AD Three gluten free recipes you can rely on

this post contains gifted items, all thoughts and views my own 

I feel like I’ve not covered enough of my baking on the blog this year to justify all the calories I’ve combined and consumed. Baking helps me to relax, unwind and I am always coming up with new and inventive ways to get creative in the kitchen. As a coeliac, I enjoy making meals for the whole family who aren’t gluten free and testing out things that they can enjoy just as much as me. It can be tough to produce top quality bakes that are in fact gluten free, and GF food does come with a reputation of being dry, crumbly and just generally bad. I am here to tell you that this just isn’t the case once you know what you’re doing. I’ve come up with three gluten free recipes that you can rely on with the help from Sous Chef, whether you are newly diagnosed or just trying to bake something for a gluten free friend. 
Sous Chef (established 8 years ago this month) sells thousands of amazing ingredients from around the world to its customers. I’m in love with middle eastern spices and flavours, so in this blog post you’ll discover a few products that aren’t in your average pantry… 

It’s cupcake day! 

If my daughter had her way, it would be cupcake day every day in our household. I love baking with her and I try to do it as much as possible when we have the time. The easiest things for us to make are gluten free cupcakes. Here’s my perfected recipe over 15 years of making them: 

Mix 250g white caster sugar together with 250g soft spread (I use a plant based spread as gluten free flour needs that extra oil). Once this is silky smooth and there are no sugar lumps, go ahead and crack in 3 eggs one by one. Don’t worry if the mixture separates a little, and you can do this by hand or with a mixer. Next is 250g gluten free self raising flour and three tablespoons cocoa powder (sifted or mixed in with flour before adding). It’s really important to do this slowly, and do this stage by hand so you don’t knock the air out of the mixture. Once combined, add a little drop of vanilla extract plus a quarter teaspoon of xanthan gum -note this last ingredient isn’t 100% essential but I do find this helps to keep the cakes from crumbling. Bake in the oven for around 15-18 mins at 190 degrees, though adjust your temperature accordingly to your oven and cupcake size. You are after a slightly domed top that is firm to touch, and no wobbles! 

I let Alice loose with all our Frozen accesories, while I used a vanilla butter cream and beautiful rose petals (via Sous Chef) to create my batch. 

New York style baked cheesecake

For the biscuit base:

The base is 80g butter and one pack of gluten free choc chip cookies. Blitz the biscuits in a blender, and mix with melted butter to form the base. Press into your cheesecake mould (lined with baking paper) and bake at 180 degrees for ten mins. Take out to cool, then whack up the oven to 220 degrees before making the filling:

 The filling ingredients 
  • Roughly 900g of cream cheese
  • 250g of caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of gluten free plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A dash of lemon juice
  • 3 eggs and an extra yolk
  • 300ml of sour cream
The topping 

Whisk together your cream cheese and sugar carefully, then add your flour. Next go ahead with your vanilla extract and lemon juice, then the eggs plus extra yolk (one at a time). I added the sour cream by hand next, as I didn’t want to over-whisk the mixture. Making sure there are no lumps, pour onto the cooled biscuit base and pop in the oven for 10-15 mins before lowering the temp down to 100 degrees. Bake for around 45 more minutes, or until the edges have browned and there is a slight wobble in the middle. I let my cheesecake stay in the oven for a little longer turned off as I wanted it to be a bit firmer on the inside. I then left it to completely cool before putting in the fridge overnight with foil on the top.

three gluten free recipes you can rely on

In the morning it was ready to decorate with my pomegranate molasses (via Sous Chef) and the pomegranate seeds! The molasses has a tart bite that cuts through the creaminess of the cheesecake perfectly.

Late night chocolate brownies

Sometimes you just need that late night, oven-baked snack to satisfy you. I had a packet of gluten free brownie mix in the cupboard that just required an egg and oil as ingredients. Not entirely my own recipe but hey, you can always rely on a good old packet mix for ease and speed!

My absolute favourite combo is chocolate and pistachio, so here’s where you can get creative with a packet mix. I added some swirls of pistachio cream (via Sous Chef) on top of the brownie mixture in the tin and baked it for 15 mins. They turned out amazing- the creamy swirls just made the brownie so much nicer and they didn’t last long!

