Central London is overflowing with places to eat. Some are great and some are amazing! In the past couple of years, I’ve come across more and more beautiful restaurants complete with gorgeous flower walls, plush velvet seats and white marble tables.
One place that I could simply not get enough of was a little hidden gem I discovered on instagram was Dalloway Terrace. It’s chic outdoor dining but with the feeling of being inside. The restaurant is located on the terrace of the Bloomsbury Hotel – it’s elegantly styled and the feature walls are ordained with the most wonderful flower arrangements that are changed every season.
When I went in May, they had their Spring arrangements with white and cream flowers. Then when I went again in June, they had just put out their Summer arrangement of pink and yellow.
Love healthy, freshly prepared food? Love Asian or fusion food? If the answer’s yes then this is a place to visit when going on a foodie find. Discovering new places to eat has become a new hobby of mine. I love trying out different dishes and cuisines and when I was asked to come along to Buy & Bite’s new opening launch last week I was thrilled!
Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. I’m loving the slightly warmer weather we’ve been experiencing in London this week however I know it’s not going to last. I’m sure there will be forecasted rain by the end of the week or so.
Last week I’ve been keeping myself and the kids busy, especially as it’s still the Easter holidays and I really want to make it the most for the kids. I’ll be off furlough and back at work next month and as I work weekends, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to spend as much quality time with them then so I’m doing my best to now.
WellBox Hampers & Food Gift Boxes
Last week I was contacted by WellBox who wanted me to review one of their most popular food gift boxes. Of course I accepted – anything in the name of food! 🙂 I was kindly sent the Entice hamper to try out and boy was I in for a nice surprise! As I don’t drink alcohol I asked for a non-alcoholic option to review and here’s what I got….
A selection of 11 delicious snacks and sweets
Yep! 11 delicious, tasty, fantastic snacks and sweets. My favourites have to be the dark chocolate orange honeycomb bites – man they’re good! Then it’d have to be the olives (I love olives!) and the crunchy corn snack. The snacking cheese bites are fantastic but they’re definitely strong so if you’re not a big fan of cheese… you’re not going to love them. Just telling you now.
A list of everything that came in my food gift box is below.
Serene Inspirational Affirmation Card
This is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever received in a food hamper. You can sometimes forget about yourself in the midst of things and these little affirmation pick-me-ups seem like just the things you need to read or see.
1 meal donated to a local person in need through our charity partners
Another reason to love these WellBox food gifts hampers is because they are giving back to the community – your local community to be exact. With every box purchased, the company donates a hot meal or meal provision to someone in need from your local area with the help of Barnabus Manchester. You can learn more about this on their website.
It really is a gift that keeps on giving – or at least – gives back. For anyone in need of corporate gifting ideas, this is the one you ought to be adding to your list. After receiving mine, I would be more than ecstatic if my employer sent me a hamper!
Personalised Printed Message from you or your company to the recipient (one message per order)
Alongside a personalised printed message, you should also get a little loyalty card that says to upload a photo of your box on social media, to get a special 20% discount off your next order… that got my attention for sure and of course I uploaded a photo!
There are a few friend and family member’s birthdays coming up so I will be kindly taking up that offer. 🙂
Free UK Delivery to your office, or your team member’s home address
Alongside free delivery which is a no-brainer, you can make also one order and send to multiple addresses. Choose from entering the addresses yourself onto their secure site or you can choose to send an email link to your recipients and they can complete their address directly to cut out the faff.
Review: WellBox Entice Food Hamper
The WellBox Entice hamper has a wonderfully curated selection of sweets and savoury snacks as well as a lovely bottle of something bubbly, whether that’s with or without the alcohol.
It’s definitely a gift box for sharing so I naturally shared mine with the kids. The weather hadn’t been on our side (plus we couldn’t wait any longer) so we decided to have a home picnic and sample all of our delicious snacks and treats!
All the snacks were well packed and the drink came in its own special blow-up bottle case to make sure it didn’t smash during transit. Very thoughtful indeed!
I also got this lovely motivational affirmation card in the WellBox hamper. It was super sweet. I think these affirmation cards would be greatly appreciated if this food gift box was given for employee appreciation as well as for friends and family.
Mighty Fine Honeycomb Bites in Dark Chocolate Orange
Buttermilk Cornish Fudge in Strawberry Bellini
I Love Snacks Mixed Roasted Nuts
I Love Snacks Italian Olives
Serious Baked Snacking Cheese
Nudie Snacks Premium Toasted Coconut Chips
Lovecorn Sharing Pack
With vegan, halal, gluten-free and non-alcoholic options available, there really is a box to suit everyone.
