TOP SIX BAKING MAGAZINES WORTH SUBSCRIBING TO…

I don’t know about you but I love to hear the sound of a magazine dropping through the letter box and I have always got one baking one on the go. The best idea to see if you like any of the magazines I have listed is to buy a single copy which a lot of sites now offer in particular News Stand. 

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1.Baking Heaven Magazine – Bringing you the ultimate sweet AND savoury bakes, Baking Heaven magazine is serious about baking. Filled with perfect pastries, colourful cakes, decadent desserts, scrumptious savouries and tempting treats aplenty, this is Britain’s best-selling baking magazine, perfect for beginners to experts! It is jam (sandwich)-packed with delicious treats for every baking enthusiast. From creamy desserts that are to die for to baking with a savoury touch, a Baking Heaven magazine subscription covers all the best bakes in the world. With over 101 delectable recipes in every quarterly issue, this will become your essential guide to baking sweet and savoury goodies all year round. Baking Heaven magazine focuses on a specific topic in each issue to help you polish your skills in that area, from irresistible cheesecakes to Scandinavian baking. You’ll become the master baker in no time.

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2. Good Food is guaranteed seasonal goodness inside every issue, the ever glorious Good Food is a serious contender for the top spot. Good Food magazine is the UK’s top selling food magazine, a must-have addition to any kitchen for those who love to cook and eat. Packed with over 100 recipes, from easy everyday suppers to impressive three course banquets for two; it’s like having Ainsley Harriet resident in your kitchen!

Page by page, Good Food magazine will make your mouth water and tummy rumble. With stunning photography that makes you wish you could pick food straight off the page and top tips from celebrity chefs, this magazine will boost your culinary skills to the delight of your friends and family.

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3. Olive Magazine is filled with seasonal ideas as well as fantastic features on trending cuisine, dishes to try and new recipes you’d never think to make just waiting to become a family favourite! With themes in every issue, you’ll never be bored with the gastronomical temptations on every page. Innovative and creative, the team at Olive keep readers guessing by mixing up traditional dishes with new twists as well as suggestions for alternatives for your classic roast dinners and midweek meals.

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4. Delicious Magazine is the perfect pick for those looking for a mouth-watering monthly bible for foodies, guaranteed to get your taste buds tingling with every issue. Find inspiration for midweek meals, featuring healthy, budget-friendly dishes the whole family will enjoy. Looking to impress? Discover entertainment menus in every issue with emphasis on tasty, easy meals with a seasonal twist to astound your family and friends. Packed with top tips from your favourite chefs and step-by-step guides on everything from soufflés to sauces.    

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5. Easy Cook from Good Food is the UK’s most practical and straight-talking food magazine. Every issue is packed with recipes – quick and easy everyday suppers, meals to enjoy at the weekend, speedy menus for entertaining as well as snacks, baking and taste tests.

An Easy Cook magazine subscription takes the chore out of everyday cooking with inspiring recipe ideas for busy people while remembering that most families are on a budget! Plus don’t miss our new Easy Cook Chef School section, where you’ll find brilliant recipes from BBC TV chefs, all designed to help you master new cookery techniques while you cook up brilliant dishes at the same time. I bought my hubby this subscription for Christmas and he looks forward to each copy arriving through the letter box. 

 

6. Free From Heaven brings you 101 carefully selected, seasonal, free-from recipes every issue. Whether you choose to eat a specific diet as part of a healthy lifestyle, or you have intolerances to certain produce such as dairy, gluten, sugar or eggs, the great range of tempting and nutritious recipes, as well as a host of the latest news and features in this beautiful magazine will help you enjoy varied and tasty meals every day of the week. And with a new issue every two months, you’ll never run short of new ideas and inspiration.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A HOMEMADE LETTERBOX GIFT SET FOR FRIENDS OR FAMILY…

I love making gifts for my friends and family and nowadays you get get gift box subscriptions from a number of companies but actually making your own homemade letterbox gift set is a bit more unique and very very special.

With lockdown slowly but surely coming to an end I thought it might be a nice idea to put together a letterbox gift for some of your special friends and family who you have not seen for a while.

