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    Wednesday, 29 April 2015

    #MYCHOCBLOGGERS - CHOCOLATE WORKSHOP

    I've been writing this blog for quite a while now but have only recently began dabbling in the idea of 'blogger meet-ups'. I've always been a bit nervous about going out of my comfort zone & meeting new people but when I got the e-mail from the lovely Lauren saying this particular event would be chocolate making, I knew I just had to go. 

    The meetup itself took place at MyChocolate UK, a company which runs chocolate workshops in a beautiful kitchen by Regent's Canal in Hackney. We got to meet CEO Hannah Saxton who took the bold decision to set up My Chocolate UK using the money from her student loan. She explained that she started out by offering chocolate work-shops from her flat in Shepherd's Bush and gradually it snowballed in the business that it is today, offering chocolate packages for individuals, hen parties and corporate events across the UK.

    MyChocolateUK chocolate workshop, London
    MyChocolateUK chocolate sprinkles
    Marshmallows, Sprinkles
    Hannah and her team very kindly invited us into their little chocolate kingdom on Sunday morning and immersed us in all things cocoa...
    Chocolate recipe books
    white chocolate
    I was on a table with a lovely group of bloggers - some of whom I realised I already followed on Twitter and some completely new faces.One of my favourite things about writing this blog is the lovely people I've had the chance to interact with so give these lovely ladies a follow if you don't already: Kate, Pippa, Fran, Ashleigh, Amanda, Leanne and Hayley
    melted chocolate
    bloggers chocolate making bloggers chocolate making
    To kick things off, our Canadian chocolatier Davis talked us through how to taste chocolate and gave us insights into what makes a high quality chocolate stand out from your average 'advent calendar' chocolate. We also got to taste chocolates with exotic flavour combinations such as lemon, poppyseed, cardamon and ginger to encourage us to identify the flavourings within them.

    Once we'd finished our tasting session, we got down to the chocolate-making itself. Davis walked us through how to make a ganache and techniques for dipping and decorating our chocolate - making it all look very easy - before setting us off in pairs to try it for ourselves...
    MyChocolate Chocolate Workshop
    Making TrufflesHomemade chocolate truffles
    I'l be honest I think my camera made my attempt look better than they really were, I was actually embarrased giving my chocolates to my boyfriend afterwards but they tasted good and that's what it's all about right...?
    Home-made chocolate trufflesChocolate Truffles
    I honestly had such a good morning, it was great to be able to meet so many girls who's blogs I follow - I'm only disappointed that I didn't get to speak to everyone that I wanted to but hopefully I'll get to see you lovely ladies at another event soon!

    MyChocolateUK
    10C Branch Place, London N1 5PH

    Monday, 27 April 2015

    #PERFECTPORRIDGE COCONUT & BLUEBERRY

    I love the fact that you can make so many flavour combinations with porridge so for my second Flahavan's porridge recipe I decided to go with something sweet and fruity.
    I've always loved coconut so chose to pair some coconut flakes with blueberries
    I cooked my porridge this time in the microwave adding half the berries so they cooked...
    When the blueberries warm up, they produce an amazing purple juice which gives the porridge a really nice purple tinge

    To make Flahavan's in the microwave simply mix 40g oats with 180ml milk & pop in the microwave for 2 minutes, simple! Don't forget to comment below & let me know your fav porridge combinations!
    Flahavan's Blueberry Coconut PorridgeBowl of Blueberry Coconut Porridge
    Bowl of Porridge

    Saturday, 25 April 2015

    #PERFECTPORRIDGE FLAHAVAN'S

    Anyone who's read my blog for a while may have noticed that I'm a big fan of breakfast

    Seeing as it's the most important meal of the day; when the team at Flahavan's asked me if I wanted to get involved with their #PerfectPorridge campaign, i just had to say yes.

