DIY Harry Potter Christmas tree decorations

Hello my lovelies,

I’ve ditched the housework today and decided instead, to do some crafting.  You see, while browsing youtube a few weeks ago my daughter saw a tutorial for Harry Potter Christmas tree baubles and has asked if we can have a Harry Potter Christmas tree this year.  I’ve of course, said yes but she has no ideas I’m taking it a few steps further. More on that in my next post. So today, DD and I created our first tree decorations.

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hp christmas baubles

Before we go any further, I just want to point out that I also don’t like the bakers twine hanging the baubles to the tree. These will be replaced with bauble hangers at Christmas. I really didn’t fancy going up to the loft to get the Christmas decorations down to retrieve the hooks.

So, these baubles are actually really clever little shot baubles that my BFF picked up for me from a car boot sale for 20p.  When I saw them, I knew they’d be perfect for a potion baubles one day.  Didn’t realise I’d be doing a HP themed tree so soon but it’s all good.

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The potion baubles were really easy to make.  I just designed some tiny labels on my computer, printed them off and stuck them onto the front of the baubles.  I covered the bauble with one coat of glitter mod podge and allowed them to dry.  Et voila!

I’m so pleased with how they came out.  It’s a pity that you can’t really see the glitter mod podge but it’s there. The glitter is subtle and I think it will add a lovely dimension on the tree.

The signs in the background are more of an upcycle than a from scratch project. I got them from Primark for £5 and while I liked the signs they were attached with black ribbon like you can see in the picture.

SONY DSCThe way it was wouldn’t work on the tree because it would be too long.  We simply removed the ribbon and the staples and glued on butchers twin. The twine is cut quite short so that it doesn’t hang too long on the tree and get in the way of other ornaments.

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I love projects like this. Not much to do for big impact.

I hope you enjoyed the post and if you did, please leave me a message.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Harry Potter Filofax Planner

Hello my lovelies,

I’m am soooooooooo excited to share my baby with you.  As you all know, I’m a die hard Harry Potter fan and with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, my love for the wizarding world of Harry Potter has grown. I’ve had a planner of sorts most of my adult life but this is the first time I’ve had planner peace because my planner now is a complete reflection of me. Introducing, my Harry Po

I found this Finsbury real leather filofax at a charity shop for £2! I know, it was a real bargain. Over the past two months, my planner has really blossomed and come together beautifully. I’m so proud of it.

First of all, my family bought me a Harry Potter themed pandora-knock off bracelet and while I loved it, it kept getting in the way and caught on things so I recycled it into a planner charm for my filofax. I added Gryffindor colour beads and love the way it turned out.

From the top you can see the washi tape paper clips I made to mark some pages. I have tabs running along the top and right hand side of my planner.

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My chocolate frog and Deathly Hallows charms decorate the bottom.

This is the inside cover and the first things you see are some bits I’ve collected. The dashboard was made using some scrapbook paper and an image I found online. I added the little baby hedwig pic I found online as a type of tab to help me turn the page.  Of course, no journey into the world of Harry Potter would begin at any other place other than platform 9 3/4.

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Tiny Hedwig owl by  Cryptid-creations

 

I made the paperclip behind the Godric Gryffindor chocolate frog card using a large wooden button I found at The Works.  The Knight Bus licence was made for me by Woozelmom in a swap. Woozelmom makes the most A-mazing themed craft projects.   Check out my previous swap post about the wonderful things she sent me.

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On the other side of my filofax cover is a tag from a pair of Harry Potter pyjamas that I got for Christmas which was addressed to Harry. I kept it because I thought it was cute.  I then have some washi tape samples that I use in my planner to decorate pages.  Above that is my miniature Marauder’s map.  I love it!  It was a printable from Britta Blvd and you can find the link to the printable here.  The snitch card is one I got from a RAK from Storm in a tea cup gifts. They do lovely themed subscription boxes. 18033070_10154959681305659_7050404997375769262_n18033343_10154959575120659_1429067500139513524_n

From this view, you can see the tabs are planning, lists and occasions as well as a little peep of Pigwidgeon.18033407_10154959575125659_8659674820507246476_n

Through platform 9 3/4 the first thing you see is of course a Hogwarts Express ticket and my personal information that I’ve blanked out.  I figured that if my planner got lost I’d be distraught and would hope that someone would contact me to give it back.

I’ve also added mine and my daughter’s vital information such as allergies and medication that we take.  God forbid, we are ever in an accident, our information, along with my husband’s contact details are printed there as an emergency contact. Inked17992330_10154959575250659_211426713908378420_n_LI

Then comes the Hogwarts express which naturally follows on if you go through the barrier at Platform 9 3/4. I love the Hogwarts silhouette tab on the right of the page.

