31/08/2016

Lifestyle: August Favs & September Goals

We are back with our Favourites of the month and our Goals for the following, but first, let's begin with an overview of our previous months goals and what we've achieved!

August has been such a blessed month for us in terms of our blog, we reached over 60K blog views, 1K+ Twitter followers, went to our first blogger meet up, first blogger event and has been shortlisted for the Best Food Blog for the Blogger Blog Awards (vote for us)
We are truly thankful for everything we've had and achieved this month, we are truly grateful for all of you for supporting us! So thank you, you amazing people!

August Goals Overview:

- Start our own Twitter FOOD chat [✓]
Can't belive we've actually done it - we now host #hungrychats every other Tuesday at 7PM, as we're alternating with @CeciliaFabert 
- Go up & slide down the Orbit for a Date Night
Unfortunately, we was not organised with this one, well it's not really our fault. We had already planned all out weekends and shifted around to much already that we couldn't do it then and it closes at 6 on weekdays, which is when we just finish work.
- Go back to Brighton, for certain ice cream shop
Again, this was due to being jammed pack with plans and having an important last minute event come up that we had to drop this plan, but will hopefully go through with next month if the weather is good to us. 
-Attend the Notting Hill Carnival (James' first time)[✓]
We attended the one day and apparently the quite day of the two, Sunday, it was defo an experience for him.
- Reach 800 Twitter Followers [✓]
We surprisingly hit this target mid way through the month - 14th August to be exact and we're so so happy that we have this many and we hope to grow more and share more adventures with you all 
- Start using Blog Lovin' properly [✓]
I'm not sure if this could be one but I must say we started with nothing and now have 20+ followers, it's not much but it's a start and slowly getting the hang of it! Follow us ;) (side bar)


July Goals (now achieved):
We thought it was only right to fix what we didn't achieve in the previous month and show it here!

- Visit at least 2 independent coffee shops in London[✓]So so happy we managed to get two independent coffee shops, both recommended by @beanthereat
which you can find them here and here

August Favs:

FOOD

Restaurant: The Alchemist, Liverpool
Hands down, the reason for this choice was the experience of the drinks! It was honestly so impressive and we hope to visit the London branch soon!

Home cooked Meal: Loaded Hasselback Potatoes 

Potatoes are life! How could one complain, it's got all the good nacho stuff thrown on it!

PEOPLE

Twitter to Follow: @CeciliaFabert
How could we not give a big shout out to our Twitter chat partner in crime! We would't have been able to create #hungrychats without her! Make sure to follow her as we co-host the chat together and alternate every other Tuesday at 7PM.

YouTube to Watch: Lexi Life
Since watching her holiday vlogs, I have been hooked on her bubbly personality - She has recently started some make up tutorials and they are serious GOALS! You will not regret it! 


BEAUTY:

Lips: NYX
I have recently purchased a few NYX products and so far, these are my favourite two - NYX Lingerie, Exotic LL12, which my sister actually bought for me from Philippines and NYX soft matte lip cream, ABU DHABI SMLC09.


OTHER

Date Night: Duck & Waffle
Dinner with a view, one of the most memorable Date Nights we've ever had!

September Goals:

- Buy a proper vlogging camera for our holiday and our vlogs in general
- Reach 60 subscribers on YouTube
- Cook at least 3 times a week at home
- Bake at least twice this month
- Keep up with British Bake Off

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | BlogLovin'

What are your August favourites? Do you have a goal/bucket list? Leave them in the comments below!

As you may or may not know, we have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG on the #bloggersblogawards on Wednesday 17th August 2016, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your one vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 18th September 2016.
Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
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#FBbloggerseries: @Kpeonies


Welcome to the Food & Baker food blogger series, which every blogger, vlogger, tweeter is welcome because what human being doesn't like food(!?) This is a just a simple, quick and fun series of food related questions to just to get to know each other and meet new bloggers!

We are super grateful to everyone who are involved! Let's get started!

Introductionhttps://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Xfmd2CRe5-8/V5NY2_taSCI/AAAAAAAABg0/_jpT2RgiCnQzS0b7PVvyyVhxovlasU9KwCLcB/s640/bake2.jpg

Hi! My name’s Katie and I blog at Kaleidoscope Peonies, a literature and lifestyle blog.  I’m based in the North East countryside but am moving back down to my favourite city ever- Liverpool, to do a masters in Marketing in September. So excited.

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in my final year of university as a creative outlet and because I had loved writing about literature during my degree. I posted sporadically throughout 2015, not really finding my feet and not knowing how to promote my blog at all. That all changed when I got back from travelling in April this year. I met a fellow blogger who introduced me to the blogging world on Twitter. A few months on and I am obsessed with blogging.

Three Random Facts

1. I climbed Kilimanjaro in 2013
2. Hedgehogs are my favourite animal
3. I’m the greediest person I know

If you could travel anywhere in the world purely for its food, where would you go?

This is such a hard one! The best food I've ever eaten was in Florence, the best macaroons were in Prague and the best curry was in Thailand. I would either love to go back to those places, or I would love to try authentic Mexican food as that's my favourite!

What is your favourite meal in the day and why?

I love breakfast and I love dinner. Lunch is definitely out of the running- I hardly ever get excited about lunch. I think I'd have to say breakfast is my fave, just because it's a nice routine and a nice way to start my day. My fave breakfasts are: 1. porridge with honey & cinnamon 2. poached egg with smoked salmon on toast and 3. english muffin with nutella and strawberries. I also always have a peppermint tea.

Do you prefer to cook at home or eat out?

My boyfriend and I are massive foodies, and we absolutely love going out for food and trying new restaurants. Our favourite cities for food are Edinburgh & Liverpool. 

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

Homemade guacamole. 


My favourite savoury recipe is this Chicken, Pesto & Butternut Squash Lasagne from BBC Good Food. It's my go-to dish if I'm cooking for people, and one of my all time favourites too. 
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My favourite sweet recipe is this amazing rocky road. I found the it on the lovely Sarah Ann's blog (forever grateful), and the recipe can be found here.
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-n2YWecQnuzI/V5NyfxRPQCI/AAAAAAAABh0/ASr63FEyDygxKxn-ATNqqowtain7rYtTwCLcB/s640/%2540Kaleidoscopepeonies.png

Whats your favourite post of ours?


My favourite post of Food & Baker is their recent Stacked Hot Chocolate post. This is mainly because I am trying really hard to be healthy at the moment, and it just made me happy to know that these existed. They look SO GOOD.
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uW80XETSQzk/V5NoDPczRSI/AAAAAAAABhg/LUdDIsohEvIWzUFxgH6aW8-GGirpCy2GQCLcB/s640/blogger-image--215424857.jpg

Blog: http://kaleidoscopepeonies.blogspot.co.uk/

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/kaleidoscope-peonies-14252241

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaleidoscopepeonies/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kpeonies

We would like to continue this series for as long as you all want to participate, so if you would like to take part in our blogger series, please do drop us an email on foodandbaker@gmail.com and we will send you back the details.


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30/08/2016

How To: Taco Pop Tarts


As you know, we've been trying to save money and cook more at home. This was a dish planned for last week but never got round to doing it. My best friend, Rochelle, recently came back from America and as the amazing girl she is, she brought me back a whole bag of goodies; American crisps, sweets, pop tarts (the sweet kind), cake mix and a Victoria Secret bra ;) Isn't she just amazing!?

So, we thought this would be a great time to make these babies and we are so happy they turned out alright, since we've never made them before but we had a great approval from our honoured guest!
Find below how we made these!

Serves: 12 Taco Pop Tarts | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 20 -25 minutes

Ingredients:
- 2 packets of ready made pastry 
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 cup canned black beans, drained
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Working with one crust at a time, unroll onto your work surface and cut into six 3″ x 4″ rectangles. Repeat with the remaining crusts; cover with a towel to keep from drying out.
3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Sauté the
onion for 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until completely cooked through (no pink remaining). Add the taco seasoning and stir to combine. Add the corn and beans and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool until warm.

4. Place six pie crust rectangles on one of your prepared baking sheets. Top with a spoonful of the beef filling, followed by a handful of shredded cheese. Top with six more crusts and gently press around the edges. Use a fork to crimp and seal; make a few small incisions in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush with some of the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat with remaining crusts and fillings.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.


As you may or may not know, we have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG on the #bloggersblogawards on Wednesday 17th August 2016, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your one vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 18th September 2016.

Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
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Event: Foodies Festival @ Alexandra Palace, London


This day has been long in the planning as we spotted it on Twitter after hearing it was the biggest, and arguably best food festival in the UK. It was a very good job that we waited a little to buy our entry tickets though, as we received the good news last week that we have won tickets! They were won with foodfestivalfinder.co.uk.


The festival has been taking place throughout the Bank Holiday weekend, but after having a packed Saturday and Sunday, we had a lazy morning before heading out to enjoy the fabulous sunshine, great vibes, and most importantly, some outstanding food!


We started there with a walk around, checking out the options and constantly finding ourselves saying ooh, ahh at almost every stall, tent and truck that we passed. We picked our favourites to come back to later in the day. Our first purchase however came at 'Twist a Chip,' which is literally what it says  - chips with a twist! We shared and chose the topping of barbecue - an excellent start!


This was like a side-dish, so we both hunted down the perfect main course, I, James going for the Ribeye 'Manwhiche' at 'Boys Meat Grill,' and Jessica having the aromatic duck, prawn and chive, and spiced pork 'Ugly Dumplings.'


Before we came we stumbled across an advert for HelloFresh, a food delivery service that will package together each and every ingredient for nutritious meals every week. The lady at the stand explained how everything works and gave us a a healthy discount on our first two orders with them. It seemed like a fantastic concept and we can't wait for our first delivery which will be arriving next Sunday. The box will contain ingredients for 3 meals for the both of us. It has come at a great time as we are definitely looking to cook more at home in September.


Dessert came in the form of a 'Bad Kat' (Kit Kat) brownie from 'Bad Brownie,' and Jessica had her regular craving of strawberries and cream. The brownie business had been on Dragon's Den back in January, so we will try and check out that episode now. Both desserts were fantastic!


We took away with us some Carrington's Chilli Cup sauce, Candy Kittens sweets, and 4 bags of Tyrells - these came in a combo deal for just £5 so will last Jessica for the next day or so! She does love her crisps!


Upon entrance we were pointed towards the registration stand which was booking people into cooking and baking demonstrations that were taking place throughout the day. We chose the Burlesque Baker (it wasn't what you're thinking!) But Charlotte White did teach us the art of cake fondants and decoration. It tasted great too!


To end we enjoyed the late afternoon sun with some ciders and live jazz music - just perfect! Today we have taken the opportunity to hand out some of our business cards and get chatting to the people on the stands and stalls. It was great to meet so many friendly, food-loving people, and we will definitely be looking out for more festivals to attend from now on.

VLOG IS NOW LIVE


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As you may or may not know, we have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG on the #bloggersblogawards on Wednesday 17th August 2016, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your one vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 18th September 2016.
Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
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28/08/2016

Date Night: Netflix & Chill

PHAHA I laughed so hard at our own title, as in this day and age, it always has to mean something more than it says, but in this case, it's exactly what it means.


Let's get real for a second, as much as we love our Date Nights and we always LOVE to go all out and venture the streets of London, it is the end of the month (where money is becoming a stretch) and we've got a holiday coming up and if you know us, it's actually rare that we just do NOTHING.

So what better way to have a simple Date Night, than have it at home, with candles and fairly lights and a good session of Stranger Things. We've already had our dinner at this point, Avocado Pasta Salad, so all we needed to complete this evening was a bed full of snacks!



Luckily, we were blessed to still have SO MANY treats from our #BloggerPitP goodie bags
(which you can find out exactly what we got, if you want to be super nosy on Sarah's post!) although, we could have done with some good tub of ICE CREAM!

