Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Bay Horse, Hutton Rudby

On Friday night me and Matt decided last minute that we'd go out for tea to a local country pub. We'd been to the Bay Horse before so thought we'd go there, however, there are so many pubs named the Bay Horse in the area that we weren't aware of at the time. When the sat nav brought us to this one we were confused but we went decided to try it out. It turns out we'd been to the one in Great Broughton before and this one is in Hutton Rudby...
Nevertheless, we trudged inside to find a quaint little pub in which all the locals were staring us down as we looked for a find a table. We chose our meal from a board on the wall as they didn't seem to have any proper menus. The wait time was quite long for the food but when it came we could see why! The food looked gorgeous, like so much effort had gone into perfecting it. I chose the steak and mushroom pie whilst Matt went for a sirloin steak.
Steak and Mushroom Pie from the Bay Horse in Hutton Rudby - North East Country Pub - Teesside

Steak and Chips from the Bay Horse in Hutton Rudby - North East Country Pub - Teesside

It's been a while since I had a pie so I was excited to try this one and it did not disappoint. The pastry was lovely, thick and crumbly with the steak inside being very tender and juicy. The sauce was quite rich and the mushrooms were whole which I thought was different! I had so much on my plate it was hard to finish and I didn't even touch the extra gravy! Matt enjoyed his steak and said he really liked his peppercorn sauce although it had a lot of full peppercorns!
We didn't stay for dessert as we felt like we were about to burst but I wish we had as I am sure that would have been just as home-made and yummy.
I'd definitely recommend the Bay Horse to anyone in the area as the food was very lovely and it was a nice place to spend a night. They even had a outside garden area for a sunny day.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Healthy snacks I've tried

Recently I've been trying to eat better. I am eating less processed junk and sticking to clean eating with gorgeous meals full of vegetables and snacking on lots of fruit. I've been looking for alternatives to snacks that I would have eaten such as crisps, jelly sweets and chocolate bars. I've been snooping round ASDA and Holland and Barrett to find these below.

Healthy Snacks suggestions from ASDA and Holland & Barrett

Metcalfe's Skinny Popcorn - ASDA £1.00
Popcorn is a great alternative to snacking on crisps as it is lower in calories and can come in savoury or sweet flavours to suit whatever you are craving. Although this is a light snack it is packed with flavour and you'll never feel like you are eating plain popcorn! I've tried sweet and salty, sweet cinnamon spice and Sargent salt. My favourite has to be the cinnamon one, it is so tasty!

Beauty Sweeties - H&B £1.99
I picked these up because even through the packaging these sweets smelled amazing! Such a sweet, subtle melon smell. They are gluten, lactose and gelatine free with a high fruit juice concentrate. The texture of these sweets is very strange, they kind of melt away in your mouth as you chew. The taste is okay but very sweet. I'm not really a fan of these but they could be a possible swap for people who love sweets!
Nature Crops Quinoa Nutrition Bar
This nutrition bar is a great alternative to a chocolate bar as it is filled with protein-rich quinoa. A lot of people may have had quinoa and thought it wasn't very nice but I assure when you get it right it is lovely. In this bar, the quinoa doesn't have a strong taste but acts as a base for the bar, almost like a biscuit would in a chocolate bar. It is filled with almonds which contain a lot of good fats and dark chocolate which is good for you in small doses. This bar is very yummy but I think to make it cleaner I want to start making my own!

Quinoa Crisps - H&B £1.99
These crisps have the texture of Walkers' Sunbites and are corrugated rectangle shapes rather than a traditional crisp shape. Made primarily with quinoa flour these crisps are suitable for vegans and vegetarians and gluten-free. They are great tasting crisps but the flavouring was a little bit too strong, but I'm sure that won't put some people off.

Urban Fruit Baked Mango - ASDA £2.00
I picked this up after seeing a few people review these on their blogs. This is basically mango that has been baked and nothing else - no preservatives or sugars. Although having said there is no sugar, this is no added sugar, the sugars from the fruit are quite high so you have to be mindful if you are eating a whole bag! The bite-size pieces in the bag aren't the most attractive snack but they do taste nice, almost like a tangy chewy mango. I'd definitely go and get another bag when I eat them all!
Although I've been trying out these few snacks you can't beat the basics. I've been trying to take as much fruit as possible with me to work so that I have something to eat when I am hungry to stop me buying something else from town. What I do struggle with is snacking on vegetables, this is my next task! Getting more veggies into my snacks.
Have you tried any of these? Got any new ones I should try? Any good snacks you can recommend?

