Caribbean food week 24th -31st August

I've really enjoyed experimenting with Caribbean inspired food this week, this last recipe I'm sharing with you is a Caribbean inspired drink.

You will need:
300 ml coconut milk
One banana
Coconut shards
Whipped cream
Optional - white rum

Blend the coconut milk and banana together. Optional add white rum! 
Add whipped cream, coconut shards and cinnamon for topping.

Simple but yummy drink.

Let me know your favourite smoothie recipes. 

Caribbean Food Week 24th - 31st August

caribbean food week
My first attempt with Caribbean food was the Jerk sweet potato curry, I wanted to make a Caribbean inspired dessert with the ingredients I was provided with, mainly the coconut milk. I read online some where that rice pudding is popular in the Caribbean, I have no idea if this is true but this is what I decided to make.

Since I had leftover rice from the curry I used that rice for the pudding.
caribbean food week

You will need:
One bag cooked rice
3 cups milk
1 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons of sugar
Coconut flakes
1 tablespoon cinnamon 

Place the rice, milk, coconut milk in a saucepan on a low heat.
Stir in the sugar, a few coconut flakes and cinnamon.
Leave on a low heat to simmer until the mixture is a thick consistency.
Serve warm with sprinkles of coconut flakes on top.

I've never been the biggest fan of rice pudding but this was yummy, it is quite sweet and my portion was on the larger side but I really enjoyed this. I can see myself making this in Winter months to warm myself up.

Have you made your own rice pudding before? 

Caribbean Food Week 24th August to 31st August*

caribbean food week
caribbean food week
It's Caribbean food week from the 24th August to 31st August. I work with someone from the Caribbean and the way she describes Jamaican food is truly divine! The only Caribbean food I've tasted have been from visits from Turtle bay, if that counts at all? I was kindly sent this hamper to have a go at creating my own Caribbean food/traditional dishes. 

There was lots of yummy food inside from spicy jerk fry mix, coconut milk, spices, ginger beer, aloe vera drink and more which can be purchased from here.

From the ingredients provided I've made two Caribbean inspired dishes, a main, a dessert and a drink. I am really impressed with the quality of the products I was provided with, the spices smell incredible, my brother drank the ginger beer before I got a look in but commented on how good it was! I'm still experimenting with the leftover ingredients in the box which includes ackee which is traditionally eaten with salt fish but since I'm a vegetarian I'm looking for an alternative.

Today I'll be sharing with you the main, a jerk sweet potato curry (serves 4)
caribbean food week jerk sweet potato curry
From the ingredients I was provided with I used:
1 tablespoon spicy jerk fry
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon tropical seasoning
1 can of peas and beans

Other ingredients -
2 garlic gloves
1 red onion, finely chopped
A small piece of ginger, finely chopped.
5 medium sized sweet potato, chopped into chunks.
1 tablespoon brown sugar.
1 red pepper
1 vegetable stock with water
340g tinned tomatoes with juice

Method - 
Heat some oil in a frying pan, add the garlic, red onion, ginger and peppers and cook for two minutes.
Add/stir in the spicy jerk fry and spices.
Add the tomatoes, peas/beans, vegetable stock and sweet potato. 
Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved, cover and let simmer for ten minutes.
Put the rice on.
Continue stirring the curry/letting it simmer until the sweet potato is cooked through.
When ready stir in some coriander. 
Serve and enjoy!

Overall, I am really happy with how this turned out and it did smell/taste similar to the one I have at Turtle bay.. Everyone who ate it said they would eat it again so I definitely did something right.

Let me know what you think?  I'd love to hear about your favourite Caribbean foods are!

Review - The Crackin' Egg company*

the crackin egg company review
A little bit about Crackin' Eggs, perfect for lunches, picnics, they are high in protein and perfect for low calorie diets. The eggs are free range, hard boiled eggs and have a shelf life of 4-6 weeks compared to normal hard boiled eggs that last a week. This is due to a wax coating on the shells that keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. Each pack comes with a natural seasoning sachet, salt and pepper (blue coloured eggs) sweet chili (red coloured eggs) and sour cream and chive (green coloured eggs.) The two pack of eggs cost £3.

