Banishing the weekday blues with Primula*: fully-loaded potatoes

It has been seriously dull and rainy recently. I’m currently looking outside and everything just looks so grey. Raindrops are trickling down the windows,the trees are dancing about in the wind, and I’m still too cold to leave the heating off.

It was pretty much the same yesterday, so I decided to inject a bit of colour and deliciousness into my day with Primula Light. If you’ve read any of my other recipe posts, you’ll know I’m a sucker for Primula. I mean it’s just so easy to add a creamy, cheesy kick to meals and snacks without having to spend ages grating blocks of cheese. And believe me, my grating skills are almost non-existent (thanks, hemi!). So to kick start this drizzly year, I was asked if I fancied trying to incorporate Primula Light into my meals, and yesterday was the perfect day to showcase one of my favourite, easy lunches.

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Bright, colourful, and delicious enough to blow the cobwebs away: my Mexican-style bean salsa stuffed sweet potatoes. Yes, it’s a mouthful; but one you’ll be oh-so happy about.

You will need:

A tube of Primula Light cheese

Four large baking potatoes or sweet potatoes (I used a fancy purple one to make my meal even brighter)

A tin of your favourite beans (I used black beans, but kidney beans or cannellini beans would also be yummy)

A tin of sweetcorn

A punnet of small tomatoes, roughly chopped (I used baby plum here)

One red onion, chopped

One lime, squeezed

One mild chilli, chopped

Handful of shredded mint leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Paprika to sprinkle

Method:

1. Cook the potatoes. I cheated slightly here: I pricked each with a fork, and cooked them on high in a microwave for ten mins to give them a head start. I then popped them into a preheated over at 190 degrees until their skins were crisp and their insides fluffy. Be sure to lightly oil some foil before placing them on top: sweet potatoes in particular have a habit of caramelising and completely  sticking to baking trays!

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Just look at the colour of this! No filter needed…

2. Whilst my potatoes were cooking, I  mixed together the drained beans, drained sweetcorn, chopped tomato and onions and shredded mint. I then squeezed over the juice of one lime, added the chilli and stirred. Then just season to taste and set aside.

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A delicious mix of ingredients that are nutritious and tasty. This would be great stirred into couscous, or on a salad

3. Next, you’ll want to prepare your potatoes. When cool enough to touch, cut you potatoes in half and fluff up the insides with a fork in order to leave enough space for the salsa filling.

4. Stuff as much filling into each potato as possible (you’ll want to: it’s yummy!). When stuffed, place back into the oven until the filling is cooked through.

5. Finally, drizzle some Primula Light cheese over each stuffed potato, and sprinkle that with paprika. Serve as it is for a lunch, or with a lightly dressed salad for something more substantial.

Just perfect: gooey, oozing with flavour, and deliciously bright. What’s not to love?

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That’s it! It’s really that easy to create something delicious, satisfying and nutritious for a weekday lunch or dinner. I’m going to make several of these to take into work for lunch, as I know they’ll keep me fuelled for the day. What do you think? Do you fancy giving this easy recipe a go?

Hope your week is off to a flying start; look after yourself, whatever you’re doing.

Heather x

 

 

A taste of the Gin Explorer Box*

I have no secrets when it comes to gin. 

It is my favourite.

I will drink it in a cocktail, with a cold, crisp tonic, or – if the occasion calls for it – neat, perhaps over ice.

The front of a greetings card with a guinea pig saying 'hic' as if drunk peering over the top of a glass. Next to that the text reads 'who's a ginny pig?'
Gin and guinea pigs? A match made in heaven

Gin has been for so long the butt of everyone’s joke, where retorts of ‘mother’s ruin’ echoed over the bar, and where it’s only drinkers in my world were ex-boyfriends’ mums. But, you’ll be glad to know that this is no longer the case.

Gin has become one of those fancy drinks you don’t mind ordering at the bar; it’s simple when served with tonic, but oh-so sophisticated, and craft gins made with care and attention are at the forefront of the gin-drinking world. This is where the Gin Explorer Box comes in; a monthly box crammed with gin samplers, accompanying tonic or other mixers, and a little snack to bring it all together.

Craft gin to your door? What more could you wish for!?

