Gluten free food/snacks #1 - Genius, Amy's Kitchen, Nakd, Kettle Chips.

28.10.16

I'm going to start doing a series of blog posts every now and then reviewing some of the "free from" products that I buy. Since changing my diet (going 100% gluten free, and cutting down on dairy and sugar) I have tried to eat clean as much as possible, but there are some good packaged "free from" foods out there that are helpful to keep around the house, especially on the days where I don't feel well enough to cook more imaginative meals.

Hopefully this series will help you out if you're looking for new brands to try.


Amy's Kitchen - organic french country vegetable soup

I normally never buy tinned soup; I like the chilled stuff or better still, I like to make my own. But sometimes I can't be bothered and I need a quick fix. I haven't tried anything from Amy's Kitchen before so when my local Asda didn't have any appetising chilled soup and I spotted this one on special offer for around £1.20 per tin, I thought I would give it a whirl.

It's gluten free and vegan so bonus points there. All of the ingredients are organic, and there are no nasty surprises on the ingredients list. It is so refreshing to actually know what everything is inside a tinned product! It was tasty, full of chunky vegetables, and very filling.

Without the discounted price I personally think these tins are a little bit pricey but I will definitely be stocking up when they're reduced again, and I would be keen to try other flavours too.

Genius - triple seeded sandwich loaf

I have bought loaves of Genius bread many, many times, and the seeded variety is my favourite. They are gluten free, wheat free and milk free.

It is fair to say that I miss bread dearly since giving gluten the boot, and even though the GF alternatives are never as good as the real thing they do the job to satisfy the craving.

Some gluten free loaves are tiny and neither use nor ornament. The Genius loaves are a regular size so they're great for making sandwiches and having eggs/beans on toast. At £2.50 per loaf they're not cheap, and I have had a couple of dodgy loaves in the time I've been buying them, but generally they're a safe bet for when you need your bread fix!

Kettle Chips - sea salt and crushed black peppercorns

Most Kettle Chip flavours are gluten free which is excellent news because they're probably the best crisps ever. The sea salt and crushed black peppercorn variety are my favourite, particularly dipped in houmous. Yum!

Nakd - cocoa orange bars

We're all familiar with Nakd bars by now I'm sure but I thought I would include them anyway. I always keep a couple of different flavours in the cupboard or in my handbag so that I have an easy snack option to hand. I picked the Cocoa Orange off the shelf by accident, thinking they were the Cocoa Loco flavour that I love so much because they taste like brownies, but they're still a good shout especially if you like orange chocolate and need to keep the Terry's Chocolate Orange at bay! Other flavours I can highly recommend are Cashew Cookie, Bakewell Tart and Carrot Cake.


That's all for now but I will do another one again soon!

10 things making me happy at the moment.

22.10.16

1) Red Oaks on Amazon Prime. Has anyone else seen it? I had been looking for a new series to get stuck into and it's really blimmin' good! It has some laugh out loud moments but it's not overly silly, so you care about the characters and what happens to them. 

2) Giving the dogs a bath so I can cuddle them without catching a whiff of cheesy Wotsits! 

3) Finding Bath & Body Works candles that had been stashed away because they smelt too Christmassy, and burning them to fill our house with festive cheer!

4) Finding unread books on my Kindle.


5) Michael Buble's new album.

6) The return of The Apprentice.

7) Getting into crafts again; handmade Christmas cards, cross stitched gifts, pompom garlands, and trips to Hobbycraft for supplies.

8) Another break from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to give me a bit of free head space to be more productive with other things and to focus on my health/recovery without comparing myself to others who can do things that I can't. 

9) A new drama to get stuck into; The Missing. Two episodes in and we're hooked! 

10) Submitting my Christmas list to Santa aka my mum.

5 good things (Autumn home decor and daily blogging in November?!)

