Christmas Gift Guide for Her 2019

Disclaimer: Products marked with (*) were gifted for the purpose of review and inclusion in this blog post. No brands have sponsored or paid for inclusion in this blog post, aside from the gifting of products. 

First of all, where has this year gone? I can’t believe we are even talking about Christmas, it feels way too early but it is actually November, so when it comes to Christmas shopping, we all need to start thinking!

I decided to do another Christmas Gift Guide ‘for her’ this year after the success of last year’s but this year, I will also be doing a version for him too!

So, what could you be buying the women in your life this year?

Leggings from Love Leggings*

Every girl is pretty much forever needing new leggings, whether you wear them just around the house or to the gym and I definitely have a new favourite brand that I am recommending to everyone!

Love Leggings are a dedicated online legging shop, selling everyday, sport and maternity leggings, providing different styles and colours to suit every occasion.

I have been lucky enough to try the Energise Full Length sports leggings in ‘midnight black’ and they are definitely something I would tell my friends to buy or get them as a gift for Christmas, especially those who are big gym go-ers!

The sport leggings retail for £28.00 which I don’t think is bad at all and is much cheaper than leading sports brands such as Nike or Adidas and from wearing them, I think they’re better quality!

An Experience Day from Buy A Gift*

I’ve been making a conscious effort this year to buy less materialistic gifts and have been choosing to get my friends and family experiences instead as I think these are much more valuable, so an experience day is the perfect present.

Buy A Gift have thousands of different experience days on offer to suit everyone’s different interests and hobbies, from spa days to cooking classes, driving experiences to water sports, so there really is something to suit everyone.

I know my mum would love a spa day, so I have picked her out the Blissful Spa Day for Two which retails for £55 and includes a 25-minute treatment each as well as full use of the spa facilities at any one of 147 different spas across the UK.

The price range of the experiences is so varied that there’s something to suit whatever budget you want to spend.

Rosalique 3 in 1 Anti Redness Miracle Formula*

Skincare and cosmetics are always popular gifts for women at Christmas and the Rosalique 3 in 1 Anti Redness Miracle Formula is a product that is going to be the perfect gift for anyone with red or sensitive skin.

Suitable for all skin types, whether you have the skin complaints mentioned above or not, the Rosalique cream contains SPF 50 which is a perfect makeup base for anyone but it also conceals, treats and reduces the long term appearance of redness.

A green coloured cream to effectively combat redness, the 30ml size is £29.99, so this is a premium product but a small amount of the product goes a long way, so this size is set to last a while.

Glass Straws from Vaso*

The perfect gift for the friend that loves to be the hostess with the most or the friend that is into doing their bit for the environment, these stunning and high quality glass drinking straws are a gift a lot of people will appreciate.

Available in two different sizes, these glass straws a perfect for every day drinking and decorating your cocktails with at the weekend! Super affordable, sustainable and a great investment to make for someone trying to ditch the plastic, this really thoughtful gift won’t break the bank but will go a long way!

Assorted Truffles from Booja Booja*

I love a selection box as much as the next person but these gluten, dairy and soya free truffles from Booja Booja are too good to not share with EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

Beautifully packaged and packed with flavour, this £9.99 selection box contains 5 different flavours, my favourite being the almond salted caramel… wow!

T-Zone Glitter Face Mask*

The perfect stocking filler, the T-Zone glitter peel off face masks feel super festive with the added sparkle as well as being a real treat for your skin.

Available in a black and silver variety, the black mask boosts glow while the silver refines pores, both retailing for just £2.99 for the sachets or £6.99 for the tubes.

Tomatin Whisky*

A tipple is a classic choice for Christmas gifting and if you know a whisky fan, the Tomatin whisky is a great choice.

Premium tasting and available in a range of different varieties, Tomatin whisky is made using quality ingredients and is made with extra care and attention for the best flavour.

Delicious sipped or mixed with lemonade.

So, whatever kind of woman you’re buying for this year, whether she’s a beauty queen or a real foodie, there’s bound to be something in this gift guide to suit her!

What are you hoping to get under the Christmas tree this year?

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Zippo Sunglasses Review | AD

*Disclaimer – This blog is in collaboration with Zippo. Items marked with a (*) in this blog post were gifted by Zippo for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

When we think of Zippo as a brand, we tend to think on lighters. I was first introduced to Zippo many years ago by friends of mine that smoked and used Zippo lighters but as a non-smoker, I never really had a need to explore the brand any further, however, in recent years the brand has brought out a whole new range of sunglasses and they’re much more relevant to my life.