So, here are my ideas and how to go about making a letterbox gift. The first thing I did was to go and look on websites like Etsy and Not on the High Street. I wanted to make a note of the size of box I would need. There are lots of websites that sell letterbox size boxes but the minimum I could find was for 25. Amazon is your best bet where I found 10 for £5.60 and the size was perfect at 200x100x20mm. This is a large box but the bigger the better I think. You then need to think about weight and postage price which you can find online at The Post Office.

Making it a bit special means thinking about a lining and tissue paper seems to be the post popular and can easily picked up from The Post Office or local Supermarket. Now it’s time to decide what you want to put in your box.

Making it personal is what will make this a very special gift so start with your own handmade card with some plain card which again you could buy from The Post Office or, you could do like I do. I keep all my Birthday and Christmas cards and cut them up so that I can use them for friends and family cards. To make it personal you can use ladybug clipart. Clipart can make it look so professional and you can even make your own envelope and use them on that. Making your own envelopes is also easy with plain or patterned paper and you can find lots of images and videos on how to make your own envelope on Pinterest.

So, you have your box, your tissue paper to wrap it in and your personalised card to put inside the box. Now its time to think about what you want to put in your box. The best way to start this is to have a blank page for each person you are making these boxes for and start listing the special things you remember about them by using the alphabet. Here is a list of ideas to get you started. Write the list by asking yourself if they like any of the ones I am listing.

A. Art, Animals, Aunt – you could add a piece of art in it or an image of their favourite dog and is this for your Aunt so ask your Mum if she has idea of things she loves.

B. Birthday, Books, Baking, Biscuits, Birds – you could time it for their birthday, add a book if they love reading books, maybe a baking book if they like baking and their favourite biscuits or the latest bird food for their favourite outside animals.

C. Cooking, Card, Chocolates, Country, Coffee, Cat, Candles, Clip-art – you could find something different and very small that could help with cooking, make a few handmade cards for them, put in their favourite chocolates, or their favourite coffee which you can now buy in ‘bags’, a tiny fluffy cat, some candles and some bumblebee clipart so they can have a go at it themselves.

D. Dog, Daddy – you could put in a personalised doggy gift (handmade by yourself of course) anything personalised with Daddy on will melt any Dads heart.

E. Essential Oils – I use these for soooo many things as there has to be one that every one likes.

F. Flowers, Food, Friend, Feminine – you could put a small bunch of dried flowers in the box, little sample food items, if its your special friend then anything with special friend on, and if he/she loves smelly things then you can go to Boots Travel Size products and buy some to pop into the box.

G. Gardening, Golf, Grandma, Grandad – you could buy some seeds for that gardener you know or golf pegs for the golf lover and if its for Grandma or Grandad then you should start with a photo book and let it grow from there.

H. Hobbies, Hair Products – I have mentioned a few hobbies but there are so many your friend or family member may love something unusual but you are sure to be able to buy something for it. Hair Products is useful to all of us and again you can buy travel or sachet size to pop into your box.

I. Initial, make something yourself or look on lovely sites like Etsy and Not On The High Street.

J. Jigsaw, Jewellery – you could buy or have a jigsaw made through a photo shop company, or buy this lovely collectable work of art for their wrists.

K. Knitting, KeepFit, – you could buy them a knitting pattern and some wool and put it into the box and for a KeepFit fanatic then how about a video or some sweat bands or fun item that relates to being fit.

L. Logo or Lego – you could get a Logo designed online for someone just starting up in business or for a bit of fun to put in your box and I included Lego as what man doesn’t like a bit of Lego to play with. The adult stuff I mean. You can buy small ones with sooooo many pieces.

M. Memories, Magazines, Mum – you could put some memories together with a photo book. I absolutely love them and make them on a regular basis. You just cannot beat putting all your memories together. Magazines is an easy one as I am sure most family or friends would love a magazine to read, and there are a few companies online which will let you purchase a single magazine rather than a subscription. Finally Mum, well where do you start. You would probably need a bigger box with Mum but maybe start with a photo book and a few bits and give her a bigger one next time around.

N. Nails, Newspaper – nail polish and accessories is a great one and even the guys need nail clippers. Newspapers are a lovely thought for the elderly as you could find a really old one to pop into the box. It will bring back lots of memories.

O. Organised – this is to think of how organised are they. Could they do with a lovely A-Z or a book on decluttering. There is plenty out now to help people become more organised.