A few facts about eggs:
- They are rich in vitamins and minerals.
- They contain HDL cholesterol which is good for you and removes excess cholesterol from the rest of the body transporting it back to the liver.
- They have a low energy density to make you feel fuller for longer.
- They are a rich source of the essential amino acid leucine.

the crackin egg company review
If i'm honest I'm not that keen on eggs, they aren't something I would choose to eat because the idea of it freaks me out a little.. But my mum loves eggs and I thought this product would be perfect for her, for those days when she hasn't got a lot of time she can make egg mayo or use them in a salad etc. 

I was intrigued by how the eggs would be packaged, even hard boiled they would be fragile and they would also need to stay fresh/chilled. The eggs came in a cooler bag and was packed in a plastic case with paper inside. The design on the packaging is something I really like, it's a nice bold design.  The packaging however didn't have a sell by date on, something that concerned me a little. 

the crackin egg company review
The wax colour is really bold and bright something I love. The shell is really easy to peel off. The egg was fresh and the seasoning is perfect to give the egg a little kick/taste, my favourite was the sour cream and chive. 

I do like this idea and I think it's great when you don't have much time to prepare something, let me know what you think?

*This product was sent to me for reviewing purposes, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Review - Proactiv+ skin smoothing exfoliator and pore targeting treatment*

proactive review
I'm sure most of us have seen an advert for proactiv+, it was their adverts that made me weary about trying their products, endorsed by celebrities such as Katy Perry, I instantly thought the products won't work and the celebs were paid to lie so I wasn't about to depart with my money. I was wrong and I am so thankful I was offered these products to review. I was sent the skin smoothing exfoliator (£29.99) and the pore targeting treatment (£29.99) 

Proactiv+ have some bold claims about their products, so below are my thoughts on some of them.

Firstly, proactiv+ aim to clear blemishes and prevent future breakouts. I can say this is true, I have been using this product for a while now and my skin is clearer and I have only broken out a few times which is nothing compared to how much I use to break out prior to using this product. 

Brighten and smooth skin whilst enhancing skin radiance, this isn't something I would've noticed myself looking at my skin everyday. One day when I had woken up my sister made a comment saying my skin looks a lot healthier and clearer/brighter, she then proceeded to ask me what I had been using so I told her (she then wanted to use it herself)

Reduce visible pore size, this one I haven't really noticed that much, to me my pores still look the same size. 

Overall, I really genuinely happy with how these products have worked with my skin, the exfoliator is gentle and kind to skin. I feel it really gives my skin a deep clean, getting rid of dirt and grime leaving my skin feeling smooth and soft. The pore targeting treatment is almost like a thin, runny gel that soaks in to the skin quickly. It has left the appearance of my skin looking smoother.

The product themselves are quite pricey but they do offer kits which are cheaper and a great way to try the product or offering you monthly installments on the items. I've been using the products for around two months now and still have product left so it is worth the money.

Have you tired any proactiv+ products before? Let me know your thoughts.

*Proactiv+ state they do not test their products on animals.

**These products were sent to me for reviewing purposes all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review - Illobox*

I'm a big fan of subscription boxes so I'm always excited to see new ones on the market. Illobox is a new monthly box containing one illustrated print, one matching stamp, one matching notepad plus one surprise and paper ephemera which sounds right up my street. Each box cost £19.99 +£2 for post and packaging. 

Everything in the box is handmade by the creator of the box Ella, this particular box which is a sample box included one print, one stamp, two stickers, a badge, an envelope, a small bear print, twister stickers and a illobox card. The first box called 'the twilight zone' was released on the 10th August with only 100 boxes available. 

Every thing in the box is really good quality, my favourite items included in the box are the two fairy tale stickers they are beautiful and to my personal taste. The bear lino cut print is something I also really like, its really cute and after trying my hand at lino-cutting myself I can appreciate the amount of effort that goes into this! The stamp is also a great addiction to the box and I love the pink. The cloud print is really good quality and will be used in some kind of paper craft. The box isn't like anything I've seen before it is quite quirky and perfect for stationery lovers.

