Thursday, 25 February 2016

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark

I've recently been creating and writing quite a few sweet treat recipe posts but as I'm doing them and then posting them at different times they're all out of sync in my head! This is actually the second 'bark' recipe I've created but the first one you'll be seeing. The next one is a special one for Easter! This is the more demure of the two - you'll see - but it is nothing short of tasty.

I think I stumbled across this idea on Pinterest but then decided to go at it alone with no recipe, just me, some dark chocolate, almonds, a microwave and some salt! As it's chocolate covered nut day I thought it was the perfect day to post. Here's what I created...

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almond Bark Recipe

If you'd like to make this delicious specimen of life you'll need:

600g dark chocolate (depending on the size of your baking tray)
100g almonds
A baking tray
A large jug
A microwave
A palette knife

First you are going to want to lay out your almonds on the baking tray. If you fancy it, smash a few to create some smaller pieces amongst your whole almonds. Once you've set this up break all your chocolate up into a microwavable jug. Set your microwave up to heat on around 20% power for 6 minutes. Start your chocolate in the microwave, every 20-30 seconds get it out and mix.

On the first minute or two it may not be melting but continue to get it our and stir to distribute the heat evenly. Heating like this will ensure the chocolate remains tempered. When the chocolate is at a nice pouring temperature, this may take longer than 6 minutes but play it by eye, start to pour over your almonds on your baking tray.

When you've poured this all on your tray start to spread it out using your palette knife making sure to keep your almonds spread out evenly. When you've completely filled the tray, sprinkle it with salt and pop it in your fridge to cool. When it is all set you're ready to pop it our and break it up into pieces to share with your friends and family. Or just keep for yourself, that's cool too.

The salt and the dark chocolate work well together being sweet, decadent but also salty and the almonds add a crunch to the bark. Do be careful not to salt your bark too much as you don't want it to be overpowering!

So what do you think? Will you be attempting this?

Keep tuned for more sweet treat recipes, especially my snazzy Easter bark!


Friday, 19 February 2016

Happy Hour Party at Lush Middlesbrough feat. Easter products

Lush is one of my favourite shops. Whenever I visit I always want to buy everything they sell as it's all so colourful, smells amazing and has incredible benefits. I've already been to one Lush blogger event and it was a lot of fun, so when another invite popped into my inbox I was quick to accept. This time the girls in the shop planned to show us their Happy Hour Party. Although Lush has always had parties in its shops, more recently they've made the events more structured and provided packages for different occasions. We were invited down earlier this week to experience the Happy Hour Party and see some of the new Easter products.

Lush Products - Middlesbrough Yummy Mummy Shower Gel

Lush Happy Hour Party Middlesbrough

Lush Knot Wrap Ideas Middlesbrough

Lush Middlesbrough Humpty Dumpty Bath Bomb

Lush Gift Boxes Middlesbrough

Lush Ladybird bubble bar

Lush Knot Wrap Competition Happy Hour Party

Lush Easter 2016 Products Middlesbrough

Lush Bouncy Bunny Shower Jelly

Lush Ultraviolet Bubble Bar Demo Middlesbrough

Which Came First Bath Bomb Easter 2016 Lush

Which Came First Bath Bomb Easter 2016 Lush

Lush Middlesbrough Happy Hour Party Demo

Being in Lush past opening hours is a bloggers dream. We take get to take a billion pictures (as you can see from this post) of the amazingly beautiful products and we get to try them all out with no-one around. It's amazing. So after we'd drooled over the products we got down to the party. The girls had us playing all sorts of fun party games involving shower jelly, their own brand lipstick and knot wraps. 

After all the giggles, the girls had a surprise, we had a sneaky peak at the new Easter range which looks amazing. You can see from my pictures a few of the new releases including Humpty Dumpty Bath Bomb (with a fried egg bath bomb inside) and Bouncy Bunny shower jelly (smells of oranges!) with old favourites such as Bunch of Carrots bubble bars and Keep it Fluffy bath bomb back for another year. I'll definitely be getting my hands on a few of these!

To finish the night off we got to make a Creamy Candy bubble bar. We mushed all the ingredients together and created our own shape bubble bar. I love taking part in things like this as it's great to see what goes into the product and how they're made.

The party lasted around an hour and I had such a good time. The girls at Lush do an amazing job and are so passionate about the products. If you are into Lush products I'd definitely consider having a party there. They can tailor the Happy Hour Party for young children, teenagers, baby showers, hen and birthday parties! It's £15 a head with £5 shopping experience (making products is additional).

