Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Christmas Craft Bundle Giveaway


I love crafting and spend time with my little niece crafting on a regular basis. Over time we have collected lots of crafting stuff and really enjoy using it all. Since its almost Christmas I am giving away a Christmas crafting bundle to one citrusspiceuk reader just in time for Christmas.


How to Enter:

·         Simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries
·         Entries can be via blog comment, Facebook, Twitter etc
·         Please read the rules they form the terms and conditions of this Giveaway
·         Closing date – 13th Dec 2018 12.00 am

How Rafflecopter works:
·        You will need to complete the mandatory entry first – usually making a blog comment. You can do this by clicking on leave a comment at the bottom of the post and leaving your reply in the comment box. Please note your comment will not show immediately as it needs to be moderated however rest assured it will appear on the site, so carry on with rest of entries.
·        Login to Rafflecopter – click to see what the question is. Make a comment answering the question on the blog.
·         Go back to Rafflecopter and click the green button to tell me you have made a comment, this will unlock all the other options. All entries are checked to see that the mandatory question is answered, if its not all bonus entries will become void. 
·        Rafflecopter will tweet, like and follow on your behalf.
·        For information on how to find the URL of your tweet click here
·        For bonus entries you can return to this page and enter the daily bonus entries. 
·        If you are still unsure as to how Rafflecopter works please do check out this short video.

Rules:
  • This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 who live in the UK.
  • The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses random.org) and announced on this page.
  • Prize:   Christmas Craft Bundle Giveaway (assorted)
  • citrusspiceuk is hosting this giveaway. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. They reserve the right to withdraw the competition at any time should any unforeseen circumstances arise, in case that the prize is not available a similar prize of same value will be substituted.  No monetary compensation will be given.
  • citrusspiceuk will be responsible for sending out the prize to the winner, by entering you are **consenting** to share your address for the prize to be sent and be contacted by email to notify you if you have won the prize. 
  •  Please note to be complaint with the new GDPR rules by entering the giveaway you are consenting to allow simplyfood to contact you if you win the prize. Your data will NOT be used for any other marketing purposes.
  • All entries will be verified, failure to follow instructions correctly will result in participants being disqualified. Please do not cheat.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Mount Abu ~India Travels




During our Rajasthani travels we decided to get away from the Rajasthani desert heat and took a trip to Mount Abu which is a hill station in western India’s Rajasthan state. 



Mount Abu is situated high up in the Aravalli Range and is surrounded by forest. The hill station is a popular place for people to visit to get away from the heat and enjoy some cooler weather.



The car journey up to the hill station is along windy mountain roads surrounded by mountains and greenery. There is an abundance of monkeys on the road sides ready to pounce on the cars shroud you offer any fruits,especially bananas.






There are many tourist spots to visit in Mount Abu, you can find lakes, picnic areas, temples and hill tops where you can enjoy spectacular views. The top ten tourist spots that are highly recommended to visit are:


Dilwara Temple 
This is a jain temple which was built by Vastupal Tejpal between 11th and 13th century. The temple intricately carved in Marble and you will be totally mesmerised by the amazing architecture. 


Nakki Lake
Nakki Lake is a manmade lake also known as, Nakki Jheel.  The lake is Located in the centre of the hill station, and it is surrounded by   greenery, mountains and strangely shaped rocks.  The lake has picnic acres, boating and is surround with many shops and eateries.



Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across a distance of 288 km, the sanctuary crosses numerous mountain highs from 300 m to 1722 m at Gurashikhar which is considered to be the highest peak in the Aravali ranges. The sanctuary is the perfect place for trekking, seeing all kinds of flora and Faunaand igneous rocks with large cavities resulting from the weathering effects of water and wind. 

Guru Shikar
This is the highest peak of the Aravalli Range and lies about 15 kilometres from Mount Abu. The height of the peak is 1722 meters from sea level and if you do get a chance to climb there you will get some breath taking views of the surroundings. At the peak you will also find the Mt. Abu Observatory and a cave temple of Guru Dattatreya which worships Lord Vishnu. 

Shri Ragunath Temple
Shri Raghunath Ji temple is  a 650-year-old temple set on the shores of Nakki Lake, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.  The temple has beautiful Mewar architecture and carvings on the walls and ceilings. The temple is calm and serene and many followers of Lord Vishnu come daily to offer prayers.