So there you have it, three gluten free recipes that you can rely on no matter if you have a spare 15 minutes for brownies or a morning to make the perfect baked cheesecake. What’s your go-to gluten free bake? Let me know in the comments below and share with me.

Saharasplash x

Thanks for reading. Have you seen my latest parenting blog post featuring Alice’s current daily routine?

Ad| Renovation ideas and updates on our new family home

This is a sponsored post, all thoughts and views my own 

We’ve now been residing in our new Suffolk home for a week, though it sort of feels very strange to be saying that. It seems like we have been here a lot longer as travels between homes have been often over the past few months. We had to move everything ourselves in the current climate, luckily we had a trailer to carry the bigger items like washing machines and fridges! I thought I’d write up a little post about how we are getting on in our first family home as well as share some insight into our visions for the property over the coming months and years. (It won’t all be done at once with a baby arriving this August!)

So things we have already ticked off our list are a new range cooker and dishwasher for the kitchen. They look so great, and considering it took us about two weeks to come to a decision on the cooker, we are very happy with the result. I’ve spent this entire week cleaning the cupboards from top to bottom and have almost finished with the utility.

The garden outside has had a good lawn trim, and we’ve got a beautiful playhouse on the way for Alice soon. Our swing still remains at the old house, which we will pick up at some point over the next few weeks. 

Upstairs is pretty bare really, we’ve converted one of the guest rooms into my husband’s work from home office for the time being and guest room two is where we are sleeping. Our master bedroom currently has no flooring down, this is one exciting renovation project we are taking on ourselves. We plan to lay down a laminate flooring before we order a new bed and accessories, so make sure you are following my home Instagram page @Suffolkfamilyhome for all the latest updates. 

One massive job that was completed before our move was the paintwork. We had the entire house painted from top to bottom in a Dulux Pure Brilliant White so it was like brand new (highly recommended if moving into an older style home). One project we are looking to start fairly shortly is the entrance hallway and bannisters. We plan to paint the top rail a dark grey or black, leaving the spindles white and put in a stair runner with black edging. I cannot wait to start this one! 

If you are looking for a new feel to your home, why not take a look at what TuffX Glass manufacturers can do. I am loving these glass balustrades from TuffX Glass, so maybe a few years down the line we will choose to go with a toughened glass effect for our inside entrance hallway! They handle bespoke work for conservatory glass and roof lights too, perfect for letting as much natural light in as possible.

For the living room, we decided to split our L-shaped sofa into two parts, as this style only works in a certain shape or sized room. Our living space is quite square, and has a fireplace that sticks out (soon to be gone!) so breaking apart the sofa was the only real option. This room is the only room that’s left with original wallpaper and chair rail as we are yet to decide what to do in here. I was hoping to get hard floors to match the rest of the downstairs and keep the chair rail for a half and half effect around the room. But do we paint over the wallpaper or tackle the messy job of removing it all? Let me know what you’d do/have done in the comments below! 

I’d like to thank everyone for all their well wishes so far, and expect more home, style and organisation blog posts to come this year. 

Saharasplash x 

You’ve been reading “renovation ideas and updates on our new family home”, check out my previous blog post here 

A Truly Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

It’s no secret that I have been slightly obsessing over everything Alice in Wonderland since having my own little Alice. I think this birthday party had been an idea in my head during pregnancy as soon as I found out I was having a girl and that we would name her Alice. So, a Truly Alice in Wonderland Tea Party was set in motion and I’m here to share a few moments from Alice’s first birthday party…

Sign by The Paper Butterfly

As usual, my head was filled with specific details and I couldn’t wait to get started with the preparations to see it all come to life. We had hired a village hall for around 40-50 guests so we had enough space for us all to have one giant tea party! I used artificial grass which we had kept from our wedding day, and this grass has come in so handy for other uses too! The decorations, plates and food looked amazing when everything was laid out.

Decorations by Talking Tables (the Truly Alice collection)

I had some beautiful Alice-themed biscuits made just for the occasion too, and I think we had about two left when the party was over!

Biscuits by Sisters that Bake

The hall came equipped with a kitchen so we were able to make guests any tea they desired, including this fabulous blend by Adagio Teas.

Some of my favourite flavours were in this special blend, and I can’t wait to explore more of the range this winter.