As well as a quality range of leather goods, Zippo have recently launched a range of gorgeous sunglasses and I was lucky enough to receive a pair* this summer to test out when we’ve had good weather and I’m going to be sharing my thoughts with you today.

So, which pair did I choose?

Well, the lovely team at Zippo gave me free reign of their sunglasses collection  so I could pick my favourite pair and I went for the *Smoke Round Sunglasses as this is a style I love but don’t currently own.

I used to have a pair very similar to this from a different brand but unfortunately, I sat on them and they snapped… SO, this was the perfect chance to get a similar pair back in my collection and I am so happy I did because since my Zippo sunglasses have arrived, they have lived either on my face, in my car or in my bag.

The first thing I just can’t believe about these glasses is that they’re priced between £14.00 – £20.00 per pair which for sunglasses is just unbelievably affordable. They’re rally modern and stylish and they have lots of different colours and shapes for different occasions and preferences but they feel so high quality.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re very lightweight because the materials are quite basic but saying that, who really wants super heavy sunglasses? The Zippo branding is really subtle and they pair I chose look like they could’ve come from plenty of different designers.

The pair I chose doesn’t have one of those adjustable nose posts which I AM VERY HAPPY ABOUT because only some of you will understand how irritating it is when your hair is in a pony tail and you put sunglasses on your head and the nose post gets stuck in your hair and you ruin your ponytail… I know it sounds ridiculous but I genuinely avoid sunglasses like that, so these are perfect.

I opted for a black pair as I find them the most versatile but the same round style of sunglasses at Zippo are available in a brown and a green printed finish if you fancy something a little bolder.

Now, let’s talk lenses because as much as a pair of sunglasses need to look good, they need to do their job too and I won’t lie, I have spent hundreds of sunglasses before and the lenses have been terrible.

I always compare sunglasses to my Prada pair as they’re my go-to pair, mainly because they were a real investment and as much as it pains me to say it, I could’ve saved myself hundreds and just bought a pair from Zippo because the lenses are better.

The lenses on the Zippo ones are so dark when you put them on, they’re genuinely really good whereas the lenses in my Prada ones are quite frankly… terrible. In my Prada sunglasses, I still have to shade my eyes from the sun when I have them on because they do literally nothing but the Zippo ones are great.

With the Zippo sunglasses, you also get a little protective drawstring case for them. It is only a thin, protective bag opposed to a hard case but it does the job and for the price of the sunglasses, it’s great that you get anything with them.

So, my overall review of the Zippo sunglasses is that everyone needs a pair… SERIOUSLY!

I absolutely love mine and am currently eyeing up all the other designs in the style I have because I want them all now. They’re a comfortable fit, dark lenses and they don’t break the bank – what more could you want?

BeautyWorks Hair Extensions Review

It’s been a while since I did a beauty related blog post and I’ve got a few I want to do but I’m going to start by talking about my new hair because it is a big change and something I know a lot of people think about getting done themselves, so I thought I’d share my review and experience of getting a weave with BeautyWorks extensions.

Why A Weave?

When people find out I have had a weave, the first thing I always get asked is why? People tend to ask why as my hair wasn’t super short or super thin, so a lot of people don’t see what the need was but for me, I missed by really long hair and feel I have always had really fine hair which is something that will never change unless I do something like getting extensions.

I felt like my hair didn’t look great tied up due to being quite thin and the options of what I could do with my hair with the current length and thickness was limited, so I decided to take the plunge and get my hair longer and thicker with the help of a weave.

As for why I went for a weave opposed to clip-in extensions or another form semi-permanent extensions like nano bonds or tapes is mainly because my best friend already has a weave and loves it, so I kind of knew what to expect. For me, the idea of tapes or nano bonds actually looked like a lot of time and effort to get fitted and have refitted every 4-6 weeks and felt like a lot of different fastenings, whereas a weave is just three rows sewed in and feels very subtle and easy to fit.

What Hair Do I Have?

I had already been colour matched with BeautyWorks extensions at a salon before I found the girl who eventually did my hair, so I knew my shade in BeautyWorks, so basically it was the easiest option to go with that brand. I had heard positive things about BeautyWorks hair and of course, Molly-Mae from this year’s Love Island wears BeautyWorks and her hair is just gorgeous, so I was happy to go with their hair opposed to another brand.

