Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Loot Crate | April Review

I'd been eyeing up Loot Crate for a good year or so but finally, I can say that it is my go-to subscription box for all things geek and collectibles! If you've not heard of Loot Crate, let me give you a quick lowdown...
Loot Crate is a monthly subscription box with each month having a different theme. The crate is priced at $29.95 (£20.74 was on my bank statement this month) and the contents are said to be of the value of $45+.
The contents inside is a variety of all things geeky from Movie and Game merchandise to exclusive items only seen in Loot Crate. You'll find anything from t-shirts to socks and collectible figures from many brands and franchises such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Nintendo. The exciting thing is trying to work out what's going to be in the box!

The April Loot Crate theme was Quest. I had such great hopes for this box after seeing contents of previous boxes and their themes.
So lets have a look at what's inside...
This eye-catching black with purple motif Labyrinth movie t-shirt. By far the best item in the box. I do love collecting random t-shirts and a Labyrinth one has been on my mind for a while.

Harry Potter symbol socks. HARRY POTTER SOCKS. Come on. You cannot go wrong with these. Loot Crate previously featured HP socks of other designs in LVL Up Crate. Added bonus for apparel lovers, check that crate out!

Quest pin. Every month there's a pin included to go with the theme of the box. I think these are going to make a great addition to my every growing pin collection book, which admittedly is mainly Disney at the moment!
Vikings Drinking Horn. Admittedly I haven't watched Vikings but I thought this drinking horn was a great collectible that I'm more than happy to use!

20-sided dice (D20) ice mold. A friend of mine also subscribes to Loot Crate and recently had a party, these ice molds basically wowed everyone. Plus made the perfect ice for whiskey!

Uncharted 4 poster. Forgot to photograph, DOH! I was so excited when I heard that an Uncharted 4 item would be included in this box.. I'm not so fussed about posters if I'm honest as I don't really put them up anywhere so I was slightly disappointed. However I appreciate it and I will keep it.

So how fantastic Quest box was! If you're thinking about treating yourself or even your friend, family or other half, it's obvious to see that this crate is great value for money and the contents in it are perfect for gamers and collectors alike!

But Loot Crate doesn't stop there. There are six types of Loot Crate you can subscribe to, two favourites I'm eyeing up alongside my Loot Crate are..
Level Up crate containing apparel, t-shirt, socks and even jewellery and accessories for the girls.
The ultimate Loot Crate DX, a next level box containing apparel, collectibles, home goods and more! To the value of $100+!

What's your favourite subscription box for geek, gaming and collectibles?

Don't forget use this link here to save yourself $5 off your first box!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

French Toast for One

It's Sunday, it's brunch time.. or close enough. I love brunch, any excuse to eat a mix of two meals as one. If I can't get out, most of the time (especially on a Sunday) I can't be bothered to get dress and leave the house to head to a cafe or restaurant, so I whip up hearty and simple dishes like this. French toast is such a simple and utterly delicious treat and can be topped with anything you fancy from fruit to clotted or even ice cream. Who doesn't love something sweet and filling to eat?!
French Toast For One Recipe featuring Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup
I've been trying out this fruit syrup from Sweet Freedom*. It's a 100% natural fruit syrup (completely suitable for Vegans!) with just 13 calories per teaspoon and can be used in just about anything from teas and coffees to porridge and even in baking. It makes a perfect replacement for sugar and you can use 50% less than standard sugar and honey due to it's naturally rich and sweet taste.
French Toast For One Recipe featuring Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup
For French Toast:

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 thick slices bread/brioche
  • 130ml milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter for frying
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup

For Toppings:

  • Bacon
  • Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup
  • Yoghurt
  • Dusting of Cinnamon

If you're having any hot toppings like bacon, prep and cook that now as the French toast doesn't take long.

Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and Sweet Freedom in a shallow bowl

Heat skillet/frying pan on a medium-high heat with a tablespoon of butter - I use Fry Light Sunflower Oil spray which is a great light alternative to butter

Place one slice of bread into the egg mix, leave for 15-20 seconds then flip over and leave to soak again for 15-20 seconds

Place soaked bread into the pan. Cook on one side until golden. Try not to squash the toast down, you'll want it light and fluffy! When this side has reached golden, turn over and repeat until cooked through.

Add more butter/oil spray to the pan and repeat for second slice of bread.

Serve warm with desired toppings of choice.
French Toast For One Recipe featuring Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup
Et voila.. delicious brunch cooked and ready within minutes without having to leave the house! I love how light and fluffy the toast is inside with the delicious sweet crunch on the outside. Make sure you're using a nice thick slice of bread or you may find it will fall apart after soaking in the egg mixture. Hovis Doorstep Loaf or even an unsliced loaf to slice yourself are the best options.
I topped mine with natural yoghurt whipped up with a dash of cinnamon and smoked bacon, which I drizzled with Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup to add a little sweetness.