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On the back of the Hogwarts Express poster, I keep my owl sticky notes and tabs and my main goals for the year.

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The next first actual section is my planning section. This seems like a subject Hermione Granger would be adept at which is why I place a picture of her here. Again, I found this online through searching Google images here .

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Turning the page, there’s a quote from Ron Weasley, who was talking about Hermione at the time and then my lunar calendar. Most people think I’m crazy logging the lunar cycle but I find that the cycle of the moon really has an affect on my moods.

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The pages that follow include dates for the academic year, weekly prompts for when I’m planning my week, yearly calendar, my future log page where I write down all events and dates to remember as I find out about them, my perpetual calendar and my Yearly planner calendar pictured below.

The Knight Bus ticket was another gift from Woozelmom and I’ve laminated it to keep it nice.

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This Dumbledore quote is on the other side of my weekly prompts list and next to my future log pages.

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My favourite picture of Newt Scamander graces the list section divider.

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And one of my favourite moments of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is on the other side of Newt along with my to do list pages.  Link here.18010873_10154959576245659_966801931237913801_n

My brain dump pages follow on from the To Do List pages. Don’t you love my pencil wand? I made it using a pencil, hog glue and paint. 18010264_10154959576395659_5625836229883820987_n

The occasions divider where I can plan any entertaining we are doing, birthday parties etc.

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Another Dumbledore quote and some birthday plans for my daughter’s birthday party.

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The next section is dedicated to my pen pals and contains their addresses and a log of letters written and received.  I love the little tab topper of Pigwidgeon. Hogsmeade poster here.

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One of my favourite characters and quotes from the series along with my pen pal letters sent and received log. Picture here18033369_10154959576955659_6019791198061277798_n

The next section is a where my daily planner pages start. The photograph was taken when my daughter and I visited Platform 9 3/4

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A map of Hogwarts follows and then it’s my monthly goals.  I like to set out my monthly goals along with my weekly intentions. More on those pages to follow.

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Here are my page per day pages.  I created them in powerpoint where all my pages are created.  I love how my page marker turned out. It has my morning and evening routines printed on it.

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My weekly intentions page is for things that I intend to get done during the week. I like the term intentions better than to do list.

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My finance section comes next. The snitch picture can be found on etsy here.

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Another Dumbledore quote found here.

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I haven’t shown my budget which is personal but I have shown some blank expenses pages and online purchase log pages.  I’m not sure about you but I sometimes forget what I’ve ordered especially if the items will take weeks to arrive such as some items ordered from China.  My purchase log keeps me updates of what is still to arrive.

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My personal section comes next.

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My transfiguration (weight loss measurements) come next and there are a few of these pages to help keep me on track. I adore Luna. I can’t find where I got this picture from but if you come across it please message me and I’ll give all due credit.

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Then there’s my cosmic ordering pages come next – they’re basically manifestation pages by another name.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept, check out the book The Cosmic Ordering Service or the website on the link above.

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Because my work can take me all over the area, I like to keep a log of where I’ve worked that isn’t my usual base and I have titled these pages Muggle Business.  Then there are pages for the Books I’ve read, books I’ve got on order at the library and books I want to read.17992308_10154959578085659_6157492901752482001_n

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Next comes The Burrow which is Swish cottage or our home.

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I keep things pertaining to our home here such a cleaning schedules, family schedules, details on family members such as clothing sizes and needs, wish lists etc.  Gryffindor poster can be found here17991900_10154959578405659_518650383477173535_n18010260_10154959578550659_4662343018696252841_n

Then there’s menu planning.  This adorable owl pic can be found here.

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I plan my weekly menu here along with any shopping that needs to be done. Again, I can’t remember where I got this picture from but if you know the source please let me know.

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Next comes my freezer, fridge and freezer inventories17952922_10154959583705659_2815238831386430107_n18033342_10154959584160659_3932955183703183554_n

There is also a page for writing down items I need to stock up on.

The last section is for writing where I keep blog post ideas along with my book ideas and notes. I love Vincent van Gogh paintings and this Hogwarts image done in the van Gogh style is just phenomenal.

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At the very back, I have a little pocket folder that I made to keep stickers, a couple of birthday cards and my Morrisons savers stamp folder. What would Hermione do image can be found here.

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I could go into so much more detail about the way I use my planner but I’ve run out of time!  This has been a lengthy post!