Is this something you'd consider? Also what Easter products are you most excited for?

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Bath and Body Works Candle Wishlist

In a few weeks time my Mum will be jetting off to the Big Apple again for her third time. She's pretty much obsessed and this time is going to experience the beautiful city in the cold weather. As I've not been able to visit Bath and Body Works myself just yet, I'm sending Mum along to the shop to pick me up a few candles. Cause you know how much I love candles...

Before she goes she asked me to have a nosy at the website and pick out a few I'd like her to smell. I got carried away and selected the below. I'll have as many as she can fit in her suitcase...

The first three picks are part of Bath and Body Works' 'Escape to the Italian Coast' collection and they all sound lovely! I'm more a fan of sweet fruity smells than floral and these three all ticked the box. Watermelon Lemonade and Guava Pina Colada sound dreamy!

Not sure what the collection that these four belong to, but I think they look adorable. I love the idea of each location having a smell and I think I'd like all four of these! Lastly I've picked another peach scented one which I hope smells as good as it sounds!

Well I'm sure I'll keep you updated as to which ones Mum picks for me after doing the all important sniff test when she is in the shop itself. I'm so jealous that she is going again and that she will be going to Bath and Body Works. Must save my pennies so I can visit America again!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Forgetting the norms and making it personal

Ever since I began this blog it has always had to be prim and proper. Each post needed to have a purpose along with a set of pictures that were blog worthy. Now I'm falling behind on creating content which I want to post and so with that goes my posting schedule. It really gets me down when I neglect my blog as I love the interaction a new post brings. I know this may sound silly but you feel a little forgotten about if you don't post for a while and the blogging community move on without you. Don't get me wrong, these thoughts don't overtake my life but they are niggling in the back of my mind. I like to think I've always got a few things on the horizon that I can blog about. 

So having said that I've decided I want to embrace my blog more about make it more about me. How big headed ey! I want to post more about what I've been up to without the glam pictures and the fancy reviews. No-one may want to read them but I'd like to just start letting you know what I'm up to, what happens in my life and what great things I've got coming up. 

I will of course still keep up my standard blog posts but I want to have the option of posting random personal content if I want. Let's start our first chat/catch up/life discussion...

This week has been a super busy one. If you didn't know I work in PR and Marketing for a ports and logistics company based in the North East. I've taken on more of the events within the business and there seems to be something happening every week at the moment. It is of course stressful, but that is the nature of events and that's what I asked to be more involved in. I'm hoping to just catch up with myself and get my lists in order so I can properly take the events and make them my own. I'll have all things done before I'm asked and just be on top. You watch this space, I'm going to make it happen.

Apart from work my weeknights are mainly chill. Wednesday nights I take part in Shred 7, a group fitness session put on by a local personal trainer, Troy Lake. It's super fun and I've been doing it since last February. If I'm honest, I like to keep going to the group as if I didn't I probably wouldn't do anything. It does inspire me to want to work out more and eat better. Since I started going, I feel so much better. It has educated me about fitness, giving me a great backlog of exercises I can do at home and because I'm constantly pushed I feel much fitter and stronger. This year I need to start doing more outside of my sessions so I can really see the difference! If you'd like to know more about this session and what we do let me know and I'll do a full post!

On to future plans. This week myself and Kirsty from Number Twenty Six booked a trip to Amsterdam. Taking advantage of P&O Ferries two for one offer until the end of March, we booked up to go with our other halves. We're only going for the one day, staying over on the ferry on the way there and the way back, but I know that we will have a laugh so I'm very excited!

That's all for this week! Hopefully I can keep these up and continue to write about what I've been up to. For me it's like a mini vlog, but in a blog form! Let me know what you think!

P.s I couldn't resist adding pictures!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Want to try the best steak of your life?

Before we went away to Dublin we were told we should visit F.X. Buckley Steakhouse for what was described by Matt's Dad as the best steak he'd ever had. With that glowing of a recommendation and it being located only a stones throw away from out hotel, it would have been rude not to visit. The night before we flew home it started to rain, so we asked a very lovely Irish taxi driver to run us up the road to the steakhouse and he kindly obliged not even taking a fare for the trip. 

When we arrived, we were directed upstairs to the steakhouse and swiftly seated. For a Sunday night it was quite busy with a huge group at the back of the room celebrating a birthday. The restaurant had a very classy feel to it without being too pretentious. The walls were adorned with navy and white stripes which reminded me of a butchers apron which is very apt in a restaurant serving only the top quality meats. 