Tea by Adagio Teas

Party bags were waiting next to the most whimsical cake made by one of our local favourites.

Cake by The Cupcake Kitchen (Ipswich)

Now for some costume reveals. Of course Paul came dressed as the Mad Hatter. Alice’s grandad had an inspired waistcoat that fit so well with the theme.

I came dressed as a big Alice- clearly I couldn’t avoid the sign that said ‘Eat Me’!

Alice’s dress was a limited edition piece from Cath Kidston with quotes and delicate designs.

The Queen of Hearts was inevitably Alice’s nana, her auntie came as a very dapper White Rabbit.

It was such a special moment to see Alice blow out her first birthday candle, an incredible milestone for an incredible little Alice.

Thank you so much to everyone involved and all our friends and family for a Truly Alice in Wonderland tea party.

Saharasplash x

PR samples included, all thoughts and views my own

SEBC meet at Jump Street Chelmsford

I’m so excited to share all the news from the SEBC meet at Jump Street Chelmsford. For those of you wondering what does SEBC stand for, it’s the South East Blogger Club who organise fantastic events for local bloggers. Last year I went to an event when I was 40 weeks pregnant, just look at how mahoosive my belly was! I still find it totally amazing and crazy when I look back at pictures from last October, which seems far longer than just 9 months ago.

So, back to business…

This most recent event was held at Chelmsford’s most impressive trampoline park, Jump Street, so I made sure to wear something moveable and non-flashable!

The SEBC team had put together a lovely selection of brands for us to chat with on the night, including Happy Fabric, a very on-trend, online business which encourages you to get crafty.

I chose a delicate little purse and cut out my shapes using some holographic paper, which was then pressed into this beautiful design:

Next up, the Chelsea Candle Company. You can find these stocked in Urban Outfitters around the UK, and I fell in love with the gooseberry and elderflower scent. These candles are a true winner for style and smell, totally instagram-worthy and simply irresistible.

Another incredible brand featured at the event was Orthosole, an orthopaedic solution to your everyday needs. They have designed a unique system so that depending on what sort of support you need in your shoes, you can adjust these little pink insoles to suit your feet. With women experiencing four times as many foot problems as men, I was super excited to try these out.

I even had a pair of their prototype shoes to take home and put to the test, so far I’ve been wearing them out and about in this hot weather and no pain, no problems!

Now the SEBC meet at Jump Street Chelmsford wouldn’t be complete without a few snaps from my experience of the place itself. I was super keen to try out the clip n climb where you are slowly pulled up onto a vertical death slide. Not to brag but I got all the way to the top and totally owned it- I’ve got a very strong grip!

I had so much fun bouncing around too, I don’t think I had been on a trampoline for years but still had some moves. I can’t wait to go back again once the new soft play area is complete so Alice can join in on the fun too 🙂 Thanks to Voice Comms for organising the SEBC meet at Jump Street Chelmsford.

Have you ever been to a Jump Street or trampoline park? Let me me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

Saharasplash x

Take just a few more minutes to read my latest post, trust me your hair will thank me!

New house, new home for mumma

If you know my Mum, it isn’t that hard to believe that she has decided to move house. Not just to any old house mind you, but a rather lovely new house which we are in the process of helping her move in to this month. It’s been a long time coming, as the house she currently resides in is far too small for our ever growing family. Now that Alice has come along, the timing was right to make some major life adjustments as pretty soon she will need her own little room. The house we are leaving behind has a long history, starting out as my first home I remember and quickly becoming my Mum’s first nursery. I remember living upstairs and the nursery being downstairs. Our garden always filled with sounds of playtime and fun. But 24 years on, we have now outgrown the house, and plans to renovate and expand finished before they even got started when it just wasn’t possible to upscale as Mum would have wanted in the current quarters.

So, the search for a new house, new home for mumma began, and sort of by luck, one just happened to come our way just one mile down the road from the old house! It was just perfect- and had everything my Mum wanted in a house- bigger garden, bigger upstairs area with five bedrooms instead of three, and the dealbreaker- an indoor swimming pool. My Mum is definitely a go hard or go home lady, and now she can do both and put her feet up in her brand new digs as soon as we are done unpacking!

