Exploring my Tea Collection

tea collection

Like most Brits I love tea but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered just how many types of tea I currently own. I like trying new flavours – anything from black tea to white tea, green tea, fruit tea, decaf, infusions and herbal blends.

tea collection

my enormous tea collection!

 

I enjoy making tea with real tea leaves and regularly take my time having a tea break (and quite often cake too!) and love the custom of it all but I equally love having a quick brew first thing in the morning to start my day. I’ll quickly mention here that I do also drink coffee (my tassimo machine is a firm friend!) but tea is my go-to beverage on most occasions so that’s why I’m sharing some of my favourites with you.

At the moment I have around 30 different kinds of tea. This may seem extreme but I love to have a choice and often when friends and family go abroad they bring me some tea back to try as they know I love it so much! I have mostly a collection of teabag teas widely available in the UK including some instant tea from Whittards and also several loose leaf teas from Hong Kong.

Twinings, Whittards, Clipper and Bellevue

Twinings, Whittards, Clipper and Bellevue to name a few

 

My favourite flavour of tea is green tea with lemon – I know some find it an acquired taste but I think it’s so delicious! I also love a good Earl Grey but I have to be in the right mood to drink one. The best Earl Grey tea I’ve tried so far is from Bellevue and has a really strong bergamot aroma and deep flavour.

a few teapigs teas

a few teapigs teas

 

I’ve tried some more unique tea flavours recently – namely from Teapigs – as they have different ranges or types of teas recommended for different moods. Some I’ve tried and liked include Chocolate Tea (best of both worlds there!), Tung Ting Oolong (not pictured but described as being somewhere between black and green tea which I think is amazing if like me you love green teas but crave the traditional black tea flavour), Rooibos Crème Caramel – which is delicious if you have a sweet tooth and Yerba Mate which is super similar to Whittards Gunpowder Tea – both smoky and full of antioxidants to give you a boost of energy.

whittard tea selection

whittard tea selection

 

The flavours I’ve hated from Teapigs are popcorn which I just found a bit weird and liquorice and mint tea which I found sickly sweet and not nice in the slightest. You might like it if you’ve got a very sweet tooth perhaps.

I also have this selection box of teas from Whittards and I think it’s such a great way to try new teas so you don’t need to buy a whole box of tea and then if you don’t like it, it goes to waste. My favourite flavour from this selection is actually the gunpowder tea which I drink without milk and which has a sweet and smoky flavour.

Let me know if there are any particular teas you would like reviewing in depth. Do you have a favourite flavour of tea? Perhaps you don’t drink it at all?

The Body Reset Diet – Phase I: Review and Results

raspberry lemon drop

If you know me, you’ll know I like ‘reviewing’ diets. Mostly because of my endless struggle with those few last pounds but also for my genuine interest in nutrition and how the food we take in affects our everyday lives – often more than we know. Recently I have been keeping up with the Kardashians or one Kardashian in particular – Kim. And no I’m not here to condone her *reasons* for being, ahem, “famous” or to discuss her recent pregnancy fashion faux pas (although seriously – what was she thinking with that highwaisted peplum skinnies and poloneck combo?!!) BUT oddly I feel I have more in common with Kim K than most other celebs as we share the same body type – curvy to the point if you put on so much as 3lbs you start to look chunky. So I started to keep tabs on her exercise habits and turn a new leaf by getting a bit more active.

Simultaneously I was looking for a new way to kickstart a bit of weightloss. Exercising was all well and good but I wasn’t even shifting a pound and was sticking 100% to a well known slimming group program. It was disheartening and I wasn’t seeing any difference no matter what I did. Then I got a lovely email asking if I’d heard of The Body Reset Diet by Harley Pasternak
(I hadn’t) and if I’d like to give it a try (why not!). So I got my hands on the book and then discovered Kim K follows this diet along with other celebs like Megan Fox and Hilary Duff. Not another Hollywood diet I thought and my heart sank. But as I read the book I realised it’s not just another ‘diet’ – it’s actually good sound nutritional advice and it promised the things I was looking for – weightloss that shows, weightloss that won’t leave you feeling hungry and that you’re going without plus a minimal exercise program.

