A Deliciously Free From Christmas with Moo Free

Looking for gluten, dairy and soya free chocolate to enjoy this Christmas? Check out the Moo Free Chocolates range!

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Chocolate is a big part of Christmas. Whether you’re a sweet tooth or not, no one can resist chocolate at the most wonderful time of the year but if you’re someone with food allergies or intolerances, finding festive treats that are safe for you can be tricky!

Chocolate is a popular gift to give at Christmas and I get asked by so many friends and family members what chocolate I can have/what chocolate is gluten free and although a lot of normal chocolates are safe for me to eat, I can see the panic in their faces about buying me something that isn’t labelled gluten free.

I’ve now started recommending Moo Free Chocolate to both fellow free from foodies and anyone who asks what chocolate I can have as it is not only delicious but is clearly labelled gluten free, dairy free and soya free, so people feel safe and comfortable buying that for me!

I was very kindly sent a few tasty treats to try from Moo Free, some from their regular range and some festive chocolates, so I thought I’d share with you what I’ve tried as well as a few super cool Christmas chocolates you need to grab before the big day!

Big Bars

There’s nothing I used to love more than grabbing a big bar of Dairy Milk but I’m now hooked on the big chocolate bars from Moo Free and they’ve got a selection of flavours!

I was sent the original and the fruit and nut bar, the plain being my favourite, however they also do a banana bar and a hazelnut bar.

Mini Bars

If you want to grab a little bar of chocolate on the go, the Moo Free mini bars are sold in many of the supermarkets and are pretty affordable.

I’ve tried both the original and honeycomb bars, both of which are delicious, however they also do a mint bar and an orange bar and I definitely want to try those!

Original Chocolate Santa and Snowman

Getting festive now, I was sent the Chocolate Santa and the Chocolate Snowman, both of which are made with the original plain chocolate which is just so tasty!

These are really fun for Christmas and so generously sized, the chocolate is so thick!

Advent Calendar

If you’re looking for a super tasty free from advent calendar then this could be the one!

The Moo Free advent calendar is vegan, dairy free, gluten & wheat free and soya free, making it perfect for most people with food allergies!

Moo Free Selection Box

You can’t beat a selection box at Christmas and now Moo Free have made sure that people who are gluten and dairy free don’t have to miss out!

Their selection boxes contains a bag of the delicious choccy drops, a chocolate snowman, chocolate snowman, mint mini bar and an orange mini bar, so a real great selection and super thoughtful gift for someone who might not be able to have the classic selection boxes!

Moo Free also sell a selection of other chocolate including baking chocolate and Easter eggs but for this time of year, I think they are the main products you need to know about!

You can buy Moo Free in Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and a selection of smaller, health food shops.

Have you tried Moo Free? What was your favourite product?

*I was kindly sent these products by Moo Free Chocolate but this blog post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own. 

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I Got a Tattoo – Meaning & My Experience

I got my first tattoo! Check out my experience of getting this tattoo and the meaning behind it!

I’ve debated getting a tattoo since I turned 18 and could legally go and get one with no trouble but it wasn’t until after my 19th birthday I actually went and had one done.

Why did I wait so long you ask? Well, the obvious reasons really. Partly because I was scared of the pain and also because I just wasn’t sure what I wanted and I knew I wanted to be in love with the design I’d chosen before I went for it.

I’m not saying every tattoo has to have a meaning because they’re pieces of art above all, so they don’t always have to be deep and sentimental but for me, I don’t come from a family where tattoos are hugely accepted, so I knew I wanted one that really mean’t something before I took the plunge and told my tattoo-free parents that I was having it done.

I quite stereo-typically got mine done about 2 weeks after my break up which resulted in a lot of eyebrow raises and comments along the lines of ‘are you sure you’re not going off the rails because you’re upset?’ and the answer to that question is no, I just want a tattoo.

I’d had a couple of designs in mind but in the end I found a picture online of the constellation of my star sign that I just fell in love with and decided that was what I wanted to go with.

I adored how delicate the dots and stars were and knew that I wanted something associated with my star sign, so this was perfect.