19.10.16

This time of year is my favourite. I much prefer dressing for Autumn in lots of layers, woolly jumpers, tights and boots, and I love the leaves on the ground and the feeling of Christmas approaching, but my god it's cold isn't it? I don't know if it's my CFS or if I have always been such a cold person but it's so bad I can't seem to focus on anything else. I write this in a thermal top, hoodie, leggings, long johns (!), two pairs of socks, woolly hat, and a heated wheat bag! Oh and the heating is on. And I'm still cold. Seriously, if you know of any solutions for this please share as I fear I'm going to go mad!

I haven't done a 5 good things post for a while and I miss sitting down with my laptop and typing, so here goes.

1) After visiting Harry Potter Studios (see my last post) we have well and truly caught the Potter bug and we have been watching the films from the beginning. I have also been reading the books from the beginning, although my reading is very slow these days and I'm still on book one, whereas we're about to start film five next. I just don't think I will ever get bored of them! 

2) As I'm stuck at home 99% of the time I decided to set myself a little project to jazz up our fireplace with a cosy Autumnal vibe. I found the wire bird in a box of old things so he got a dusting off and now takes pride of place on the mantelpiece. The faux leaves were £7.99 from eBay and I'm really impressed with how good they are for that price! The pom pom garland was made by my own fair hands, and we have had the light box a while (from The Range). I don't think I did a bad job to say I'm not particularly blessed with masses of creativity! I can't wait to change it with the changing seasons!


3) I haven't bought any toiletries in about 6 months as I vowed that, with my lack of funds due to being off work poorly, I would use up the products I already have. Not only have I rediscovered some amazing things but it feels so satisfying to actually use products up and not spend money buying new things that I think I need but really don't. My streamlined cupboards and drawers and minimal skincare/makeup routine are making me very happy indeed! 

4) I have been debating whether to do a "blog every day in November" type thing. There are so many things I want to talk about and I think the challenge would spark some motivation in me and make me feel useful again. My issue is that my photography and editing skills are limited and I always feel that my blog posts aren't good enough if my photos aren't very good. If I can get over that mentality I might just do it. Novem-blog?! If you have ideas for posts you'd want to see from me please do let me know in the comments bit.

5) As sucky as being ill every day is, I am managing to find some positives from a negative situation and it makes things a little bit easier to deal with. I have also made some wonderful friends through talking about it on Instagram (on my main account @lilyloveslola and on my CFS account @thefogalwayslifts) and they really do help me to get through bad patches. Thanks ladies! 


A trip to Warner Bros / Harry Potter Studio Tour (and a mini rant!)

1.10.16

Wow.. I am actually blogging about something the same week that it happened. This is progress! You can tell I'm feeling a bit better can't you?!

We didn't manage to get away on a last minute break in the sunshine during Paul's two weeks off work, as originally planned, but we did manage a few days in Matlock, an overnight stay at a spa hotel, a weekend in Cleethorpes for a music festival, and an afternoon at the Warner Bros Studio Tour, so it's not all bad! 

I visited four years ago so I was itching to go back and I wasn't disappointed. As well as the amazing sets and props that were there last time there was a lot of new stuff too, like the train station section with the Hogwarts Express! We really took our time looking at all the detail, reading the information boards, having our photo taken in a flying car, and generally having a ball. 


I am as guilty as the rest when it comes to taking lots of photos and videos, and not always taking experiences in properly, so I have made a conscious effort lately to focus on what is happening around me with my eyes rather than looking through my camera or phone. 

One thing I found about this trip, which didn't happen last time, was how manic a few of the areas were. At times it was impossible to see/read things because of all the cameras, phones and selfie sticks attempting to take in every little detail. Don't get me wrong, I like to take photos as much as the next person, but some people seemed to be viewing the whole experience through the video mode on their phones and not actually looking at things with their eyes. One lady caused a huge pile-up spending ten minutes perfecting the perfect selfie with one of the sets in the background.

Anyway, rant over. I will stop being a grumpy old lady now! If you haven't been here yet I suggest you book tickets ASAP because it's an amazing attraction with so much detail; well worth the £35 ticket price. I won't spoil it by posting too many photos because I want you to see for yourself!