The opened box with shredded yellow paper, bright blue tissue paper, and a box with the front cut out displaying four tiny bottles of gin. A tub of corn kernels sits in front, with a bottle of cucumber-infused gin to the right of that.
A beautifully packaged box including gin-flavoured sweets

The four gins I received arrived in a gorgeously packaged box, complete with a booklet describing each gin and the flavour notes associated with it. These gins included Leeds Gin, Nelsons Rhubarb and Custard gin, Thompson’s Grape gin and Hernö gin, alongside two bottles of cucumber-infused sparkling water, and a spanish snack of salted giant corn kernels. I also received a sample of Bath gin to keep me sweet whilst I waited (im)patiently for the box itself.

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Including the little bottle of Bath gin I had five gins to test (no complaints, there!)

This was such a treat for me, and I particularly enjoyed the Nelsons Rhubarb and Custard flavour: light pink so not off-putting, with a rich fruity flavour and a hint of vanilla sweetness to bring the gin to life. I also very much enjoyed the other gins with the Qcumber water, over ice and with a slice of lemon. It made the perfect festive tipple, but I can only imagine just how wonderful this pairing would be during the height of summer or on a balmy evening. Divine!

I absolutely loved this box, and love that you can purchase a full-sized bottle with a slight discount to tide you over whilst waiting for the next box. It was such a perfect raffle prize for me, so thank you to Gin Explorer for being part of the Blogger’s Halloween Party! 

Why not treat the gin lover in your life? If they’re anything like me, they’ll love you forever!

If only it were acceptable to sip a g&t right now…

Heather x

Simple Snacking: Ape Snacks*

Hello! Firstly, I just want to say thanks for popping by. I know it’s been quiet over here; if I’m not writing my dissertation, I’m thinking about it, or reading for it, or talking about it…it’s pretty time consuming, so I appreciate you hanging around as I know nosuperhero has had to take a back seat. Not long to go, now. Keep your fingers crossed!

Secondly, I just thought I’d share some really delicious, simple snacks that I recently had the pleasure of trying. Meet Ape Snacks; deliciously crunchy, crispy, lightly seasoned coconut curls, with no added sugar, gluten free, vegan AND part of your five-a-day. No, really: they’re fabulous!

I was lucky enough to receive a couple of packets of each flavour, of which there are currently two: lightly salted and slightly peppered.

I love coconut, and anything remotely coconut-related. Coconut oil is my go-to beauty product, as it lends itself so well to so many things, but coconut itself is such a delicious, tropical-tasting treat. Admittedly, I didn’t expect these curls to be so crispy, but they were so incredibly satisfying! When those hunger pangs hit in the early afternoon, it’s all too easy to reach for a packet of fat-laden, salty snacks, and though I do enjoy the traditional crisps, I feel an awful lot better if I snack on something healthy. This is where Ape comes in; not only are they healthy – and practically guilt free – their crunchy texture is so satisfying and easily replicates that hearty crunch I often long for somewhere between lunch and dinner. 

Both flavours are simple, allowing the sweet coconut flavour to come through. Admittedly I prefer the lightly salted flavour, but either are delicious and it’s great to know I can grab a packet of these and not feel badly about it!

These would be great as a breakfast topping, or something to accompany your morning smoothie bowl.

Thank you so much to the team at Ape for letting me try your delicious snacks; you’ve made a peckish student very happy!

Hope you’re all having a great day…I’ll have to head back to my desk and trawl through my books. Send positive thoughts!

Heather x

Food and Drink: Things I’m Loving*

Hello, you! Hope you’re doing well today. First, I have a little confession to make. You may have noticed that it’s been super quiet here, and I apologise. I think I might have to reduce the number of posts I’m uploading. Life is busy, and right now, my dissertation needs to come first. I hope you understand, and just know by September I’m hoping to have a lot more time to write up posts. I have a long list of things I’m wanting to share, so as always, thanks for being wonderful and patient. 

Anyway, here’s a post I hope you enjoy (warning…it might make you thirsty!)

If you know me, you’ll know that I  love food. I am that annoying person who’d like to think they’re a real ‘foodie’. I love cooking, I love experimenting, and most of all, I love eating. Food is such a wonderful thing to feel passionate about. I love nourishing my body and aim to eat as healthily as possible. I’m fortunate that my healthy eating habits were formed from a young age (thanks mum and dad!) and I try and eat a good balance of protein, fats, carbs and vegetables. I’m also a real fan of refreshing,  tasty drinks; I’m an avid tea lover, and my tea cupboard is stuffed with so many varieties and flavours. I love a refreshing cool fizzy drink every now and then, but what I do hate is that horrible sugary film left on your teeth or – where the diet versions are concerned – nasty artificial sweeteners to replicate that sugary taste we all love. So when Gaia recently got in touch and asked if I fancied trying out some new products – tea and  a healthy version of fizzy drinks – I jumped at the chance.