Monday, 21 July 2014

Gingerbread Smiles turns one today!

I honestly can't believe how far this little blog has come in a year. I first started this blog one day bored, sitting in my bedroom. I have no idea where the thought came from to set it up but I went for it and I am so glad that I did.
This year being a blogger has given me so much more than just a place on the internet to post my reviews and ideas. I've made so many good friends that I've actually met in person and so many more that I can't wait to meet. The online blogging community is so lovely to be part of, I swear they all welcome you in with open arms and can't do enough to help you or just chat to you. I'm so happy I've made such great friends through blogging.

My blog has given me such amazing opportunities to attend events with other bloggers as well as being sent lots of amazing products to review that I would have never imagined would have happened when I began. I'm so pleased to have organised two blogger meetups in Middlesbrough introducing the Geordies to our little town. I can't believe they went so well and that people actually went out of their way to make them so great. Thanks for ALL the cakes guys!

Another thing that I think blogging has helped with is my confidence. When I am at an event I am so much happier walking up to strangers and introducing myself. Before I would have never dreamed of that but when you are in such a friendly blogging community there is nothing to lose. This has definitely translated into my work and personal life as I am more likely to have the confidence to speak up or talk to new people.

Don't get me wrong blogging is hard work. Sometimes you want nothing more than to sit around in your PJs all day watching TV but something inside you makes you get on your laptop and start typing your heart out. I'm so pleased with the direction my blog has taken as it has naturally landed where it always should have. I don't wear a lot of makeup so to start my blog as a beauty one was probably not the best idea. I'm at a happy medium calling myself a lifestyle blogger having the chance to write about all sorts including places I've been, food I've eaten and the occasional post about new makeup!

I hope you all enjoy what I write about and continue to follow me for another year.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Muse, Yarm

I've recently made a conscious effort to try more restaurants in Yarm, Stockton. There are so many gorgeous-sounding trendy places to eat that I haven't had the chance to visit so I've been trying to put that right. First of all, I went to the Purple Pig and now I've visited a place just over the road called Muse.

Muse - Restaurant Review - Yarm, Stockton - Teesside

Muse - Restaurant Review - Yarm, Stockton - Teesside

Muse - Restaurant Review - Yarm, Stockton - Teesside

Muse - Restaurant Review - Yarm, Stockton - Teesside

Before arriving at Muse I hadn't heard much about it except that looking at the menus I knew the food was pretty expensive but also that it sounded appetising. I went along with my friend Danni and I was really pleased we'd chosen Muse when we walked in to find a lovely clean, open and brilliantly styled restaurant.

We both chose what we wanted to eat pretty sharpish - I went for garlic and rosemary marinated chicken whilst Danni went for smoked duck risotto. It was served with rocket on top. Whoever thinks that just rocket is a salad is out of their mind! Grinds my gears. Once I'd taken it off I tried my chicken and it was a bit strange - not really what I was expecting but not really bad. I finished off my chips and bearnaise sauce before starting to decide which dessert to have.

We both went for the same thing - I believe it was a milk chocolate and hazelnut frozen parfait with praline cream and raspberry sauce. It was very yummy! Although it was frozen some parts had started to melt and it was so creamy and chocolatey I could have eaten ten.

If you are out in Yarm, want some pretty snazzy food and are prepared to pay the prices I'd definitely recommend Muse. They also have outside seating for the summertime.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The nine best bits about having your own home