I’d love to share some photos with you from the new house, new home for mumma before we get started on doing the place up:

If you are looking to move house and need some help with moving, I’ve got a great service for you to hire all different sorts of vehicles for your job: https://www.psdvehiclerental.co.uk/

Saharasplash x

Thanks for reading new house, new home for mumma! I hope you’ll stay for one more post and check out my makeup dupes challenge with Beauty Base!

This is a sponsored post 

Suffolk Blogger Meet

Where do I start, oh yes, Friday night. I was beyond excited to head to my hometown of Ipswich for the evening, spend some quality time with my mum, sister and Great Dane watching movies and eating chilli. So straight after work I got packing my bags. This plan also included having a nice relaxing morning getting ready to drive to Bury St Edmunds for the Suffolk Blogger Meet organised by Daisy.

So, bags were packed, car keys were found, all that was left to do was put on a little blush and comb through my eyelashes before departing. With two brushes in hand, I go to sweep my cheek, forgetting all about the eyelash brush pointing towards my face… and it goes straight into my right eye. I’ve never felt anything like the pain of it before. It took two hours for my eye to stop weeping, so I found an eye patch and sulked on the sofa for the evening, unable to drive with one working eye.

So, Saturday morning, I was up at 8 to start prepping myself for the longer journey from London to Bury St Edmunds. I managed to leave on time, and also get into Bury just as things were kicking off. After hunting down a parking space, I found the venue and made my way in.

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I was instantly greeted by a group of bloggers who invited me to sit with them, just the bloggers way!

Among them were clashing time, life’s a catwalk, loved by Laura and theemiddlesister. We talked about where we came from, what our blogs were about and of course swapped cards! The venue was situated above a restaurant, and we had the entire top floor to ourselves. There were drinks laid out from Life Tonics along with cute little treats like biscuits and chocolates. There was a huge raffle table which still wasn’t big enough to fit all the prizes on, so they were spilling onto the counter above too. The stalls were situated along the side of the room, giving us the space in the middle to mingle.

As I made my way round the venue, I couldn’t resist nabbing this gorgeous jacket from a Neon Rose/Vero Moda rack. I think that even though it’s sleeveless I can still rock this with a turtleneck jumper and scarf. Keep an eye on my Instagram for this soon!

P1130907Neon Rose

I spoke to Ivy and Joan who were there about their nice array of products from personalised framing to pre-loved gift ideas, check their website out here for some perfect Christmas ideas!

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Odylique had a stall there too. Odylique are a natural skincare brand designed for people with sensitive skin or other problems such as eczema. I was given a sample of their ultra rich balm, which is great for dry hands and feet. I’ve already used it on my hands and have recommended it to some friends at work who have now ordered the sample pots for £1.75 off the website!

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The charity candle company were next, an ingenious idea and perfect stocking fillers! The company sells homemade candles in small, medium and large sizes up to £12 and have some amazing scents. My favorite on the day was the spiced orange, and managed to take a sample away with me! It’s really niche because you not only buy the candle, you also donate £1 of the proceeds to a charity of your choice! You can support the Royal British Legion, EACH, Dogs Trust or the Teenage Cancer Trust with your purchase.

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I was really excited when I saw that Yoohoomail were on the guest-list for the Suffolk Blogger Meet. I have seen so many bloggers raving about this stationary subscription company. You can try a one off box for £12 or a 3 month subscription for £36. The founder, Gemma, is one smart lady as there’s not something like this out there but it is proving very popular. I was lucky enough to win a whole set of their products in the raffle which I feature in my YouTube video at the end of this post, so check it out to see what I got in my box!

Here are some snaps of the raffle winners. I also won a fab dress from Jones and Jones too (I was really lucky!) and it’s featured below:

P1140065P1140055 P1140061 P1140038 P1140026Jones and Jones

I want to thank daisy for organising such a great event, if you’re not following her on Twitter get on it now!

Here are the last few shots from the event, plus the YouTube video of me at home opening up all my lovely things! There are some great products in the video from tea samples to royal jelly body butter, so get watching and subscribing for more. Hope you enjoy as much as I did opening them! I have posted links below the video to all the products so you can easily find them if you want to buy them 🙂

Saharasplash x

Wearing House of Celeb Boutique 🙂

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