P. Pictures/Photosbook/Poster/Painting – back to the pictures again. Happy pictures bring back happy memories and at the moment we all have time to look through our suitcases of old pictures. Pop a few in the box to bring a memory back to life. Photobooks as I am talked about before are very easy to do online now. Posters can again be done using clip-art. Painting I have really only taken up over the last year when I was given an adult paint by numbers but I absolutely love it.

Q. Quotes – think of little quotes that are appropriate to the box received and pop them into a little box or envelope for them to open when they are feeling a bit low.

R. Reading – if they love reading you can easily pop a couple of books into your box but before you buy them check how thick they are so you will know if they will fit in the box.

S. Scrapbook, Spa, Sewing, Sweets, Sachets, Shed – you could start a scrapbook to put into the box of a family member and ask them to add to it the send it onto another member of the family to add to it. Spa was just to trigger off what you could put in the box for someone to enjoy a spa at home. Sewing has become very popular again but you can buy some really fab vintage sewing patterns online for someone who is a keep sewer. Sweets is very popular in boxes and easy to get or miniature packets. Sachets are also available now in supermarkets and online and could be facial products, hand or body products and very easy and light to put in your box. Shed was for the keen gardener but these man sheds are full of all sorts now.

T. Tea- there are so many types of tea you can buy now and can make a lovely box with just a book and some biscuits or chocolate.

U. Uncles – is this for your Uncle, maybe ask your Aunt for a few hints.

V. View – do they love a view, do they overlook a view. You could make a lovely poster or image from a picture you have taken of the country side or seaside and a very personal item.

W. Writing – do they love writing or like having notebooks around. I do, I have them everywhere and have one friend who always buys me some for Christmas. You can buy some stunning ones online and a lovely addition to the box with maybe a biro thrown in as well.

My A-Z is just my ideas but it could help you to put yours together and get started with your box. When its all finished and packed ready to go you could even finish with a touch of clipart. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them. Enjoy making your box, it will definitely put a smile on someone’s face.

SOME OF THE BEST TEAS TO DRINK IF YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM IBS…

  1. Fennel Tea – this tea is helpful in relieving cramps and it can also act as a mild laxative. Holland and Barrett sell the Heath and Heather Fennel Tea which is fresh and herbal, the ideal way to help maintain your well-being at any time of the day. A wonderful addition to your herbal, caffeine-free tea collection.

Heath & Heather Fennel 50 Tea Bags

2. Camomile Tea my favorite last drink of the day as it has a soothing calming effect. It can also help reduce stomach cramps. It’s been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and some even claim that it can help beat the annual hay fever sneezes. With its sun-drenched warmth and a fragrant floral finish, it’s time to enjoy Whittard’s Golden Camomile herbal tea, crafted purely from golden camomile flowers and finely blended for our individually wrapped teabags. With its sun-drenched warmth, a cup of pure relaxation.

3. Peppermint Tea another one I always have in my cupboard. This has a soothing effect on your stomach and may even help if you suffer from heartburn, gas, and spasms. My favorite is Twinnings Pure Peppermint Single Tea Bags, created to help you feel refreshed and ready for the day with each sip. A classic, vibrant blend perfect for any time of day.

Pure Peppermint - 80 Single Tea Bags (Image 1)

4. Spearmint Tea – not one you find around as much as Peppermint Tea but yet again this one can have a soothing effect on your stomach and has a gentler taste to it. Amazon sells Palanquin’s Spearmint Herbal Tea,

5. Anise Tea – this can help to relieve constipation, gas and bloating. Holland & Barrett have a Pukka Detox Tera which is a clean fusion of aniseed, fennel and cardamom. 

6. Rooibos Tea – this tea is caffeine free, and has a rich flavor and is great for relieving stomach spasms. Jing Tea makes a Herbal Rooibos Tea which is soft, honeyed and gently tangy with a hint of bitter orange. 

7. Ginger Tea – ginger in any shape or form has health benefits and the tea helps with nausea and stomach spasms. The Natural Health Market sells Organic Ginger Tea Bags which is made with only chopped certified organic ginger root. The tea has an intense taste and impressive ‘zing’ that makes it moreish and a comfortable level of spice provides a nutrient-rich warming sensation. 