I hope you love my planner as much as I do.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Low carb lifestyle: The rest of the week

Hello my lovelies,

I was completely knackered on day 3 and forgot to blog. Then the rest of the week kind of ran away from me.

Day 3 wasn’t as bad as day 1 and 2.  I was in ketosis although I did feel tired and a bit grumpy.  It was a long day at work and to be honest, I had a hot bath and got into bed before 8 pm.

On Thursday, I ate cheesy scrambled egg for breakfast with Waitrose aromatic pork and herb chipolatas, salami and cheese roll ups (here I used Maasdam cheese slices) and for dinner since I was so tired, I had grilled bratwurst with cherry tomatoes and some homemade chilli mayonnaise.  For the chilli mayonnaise I just used mayo, a dollop of tomato puree and some chilli spice.

I woke up on Friday feeling like I had slept so well!  As a rule, I am not a great sleeper but can honestly say that I’ve slept incredibly well this week. I felt great all day and guzzled water like it was going out of fashion.  Not because I had to because I was on a diet but because I wanted it!  That’s a first for me!

I ate some of the keto quiche lorraine I had made on Wednesday morning and did a kind of mezze packed lunchbox for work.

Before work I needed to run some errands. When I stopped for a break, I had thought that I could no longer have coffee out.  You see, my poison of choice is a caramel or gingerbread latte. Both of which are high in sugar.  For those who don’t know, milk is naturally high in sugar. I didn’t think that coffee shops did pouring cream in their coffee but upon asking at Costa, I learned I was able to have a black coffee with sugar free caramel syrup with pouring cream! It was so good.

For dinner, I made a chicken fajita salad (I made the mix myself using a recipe online) and served it with avocado.

I was so excited by dessert!  It’s a quark and sugar free concoction that came out so yummy!

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Strawberry keto pudding: Makes 4 portions.

Mix 1 sachet of strawberry sugar free jelly with 200ml of boiling water and 85ml cream. Mix to dissolve the jelly crystals.

Mix in 1 scoop Vanilla or strawberry whey powder and a tub of quark. Beat to mix with an electric mixer.

Pour into four glasses and allow to set in the fridge. Top with a dollop of cream and a berry.

I would not suggest blackberry as in the picture as they were too sour to eat!

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Saturday’s breakfast was more quiche Lorraine with a spoon of leftover chicken fajita mixture. Nothing special there but tasty.

I had to go food shopping over lunch time and landed up eating 4 hot pepperoni sticks as I was shopping.  Nothing fancy but it was lunch.

For dinner, we had a bbq with friends and my diner was bbq food at it’s best. Salad with feta cheese, pork belly and a spiced chicken thigh. Oh and a dollop of garlic allioli. Total heaven! Again, I felt great yesterday and got so much done.  I spring cleaned and washed windows. Inside and out. Now, if you know me, you’ll know that I do not wash windows.  But, I had so much energy and felt like washing windows.

I’m not sure if this is cause for concern…. not the energy part but the washing of windows?  Definite cause for concern.

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Today was mothers day and hubby made breakfast for me:

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I weighed in this morning and I was down 4 lbs!  As I explained in the beginning, I had been playing at low carb since January and had dropped and gained the same half stone about 4 times.  Today, that half stone is gone and this time for good!

Since we were spending the day at Legoland I made myself a packed lunch because I didn’t know what would be on offer that I could eat.

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I had half a bag of pork scratchings (the other half I ate last night at the bbq in lieu of crisps), cheese wrapped bacon slices, some leftover feta from the bbq and some salami slices. Simple and yummy.

Dinner, was a mish mash of leftovers.  There were burger patties from the bbq, some creamed spinach and courgettes that was leftover from earlier in the week. I also roasted some radishes, having seen these on a youtube channel. Not impressed.  They weren’t good.

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I made a new quiche for the week and it’s an asparagus, mozzarella and feta cheese quiche. I’ll  post the recipe later in the week.

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My verdict for going on a  keto way of eating?  It’s incredible.  You can eat food with flavour that’s so satisfying. It’s tough at the beginning but if you stick with it you can expect a MASSIVE reduction in cravings, loads of energy and an incredible clarity of thought.

Yes, you read all that correctly.  I am not craving the foods I used to enjoy. I’ll see wine or sweets and go, ‘oh, I love those! But do I want them? No thanks.’  I haven’t missed the things I used to eat and I don’t feel deprived at all.

Win-win I think.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Low Carb lifestyle- Day 2: pushing through

Hello my lovelies,

Day 2 has been a bit better. I found I was able to get up earlier than normal because strangely, I felt like I could. So I got up and made breakfast for the family and whipped up a crust less quiche Lorraine. I added onions too. It was incredibly tasty.

