Product review – Tea Tourist

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So I have been lucky enough to receive some fantastic goodies in the post – a tea selection from Tea Tourist! They basically send a selection of different teas to you each month from independent, small tea businesses around the world to try. Then if you want to find out more about a particular tea you can go online to discover more. Below are a few fact and ideas from me about the packs so far:

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  • I have loved both November and December selections – great variety in types of tea and different companies. All were very good quality, fantastic smelling teas and all brewed very well with the suggested brewing times being very helpful.
  • I hadn’t heard of the tea partners before but after trying their teas and seeing bit of information about them on the back of the packet I then went on instagram and found their link to follow and learn more about their businesses/tea prices etc. I liked the fact that they were small, varied businesses with interesting stories behind them and the fact that they were so varied in their locations.

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  • I love the boxes! It is so exciting to come home to a special delivery like that – it really perks up a long day after arriving back from work. The box signifies ‘me time’ as a cup of tea always helps me to relax and it’s exciting to see what is in new box each time. Additionally, it is good that the boxes can fit through letterbox so no faffing about with signing or having to pick up from post office if I am not in etc.

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  • It’s exciting to discover new teas each time and the vast expanse of different varieties is fun too. For example, I am a lover of obscure herbal teas so am really enjoying the varied selection. I also liked the fact that the December box had some selections with a hint of Christmas in them i.e. Rooibos with Marzipan, Gingerbread chai and Scotch Acorns.
  • The sample sizes are just right so you can have 3-4 cups of each to ensure you like the flavour/try it different ways.
  • I like the fact that you can sign up bit by bit and postpone/cancel subscriptions at any time so it works in with a busy lifestyle too.
  • I have got a discount code which saves 30% off first subscription – just type GOODLIFE30 in discount space for the discount.

Take a gander on http://www.teatourist.co.uk/ for more information.

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Overall, a fabulous product and concept and I look forward to experimenting with the teas more.  The December one only arrived yesterday and I sat down last night and tried 3! Back to my tea drinking!

Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx

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Product review: Herbarium Book

So I was lucky enough to receive a very exciting, new book through the post the other day- Herbarium by Caz Hildebrand for Thames and Hudson. I unwrapped it and found this below!

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So with enthusiasm and eagerness and flicked through the book! It is a very useful guide to all things herbs and I think it will be a quick reference book for me to use both in the garden and in the kitchen. I first noticed that it looks modern, crisp and has bold, bright pictures that add to the book. Then once flicking through it in more detail I realise that it is going to be so helpful for my foraging for herbs (such as Dandelion) too! It has a very easy reference section to use and lots of interesting snippets of quotes and historic facts to add to the reading experience.

One of the main things I loved about it was that it not only provides you with ideas for the kitchen and how to cook with the herb; but also it has information about how the herbs can be used medicinally or for beauty reasons.

The section at the back entitled ‘Everyday Herbarium’ is very informative and easy to access including sections on the symbolism of herbs, herbs for well-being and more importantly herbs which taste perfect in accompanying cocktails!

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Overall, I thought that this newly published book Herbarium was a fresh idea for a reference book with more substance than a classic gardening or recipe book – I will be using it a lot for smallholding, the garden, the kitchen, beauty, remedies and more.

If you want to learn more about this book or other books by Thames and Hudson (such as the Geometry of Pasta) click here: http://www.thamesandhudson.com/Herbarium/9780500518939

Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx

Recipe: Gluten and dairy free Basil and cheese cornbread.

A quick and easy recipe for everyone – but particularly dairy and gluten free diets. Good served with Chilli or casserole dishes.

A lovely simple recipe:

-Mix up the pack as per instructions

-chop basil to mix through and sprinkle on top. Cover top with cheddar cheese to your liking.

-bake in oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven then cut into fat slices to serve-best hot!

I got this lovely  cornbread mix to add to from Honeybuns Bakery to do a product review on. I have loved their products in the past – and this one did not disappoint! Here is a link to their website if you want to have a gander: http://www.honeybuns.co.uk/ 

Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx

Locally sourced food!

I am lucky enough to live in a county that has lots of locally sourced produce not only available at farmers markets but in local shops too. my local shop being the Co-op. I often source local food that I cannot produce myself here – including local honey and flour.