I am shade 3 in BeautyWorks which is a colour called Brazilla. It’s a warm-toned dark brown and is actually a tad too warm for my natural hair but we only realised once it arrived but as I have had blonde through my hair before, it actually blends in absolutely fine.

I have 22″ 150g Gold Weft extensions sewed into my hair in three rows. This is the heaviest/thickest weft you can get from BeautyWorks and the second-longest length, they do also do a 24″ length but for me, even the 22″ is ridiculously long.

Getting My Weave Fitted

I went to the lovely and VERY talented Amy Darby at Envy Hair and Beauty in Stockport. She isn’t super local to me but she is 100% worth the half an hour drive because she is so quick and efficient and getting the hair fitted and styled and I am so happy with how it looks.

My hair is sewed in three rows, one at the bottom of my head, one equal with the top of my ear and one just above my ears which comes quite far forward to the side of my head. Amy was telling me how some people really dislike how far forward this top row is sewed which I kind of get, it is a little annoying but she was saying how you don’t get the length at the front without this, so it is worth having.

It took about an hour and a half to fit the hair, cut it in (I had very little length taken off) and curl the whole head which I think is so quick, I was expecting to be there way longer. It wasn’t painful or uncomfortable at all.

Sunglasses – AJ Voyage, Necklace – Bloom Boutique, Top – Topshop, Bag – Michael Kors

Extensions Review 

For me, the hair feels really lightweight and comfortable. I struggled to sleep on the sew-ins the first night because I wasn’t used to it but now I am used to them, I sleep fine and don’t find them uncomfortable to lie on at all.

The hair itself is really gorgeous. It feels exactly like my natural hair and blends in with my own hair in terms of colour and texture which I am really happy with.

In terms of washing and styling, it is a nightmare to wash and dry due to the length and thickness but that isn’t because of the quality of the hair. It washes well and looks really fresh and healthy when it is washed and dried, it just takes ages. I only wash my full head, including the extensions, once a week which sounds gross but I section my hair and wash the natural hair on top of the weave 2-3 times a week so the whole thing looks clean and then actually wash the whole thing just once a week. This saves so much time and effort and also avoids the extensions getting dried out.

I use Sulfate and Paraben free shampoo and conditioner for both my full wash and my top washes to keep the extensions in as good condition as possible. I use the Shea Moisture Smooth & Tame Shampoo and Conditioner which contains argan oil, shea butter and marshmallow root extract and that works really well for keeping my extensions looking sleek and healthy.

Before blow-drying my weave, I put a few drops of the Forest & Shore Hallelujah Hair Oil through the extensions to keep them soft and healthy. I was sent this hair oil for review a while ago and still really really like it and it works really well for my extensions.

For styling, I curl my hair with the Mark Hill Pick n Mix Curling Wand with the medium barrel. I really like this curler because you buy the handle and then just buy whichever attachments you want. The handle is only £14.99 and the attachments are about £14.99 each too, so you can create your perfect curler and carry on buying different attachments to suit your hair as you change styles. I find this barrel to be big enough for the length and thickness of my extensions and I still get a really good curl.

Earrings – Topshop, Necklace – Bloom Boutique, Dress – Oh Polly, Shoes – Miss Guided

So far, I’m really happy with my extensions, both the ones I chose from BeautyWorks and how they have been fitted by Amy. If you want longer or thicker hair then extensions like a weave really are a great option and you can get them in varying lengths and thicknesses to achieve the look you want.

I’d love to know if you wear extensions and if so, which ones and how do you find them?

Watch Me at TEDx Bollington

The day has finally come for me to share something with you that has not only been in the pipeline since December but has actually been out in the open since June, I just couldn’t share it online because well, I didn’t have it!

As many of you will know, I was asked to do a TEDx talk back in December and the big day finally took place on June 16th, so just over a month ago now and as I said in my TEDx Experience blog – what a day!

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I absolutely loved creating my TEDx talk and delivering it on the day was honestly such an unforgettable experience. The feedback I got from live watchers was incredible and I just walked around the whole day and the day after too, with a Cheshire cat style grin on my face!

Since then, I’ve kind of been in limbo as I could tell everyone that I have done a TEDx talk and had the pictures but I couldn’t show them the actual talk! All my friends and family members who couldn’t make it on the day have been desperate to watch and it has been so frustrating to not have the talk to show them but I am so excited to say that it is live online now for you to watch!

You can watch my TEDx talk, from TEDx Bollington on YouTube now!

My talk is called ‘It’s Time to Remove the Filter From Social Media’ and you can watch it here!