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At work, around 11:30 I was really hungry and landed up eating my packed lunch but not the nuts. I couldn’t believe I was craving food despite the fact that I had drunk so much water.

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When it was my actual lunch time, I ate a chicken breast with some coleslaw and cucumber slices. I was actually hungry…again!

After lunch I got the same slump as yesterday but I pushed through on loads more water (I got through 3 litres today!) and when I got home I had a coffee with cream and the nuts. I felt better after I had rested for a while.

I tested for ketosis with my ketostix and I’m happy to report I’m finally there. I’m hoping the keto flu won’t last much longer and I’ll be full of energy in the next few days.

Dinners was roast chicken with cauliflower rice fried in butter and garlic. Super tasty! I had thought the cauliflower rice would be gross but I was pleasantly surprised.

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Fingers crossed tomorrow goes well!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R
X

Low carb lifestyle – day 1: The Keto Flu

Hello my lovelies,

As some of your may know I’ve dabbled with a low carb diet on and off for about a year.  I had some success on it which was short lived because I firstly, followed the concept too loosely and didn’t track what I was eating and secondly because having failed to get into ketosis, I gave into cravings and ate carbs again. I know that eating in a low car way will pay off in the long run it’s just getting over the initial hurdles.

For those who don’t know, ketosis is the state you body enters when you reduce your carbohydrates to 20g of carbs per day or less. It means that your body is using your fat stores as energy instead of the carbs and sugar that you are eating. Using fat as energy is a MUCH more efficient energy source than carbs.  As a result, your body enters into Ketosis, an optimum state for weight loss. Ketosis also keeps your blood sugar levels constant (making this a great diet for diabetics), suppresses your appetite to a certain degree and increases focus and energy.  Some people say that a low carb diet also helps to reduce anxiety.  I’m not 100% sure if that is true but I’m willing to give it a try.

The only downside about following a ketogenic diet is that for the first few days you get what’s know as the keto or low carb flu. It’s not an actual illness but rather a type of withdrawal that your body goes through as you rid it of sugar.  And it really sucks because it makes you feel like hell!

I started with dinner last night so today is essential day 1 for me. While I felt fine this morning, this afternoon I feel headachey, tired, moody and achy in my body.  I could really use a long hot bath and my bed but that’s not going to happen right now.  I know I will feel better in a few days but right now, I’m hating a ketogenic diet. Onwards and upwards though, right?  I’ll just drink enough water to sink a cruise ship, keep at or below 20g of carbs a day and stay busy.  Oh, and take a long hot bath and get into bed early.  I know that once I’m in ketosis, I will feel amazing so it will be worth it.  No, seriously, when I was in ketosis before I felt Wonder Woman amazing.

Besides feeling crappy, I’ve had some really yummy foods since last night. For dinner last night I had bacon and mushroom Meatza with mixed salad leaves and avocado

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This morning I had a chocolate and almond milk protein shake with bacon spinach stacks and garlic allioli

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For lunch I had a cheese and onion crustless quiche which was so lovely I ate it all before I could take a picture!

For dinner tonight, I have another slice of meatza with creamed spinach and steamed courgettes.  I can definitely get used to this!

I’ll check in tomorrow to let you know how it’s going,

bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

 

 

Bare Naked Noodles

Hey everyone,

I’m back on my low carb lifestyle for the last time, I might add and I’m excited to chat to you today about Bare Naked Noodles!

These babies are zero fat, low in calories and 0.1g carbohydrates making them a dream for those on a low carb eating plan.  I found them in Morrisons for around £2.50 so they are not cheap and not intended for the whole family to eat. Unless of course, they are also on a low carb diet in which case this is gonna cost you big bucks!

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I use regular noodles for the family and these bare naked noodles for myself.  There is a difference in texture compared to regular noodles.  They feel a little ‘squeeky’ on the teeth… kind of like halloumi feels once it’s been pan fried and you bite into it.  They don’t really taste of anything which is where a dinner like Thai chicken curry comes in.

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I separated a portion of the Thai chicken curry for myself and tossed it in a bag of drained bare naked noodles, then heated it through for around 3 minutes.

Please note I have not been paid to write this review but was so excited at the prospect of eating pasta, I needed to share this with you.

To make Low Carb Thai Chicken Curry:

3 chicken breasts, diced

1/2 a leek, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1/2 courgette, cut into battons

1 carrot, sliced into ribbons with the vegetable peeler

a handful of mange tout

1/2 jar of Waitrose Thai red curry paste (be aware this contains shellfish!)