I also knew I wanted my first tattoo on my ankle where it was easy to show off but equally as easy to hide and I couldn’t be happier with the size and placement now I’ve got it.

Meaning 

You might be thinking a star sign tattoo is a bit cliche and honestly, I’m not even a huge follower of the zodiac signs. I don’t live my life by my horoscope or only associate with people I’m deemed to be compatible with in terms of star sign but when it comes to my personal star sign, a leo, it is very relevant to me.

I am the dictionary definition of a leo and I really like to own that. The positives and the negatives, I’m proud to own up to all of them. From being passionate, generous and creative to fiery, stubborn and argumentative, it’s all me and I like to remind myself of my lioness roots when I’m feeling anxious or low and it really helps me put my best foot forward.

Positioning 

Like I said, I knew I wanted my tattoo on my ankle/lower leg and in the end I chose the back of my calf, just above my ankle bone because the design fitted perfectly at the angle we chose and it was just an ideal place for the design.

I chose my right leg as I’m right handed and generally find my right side stronger. I wanted to have the tattoo on my leading leg to remind me to put my best foot forward at all times which might sound cringe but it really does work for me.

My Experience 

I was really scared of the pain as it was totally unknown and everyone will tell you something different about what it feels like, how much it hurts, etc, so I really was anxious getting it done.

I went to Ellie Taylor at The Cheshire Tattoo Studio in Wilmslow because I know the team at the studio anyway but Ellie is fab at dot work, so I knew she’d be perfect at making sure the design was sharp, clear yet still delicate and feminine.

She was amazing! She listened to what I wanted, we customised the design together and the finished product looks amazing! I paid the £50 minimum charge as it’s only a small piece and I was in for about an hour but none of the process was rushed and I felt really listened to the whole time.

As for the pain, it was honestly fine. I know I didn’t have it done in the worst place and it was only small but I was still nervous but it was fine. I describe the pain as ‘noticeable but manageable’ as I was aware it was happening but it was easy enough to sit through it.

They wrapped it for me and I put Bepanthem cream on it 3-4 times a day for about 2 weeks afterwards until it scabbed over and healed which it has now and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out.

Overall, I am so glad I got one and I’m now so excited to get another one because I totally understand what people mean when they say they’re addictive!

Do you have any tattoos? I’d love to hear your tattoo stories, so share them in the comments!

Current Fashion Favourites for Autumn

Autumn is here and I have been hitting the shops to pick up the best bits available for the season! Check out my top picks here!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve done a fair bit of shopping and picked up some great new bits that I’m absolutely loving for this season.

I thought I’d share with you a few items that I’ve bought over the last couple of months, that are still in shops, that I think are well worth a purchase if you’re looking to update your wardrobe.

River Island Black Harper Skinny Jeans – £35.00

Having a pair of well fitting black skinny jeans is an essential and I’ve recently added the River Island Harper Black Skinny Jeans to my collection.

I love these jeans because they’re super high waisted, a really comfortable, stretchy skinny fit and I think they’re great if you struggle like me with a bloated belly as they sit so high up and pull everything in.

They’re a really dark black colour and so far, haven’t faded in the wash!

Topshop Leather Look Mini Skirt – £32.00

One of my most recent purchases and an item I’m loving for a night out is this leather look mini skirt with buckle detailing from Topshop.

It’s £32.00 but it feels really high quality and for me, it fits perfectly. I got mine in the petite length as I wanted it to sit quite short but it’s available in regular and tall lengths too.

It might be a bit of a statement skirt but it’s versatile for nights out and daytime and could be worn in different ways all year round.

ASOS Design Black V-Neck Jumper – £25.00

I love a jumper but at the beginning of autumn, I realised that for someone who wears pretty much all black, I didn’t really have any chunky black jumpers for the colder weather.

I picked up this v neck, oversized fluffy black jumper from an ASOS own brand for £25.00 and I think it is such a good staple to have in your wardrobe.

The super comfy relaxed fit means it looks great with skinny jeans or mini skirts, making it a super versatile addition to your knitwear collection!