Sunset Point
Sunset Point is an iconic point that is very famous tourist destination of Mount Abu. Here you can come and watch the beautiful sunset setting in the Aravali Ranges. It can be reached by car and then a short distance walk. 


For those unable to walk there are vendors who offer horse rides and trolley rides. The trolley rides are carts that you sit in and they are pulled uphill by the vendors. This is heartbreaking to watch as it takes a lot of strength, hard work and stamina to carry out this work. Some of the vendors were really old and do this daily for a living.


Around the roads reading up to sunset point there are street vendors selling lovely masala chai, roasted and boiled sweet corn and other street foods.



Arbuda Devi Temple
Arbuda Devi Temple is considered the most sacred pilgrim point of Rajasthan and dedicated to the goddess Durga.It can be come reached by climbing 365 stairs to symbolise each day of the year are cut into the mountain. There is a Dhoodh Baori,a sacred well with milk coloured water near the temple, worshippers believe that the waters is holy.   The temple is constructed out of one huge solid piece of rock and the inner sanctum is reaching by crawling a narrow cave.

Toad Rock
This rock is known as The mascot of Mount Abu. Toad Rock is one of the most frequented point in the itinerary of all visitors. To see the panoramic beauty of the surrounding lake and greenish hilly regions you can climb up the rock and capture the breath-taking scenery.

Mount Abu Bazaars
There are numerous shopping markets in Mount Abu. You can find traditional Rajasthani handicrafts such as Kota sarees, bangles, linen with Sanganeri print, Jaipuri quilts, and products made of marble, sandstone and sandalwood. 



You can also find Rajasthani crafts, paintings, leather goods along with a few Gujarati artworks and local paintings. Costume jewellery, shoes and ethnic clothes stalls line the bazaars.

There are many hotels and guest houses in Mount Abu that offer accommodation in all price ranges. If you want to visit all the above places you will require a minimum of 3 days. We were only in mount Abu for an overnight stay so were only able to visit Nakki, Lake  and the Sunset Point and the bazaars. The destination is perfect for a weekend break if you just want to relax with family and get away from the scorching India heat.

You may like to read about the other places I visited in my India travel series:


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Monday, 19 November 2018

Printable and Pinnable recipe cards with the Recipes Generator

When I first started this blog I shared a step by step post about adding a recipe card to a blogger blog using recipe wiz.Unfortunately that no longer works and I have now found an alternate option which not only is easy to use but very compatible with blogger and SEO friendly way to make great printable recipe cards. This recipe card is compatible for blogger blogs and is created using recipe generator. You can also use the recipe cards for wordpress, wix and squarespace and the cards also support pinterest rich pins too.

The recipe cards are visually great and make following a recipe easy. They are extremely useful as the cards can be printed to add to your own favorite recipe box. Furthermore the recipe cards are well received by google search engines making them a must use for anyone writing a recipe blog.

I am going to share step by step instructions on this post on how to create the recipe card and use it on a blogger blog.

How to add Printable recipe card with Recipe Generator.

1. Open browse with https://www.recipesgenerator.com/
2. Create an account and save the log in details.
3. To start making your card login and you will come to this screen:



4. Fill in the details such as recipe name, author name, yield, summary and image url in the boxes of   as prompted in the appropriate boxes. (To get the image url , upload your chosen photo on your blog, once uploaded choose the html option and copy the image url from there and paste it in the recipes generator.)

5.  Scroll down and fill in the Ingredients list and method.




6. Next fill in the prep details. Adding any notes, nutritional info, other options and video are optional extras. You can leave that category empty if you want.

7. Next Click on "preview & save" at the bottom of the page.



8. If you click next arrow you will come to this screen:


9. Once you are happy with the style selection click on "Choose this style".The next screen will give you a code. Copy this code.


10. Log into your blog and create a new blog post. Choose the html option in the post and add the code you copied. Save the blog post.
11. Preview your post and you will see a beautifully created recipe card.
12. Your recipe box will look like this:


I have been using the recipe generator site for a few months now and I am really happy with it. I also like the fact that the site is well maintained with regular updates. Not to mention that the support there is one of the best I have ever experienced.  

