I’ve been dropping hints about something exciting that’s happening next week for a while now and I’m so chuffed that I can finally tell you all.
A few weeks back, I received a very exciting email to say that I’d been chosen by Lavazza (you know, the swish Italian coffee company) as one of 15 bloggers to work on their Wimbledon campaign. If that wasn’t enough to be excited about it’s actually a competition.
The 3 finalists will win a day at Wimbledon and the overall winner wins a holiday to Italy! There are lots of things you can do to help me get there and I’ll be telling you more about them as we get through the week (and at the bottom of this post). It all kicks off on Monday, for now though… “ahhh it’s exciting!”
I’ve loved Lavazza for a while and I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to work with such a creative established brand. To be doing that alongside Wimbledon is just crazy! They’ve sponsored the event for 3 years now and their coffee is rapidly becoming the new tradition. This week is my chance to tell you all about it.
This morning, lots of goodies arrived for me to start testing out some ideas, here’s a teaser:
I’m going to be doing some training over the weekend with my fancy new Limited Edition Wimbledon Favola Plus coffee machine, a very strenuous task indeed. I promise to post a review when I’m fully acquainted but if you’d like to know a little more or fancy one of your own, they’re available on Lavazza’s website.
I’m just stretching out today and warming up for the big match. You can expect lots of fun, coffee related happenings over the next two weeks. There’ll be an opportunity for you guys to win Wimbledon tickets too, stick with me and I’ll fill you in on that next week.
I’d love any help you guys can give me in this competition. A supportive comment or tweeting a blog post could make all the difference to my chances, just throw in the tag #NewTradition so they can track it.
After using a Butternut squash in yesterday’s healthy lunch, I put the seeds that I’d scooped out to one side to make Matt a little snack to take to work today. We’re both terrible for snacking on things so it’s nice to be able to send him to work with something homemade and healthy that I know he loves.
These little babies are jam packed with protein and very good for your ticker. A handful is 15% of your daily iron, and lots of beta carotene gives your immune system a magic boost. Wahoo!
A little bit like my BBQ roasted chickpeas, you can take the bones of this recipe and flavour it how ever you like, but as we all know, Matt loves anything spicy, so chilli it was.
To make your own batch, all you’ll need is:
A handful of butternut squash seeds
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
pinch of salt
Once you’ve scooped the seeds out of your butternut squash, separate the seeds from the goo (very technical terminology) and line a baking sheet. I used my cheap and trusty reusable non stick liner but greaseproof will do the job just fine.
Sprinkle the spices and salt over the seeds. Give them a jumble before spreading in a single layer. They need about 15mins in the oven at 175 degrees, just until they’re crunchy.
You can of course follow the same recipe with pumpkin or sunflower seeds but they’re both a little tough. I much prefer the butternut squash version. Let me know in the comments below if you try them!
P.S I now have a recipe page set up to give you a quick over view of the other things I’ve been up to.
Swap the chilli/cayenne mix for smoked paprika
Try sprinkling over a salad for added crunch
Go with the BBQ mix I use for my roasted chickpeas
I’ve had lots of requests recently for veggie and paleo friendly meals, so here is my first suggestion – I hope you like it.
How beautifully Summery does that look? I was lucky to catch the weather just right today so that I could enjoy my lunch sat outside and share it with you guys. This makes a fantastic lunch and equally good side dish for those that want to add some meat.
If you manage to get your hands on a large butternut squash, a quarter is more than enough for lunch – unless you’re a piggy like me. If you’re dieting, a quarter of this recipe contains 268 calories and lots of goodness.
To feed four you’ll need:
1 Butternut squash
1 Courgette, diced,
A handful of cherry tomatoes
4 shallots, quartered
1 tbsp Garlic oil
Preheat your oven to 175 degrees and start to prep your veggies. Cut the butternut squash in to quarters (with the help of some strong arms). Scoop out the seeds (and keep to one side for tomorrow’s recipe) and a little extra flesh if the hole is small. Now score the squash with a sharp knife and pop them in the roasting tin.
Dice up the scooped out flesh and add it to the roasting tin. Drizzle the whole lot with garlic oil and the thyme.
Roast for 45 mins or until the squash is cooked through. At that point, scoop your diced veggies in to the squash, top with crumbled feta and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy this recipe with the sun on your back and a glass of pinot – god knows we could use the weather!
Harking back to the days of more “esteemed gentlemen”, it’s no wonder a cut throat features in James Bond’s grooming kit. After that scene in Skyfall, cut throat sales increased by 405% – who knew it could be so sexy?
A few weeks back a brand called Men Rock asked me if I’d like to check out one of their cut throat starter kits. You would not believe how excited Matt was when he heard I was being sent one. “Who for?” he said. Thankfully I I can’t grow a beard, so it was his to try out.