Meet my two new favourite drinks; ICHAI tea and Ugly Unsweet Water! 

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I admit, I’m quite new to chai blends. I never really tried a chai tea that lived up to my expectations; they lacked the spicy warmth I was promised, or were oversweet, sometimes in powdered form with dried milk and were – oftentimes – a real disappointment. This is where ICHAI comes in and changed all my chai-related expectations. Meet ICHAI: a caddy of loose leaf tea blended with real spices and all-natural ingredients. Available in eight different flavours, these teas are of the finest quality with absolutely no artificial flavours, additives or preservatives, for the purest, most delicious chai pleasure. 

I was lucky enough to receive four of the blends to try starting with the Classic Chai #8 : blend of tea, ground cinnamon, green cardamom and a hint of ginger, clove and star anise for a deliciously balanced and calming blend. You can see the amazing, fragrant mix of spices, you can really appreciate the flavours in the final cup.

Next is Vanilla Chai #7; sweet, indulgent and comforting, this chai is a sumptuous blend of cinnamon, vanilla pods and a hint of cloves for a sweet and indulgent take on the classic chai tea.

Thirdly is Ginger Chai #3: dried ginger root added to the blend to provide a spicy, warming cup that settles, cleanses and invigorates. This blend won the Great Taste award in 2015, and you can see why! 

Finally we have a caddy of Spicy Chai #1: a deeply warming blend with cinnamon, green cardamom, black pepper, cloves and ginger, creating a warming blend perfect for even the chilliest of days.

I’ve been enjoying these blends with milk and a little honey, and I have to say the Spicy Chai and Vanilla Chai are proving to be my favourites, although I’m really enjoying all of them!

Helen, ICHAI’s creator, spent years working as a plant biologist working with Unilever, and her work to create the best tasting plants has continued with the creation of ICHAI. Helen wanted to create traditional chai with the finest ingredients to produce the best taste and aroma. The spices are grown to maintain their optimum flavour, ground to the optimum particle size, using the correct machinery to produce an exquisite-tasting chai and an intense drinking experience. I’m not claiming to be a plant biologist like Helen, but she’s doing something right as they taste absolutely fantastic! I can’t wait to get my hands on the other flavours.

Ugly Unsweet Water

Ugly are changing the way we think about fizzy drinks with their new range of unsweetened fizzy drinks, with natural flavours, no artificial colors or sweeteners. Ugly kindly tells us we’re sweet enough already (thanks, Ugly!) and maintains that their drinks are delicious without that  awful sugary film or horrible artificial sweetener aftertaste. These are best enjoyed chilled, and come in two flavours: lemon and lime, and pineapple and grapefruit. I absolutely loved both of these, but the pineapple and grapefruit has to be my favourite. I was pleasantly surprised by their cool, crisp taste, and would love to see these in vending machines on campus! They’re fab on a hot day, and if I could I’d be drinking one as I write this!

So there you have it; some truly delicious drinks to quench your thirst this Wednesday afternoon. What do you think of the ICHAI and Ugly drinks? Thanks so much to Gaia, Helen and the Ugly team for letting me try these delicious products; I’m a real fan!

Look after yourself today, 

Heather x

The #HBHullBloggers take on Furley & Co for the #HBMiniMeet*

Hello, lovely! I’m so sorry if you visited this post earlier to find nothing at all; everything I had written up somehow deleted and didn’t make it apart from the title, which is very frustrating. Anyway, here it is, so let’s start again!

