Stuck for a Father’s Day gift? Why not put a smile on your dad’s face and celebrate Father’s Day with Hotel Chocolat?

Did you know Father’s Day is nearly here? It normally falls on the third Sunday of June and this year it’s June 18th. Father’s Day is a day to celebrate the impact that fathers have on our everyday lives. It is easy to forget how much our dad’s do for us. From acting as a taxi driver, doing DIY and offering advice, fathers are an important part of our lives. I know my dad will always be there if I need him and my son knows the same about his dad. Father’s Day is a chance to say thank you for being my dad.

One of the main problems with men is it is hard to know what they want. They are bad at dropping hints for things they like. There are only so many pairs of socks you can get as a present. Fortunately Hotel Chocolat have come to the rescue with their selection of chocolates for Father’s Day.

Father’s Day with Hotel Chocolat

Fathers Day Sleekster from Hotel Chocolat

 
I am a big fan of Hotel Chocolat products. The gorgeous packaging screams luxury and you know before you open the box you are holding something special. Opening the box does not disappoint either, Hotel Chocolat do a great selection of different chocolate recipes. There are choices for milk, dark and white chocolate lovers. I was lucky enough to get a box of Hotel Chocolat for Mother’s Day.

Fortunately Hotel Chocolat also have  a great selection of Father’s Day gifts.  These are sure to put a smile on the face of your Dad. From pocket money prices to the more expensive boxes there is a gift to suit every father. As well as chocolate you can even get Cocoa Beer, an ale with overtones of chocolate. This can be bought separately or as part of a chocolate hamper. I think this is a really unusual idea.

The Father’s Day Sleekster

Hotel Chocolat Father's Day Sleekster

This year my son is treating his dad to the Father’s Day Sleekster from Hotel Chocolat. This gorgeous blue box contains 27 of the finest recipes from Hotel Chocolat. There is a selection of milk, white, caramel and dark chocolates with fruity, boozy and dessert style chocolates. It will be a lovely surprise for my husband and I know he will love them. The only problem he will have is deciding which chocolate to eat first.

Father's Day Sleekster from Hotel Chocolat

Some of these chocolates are almost too pretty to eat. The peanut praline and the eton mess in particular are like mini works of art. Pretty as they are I am sure they will not last long. The box makes it clear the chocolates are his as well, with Happy Father’s Day written across it.

Hotel Chocolat Father’s Day Sleekster Giveaway

 
How would you like to win a Hotel Chocolat Father’s Day Sleekster for your Dad or to simply eat yourself? The lovely people at Hotel Chocolat have given me a box to give to one of my lucky readers. To enter simply comment below letting me know what gifts you get your dad for Father’s Day. I am always in search of inspiration. When you have done that come back and fill in the rafflecopter so your entry is registered. This is the only mandatory entry. There are other entries available for subscribing by email, following on twitter and instagram, tweeting a message and visiting facebook but these are optional. Good luck!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The Rules

  • There one prize of a Father’s Day Hotel Chocolat Sleekster – the prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
  • Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Dragons and Fairy Dust and Hotel Chocolat
  • Closing date for entries is on 11:59pm GMT on 12th June 2017
  • Only one entry per person
  • Entrants must log into rafflecopter and leave a comment on the blog answering the question.
  • Optional entry methods are to follow on twitter, visit facebook and instagram, tweet on twitter and subscribe by email.
  • The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
  • Automated entries will be disqualified.
  • The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 14 days or a new winner will be chosen.
  • The winner’s name will be available on request.
  • Hotel Chcolat is responsible for prize fulfilment. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address.
  • This is a joint promotion between Dragons and Fairy Dust and Hotel Chocolat
  • Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions

 

This post is supported by Hotel Chocolat

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If you are looking for unique make-up the Urban Decay Jean Michel Basquiat Collection is worth a look. The partnership between Urban Decay and American painter Jean Michel Basquiat has produced something unique.

Recently I went along to the launch of the Urban Decay Jean Michel Basquiat Collection in Debenhams, Newcastle. If you know me you will know I do not wear make up often. A little eye liner and mascara are usually enough for me. I was looking forward to finding out more about the collaboration between Urban Decay and Jean Michel Basquiat. Urban Decay always have bold and unusual colours in their collections. This is something that appeals to me as I love to experiment with colour.

Urban Decay and Jean Michel Basquiat

Urban Decay have been around since the 1990’s. At that time make up was dominated by reds, pinks and beige and it was hard to find colours like blues, greens and purples. Urban Decay brought a breath of fresh air to the make up landscape with a range of shades inspired by the seedier side of the urban landscape. Their motto, Beauty with an Edge.

The collaboration with Jean Michel Basquiet is apt. He is an American artist who became known as part of SAMO©. An informal graffiti duo who would leave enigmatic art around Lower East Side Manhattan in the late 1970’s. At that time the area was a cultural hotbed. Hip hop, post punk and street art movements were all existing together. Since then Jean Michel Basquiet has been exhibiting his neo-expressionist art internationally.

Urban Decay Jean Michel Basquiat Collection

The limited Edition Urban Decay Jean Michel Basquiat Collection consists of 3 lipsticks, 3 eyeliners, two shadow palettes and a blush palette. These all come with Jean Michel Basquiet’s signiture art as part of the design. The palettes come in a canvas casing and can be used as hangable wall art when you have used them.

Urban Decay Jean Michel Basquiet collection

Look 1: Using the Gold Griot eyeshadow palette (£35)

The Gold Girot eyeshadow palette features eight neutral shades in browns and golds. If you are a fan of the smoky eye look this palette is perfect for that. To recreate this look use the dark brown over the lid with some lighter brown in the crease. To highlight the brow bone use the white shade. If you want to add some sparkle in the corner of the eye then use one of the Heavy Metals glitter eye liners. Complete the look with mascara.
Urban Decay Gold Girot Pallete being used

Urban decay look with gold girot palette

Urban Decay Gold Girot Pallette

Look 2: Using the Tenant eyeshadow palette (£35)

If you prefer a more colourful look then the Tenant eyeshadow palette is perfect. It has a range of bring and bold colours. You can create a statement look or add a little splash of colour to a more neutral look. I love this range of colours, the greens and blues in particular are striking.

To create this colourful blue and green look use the light green on the lid. Add some of the darker blue and green in the crease and don’t be afraid to take the colour up and out. Finish with some mascara.

Urban Decay Tenant eyeshadow palette

Urban Decay Tenant Eyeshaow pallete

Urban Decay tenant eyeshadow pallette

Look 3: Using the Gallery Blush Palette

The Gallery Blush Palette holds two shades of blush, a bronzer and a highlighter. The colours will work with any skin tone and can help you create a contoured look. To recreate this look use the darker brown Jawbone shade to contour the cheeks and temples. This shade also works well as an eyeshadow. Use it in the crease of the eye to add definition. Use the lighter “Now’s the Time” shade to highlight the cheeks, the centre of the nose and the cupids bow on the lips. Finally use the pink “X-rated” to add a touch of colour to the cheeks. This is a nice neutral look that can be worn anywhere.

Urban Decay Gallery Blush Palette
 
Urban Decay Gallery Blush Pallette
 
Urban Decay Gallery Blush Palette
 
I am loving this new range from Urban Decay and am certainly tempted to splash out on some of the products. The Tenant eyeshadow palette is my favourite. Which of these looks do you like best? Let me know below.
 
Urban Decay Jean Michel Basquiat collection
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The Proper Food & Drink Festival, North Shields brings together the best street food vendors and food producers in the region. Relax and enjoy some music whilst you eat.

One of the signs that summer is on the way are the food festivals that take place across the region. One of these is the Proper Food & Drink Festival. The first festival took place in North Shields in 2012. This year the event is taking place in six different towns around the North East. We took advantage of a sunny day and went to the North Shields event, the first of the year.

The Proper Food & Drink Festival has the slogan, Proper Food for Proper People. As well as being able to enjoy live music in an outdoor picnic area, there is a licensed bar, street food and the best artisan food producers from around the region. It is a free event and a great addition to the food market scene in the region.

Proper Food & Drink Festival, North Shields

The North Shields event takes place in Northumberland Square. This is an elegant space, Georgian town houses surrounding a small park in the centre. The buildings provide an interesting backdrop to the Proper Food & Drink festival. The square was busy, lots of people were enjoying the food and sunshine.

Proper Food & Drink Festival North Shields

Artisan Food Producers

On the road round the park we found the artisan food producers from around the region. The stalls were busy and it took us a while to explore them all. Whilst we were exploring we saw a large chicken wandering round with an egg in hot pursuit. They were a great attraction for the kids.

There were plenty of different stalls with everything from chocolate to sausages to beer and nuts. Take plenty of money and a shopping bag as you will find lots to tempt you. There are also lots of samples on offer so you can try before you buy.  Our first stop was Geordie Bangers where we picked up some sausages. Their hog roast sausages are delicious and perfect for a Sunday breakfast or a barbecue.

We also picked up some pease pudding from Pete’s pudding. I have made my own pease pudding before but this pease pudding has flavourings. The gammon and leek is really tasty in a ham sandwich. French Oven Bakery is familiar from the Grainger Market and we love their freshly made bread. There was plenty to try and new stalls to discover.

Geordie Bangers at Proper Food & Drink Festival North Shields

Petes pudding at proper food and drink festival North Shields

French oven bakery at proper food & drink festival north shields

Ellies cupcake kitchen at proper food festival north shields

Hadrian border brewery at Proper Food Festival North Shields

La Mini Macaron at Proper Food & Drink Festival North Sheilds

Street Food Vendors

All that shopping is hungry work. Fortunately there were plenty of street food vendors on hand to stop us from starving. We found them inside the park along with a picnic area and a stage with entertainment. It was lovely to sit in the sun for a while and enjoy the music. Deciding what to eat was hard as many of our favourites could be seen. 

The burgers from Fat Hippo were a hit for me when we went to the Battle of the Burger at Wylam Brewery and their distinctive van was there. The red colours of  Zapatista burrito bar also caught my eye. I keep meaning to try them but somehow always get distracted. Sorry guys. In the end I went with a falafel from Papa Ganoush which was very tasty. My son and his friend had burgers from The Northumbrian Smokehouse and my husband tried the Tokoyo Kitchen.  Drinks were also available, either an exotic coconut or from Wylam Brewery. We left the Proper Food & Drink Festival full with plenty of food to take home to try later. It is a great day out.

Fat hippo at Proper Food & Drink Festival

Zapatista at Proper Food & Drink Festival

Northumbrian Farmhouse at Proper Food & Drink Festival

Tandori Nann at Proper Food & Drink Festival

Tokoyo Kichen at Proper Food & Drink Festival

Proper Food & Drink Festival

Proper Food & Drink Festival

 

Other events in 2017:

If you want to catch the Proper Food & Drink Festival in one of the other locations over the summer these are the dates to put in your diary.

  • May 27th -29th,  10am -5pm: Bents Park, South Shields
  • June 17th-18th, 10am -5pm:  Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay
  • July 29th, – 30th 10am -5pm: Seven Oaks Park, Cramlington
  • August 5th – 6th, 10am -5pm: Saltwell Park, Gateshead
  • August 12th -13th, 10am -5pm: Ridley Park, Blyth

Have you been to the Proper Food & Drink Festival before? Let me know below. I suspect we may visit a couple more this year.

 

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BBQ weather is nearly here. Why not try these Japanese style barbecue recipes to add a different flavour to your grill?

Recently the weather has been much warmer. It’s been nice enough to put the deckchairs into the garden and enjoy the sunshine. When the weather is warm it is always an incentive to get out the barbecue. Nothing says summer more than enjoying your food outside in the sunshine.

A barbecue is also a great way to get out of cooking. There is something primal about cooking food over hot coals that makes the men want to take over. My husband and son have fun watching the meat cook and I can sit and relax until it is ready. As long as the salads and sauces are ready then my job is done.

Japanese Style BBQ Recipes from Yutaka

Recently Yutaka got in touch to see if I would like to try out their Japanese style BBQ recipes. I am always happy to try new recipes so tried them out at the weekend. Yutaka provide a range of Japanese food products that help you create delicious and tasty Japanese recipes. I first tried their products when making sushi which was really tasty. There are two different recipes, Sushi kebabs and Panko burgers. Both of these would add an interesting twist to your barbecue.

Yutaka BBQ recipes

Sushi kebabs

Take some chicken, salmon or vegetables and leave them to soak in the Japanese BBQ marinade. After they have been left overnight thread the meat onto some skewers with other vegetables. The original recipe calls for courgettes, peppers and salmon for an mix of Japanese flavours. I chose to use chicken, peppers and mushrooms. Cook the kebabs on the barbecue until they are done. When they are ready add them to a bed of sushi rice and wrap in a sheet of nori. This is a nice easy way to serve the kebabs and also adds a lot of flavour. Any leftover sushi rice can be made into a side salad with the addition of some spring onions, peppers and cucumber.

BBQ Marinade

BBQ Marinade

  • Time: 10mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Japanese inspired marinade with sushi ginger, rice wine and miso

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Yutaka Yakiniku Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Yutaka Miso Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Yutaka Tamari Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp chopped Yutaka sushi ginger
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp Yutaka Mirin
  • 2 tbsp Yutaka Shaoxing Rice Wine

Directions

  1. Mix ingredients together
  2. Cover the chicken, salmon or tofu in the marinade
  3. Leave in the fridge overnight

Sushi Kebabs

  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Japanese inspired marinade with sushi ginger, rice wine and miso

Ingredients

  • 4 bamboo skewers
  • 6 mini peppers
  • 2 courgettes
  • 12 button mushrooms
  • 6 small shallots
  • Marinaded chicken, salmon or tofu
  • 250g Sushi rice
  • 330ml water
  • 3 tbsp Yutaka Japanese rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 spring onions
  • 3″ piece cucumber
  • 6 Yutaka nori sheets
  • Yutaka bamboo rolling mat

Directions

  1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for four hours before use
  2. Cover the chicken, salmon or tofu in the marinade
  3. Leave in the fridge overnight
  4. Make the sushi rice. First wash the rice three of four times with cold water
  5. Drain the rice with a sieve
  6. Add to a pan with the water
  7. Put the lid on the pan and bring to the boil
  8. Simmer for then minutes then turn off the heat and leave to stand for 25-30 mins. Do not open the lid
  9. Mix together the rice vinegar, sugar and salt
  10. Stir into the cooled rice.
  11. Chop the red pepper, spring onions and cucumber into small pieces
  12. Mix with half the rice to make a salad.
  13. Thread pieces of marinaded meat, peppers, courgettes and mushrooms onto a skewer
  14. Brush with BBQ sauce and place on the barbecue
  15. When done place a nori sheet on the rolling mat
  16. Add a line of sushi rice and the kebab and roll up.
  17. Serve with salad and the rice salad.

BBQ Sauce

  • Time: 10mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Japanese inspired marinade with sushi ginger, rice wine and miso

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Yutaka Japanese rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Yutaka Tamari Soy Sauce
  • ¼ tsp Yutaka Wasabi paste
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • Dash Tabasco
  • pinch salt

Directions

  1. Mix ingredients together to make the sauce

 

Japanese Style Burgers

  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Burgers with a Japanese style BBQ sauce

Ingredients

For the burgers

  • 2 small red onions
  • 500g minced beef
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp Yutaka Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp Yutaka miso sauce
  • 1 tbsp Yutaka Yakiniku sauce
  • salt and pepper

To stack

  • 6 burger buns
  • 3 tbsp mayonaise
  • ½ – tsp Yutaka Wasabi paset
  • sliced onion rings
  • sliced pepper rings
  • whole mushrooms
  • Salad leaves
  • Tomato ketchup