I can’t believe the lovely messages I have had from people already and that over 400 people have already watched it but the more people that hear the message, the better, so please give it a watch!

If you could share the link on Twitter, that’d be even more amazing and don’t forget to tag me – @elliepool_

Your support is always so appreciated, so thank you as always and I hope you enjoy!

Photo Credit: Martin Hambleton

Falling in Love and Heartbreak – The Second Time

This blog has always been a place for me to ramble when needs be and sometimes, these posts are for nobody’s benefit but my own and I think this may be one of them but who knows, it may resonate with someone.

I spoke on my Instagram in September last year and have spoken on the blog many times about my breakup. This isn’t about that but long story short, together for three years, lived together, lies, upset, break up, heart break – yeah.

That was rough like VERY rough but I got through it and came out the other side a few months later feeling ready to meet someone new. I wasn’t actively looking but I was open to feeling for someone again.

In March this year, on the day I left the flat I’d shared with my ex no less, a boy walked into my life, out of nowhere and turned my head instantly.

I felt for him in that moment, the way I felt the day I’d met my ex. I don’t necessarily believe in love at first sight but I do believe that you know when you’ve met someone who is going to change your life and that’s how I felt when I met him.

At first, I was a bit of a closed book. I had been hurt so badly that I wasn’t going to let that happen again but when you’ve met someone that makes you feel that special way, you can’t keep your barriers up no matter how hard you try and before I knew it, I was falling head over heels.

He seemed like everything I wanted, we spent so much time together, I cared so much for him and would’ve gone to the ends of the world and back if he needed me too. I went out of my way to make him happy and just seeing him smile made it all worthwhile. I very quickly made him a priority and rightly or wrongly given the time frame, felt so strongly towards him.

After a few months, the whirlwind came to an end and as with my previous breakup, it wasn’t my choice and I had no control in the decision, it was made for me.

Although I knew this heartbreak hurt less and would last a lot less time, it still hurt and because I wasn’t strong enough to cut contact with him, it’s continued to re-hurt for months since but this whole thing has taught me about falling in and out of love for the second time.

I wanted to talk about this because everyone talks to you about your first love and your first heartbreak and what they’ll be like but no one tells you what it is like to do this for the second time.

I guess we don’t talk about it because we don’t want to have to go through it. We all want to fall in love just once and if we’re going to have to have our hearts broken, just the once is more than enough but unfortunately, we don’t all fall lucky and we do have to go there more than once and it is so different the second time.

Let’s start with falling in love for the second time. In my experience, it just isn’t as easy. You just don’t let yourself fall quite so care free. First time round, there’s a beautiful sense of naivety about it all. You’ve never been hurt. Falling in love has never gone wrong. It’s all just an adventure that you may be apprehensive about but you’re not scared. That blissful ignorance allows you to fall for someone with no hesitation but falling in love for the second time, especially after heartbreak, isn’t like that- or at least for me it wasn’t.

When you find that second person and feel those feelings come back, you know what they are. You don’t get that same feeling of anticipating the unknown because you already know how this could end and it’s hard not to skip straight to that part. It’s hard to sit back and enjoy falling in love when you know that this could end in heartbreak.

It is hard to knowingly walk back into the fire when you already know you could get burnt but at the same time, falling for the second time is also an incredible feeling. For me, it was like an awakening that there was more to life than the person that had hurt me. After a breakup, you feel like you’ll be alone forever and falling for the second time makes you realise that you have met someone else and you can be happy again and in a way, that experience feels so much more special because it provokes those emotions.

As for the heartbreak, I can’t say it doesn’t hurt the second time but for me, in my circumstance, it hurt less. The time together was shorter, the drama was less and I guess the feelings towards each other, as real as they were, were weaker, so it was easier but it still hurt.

Personally, getting my heart broken for the second time was a bit of an eye roll moment. I felt sick and my chest hurt and my head ran away with me, of course it did, but it did just make my eyes roll.

It was kind of like ‘here we go again’. I guess I always assumed falling in love would end like this because it did last time. I wasn’t surprised I’d ended up here so it all felt so much easier to stomach but it did hurt, you’re just programmed to cope better.

I was stronger going into this situation than I was the first time and because of that, I had my cry and then I took a step back and realised that I’d got through it once and would definitely get through it again.

Saying that though, that second heartbreak was a weird one for me because I have to admit, I wasn’t so forthcoming at accepting it. First time round, I was so weak I just accepted it, I had no fight but with my new found strength, I tried to fight back the second time and turn things around, save the situation, make changes to make it work but in reality, I should’ve used that strength to walk away and work on myself, not the relationship.