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A few weeks ago myself and some of the #HBHullBloggers came together to give the lovely Alex from Champagne and Lemonade a cheery farewell as she embarked on her travels for six months. We thought it’d also be a fabulous chance to have a mini get together, and we were lucky enough to have some gorgeous goodies sent to us. imag2019.jpg

We met at Furley & Co, a fairly new eatery/bar/cafe in the centre of Hull, which serves a huge variety of craft ales, beers and other alcoholic beverages, alongside freshly brewed, quality coffee, teas and other soft drinks. Though Furley’s hasn’t been round for long, it has already made a huge impact on the locals and is widely-renowned for their delicious ‘Freak Shakes’, which you’ll get to see later! We were lucky enough to try some of Furley’s newest menu items – burgers and fries – which are made from chuck steak seasoned in house, lovingly crafted and griddled with cheese and served with your choice of mustard, BBQ mayo or ketchup and pickles. Yum! Although I do sometimes eat meat, I am becoming increasingly interested in exploring vegetarian foods and perhaps switching to a veggie diet altogether, so I plumped for the halloumi burger; griddled halloumi, rocket and onion chutney, all sandwiched between a rich brioche bun. Yummy!

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13384791_10154211558068544_125391270_nWe also had freshly cooked fries, seasoned with chip spice, which was the perfect accompaniment to both burgers. I really liked the BBQ mayo, and would seriously recommend trying it with the fries! After the burgers came the monstrous ‘Freak Shakes’; a sweet concoction of milkshake, whipped cream and plenty of sweet treats. I had the banoffee flavour. A warning though; these are not for the faint-hearted!

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Isnt that amazing?! And yes, that is a doughnut! These are quite the party-piece, and we sure gave them a good go. A definite treat, but something I would recommend when visiting Hull!

As I said earlier, we were fortunate enough to have some gorgeous goodies sent to us, and below you’ll see some of the gorgeous goodies. These included Batiste, Benefit, Stargazer cosmetics, Simply Beautiful Collection, Gosh, Paul Mitchell, Make Up Revolution, LYDC and Ultradex. I’d also like to thank Eat Your Photo for making me look good enough to eat! Don’t worry; you’ll get the lowdown on all these fabulous products soon, so keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming favourites! As always, a huge thanks goes to Kat from The Kats Paws for being so wonderful and an organisation-Queen,  who even treated us to our very own party bags! Of course you’re never too old for party bags, and the whole evening was so much fun.

Here’s a few snaps; how lucky were we?! I’m sorry there aren’t lots of snaps right now. I’ve had real trouble uploading pictures, but as soon as I’m able I’ll post them for you to have a good nosy at. Technology isn’t always on my side!

Hope you’ve had a great day, whatever you’ve been doing…

Heather x

 

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Hallmark Hull: #MadHattersAfternoonTea*

Hello, you! It’s great to see you. Thanks for popping by! Though I’d share a recent experience I had at the Hallmark Hotel in North Ferriby a few weeks ago. I was lucky enough to be treated to a deliciously inviting Alice in Wonderland-themed afternoon tea, complete with tiny ‘Drink Me’ bottles and a myriad of lovingly-crafted savoury snacks, sweet treats, pots of tea, and a glass of sparkling bubbly. It really was as good as it sounds!

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We were very lucky to have had our afternoon tea on a gloriously sunny day, which can sometimes be a rarity in the North so we were all rather pleasantly surprised! Afternoon tea was served in the grounds of the Hallmark Hotel, with a view of the Humber Bridge. We really couldn’t have asked for a better day.

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Our table was strewn with playing cards and adorned with delicate china tea cups, waiting to be filled with freshly brewed tea or coffee. The rabbit ears were a lovely touch, and we all got into the spirit of things and thoroughly enjoyed trying them on. We just couldn’t wait to see what was on offer, and we weren’t disappointed when our food arrived!

 

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We were brought a selection of hand cut sandwiches – including ham and pickle, cheese and chutney, egg mayo and rocket – alongside some homemade scotch eggs and tomato and egg ‘toadstools’. My sweet tooth was well and truly sated with a selection of iced cupcakes, mushroom-shaped meringues, freshly baked scones with dollops of zingy lemon curd and lashings of clotted cream, and adorable ‘Drink Me’ strawberry beverages that tasted deliciously fruity and exceedingly summery. All this was topped off with helpings of popping candy, to delight both children and big kids around the table in equal measure!

The full menu of delights is as follows:

Assorted finger sandwiches/wraps: Ham & Pickle, Cucumber & Cream Cheese, Cheese & Chutney & Egg Mayo & Rocket
Home Made Mushroom meringues
Savoury Scotch Egg and Boiled Egg/Tomato Toadstool
Eat Me popping candy cupcake
Freshly baked Scones and Strawberry Jam, Lemon Curd & Devonshire clotted cream
Strawberry ‘Drink Me’ Syrup
Popping Candy
Pot of Tea or Coffee.