Supporting Small and Local Businesses
WellBox are an events and staff gifting company from Manchester, UK. The charity they work with, Barnabus Manchester is also from the UK. Even though corporate gifting is their main focus, they allow single-box orders so you really can just order the one. If you have friends and family with similar bdays you can order both to be delivered on the same day or schedule for different days. Snazzy or what?!
Whenever I can, I try to make the change and support small and local businesses. It’s nicer and you feel like you’ve actually helped someone else out by investing in their business. I have many friends who have started up their own small businesses and am so proud of them all. Being a small business owner is no mean feat especially during these tricky times of covid.
If the photo of Little Miss above hasn’t already made you take a look at the gift hampers, I would definitely recommend you to check it out. Especially their wellness boxes, you get goodies as well as snacks which is pretty cool and there’s even a curated box for men… perfect for the Father’s Day that’s coming up soon hint hint!
NB. We were kindly sent the Entice hamper box by WellBox to sample in collaboration for a product review on the blog. All photos, words, opinions and content are my own and must not be reused without my consent.
A couple weeks ago I bought these cool silicone bundt cake moulds from Amazon and I can’t get enough of using them. They’re so easy to use and clean – also, two moulds for £13.99 is a bargain! I’ve used them to bake all sorts of cake. I’ve used the swirl one to make coconut and banana cake, marble cake and now I’m using the more traditional-looking Bundt mould (doughnut-ring shape) to make lemon drizzle cake and now, red velvet Bundt cake. Just in time for Mother’s Day too!Initially I was going to make a lemon Bundt cake topped with edible flowers but I’ve missed the delivery for those so I’m opting in for this red beauty instead.
I found out that Bundt cakes are basically the same as standard round cakes. There’s no different in taste – something I used to think was a thing. Their unique doughnut-ring shaped design is pretty much what sets them apart your usual cake so you can use this recipe to make your red velvet cake in a round cake tin, square cake tin, tray bake – whatever you fancy!
This week I have been indulging myself in baking delicious desserts. I’ve gotten a little bored with baking and photographing cakes – too much browns and beiges I wanted to shoot something a little more fun and summery. I was looking back on the blog and came across this old favourite of mine. Well, it’s actually Daddy P’s favourite recipe and it’s been a while since I made it for him. Behold, my deliciously tangy but sweet lemon posset dessert pots!
The lemon posset creme pots tastes like a citrusy creme brûlée and the texture is similar to a rich chocolate pot. It’s velvety smooth and oh so delicious! A word of warning though – this dessert is very sweet so if you are watching the calories or don’t have a sweet tooth, it’s best to avoid this one. Daddy P likes his lemon pots super sweet so I normally use 100g but for the sake of the rest of us, 80g sugar is sweet enough. If you prefer even less sugar, us about 50-60g sugar with the recipe below for a tart lemon taste. That should get you salivating!
Even though this dessert is very sweet, the tangy lemon juice does offset some of that sweetness and creates a refreshing balance. Enjoy it with a black coffee and shortbread (here’s a recipe for both!), or sparkling elderflower and mint for the perfect summer accompaniment.
Lemon Posset Creme Dessert Pots Recipe
This dessert is very quick and easy to make and follows a similar method to making custard. You can also swap the caster sugar for golden caster sugar or light brown sugar. Simply double up the measurements to yield 6 pots.
Time: prep – 5 mins, cooking – 15 mins, chilling – up to 4 hrs Serving: 3 small dessert pots or ramekins
300ml double cream
80g caster sugar (use 60g for less sweetness)
1tsp vanilla extract
x1 lemon (squeezed)
lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
optional – toppings for your pots ie. lemon curd, melted white chocolate or shavings, berry compote or crushed ginger biscuits
Add the double cream, vanilla extract and caster sugar to a saucepan, preferably a heavy-based pan to prevent the cream boiling too fast or burning, and stir continuously on a medium/high heat with a whisk.
When the cream looks starts bubbling from the sides of the pan, take the pan off the heat or reduce to a very low heat.
Whilst stirring, add in the lemon zest and the freshly squeezed lemon juice. You’ll see the cream turning into a thick custard consistency.