Do you like French toast? What's your favourite brunch menu item? Give me some ideas for my next brunch post!

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*I was gifted Sweet Freedom Fruit Syrup in exchange for this review and recipe, however all thoughts and opinions are my own

Sunday, 17 April 2016

EarlyBird - Healthy Snacking | Food

Oh I do love a good subscription box and my favourite is always food themed! EarlyBird is a healthy snacking box, containing 4 delicious punnets of goodies. Recently undergone a new look, which I think is super cute, all EarlyBird snacks contain no refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, flavours and colours. The main concept behind EarlyBird snacks is to eat them slowly, engaging your senses and creating energy - if we snack fast and don't think about what we're eating we can often overeat and upset our digestive system. Snacking and eating our meals slower can trick the mind into thinking we're more full.
EarlyBird Healthy Snack Box Review - Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
EarlyBird Healthy Snack Box Review - Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
EarlyBird Healthy Snack Box Review - Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
The packaging is sleek, letterbox friendly - which is always a winner in my book as I'm not always home for the post! I really love the colours of the box, very vibrant and perfect for Spring! The sleeve pulls away to reveal the contents, beautifully presents and a small leaflet with details on the products, nutritional information and 'badges of health'.
Snackwise, there's a really nice selection which when looking online before subscribing I really loved the concept of most of them. The four in my box were fantastic, starting with Florentiny - a dairy free trail mix style punnet with protein and fibre, containing raw chocolate covered raisins, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and almond silvers. I do love trail mixes so this was lovely for an afternoon snack.
Next, Kiwi crisps, a really simple yet totally delightful snack. Just 38 calories, less than 3g of sugar and high in fibre, this really did fulfil my sweet craving. I for one have never tried a kiwi crisp, but I was totally in love and now I'm on the hunt for bags on the highstreet - let me know if you've ever tried them?!
Next, Raspberry Coconut Jelly and probably my favourite out of the four! The raspberry drops with coconut chips and raspberry coconut chips went so well together. With no refined sugar, just 148 calories and high in protein, it didn't feel like a healthy snack at all. It left me craving more if I'm honest. Four more punnets please!
Finally another simple punnet of Wasabi Wheatgrass Kale Chips, a source of protein and high in fibre.I hadn't dabbled in kale chips before, the wasabi really gave them a nice kick!
And to top it off a little box in the centre containing a Darjeeling Duck Tea bag, the perfect accompaniment with an afternoon snack!

Overall I was pleasantly surprised with the EarlyBird Healthy Snackbox and look forward to my next one. If you would like to try a box yourself use the code tamsy-2037 and get your first box for half price

Have you tried EarlyBird snackbox or any other subscription snack boxes? What's your favourite snack?

Sunday, 10 April 2016

An Overnight Stay at Burley Manor, New Forest | Travel

Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Ever feel like you need to get away for the night but may not have the time or funds to fly abroad? A staycation is what you need. So last week I headed down to the New Forest for an overnight stay at Burley Manor.
A stunning Grade II listed building, Burley Manor dates back to 1852 and has been a hotel since 1935 and set in just 8 acres of land, it feels miles away from everything. Purchased by New Forest Hotels in April 2015, it quickly underwent a £1.8 million refurbishment, transforming it into this completely stylish yet humble hotel with 40 Boutique bedrooms ranging from Snug to Suite, any Pinterest obsessed would be envious of, just check out the photos.
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
The bedrooms are situated in both the main Manor and the Garden Wing, the latter can either be accessed through a series of doors and corridors  (pretty easy to navigate once you've done it once) or through the courtyard and onto your very own private deck.
In the Courtyard, a small pool which was closed off, well it's not quite Summer yet. There are plans to expand and even add Spa facilities so I look forward to returning for that. All of the Garden Wing  rooms overlook stunning serene views of the countryside and even a herd of deer grazing. Yes, they are there most days and you can even buy food to feed them!
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
As if the views of the grounds and courtyard weren't perfect enough, the room itself was stunning and from the front didn't appear to be that big, I was expecting more of a snug room. However, it was very spacious and furnished beautifully. You can see they really took extra love and care to make the rooms individual yet compliment the surroundings. I particularly loved the bed, just look at that headboard, the side table ladened with tea and coffee facilities and even some delicious freshly baked cookies. It goes without saying that the bathroom is to-die-for and the complimentary Temple Spa goodies is enough to amke any beauty blogger squeal!
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
After relaxing for a couple of hours, listening to the radio, headed over to the Manor and to the restaurant where I'd booked a table for dinner. Staying midweek meant the restaurant was pretty quiet with just three couples having dinner at the same time and a few people at the bar. We were quickly seated with our menus and the Sommelier, Carlos welcomed us asking if we'd like any wine, our preferences and bottle or Carafe. Carlos really knows his stuff and after choosing a bottle of delicious red, poured into a carafe and we sat back and relaxed. Chatting and discussing blogging, taking photos too.
Starting with some homemade rosemary bread and a selection of infused Olive Oils, chilli and paprika, lemon and herb and garlic.
Next we kindly offered a plate of Tapas to share. A mouthwatering selection of dry cured Hampshire antipasti, Lamb Kibbeh with spiced yoghurt, couscous Tabbouli. But the star of the show for us was the Cumin Houmous topped with dukkah and pine nuts and served with warm flatbread. Freshly made and so utterly delicious unlike any Houmous I have tasted before. I could have and would have eaten the whole bowl, had I not ordered a main...
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
After filling our stomachs with Tapas, we chatted, laughed and drank a lot of wine. And then our mains arrived. Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni- it was stunning. The Ricotta filling and fresh wilted Spinach really worked in harmony with the pasta. Such a decadent and filling main.
Roast Duck with heritage vegetables and a jus. The duck was cooked to perfection, pink exactly how I like it and the vegetables roasted beautifully. We were very intrigued by the sweet potato with sherry vinegar, raisins and maple (not pictured as I got carried away and ate them instantly). Oh my, did they exceed my expectations, possibly the best roasted sweet potato I have ever tired, and I am a huge sweet potato fan. The maple and raisins really perfected the dish for me.
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
After polishing off the starter and mains, there was just had about enough room to squeeze in a small dessert, Affogatto - vanilla ice cream, espresso coffee, ameretto and an amaretto biscuit - the amaretto biscuits must have got lost on their way from the Kitchen, slight disappointment but I was too full to care and just wanted to down the coffee and amaretto itself. A simple dessert to finish off a perfect meal.