We've actually started Stranger Things once before and got to eps 4, then didn't watch it for a very long time, so for Date Night, we decided to start all over again, forgetting that they are an hour long, we only managed to watch about 2 and a half before realising it was past midnight - I know what you're thinking, only midnight, hey it was a Tuesday and we both had work the next morning #grandmalife



Nevertheless, it was so good to just stay at home and relax, of course as Date Nights go, with no phones and no distractions for the outside world!

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

As you may or may not know, we have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG on the #bloggersblogawards on Wednesday 17th August 2016, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your one vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 18th September 2016.
Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
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27/08/2016

Silver Anniversary Dinner @ The Yew Tree, Bunbury

Fish pie, cheese glaze, peas, fresh bloomer - £13.50 - James

This weekend we have been in Chester to celebrate my Mum and Dad's 25th wedding anniversary, and this evening we took the drive out to Cheshire village, Bunbury for dinner. The place was called The Yew Tree - it's become quite a regular stomping ground for my family. They do love a posh pub kind of environment. From the numerous framed good food awards dotted around the windows and walls, you know you're in for some very high quality pub food!

Smoked chicken croquette, gem salad & caeser dressing - £6.50

We were joined by Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles and cousins and made up a table for 16. We were given a room all to ourselves. The day before we all preordered our starters and mains. From working in a couple of restaurants I know how easy it can be to get such a large table mixed up, but everything was seamless and ran very smoothly! 

8oz beef burger, melted cheese, sautéed onions, toasted brioche bun served with garlic fries - £11.50 - Jessica

Jessica and I shared a starter of croquettes and anchovy salad, and a creme brûlée for dessert. Both were fantastic!Jessica's main course burger was definitely made by the garlic fries, and after having the fish pie on a previous visit here, the fact that I went for the same choice says it all really - beautiful and one of my all time favourite dishes.
 Honey crème brulee, lavender shortbread - £6

Of course the food and drink were spot on, but it was the occasion that made this meal so special. Some (mostly) sentimental speeches at the end brought tears to a few as we all appreciate how amazing my parents are to each other and everyone around them. Thanks for everything Mum and Dad! Here's to the next 25 years!

Food: ★★★★
Customer service: ★★
Atmosphere: ★★★★★
Toilets: ★★

UPDATE: VLOG IS NOW LIVE


As you may or may not know, we have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG on the #bloggersblogawards on Wednesday 17th August 2016, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your one vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 18th September 2016.
Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
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#FBbloggerseries: @sunshinesarahxo


Welcome to the Food & Baker food blogger series, which every blogger, vlogger, tweeter is welcome because what human being doesn't like food(!?) This is a just a simple, quick and fun series of food related questions to just to get to know each other and meet new bloggers!

We are super grateful to everyone who are involved! Let's get started!

Introduction:

Hi! I'm Sarah and I have a Lifestyle Blog 'Writing Rambling' where I talk about anything and everything from skincare and beauty, to meet the blogger interviews and small business features! I started it in 2012 when blogs weren't really 'a thing' and there weren't too many bloggers around!



Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging so I had a place where I could showcase all of the outfits I was creating on an online game called 'Fantasy Shopper'. I first thought I wanted to be a fashion blogger but that soon went out the window! I soon changed tack to being a beauty blogger which suited me better. In between all this I changed the name of my blog from 'I want all this right now' to 'Writing Rambling'. I feel way more comfortable with where I am now and feel I am able to write about a variety of subjects and not be held back. I enjoy have a safe space where I can talk about subjects close to my heart and use it as a platform to help raise awareness. I have previously written an article for the charity 'tiny tickers'  where I wrote an article about detecting heart problems in babies and how vital it is that symtoms are picked up early to avoid premature deaths. I am hoping to write more articles like this in the future.

Three Random Facts

1. I have to sleep in darkness and quiet otherwise my night is disturbed
2. I get hangry quite easily so it's best to keep me fed and hydrated!
3. I have a secret addiction to watching documentaries about seriously overweight Americans and how they overcome their addiction to food!