Vans Black and White ‘Old Skool’ Trainers – £60.00

I think pretty much everyone owns this pair of black and white ‘old skool’ Vans but if you don’t then you seriously need to get a pair!

I was always a Converse girl but since owning these, I’m totally converted to Vans. Not only do they look cool and go with so many different outfits, they are so comfy it’s unbelievable.

I wear them for day time occasion and even on nights out to dress down a skirt or dress if I want to be super comfy all night!

Matalan Floral High Neck Midi Dress – £18.00

This is probably one of my favourite purchases recently and it’s this stunning floral high neck midi dress for just £18.00 from Matalan!

I can’t believe how affordable this dress is and it is so on trend! The floaty midi fit with peplum hem is so comfy and flattering and the autumn floral print is perfect for this season.

I’ve been wearing this dress for work recently and I just love it!

So, they’re just a few items I’ve been loving over the last few weeks that I think are worth picking up if you’re looking for some new bits for your autumn wardrobe!

Making Gino’s Carbonara Gluten Free

I’m not usually a fan of Spaghetti Carbonara as I don’t love heavy cream sauces but I was watching This Morning in the week when Gino D’acampo was making a carbonara in the easiest way with just a few ingredients, so I decided to have a go at making it gluten free and it turned out so well!

If you want to check out Gino making this dish on YouTube, you can see that video here!

Ingredients 

1 x serving on gluten free spaghetti

1 x pack of pancetta

1 x egg

50g (approx) of grated cheese (I used cheddar finely grated but traditionally, you’d need Parmesan)

salt

pepper

oil

Method 

1. Boil you spaghetti in a pan of water with a little salt for 10-12 minutes or however long it needs

2. Whilst your pasta is boiling, spray some oil into a frying pan and cook your pancetta. Once this is cooked, take it off the heat but leave in the pan with any leftover oil

3. You’ll also need to finely grate your cheese if it isn’t already and crack an egg into a jug or bowl, whisk it up and add some salt and pepper

4. Once your pasta is cooked, drain it off

5. Add your pasta to the frying pan with the pancetta and stir through over either no heat or a very low heat

6. Next add your egg to the pan and mix through straight away to stop the egg scrambling

7. Once your egg is all mixed through, add your grated cheese and mix that in too

8. Once everything is all mixed in, serve in a bowl and enjoy!

This is such easy cooking that feels like you’ve really made an effort! The sauce is still so creamy without being heavy and that’s just how I like it!

If you give this ago and enjoy it, let me know!

Life With Ellie – New and Improved

The Life With Ellie blog has always grown and changed with me and as I go through another big change in my life, so is the blog.

Life With Ellie is back and hopefully… is about to be better than ever.

If you’ve come over here from my Instagram then you’re probably pretty up to speed with what’s been going on in my life but if you’re an old follower of this blog, you may be feeling a little out the loop.

Quick recap: unfortunately, my relationship of three years has now come to an end. It’s not a decision I saw coming nor have found easy to accept but it was out of my control, so life has changed drastically.

I don’t live with him anymore and I’m having to change my whole outlook on life and what I want from it which is not proving easy but I’m determined to get through this.

This blog is going to be a huge part of my journey to getting over this heartbreak and I’m aiming to make this space of the internet an open and honest account of what’s really going on in my life because I think so many people can relate.

Whether it be battling heartbreak, adjusting to a new life alone, having Coeliac disease, battling severe mental health problems or something a little more lighthearted like beauty or fashion, I’m going to cover it all and be totally honest and real along the way.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey because the support I’ve had already is overwhelming and truly means the world to me, so thank you.

Here’s to the new and improved Life With Ellie!

How to Wear Black in Summer

I can’t help it, I just love to wear black. I’m getting much better at injecting a little colour into my wardrobe but all in all, I always gravitate towards wearing black.

As much as I love dressing for summer, I do worry that when the weather gets warm, I’ll have to stop wearing black for a bit but with outfits like the one I’m going to share with you today, I can comfortably wear black all summer long!

This little dress is a piece in my wardrobe I get a lot of wear out of and actually bought nearly a year ago now, although it’s still available to buy online!