1 chicken stock cube

1/2 a can of full fat coconut milk

Fry the diced chicken in a bit of coconut oil until lightly browned on both sides. Add the vegetables and stir fry until just starting to wilt.

Add the stock cube, Thai red curry paste and stir through.  Fry for another minute.  The smell at this point is INCREDIBLE!

Add the coconut milk, stir and cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the sauce has heated through.

Serve with add to wok noodles which you can add to the sauce a couple of minutes before serving or with basmati rice.

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Bare naked also do their own version of rice which is also zero fat, low calories and practically zero carbs.  I’ve yet to try it but it’s on the list to buy soon.

 

As for my healthy eating plan, today I had:

Breakfast: Homemade cheese, sausage, mushroom and spinach fritatta

Lunch: Mixed green salad with red cabbage, pickled onions, feta cheese and salad dressing with some homemade chilli tomato soup

Dinner: thai red curry with bare naked noodles.

I doubt i’ll be hungry later but if I am, I will snack on celery sticks and hummus

As ever, if you try any of my recipes, please let me know if you enjoyed them. For those concerned, I intend to keep the slimming world recipes on my site in case anyone finds them useful.

Bright blessings to all,

Mrs R

x

 

Review: East Side, Caterham

When I heard that East Side and independent artisan delicatessen and organic coffee house was opening near us, I was excited.  Finally, a coffee house that was not part of an ever-growing chain.  I was also delighted to hear that it was being opened by one of the teaching assistants from my daughter’s school.  Isn’t it inspiring to hear that people are following their dreams?

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My daughter and I visited East Side on 31st of October and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  From following the progress of the shop fitting, I knew that East Side was a deli/coffee house inspired by a New York deli.  Having never been to New York I was delighted to find that it was just like the Big Apple Deli’s of my imagination.

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Decorated in what I would consider an industrial chic style with a mixture of vintage inspired and modern pieces it felt inviting and just a little bit posh.  Rather than pandering to a coffee shop chain, it felt as if each piece of furniture and decoration had been loving chosen with much consideration.   The brick wall look wallpaper and canvases depicting scenes of yellow taxi cabs and city views sparked the imagination and I felt as if I could indeed be in New York.   Add in old blue eye, Frank Sinatra himself crooning in the background and just walking in felt special.  I was also pleased to see that the Halloween decorations were carefully selected and fitted the scheme well.

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East Side is proud of its Ethos which includes providing good quality British produce and fairer than fair trade organic coffee, while being mindful of farm to fork miles and using recyclable packaging wherever possible.  It’s lovely to see so much thought go into an independent enterprise.

15049597_10154469442715659_544774393_nAlthough there were no menus on the tables, was so much on offer via the old-fashioned chalk board and at the counter.  Everything from slices of cake to caramelised onions and goats cheese pies.  Even a few homemade pork pies.   On offer were also a selection of American style sandwiches on bread of your choice.

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Since my daughter is on a dairy free diet, I asked about dairy free options and was delighted to find the owners were very knowledgeable about what was in their products.  They even offered vegan spread for the sandwich.  Gluten free bread options were also available, those with intolerances and allergies will be happy to know.

My daughter enjoyed a malted bread ham sandwich and a blackcurrant cordial.  The ham was thankfully not one of those horrible reconstituted loaves but looked rather like a slice of ham cut straight from a ham joint. It was thick and meaty and tasted delicious.

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I didn’t fancy any of the options on the menu that day and asked if I could have a custom sandwich of bacon, brie and caramelised onion toasted on ciabatta bread and was happily accommodated. It was utterly delicious!  I also had the nicest latte I have possibly ever had.  The coffee had such a smooth flavour and left no bitter after taste like some large coffee chains. The owners informed me that they had tried this coffee blend two years ago and had been so impressed with it they knew they had to serve it in their deli.

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In the fridges, a large selection of local charcuterie and cheeses to buy all of which the owners were happy to talk about and recommend.  There was also local honey and jams.  The fridge by the counter had a large selection of pork pies, pasties, pastries and cakes as well as some gluten free options either to eat in or take away for later.  What a lovely idea to stop in for a coffee but take home a dinner of charcuterie and cheese.  Add a bottle of wine and some crackers and you’ve got a low fuss dinner.

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The only down side I could see is that East Side might not be the best place to take small children.  Being on the snug side, the tables that are perfect for adult dining would not be able to accommodate buggies and there is limited space on the floor for little ones to play.  But on the other hand, it’s not really a kiddie sort of place.

I am so happy to have such a gem in our little town and look forward to my next visit.

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Bright Blessings,

Mrs R

x