The recipe generator is only $3 per month and you can join it for a duration of 6 months at a time. If you would like to try the Printable and Pinnable recipe cards with the Recipes Generator, I have a special readers discount code. 

Visit this link for 33% off your first 6 months:
https://www.recipesgenerator.com/p/33off.html (this code is valid until 26/11/2018

Other posts you may like in my how to series 
are:

Enabling threading commenting
How to back up your blog

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Simply Hike - My Wish List


Over the last few years the type of holidays we take as a family have changed drastically. With the kids grown up, we like to spend time outdoors, especially walking, skiing, cycling and activity holidays.These type of holidays are great for family bonding and good for the health too.


Weather in the UK is not always predictable so wrapping up well and having the appropriate type of gear, clothing, shoes and equipment that is correct for all weather conditions makes the holiday more enjoyable and safe too. There is nothing worse than going out in fashionable clothing and uncomfortable shoes to ruin a holiday.


If you are planning an outdoor holiday and need ideas for the type of equipment, clothing, shoes and accessories you may need, head over to the simply hike website who have every thing you will require for the whole family. Our plans for next year are a camping trip and a skiing trip so currently I am collating a list of  clothing and equipment we may need.

My top ten items that I would like to add to my shopping list this year from Simply Hike are:


Goldbergh Womens Paige Pant - White

The Womens Paige Pant from Goldbergh has a soft, stretchy fabric and are totally waterproof and comfortable to wear whilst skiing.








Roxy Womens Frost Printed Fleece - Water of Love

This women's fleece jacket is really warm with an inner fleece lining. It coordinates really well with the above ski pants.






Anon Womens WM1 Ski Goggle with Spare Lens - Watercolour Sonar Pink
These lenses have the Zeiss Sonar lenses and have 2 sets of inter changeable lenses. The goggles can also be worn over spectacles making them perfect for all conditions.Wearing eye protection in the snow is very important as the UV is very high during the day.There are many different designs available for men and women in the ski goggles range.






Jack Wolfskin Womens Park Avenue Jacket - Dark Sky 


This jacket offers total protection from the rain, its warm, comfortable and ideal for outdoor wear.





Didriksons Mens Drew Parka - Peat

This men's jacket is completely waterproof and windproof and it is well insulated to keep you warm and dry in all weather conditions.






Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 OutDry Rucksack - Dark Zinc


This rucksack is totally waterproof . It has padded shoulder straps and a HardWave suspension that shapes to your back making it easier to care a load without getting backache.






Salomon Womens X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Walking Boot - Crown Blue Sunny

These boots are waterproof breathable boot with a strong grip. It has  a shock-absorbent EVA footbed and a cushioning Ortholite® sockliner,  providing comfortable wear in all terrains.









SmartWool Womens Hiking Medium Crew Sock - Dark Cassis

This Smartwool sock gives excellent comfort,support and breathability and are designed to reduce shock and abrasion and cradle your foot.





Stance Mens Spiderman Comic Socks 

These fun and colourful socks have a soft texture, supportive structure and extra comfy cushioning in the toe and heel so that they are comfortable to wear.








Meindl Mens Bhutan MFS Hiking Boot - Dark Brown

The shoes have ventilation and a gor tex layer that ensures the feet stay dry and the inner memory foam inside the boot  keeps the feet warm. 
















There are many different ranges and choices of clothing, equipment, shoes and accessories available on the simply hike website for the whole family. Its a one stop shop to get everyone kitted up.



I am really excited to prepare and plan our first camping trip next year. I need to make an equipment list of every thing we will need. I would love to get some tips from all you lovely readers as to what I should add to my list. Please do share your tips in the comments below.

**This post is in collaboration with Simply Hike.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Hand Picked Greece~Cretan Cookery Class in Crete


When I visited Crete, I was very fortunate to be invited to a Cretan cookery class through Hand Picked Greece. Hand Picked Greece is a company that offers various different workshops in Crete. These include cookery classes at their Olive Farm to Olive oil soap making classes, Bee garden experience, Gastronomy experience and also yoga retreats.


My friend Heidi and I spent a really enjoyable afternoon at the Olive Farm in Litsarda Create. The Olive farm is run by Yanis and Valia. The Olive Farm is amazing with an out door kitchen surrounded by gardens full of wonderful herbs, vegetables, olive trees and chickens. Set amongst the hill tops  it boasts amazing views.



