Cooking Book Wins with Freezing Tips!

                 cooking and freezing tips
This is my collection of cooking book wins, from various Twitter competitions over the past 18 months. I have a huge sweet tooth and the recipes in these books are to die for. My favourite book out of the three is Freeze written by Justine Pattison. It’s one of the most useful books I own! It contains not only recipes but ways to make the most out of your freezer. Some of the top tips inside include different reasons to freeze. A couple of the reasons are you have less waste, which in turn saves you money and you have the flexibility to store various meals without extra supermarket trips, costing again less money!
I use my freezer like its going out of fashion! I freeze bread and only take out what I need, so it’s kept fresh and soft. On Sundays my husband and I do big batch cooking and make enormous cottage pies and lasagne’s to freeze for the coming week as we are both very busy with work. Sometimes when we have been out of the house for 12 hours or more its hard to get the motivation to start cooking a meal, so our freezer batches come in quite handy in these situations! 
Here is another top tip I recommend! If like me your freezer is not the biggest, and after a couple of tubs of ice-cream you have hardly any room whatsoever for anything moderately bigger than a chicken. Take all the outside cardboard packaging off all the food products and cut out the cooking instructions to place on the front of the fridge with magnet. Instantly you have room for that steak and ale pie that you slaved over by making the pastry by hand! Who needs all that extra cardboard on a box of ice-lollies? when you can slide them individually into gaps in the freezer drawers amongst the bag of frozen peas and turkey dinosaurs! So not only will you be saving money by using your freezer economically, but you will also be creating a wonderful colourful collage of bits of cardboard cooking times on your fridge-freezer! 
Rachel xx

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Twitter wins, books and the arrival of free samples!

                         
This is one weeks worth of wins and free samples. The door handles and letter box were from a Twitter competition with Yale on #FreebieFriday, the best day of the week for Twitter competitions! which I will say more about later on in the week! The Tefal frying pan was also from a Twitter competition and it arrived with a pack of sausages and some celery! this was from @love_thecrunch. I honestly didn’t expect the sausages and celery I thought the competition was for the frying pan, so it was an unexpected lovely surprise!
The mini bottle of baileys and the tiny tube of splash concentrated drink were free samples. I love to sign up for free samples as its a great way of trying new products without the cost. A great tip is to save them up for little stocking fillers and pop them all in a little gift bag for Christmas for the family. The past few days I have had a green tea teabag through the post box from PG Tips, which made a lovely cuppa after all that painting and decorating fiasco! A couple of Lacoste aftershave samples have arrived as well, and I know I only entered for one sample so that’s twice the luck! 
I find the free sample websites online through various links, through postings on Facebook and Twitter. I might occasionally have an email sent by company sent asking if I would like to try one of their free samples and sometimes they ask for a review in return. 
The three books in the photo were more of my Goodreads wins. Entering the competitions to win free books from Goodreads are my favourite ones. I love to help out debut authors with their new books in posting reviews on Goodreads. There are also chances to read proof copies of new books before they are even published! For a booklover like me this is so much fun! If you are lucky the books are often signed by the authors and can include bookmarks, postcards and I have even had a pen!
Rachel xx

Gingers, Redheads and Freckles

In January I won a Twitter competition with Border Biscuits (@BorderBiscuits). They were doing a campaign called #GingerJanuary  on Twitter where many people were posting various pictures of all things ginger! I was one of their lucky winners of biscuits and this gorgeous bag. Being a fellow ginger/redhead myself I was over the moon and I’m so proud to be a ginger! This bag means a lot to me and I’ll be proud to carry it. Thanks very much Border Biscuits!

                                     Gingers

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Trying a little decorating!

                                 painting, DIY
Today’s post is a little different in that it doesn’t consist of books or competition wins! I am having a little dry spell in the wins department at the moment, but hopefully it will be back soon!
It’s the first day of our weeks holiday, so decorating has now commenced! A few weeks back we decided that our hallway could do with a new lick of paint, it’s a new build and we have had it for just over four years and have never got round to painting any of it! It came to us all new, shiny and freshly painted so we thought back then why change it! Although it was a bland shade of magnolia! 
Anyway after all the moving in, with sofas, beds, tables and even a piano the poor walls have taken a scuffing and are now in desperately need of some paint! Being our first home we haven’t had much experience in painting and decorating, so we thought we would go and get a few tester pots of some colours we want to try, and find out what we needed to buy. We came home with six different tester pots and painted a little square of each colour on the wall in the hallway. Out of the six various shades of creams and beige s we only liked one, its called soft pebble. One of the testers looked green on the wall, and another looked yellow! 
Once we decided on the colour a couple of weekends ago we popped off to our local Homebase, which unfortunately is closing down, to find a bargain or two on some paint to match our tester pots. We got a great deal on the colour we wanted (soft pebble) as it was buy one get one free and a further 20% off due to the closing down sale. I always like a good bargain!
We got lots of masking tape and duster sheets to protect the carpet, and with my husband and his roller and me with a paint brush we started! Nearly nine hours later I am covered with paint splashes from toes to hair and we are bickering like crazy! The stupid paint tester patches are showing through the new coat of paint and will be bugging me for years to come as I know they are lurking under the lovely coat of soft pebble! And guess what? as our lovely house is a town house and consists of three storeys we still have the top floor to go tomorrow!
Rachel xx 

Gerbera’s in bloom

My favorite flower is the Gerbera, this one I  have grown in my kitchen window. I think they are such a pretty flower and they come in many colors. It’s a very popular plant and can be used as a decorative plant for the garden or grown for cut flowers.They are often used for weddings as centre pieces and bridal bouquets due to the many colors in their species. They are easily cared for whether grown outside or in. Be careful not to grow them outside while there is still a risk of frost, they prefer milder to hotter temperatures. Gerbera’s really love hotter temperatures and so grow to their maximum potential, therefore growing in full sunlight is a great idea! Always remove dead flowers to encourage flower growth.
I love this quote from Jim Carrey on Twitter, so I thought I would share: 
Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up, and turn towards the light and that makes them beautiful ~ Jim Carrey
I think this quote is perfect for the Gerbera, they just amaze me how quickly they grow. The plant I have had in my kitchen window has been producing blooms since last July and with a little tlc it keeps giving back beautiful flowers. 
Rachel xx