It’s a black dress with white spots and it’s the perfect length and fit for the warmer weather.

It’s from Motel Rocks and it’s a super flattering wrap fit with frills on the sleeves and neckline, making it really girly and a bit more summery.

I paired mine with black sandals from Next that are really comfortable and understated to let the dress do all the talking.

Accessories wise I’ve gone for my black Paul Costelloe tote bag I got in TKMaxx Years a go now and my Prada sunglasses I picked up in Sunglasses Hut at Cheshire Oaks.

Overall, I think the look is feminine, classy and still spot on for summer even if it is all black!

I think this outfit is a perfect example that making your clothes summery isn’t just about the colours you choose but the styles too. So, if you’re like me and you like to wear black all year around, outfits like this are for you!

Review: Gluten and Dairy Free Afternoon Tea From Gingernut Goodies

If someone told me when I got diagnosed with Coeliac Disease that it was possible to get gluten and dairy free cake by post, I don’t think I would’ve felt so down about not being able to eat gluten!

I’ve been introduced to so many amazing brands since starting my Gluten Free With Ellie Instagram but I think one of the best brands I’ve ever found has got to be Gingernut Goodies, a completely gluten, dairy and soya free bakery based in Bournemouth!

Steph who’s the owner of Gingernut Goodies is dairy intolerant and sensitive to gluten and wheat, hence she understands the importance of cross contamination and also the joy of being able to eat amazing treats that are free of all the things we can’t have!

Her bakery is free from all the ingredients her bakes don’t contain, so you know her products are all safe for coeliacs or people who are very sensitive with their intolerances.

Gingernut Goodies have only been available at food markets up until now but they’ve recently launched their website, so you can now by some of their products online!

One of the first products available online is the ‘Afternoon Tea for the Intolerant Person in Your Life’ which is a beautifully packaged box containing four very generously sized slices of gluten, dairy and soya free cake!

The box contains a chocolate orange brownie, Victoria sponge, vegan millionaire slice and mocha oat bar made with gluten free oats.

They’re all lovely looking and so well made but I have to give a special mention to the chocolate orange brownie because OH MY GOODNESS!

These brownies are the best I have ever tried, both gluten free and gluten containing and as I’m sure many coeliacs can relate, I’ve tried a lot of brownies!

They are so moist and soft and full of flavour, they’re just insanely good and even James who eats gluten, really enjoyed it!

These boxes only cost £15 which I think is really good value and it’s such an amazing treat for yourself or a gorgeous, thoughtful gift for a friend with food intolerances.

I’m so grateful to Gingernut Goodies for sending me one of these boxes to try, it was such a treat and I now want to order boxes of the brownies every week!

Check @gingernut_goodies out on Instagram for more products and updates on their products!

My Race for Life Experience and Why I Think Everyone Should Do It

Cancer is not nice, it isn’t funny but unfortunately, it’s very real and it touches pretty much all of us in some way, so there’s really no reason for any of us to not want to do our bit to give back.

I’ve often considered doing the Race for Life and just never got around to signing up which I now realise is such a shame because I could’ve experienced this incredible event so much sooner.

If you’re not familiar with the Race for Life, it’s an annual fundraising event run by Cancer Research UK to raise money to fund their continuous work towards improving the diagnosis of cancer, the treatment and in the long run, finding a cure.

The Race for Life has been established for years and has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds, just by thousands of people donning their best pink gym gear and making their way around a 5 or 10K route.

You can walk it, jog it, run it, you can even dance your way around if you want as long as your turn up, you raise money and you make your way from the start to the finish.

Me and mum decided to sign up this year on a bit of a whim. We lost my grandpa and my dad’s cousin to cancer over the last couple of years and at the time, J’s grandad was still battling, so we decided to do our bit, raise some money and get involved.

I won’t lie, we did no training. We signed up for the regular 5K opposed to the longer 10K route or ‘pretty mudder’ obstacle course and signed up for our most local one which was in Tatton Park.

We set out fundraising target as £100 and then kind of just got on with our lives, sharing the link on social media now and again and just marked the date in our diaries so we didn’t forget.