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We loved the attention to detail given to the afternoon tea, where the items were carefully stacked on miniature picnic benches and surrounded by Alice-themed paraphernalia. This treat would be a fabulous experience for any Lewis Carroll fiend, or for anyone who simply loves a little bit of magic and Wonderland whimsy!

Afternoon Tea
L-R: Me, KateAshtonAlex and Megan. Photo courtesy of Ashton Gibbs. 

 

 

All in all we had an absolutely fabulous experience at the Hallmark Hotel, and I would like to thank the chef for preparing such a wonderful treat and the staff for making our visit so relaxing.

Why not pop into Hallmark in Hull to experience this for yourself? Prices start from £17.50 without the glass of bubbly and £22.50 for the fizz included.

What do you make of the afternoon tea?

Hope you’re having a great evening,

Heather x

 

‘May-pril’ Favourites (aka April Favourites Part 2)

Hello! Well, this is embarrassing. I just realised I posted my first April Favourites on the 3rd or thereabouts, and I promised to get something up with the second installment that week, but (as usual) life got in the way, and I haven’t been able to post this sooner! I apologise profusely, but (hopefully!) it’ll be worth the wait. This is my ‘May-pril’ favourites (thanks, Drew!) and are a selection of things I’ve been loving. As usual, any gifted products are marked with an *. Let me know what you think!

1. Sif Jakob’s pen*

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I absolutely love stationery (no, really!) and I’m always wanting to buy new pens, notebooks or additional Filofax inserts, so when I saw this in our Hugh Rice Luxe goody bags I was giddy with stationery-induced joy! This is a gorgeous refillable pen, with a highly pearlised, white finish, and a barrel full of beautiful sparkling faceted crystals. It’s just the perfect size to fit into my Filofax pen loop, and I’ve been using it with my Filofax ever since. Seriously gorgeous and a great gift idea!

2. Handi-help handi gripper

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Here is one of the things my dad kindly bought for me to make my life a little easier. It’s a tool to help pick things up which is very useful for me because of my painful back, which is greatly exacerbated by strenuous activity. This has been really helpful for getting washing out of the machine, or picking things up. My occupational therapist also showed me how to use it to help you get changed in the morning on a particularly painful day. It’s really great, and all you need to do is squeeze the trigger. The gripper part can also be rotated to help with particular tasks. A must for anyone who needs a little helping hand!

3. Lab2 I’m Turning Pro makeup brushes*

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Here is another fabulous product we received at the #HBMarchMeet. We received some brushes from lab2 last time, and I was seriously impressed, so when I peered into our over-flowing goodie bags I couldn’t wait to try these! They pick up plenty of product with minimal fall out, and have super-soft handles marked with the brush type which make applying make up a real joy. I particularly love the contour and buffing brushes, which are used every single time I apply make up! They’re slowly replacing my trusty eco tools because they’re so versatile.

4. Thomas Sabo jewellery wrap*

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Here’s another fabulous little treat we received at the Hugh Rice Luxe event. It’s a gorgeous velvety wrap, with plenty of pockets for storing all your precious pieces. It’d be great for travel!

5. Moschino silk scarves

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I had had a particularly bad cbt session, and I decided to go into TK Maxx, where I found these beautiful silk scarves. They’re great for adding a little bit of glamour to an outfit, and I’ve been enjoying trying out new ways to wear them. I also like putting them in my hair as headbands, or tied around a handbag. Hopefully, with plenty of love and care, these will last for many years to come. 

6. Kiko Urban Sheen Lip gloss in shades 01 & 04*

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Another gorgeous goody from the #HBMarchMeet! These are fabulous little crayon sticks, that provide a sheer wash of colour and a light sheen to brighten up your make up look. These would be really great to chuck into a suitcase on holiday as they’re only small and lightweight, and are extremely moisturising on the lips. Om really enjoying these and will try to share some swatches with you.

Well, we got there! Thanks for waiting to see this; life has been so so busy, but I’m just about getting on top of it now.

Hope you’re having a fabulous week, and let me know if you’ve tried any of these!

Heather x

PS you can find me on instagram, snapchat and twitter as htlcy; why not come and say hello?