Stir briskly a bit more then leave to cool for around 5 mins before pouring or spooning into the tall ramekins or glass pots. If you don’t want to bite into any lemon zest, you could strain the mixture through a sieve as you pour into your pots. This also helps to remove any lumps from your lemon creme.
Place in the fridge to cool for 4 hours (or overnight) then enjoy them alone or accompanied with some shortbread biscuits.
OPTIONAL – you can add toppings to your lemon creme dessert like a dollop of lemon curd or white chocolate, crushed ginger biscuits or even a berry compote for a fruity twist.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know in the comments below. X
This post was first written and published on this blog in May 2015.
London and the rest of the UK are still in lockdown, so a lot of us have been unable to see our partners since before Christmas. If you’re like me and live with your partner – this can be a good thing or a bad thing. Good because you get to see them every day, bad because you have to see them everyday and this year, you’re not going to get off Valentine’s Day lightly if you’ve not planned anything!
If you’re living separately, at least have a Skype date. My sister keeps in contact with her best friend who’s in the US by having Skype movie nights together. They will Skype call each other, then play their chosen movie at the same time so they can ‘watch it together’. For me that’s too strange, but apparently this is how long-distance relationships and lockdown life for partners living separately looks like right now.
Valentine’s Day is coming up this week so if you’ve not planned anything but want to do something, I’ve got 5 ideas you could try out. Nothing extravagant but enough to make it memorable. After all, it’s been a bad year so any excuse to go all out for an occasion, do it! In normal circumstances you could think it’s a little overboard but in a pandemic, it’s almost a necessity for our sanity.
Date night ideas in lockdown
1. Cook (or order) a romantic restaurant-worthy dinner together
Missing those fancy restaurant date nights? I do! Mainly because we only ever saved these kind of date nights for special occasions so that included V’Day and B’days. If you’re both great in the kitchen, you can cook a delicious meal from scratch – it’s also a chance to bond and do something enjoyable together.
If you rather take the stress of cooking and focus on the eating experience, order a dinner box instead. SquareMeal have compiled a decent list fancy restaurants that are delivering Valentine’s day meal kits straight to your door. Set the scene by placing candles around the house (if you have fairy lights place them on the table as a centrepiece) for a candlelit dinner experience.
If you just prefer the sweeter stuff, afternoon tea is another great date idea. Not really for the evening but it can be if you want it to! We can play by our own rules now in lockdown. Sketch London was one of my favourite places for afternoon tea because their menu was really exciting and tasty. They’re offering a special Valentine’s Day afternoon tea delivery but only for London as national UK deliveries are fully booked. Plus, the packaging is to die for, it’s so pretty! Perfect for a galentine’s date too!
2. Go rustic with a cheese board and wine night
Cheese board and wine is really simple and rustic take on a dinner date. You can usually throw it together at the last minute. Life As A Strawberry blog has a step-by-step visual post on how to set up your cheese board.
A good cheese board should have the following elements:
Selection of cheeses – soft cheeses (ie. brie, camembert, roquefort, stilton), hard cheeses (ie. cheddar, edam, gouda) and fruity cheeses (ie. cranberry, apricot and wensleydale)
Variety of carbs – bread, breadsticks, crackers, and savoury biscuits, oat cakes
Something sweet – dried fruits ie. apricots, cranberries or fresh fruits ie. grapes, strawberries, figs, melons, apples, jams and chutneys
Pair it up with a selection of good wines ie. red, white, rose; for non-alcoholic drinkers, you could pick out some fancy alcohol-free wine or just go simple with sparkling juices like Shloer. Don’t forget to have lots of water nearby, cheese boards have a massively high salt content so you’ll get thirsty. Keep hydrated.
3. Relax and unwind with an at-home spa day
Now this one may seem like a bit more effort (it probably is) but it’s no more than cooking a big meal. We all need a bit of self care at the moment and being able to enjoy a DIY spa day together can be an amazing bonding experience.
It can be as simple as running each other a relaxing bath soak and lighting scented candles, to DIY facials and massages. On The Beach have some top tips on how to set up the best couples spa day at home including recipes for homemade body scrubs. If you really want to push the boat out, you can even hire a hot tub at home, small businesses like Bubble of London offer this at home service in London and surrounding areas. They set up, install and take down the hot tub for you, from £100 a full day hire.
If you’re on Instagram, you can join leading British spa wellness brand, @AromatherapyAssociates at 4.30pm on February 14th for their 30 minute moments of mindfulness event on Instagram LIVE.