Although we were there for the steaks, I couldn't sway myself from getting anything from the menu other than the Beef and Guinness pie. When you're in the home of Guinness its a must. Matt chose a sirloin steak and we also ordered some sides of creamed spinach with parmesan and baked creamed cauliflower gratin.

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

Ryans F.X. Huxley Steakhouse Dublin Restaurant Review

The pie was absolutely stunning. Filled with juicy wholesome pieces of beef, covered in flaky pastry accompanied by mashed potato with spring onion and a delicious drizzle of gravy, it was divine. I also tried a slither of the steak and could see what all the fuss was about. Even though Matt prefers his steak a little more red than me, I could get past that and appreciate the great piece of meat.

I was extremely pleased with my selection and chowed down on as much as I could handle, ultimately having to leave some or else I would have exploded. We decided after our food that that was all we'd have, only for a moment later to be thinking about desserts. We gave ourselves a good sized break before we chose a cheeky dessert. As this was a weekend of firsts, having had our first Thai food the night before, I selected a vanilla creme brûlée as I'd always wanted to try it. It wasn't what I was expecting but it was lovely, a little to sweet for me to be able to finish it but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Matt went with his usual of sticky toffee pudding and he enjoyed it but found the slate a little hard to eat from.

We had a brilliant night in F.X. Buckley, despite there being a very rowdy birthday crowd in for the duration of our visit. The food was delicious and the vibe was suitably chilled. If you are a meat lover and heading to Dublin, this is certainly one for you. There are a number of F.X Buckley restaurants in Dublin, we visited the restaurant above Ryan's on Parkgate Street.

Monday, 1 February 2016

January Favourites.

Another month has gone by and I've got another round of favourites to tell you about. I've really enjoyed penning my favourites in these posts as it's great to be able to look back and get a snapshot of the months that have passed.

Puppy Love. This month my Mum decided it was time to get a new puppy. She chose another Chihuahua, as you can see in the picture she is a little dot. Her name is Peggy and she is a little sweetie. All she wants to do is snuggle up and sleep or bite your finger, there's no in between!

Trying Thai. Myself and Matt tried Thai for the first time this month in Dublin and it was delicious. So many great flavours, I can't wait to have more now that we're back in Teesside.

Breaking TV. This month we've exhausted our Sky planner and have literally nothing to watch. So rather than watching rubbish, we decided to download Prison Break and start a new obsession. We're only just into season one but we're really enjoying it. It's edge of your seat stuff.

The Emerald Isle. We took a trip to Dublin this month. It was only a weekend away but it was nice to go there and do some exploring. We ate some lovely food and definitely got our steps in wandering the beautiful city.

Snazzy Sneakers. Before I went to Dublin I decided it was time for a new pair of trainers for all the walking we'd be doing. I was really after something with a bit of colour that wasn't too outrageous like my multicoloured Nike Rosche trainers. These really stood out to me as I loved the colouring. They are a Nike Free Distance Running Shoe and although quite expensive, I know I'll get my wear out of them as they are so comfy!

The Biebs. Well who wouldn't put Justin on their favourites this month? I finally decided it was time to download some of his songs and I've not stopped listening to them!

Grease Lighting. I had a need to buy something new for an engagement party we attended this month and for some reason I was really after a jumpsuit. I'm not one to wear anything tight but I thought I'd be able to find something strapless that didn't show off my stomach and I did just that. This jumpsuit from Miss Selfridge has a bandeau top with waist pleat detailing at the front which covers any lumps and bumps you may have. I'm absolutely in love with it and feel like Sandy from Grease when I'm wearing it!

Murder Mystery. I had seen a lot of people this month talking about a new series on BBC called 'And Then There Were None'. It intrigued me so we downloaded it. It is an Agatha Christie novel that has been made into a three part series and its brilliant. Based in the 1940s, ten strangers get invited to an island and then the mystery begins. Although it's a 'period drama' I definitely recommend it to anyone regardless of if they think they like this genre or not.

Into the Blue. Lastly I've been loving my new bedding. How cute is it. I've been after some new bedding for a while and when I saw this in BHS I knew I had to snap it up. I'm always after cute blue and white bedding so if you know of any please send me links!

So that's January's favourites, let's see what February brings!

© gingerbread smiles.

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig