Last week was the annual street BBQ on the communal green outside of our house. I was really looking forward to it as was a lovely chance to get to meet the neighbours, many of which we were yet to speak to. It’s such a nice idea to bring the community together. There was a bouncy castle, games such as football and rounders, even apple bobbing and an “eat a doughnut without licking your lips” challenge. This year was our first time attending as we’ve recently moved to the area so I wanted to make a good first impression and share my love of baking. I stuck with an easy muffin recipe then added mixture of fillings as I wasn’t sure what everyone would enjoy. The fillings I chose were blueberry, cherry, white chocolate and milk chocolate and hazelnut.

Easy Muffin Recipe - Blueberry, Cherry, White Chocoalte, Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut

Muffin Ingredients:

Makes 12

270g plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

80g caster sugar

2 eggs

100g butter (melted)

220ml milk

2.5ml vanilla extract

Your choice of filling (around 250g)

Method:

Preparation – 10 minutes | Baking – 25 minutes

1. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases and preheat oven to 200°c/180°c fan.

2. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract and milk, then add to the dry ingredients and combine. Lightly stir in the filling of your choice.

4. Spoon into your prepared muffin cases, filling almost to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen, golden and firm to the touch.

Enjoy…

Will you be having a go at this easy muffin recipe? What is your favourite filling?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

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Lee Stafford Haircare has been one of my favourites for years and years, and years. The first product, or products I discovered were from the Hair Growth Range “For Hair That Never Grows Past A Certain Length”. I started using the Hair Growth Shampoo, Conditioner and Treatment once every couple of months to give my hair a treat. I always noticed such a difference after I’d used it and it was a product range I kept coming back to. Other than noticing my hair really did grow considerably faster than it would have usually – it also worked as a nourishing and conditioning treatment. I’ve spoken in depth about this range previously.

Lee Stafford Haircare Favourites

I mentioned in my initial review of the Hair Growth Range that I was yet to try the “Hair Growth Scalp Serum”. I just never felt like I needed it as part of my routine. And I usually bought the products when they were on 3 for 2 or 3 for £15 offers so I focused on the “main” three – the Shampoo, Conditioner and Treatment. Recently I thought I’d try the Scalp Serum and boy have I been missing out. I absolutely love this product. I’ve been using it twice a week – immediately after washing my hair. Adding one or two full pipettes to my scalp and massaging it into my roots. I then make sure I comb through my hair to disperse any leftover product throughout my hair. This has been working wonders for me. My hair is so much healthier, shiny and volumized.

Another product I’ve been loving recently is the “Original Dry Shampoo”. I don’t think there’s much to say about a Dry Shampoo but this has become my go-to over the last couple of months. I washed my hair quite often after going blonde as I was trying to tone it with a blue shampoo. As much as this helped the overall colour of my hair, it also meant my hair expected a wash more than the twice a week it was used to. I opted for dry shampoo on the “in-between days” when I could just about get by without another wash.

The third product I wanted to mention is the “Hair Growth Treatment”. You can see how much I love this range. I can never stop babbling on about it. I’ve started using this as a once weekly treatment since bleaching my hair to keep it in optimum condition. This little pot seems to last forever. You really don’t need to use much with each treatment. The treatment helps to reduce hair loss, improves follicle health, soothes the scalp and improves strength, volume and feel of the hair. I have tried so many different treatments over the years and I keep coming back to this one.

I just wanted to quickly sneak a fourth product in here too. The “Argan Oil Anti Frizz Serum Spray”. What a little miracle product this is. I’ve only discovered it in the last week, so I’d already planned this post and taken the photographs. But I just couldn’t leave it out. I have a really nice natural wave to my hair but it’s so thick and frizzy. I’ve been using the Serum Spray to tone down the frizz and it really has been a miracle product for me and has been taming my hair for the entire day. Amazing.

Have you tried any Lee Stafford Haircare products? Do you have any recommendations?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

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When I was invited to attend Valley Fest as a guest of Weleda I jumped at the chance. Valley Fest is based within the Chew Valley Lakes, Chew Magna to be exact, which is only a 30 minute drive from mine. It’s nice to be able to attend an event that’s a little more local to me, rather than having to spend half the day travelling. Valley Fest is a festival of “food, music and fun” – and really is in the most gorgeous location. When I saw the tents pitched up overlooking the Chew Magna Lake, it made me regret not camping. Just imagine waking up to these views. Absolutely breathtaking.

valley-fest-bristol-chew-magna-lake-camping

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We arrived at Valley Fest at 10am and made our way to the Weleda tents to say hello to the girls. I’d already met Naomi and Sophie at the Bristol Bloggers Meet so it was nice to see some familiar faces. I also met Carol who was going to be giving me my Weleda Skin Food Facial later that day.

valley-fest-bristol-chew-magna-lake-pukka

valley-fest-bristol-chew-magna-lake-ami-rose

Before we did anything else, it was straight to Pukka for a cup of tea. They had so many on offer and they were so affordable. I know “it’s only tea” but Jess and I expected them to be around £3 each considering it was a festival yet they were only £1. They were also selling their eco-cups for £10 which included free tea for the entire weekend. I tried the Supreme Matcha Green Tea and fell in love and Jess had the Mint Refresh which is now a firm favourite of hers.

valley-fest-bristol-chew-magna-lake

There was so much going on when we looked around. Zumba at the “Lake Stage”, a Circus Workshop at “The Yard”, Chicken Run showing at “The Flicks” and a Baby Massage Class at Weleda. There was something for everyone. We had a wander around the various retail tents, selling everything from clothing, to incense, to handmade mosaic ornaments. But before we knew it, it was time to head back to Weleda for our Skin Food Facials.

Skin Food is Weleda’s signature product – it’s “a universal saviour of dry, rough skin” with “extracts of gentle viola tricolour, calendula and chamomile”. Skin Food is full of High Quality, Natural Ingredients. The facial was based around this product – starting with a aromatic rosemary compress to awaken my tired looking skin and moving on to a cleanse to remove any excess make-up. This was followed by a relaxing facial massage. I completely forgot that I was in a tent in the middle of a field, I could have been anywhere. The Skin Food was then used as a mask before the facial was finished with a lavender compress.

I’ve been using the Weleda Skin Food since the Bristol Bloggers Meet over a year ago – yet I’d never thought of using it as a mask. Which is definitely something I’m going to try at home with my sample that was given to me after the facial. My skin felt amazing immediately afterwards and I let the oils continue working their magic for the rest of the day. But more importantly I felt well and truly relaxed. And hungry of course, so it was time to find lunch.

Jess went for a Quesadilla from The Mexican Kitchen and I had a Vegetarian Curry from the Yeo Valley Canteen. For dessert we both had Eton Mess, again from the Yeo Valley Canteen. And I couldn’t resist one of their Gluten Free Brownies – divine. Again I was so impressed with the value of the food compared to other festivals. My curry was around £5 and it was a giant portion, the brownie was £1.5o and the Eton Mess £2.50. It was then time to head back to Pukka for a final cup of tea before leaving Valley Fest.

We had such a lovely day at the festival. We really didn’t want to leave. The atmosphere, the views, the food – everything was perfect. Not forgetting the wonderful facial from Weleda. That made the day for us. Thank you Weleda, and Valley Fest for having us.

Have you been to Valley Fest or anything like this before? I’d love to go again.

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

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Collaborative post. As always, opinions are 100% my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

As you walk towards the busy Bristol Waterfront, opposite the fountains and the Bristol Hippodrome you will find Aluna. A Bar and Restaurant priding themselves on providing a truly unique experience. We headed to the Bar Entrance and were met with a thriving yet relaxed atmosphere. It seemed the perfect place to let off steam from a manic week.