Living room raves are all the rage right now. If you love to party, what’s stopping you from doing it this Sunday night? Get dressed up and get your partner to do the same – might as well make an effort this one night. Put an amazing party playlist on, Spotify have brilliant ones and party the night away.
If you want to go all out, why not purchase an LED multi-light bulb that you can connect to Alexa or Google assistant and get the lights to sync to your music for the full-on rave experience. Get some drinks in and make your own DIY minibar. Learn how to make the classic cocktails here or if you want special Valentine’s Day concoctions here’s some inspiration:
Too tired by the evening? Start off the morning with amazing breakfast in bed instead. Not sure what to make? A delicious stack of pancakes and good coffee is simple yet effective at filling your belly. Or go healthy with a fresh fruit bowl, natural yoghurt and a smoothie or green juice.
If you prefer something more indulgent, try making eggs benedict with croissants and pastries on the side. If that’s too much, sometimes a simple full English breakfast fry up and a cup of tea hits the spot just right!
I hope you all have a good Valentine’s Day date night! Leave a comment if you have of your own suggestions too. X
NB. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link, I may receive a small commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.
I’ve been vegan since around 2005. Since then I’ve eaten out many times, and it has become easier and easier. In London, you can now get a vegan version of almost anything. Here are a few take- home tips for uninitiated:
Vegan meal delivery services and ready meals
When our Baby was first born, we became experts in opening organic tins to eat. It’s surprisingly tasty when you’re hungry, and we’ve carried on buying them. (It’s best to avoid sugar and salt, but, well, sometimes we can’t be bothered). You can find some such items on offer at: Ethical Superstore, TheVeganKind or Greenbay. You can also order a bundle of easy vegan meals to freeze from allplantsor The Book Plant Based Kitchen.
How to tell a takeaway you are vegan
There is no need to feel embarrassed about expressing your preferences, so long as you are polite about it, the staff will generally be happy to help. If not, then there are plenty of other choices to try out there! Some places also let you filter their menu by allergens, which makes life much easier. Even if they do, write a note in the comment box at the end of the order form and add your own number. Or better still, phone. Either check the website for the number. On ‘Just Eat’ you can find the phone number of the place by clicking the bit of the page which says ‘click if you have an allergy’.
Non-vegan ingredients to check for on menus
Ask if meals are cooked in butter or ghee, contain yoghurt, cream, cheese or paneer. Eggs don’t usually show up unexpectedly, but check to be sure. Where dishes include oyster sauce, you can just ask for this to be removed. Obviously, also avoid meat and fish.
How vegan dishes are labelled on menus
Generally speaking, ‘V’ on a menu means vegetarian (no meat or fish). ‘V+’ or ‘VE’ tends to mean vegan (no dairy, eggs or honey), and ‘GF’ means gluten free. Not everyone is clear that gluten free and vegan are different concepts. The menu might only label things as vegetarian, in which case ask for clarification.
South Indian restaurants are great for vegans. We found one in Plumstead a while ago. Other Indian, Nepalese, Carribean and Ethiopiean places often have vegan options, just avoid cream and butter (such as in tikka masala, korma, or often with spinach). We once went to an Indian restaurant which said they cooked everything in butter, but this is rare. Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai places tend to be fine if you order tofu and avoid oyster sauce. Nowadays, many pizzerias offer a vegan cheese option if you ask.
Remember the sprinkles!
Us vegans often sprinkle extra nutrients on our meals, such as: nutritional yeast, ground flax and sauerkraut.
Vegan home deliveries near Greenwich:
Hullabaloo – vegetarian, with branches in Greenwich and Deptford
Vegan masala or korma made with coconut and cashew milk is lovely and mild for little ones. These are not usually vegan! You can also try black bean lentil dal, soya chunks with aachari, or vegan ‘butter’ naan bread, as well as the usual Indian takeaway favourites.
This was the last cafe we visited before I became pregnant. I later returned with Baby when they were about one year old. We finished off a chai tea and a meal while waiting for my friend, so ordered another when she arrived. Baby was very enthusiastic. I remember the staff as friendly, there was nice music, and you could watch passers by through the window. You can find them on Uber Eats or Just Eat.
We’ve stopped off here a couple of times for a healthy curry, salad (with fruit) and turmeric latte. The cafe is part of a day spa, with a philosophy based in ancient Indian medicine. It has high chairs and baby changing facilities. Staff kindly ignored me when I borrowed a shower in the toilet to wash baby sick out of my hair… You can find them on Deliveroo.
