - Food Stall Review - Bishop Auckland Food Festival


The Yorkshire Hot Dog Co. - Food Stall Review - Bishop Auckland Food Festival

The Yorkshire Hot Dog Co. - Food Stall Review - Bishop Auckland Food Festival

The sausage itself was very nice, filled with flavour and surrounded by a fluffy bun. I of course covered mine in tonnes of ketchup which resulted in a mess. What can I say, I am a child... But I really did enjoy it so the mess is okay...

I believe the Yorkshire Hot Dog Co. visit quite a few markets throughout the year, they are on twitter and facebook if you want to have a look.
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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014

I love food but then again who doesn't! Now that I am in my own house I am on the look out for products made locally. I am all for buying at the supermarket but there is just something about discovering new sellers in your region that produce quality products. Recently I heard about the Bishop Auckland Food Festival, that ran over 26th and 27th April, which is about 40 minutes away from where I live. I was eager to make the trip to the festival to see what was on offer.

Photo overload coming up...

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Top Hat Tea Cakes

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Fresh Olives and Turkish Delight


Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Johnson's Fudge and Toffee

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Rocky Road Chocolate Muffins


Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Cupcakes

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Local Fruit Cordial

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Cheese

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Brown and Blond

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Northumberland Sausage Co.

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Local Jam, Chutney, Curds

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Local Pick and Mix Sweets

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Bishop Auckland Castle

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Cookery Demo - Simon Rimmer

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Stalls

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Proof of the Pudding

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Spicy Monkey Curry

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - Rington Tea Car

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2014 - The Courtgettes - Musicians

There were so many stalls offering a huge variety of different foods such as breads, meats, seasonings, oils, cakes and sweet treats. All the vendors were so friendly and they explained all that they could about their products, how they were made and answered any questions we had. You definitely feel at ease and not pressured to buy any products.

We picked up some items from; Flavour Magic, The Proof of the Pudding, Spicy Monkey, Geordie Banger Co. and Johnson's Toffee and Fudge.

The event was very well organised with two park and ride locations for ease of entry to the festival. When we arrived it was a case of getting off the bus and having a nosy around. It wasn't so big that you'd get lost or that you could miss anything, just the right size to spend a few hours having a wander around. In addition to the stalls there was also cookery demonstrations by some well known chefs (see my Simon Rimmer picture above!) and musical performances around the town by The Courgettes, three musical chefs.

I had a really good day out here and would definitely go back next year. I would recommend that you all put this in your calendars for next year!
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Friday, 25 April 2014

The Comforter Bubble Bar Review - Lush

Ahh Lush. My favourite store. I hoard many bath products from here and the stash keeps getting bigger and bigger. One product I picked up that will definitely become a staple in my bathroom is the Comforter Bubble Bar.

Lush - The Comforter Bubble Bar Review

Lush - The Comforter Bubble Bar Review

Lush - The Comforter Bubble Bar Review

The Comforter - £4.50

There are three reasons I picked up this product. First I love bubbles, second - the bar is PINK and third - it smells absolutely gorgeous! It is such a girly bubble bar as it smells of very sweet and sickly like red fruits and berries. It definitely has a hint of candy to it which makes me love it as I feel like I am bathing in a giant candy floss.

I only use a portion of this bubble bar and it creates lots of gorgeous bubbles as well as turning the bath water pink! Just what I want on a night when I need to soak in the tub!

Have you tried this bubble bar before? Any suggestions of Lush products I should try?

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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil - The Body Shop

You've probably already read about The Body Shop's relatively new product - Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil. I'd heard about it through the twitter grapevine and wasn't really sure it was for me. I went in to store one day and a lovely staff member gave me a sample pot to try. From then I was hooked. I wanted to get my hands on this little bottle of goodness with it's little squidgy pipette.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil Review

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil Review

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil Review

Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil

Firstly can I just start by saying that this bottle, and pipette feel sooo expensive. The bottle itself is made of glass making it feel sleek and shiny as well as the pipette which makes me feel like a scientist. Okay buzz about the bottle over...

The product itself is such an easy product to use and it provides great results. All you need is a good sized drop of the serum-in-oil from the pipette into the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together and apply it to your face. At first it felt a bit weird, a little greasy even but not so heavy that you feel you need to wash it off immediately. As this is supposed to be part of your night time skincare regime it is much easier to just leave this on to soak in.

I cleanse my face, tone, then use this, after I moisturise and then use my eye cream and I am ready for bed. As I say it does feel a little greasy but the benefits in the morning out way this little niggley feeling. I have combination skin, so putting oils on my face before bed is not something I would normally do but this stuff is so light and hydrating that it hasn't caused any break outs whatsoever. In the morning I feel like my skin is hydrated, bright and plump. Just how it should be after my beauty sleep.