So, in summary, falling in love for the second time is equally one of the most refreshing but terrifying feelings in the world and equally, heartbreak number two hurts a lot but you’ll take it in your stride much better.

All I can say is let it happen. Don’t hesitate to fall for Mr or Mrs Right 2.0 because they could be the one and bringing issues from past relationships into new ones is a recipe for failure, so leave the past in the past and look at this relationship as a brand new start.

If you’ve just had your heart broken for the second time – do not blame yourself. It is easy to think that after going through it again that it must be something to do with you but it isn’t, you just haven’t met the one and you’ll never be right, no matter what you do, for the wrong person.

I hope this has helped someone that is at any stage of this whole journey, my messages are always open if you need me!

What I Ate in Gran Canaria | Gluten Free Travel

*some of the products in this blog post were gifted by brands for the purpose of review. These are marked with (*).

So, I’m back from Gran Canaria now and my body is SUFFERING!

Too much alcohol is definitely a contributing factor but my diet has been all over the place for the last week and my stomach is just not a fan, so I am more than ready to get back to a healthy, naturally gluten free diet!

I thought I’d reflect on what I ate in Gran Canaria, how I coped out there with Coeliac Disease and some recommendations for where to eat if you’re heading there!

Snacks

Anyone with Coeliac Disease will tell you to never travel without gluten free snacks on hand and honestly, I didn’t pack my snacks well enough this time!

I left all my packing super last minute and didn’t really think about what I wanted or needed to take with me enough! I was sent a few tasty treats from Light Bites* and Health Lab*, so I had some crisps and protein balls with me for snacking on if I was stuck!

I did buy some more snacks from a SPAR supermarket while I was out there which made a massive difference to what I was able to eat. I bought Schar bread and Nutella for breakfast, Pom Bears, Lays crisps which are labelled ‘sin gluten’ and even some Schar biscuits.

I did manage to find quite a lot of gluten free foods in the shops out there but I would still always take snacks with me, no matter how confident I was about the food where I was going!

All Inclusive Buffet

I feel like for ‘normal’ people, all inclusive buffets are pretty much all the same but for Coeliacs, although the food selection may be the same, the amount you can eat and how easily you can eat, varies from place to place.

When I went all inclusive in Tenerife, the buffet there had labels on each food with allergen symbols, so that was a lot easier whereas at this hotel, it was literally a guessing game.

I basically ate rice, boiled potatoes, vegetables and a bit of grilled meat for lunch and dinner throughout the week which got very boring towards the end but it was safe and easy.

For the first couple of days, I was having eggs for breakfast but I wasn’t enjoying them, so that’s when I picked up bread and Nutella and had that for breakfast – untoasted of course due to cross contamination.

Out and About

We actually did venture out for food a couple of times and I’ll be honest, I was apprehensive but the fact I successfully did eat out is huge progress for me.

At one time, I just wouldn’t have agreed to eat out abroad for fear but I am so much more confident and relaxed about it now and I love that!

One of the places we ate was Burger King which I know is laughable but when they have gluten free cheeseburgers, you can’t keep me away! The ‘sin gluten’ cheeseburgers were only 3 euros and so so good. They’re way bigger than the regular cheeseburgers, loaded with cheese and the bread was so soft and delicious.

They seemed to be prepared in a safe way and I never had any ill-effects from eating them!

We did eat out one night at a ‘proper’ restaurant called Papa Joe’s in Playa Del Ingles. It was super affordable and the staff were clued up on allergens. The options were limited for what I could have but luckily, what I wanted was one of the options.

I had a jacket potato stuffed with peppers, strips of fillet steak and topped with cheese and it was so tasty and didn’t make me feel bloated or sluggish at all!

The only other place we bought food from was Leon at the airport! I was so excited to see the Leon restaurant at Gran Canaria airport as I knew I’d be able to eat well! Unfortunately, they don’t do the gluten free nuggets out there but I had the Roast Chicken Mezze with baked fries and got a lemon and ginger crunch cake for the plane, so I was still very happy!

So, all in all, eating in Gran Canaria was manageable and at times, even enjoyable! The food I had out and about was super tasty and I even managed to try some new gluten free treats and snacks out there that we don’t have here, so definitely a good experience!

Have you been to the Canary Islands? How did you find gluten free out there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My TEDx Talk Experience

I can’t believe I am writing this but on Sunday 16th June, I delivered the TEDx talk I had been planning for 6 months and now the big day is over – what!!

