DIY: Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Valentine's Day is just over 2 weeks away and whether you think it's the best day or the worse day, it is a day dedicated to love and I'm not going to go more into this day with the arguments people can come up with but regardless if you're in a relationship or free as a bird, there is always someone who could use a little extra love on this day.

Today, I am going to share with you some ideas I have found and created myself over the years of being with James, either for Valentines, Christmas or even his birthday, and these gifts do not restrict you from making them for your other half, you can make them for a best friend, a family member and simply anyone you seriously care about and you want to express that.

I have always thought of myself to be a creative person and I love to show that with making something personal, as well as buying a gift. If you're on a budget like me this year, why not challenge your creative mind and make one of these quirky personalised gifts for your loved one.

52 reasons why I love you - Deck of Cards

- Deck of cards
- Plain paper + Glue / Label Stickers
(print outline of hearts or freestyle)
- Hole puncher
- String

You & I - Scrapbook of Our Lives

- Plain A5 notebook (blank pages)
- Photos of you, them and/or together
- Decorations: stickers, tape, etc (optional)

Things For You - Coupon Booklet

- Coloured Paper
(you can free write or print your chosen offers)
- Stapler

Special Occasion - Personalised Photo Book 

This one I've done more than once, I actually use FreePrints Photobooks, it's an app that you can create your book as you like, with 20 pages to play with. All you do is pay for postage, which is around £6!


Of course, I've only mentioned the basics but feel free to adapt and change, add and create what you like, it's all personalised, so there are no rules!

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day this year?
Let us know in the comments below.

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Lisbon: Where To Eat - Cheap Eats

We never claim to be luxury travellers - our top secret to being able to travel the way we have is to do your research. Not all good things have to be expensive, and not everything that is cheap is bad. Before our trip we did a lot of research on the best 'cheap eats' in a city which can sting naive tourists and leave you disappointed. 



Lisbon: The Best Custard Tarts

If you've ever been to Lisbon, you will know that you can't pass a street corner without seeing a bakery or pastry shop with window displays full of these little beauties. The custard tart is a national treasure, and we couldn't pass up the opportunities to try a nice selection of them whilst we were over there in the beautiful city. 

1. Fábrica da Nata
Praça dos Restauradores 62 -68, 1250-110 Lisboa

If you saw our last post from the Secret Food Tour, you would know that this is where our tour guide brought us for what she believed to be the best tart in town. Did we agree? We certainly did and we hit the jackpot first time as it was actually the first that we had. Perfect pastry, not too hard and not too soft on the inside. Goldilocks would have loved it! It was just right.


Expo Astória Hotel in Lisbon, Portugal

Our first travel destination of 2018 was Lisbon, and we were fortunate enough not only to be able to explore this amazing city in all its glory, but to also be able to stay in the heart of Portugal's capital at the Expo Astória Hotel

Over our four night stay, we always had a fantastic pad to head back to with amazingly comfortable rooms and amenities, excellent service, friendly atmosphere and contemporary surroundings. It is known as 'The Art Hotel,' a concept inspired by art and design and full of quirky characteristics and architecture. We felt they could have heightened these unique features, as it seemed to stop at the lobby and reception area, but room for greater potential is no bad thing and we were certainly taken aback and slightly creeped out by the hand sculptures appearing from the walls!

We also loved the hotel's efforts in sustainable business. One prime example of this is how you can leave a sign on the door indicating if you would like the room to be cleaned and be provided with fresh towels. Your reward for not - a 5 euro voucher for the hotel's fantastic bar. Two nights of leaving a sign on the door got us the classic G&T and stein of Sagres - it's a win win!

Running alongside the bar is the hotel's restaurant area, used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With breakfast included in the price, we enjoyed an unlimited buffet every morning to give us energy for the fun filled days ahead. They had everything you could possibly wish for from the Full English to croissants and fruit and yoghurt. With a full range of coffees, teas and juices, it was the perfect way to wash down the cheeky custard tart to kick off the day.