    They've been challenging bloggers to come up with tasty breakfast ideas using Flahavan's Irish organic jumbo oats so over the next week I will be sharing some of my ideas with you, kicking off with this fruity little number!
    Flahavan's Fruit Porridge
    I usually have boring plain porridge for breakfast at work so I decided to up my game a little for this challenge, using a whole wealth of fruits and seeds. For this one I used....
    Fruit Porridge Bowl
    Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds, acia berries and some flax seeds 
    Healthy Fruit Porridge
    It's really easy to make the porridge so i won't write out a recipe. Simply bring 80g oats & 550ml milk to boil in a pan (that'll give you enough for 2) & then decorate with your berries! 
    Porridge Bowl
    I've got two more posts coming up but in the meantime, let me know what your favourite porridge toppings are! 

    Thursday, 23 April 2015

    BOROUGH MARKET

    I love a good market; especially a food one - and you don't get much better for food than Borough Market.
    Borough is a go-to destination for any self-confessed foodie in London - i'm sure many of you have been yourselves, but if you haven't - bump this to the top of your to-do list.
    Borough Market
    The market is located just across from London Bridge station, and brings together a whole host of traders selling everything from fresh fish.....Red Snapper Borough MarketFish Borough Market
    Seafood Borough Market

    to Meats, olives and spicess....Borough Market StallBorough Market Deli
    Borough Market, La Despensa
    There's loads of fresh produce piled high from mushroom, truffles, to fruits and veg....
    Borough Market MushroomsBorough Market Fruit
    and plenty of vendors selling drinks for when you work up a thirst....
    Borough Market WineBorough MarketBorough Market
    Make sure you save room for pudding because there's a whole wealth of chocolate, bakeries, fudge and sweets on offer...and some of the most amazing looking meringues!
    Borough Market Fudge
    Borough Market CakesThere's also plenty of stalls selling hot food so make sure you take plenty of cash and a big appetite, you can literally spend ages walking around trying different bits from each of the traders - a perfect saturday afternoon!

    http://boroughmarket.org.uk/
    Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL

    Wednesday, 22 April 2015

    MONOPOLY WITH L&G INVESTMENTS

    Investment. It sounds like such an alien word for so many people of my age - maybe I speak for myself but I feel that my generation is so ill prepared when it comes to dealing with things like investments & mortgages. 

    I am very fortunate in that I was able to buy my own flat when I was 22. I remember the mortgage process being so daunting, being asked what I thought about interest rates, whether I wanted fixed rate or a tracker, was i able to off-set against my savings? Did I want the costs to be spread over 15 or 35 years - fixed at 2 years or 5?

    I won't lie, I remember sitting in the chair with the mortgage advisor looking at me, feeling really stupid - I'd never thought about these things before, it's not something covered in school, there's no module at uni - it's something which you're expected to go into the big wide world and figure out for yourself!

    It was only when I was invited to a blogging event last week, that I realised that we're all exposed to something at a young age which is all about investment without even really thinking about it. Monopoly! The event was for Legal & General and was to get us thinking more about investments through the board game - with some pizza and prosecco thrown in for good measure.

    Monopoly Bloggers Event
    Monopoly
    Monopoly
    Monopoly

    My game didn't really have much strategy behind it. I blew all my cash buying everything I landed on and then had to scrape round the board hoping to avoid taxes, bills and await any hand-outs in the form of 'chance cards' - it all felt a bit too similiar to my real life!

    Josie was our group's winner (I'm sure I funded most of her cash by landing on her Pentonville Road everytime i went round the board), and despite blowing my money early onI didn't do too badly! It was a really good evening and was really nice to put some faces to the names I always see on Twitter! Thanks again Joe Blogs & L&G for a great night!

    Monday, 20 April 2015

    BREAKFAST AT DARWIN, SKYGARDEN

    You may remember last time I visited the skygarden (or the Walkie Talkie as I like to call it), it was for dinner at their Darwin Brasserie. 

    The food was amazing - but as it was night time, I didn't get the opportunity to fully enjoy the views that this garden in the sky has to offer.