Me and my boyfriend have recently moved into our own home. We love it. We've decorated the living room and bedroom to how we want it and now it is a case of saving up pennies to get the rest of the house done! Over the few months that we've been in, we have appreciated the little things about being in the house by ourselves. In my opinion, these are the nine best bits about having your own home.
Having your home - the best bits - lifestyle post
  1. You can wear as many clothes as you want - I don't know about you but my mum always wanted me to get the wear out of my clothes before putting them in the wash. Now that I do all the washing I can wear something for five minutes then decide it needs a wash. In the end, it is just more work for me but then again I kind of enjoy the washing...
  2. Knowing all the post will be yours when you get home - It was always a bummer getting home to see lots of post on the floor but see that none of it was yours. Whenever I get home now all the post is either mine or Matt's but the problem is with the digital age is that we barely get any - instead, we get emails!
  3. Your own style is in every room of the house - As we are the ones paying for the house we get to decorate it to our taste. It wouldn't be the same if say I decorated it all, or if Matt decorated it all but I think we have a happy medium which is sleek, classy and modern.
  4. No one messes with your TV recordings - When I watched the main TV at home and had recordings set anything could happen if there were two going at once and someone wanted to watch TV. It was either your recording or another that would be deleted, and would they find another time it was on and set it for you? Sometimes but not always and then you've missed an episode! Now I get to set what I want safe in the knowledge that Matt won't delete it - although I do make sure I have only one recording going at once!
  5. No one stealing my clothes - At home, I would notice that a lot of my clothes would mysteriously disappear from my wardrobe and appear in my sister's. I wonder how that would happen... but then what was worse is that because Mum saw her wearing them she would give the clothes back to her when they were washed. Err Hello they are mine! Now obviously I don't have that problem! There is a good 10 minutes between my wardrobe and my sister.
  6. Not getting moaned at for using too much water or electricity - As per point 1, we now pay for our bills so we can use as much as we want and know that we will have to face the consequences in the end...
  7. Picking whatever food you want - Luckily for me, this means being able to pick up more fruit and vegetables to cook meals and having more choice. Also picking up pop tarts and biscuits, but shhh!
  8. Having lots of space - We've both gone from having a bedroom (Matt's was like a shoebox) to having a whole house to ourselves so it is a huge difference for us. Having so many rooms is great as we can go where ever we please with only each other to answer for.
  9. Being with your boyfriend - Obviously, you can have your partner around your house when you want at home but you have to ask or let people know they are round and we both had our own homes to get back to. Now we've got only one and can see each other all the time! This has to be the best perk of having your own space!
What do you think? Do you agree or do you have any others? Let me know!

If you don't have your own house are you looking forward to the above nine points?

Monday, 7 July 2014

My juicing failed.

So my juicing failed and after only one juice. I know I know it is bad but seriously the juice I had to drink was horrific. The three-day detox is by Jason Vale (The Juice Master) from his Keeping it Simple book. The first juice called juice master's detox special includes; apple, carrot, lemon, yellow pepper, cucumber, celery, broccoli and beetroot. He says in his book "never let the aesthetics put you off - it tastes good".

What a bunch of LIES! Now I don't know if this detox works so please don't let me put you off having a go. What I would suggest is making up this juice first to see if you can handle it because for the first day you have to have this for breakfast and for lunch. The juice itself is okay but you get such a huge scent and taste of the yellow pepper, it is in my opinion vile. I drank the first juice with a bit of struggle and even had to leave some as I couldn't finish it. I then was thinking about the next one in the run-up to lunch whilst trying to get the taste of pepper out of my mouth - I HATE peppers! When the time came to drink the second one it was so hard to even get myself to have a sip and when I finally did I had to run to vomit. Let's just say I really did not like the taste.

Hey I may have got the recipe wrong and it may be really nice, but I highly doubt it. I also really love vegetables and fruit so it isn't like I was trying something out of my comfort zone, I did think I'd like this.
Another thing that you need to think about when you are on a detox is caffeine. I usually don't drink very many cups of tea but I do love one on a morning. As I didn't get to have one by the afternoon I was getting a headache. I know it would have been good to ride this out but I gave in and had one. I need to get on the decaffeinated tea again!

It is such a shame that I didn't get to carry out the whole three-day detox as I would have loved to have felt as good as people say you do after the time is up. I can tell you that I missed food so much in that short time I was juicing and was craving everything under the sun knowing I wouldn't eat for three days. When I told myself it was over as I couldn't physically drink the juice I got myself some real food and I felt much happier.

The start of juicing and my new layout!

Today marks the first day of a three-day juice! I am nervous but excited to see the results at the end of the three days. Yesterday I did a huge fruit and vegetable shop to pick up everything we'd need to complete the juice and I ended up with 44 apples amongst everything else! I thought the lady at the checkout would have had a funny remark but she was pretty mute.

So far today I've had my hot water with lemon which wasn't as bad as I'd imagined it. You've got to start somewhere right. I'll be keeping a diary of my thoughts during the juice which I will be writing up on here to let you know how I got on and if it made any difference.

Also you may have noticed that I have a new blog layout! I wanted to get a bit more grown-up and move away from the gingerbread men so I had Sarah from Trisarahtops Smiles design me this for only £15! It was a bargain and Sarah was a pleasure to work with making as many changes as I wanted. I love the new design and I hope you do too.

*Update! I've given up juicing after a horrible juice...will tell you about it next post...
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