Although the packaging is due to change slightly each box is lined with vintage paper making each box unique, I think this a nice touch and a great way to make a plain box more interesting. Since this is a sample box there may be a few changes to other boxes, one of the changes includes the logo design which will be more clearer to read illobox.

Overall, I really like this box the contents are cute and items I can use, however, I'm not entirely sure I would pay £19.99 plus PP for the contents that were included. I can appreciate the items are all handmade and it is hard to price handmade items but personally I wouldn't pay that amount. 

Let me know your thoughts!

*This item was sent to me in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

**I wanted to go ahead and post my review of this box even though the creator of the box Ella has decided to go back to the drawing board with the box itself, something she may not have time for a while since she has a kickstarter in September for her own colouring/illustration book which sounds amazing.

Review - Instanatural youth express night cream and eye gel*

instanatural night cream

The youth express night cream (£17.95) from instanatural is made from organic and natural ingredients, infused with vitamin C , rose-hip and argan oil and more. It helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, hyper pigmentation and uneven skin tones. 

The product is a great size at 100ml, it lasted me over two months, it has a pump which I am always a fan of as it allows you to get the right amount of product out. The cream is really thick and perfect for night time (although it says it can be worn during the day which I did and its perfect under make up) it soaks into the skin really quickly without any residue, it also leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated, my skin tends to feel dry after I've applied moisturiser but with this it stayed hydrated! 

The product aims to plump and reduce pigmentation and even skin tone, which I think it does after using it for a couple of months my skin feels plumper, looks smoother whilst my skin looks more even. I was really disappointed when I ran out of this, its been my favourite moisturiser I've tried so far.

instanatural eye gel

I've been using this eye gel (£14.95) for a while now, it aims to diminish dark circles, eye bags, crows feet and more. It contains hyaluronic acid which helps hydrate and plump skin. Again the product comes in a pump bottle making it easy to dispense. The gel is really refreshing and has a cooling sensation once applied. The product spreads easily over the skin and soaks in really quickly. I do have really dark circles under my eyes so I was hoping this product might be able to fix the problem, however after using it for over a month I can honestly say I haven't really seen any difference to the area around my eyes which is really disappointing. 

Have you tried any products from instanatural? 

Unlimited Madness - Target Madness

It was my friends 21st birthday at the end of July and I wanted so something a little bit different for his birthday, after looking around we settled on target madness from unlimited madness based in Nottinghamshire. This included axe throwing, archery and air riles. It was perfect timing because we was trying to settle on a date and book it then a deal popped up on amazon local so for the two of us it cost just over £35. We went last Sunday and thankfully it was a nice sunny, hot day.

From Nottingham it took us just under an hour to get there, since it was based near Worksop (there second location.) As we pulled up the location  wasn't entirely what I expected but still nice. On arrival we were shown what order we would be doing each activity (ours was axe throwing, archery and air rifles.) We then signed a declaration saying we was in perfect health, no back problems etc.  

We then headed outside to do the first activity. Before we did any activity we was given a health and safety talk, shown how to correctly hold the axes, bow/arrow and air rifle. We had an hour doing each activity. Also the below photos were taken on a iPhone so they aren't the greatest but I forgot my camera. 

Review - AA Skincare, Lemongrass and Lavender deodorant*

Review - AA Skincare, Lemongrass and Lavender deodorant

Review - AA Skincare, Lemongrass and Lavender deodorant
I've been on the look out for a natural deodorant for a while, this one from AA skincare (£4.94, 50ml) is free from alcohol, aluminium and synthetic parfum, it is not irritating to the skin and doesn't block pores. The scent of this deodorant is lemongrass and lavender both are known to be deodorising oils, they attack the bacteria that cause body odour to leave you feeling fresh. The product itself doesn't stop perspiration since this is the skins natural way of letting the skin breathe but helps cover odour. 