We were shown through to our cosy table, tucked away in the corner of the restaurant. I honestly couldn’t get over the gorgeous, unusual design of Aluna. I was definitely taking tips for my own interiors. The velvet seats were so comfortable and the lighting was perfect, giving it that much needed relaxed atmosphere. The walls are filled with copper/golden mirrors and old-fashioned prints. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before so it’s hard to describe. You’ll just have to go and see for yourself.

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

After reading through the extensive menu we settled on our first drinks. Sam had the Lava Lamp, an orange based cocktail and I went for the Raspberry Sling from the Mocktail menu. The mixologists really live up to their name of ‘Social Scientists’. Sam’s Lava Lamp cocktail arrived bubbling away, like its name would suggest, and stayed that way for a good 15 minutes. Absolutely fascinating to someone like me that doesn’t have a clue how these things work. My Raspberry Sling was divine, it was a sweet, but mildly bitter homemade lemonade.

Whilst we were enjoying our cocktails, we browsed the menu and decided on our food. There was a vast menu, with things from pasta dishes, to burgers, to Thai curry and Lobster to choose from. There was plenty of choice on the Asian and European inspired menu. Even for a fussy vegetarian like myself. I chose the Bruschetta Pomadoro to start and Sam had Nachos topped with chicken. Although I was tempted to ask for a vegetarian version of the Nachos which I’m sure they would have done but I always get Nachos so I thought I’d try something different. I was pleased I did, the Bruschetta was lovely, a perfect combination of flavours with the tomatoes, rocket and olive oil. But I must say the couple of Nachos I stole from Sam’s plate were pretty good too.

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

For our mains, I had a tough choice between the Thai Vegetable Curry and the Jerk Vegetable Wrap. I chose the latter but swapped my chips for sweet potato fries [of course]. Sam had the Aluna Burger but was tempted by the Lobster. My wrap was thoroughly enjoyable considering some of the fillings were those that I wouldn’t usually go for, such as courgettes and olives. The only thing I would say is that it wasn’t very spicy, which is ideal if you’re not too keen on spicy foods. But I would have liked a bit more of a kick to mine. The sweet potato fries were divine, they made the meal for me.

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

We were both absolutely stuffed, but in true us style, we couldn’t resist dessert. Especially where chocolate brownies and cheesecake are concerned. Sam and I are almost identical with our dessert choices which is strange considering we’re polar opposites when it comes to most other foods. Both cheesecake and chocolate brownie are our favourites so we just had to order both and go halves on each. And oh my they were gorgeous.  My mouth is watering thinking of that chocolate brownie, absolutely delicious, melt in the mouth, rich chocolate. But if I thought that was dreamy, the cheesecake was even better. A perfect creamy cheesecake, with the perfect crunchy base and a bittersweet mango topping.

It was time for one last cocktail before heading home. Sam wanted to try the Aluna Secret Concoction as he was told this one was set on fire. I had the Mixed Berry Mojito, again from the Mocktails menu. Honestly who needs alcohol when the mocktails taste this divine? The Aluna Secret Concoction lived up to expectations and filled the restaurant with fire as it was bought over to our table. I tried to get a photo but it all happened so quickly. This one smelt of roasted marshmallows and tasted like strawberry milkshake apparently. Different to any cocktail Sam had ever had before, he was really fond of this one.

One of the main things worth noting about Aluna is the price. Aluna has the looks and feels of quite a luxury restaurant. The atmosphere is wonderful – despite it being Saturday night, their busiest time of the week, we were really able to sit back and relax. And the staff were second to none. All of this considered, I was more than impressed with the prices at Aluna. My wrap was only £9.95 and Sam’s burger was £11.95. Desserts started from £4.95 and starters the same. They even have a 2-course lunch menu for just £9.95 so I’ll definitely be going back to try some of the other things on the menu.

Have you eaten at Aluna before? Would you pick any of the foods/drinks we tried?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

Collaborative post. As always, opinions are 100% my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

The Blogging Blues - Where Have I Been?