And so, retired to the Garden Wing for a luscious nights sleep in possibly the comfiest, most luxurious bed...
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Waking up bright and early, and after grabbing a cup of tea from the in-room Tea Service, we headed to breakfast in the dining room. You can also opt for breakfast being delivered to you (breakfast in bed, hello!), simply by filling out a form the evening before.
After seating and getting familiar with the breakfast bar serving yoghurts, fruits, fruit juices and fresh pastries, I check out the menu and decided the Cinnamon French toast made with their homemade brioche with berry compote & orange yoghurt. Oh my, I do love french toast, sadly never mastered making it myself. But this was so utterly delicious. The flavours complimented eachother perfectly and conquered my morning sweet tooth, along with a teapot of tea and glass of Cranberry juice.
Of course you cannot stay somewhere without trying their version of an English fry up and so we tried the Burley Breakfast with Balsamic roasted tomatoes, plancha style pork loin, locally sourced sausage, roasted Portobello’s & free range poached eggs. Although we were expecting something on the larger side, we were still full from the night before so this Burley Breakfast went down comfortably.
Burley Manor Hotel New Forest - Review from Peaches and Bear Travel and Lifestyle Blog - peachesandbear.co.uk
Packing up my things, feeling completely full and so relaxed, I couldn't help but feel sad to be leaving such a peaceful place in the heart of the New Forest. I can highly recommend for an overnight stay, or just stop by for dinner if you're enjoying some country walks in the area. You won't be disappointed.

To stay at Burley Manor on a Bed and Breakfast basis – prices will start from £119 per couple in a snug room.  To book or for more information see www.burleymanor.com or call 01425 403522.

Does a staycation tickle your fancy? Have you visited the New Forest before? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

A to Z City Travel List | Travel

Many of you may know that I really want to start writing more travel posts, sharing my photos and experiences with you all. My New Years Resolutions and 30 Before 30 lists always seem to include some sort of travel wishes. I first decided I'd like to visit a different city every month, or realistically every other depending on the distance, expenses etc. Anyway, when I was looking online at cities, I found a really cool A-Z list, some of which I'd already visited so i decided to create my own.



A - Amsterdam, Netherlands
B - Barcelona, Spain
C - Cape Town, South Africa
D - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
E - Edinburgh, Scotland
F - Florence, Italy
G - Gothenburg, Sweden
H - Helsinki, Finland
I - Istanbul, Turkey
J - Jakarta, Indonesia
K - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
L - Lisbon, Portugal
M - Monte Carlo, Monaco
N - Nice, France
O - Oslo, Norway
P - Prague, Czech Republic
Q - Quebec City, Canada
R - Reykjavik, Iceland
S - Saint Petersburg, Russia
T - Tokyo, Japan
U - Udon Thani, Thailand
V - Vancouver, Canada
W - Warsaw, Poland
X - Xi'an, China
Y - Yasawa Island, Fiji
Z - Zurich, Switzerland

I'd love to know what you think of my list. I'm currently in Italy so already ticking off Florence, aswell as a few others not on the list. I can't wait to share the adventure with you.
Have you visited any of the places above or are they on your list too? If you have any posts or videos I would absolutely love to see them so why not leave a comment or tweet me, @peachesandbear

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