I wanted to jump on here (partly because I have become the world’s worst blogger recently) but also because I wanted to share my TEDx experience and also a few key points from my talk I want to keep chatting about!

The TEDx Talk Experience 

For me, this whole journey started back in December when my proposal for the talk was accepted and I was offered the opportunity to speak!

I have worked pretty hard for the last 6 months writing the talk, rehearsing both at home and at the venue and generally worrying about choking, tripping, falling and other potential embarrassing scenarios that could occur… alongside delivering a talk to 100 people live and eventually, the rest of the world!

Despite the stressing and the nerves, this is 100% one of the best things I have ever done in my nearly 20 years of life and I will forever be grateful to myself and the organisers of the event for letting me do it!

I feel so much more confident and empowered as a result of delivering this talk and I am so passionate about what I spoke about that I just want to keep the conversation going!

My TEDx Talk 

My TEDx Talk was entiteld ‘It’s Time to Remove the Filter From Social Media’ and was all about the benefits of being more open and honest about both the good and the bad times of your life online.

This is something I am so keen to push across the online world in a bid to make social media a more positive and helpful place for us all to be! I love social media and want to see it used in the most beneficial way possible and I hope my talk was a step in the right direction for that.

I shared the following 4 principles that if we keep in mind when sharing online, we can make social media a much better place:

Balance – if you’re going to share the best bits of your life, share the harder times too. It’s up to you how you do it but balance is the key to success in any element of your life and social media is no different!

Education – try and use every post you publish as a chance to teach someone something! Always aim to educate and inform, even if you need a moan at the same time, cap it off by sharing how you’re going to make yourself feel better because that could help someone else in the same position!

Aspiration – share your successes and allow us people to aspire to do the same! From weight loss to a job promotion, if you’re doing well, don’t just boast, share your story in a way where others will be inspired and informed on how they can do the same!

Transparency – if you fake a perfect life online, you become untouchable and unreachable and risk making others feel inferior! Being open, honest and transparent about all elements of your life makes you approachable and real, people can relate and benefit from your presence online!

Remembering these 4 things when posting online will make us all more responsible for our social media footprint and provide us with a platform filled with beneficial, realistic content that adds good to our life, not negativity!

I can’t wait to share my talk with you when it is live and I hope it inspires some of you to look at social media differently!

Thank you for always supporting the blog, my Instagram, my Huffington Post articles and all the work I do because it means the world and allows me to reach platforms like the TEDx stage to spread the words I am most passionate about!

Gluten Free Blondie Recipe | White Chocolate, Macadamia and Cranberry Blondie Recipe | AD

*Disclaimer: this blog post is in collaboration with Buy Wholefoods Online. Products marked with a (*) in the ingredients list were sent free of charge for the purpose of developing this recipe.

We talk a lot about brownies in the gluten free world but what about blondies?

If you’re not familiar with blondies, they’re basically the same consistency as a brownie but made with vanilla or white chocolate opposed to milk or dark chocolate, making them golden (or blonde) in colour, opposed to brown!

Buy Wholefoods Online recently got in touch with me and we’ve decided to partner up on this new recipe for White Chocolate, Macadamia and Cranberry Blondies and of course, they’re totally gluten free! Buy Wholefoods Online are basically a huge online supermarket for all your favourite wholefoods and ingredients and they even have a massive free from section with branded goods!

They very kindly sent me the dried cranberries and the whole macadamia nuts and tasked me with coming up with a tasty recipe that incorporates these two great tastes and the blondies were the finished product!

I am so happy with how these turned out and the feedback from friends and family has been great, so give them a go yourself!

Gluten Free White Chocolate, Macadamia and Cranberry Blondies 

Ingredients 

170g Baking Spread or Butter (I used Stork)

255g Dark Brown Suagr (available from Buy Wholefoods Online or the supermarket)

2 Large Eggs

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (available from Buy Wholefoods Online or the supermarket)

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder (gluten free available from Buy Wholefoods Online or I used Dr Oetker)

170g Gluten Free Plain Flour (available from Buy Wholefoods Online or the supermarket, I used Doves Farm)

100g White Chocolate Chips or Chunks (I used Tesco own)

100g Dried Cranberries * (available from Buy Wholefoods Online)

50g Macadamia Nuts* (available from Buy Wholefoods Online)