Eat of Eden – vegan, branches in Lewisham, Brixton, Clapham and Shepherds Bush
Organic Carribean mixed platters with plenty of vegetables, proteins and also finger foods. The Brixton branch of which has nappy changing facilities and step- free access for buggies. Find Eat of Eden on Just Eat
Burgers, chips and other pub grub to try if you are missing meaty junk. Find them on Deliveroo
Vegan sauces and cheeses
You can order vegan sauces and ferments from Walworth based The Omni Collective. Artisanal vegan cheeses are cycled for free to local postcodes by Peckham based The Odds.
Persepolis – vegetarian, in Peckham but delivers to Deptford
Middle Eastern gooey things to dip chips into. Select the ‘make vegan’ tick box option. We went to Persepolis for my 30th birthday. There were highchairs, a children’s menu, and little meze meals to order and share. Many meals were decorated with a vertical cheesy wotsit. Daddy decided not to propose that day because I had a cold.
This contribution post was written by guest writer, Helen Long from Vegan Family Guide – your partner in compassionate, plant powered parenting.
Bring sunshine into your kitchen this November with flavours from Morocco and Sicily!
For a limited time only, meal box delivery company, Mindful Chef has partnered up with Naturally Fast Food chain, LEON to provide you with an enjoyable restaurant experience at home with two exclusive recipes. These limited edition recipes will be available on the Mindful Chef website from November 8th to 21st -all you’ll need to do is order your box by November 17th..
Naturally Fast Food at home with Mindful Chef x LEON
You’ll be rolling meatballs, simmering sauces and slicing the ‘slaw in no time with these two new recipes. As always, your box will contain all of the pre-measured ingredients in your limited edition box PLUS you will also receive a jar of the iconic LEON’s vegan garlic aioli (per recipe) which you can serve on the side of your delicious LEON lunch. The two recipes you can choose from are Moroccan Meatballs and Sicilian-Style Meatless Meatballs.
What’s the hype about food boxes?
Working from home can be stressful and figuring out what to cook for your next meal can even be more challenging. This is why many people have taken a liking to food delivery boxes such as Mindful Chef, Gousto and Hello Fresh. The Mindful Chef x LEON boxes are delivered directly to your door which saves time, money, packaging and food wastage. The portion sizes are expertly measured out for you so you don’t have fiddle around with measuring spoons, jugs etc. Simply sit back, cook as per instructions (which are easy to follow!) and enjoy.
“Make LEON’s juicy Moroccan Meatballs at home, featuring grass-fed beef and their unique spice blend! Serve with a fresh tomato sauce, crunchy red cabbage and kale slaw and a dollop of LEON’s iconic aioli.“
NEW: LEON Sicilian-style Meatless Meatballs recipe
“Recreate LEON’s Sicilian-style Meatless Meatballs at home, starring beluga lentils, aubergine, black olives and lemon zest. Spoon over fluffy brown rice, top with a luscious tomato sauce and enjoy with a dollop of LEON’s iconic vegan aioli.“
NB. This post contains affiliate links. If you do click on the links and make place an order, I may receive a small commission on qualifying transactions. Photo Credit: LEON – all photos should be credited to LEON respectively.
This year seems to be flying by… I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone! Honestly, it’s all been a blur – most days seem to blend into each other and I can’t make out whether it’s the start of the week or the end of the week.
Black Pound Day has grown tremendously strength by strength each month and I’m so happy to see that more and more people are spending their money consciously and doing more to support small businesses, especially local black-owned businesses.
Black Pound Day: October 3
Unfortunately, I never made it to posting my 5 recommended businesses for October and I feel so bad for it, especially as it was also UK’s Black History Month. I’m posting last month’s round-up for this month PLUS an extra upcoming business that’s created by kids for you to feast on. Yes, children – you’re never too early to start a business!
Beauty & Home: Neriyas
If 2020 has got you stuck in a rut, feeling a little down or mentally and physically exhausted, uplift your spirits and mental wellbeing by spending a little more self-care time on yourself. This is something that Neriyas promote highly; Neriyas is a natural beauty and homecare brand centered on helping you improve your self-care. The candles look beautiful and would be the perfect addition to the home – think of it as an early Christmas treat! Neriyas facial oil cleanser is becoming a new favourite for many natural skincare junkies. You can also get 10% off your purchases when you sign up on the website.
Check out how beautiful the products are on IG: @neriyasldn
Health & Wellness: Black Kids Do Yoga
Sonjoria Sydnor is the founder of Sydnorville Books and creator of @BlackKidsDoYoga. She recently launched her first book, Our Family’s Doing Yoga. It’s available for international shipping (she’s US based) which means you can enjoy the book wherever you are. The book is a fantastic read and the perfect introduction to yoga for the whole family.
If you have been following me for a little while, you’ll know that I love yoga and trained to be a Kids & Family Yoga Teacher a couple years ago. Yoga is a fantastic health benefit, not only for the body, but for the mind also… and it works just as well on children.
Yoga has so many benefits for both adults and children. In children, it can help to calm their busy little bodies and minds, help improve concentration and focus, and encourage them to be more confident with their bodies and self-awareness. It can also be a great way to keep them active, engaged and creative.
Books/Education: How To Raise A Kind Child In A Prejudiced World by Uju Asika
Black Lives Matter was one of the pinnacle moments of 2020. The BLM movement is nothing new (it’s has been around since 2013), but once again, has shook the world again light of George Floyd’s murder. People all around the world are trying to unlearn any unconscious racial bias, learn how to properly form allyship and making the world a more inclusive place, not just for black people but for all people of colour. This fantastic book by fellow family lifestyle blogger, Uju Asika who blogs at Babes About Town (check her out!) has written a book on how to raise children in a kind and inclusive way. You can purchase the book here.
Jamaican black castor oil is one of the most popular ingredients in all good haircare and beauty products. The first time I discovered black castor oil was in Shea Moisture’s popular Jamaican Black Castor Oil haircare and Tropical Isle’s oil however pure black castor oil works even better. MelaninMade has harnessed the powerful properties of this oil and bottled it in the most natural way possible (she grows her own castor bush on her organic farm back home in Jamaica!) for us to receive all of its magical goodness. Pure and unrefined, MelaninMade’s Jamaican black castor oil is excellent for improving hair and scalp conditions, fading scars, stretch marks, and a range of skin conditions.
Owned by two friends from France, the duo have brought to us a whole new level of lifestyle luxury. Ever wanted to have your own hot tub but didn’t want to commit to buying one? Well, now you can! Bubble of London are a hot tub hiring company; completely mess-free, the guys come and set up/dismantle everything for you so you can just sit back and enjoy the bubbles. Bubble of London also offer hiring packages including balloons, shisha pipes, screen projectors and disco lights for all of your home entertainment needs.
TINIE TREATS is a new and upcoming postal dessert box business, created by three little bakers. The business is L2 Food Hygiene certified and is currently in its testing stage so keep an eye out for their debut launch on instagram. The concept is that you select your freshly baked treats, which will be packed and sent out to you via UK post. Follow their progress on Instagram and if you’re looking to invest in this small ventures, they are open to proposals.
That’s another month gone already! Last Black Pound Day: August I listed five wonderful businesses where you could put your money to good use. This month, I’ve got another five lined up for you. Same again, each of the businesses are from a different category but check out Black Pound Day’s official website for a comprehensive list of black-owned businesses local to you.
Food: Dinah’s Desserts
Need a birthday cake?Dinah’s Desserts is my go-to baker and cake designer. Her culinary background and skills stem from working in Michelin star restaurants and it really shows in her attention to detail. I always splash out on a cake for the kids’ birthdays because they always look the best and are made to perfection. Here are two of my favourite designs – the dinosaur and the unicorn…
Food: Eat of Eden
Finding a vegan food spot a few years ago would’ve been a difficult task but with the rise of free-from foods, vegan eateries are now popping up all over London which is fantastic news. Eat of Eden offers deliciously tasty vegan platters (small, medium and large), vegan patties, burgers, natural juices and sea moss juices. Healthy. Hearty. Wholesome. Just pure delicious. There’s a few of them dotted around London so you’re bound to find one near to you. I went to the Brixton one but there’s one coming soon to Lewisham, South London.
Eat of Eden also taking part in the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme from Mon-Wed.
Eat of Eden platter / Photo Credit: Happy Cow
Arts & Education: Black History Activity Books
Finding resources that support important black figures has always been hard for me because I never really knew where to look. But since the rise of the BLM movement, I am finding it a little easier now to find culturally diverse reading and learning resources. These Black History Activity Books are amazing. They offer a wide range of fun activities for children from colouring in to spot the difference, and there’s also lots of interesting facts to learn too. We chose Malcom X, Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey. There’s so many to choose from (I think up to 50!) so do check them out. They’d also make great birthday or Christmas gifts.
the kids with their new activity books
Home: Savour Candles
When I first saw these candles, I knew they had to be amazing. They’re made from 100% soy wax, are non-toxic and because it’s completely made of soy, you won’t experience that horrible soot and smell after putting the candle out. Soy candles are also known to burn at least 25% longer than their paraffin counterparts. The white glass jar is so pretty and would look amazing in any room. Savour Candles also don’t stop at candles either – they also offer wax melts, melt posts, reed diffusers. If you’re not sure which fragrance to go for, you can order free scent sticks to help you choose one (or a few!) more easily.
I Am? Me! is a new female-owned BME social-enterprise that has been set up to provide inclusive black and minority ethnic resources for parents, teachers, educators and child carers. The company is completely new and is relying on fundraising to help them grow and expand their outreach. Their Go Fund Me page has so far raised a good amount but still need a lot more help. If you are in a position to donate please do, but if not then you can still help by sharing their page with others or on social media.
2020 Calendar Dates
Here’s a list of all the upcoming Black Pound Day dates until the end of the year. No more guessing of when it is, just save the image to your phone or desktop and you’re good to go.
Forget the time-outs and the naughty step, many British parents are giving in to their child/children’s every whim during the lockdown and the repercussions could cause detrimental consequences for their health.
Did you know that…
• 1.9 million children at risk of obesity due to lockdown eating habits
• One third of UK children overweight or obese
• 97% of UK children at home during lockdown
• 45% of parents are being pestered for sugary snacks by children
Before the pandemic hit, one third of children in the UK, aged between two and fifteen were classed as overweight or obese, with the health crisis costing the NHS £6.1 billion per year. A recent study also showed that 45% of British parents were being overthrown with requests from their children for sugar-filled snacks and drinks whilst stuck at home during the lockdown.
Parents fight an ongoing battle between working-from-home, homeschooling and good parenting. Sometimes, it becomes easier to compromise on the little things help to offer some relief for the other things. So the children learn to use this to their advantage and get that sugary treat whenever they felt like it. Some parents might even do it out of guilt – feeling like they’ve subjected their children to these harsh times so a treat can help keep them happy and positive.
With around 4.5 million children in the UK – 97% of those were cooped up at home during the lockdown. We were one of those families – our children didn’t go out at all during the lockdown but since the easing, we’ve been able to get out and about a little bit more. We don’t always treat the kids to sugary snacks, sweets or drinks but can definitely agree that we have been giving them it more often post-lockdown compared to before.
The NHS could well see a spike in obesity in the next few years to come. Wayne Starkey, CEO and Co-Founder of healthy food and drink brand, The Skinny Food Co, said: Sugar can have detrimental short and long term effects on our children, from mood swings and anxiety, to depression, tooth decay and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
“As a Dad myself, I understand how difficult it can be to change bad eating habits once they start, so opting for healthier alternatives is a much easier way to limit high calorie snacking for everyone in your household.”
The Skinny Food Co is a food and drink brand dedicated to zero calorie sauces, syrups and healthy snacking options. They also offer Free-from food and snacks including sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, protein-heavy, diabetic-friendly and keto-friendly.
Best ways to AVOID consuming high sugars:
Eat the fresh fruit whole and cut down/avoid eating too much dried fruit
Avoid juicing as you don’t gain any nutritional intake, only sugars
If you make smoothies, include the whole fruit to make use of the pulp and flesh and add in a variety of vegetables for nutritious smoothie, a fruit-only smoothie is not ideal as it can be high in sugars
Eat high-sugar fruits like bananas, oranges and melons when they’re just ripe. Over-ripe fruits have a very high sugar content
Avoid or at least limit sugary drinks, foods and snacks – if you might, opt for sugar-free or low-calorie alternatives
For the full range from The Skinny Food Co, to place orders or for more details, visit www.theskinnyfoodco.com, alternatively pop into your local Morrisons, Holland & Barrett, Co-Op and Spar stores.
We’re not going to let lockdown take away our summer completely are we?! With the sun shining away this week, why not get into the kitchen and cook up a mean treat for your family at home this summer. There’s no need to go away just yet and a summer party or mini-BBQ at home might be the best way to go. If you have a slightly bigger space and are seeing people in your social bubbles, you could even try to organise a mini-festival!
I took the kids to visit a friend in our social bubble this week and she has a massive outdoor communal garden where we were able to create a mini-retreat space for the kids. We had a pool so the kids could take a dip when it got too hot, a healthy picnic lunch, games for the kids to play and we ended the evening with kids yoga. It was an awesome day and we all had an amazing time!
How to throw a sizzlin’ summer party…
Depending on how much effort you want to put in, you can still throw a decent party by doing the following:
setting the scene
save time by preparing easy to make food
get the music and drinks flowing
get out the party games
take photos to remember the day
Setting the scene: have a party theme
If you’re stuck for inspiration or your Google search is not you any justice, I’d highly suggest checking out Pinterest. It’s an amazing media platform where you’d find photos for absolutely anything. I usually like to do a brief search on Google before heading over to Pinterest to find examples of what my theme/concept is. There’s usually many variations and interpretations of “summer party idea” so try to be as specific as you can ie. ‘summer tropical party idea’ or ‘vintage summer party idea’.
If you’re also going to be hosting for friends and family in your social bubbles, it might be easier to use disposable party-ware but forget all the plastic stuff. Party-ware has officially stepped up their game with recyclable, compostable and biodegradable disposables so it’s more friendly to the environment.
Swap your plates, cutlery and straws for these beauties. They look so pretty too! I’ve found a whole range on Party Delights and Amazon offers both square and round plates.
I’ve got my eye on a super-cute children’s 6pc bamboo set on Amazon- they’re easy to wash and nicer to use than plastic tableware which we have quite a few of now.. no more breaks and chips woop woop!
Save time by preparing easy to make food
As much as I love to cook, I actually hate preparing food for a party. I find it’s too time consuming and so much planning need to go into it. I’d simply rather buy something already made well than trying to DIY for the first time, or get a caterer in. However, there are a few simple dishes that I love making for a party which don’t require too much time, I’ll have to upload my own recipes for some of these but here’s my list of easy-to-make dishes:
Need more recipe inspiration? Tesco have 10 quick BBQ recipes that are simple and easy to follow. They look super tasty too!
Get the music + drinks flowing
No party is a party without music. The easiest way is to connect your phone or electronic device to the speakers and you’ve got your own sound system. You can also play music straight from your TV if the speakers are loud enough. We have our own mini speaker that’s mega-powerful for its tiny size. Forget all those big name brands, the name you need to know is ANKER. My friend told me about this brand and I’ve not looked back since. I got my SoundCore bluetooth speaker for a third of the price I would’ve paid for a Sony speaker. Simply connect it to bluetooth on your phone and that’s it – music! On my phone I use Spotify and another music app to play YouTube videos so I can use my phone whilst the music plays.
Having a variety of drinks at your party is a good idea. We’re not drinkers in our house so I’m not sure what is the best one to choose but from what others have told me, summer alcoholic beverages are a treat, such as PIMMS, strawberry daiquiri cocktails, rum punch, sangria, and prosecco. Binary Botanical offer a range of gluten-free, vegan beers
If you’re T-Total like us, then these drinks might quench your thirst:
Alcohol-free alcohol – Kopparberg do an alcohol-free cider, Shloer is another great supermarket name and alternative to wine, Seedlip offer a premium range of alc-free botanical gins. For mocktail lovers, try Sipling cocktails which are alc-free and Outfox for a range of non-alc wines
lemonade and ginger beer are summer party staples – I love the shop bought stuff but if you want to get more involved, try making your own homemade version
summer fruit smoothies – The Honestly Good Smoothie Co. for ready-to-blend smoothie bags help cuts down prep time and saves on wastage
naturally spiced soft drinks – with choices like tamarind, ginger and sorrel, Carisips have got you sorted
Get out the party games
Party games are fun for everyone. Best children’s games include giant ring toss, giant snakes and ladders or connect-4. You can usually purchase these from Argos. Other kids games that only need a few or no props include:
team races – eg. relay race, egg and spoon race, sack race
hide & seek
who am I (using post-its or sticky labels)
We nabbed a cheap plastic kids bowling set for £5 from a cheap store. If you want games that won’t cost a penny, Thifty Parent and Buzz Feed have a decent list of games you can play.
Take photos to remember the day
Take photos of the day to remember either on your phone, tablet or electronic device. Snapfish (10cm x 13cm) and SuperSnaps (6.7cm x 7.7cm) offer retro square prints that have that cool, polaroid picture effect to make your day really memorable. I’m still torn on getting an INSTAX square camera for Little Man’s birthday but that’s an extra splurge I don’t think I want to get into.