Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Digestive SOS Kit Giveaway

I've mentioned a few times here that I have a wheat intolerance. I shouldn't eat it at all, but I find it difficult not to. I mean, it's delicious! What's not to love about bread, cake, biscuits, pasta and the gajillion other products wheat finds its way into? I also really enjoy baking... which usually leads to eating even more wheat...

Unfortunately, for me, eating wheat means bloating, rapid weight gain and a sluggish digestive system. So, in reality, I should love it a lot less than I currently do. I've stupidly been ignoring my digestive health for a while now (I'm a bit of  a stress eater and this year has been one huge roller coaster so far) and turning a blind eye to the effects wheat has on my body. I really need to get back on track and ditch it again. I know I'll feel a million times better after even week or two. 

It's comforting to know I'm not alone, however, as digestive discomfort is believed to affect up to 30% of the Irish population. But, apart from ditching the foods that trigger a bad reaction in my body, I'm also keen to help my digestive system restore itself.

I got the little kick I needed to start focusing on my health again when I was recently contacted by Alflorex, who have developed a new, proven, once-daily natural PrecisionBiotic® food supplement. They asked me if I'd like to host a giveaway so that one of my lovely readers could win an amazing Digestive SOS Kit and, even though I can't win the prize (sad face) I thought that you might be one of the 30% of people that would like an opportunity to win this great giveaway.

Isn't it nice?! 

The prize contains; 3 month’s supply of Alflorex, three different organic Pukka teas to support digestive health (Pukka three mint tea, Pukka golden chamomile tea, Pukka three fennel tea, 8 Panda Liquorice bars and an Atlantic Aromatics essential Lavender Oil.

Now, the teas (yum!), liquorice (double yum!) and lavender oil aside, despite the company's best convincing lines about how Alflorex 

"is the first food supplement for digestive health problems that has been developed on a truly scientific basis and tested in high quality clinical studies."

I still felt a bit weird about recommending it to you without trying it myself or without an independent opinion at least. So, Alflorex has kindly sent me a months supply to test and I will review it as soon as I start taking it and feel I have something to report back about.

I also spoke to my brother-in-law, who is a Pharmacist, about the product and was happy to hear that he is familiar with it and has heard nothing but good things about it from his customers. So much so, that he's just bought himself a pack to try out. He has also confirmed that it is perfectly safe to take and seems to be very effective. I completely trust his opinion in these matters, so I feel happy to go ahead and let one of my lovely readers claim this amazing prize.

If you'd like to win this great stash of healthy goodness please feel free to enter using the gadget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 14 July 2014

Gifts For Grandparents

Yesterday was my Mama's birthday. We spent the day in the stunning Wells House and Gardens and had a really lovely day. (More about that soon!)

My mama, or Mamó as the grandchildren call her, is one of those fantastic people that actually appreciates hand made gifts. She really cares that people make the effort. Or at least... I hope she does, because I usually like to try to get the girls to create something special for her on big occasions. 

For her birthday this year they worked very hard on making a thoroughly personalised gift, with just a little help from me.

First we made 'luxury' chocolate buttons. These are really simple to make, but look and taste great. All you have to do is melt some chocolate (we used milk and white chocolate for variety), then spoon the chocolate out onto a baking tray covered in parchment paper, making little circles. While the chocolate is still melty  - let the kids go wild adding different toppings. We mostly used sprinkles of different sorts, but we did use lemon zest on some and fresh thyme on others. Nuts, seeds and dried fruit would also be lovely. For children you could use different types of sweeties as toppings. Yum!

Let them cool in the fridge until they are set. Then all you have to do is bag them up in pretty cellophane bags, tie with ribbon and you're done! Easy, delicious and quite impressive looking!

We made one other gift for Mamó this year too. A personalised letter writing set.

Using drawings the girls had created especially for this purpose, I scanned them in, tweaked/tidied them up a bit in Paint.net (which I use for nearly all of the images on this blog) and printed them out on some A4 paper.

I also used parts of the images to print onto the matching envelopes.

I packed it all into a cellophane wrapper, created a quick label (again, using paint.net) and stuck it on the front.

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, though in hindsight I would loved to have bought some nicer quality paper to print on.

I hope my Mama enjoys using it as much as we enjoyed making it! I'm pretty certain she is enjoying the chocolate already ;)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Paris, Dublin

Thank you all so much for the anniversary wishes. It was a special day, made extra special by your lovely comments both here and on Facebook. Devo surprised me with a diamond ring (I know!) and a beautiful bunch of flowers. I surprised him by writing that blogpost. Not really a fair trade is it? ... but I guess that's 10 years of marriage for you...

This time ten years ago I was on my honeymoon in Paris. We had very little money, a crappy hotel and, after the rush of getting the wedding organised (we did it all in three months), we suddenly found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands. We spent hours wandering the narrow streets and grand avenues hand in hand. We spent some days sightseeing. But, if my memory serves me correctly, we spent most of our time eating. 

It was glorious.

On our tenth anniversary we accidentally brought Paris to life for ourselves again. We escaped our ordinary days for just a couple of hours and wandered the back streets and main thoroughfares of Dublin hand in hand, with no real purpose. Eventually we found ourselves in one of my favourite cafés, Le Petit Parisien, for tea and cake. (Seriously good cake)

And for a while I was transported, right back to the very beginning of these past 10 years. Right back to the time when it was just the two of us and we had all the time in the world to sit together in dimly lit cafés. I could have stayed there all day...

Unfortunately, we couldn't, but that little outing made me realise that it's possible to have a pretty decent fake-French holiday right here in Dublin!

I was going to do a whole 'guide to French stuff in Dublin' thing, but there are others far more equipped to do that than me. 

Instead, I'll point you in the direction of Paris, Dublin, in case you can't afford the real thing this year either.

(It happens to be Bastille day in a couple of days, so my little revelation was quite timely it seems!)

For a great run down of Bastille day events (July 14th) click HERE
To book a French food and wine tour of Dublin click HERE
...she also runs a French Foodie Movie Club which sounds amazing.

You can always hit up a few galleries too, we obviously don't have anything on the scale of the Louvre, but we do have tons of great galleries and museums. The Chester Beatty Library is a particular favourite of mine. They sometimes have Parisian exhibitions like this, but it's always a lovely place to visit even if they don't. Whenever I'm there I always feel like I'm not even in Dublin. It's so tucked away inside the castle lots of people forget about it.

I'm all about the stay-cation this Summer because of 'certain circumstances'. Our little trip to Paris, Dublin was hopefully the first of many!
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