I’ve been “blogging” for over 10 years now. Crazy crazy. And in that time, I’ve probably given myself around a year off. I blogged through secondary school, sixth form, university and now into my adult years. Definitely still not accepting adulthood quite yet though. My life, from age 14, has all been put online somewhere. The rebellious 14-year-old having her first taste of alcohol, the smitten 16-year-old when I met my now fiancé, the confused 18-year-old with not a clue what to do with her life, the 21-year-old graduate that’s probably never going to use her degree, the 24-year-old learning how to use a washing machine in her first house. It’s there, somewhere.

Blogging has been a massive part of my life, and even when I’m not posting consistently, behind the scenes I’m spending my days planning ideas and taking photos for future content.  I’ve even got a list on my phone of over 300 post ideas I want to write. I can never imagine blogging not being part of my life. Even when it becomes obsolete, I’ll still be here rambling away on my little place of the Internet. I’m sure of it.

2017 has been manic. You have no idea how relaxed I feel sitting down to write. I haven’t been able to do this in what seems like forever. But before I veer off in a tangent – in January Sam and I bought our first house together. A major renovation project because quite honestly, that’s all we could afford. For three months, we spent every spare second working on the house. Every. single. one. Whilst still working full time. It was hard, but we did it, and we’re now living in the house, finally. Although it’s still a building site and there’s still so so so much to do.

Sam and I work for ourselves and work has been crazy. I’m actually writing a post on ‘What They Don’t Tell You About Working For Yourself’ because I must get told I’m lucky almost daily. I am. But I don’t think people quite understand how much of a hard graft it is keeping a business running smoothly, especially as we now have a house to pay for. It’s stressful. It’s hard. But yes, it’s rewarding.

On top of a crazy crazy home life and a crazy crazy work life. My laptop decided to finally give up. And then the Internet. I’m still not used to this laptop, and I think I must be deleting more words than I’m writing as I don’t know where the keys are yet. I am absolutely useless with technology.

I’ve had a serious case of the “blogging blues”. I’ve been comparing myself to others, my writing, my photography, myself as a person. I’ve wanted to get back in to regularly posting for so long but every post I write just doesn’t seem good enough. I hate every photo I take. My posts are too short, too long, too chatty. There’s not enough photos, too many photos. I thought after 10 years of blogging I’d be over this by now?

I lost the love for blogging, I was writing because I felt I needed to, I was accepting products and collaborations for the sake of it. I was forcing myself to write when the creativity didn’t flow. I forgot why I started. I didn’t start for the freebies, the views, the followers. When I started, Facebook didn’t even exist, yet alone Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other social medias that dishearten me when comparing myself to others. I wrote for me. Because I enjoyed writing.

I think I’ve been spending so much time worrying about what other people will like, what will make me look good, what will make me stand out, how to gain followers, how to improve my writing style, my photos, my content, that I’d forgotten what’s important. I’d forgotten why I started.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve taken time for me. To spend time with the people I love. To do the things I enjoy. To sort my life out. To start exercising instead of complaining about the stone I’ve put on. To have my hair done instead of moaning that I hate it. And most importantly, write. I was starting to hate the person I’d turned in to. I’d turned into one of those people moaning about life, whilst sitting on their arse and doing nothing whatsoever about it. That isn’t me.

800 words later I think I’ve managed to say what I wanted to say in this post. I’ve rambled a lot when all I really wanted to say is that I’m back. And as cliché as it sounds – I am going to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. I’ve declined collaborations that I either don’t have time for, or I don’t feel I’ll 100% love. And I’m going to really start focusing on the things I do love. Baking every sugar filled treat I can possibly think of. My Manicure Mondays. Exploring. Skincare. Pamper sessions. Because you can really tell the difference between the posts I love writing, and the ones I’ve struggled to find the words for. I’m going to take my blog back to something I enjoy spending my evenings doing. And I hope you start enjoying reading it again too.

I’m going to leave it there. I’ve already written way more than I intended and I’ll end up writing another 800 words if I’m not careful.

Have you ever hit a blogging slump like this? What did you do to get back on track?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

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