On arrival, after enjoying some drinks, we set about on a walking tour around the gardens, exploring them. We were amazed at the quality and quantity of the organic herbs and vegetables that Yanis and Valia had grown.


Lots of fresh produce and olive trees surround the al fresco cookery school. Beautiful and picturesque the cookery school is rustic but very well equipped with an outdoor wood fire oven, a homemade distillery, pantry and a range and a sink.The concrete table in the centre is so beautiful and can accommodate up to 16 people around it for the class.


We learnt how to make stuffed wine leaves Dolmades, Cretan spinach and feta pastries called Tiropi, and Cretan stew called Kleftiko which is lamb and vegetables but it was adapted for me since I am a vegetarian by replacing the meat with mushrooms so it was more like Simbetherio a Cretan vegetable stew, which we enjoyed with homemade bread, tzatziki  and Greek salad dressed with lashing of organic olive oil.


The magnificent feast we cooked with organic produce was simply amazing. We feasted whilst being serenaded by some authentic Cretan Music.


In all the cooking experience was really enjoyable and fun. I would highly recommend it to any one visiting Crete. Yanis and Valia were amazing hosts and I am totally grateful to them both for inviting me to participate in their class and learn so much about Cretan Cuisine. You can book a similar experience on their website Hand Picked Greece.
You can read about Heidis Experience here.


Other posts in my Crete Travelsyou may like:

Botanical Gardens Fournes
Chania and Olea Villas Crete
Greek Feast at Olea Villas Crete

Friday, 6 July 2018

Gardening a new hobby???




I have never been very good at gardening although I love a nice garden and plants. This year we had our drive and patio done as all the paving stones had cracked due to subsidence.Whilst the drive was being done our lawn suffered badly so we also laid a new lawn and tidied up the flower beds. Neither my partner or I have any gardening knowledge so we got some beginners gardening books to brush up on our skills. Having a best mate who also owns an allotment is really useful too as Heidi  who blogs at kitchentalkandtravels is always giving me tips and advice.



Personally I find gardening rather challenging as I really don't have green fingers at all and have a tendency to kill all house plants I have had in the past. I believe this is because I over water, something I need to pay attention to with the garden.



To keep things simple we dug up the flower beds and prepared them for planting. There were lots of rocks so a gardening sieve from Wham came in really handy to sieve all the debris out. Once the soil was dug and sieved we mixed it with some shop bought comport and mixed it into the ground.The flower beds were now ready to plant.




We also filled the cauldron pot, some small plant pots and a plant trough from Wham with the compost for the bedding plants. Wham have a lovely selection of pots, herb planters, troughs and gardening items at a very reasonable prices too. To check out their full range check their website.


We chose a selection of bedding plants for the pots and wall baskets and perennials for some parts of the garden so that they would bloom year on year without having to replace them.


Whilst the perennials take time to settle in and grow, the bedding plants give an instant colour to the garden The added advantage of growing  annual plants is that you can change the colour scheme of the garden with different types of bedding plants seasonally It is also an inexpensive way to brighten up your garden as you can get trays of 12 bedding plants for as little as 3-4 pounds.


The bedding plants also look great in window boxes, hanging baskets and wall planters. They are easy to maintain and I also discovered that once a week watering them with a plant food helps to enhance the colour and bloom.



We also chose some ever greens so that we had lots of foliage in the garden all the year round. I learn't from the gardening books that evergreens can also have coloured leaves that will help to add colour to your garden in the winter.


Gardening is certainly some thing that needs lots of love and care and its hard work too. However  its very satisfying to see the results.



Our next project for the garden is to start off our vegetable patch and herb garden. We are currently preparing the vegetable patch as the soil is full of clay and very hard to grow anything init. In the mean time I have planted some tomatoes and chilli plants in pots.I am really excited as the tomato plants are flowering and hopefully I will have my very own homegrown tomatoes to eat.


I am not sure what we are doing is absolutely correct as its a very amateur attempt, however its a learning curve for us and we are hoping that in time our garden will flourish.
I am also planning to grow some herbs  in an indoor kitchen garden, I will share this in my next post.

**This post is in collaboration with Wham who kindly sent me some pots and tubs.

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