Sponsored Post: Chocolate Recipes – Tried and Tested


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!

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.


Sponsored Post: Nivea Stress Protect + White Chocolate, Lemon(cello) & Macadamia Cake


Last week I was asked if I’d like to review the new Nivea Stress Protect Deodorant. Easy peasy I thought and happily skipped off to reply saying yes please, why not, thankyou very much. However something I failed to notice at the time were the operative words ‘stress protect’ until I received a reply giving me directions of a stress test to see how the deodorant fared!
Nivea Stress Protect Deodorant Stick

My Stress Test

The best thing about the test was that it was to wear the deodorant whilst baking a cake – awesome! I get to eat a cake at the end of the test :) The bad news though, was that it was a pretty challenging recipe and I could tell just from reading it through I would be spending a good few hours in a hot kitchen.
The recipe was for a White Chocolate, Lemon and Macadamia Nut Genoise layer cake by the lovely Holly Bell, finalist from the 2011 season of The Great British Bake Off. (I have very nearly applied for it for two years in a row but so glad I didn’t after seeing the amazing creations they bake!)
Now I’m no stranger to baking but I had never made a genoise before (and had never made a praline either – how did that happen?!) but as I stood with two pans on the go and watched my cake slowly rise in the oven I did a little happy dance as things started to come together.
I made a few adjustments to the recipe, which called for a lemon syrup, and replaced it with home made limoncello which is essentially a lemon syrup plus vodka for a little kick :). Plus I had some praline left over which I’m going to sprinkle over ice-cream because it is truly delish!
brushing cake with limoncello syrup
So I applied the Stress Protect deodorant stick, got baking and three hours later (I kid you not, I would be a terrible contestant on any cooking show because I’d only ever have cake batter at the end of the time. Imagine the look on Mary Berry’s face as she declared I have a very soggy bottom- fail!) I had a finished cake which looked like this:
holly bell white chocolate, lemon, macadamia layer cake, genoise
And my underarms were completely dry! It felt as though the stick had created a barrier which stopped me from sweating and it felt moisturising and had a nice clean but subtle scent to boot. Would definitely use again. Then I sat down with a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake – the best results I could expect all round!

Effects of Stress

Different sweat
After heat, stress is the 2nd most common trigger for sweating* and is very different to the sweat produced from heat or physical exercise. It has a more rapid onset and smells much worse, making it harder to control. NIVEA Stress Protect is proven to minimise this stress sweat by up to 85%** and helps reduce the formation of body odour.
The deodorant contains a unique formula which combines two ingredients – Stress Protect Actives and a Zinc Complex – which work together to help provide protection in stressful situations. Added Avocado Oil also helps to care for and moisturise underarm skin.
Global Stress Study
NIVEA conducted a Global Stress Study to find out what most women get stressed about, although psychologist Dr Aric Sigman says stress is not all bad: “Stress is a much maligned and misunderstood aspect of our lives, and in itself is neither good nor bad. Most people think of stress as necessarily negative while in fact this is actually distress. Yet there is positive stress, created by the challenges that inspire and motivate us, which is ‘eustress’.
Economic Stress
In these challenging times, it’s not surprising that 44% of women around the globe believe their stress levels have increased in comparison to just 6 months ago***.
Luckily unemployment figures are falling**** as the most stressful life moment for women is either not having a job or losing their job ***.
Good Stress
Over half (61%) of women who feel stress can be a good thing believe it motivates them and makes them more productive***. Dr Aric Sigman goes on to say, “The cliché that women are better at multitasking is certainly not without foundation. Scientists have identified a pronounced female response to stress, which is to ‘tend and befriend’ – they are more likely to comfort and bond – while their male counterparts reach for their clubs as their blood pressure rises.”
Women are far more likely to deal with stress through support from their friends and family in comparison to their male counterparts***. Dr Sigman says, “In a stressful situation, women can produce the hormone oxytocin promoting nurturing and relaxing emotions, which counter the effects of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.”
Over half of women (51%) confront stressful situations up front more so than men***.
Personal stress
When asked who causes the most stress in their lives, the majority of women nominated their partner***. This conflicts with men who said their managers were the no.1 cause of stress***.
Beiersdorf RRP: 250ml spray £3.29, 150ml spray £2.29, Sticks £2.49, Roll On £2.03
*NIVEA Deo U&A 2011
** daacro institute, TSST Test, Germany
***Positive Stress Index Survey Nov 2012 ICM Research
**** http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20691842
What’s the most stressful thing you’ve ever had to cook or bake? Does your deodorant stand up to the job?


Oh hey…it’s 2013!


I wonder if anyone feels the same – that this year has been off to a slow start and that it feels like it’s just starting to pick up momentum? Before I go any further, let me wish you a Happy New Year! Because, yes, it seems we all survived the non-existent ‘apocalypse’ which I personally followed up by having a jolly good Christmas, celebrated the new year with an abundance of fireworks set off in time to ‘Gangnam Style’, made resolutions (and broke them) and then most recently have found myself knee (ok, ankle if I’m being honest) deep in snow. Is that just me?
Much has happened this year already but not much has been accomplished. But…it feels as if 2013 will be a big year, that things will get done, that changes will be made and that life is moving forward. I wonder if I felt the same this time last January and that my new found optimism just happens to coincide with new beginnings. Hmm.
But I digress. So the new year is upon us. And 2013 brings some definite changes whether I want them to happen or not. Namely my 30th (29 againth) Birthday slap bang in the middle of the year. Time to be a grown up. A proper bonafide grown up adult person. With a mortgage or somesuch. Erm, not likely.
Stuff like this just makes me want to run and hide. And I know I’m not the only one. Milestones bring responsibilities of different kinds and 30 brings proper grown up adultness, so be boring, quick settle down, get married, have babies, get a mortgage and while you’re at it retire from everyday society because you’re no longer classified as ‘young’. God help us when we reach, dare I say it, 40 and be completely over the hill. There’s so much pressure (which I hate) that comes with aging, especially if you’re a woman and I’m currently feeling it more than ever. But I’ve never been one to do things by the book so I’m planning on staying 29 and not giving into stereotyping myself for a long time to come.
So I mentioned before about changes happening this year. One thing I’d like to do is give the blog a bit of a make-over and spend more time blogging as it has been put on the backburner for a while. So any suggestions for themes and styles would be really good to hear :)
Other things I’m looking forward to this year:
Travelling more
Taking many photos
Reading lots
Rejoining my textiles degree
Drawing and designing
Throwing snowballs
Baking yummy cakes
Trying lots of lovely new beauty products!
What are you looking forward to in 2013? What changes are you hoping to see?