I have been baking a lot recently and swear by locally milled Marriages flour from the Co-op! I use all the different varieties for cakes, pancakes, cookies and of course bread baking. I particularly like the fact that I was able to talk to local supplier Marriages at the Suffolk Show this year to discuss their flour types and going round the Co-op stand discovering more about their local produce.

Below is a quick picture of some of the fab produce I have recently be experimenting with from: http://www.eastofengland.coop/home Keep an eye on their twitter account too – often exciting compeitions for local produce!

 

 

Sourced Locally Christmas – product review

I am lucky enough to be involved with The East of England Co-op’s initiative to offer lots of exciting local produce for us to try. I had a parcel of lovely, new festive goodies to savour!

This included:

  • Leggs Bakery Mince Pies. These are made locally in Halstead, Essex and each batch is handmade. We heated ours up and served it with clotted cream – glorious!
  • Hadleigh Maid Festive chocolate whirls. As a chocolate lover these were utterly amazing – simply yum! They are made locally in Hadleigh and taste divine.
  • Shawsgate Vineyard Vintage Sparkling Rose wine. This tasty, sophisticated bubbly for the festive season is produced in Framlingham, Suffolk.  Being one of East Anglia’s oldest commercial vineyard I can see why Shawsgate has been successful with their wines – this bubbly is delicious and refreshing. I am thinking it will go perfect with some festive snacks for a Christmas film night with friends later on in the month.
  • Woodfordes Brewery Tinsel Toes Christmas Ale. This festive brew is made in Woodbastwick over the border in Norfolk or as some would say ‘Narrrrfaaalk’. My partner was the one to test run this one. Having been a huge fan of their famous Wherry bitter he was thrilled to test run this Christmas special. Having polished off the bottle with crackers and cheese he said it was the perfect accompaniment for a Friday evening during the run up to Christmas. Think that is a thumbs up!

Thankyou  East of England Co-op http://www.eastofengland.coop/home for this festive parcel and I would advise anyone to pop down to their local coop to search for these and other local goodies to support local producers and farmers over the Christmas period.

Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx

 

Product review: Hayloft Plants

I was lucky enough to receive an exciting parcel the other day from Hayloft Plants – some lovely climbing plants!

In the parcel was:

1 x Lonicera Belgica Young plant

1 x Lonicera Henryi Young plant

and 1 x Lonicera Halliana Young plant.

I was impressed as the parcel was sent quickly and efficiently with helpful notes for planting. Also the young plants were packaged safely and securely – another big bonus so they were not damaged.

I have planted these up and look forward to them growing and climbing up the sides of our walled garden to create a ‘wild garden’ effect making it feel more cosy and natural. I will keep you all updated and be posting some photographs soon once they are growing!

Hayloft plants have a great selection of awesome plants – including climbing plants like the ones I have gone for, here is a quick link to their website if you fancy a gander: http://www.hayloft-plants.co.uk/

I will keep you posted on how the garden evolves!

Katy, The Good Life In Practice x

Book Review: A Little Piece of England.

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I received the book ‘A little piece of England’ by John Jackson through the post for a product review. It is a self-written account of about his family on their smallholding and their quest for self-sufficiency. The book has recently been re-released and follows the troubles, delights and activities on the family smallholding in rural Kent. I really enjoyed getting thoroughly into the book and enjoyed the way it was written. The characters that Jackson writes about are both detailed and believable – I found myself laughing many a times at the cockerels’ antics! Having had cockerels and chickens I found it doubly funny as the way he had written about the characters was spot on in the way they moved, acted and caused trouble!

The stories about Big and Little the dogs, the sheep and the elusive Ram, the cows and of course the numerous poultry including a feisty gander, geese, ducks and chickens are very easy to read and amusing. Personally, I think this is a great little book for budding smallholders and would be a great present for a new smallholder and conversely also entertain an established smallholder who could understand and identify with the stories and characters involved.

‘A Little Piece Of England – A Tale Of Self-Sufficiency’ by John Jackson has been reissued in hardback and is out now in all good book shops. It is also available in iBook and Kindle versions.