The day arrived (24th June) and it couldn’t have been timed more aptly for our family.

Just days prior, J’s grandad lost his battle, so he became another name we were doing this for.

We wrote our signs, got kitted out in our charity t-shirts, tied the pink laces on our trainers and headed to Tatton Park for the Event.

You can buy Race for Life t-shirts but I decided to wear My ‘I’ve got Guts’ t-shirt from Bowel & Cancer Research to support more than one charity, and it was pink!

The start and finish lines are in the arena where there is also a stage where the hosts from Heart Radio were and some stands such as Ryvita for snacks, coffees and ice creams.

There was music playing, motivational speakers, a big group warm up and then we started.

We got amazing weather and it was actually so pleasant to walk around Tatton Park in the sun with my mum.

We power walked it and I ran the last 500m, like I always said I would and we did it in around 50 minutes.

For a walk that took under an hour, that we did in beautiful scenery with other amazing women in the summer sun, me and my mum alone raised £145 which went towards the grand total of over £100,000 for Tatton alone.

We had no idea what to expect but couldn’t believe what an incredible event this was. We were raising money and having a great time and I can guarantee I’ll be back to do it again!

I would 100% recommend everyone and anyone to do the Race for Life, whether you feel you’ve been personally affected by cancer or not, it’s just a great morning out.

Our fundraising page is still open, so if you fancy donation to our Race for Life just giving page, check it out!

Keep an eye out for details of next year’s Race for Life and sign up if you fancy giving it a go!

A Gluten Free Breakfast We Can All Enjoy – Marks & Spencer Gluten Free Pastries Review

* I was kindly gifted these products by Marks & Spencer to create this blog post but this is not a paid advertisement and all opinions are my own.

One thing I’ve struggled with most since being gluten free is feeling left out. At meals out, I always have to eat off a different menu. When we have family meals at home, I usually have to have something slightly different and when it comes to continental breakfasts, I always have to skip pastries and breads.

For a long time, pastries were few and far between in the gluten free world but Marks & Spencer made it their mission to change that.

You’ve probably already seen these new products all over your social media but Marks & Spencer have brought out a range of three new gluten free pastries and they’ve asked me to try them with my family.

M&S really are pioneers in the gluten free world but these are one of their biggest launches yet. They’ve tried and tested hundreds of different recipes for each pastry to find the perfect texture and taste and I think they’ve nailed it. Apart from the gluten containing ingredients, they’ve used all the same ingredients that give their normal pastries their delicious taste and that’s what makes these so good.

I’d already tried the chocolate twists and I’ll be honest, they were a little on the sweet side for me at breakfast time but I was intrigued to try the plain croissants and see what they were like.

James is a massive pastries fan, so I knew he’d be the perfect person to join me for breakfast to put these to the test and it’s fair to say he was more than happy to do so.

You need to heat these pastries before you can eat them but I think that just makes them extra tasty because they’re warm and soft.

Gluten free products are usually on the small side but all these pastries are just ‘normal sized’ which makes them far better value for money than most gluten free treats.

I indulged in a couple of the plain pastries and was honestly amazed by how good they were. They weren’t quite as flakey as your standard croissant but I didn’t think the slight differences in texture was particularly noticeable at all.

The taste was so delicious. They’re the perfect amount of sweetness for the morning and would be perfect for pairing with jams or spreads for extra sweetness but I enjoyed them plain.

The apricot pastries seemed to have slightly flakier pastry like the chocolate twists, so really similar to classic ones and I thought they were fairly generous on the apricot jam!

The thing I love the most about these pastries is that they mean I can host a gluten free breakfast for all my friends and family and we can all eat the same thing and enjoy it.

James eats gluten and regularly eats pastries and really enjoyed these and said he’d be happy to eat these instead of regular ones if they were what I bought to have in the house.

Anything that makes us gluten free eaters feel more included and ‘normal’ is always a good thing and that’s definitely what these pastries do!

You can buy all three types of pastries in the Marks & Spencer’s food hall for around £2.50 a pack!

For more food reviews, check out my Instagram – @glutenfreewithellie