IMG_2556Berrypina colada
smoothies l-r: cucumber lime, berry, pina colada

The diet is divided into three phases and in phase one you have three smoothies a day and two snacks plus it’s recommended you walk 10,000 steps a day. Each smoothie (recipes given in the book) is made up of all the nutritional requirements your body needs like fresh fruit, milk and salad greens. The emphasis of phase one is on speed (each smoothie or snack takes less than 5 minutes to prepare), nutrition (fresh or frozen ingredients are pulped to allow for easy digestion of vital nutrients) and cost (easy to find ingredients are included in all recipes and costs significantly less than meal replacement products and no more expensive than everyday meals).

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smoothies l-r: chocolate, sweet spinach, pb&j

If you don’t like smoothies then this diet is not for you – as with any diet or eating plan there are pros and cons but this is a pretty big necessity if you intend on following the plan! I anjoy smoothies, I tend to have them fairly regularly anyway so this wasn’t such a huge leap for me. Harley promises you won’t feel hungry on the diet because there is protein to keep you feeling fuller for longer in every one of your 5 ‘meals’. I was hungry on days two and three late in the evenings but after that my hunger subsided and I got used to having less but I didn’t feel like I was going without. And I liked the smoothies – as you can see here they all look vibrant and appetising – and they all tasted very nice. Each day in phase one was one white, one red and one green smoothie to make sure you get all your nutritional needs and I found them quick and easy to prepare plus I found them appealing and wanted to drink them.

raspberry lemon dropmaxwell mochaapple pie
smoothies l-r: raspberry lemon drop, maxwell mocha, apple pie

Pros:
Nice tasting smoothies
Easy to find ingredients
Quick and convenient (you can make smoothies before work or going out and keep in a flask)
Suitable for people who are new to exercise or those who haven’t exercised in some time
Improved skin complexion and brighter eyes
More even energy levels
Walking is easy
Support is given for both diet and exercising effectively
I lost weight!

Cons:
Not suitable if you’re a fussy eater
Preferably you need a blender so an extra cost (I already had one so didn’t make any difference to me)
You still need willpower and motivation – it wasn’t easy making dinner for everyone else and having something different from them each evening

During the first phase (5 days) I stuck to the plan 100% and found it easy to stay motivated and not be tempted by foods not incorporated in the plan. During this time I lost 7lbs which is a fabulous start to the diet and exactly the motivation I needed to keep up with the rest of the plan. Reviews and results for phases 2 and 3 of The Body Reset Diet will be up soon!

The Body Reset Diet is available now and is published by Simon & Schuster UK, priced £12.99.

Shop for The Body Reset Diet below

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Sponsored Post: Chocolate Recipes – Tried and Tested

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March is finally upon us and it’s this time of year (both Mother’s Day and Easter coming up – Easter mostly) that gets me thinking about CHOCOLATE! As regular readers may know I am an avid baker and have cake on the brain 24/7 and I’m always looking for new ingredients, flavours and recipes to try out and although I love chocolate work e.g. making chocolate truffles, ganache and decorations, I rarely use it in baking.
 
So when I was asked to try out Green & Black’s new cooking chocolate range I was Delighted to say the least. What happened next was a total overdose on chocolate as I found myself not baking with the bars I’d been sent, but just scoffing an entire bar of white vanilla pod chocolate on it’s own (well washed down with a caramel latte), which in theory is the ultimate delicious indulgence but resulted in me clutching my belly and vowing never to eat chocolate again. Which lasted until the very next day. Sigh.
 
The day after the chocolate overdose (it was sooo good I couldn’t stop eating it – it’s not like regular cooking chocolate which is typically packed full of sugars and low in cocoa content), I actually got around to using it to cook with :) I made chewy chocolate cookies (using milk chocolate) and peanut butter and chocolate blondies (using both white and milk chocolate).
 

I can’t get over how good it was to cook with. First off it’s organic and you can’t get any better than that for ingredients, then I found out each square weighs 5g so you don’t have to weigh it out, plus it tastes and has the texture of regular Green and Black’s chocolate – it’s not inferior like some other brands who change up all the ingredients because it’s to be used in ‘cooking’ – no fair! And inside the bar, printed on the inside of the wrapper is a recipe that you can use the chocolate in and they all look delicious!
 
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I’m debating whether to bake up a big batch of cakes, cookies and brownies for Easter and send everyone a Green & Black’s treat box via parcelforce.com instead of chocolate eggs this year! I’m sure all the friends and family would appreciate some chocolate brazil soft-baked biscuits or perhaps some chocolate & raspberry cheesecake brownies.
 
Do you have a Green & Black’s favourite flavour?
For more recipes see http://www.greenandblacks.co.uk/recipes or the inside of their cooking chocolate bars.
 

 
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