Are you allergic to anything?

Nope but I always want to say I am allergic to mushrooms because I absolutely hate them!!

What is your most favourite meal in the world?

My most favourite!? Oh really!?!? But there's so much yummy food out there....!! Ok I guess it'll have to be.....oohh this is really hard....can I come back to it???

Are you more of a savoury or sweet kind of person?

Definitely sweet!!!! My savoury tooth is very small, but I do love ALL food! =)

Do you have any weird food/eating habits?

Well I can and sometimes do eat with my spoon and fork the other way around!  >.< I do like to put golden syrup on my Yorkshire puddings! LOL! And I recently discovered a love for gerkins......not sure where that came from!

If you could travel anywhere in the world purely for its food, where would you go?

I reckon I would go to either Italy or Greece.......got to love those Mediterranean salads and  pizza!! 8-)  (And also because I love carbs and halloumi cheese!)

What is your favourite meal in the day and why?

Has to be breakfast because it starts everything off and sets you up for the day! Plus I feel that there's so much choice available to you as you can have almost anything!

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This is like the what's your favourite meal question!!! I don't think I can answer I.......but I did in my 25 Questions Tag and came up with potatoes so I will go for that!

What would be the "out of the ordinary" thing you've eaten?

Snails, frogs legs, crocodile, emu, horse (in france!), kangaroo.....think that's it!

Do you prefer to cook at home or eat out?

I like a mixture of both but sometimes it is so nice to create a fabulous dinner in the comfort of your own home and not have to worry about getting home! xo


Recipe: Chocolate Cake

Whats your favourite post of ours?

Favourites: Afternoon Tea Experiences

Twitter: @sunshinesarahxoBlog: www.writingrambling.co.ukFacebook: www.facebook.com/WritingRamblingInsta: www.instagram.com/sunshinesarahxo



We would like to continue this series for as long as you all want to participate, so if you would like to take part in our blogger series, please do drop us an email on foodandbaker@gmail.com and we will send you back the details.


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25/08/2016

How To: Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato


As you may or may not know, we have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG on the #bloggersblogawards on Wednesday 17th August 2016, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your one vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 18th September 2016.

Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
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Lifestyle: Meal Planning

This may or may not be click bait because it's so hard for us to actually advice on how to Meal Plan when to be honest, we won't actually have a define structure on how we plan ours. So, this is more or less telling you, giving somewhat of an insight on how we manage to eat and fit in what we eat.

As holding a food blog, we of course always want to try something new - we try not to go to the same place more than twice, although there has been some exceptions and always will be, if the food is good, it's good enough to return for but since changing the content, we don't always write about a place we've been to a the time, if we've eaten there before already.


Let me tell you a little secret - we do not eat like this all the time! 98% of the time, we both skip breakfast or simply have a bowl of cereal, on Brunch days, we make an effort but that's become less and less now. Lunch we both work - so here it is - Sainsbury's meal deal or microwave ready meals. I'm sorry if that has ruined the image of our eating habits but it's the truth!

That's why dinner is our favourite meal of the day, this is where we go all out, creativity and all!
Although we say we don't have an exact structure on how we plan our meals, we do always plan our activities the week before and that leads to how we plan how we eat.

Without a doubt, we would be eating out at least twice a week! We try to cook at home at least once, if not something close enough like buying M&S food and throwing it in the oven making it look all pretty without any pictures taken.


When we do decide to cook at home, we always find our trusty Pinterest for inspiration. Let's take this week for example, we have decided to give you some worthy recipes and to save some money in making dinner at home (and just eating once out this week haha) When this rare occasion happens, we always like to plan ahead, write down all ingredients from each recipe, find repeats and order as necessary and order online in time before the week begins.

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

As you may or may not know, we have been shortlisted for the BEST FOOD BLOG on the #bloggersblogawards on Wednesday 17th August 2016, if you love what we do and truly believe we are worth your one vote, please vote for us here - voting ends Sunday 18th September 2016.
Thank you to everyone who had nominated us, we are truly grateful, we hope you continue to join our in our adventures.
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