The deodorant comes in a glass bottle, I was really impressed with this packaging and I like the fact you can see how much you have left. The roller moves smoothly and glides overs the skin easily distributing an even amount of deodorant. I also love the simplicity of the logo and colours used. 

The scent of this product is amazing, it is a light and refreshing citrus scent that has a hint of sweetness from the lavender. It also contains Aloe Vera which helps soothe and calm the skin making this perfect to use after shaving. 

After loving the packaging and the scent I really wanted to like this product but I found it just wasn't for me. The product claims to cover odour but within two hours and as highly unattractive as it sounds I had a bad odour scent and I was walking around hoping no one else could smell anything, not good. I also found the product to be quite sticky and after taking my clothes of at the end of the day or in the morning I had pieces of fabric stuck under my arm. 

Have you tried any natural deodorants before, let me know your thoughts.

*This product was sent to me fro reviewing purposes, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Crafty Creatives - June 2015 box - Recycled Book

Junes craft creatives box contained a kit for making a recycled book from mixed media artist Christine Plummer. You can design your own cover and bind four signatures inside. I really liked the variety of colours and textures with the paper that was provided, as long as a few items to decorate the cover. The best thing about this craft is that it gives you the skills that can be used over and a perfect way to up-cycle scraps of paper. 

The instructions were easy to follow and I had so much fun creating the cover and putting all the signatures together. However, binding was difficult with getting the needle through several layers of paper! I am happy with the end result but the book does stay open if I had thought about that beforehand I would have attached some thread to open/close it. 

Have you done any mixed media crafts? Let me know your favourites.

Crafty Creatives is a monthly subscription box that sends a new craft to your door each month (£15 + £2.95pp)  to view past boxes click here.

On being shy

I am twenty four years and I can't remember a time I wasn't shy. Over the last year it has lessened and I do feel more confident in certain situations. If you know me you would find it hard to believe I'm shy, if I am comfortable around someone and can talk to them with ease it would change if a new person enters the conversation I will shut down and hardly speak. I do think I have gotten better at speaking to people one on one but in a group I avoid eye contact and stay quiet

Shyness for a lot of people unless you have dealt with it can be really hard to understand trust me I can't even comprehend how people can start talking to someone they've just met and act like they have known them for years. 

People will call you an introvert, for me I think an introvert and being shy are different traits, an introvert will avoid social situations while a shy person will fear them, it's almost like a phobia. I dread talking to new people I don't know, and when someone speaks to me I panic, I stutter, I muddled words up etc. 

People will assume you are a bitch, ignorant or rude (or all three.) When you are shy it is so hard to make conversation, what do you even talk about? When you are quiet people assume there is something wrong or you are being stuck up. Sometimes I'll be listening to a conversation and want to jump in and be afraid too, other times I'll wait for a moment that never comes. Even when people know I am shy and struggle to make conversation I am still labelled as this even if no attempts are made to talk to me either, it is always easy to pin it on the shy one. If anything I feel I should be appreciated for my listening skills and sometimes I find it nice not to feel the need to talk.

People will make jokes, I have no idea why but people seem to find it hilarious making comments such as 'Hannah is a right chatter box, you can never shut her up' it really isn't appreciated, it just makes you crawl back into your shell and makes you not want to speak at all, and even when you do find the confidence to say something you'll be met with 'she just spoke' etc.

You feel bad for being shy, or at least I have. When someone who I don't know gets stuck with me at work for example, in my head I'm saying 'I'm sorry you are stuck with me' or hoping someone else will come along so it is less awkward. I've been to blogging events to and when I'm being quiet I sit thinking to myself I hope they don't mind or think I'm being odd. 

I've always been told you will outgrow your shyness, I don't think I ever will and shyness is a part of me. Shyness doesn't control my life and things that seems so little to others such as saying 'Hi' etc. to someone new are big things to me, it is small steps in improving my confidence in talking to people. I won't ever me that bubbly girl, I like being quiet, I'm someone who likes to get to know someone before I open myself up and those who make the time will know I am a fun, caring and friendly person.

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