    Obviously, this had to be rectified so i made arrangements to go back & try the restaurant for breakfast so i could take in the views
    Darwin Brasserie Skygarden
    Darwin Skygarden Eggs Benedict
    My order of eggs florentine didn't disappoint - but this time i wasn't here for the food - i was here for the views....
    Skygarden Walkie Talkie
    SkygardenI really couldn't have picked a better day. The sky was clear, sun beamed in from every angle and my views across London were unparalleled.
    20 Fenchurch Street Skygarden
    The lighting in the skygarden does wonders for your photography...
    Skygarden
    Skygarden

    Sunrise Skygarden
    If you haven't been yet, I highly recommend a trip to the top to take a look at all the greenery, even if it's not just for the food!

    20 Fenchurch Street,London EC3M 3BY
    Darwin Brasserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Wednesday, 15 April 2015

    BEDALES - WINE TASTING

    As you may remember from my previous post, my company regularly puts on socials for everyone in the office so we get to socialise away from our desks

    After last month's pizza making, I didn't think they'd find something which would beat it untill i found out for this month we'd be doing wine tasting in Borough Market!

    For me, you don't get much better than an evening of cheese, meat and wine so we headed off in search of Bedales Wines for one of their signature wine tasting sessions.

    Bedales WineBedales WineBedales has three locations; Borough, Spitalfields and Leadenhall markets.

    They're open 7 days a week (except at Leadenhall, because let's face it nowhere in the city is open on weekends!). The beauty of the wine at Bedales is that every bottle on their shelves has a story - some are only on sale till they are gone, so once the wine is drunk it may never be on the menu again!

    Another great plus is that the staff are extremely knowledgable so if you tell them which type of wines you like, they can find something to match your tastes. Great for someone like me who enjoys wine, but is baffled when presented with a wine list!
    Wine Tasting Bedales
    Bedales Wine TastingWine Tasting Score CardFor our tasting we were in the private room upstairs. During the session, our host Angelo van Dyk (great beard) talked us through five wines; one sparkling, two white and two red. 

    The theme of the tasting was 'same but different' in that the wine was from the same grape but produced in different regions (eg France v New Zealand) meaning we could see the differences between the areas that wines were made.
    Vouvray Chenin Blanc First up a sparkling Vouvray made from the chenin blanc grape in the Louvre Valley. Everyone was calling out all the flavours and scents they were getting from the wine but for me all i wrote was "t 'fizzy' - i'm not much of a connoisseur...
    Radford Dale Chenin Blanc La Dilettante

    Followed by a South African Chenin Blanc from Radford Dale and a La Dilettante, again from the french region of the Vouvray.

    By this stage I started to be able to distinguish differences in the wines - mainly that I liked the South African, and didn't like the French...I'm sure I tasted peach somewhere

    After the whites, we headed over to red wine which I was most looking forward to! I like pretend i like red wine because it makes me feel grown up - but I couldn't hope of telling you the difference between a pinot noir from a malbec...
    Cabernet Sauvignon
    Gruaud La Rose Wine
    I still probably can't tell you those differences but I can tell you that I loved the second bottle. It tasted like "Christmas in a glass" according to my notes* - a cross between brandy and apples. They offered to let us purchase the bottles but when they showed me the price, i smiled and politley declined...

    *It may be clear that I was quite drunk by the end of this session and I don't remember the details of what I was told. I promose it was really interesting and i did learn things but those glasses they give you are huge and it doesn't take much to get me drunk!
    The Chocolate Block Wine

    Wine Corks
    Cheese Wine TastingAfter draining the last of our final wine, we devoured a platter of meats and cheese sourced from Borough market before dispearing into the night a little worse for wear. If you are thinking about going wine tasting, please try Bedales! I promise it was un-brie-lievable!

    5 Bedale Street, London SE1 9AL
    Square Meal Bedales Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato