Kirsty’s Classic Margherita Pizza Gluten & Dairy Free review

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It’s unusual for me to find a pizza that is GF and DF, especially one that has a fair amount of toppings. I found this in Tesco.

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Studies have found that our gut health does directly relate to our emotions because they are connected by the vagus nerve, which transmits signals between them. Ever been really nervous and had a slushy feeling in your stomach or received bad news and felt your stomach drop? Ever eaten something you know doesn’t agree with your stomach in the evening and then had really chaotic anxiety dreams? It does make you wonder!

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They could add more cheese around the edge but the sauce is delicious and the thin base is lovely and crispy so I wasn’t too bothered. My only complaint is that the ‘cheese’ was too sweet. Nice flavour to it but I had to add salt and pepper to make it more savoury.

In my gas oven I had to put this on the shelf that’s above middle but not right at the top, rather than the middle as suggested. I also had to put it on gas mark 7 (higher than the temperature suggested) and leave it in for five minutes longer. Frustrating at first but I’m glad I persevered.

The bloke cooked his in a microwave-combi oven and followed the instructions exactly. It came out perfect!?

Rating 4/5 (depending on oven)

Chrissie

 

Ben & Jerry’s Vegan Coconutterly Caramel’d Ice Cream

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That’s quite a name isn’t it! I absolutely loved those caramel and coconut flavoured Bon Bon’s as a kid, so I was proper chuffed when The Bloke came home with this from Tesco.

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The two main flavours were perfectly balanced and the added chocolate chunks were huge! I didn’t notice the cookie content so I wished there were some little caramel chunks in there as well as it being swirled through, instead.

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You would never know that this is vegan ice cream and the flavour of the almond milk it’s made with isn’t noticeable.

Rating 4/5

Chrissie

The Body Shop, Shea Butter Richly Replenishing Conditioner

Made from Community Trade Shea Butter from Ghana Shea Butter Richly Replenishing Conditioner (£6.50, 250ml) promises to leave hair nourished, less prone to breakage and less frizzy.

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I have thick, coarse shoulder length hair which is excellent condition but looses it’s natural oils easily, even after using very gentle, natural shampoo.

I like the mild nutty scent and how creamy this conditioner is. My hair was left feeling incredibly soft and replenished. It was still a little frizzy but then I would never expect conditioner alone to sort this out. I always need to add hair oil after lightly towel drying my hair, no matter what conditioner I use.

The only problem for me is the size and the price, it’s either too small or too expensive. I can appreciate that the people who produce this in Ghana need a fair wage but maybe The Body Shop could take a little less profit? I don’t know but what I do know is that it’s too dear for me to use regularly with my thick long hair, even though a little does go a long way.

Rating 4/5

Chrissie

 

Perfect World Caramel Pecan Vegan Ice Cream

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I came across this in Tesco and recognised the Perfect World logo (although it’s changed a little) from some of their ice cream I bought from Co-op a while back so I’m hoping Perfect World is now widely available.

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It’s a bonus that it has lots of vits and minerals in but let’s be honest, who worries about that when they are eating ice cream, eh? I also like that they haven’t gone over-board with the calorific content as I’ll be eating a LOT of it!

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The caramel is on the more saltier side, which I love and the pecans compliment it really well. I just wish they’d left them chunkier for added texture, rather than really finely chopped and blended in. As well as just eating it with a spoon out of the tub (me), this is also a nice alternative for people who normally eat dairy ice cream with desert.

Rating 4/5

Chrissie

Arbonne, Calm Range Review

I’ve only recently discovered Arbonne, traditionally a skincare company developed in Switzerland in 1975 and I’m impressed with the purity of their products and the ethically sourced botanicals they contain. Their products – now ranging from skincare and makeup to nutrition – are vegetarian, free from animal products or by-products, artificial flavours, artificial sweeteners, benzene, formaldehyde donating preservatives, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, sodium laureth sulfates (SLES), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), synthetic dyes and talc and gluten.

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I have mild heyfever so my skin gets irritated easily in spring and summer, so I need lighter, gentler products making the Calm range perfect for me.

Soothing Facial Serum

• Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes and moisturises
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) helps soothe skin
• Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) softens and soothes skin
• Mallow (Malva sylvestris), rich in vitamins, softens and soothes
• Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) contains antioxidant properties
• Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) calms skin
• Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) helps soothe skin

It’s been so humid lately I’ve not needed to use any moisturiser (my skin sucks up the moisture out of the air so well) but my skin did need soothing and balancing, which is exactly what this serum achieved and without any oil slicks around my T-zone in the evening. I’m going to carry on using my usual serum for Autumn and Winter as it contains vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid and retinol (which I know some people can be sensitive to so it’s understandable this wouldn’t be a suitable ingredient for the Arbonne Calm range).

Gentle Daily Cleanser

• Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes and moisturises
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) helps soothe skin
• Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) softens and soothes skin
• Mallow (Malva sylvestris), rich in vitamins, softens and soothes
• Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) contains antioxidant properties
• Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) calms skin
• Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) helps soothe skin

I think I’ve worn makeup twice this whole summer but when I did, it was a full face. This gentle cleanser removed all of my makeup (although I wasn’t wearing water proof mascara) and left my skin feeling clean, refreshed and nourished.

Soothing Eye Gel

• Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes and moisturises
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) helps soothe skin
• Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) softens and soothes skin
• Mallow (Malva sylvestris) rich in vitamins, softens and soothes
• Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) contains antioxidant properties
• Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) calms skin
• Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) helps soothe skin

I have to confess that I’ve been upping my salt and water intake to help me cool down in the heat and my gosh has it made a difference to my giant puffy eye bags! After using this gel (which I keep in the fridge and apply by gentle taping with my ring finger) my bags weren’t visible AT ALL. Can’t get any better than that!

Gentle Daily Moisturiser

After some gentle exfoliating with a fruit peel my face needed some moisturiser but I was dreading the feel of it on my skin and wondering if it would be too heavy. My skin absorbed this moisturiser immediately and any redness from exfoliating had subsided within five minutes. I also used some on my hands which were rather dry as it was to hand (please excuse the pun) and it worked really well. I would recommend this as a basic moisturiser to everyone, no matter what their skin type.

Overall Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Chrissie

 

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Lilly’s vegetarian Indian restaurant – Ashton

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Lilly’s Indian vegetarian restaurant in Ashton (Thameside/Greater Manchester) can make substitutions to all dishes so they can be vegan and Jain rather than just veggie. The menu is extensive and covers Indo-Chinese dishes, South and North Indian dishes. They know exactly what ingredients go into their food and tend to use traditional gram (chickpea) four instead of wheat, so a great place to go if you have food intolerances or allergies.

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I recently went to Lilly’s with my bloke and our friend L and we all chose similar starters as it was a hot day and we wanted something cooling. I chose Dahi Puri, Crispy puri filled with puffed rice, sev, potatoes, onions, chickpeas, yoghurt and tamarind sauce. My three faves: Puri, yoghurt and tamarind combined!

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Our friend L ordered The Sizzla, a literally sizzling dish with grilled green peppers, panner cheese, spring onions and a meat substitute which was amazing, the whole dish was amazing actually. The bloke ordered a Vegetable Lasinya, mixed veggies cooked with butter, garlic and traditional Indian spices and a (very strong) garlic bread. I ordered Paneer Makhani, Paneer cooked in creamy sauce with onions and spices along with the best vegetable pilau rice I’ve ever tasted.

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All of our dishes were wonderful but that’s no surprise. We’ve all visited 4 four times together (we do tend to avoid the South Indian dishes as we generally don’t like that style of cooking) and we’ve never found anything which we didn’t like. I’ll be trying the Indo-Chinese section on my next visit.

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Lilly’s 75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton, Tameside, OL6 7DF Tel: 0161 339 4774

Open: 11.00am – 8.00pm (7.00pm Sunday)

Chrissie

 

 

 

Foodie Review: Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen

I decided to treat the bloke to a meal where he could order anything on the menu because it’s all veggie. Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant is a family run restaurant which offers traditional Chinese food and mock meats such as beef, prawn and chicken dishes. They also offer the largest amount of vegan dishes I’ve ever seen on a menu and  have a hygiene rating of four out of five.

This isn’t a place that opens late night to cater for people after the pubs shut (although it is right near to The Red Lion), it closes at 10.30 and 11.00 on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is brightly lit and their is no alcohol on the menu , although you are welcome to bring your own within reason.

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Wheat & Dairy Free Snack Review: Geo Bars

Wether food intolerances are becoming more common or we’ve simply become more attuned to how our bodies react to certain foods, more and more of us are cutting out dairy and wheat/gluten. Even if we aren’t the greatest of cooks it’s far easier to create an evening meal than it is to quickly find a suitable snack, even in a massive supermarket. This is why I was pleased when I got asked to review Geo bars.

dairy wheat free from Geo bars

Geo bars (£2.60 for a 3 pack) are available in two types, Fruity and Trail (a natural energy bar) and are made from fruit, veg, gluten free oats (not suitable for people who are allergic to the protein avenin), nuts and soy protein. Each bar contains one fruit/veg of your five a day. All bars in the range are certified Fair Trade, which makes my conscience as well as my tummy very happy.

Banana and Walnut Trail

I know this is meant to be a trail bar but they are so tasty I ate one as desert after my evening meal. No wonder I was still full of energy at 10.00pm! The banana adds the perfect amount of softness with an added touch of crunch from the walnuts.

Cocoa Crunch Trail Bar

The cocoa flavour isn’t too sweet or too bitter either, which is perfect if you are grabbing this for a quick lunch or if you are flagging on a hike. The bar is so dense I wish it was more moist and not as dry. I found it a little hard going and had to drink a small glass of water with it.

Carrot and Stem Ginger

I found the stem ginger in this bar to be really strong which I thought overwhelmed the carrot but my mum thought it wasn’t strong enough. Okay then?! Even though this is classed as a fruit bar I found it to be as dense and dry as the trail bar, which I was a little disappointed with.

Cocoa and Beetroot

The beetroot adds a lovely sweetness to the cocoa but the predominant flavour is cocoa. I liked the texture of this bar and I’d definitely keep one in my bag for times when I feel my blood sugar is getting low and I need a quick free-from snack.

This product was sent to me for review purposes. This does not affect my opinion of the product.

Chrissie xx

Feeling Summery

 

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Look what me and the bloke bought from Co-op. We love how bright they are. The bloke doesn’t own a vase so I improvised with a big old stein, ha!

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These are my trusty summer deck shoes. They are so versatile, they basically go with everything. My girly mates love them but my Dad commented “sparkly slippers! Isn’t that what old ladies wear down the bingo?” and Mum said “They look like Turkish slippers, shouldn’t they have a curly toe?” Er, thanks folks.

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Greek salad with capers and a tiny drizzle of balsamic vinegar, rice stuffed vine leaves with mint and falafel with lime and coriander humous, accompanied by a chilled glass of rose of course ;0) When the weather gets warmer I don’t want big heavy meals and prefer something like this. Turns out in one month I’ve dropped half a stone! It’s from the parts that are meant to be curvy though , rather than my double chin and my belly. Typical, ha!

 

 

 

Graze ‘Nibble’ Box review

After finding a voucher code for a free Graze box in Glamour magazine (usually £3.89 free p&p) I decided to sign up and give it a go. The subscription based Graze boxes contain a variety of healthy and tasty snacks to nibble on throughout the day to stop you demolishing a king size snickers when that 3.00pm slump kicks in.

My personal reason was because (as you probably already know) I have a restricted diet (except for cheat days) without dairy or wheat, so I thought it would be lovely to receive a little box of carefully selected tummy friendly treats through the post.

Graze Box review

The website is really easy to use and you get a choice of boxes: Breakfast, Nibble or kids. A choice of delivery frequency: Weekly, fortnightly or monthly (I chose weekly). You have the option to ‘Ban’, ‘Try’, ‘Like’, ‘Love’ and sometimes ‘Include in box’ for every snack! There are also 3 options to show all food which isn’t dairy free or gluten free or vegan so you get the chance to quickly ‘Ban all’ foods in which ever category doesn’t you, rather than trawling through the huge list of snack options Graze offers.

Graze box review

I opened up my (letter box friendly) package to find it  included dark chocolate rocky road, green olives with harissa, their signature brownies and mississippi pistachios. Overall it’s one chocolatey, spicy box of happiness! I know it’s all about variation but when it came to anything spicy or sweet I remember hitting ‘like’ and ‘love’ constantly, haha!

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Also inside my recycled cardboard box was a napkin, spiky fork (possibly bamboo?), a little booklet all about the Graze team, a list of ingredients for each snack (also checkable online) with vouchers. Each voucher has my code on it which entitles my friends to get their 1st, 5th and 10th box free. I’ll be getting my 5th box free and also £2 off my next box as I shared my purchase on Facebook and Twitter.

This is for you:

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Enjoy chucks!

Note: Please excuse the fairly rubbish quality of my photo’s. I had to use my iPod. I’ve spruced them up as much as poss.