Method 

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees (fan) and line two 8″ square baking tins with greaseproof paper
  2. Weigh out and prepare all ingredients. This includes crushing your macadamia nuts and chopping your butter into small chunks
  3. Add your flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl and combine with a wooden spoon
  4. Once your dry ingredients are mixed, you can now melt your butter either in the microwave or over a pan of water but be sure not to burn it
  5. Once the butter is melted, leave it for 1-2 minutes while adding your two eggs to the dry ingredients and stirring them in
  6. Once the eggs are added and combined, you can now add the melted butter and stir to complete your plain batter
  7. Once everything in the bowl is mixed together, add the white chocolate chips, stir, then the cranberries and stir and then finally, add your macadamia nuts and mix everything together
  8. Once your mix is perfectly combined, split into your two tins and smooth out, ensuring it is spread across the tin evenly
  9. You can then place both trays in the over for 20 -25 minutes. I originally set a time for 20 and checked every couple of minutes after until 25 minutes when they were perfectly done. They should be golden and spongey on top.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins to cool
  11. Once fully cooled, remove from the tin in the greaseproof paper, peel the paper off and cut each batch into 9 pieces, creating 18 overall
  12. Store in a cake tin for 3-4 days or until you feel they have gone dry.

This is a super easy recipe that requires pretty much one bowl and one spoon and is super tasty and packed with plenty of chunks of chocolate, cranberries and macadamia nuts!

If you give this recipe a go, be sure to share your pictures with me by tagging @glutenfreewithellie 

 

Father’s Day Gift Guide | AD

Father’s Day isn’t far away now which means its time to start thinking about what you’re going to buy the fatherly figure in your life this year.

Whatever your budget or kind of man you’re buying for, hopefully, there’ll be something in this gift guide that suits:

For the Techy Dads

Neos SmartCam – £24.99 on Amazon

My dad is the techy dad so I knew he’d love this home security camera from Neos. The SmartCam is one of the most affordable yet highest quality home security cameras currently on the market and it has had rave reviews from a lot of people.

I gave this to my dad to have a play with as soon as it turned up and needless to say, he was thrilled and has been ever since.

We decided to set this up in the kitchen as when all three of us are out of the house, we leave our two dogs in the kitchen. It makes sense as their beds, food, water and toys are all in the kitchen and it stops them running riot around the house. We’ve often wondered what they get up to when we’re not home and now we can watch for ourselves.

My dad set up the camera and then downloaded the app so he can watch a live stream from the camera on his phone! You can even talk through the camera, so we can talk to the dogs and they can hear us – it really is amazing!

You could also use this for what it is meant for which is a security camera and it is just as good for that!

For the Dads Who Care About Personal Grooming 

Black Leopard Skincare – From £5.29

Skincare is always a good gift idea for men as a lot of guys just don’t think about taking care of their personal grooming and now Black Leopard Skincare has launched in the UK, they’re the perfect brand to use.

An Australian brand that has now launched their UK website, Black Leopard offer a great selection of affordably priced and high-quality skincare for men include after shave balm, a cleanser, antiperspirant, face cream and more.

The prices of their products start at £5.29 but their complete face care bundle for £77.50 contains a full-size version of all their skincare, allowing your dad to try the full range and start a really good skincare routine.

Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive Razor – £8.99

Now, this might seem like a bit of a practical or mundane gift but sometimes they’re the things your dad really wants for Father’s Day.

If your dad is forever going through disposable razors, buying him a decent one that will last a little longer is a great idea and the new Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive Razor is an affordable and suitable choice for all men.

Available in high street stores such as Boots and Tesco, this is a gift that is easy to get your hands on, won’t break the bank and your dad will actually appreciate.

For the Outdoorsy Dads

Zippo Heat Bank 3 Hour Portable Charger and Handwarmer – £24.95

Perfect for the dad that either works outside or enjoys spending a lot of his free time in the outdoors, the Zippo Heat Bank 3 is a combined portable charger and handwarmer that as the name would suggest, can charge your device and keep your hands warm for up to 3 hours.

This device is super lightweight and compact, so perfect for keeping in your backpack on adventures or in your car on the go!

Presidio Sport Phone Case – £24.95

Ideal for the dad who is on the go and as a consequence, forever dropping his phone, the Presidio Sport phone case from Speck is affordable yet seriously robust and is designed to protect all models of phone from all angles.

A sleek and lightweight yet super durable construction, this relatively slimline phone case is made up with three layers of protection to offer resistance to damage from 360 degrees.

