Sunday, 14 September 2014

Gluten Free Product Reviews


Hello again, another week has gone by and I am ready to put up another post as promised. For this week's post I thought I would discuss a few Gluten Free products that I have found and tested throughout August and September. I'm hoping that this post can help any of you who are sticking to a Gluten-Free diet.

I will start off with DRINKS, and more specifically- Hot Chocolate.
Personally, I'm not a fan of coffee, or cappuccino, and although I like tea, I'm not a massive drinker of it. However, there is one hot drink I can't get enough of, and that is hot chocolate. Now, as I've mentioned in a previous post, I am a very fussy eater/drinker, and as part of my fussy-ness I tend to avoid milk in most things. I'm not sure why, but even the slightest bit too much milk in something I can taste and dislike it! Therefore, I avoid, like the plague, any hot chocolates that you have to add milk to. Also being a coeliac, my choices of hot chocolate are limited, and, up until the past couple of years, I just didn't have hot chocolate because I could never find anything suitable. However.... that has all changed....!


The picture above shows Nestlé's Aero Bubbles hot choc, Options Belgian choc orange hot chocolate, and Cadbury's highlights caramel hot chocolate, but I have also tried and tested the Galaxy Instant Hot Chocolate (which had already been drank before this picture was taken- oopsy!)
As you probably realise, I absolutely loved the galaxy hot chocolate, and I am so glad it's gluten free! Any fans of galaxy chocolate will definitely love it because it just tastes amazing! Plus, what I have just discovered from looking on their website, Galaxy does a whole range of hot chocolate flavours, including one called Galaxy Ripple Hot Chocolate, which is also gluten free and looks scrumptious! I will definitely be hunting for that one next time I go food shopping!
Next, I tried the Cadbury highlights Caramel hot chocolate. I had already previously had the normal Cadbury's hot chocolate and their fudge hot chocolate, both of which I had enjoyed, so I was intrigued and excited to try out the caramel- I wasn't disappointed. It was so yummy and the smell that came from the pot was just so inviting!
Options hot chocolate next. I had already had this orange one before, along with loads of the other hot chocolate flavours they do, and the fact that I keep going back to this one just shows how yummy it is! I personally love orange chocolate, so this is my favourite flavour of all the hot chocolates I had this month!
Lastly, Aero Bubbles hot chocolate. This one was amazing. Although it is not the most exciting of flavours compared to the other ones I tried, I still loved the taste, and what made it possibly my favourite hot chocolate of all of them is the bubbles. On the packaging it says 'making the world a bubblier place' and seriously they do not lie- this hot chocolate is so bubbly and foamy, and that makes me a very happy hot chocolate drinker. Also, I found that, out of all the hot chocolates I had, the powder dissolved the best in this one, because I never had any clumps of soggy hot chocolate powder at the bottom of my mug. It is a wonderful hot chocolate!

BREAKFAST:

I struggle to find things I want to eat for breakfast, because I tend to avoid things like cereal, because I don't like milk, and toast, because it's a bit too heavy for me to eat for breakfast, which only really leaves me with fruit. I used to just eat a banana or an apple for breakfast, and still do sometimes, because it's quick, healthy, filling, and gives me enough energy to keep me going, but I quickly become bored of having the same thing over and over again. However, after going to a local GF fair with my Dad last year, I discovered Nairn's Gluten Free Biscuit Breaks which then became part of my breakfast meal. 

















Inside one box are 4 pouches, each with four oat biscuits inside. For breakfast I tend to have one of these pouches and cut one banana up into about 16 slices, with 3-4 banana slices piled on each biscuit. I have only tried the 'oats and syrup' and 'oats and fruit' ones, both of which are really yummy with banana for breakfast. (As for the chocolate chip ones, I have not seen these sold in supermarkets, so if you find them and try them you'll have to let me know if they're any good!)

SNACKS:

In August I received the Autumn/Winter issue of Crossed Grain and discovered a GF brand I had not heard of before- Udi's. The advertisement inside the magazine was showing Udi's range of bagels, and I instantly got excited! I went to their website and jotted down which supermarkets stocked these bagels, and the next time my Mum and I were in Tesco's I headed straight to the GF aisle and found that the shelf of Udi's bagels had been nearly wiped clean, with only a couple of the chocolate chip bagels left. I grabbed a pack and was then uber excited to try them, and they did not disappoint! With the chocolate chip ones, I just cut them in half and ate them straight from the packet, but I'm sure you could heat them up or toast them if you wanted. Either way you have them, I think they taste amazing and you should definitely try these! I will most certainly be looking for Udi's products in the future.

The next snack I'm reviewing was found and brought home by my Mum. My Mum is always quite tentative when buying new GF foods for me, because, as I have said, I am a fussy eater and it takes a lot to get me to like things! Nevertheless, she brought these home thinking that if I didn't eat it, she'd be happy to have them herself or give them to my Dad. When she came back form shopping that day with these Wellaby's Lentil Chips, she left them by my toaster so that I could see them and would remember to try them. Now, I must admit, I was unsure about them, and it wasn't until a week later that I thought I should give them a try, because otherwise it would be a waste of food and money. So I opened the packet and found that, in fact, I LOVED them! This first packet I tried was the Sea Salt flavour, and I have since tried the black pepper ones, both of which are lovely, and they are now one of my favourite snacks. So thank you to my Mum for buying them, because I have discovered a new GF brand and a new snack that I really like!


MAIN:

I'm going to keep this section brief because I'm thinking of doing an extended pizza base review on different pizzas and pizza bases from a range of GF brands, but I couldn't do this post without mentioning the return of a pizza base to supermarkets. Up until about a year ago, I would buy DS gluten free pizza bases, but then they suddenly seemed to disappear from supermarket shelves, and we couldn't find them anywhere. Then, about a week-or-so ago my Mum and I saw them once again, and I was ecstatic and bought 3 boxes! I would definitely recommend that, if you see them, you buy them, or, if you prefer a pizza with toppings already on, then buy one from their range of frozen pizza's which are ready to cook- go check them out!


PUDDING:

Tesco's have made my life very happy this month because of a product I found on their shelves in the GF food section! I remember in Primary school watching my fellow classmates taking out of their lunchboxes 'Angel Cake' slices, and I would look on longingly, wondering what those pretty looking cakes tasted like...
About a decade later, I have found out what those magical pink and cream cakes taste like... and it's wonderful!

Tesco Free From have made my childhood dreams come true and created a box of 5 Gluten Free Angel Cake Slices! Tesco Free From you are wonderful- thank you for creating such an amazing product.
(If you hadn't already guessed, I love this product and would definitely recommend it!)

So, those were all the Gluten Free products I tried in August/September. I hope this has enlightened those of you following the gluten-free diet, and given you some new products or brands to have a look at. I will certainly be continuing to buy these products, but also hope to discover more this next month.
As I said earlier in this post, I am planning on having a look and testing out GF pizzas and pizza bases from different brands and giving a review of those at some point, but also, if there are any other GF food types/brands/products  you would like me to review, then by all means leave me a comment on this post and I will see what I can do. Or, if you've in fact just discovered a new product or have a particular favourite GF product, then please let me know, because I'd be interested to see what everyone else likes!

Also, thank you very much if you've read this, you are a wonderful person! :)

-- Ash Cam.

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Saturday, 6 September 2014

September's Here

Having set this blog up at the beginning of August I have really been slacking on the blog-post front so far. However, it is now September and with a new month comes a brand new attitude, and an attitude which includes being much more productive on my blog! I'm hoping to post at least once a week from now on and keep my blog updated with what I'm doing, places I'm going or products I've seen or purchased that have inspired me. I also thought it might be nice to document the next few months, especially with my ever-approaching move to University this month which will begin a new chapter of my life. This new aspect of my life may also interest any readers who are going through similar experiences, whether that's leaving home for the first time, or starting afresh in a new school or job. Lastly, I thought it might be cool for me to be able to look back in years to come and remember my first experiences of living away from home and going to Uni.
Sooo... with that little explanation out the way, I will move onto writing this week's post.

It is now September, and personally, I absolutely love September. September marks the end of the Summer, and the beginning of all things Autumnal, and I absolutely LOVE Autumn. Autumn means cooler weather and therefore cosy nights in with family and friends watching the amazing Saturday night TV, with programmes like X-Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, and lots of returning and new British drama series. I get very excited by all these things, as you can probably tell, especially about The X-Factor- no joke, I can list you all the British X-Factor winners in order of the year they won! Anyway...the cooling of temperatures also mean it's time for a refresh of our Autumn/Winter wardrobes, with the addition of knitted jumpers, thick and cuddly cardigans, winter boots, and staple A/W coats. It's at this time of year that I become very excited about seeing the new season's coats and jackets, and usually end up buying one too! So, for my first September post I thought I'd share some of my favourites available now in high street stores and online. I have tried to show products from lots of different shops at all different prices to cover all different criteria's that readers may have when looking for a new coat.

 First stop- asos.com


Asos Trapeze Coat with Faux Fur Collar £80
The red of this coat is such a great Autumnal colour, and the swing trapeze style is a really pretty design and very flattering. The faux fur collar just completes the look of the coat for me and makes it look extra cosy and inviting to wear.