Directions

  1. Peel and chop the onions and garlic
  2. Place the onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, meat, sauces and salt and pepper into a food processor
  3. Mix until well combined
  4. Shape six burgers from the mixture and leave in the fridge to chill
  5. Brush the burgers with the BBQ sauce then barbecue along with the mushrooms, onion rings and peppers.
  6. Mix the mayonnaise with the wasabi paste and spread on the burger buns
  7. Stack the burgers on the buns with salad, onions, peppers and mushrooms.
  8. Serve with the sushi rice salad

The family really enjoyed these recipes and we will be trying them again soon. We are planning a big barbecue for the bank holiday weekend. I suspect now that I have said that it will rain.

If you are looking for other recipes for your barbecue it is worth making some home made tomato relish. This is much nicer than shop bought and will impress your guests. Do you have any favourite barbecue recipes? Let me know below.

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How would you like to adopt your very own dragon? Dragon Adoptions allows you to do just that. Why not surprise a loved one with a dragon to look after?

It should come as no surprise that I am a big fan of dragons. These mythical creatures have a strength and courage that you can only admire. It is no wonder that there are many stories and legends about them. In England we are familiar with St George and the dragon. Unfortunately the dragon came to a sad end in that tale. In other cultures dragons are gods. Yu is a Chinese rain god and a beautiful golden dragon.

All dragons share some characteristics. They are large creatures with tails and wings. Dragons love to collect gold and often can be found in caves sleeping on their hoard. When they are not sleeping they fly round the country looking for food.  Some of them breath fire and all of them are intelligent. Often in stories they speak. Dragons are also loyal and if you are lucky enough to befriend one they will be your friend for life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a pet dragon.

Adopting a Dragon with Dragon Adoptions

Recently I was lucky enough to adopt my own dragon thanks to the lovely people at Dragon Adoptions. They believe that by owning your own dragon it will help to unlock your courageous and fearless self. It is hard work to look after a dragon. They need to be fed properly, given love and kept clean. By looking after them well you will find strength inside yourself.  Dragon Adoptions make the whole process of adopting a dragon really easy. You just go to their website, choose the dragon you love and wait for him (or her) to arrive. There are a range of different breeds in different colours so can be sure you are picking one that will suit your lifestyle.

Dragon Adoptions

My dragon is a loveable red baby dragon with sparkly wings. Look at his eyes, how can you resist? He has a playful nature and loves nothing more than investigating his surroundings. The other members of the dragon family were soon playing happily with him. He is not yet aware of his own strength so I need to be a little careful when I pick him up. Fortunately he seems to be settling in well and enjoying his new home.

Dragon Adoptions Dragon

 

Dragon Adoption Pack

Each dragon comes with a dragon adoption pack which contains a certificate of adoption.  The pack also contains a lot of other things. Stickers, badges, postcards and colouring sheets. There is also a dragon mask so you can pretend to be a dragon yourself. When you adopt a dragon a £1 donation is made to charity so you are helping other people. The charities are Alder Hey, Stonewall and Community Integrated Care. With your dragon adoption you also get regular updates from the dragon community.

Dragon adoption pack

Dragon Adoption Pack

I really love the idea of dragon adoptions and I am sure any child would be thrilled to receive a dragon adoption as a gift. It is such a unique idea.

Where can I adopt my own dragon?

If you would like to adopt a dragon of your very own you can do this by visiting the Dragon Adoptions website Here you choose the dragon you would like to adopt. It is a hard choice, they are all so cute. Prices for the Dragon Adoption Combo pack are £23.99 or £26.99. This includes the dragon and the dragon adoption pack. Dragons are also available without the pack for £12.99 or £8.99. The price depends on the breed of dragon you choose. If you just want a Dragon Adoption Pack without a dragon this is £16.99. Rush out and adopt your own dragon today!

You can get a 25% discount on all Dragon Adoptions products by using the code: DRAGON25 in the online checkout.

My dragon still needs a name. If you have a suggestion let me know below.

I was sent the dragon adoption pack in return for an honest review. I did not have to say anything nice and my opinions are my own.

How to adopt a dragon

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