If you haven't tried this I suggest you do. I feel it really gives my skin a boost and I wouldn't be without it now. This product is £12.00 which may seem a little pricey but the amount you will use each night means you will be using this for AGES! To learn a bit more about this product go to The Body Shop's website here and have a read.

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Shoplet goodies

Stationery, us bloggers love it. Well I know I do. When Shoplet, an online office supply retailer, got in touch offering a few products to review I jumped at the chance. They sent over a magazine rack and two different types of envelopes.


Shoplet Product Review - Avery Original (A4+) 440SX Plastic Magazine Rack (Black)


Shoplet Product Review - Avery Original (A4+) 440SX Plastic Magazine Rack (Black)


Shoplet Product Review - Touch Velvet Envelopes


Shoplet Product Review - Blake Juice Peel and Seal Envelopes


Shoplet Product Review - Blake Juice Peel and Seal Envelopes


Shoplet Product Review - Blake Juice Peel and Seal Envelopes


Shoplet Products - Magazine Holder and Envelopes

At work we have lots of stationery but it is not like I can bring it home. When these products arrived I was excited to try them out. The magazine rack looked pretty standard but the envelopes were extremely bright and inviting. The cute little messages on each looked great, although I don't think these come as standard.


Avery Original (A4+) 440SX Plastic Magazine Rack (Black)* - £33.96+VAT for 6

The magazine rack is pretty much the same as any other. I received the black version which was extremely sturdy and held quite a few heavy magazines as you can see in the photo. Although not extremely attractive to the eyes it certainly does the job and would fit into anyone's office space with ease.

Blake Juice Peel and Seal Envelopes*
These particular envelopes are the ones ranging from yellow to orange in the picture above. The colours are so bright and neon that you couldn't fail to pick this up and open it if it came through your letter box. The paper quality of these envelopes is that of expensive greeting card envelopes, a lovely thick paper. Having the peel and seal is definitely an attraction to these envelopes as it means you don't have to lick them! Bleurgh! I would certainly want to buy these to send birthday cards or special notes to people through the post. They'd definitely know it was from me!

These envelopes are the ones ranging from black to blue in the above picture. The colours of these envelopes are a lot more toned down than than the garish colours of the Blake Juice ones. As well as this what makes these feel a lot classier is the velvet texture. Although not fluffy and fuzzy like velvet (as I may or may not have been expecting...) this envelope has a property to it that makes you want to touch it! It is almost tacky, ever so slightly like rubber, very strange but attractive at the same time. If I picked this up I'd want to know what was inside.

If you'd like to have a snoop at what other products Shoplet do then check out their website - Office Stationery

Although this was a different, quite random post from me, I did enjoy trying out these office products. If you see one of these envelopes landing through on your door mat - it's from me!
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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Strawberry Lemonade Nails

I wanted to get back into nail art so I decided that I would ease myself in gently using a white nail art pen and some gorgeous spring colours. As you can see the nail art I've done is not hard to do, just dots and stripes, but I actually think they look really good.

Pink Polka Dot and Yellow Stripy Nail Art

Pink Polka Dot and Yellow Stripy Nail Art

Pink Polka Dot and Yellow Stripy Nail Art

Pink Polka Dot and Yellow Stripy Nail Art

Pink Polka Dot and Yellow Stripy Nail Art

The colours I used for this were OPI - I Just Can't Cope-acabana and Avon Speed Dry - Strawberry. Both are gorgeous colours seperatly but together they are brilliant and remind me of strawberry lemonade. I'm going to try and get a bit more creative this summer with my nail art and hopefully show you my creations!
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Friday, 18 April 2014

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

Recently I came across a new subscription box in which every month you get different food products. The Degustabox can contain snacks, drinks and ingredients. In the first box I received I had two types of the Schwartz Flavour Shots, one which was for a Spanish Paella. I had always thought I didn't like paella as it was made with seafood but inside the packaging was a recipe for chicken paella so I thought I'd have a go!

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

This recipe is Schwartz's, I've just made the effort to type it up for you!

1 Schwartz Spanish Paella Flavour Shot
1 Onion
100g (4oz) Chorizo, diced
450g (1lb) boneless chicken breasts, diced
325g (11oz) paella or risotto rice
1 litre (1 3/4 pints) water
1 red pepper, diced
100g (4oz) frozen peas

1. Prepare all your ingredients - dice the onions (or use frozen like me), the chorizo and the chicken.

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

2. Heat the pan and add your Schwartz Flavour Shot.

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

3. Add the onion and chorizo and gently fry for five minutes.

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

4. Add the chicken and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

5. Add the rice, stir and fry for another minute.

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

6. Add the water, peppers and peas. Bring to the boil whilst stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender, stirring occasionally.

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

Recipe - Chicken Paella with Schwartz Flavour Shot

This was a lovely spicy dish which I think would have been hard to achieve without the amazing flavour shot. I hope I can use the other shot that I got which is the Italian creamy herb tagliatellle.
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© gingerbread smiles.

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