Available in a range of colours for a range of phone models, this is a great idea for the dad who is always dropping his phone on the go!

For the Foodie Dads

DC Superhero Jelly Beans – From £2.15

One for the DC comics-loving dads that are also foodies, Jelly Belly has partnered with DC to bring out a range of jelly beans in packaging themed around Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Available in 28g and 60g bags as well as gift boxes, the DC Comics jelly beans are in a range of flavours including Berry Blue, Cream Soda, Sour Lemon and more.

Perfect if you’re on a budget or you just know your dad loves all things superheroes!

Blossoming Gifts Gluten and Wheat Free Hamper – £48.99

If your dad is a big foodie, the Blossoming Gifts Gluten and Wheat Free Hamper is a great choice, filled with delicious snacks to enjoy whether you can or can’t eat gluten!

Check out the full blog post review of this hamper here!

For the Sentimental Dads

Personalised Cufflink Box – £29.99

Personalised gifts are a perfect choice for dads who appreciate a sentimental gift and this cufflink box from Giftpup is an ideal gift idea for the men in your life who find themselves dressing up a lot.

A high-quality black leather look 12 compartment cufflink box with a plaque for personalisation on the top, this chic and stylish product would look pride of place on a dresser or bedside table but it also won’t break the bank.

So, what will you be getting your dad this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Ultimate Foodie Father’s Day Gift – Blossoming Gifts Gluten Free Hamper Review | AD

*the products shown in this blog post were sent for review and advertisement purposes. This blog post is in collaboration with Blossoming Gifts, however all opinions are my own. 

If you’re struggling for Father’s Day gift ideas, food is always a good idea and whether your dad is gluten free or not, this hamper from Blossoming Gifts is a gift that is bound to go down seriously well.

My dad isn’t a Coeliac and doesn’t eat gluten free but I love to introduce my family to gluten free snacks and treats that I think are tasty and know they’ll enjoy and this hamper is perfect for doing that.

Blossoming Gifts may be best known for their flowers but their selection of personalised gifts and hampers are perfect for all kinds of occasions, including Father’s Day and thanks to having a great range of free from hampers, catering for gluten free, vegan and diabetics, everyone can enjoy one!

I chose the Gluten & Wheat Free Basket which retails on their website for £48.99. This is their mid-priced gluten free hamper, with a smaller one available for £33.99 and a larger one on sale for £73.99.

Hamper 1

I think this hamper is great value for money, particularly as it comes packaged in a generously sized wicker basket which you can keep for decor and storage around the house.

The Gluten & Wheat Free Basket Contains:

1 x Easy Bean Cheddar Crunch Chickpea Crispbreads

1 x Frank’s Luxury Cherry Shortbread

1 x Linden Lady Handmade Luxury Florentines

1 x Mr Filbert’s Honey and Peppercorn Mixed Nuts

1 x Mrs Crimble’s Sour Cream & Onion Cheese Bites (flavour may vary)

1 x Oloves Chilli & Oregano Green Olives

1 x Oloves Lemon & Rosemary Green Olives

1 x Patteson’s Chocolate Macaroons

1 x Sugar n Spice Peanut Butter and Fruit Flapjack

Hamper Contents

All of the products in this hamper aren’t your standard free from aisle finds, they’re all a little more luxury and some of them are real artisan products which I think always feels extra special and makes for a really lovely gift.

The hard work of wrapping it is all done for you too, all you need to do is pull the basket of food out the box it arrives in, add a bow or maybe wrap it in some cellophane, write a card and its ready for gifting to your dad!

I did cheat slightly and give this hamper to my dad a little early as I wanted to see what he thought as a dad receiving it as a gift and he was thrilled with it. Both him and my mum said they’d be super happy to open this as a present and were both amazed by how much you got inside!

My dad has more of a savoury tooth, so he automatically gravitated towards the crispbreads and the nuts, whereas my mum couldn’t wait to try the florentines!

Hamper 2

We were all amazed by the quality of the seagrass basket it comes in and it is now taking pride of place in the living room, it’s perfect for storing books/magazines in a nicer way than just throwing them on a shelf or in the corner – this really is the gift that keeps on giving!

Hamper 3

So, whether your dad is gluten free or you are, this gluten and wheat free hamper of goodies from Blossoming Gifts is a great option!

You can also add a personalised message to the box it comes in, just for that extra special touch!

As a bonus, if you’ve never ordered from Blossoming Gifts before and you sign up for their emails, you’ll get 10% off your first order, making this even more affordable!

Dog With Hamper