He opened the parcel to an envelope labelled “just in case”. In good humour, the guys at Men Rock had included a pack of plasters for my first timer. I liked that.
The entire set was really nicely boxed and included, the cut throat, 10 double blades (20 refills), shave cream, a wooden handled brush and a stand. I was straight in to the shave cream to see what it smelled like. It’s a very subtle Sandalwood that gets two very big thumbs up from me. Matt was obviously keen to check out the cut throat it’s self and proceeded to shave a little bit of his arm hair off with it – as you do. “It’s sharp” he said.
So this Monday (bank holiday) he took himself off to the bathroom to try it out for the first time. I admit, I was a little nervous, the words “cut throat” don’t sit particularly comfortably with me. Just scaremongering?
I hoped for Matt that the ritual of shaving with a cut throat would give him “a bit of quality man time” and the pleasure of using something with a real luxurious feel that you just don’t get from a ‘normal’ razor.
Whilst we’re on that subject, ‘normal’ razor blade prices are so extortionate I’m left wondering if they’ve been honed by unicorns. Most well known brand blades are easily £2 each with Gillette Fusions going for £3+ per blade. Luckily for Matt, he suits the stubbly look so hasn’t been throwing his bank balance at these every day.
How do cut throat blades square up? Well these aren’t the cheapest blades but Amazon reviewers say they’re the best: 100 Derby single edge blades for £4.25 or just over 4 pence each. That’s a phenomenal difference and that’s why your man should shave like James Bond. Anyway, back to it…
As he shaved I peeked around the bathroom door, a little worried: “are you holding it at 30 degrees?”. Matt responded ”Sorry, do you have a protractor?” I didn’t, and I decided to take my backseat driving else where whilst he finished up.
So how did he do? For a first attempt he didn’t do too badly. A few nicks, a little blood but all in all a very close shave, possibly the closest yet. There is a bit of technique to learn but nothing too scary – he was still in one piece after his first go but it will take quite a few shaves to master.
This particular starter kit is stocked by Mankind for £32.50 and makes an ideal gift for a well-groomed gent. Perhaps something for Father’s Day (16th June)?
For most of last year, Matt & I were eyeing up coffee machines. Drooling over the brewing gadgets that were way out of our price range. In the end we were gifted a wonderful M&S percolator that ground from the bean, could be set by alarm and kept it hot for hours. A lovely, well thought out gift for two coffee lovers, but Matt still pines for an espresso every once in a while and I’d love to make a latte at home.
The outlay for a decent coffee machine is pretty huge, we couldn’t justify it coming out of one months wage. This is where a company called Hope & Glory stepped in and offered us a trial of their subscription service ‘Coffee Club‘.
For £45 a month you get the use of coffee machine worth £349 in your choice of colour, a milk jug and thermometer and coffee supplies (detailed below). I played it safe and went for a silver machine but the bright yellow, blue and red are real head turners.
The coffee machine tempers the espresso from a pod rather than loose grounds, a feature I particularly like. It means there are no sneaky coffee grinds to clean out of every nook and cranny – it’s simple.
The water tank is surprisingly generous for a home use machine (2 litres) – it wouldn’t be out of its depth in an office and the steam nozzle ensures that it caters for most coffee styles. So far I’ve tried a cappuccino, latte, espresso, flat white and an americano.
There are 8 different ESE pods available from Hope & Glory, each suited to particular drinks and these are included in the subscription. You can choose 8 packs (25 pods in each) every 2 months. Doing the maths, that’s 100 cups of coffee a month at 45p a cup (inc machine).
For £45 a month this could be a bargain to the right person. What do I mean by “the right person”? Well if you’re happy with a cup of instant coffee, this machine probably isn’t for you. You really have to appreciate Barista coffee to get the most out of this machine and if that’s you, it might be perfect. Let’s say you pick up a Medium Latte at Starbucks on the way to work every morning, you’re paying £2.50 a cup rather than 45p a cup with the Hope & Glory – you’d make pretty significant savings by making the switch.
If your Dad sounds like that kind of man, this could make a pretty awesome Fathers day gift ( Sunday 16th June UK ) for those with a little extra cash or those that can club together. It’s one of those presents that everyone in the house would enjoy – the best kind right?
I’ve really enjoyed testing out this machine so as you can imagine, going back to a french press will be less than thrilling. Would you ever subscribe to a service like this? If you’d like to know more, there’s lots of information and coffee making guides on the Hope & Glory website. They’re a relatively new company but their colourful coffee machines are really taking off.
P.S – There’s more coffee related excitement to come in the next few weeks but that’s top-secret for now. Keep an eye out, I’ll be revealing all soon! Oh, and I’ve finally joined Instagram if you want to join me over there too.