Asos Jacquard Dolly Coat £80
This pastel coral coloured coat is just adorable with it's cute rounded collar and the small pockets. I think the shape is really smart and stylish and the soft touch fabric makes it practical and warm in the colder weather to come.

Asos Faux Fur Hooded Duffle Coat £75
I love the design of this coat so much- from the faux fur hood, to the duffle coat-style, then the length, and the fact it's got a softly pleated skirt - I think all of these features have been combined to make a wonderful A/W coat- well done Asos, I love it!






Next is River Island whose A/W coats and jackets selection is just amazing- so amazing I've had trouble narrowing down ones to put up here, so seriously go check out their whole range!




Black Faux Fur Collar Biker Jacket £65
Leather look biker jackets are not always the warmest, but with faux fur added to the collar, there will be no problem keeping warm in this jacket. Great design with lots of pockets and added quilting for extra insulation!



Black Check Oversized Coat £80 
I think this coat is a really stylish oversized coat, in keeping with this season's fashion. It looks like a lovely texture, especially the silky smooth lining. Also, having just watched Zoella's new vlog post on her 'MoreZoella' channel, I'm pretty sure that lying on her bed with her other recently purchased items was this exact coat, so if you're a follower of Zoe and love her style, this coat is definitely one for you!                                               

I then looked at New Look and found some fashion delights!
 This Cream Borg Coat just looks SO cosy! I personally am loving these fluffy coats and am considering buying one for myself this year!






Although this Blanket Wrap is not necessarily a proper coat, it is very cosy all the same and a fashionable choice for your A/W wardrobe this year. Plus I think the Aztec pattern and the burgundy colour makes for a great Autumnal look.





Urban Outfitters as usual has a wide range of beautiful coats and jackets, and I have picked out a couple of my favourites...
Vintage Renewal Levi's Denim Jacket £55
Urban Outfitters have a really good selection of denim jackets, but this has to be my favourite of theirs. I love that it's slightly oversized, and the rolled up sleeves are a really cool way to style it.  It also reminds me of a denim jacket One Direction's Louis Tomlinson wears regularly, which is another reason why I like it so much!







Vintage Renewal Harrington Jacket £55
This is another from their vintage renewal collection, and although I don't usually gravitate towards bomber jackets, this one I love and would be seriously tempted to buy. I love the flash of red tartan inside and the rib knit cuffs and hem.  I think this would be a really good jacket for the Winter!






Topshop have a great range of parkas this year, some are styled for a festival, while others have been adapted for the Winter months.
The Ultimate Festival Parka by Boutique (£85) is such an original take on the normal parka coats which are much shorter jackets. I haven't seen anything else like this coat on the market and I think, despite it's specific design for festivals, it would be a coat suitable for all seasons and would therefore have a lot of use.

Topshop are also selling lots of parkas with borg lining and faux fur hoods like this Short Padded Parka Jacket (£78).  This jacket just looks amazingly cosy and soft, and I just want to get one so that I can snuggle into it this Winter!










Marks and Spencer's  Petite Tipped Belted Mac (£45) is such a well priced women's wardrobe staple. Everyone needs a mac coat, and this one is smart and stylish, affordable, and suitable from season to season.

I also love, love, LOVE Missguided's  Powder Blue Cocoon Coat !! 
It's furry texture is just going to be so warm to wear and everyone needs to add a splash of colour in their A/W wardrobes, so why not use your coat to rock the pastel colour trend?! However, if you are after a more subtle coloured coat, this cocoon coat also comes in grey.



                                

Miss Selfridge are following the long duster coat/jacket trend this season, and are selling a  Burgundy Long Duster Jacket! I personally love the strong colour of this jacket and think it would be a brilliant Autumnal jacket.









H&M have also produced a brilliant A/W coats and jacket range this season. I especially love their Textured Weave Black Cape! It's such a refreshing addition to this season's coats, and I love the stand up collar and the little pockets they've included.
Also, H&M's Hooded Pile Jacket is such a cute cosy jacket for Winter. The hidden elastication at the hem and the ribbed cuffs will keep warmth in the coat, and the lining looks so smooth and will be soft against the skin. Plus, I love the softness of the pile used on the jacket, and would make it a dream to wear!





Well, this blog post ended up being quite long, so if you've stuck with me this far thank you so much and I love you! Whether you've skim read, read the whole thing or only looked at the pictures, I hope this has been helpful to you and given you some A/W inspiration for buying a new coat or jacket this season. If this is a success, then I might do another sometime soon on knitwear or something like that. If you have any suggestions or want me to do one of these on a certain type of product, or shop, then please feel free to request things in the comments section below.

-- AshCam







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