Unfortunately we weren't able to fit in an evening meal at the hotel, but we were certainly impressed by their offering. With a full Portuguese inspired a la carte menu available, you could also have a 'blind meal' - where the chefs would cook you up something pretty spectacular and unusual, for you only to find out exactly what it is afterwards. If the quality of those meals are anything like their breakfast, then it's definitely worth coming back for if we find ourselves in Lisbon again. 

The rooms were basic but did everything with a little touch of elegance and high quality. The beds gave us four fantastic nights sleep, the decor was minimal but sophisticated and the large and powerful shower brushed off any cobwebs to open and close our days here. 

Located just off the roundabout of the Marquês de Pombal Statue, the Expo Astória Hotel is just a simple and straight stroll down the Avenida da Liberdade into the centre. For those not fancying the walk, there is a bus stop right outside the main door to both the city centre and airport, and many of the Hop on Hop Off Tours start and end just a stone throw away. 

The hotel had everything we could need and want and gave us a fantastic place to start exploring Lisbon. A massive thank you to all at the hotel for having us - we hope to be back soon!

Disclaimer: we were given discounted price to the Expo Astória in exchange for an honest review.
However as always, all pictures and views are our own.

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Lisbon: Secret Food Tour

What a way to kick off our 2018 foodie travels! When I, James opened the envelope on Christmas Day revealing Lisbon as our first travel destination of the year, the custard tart themed dreams began. As all great international trips have it, a food tour would be the way that we chose to explore a new city and its culinary history, and here in Lisbon, their Secret Food Tour had it all...


Event: The Reggae Brunch, London

Starter: Lamb Patties + Saltfish Fritters

Calling all bloggers who love to brunch! Fed up of your typical avocado on toast and poached egg or simply looking for something new to try? You've obviously come to the right place. Last month I attended my very first Reggae Brunch event, sadly another event without James but of course with my trustee fellow blogger, Ashlee Moyo.



Things To Do in Lisbon, Portugal

If you didn't already know, I, Jessica took James on a surprise holiday and we went to LISBON! Our first trip of the year and I knew we had to go out with a bang, going to a country that we haven't been together to before. We spent 4 (and a half) days in Lisbon and here are the things we did and would definitely recommend.

Ride a Traditional Funicular (to somewhere you don't need to be)

On route to finding the Castle, we decided to take the funicular as we've passed it many times throughout our days there. We simply felt we needed to because it was free with our Yellow Bus Tour* ticket, we don't have them in the UK and James was fully convinced that it was "the way up to the Castle", and I'm sure you can see where this is going, it was NOT the way up to the Castle! It was a cute ride regardless and a not so funny trip back down the steps and a whole load more up to the actual way to the Castle.

Go up the Justa Santa Lift and take in the Viewpoint

Although we did research and read posts on what to do in Lisbon, this is one we came across by accident and sometimes those moments are the best. Walking around the streets of Lisbon one night and we looked up in the distance and saw loads of people on this platform. As the nosey people we are, we decided to investigate and we came across the line to the Just Santa Lift and to our surprise it too was free with our Yellow Bus Tour*. The view was just as stunning during the night and in the day (we went twice)

Conquer your fears at Pilar 7 by the 25 de Abril Bridge

If you are anything like me and are afraid of heights, this is so not for you, but if you're down for the challenge and experience, it's definitely something different! As well as having a proper view of the bridge that looks very similar to the bridge in San Fransisco and the amazing view, and a wonderful view on the road below your feet a couple hundred meters high! You really feel the experience from the start of your journey going up and to top it all off we added a virtual reality experience of being on the bridge. Definitely worth the price and with our Yellow Bus Tour* ticket we got £2 off each.

Admire the history of the Castle and Viewpoint

After the longest and hardest walk up to the castle, we knew we had to justify the trip and go inside, and seeing an overview of Lisbon was so worth the pennies and Instagram worthy. Although we didn't take the audio tour, it was jut nice to walk around the grounds, take pictures, enjoy the views and slow strolling.