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TOP FIVE CHOCOLATE TEAS WITHOUT THE CALORIES…

If you are true chocaholic like me then when they invented chocolate tea you went to heaven and back. The trouble is there are now lots of chocolate teas to choose from so of course I had to sample them. Getting your chocolate fix without the calories has to be a winner for any chocolate lover. Here are my top five chocolate teas.

1.Teapigs Chocolate Flake Tea Made With Whole Leaves (1 Pack of 15 Tea Bags) These are an award winning blend of chocolate flake tea which is a black tea with a hint of dark chocolate. Absolutely perfect for a treat with a dash of milk. They are made up in a biodegradable bag (hooray) and their packaging has been certified plastic-free by A Plastic Planet and at only £4.15 for 15 tea bags it will soon tickle your fancies.

2.Yogi Teas – Ayurvedic Organic Fairtrade Choco Tea Bags 17bags – these are delicious. They contain pure South American cocoa shells and ginger and cinnamon. To get the best taste allow the tea to steep for 7 minutes in boiling water. The only trouble with these are that I want another cup the minute I have finished my first one. Another great price at £3.02 for a bag of 17.

3.Suki Tea have a Chocolate Tea Bundle to die for. They say this bundle provides all the chocolate indulgence without the calories so I was straight in there. It has Mint Choc Chai, a black tea base with all the spiced flavour you would expect in a chair, with rich, dark cocol beans and fresh peppermint leaf. Enjoy it with steamed mill and you will be heaven.

Raspberry Ruffle, Black Tea with Coconut, Chocolate & Raspberry, yes please! The rich dark chocolate accentuated with the nostalgic combination of sweet coconut and a dash of zingy raspberry makes this amazing tea. 

Dark Cocoa Tea, Black tea and cocoa kernels blend for a rich chocolatey cuppa. The whole bundle for £14.80 for serious chocolate lovers.

4.Whittard’s have a Dark Chocolate Loose Tea Pouch, which is a blended loose leaf black tea from India and Indonesia with a (very) generous helping of cocoa nibs, creating a tea that’s full-bodied, aromatic and seriously chocolatey. It is truly indulgent and another one that you will probably drink two cups of. And, yet another they say is a sugar-free chocolate fix. What more could we ask for us chocaholics. The cost is a reasonable £6.00 for 100g.

5.Twinings Nutty Chocolate Flavour Assam Loose Tea – if you love a bit of nuts with your chocolate then you will enjoy this one from Twinings which is a Hazelnut and chocolate flavour black tea. Inspired by tea & chocolate, a match made in heaven.  Rich Assam loose leaf tea is a perfect partner to the flavour of delicious chocolate & hazelnuts. A 125g pouch is £9 another great price to get your chocolate fix without the calories.

UMITEASETS STUNNING COLLECTION FOR TEA LOVERS…

Umiteasets have a large selection of tea pots and loose tea to choose from so when this one popped through my door I couldn’t wait to give the tea and the pot a try.

Umiteasets say “It is said that long ago a man arid a woman, madly in love with, each other, saw their happiness destroyed by a lord who took the woman as a concubine. Driven half triad by this separation, the woman ran away to rejoin her lover only to find that the lord had had him killed.

When she found the body of her lover in the mountains, she wept so much that her tears formed a torrent and her petrified body was transformed into a tea tree. Even today, that is the explanation given for the year-long humidity and cloudiness of the area. Huangshan Maofeng: One of the top ten famous tea in China, is a kind of green tea. The tea is originated from Huangshan, Anhui province, where climate is mild, the number of rainfall is abundant and the soil texture is great, so there is very suitable for the growth of tea tree. As for Huangshan Maofeng tea, the technology of picking tea-tea leaves and drying tea is very delicate, purely manual making. In fact, the tea appearance present small and has a little intertangaling, cords fatness, and tea heart like sparrow’s tongue.

After brewing, the tea leaves present limpid blue light, tea water taste glycol, and the aroma smelling like orchid, lasting long times. Due to the new drying tea leaves with pekoe, the tea buds are also very different, and the fresh leaves are all picked from Huangshan Mountain Peak, hence its named Huangshan Maofeng tea. The tea is the curiosa in green tea, which through four working procedure: editing, rolling drying and baking. As we all know that the efficacy of Huangshan Maofeng are very rich, not only for one’s body, also for health care.

The tea is delicious and I love my little pot. With an array of teas, stunning tea pots and lots more on the Umi Tea Sets website it’s well worth having a look.