Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Last Minute DIY Chocolate Gifts

If your looking for a quick and simple edible gift idea that doesn't compromise on taste or appearance then your in luck! These Chocolatey goodies require minimal cooking expertise but still look and taste pretty impressive (if I do say so myself...)

What You'll Need: 
- A selection of Chocolate Bars ( x4 150g bars make gifts for approx. 6-8 people, depending on how generous you are!)
- Toppings of your choice - I used pop corn, dried strawberries, sprinkles, biscuits, nuts and dried berries.
- Dipping items of your choice - I used pretzels and mini Oreos

(Messy kitchen is completely necessary)

To make the chocolate slabs and shapes all you need to do is get some cookie cutters, lie them on to some foil and spoon in your melted chocolate, adding in any of extra bits n' bobs that you fancy.

Be careful when your taking them out of the mould that you push gently but firmly and try not to put too much pressure on just one part of the chocolate as it could break.
Its easier to remove them from the mould if you chocolate is still a tiny bit bit squidgy.

Don't worry if a bit breaks off! The beauty of chocolate is that it can be melted and re-stuck!...
Lets just say my reindeer would have had a bit of trouble flying if it hadn't had been for a bit of chocolate reconstructive surgery...

The chocolate dipped gifts are pretty self explanatory really...
Firstly, melt your chocolate and dunk in your items, then lay them out on a piece of baking paper and sprinkle over any extra toppings. Done.
The freeze dried strawberries worked really well with the dark chocolate dipped Oreos.

Let me know if you try any of these out.
Have an amazing Christmas!

- Lola -

Monday, 21 December 2015

Recipe Roundup: Easy Vegan Christmas

I've scoured the Internet and picked the (soy) cream of the crop when it comes to simple, vegan festive feasting! Let the stomach rumbles and mouth salivation begin...

Starters/ Aperitifs.
Balsamic tomato and pesto canapés - The Great British Chefs

Vegan Shepherds Pie - Minimalist Baker
Mince Pies - Deliciously Ella
Chocolate mousse - Jamie Oliver
Raspberry, Rhubarb Crisp - Minimalist Baker
Apple Ginger Bread Cake - Minimalist Baker

For more festive vegan food ideas follow my Pintrest board! - "A Very Vegan Christmas"

- Lola -

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Ethical Christmas Shopping

Now I'm no scrooge, I love Christmas just as much as the next fairy light fanatic & jingling jumper wearer but there are a few issues I have with the holiday that's supposed to promote good will and yet contributes massively to some of the most exploitative industries on the planet! 
Luckily there are plenty of easy ways to avoid some of the manic consumerism whilst still giving gifts friends and family will love...

Local and Independent Shops
One best things to do if you love the buzz of going out and physically finding Christmas gifts is to buy from smaller, local or independent shops. This way, not only are you supporting smaller businesses, but you can still get that festive feeling without contributing to the other negative areas of larger companies, like over seas sweatshops.

Online (Etsy)
Definitely the most stress free way to do you Christmas shopping! 
Just by searching for "Eco-Friendly Christmas Gifts" you can find tonnes of websites that offer ideas to cater for all ages, genders and tastes. 
Some of my favourites sites are: Matt & Nat, friends of the earth, Lush and Etsy. Although, I feel like Etsy should be in a category of its own! 

Etsy's basically a collection of thousands of independent shops all in one, very cute and convenient place - amazing and highly addictive.
It allows you to easily narrow down your search depending on your budget and any other specifications you might have, plus you can find some really incredible, unique gifts made and designed by some very talented people around the world.  

 Planned Day Out or Event
One of my favourite gifts to give and receive. Organising and paying for an event or day out (or part of the day out!) for you and someone else is a really great personal gift idea and a great way of ensuring you get your monies worth and don't just spend a tenner on something that's going to sit at the back of a draw gathering dust...
Maybe there's a quirky cafe you've both always wanted to go to but never got round to or tickets to see a new band, show or exhibition?

Hand Made
I know the thought of spending a day or so making half a dozen Christmas prezies isn't going to be everyone cup of tea! But if your on a budget and still want to give really nice, thoughtful gifts then making them isn't such a bad idea.
A few more simple ideas include: personalised Mix CD, DIY chocolate slabs (great last minuet gifts as they are super easy to make - post coming up soon!), a framed photo collage, friendship bracelets or zip purse.
Of course all of these should be carried out whilst watching a Christmas classic or listening to some festive tunes at full blast. This part's not optional...

~ Lola ~