Hop On and Off the Yellow Bus Tour*

We got the All-in-One Yellow Bus Tour* tickets which was valid for 72 hours. One ticket covers 6 lines, including busses, trams and boat. The Tagus Bus Tour, Olisipo Bus Tour and Belém Bus Tour offers you unforgettable views 4 metres high over the city, travelling across the Belém, Baixa, Eduardo VII Park and Parque das Nações areas. On rail, the red trams of the Hills Tramcar Tour and the green trams of Castle Tramcar Tour travel through the Lisbon main quarters’ narrow streets. Finally, the Yellow Boat Tour shows you that the view of Lisbon from the Tagus River is something that you should not miss, and gives you the opportunity to go up the Cristo Rei statue at the Cacilhas stop.

Relax on the Cable Cars

Visit the other side of Lisbon, ride the cable cars, enjoy the amazing views and take it all in. We bought a all round ticket, but we did get off the of other end and stopped by the very interesting building/hotel on the other side for a very expensive coffee and jumped back on the cable cars back.

Eat at the Time Out Market

After a long day of being a tourist, take a lunch/dinner stop at the only Time Out market in Europe or start your day in the fresh market. With so much variety of dishes, from burgers to a fancy fillet of cod, you are spoilt for choice!

So there it is, the things we did and would recommend in Lisbon, of course we'd also recommend eating all the custard tarts and going on a Secret Food Tour but you'll have to check out the food blog for that.

Have you ever been to Lisbon? What would you recommend that we missed?
Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: we were given complimentary tickets to the Yellow Bus Tour* in exchange for an honest review.
However as always, all pictures and views are our own.

You can also find us on:



Lunchbox: Couscous Stuffed Peppers

Following our previous lunchbox post, I have decided to create another couscous post because I am sure you have not used the whole packet from the last dish (yay to saving money)



Under 30: Soft Cheese Gnocchi with Bacon & Spinach

I don't know about you but gnocchi hasn't always been something I think of straight away when planning for a meal. We've had it once before and we simply knew we wanted to have it again.


Restaurant: Gail's Bakery - Queen's Park, London

On a cold and crisp Wednesday morning with a multitude of bags and ready to head back up North, my time in London would only become complete with a trip to Gail's. I'm going to miss it! A stone throw away from Queen's Park station is what has become our favourite London coffee shop and bakery, and it's a real wonder we haven't written about it before.


Lunchbox: Turkey Couscous Salad


I know we're already 4 days into the new year, but this is officially the first post on this blog for 2018 and to kick off the year, I, Jessica am a new woman. If you didn't already know, I recently got a new job and in my previous I used to work 5 minutes walk away from my house, which was super convenient and such a money saver. Going home for lunch everyday, how could that not be a dream?


New Year: 2018 Goals


After an incredible 2017 which has seen Food & Baker go strength to strength, us visit 13 new countries and continue to travel up and down the UK, we are now contemplating our 2018 goals - always striving to do bigger, better and more!

Looking back on our goals from this time last year, some were achieved easily and some didn't even come close, but we will always do this with realistic ambition and we can't wait to get started with what is sure to be an amazing year!

Blogging goals:

4000 Twitter followers
1,500 Instagram followers
250 YouTube subscribers
300,000 all time page views on our food blog
50,000 all time page views on our travel blog
Begin work on a secret new project!

Travel goals:

Visit 6 new countries
Interrail through Italy
Explore 2 new UK cities

Now back in Sheffield for my final year of university, I can't wait to graduate and continue where we left off in living together and with fingers crossed, bag a spot on a graduate scheme! With Jessica taking a brand new job in social media in the latter part of 2017, it's going to be amazing to do what we love both in and out of work, and continue sharing it with you all!

Thank you for your continued love and support and making what we do so rewarding! We hope you achieve all your goals and dreams and have an amazing year ahead!

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© Food & Baker

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