LovedByLaura 3rd Birthday Personalised Gift

The lovely peeps at GiftsOnline4U got in touch recently to ask if I’d like to pick something from their site to review. As soon as I saw their Personalised Moet* I knew that engraving one would be a lovely way to commemorate a very special occasion for me: My blog just had it’s birthday and LovedByLaura is now three years old!

LovedByLaura 3rd Birthday Personalised Champagne

Starting LovedByLaura is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’m so grateful for everything wonderful that’s happened to me as a result of the simple act of me sharing things that I love on an internet page.

There are so many marvellous opportunities when you’re a blogger that it’s taught me to enjoy a life less ordinary and seek out new adventures every day. I’ve met some incredible, inspiring and downright hilarious people through blogging, some of whom have become lifelong friends. Through blogging I’ve also had the opportunity to work with amazing brands and companies that I respect and admire and the fact that they enjoy my content and want to collaborate with me still thrills me every single time.

LovedByLaura 3rd Birthday Personalised Champagne

The GiftsOnline4U website was easy to navigate around other than a persistent pop up box that decided to stalk me around the site after I declined to opt into the mailing list. Ordering was straightforward, I selected my chosen personalised gift and was given an option to fill in up to three lines of text for the engraving as well as being able to select from a number of fonts. In the end I decided on the following:

Loved By Laura is 3 years old.
Let’s drink champagne and
dance on the table!

A few days later as I was getting ready for work there was a knock at the door – a courier with my parcel to sign for. The box was marked ‘fragile’ but the bottle comes encased in sturdy polysterene so it arrived in perfect condition.

LovedByLaura 3rd Birthday Personalised Gift Champagne

I’m so pleased with how it turned out. The engraving is neat and easy to read, transforming what would already be a lovely gift into a wonderful keepsake. Now every time I see it I’ll have a happy reminder of my blog turning three.

LovedByLaura 3rd Birthday Personalised Gift Champagne

That’s why I love picking out the right personalised gift for my friends and family when birthdays, Christmas and anniversaries come up. An engraved, meaningful message shows that you’ve put thought into what you’ve chosen and it’s likely to be something that they’ll cherish for a very long time.

…I can’t say the same for the champagne itself however – it’s only survived this long on account of my being away on holiday when my blog birthday happened and is chilling in the fridge as we speak!

LovedByLaura 3rd Birthday Personalised Gift Champagne

To make it even more special you can add a Personalised Champagne Box too, which I’d definitely consider if I was buying this for someone else.

LovedByLaura

*Disclaimer: The bottle of champagne was kindly gifted to me in return for an honest review. This post is not sponsored and all views are my own, unbiased opinion.

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Fine Dining for Less Than £20 | Prevost PeterboroughI often joke about having champagne taste and a beer budget, so you can imagine how excited I was to discover that Prévost (the restaurant at the top of my ‘must visit’ wishlist) is offering a set 3 course lunch for just £18.50 during August.

Putting Peterborough Fine Dining on the Map

Prévost has put the Peterborough on the map as a place to experience fine dining at it’s best. Led by the incredibly talented head chef Lee Clarke, its culinary creations have already earned the restaurant inclusion in the prestigious Michelin Guide in it’s first six months as well as being recently announced as a new entry in the Good Food Guide’s Top 50 for 2018.

The restaurant is hidden away down a side street in Priestgate. It’s a mere 2 minute walk from the city centre but if you didn’t know to look for it you’d miss it! If you do know what to look for, however, an unassuming archway leads you through to a courtyard and Prevost’s welcoming entrance.

Inside

Fine Dining for Less Than £20 | Prevost Peterborough

Inside Prévost is intimate and yet spacious all at the same time. The decor is modern with copper lighting and bar equipment, comfy sofas, a welcoming fireplace and a light and spacious dining area looking out onto a herb garden.

Fine Dining for Less Than £20 | Prevost Peterborough

The Lunch For Less menu is a set 3 courses which changes every week. We opted to add on a plate of freshly baked sour dough with cultured homemade butter for an extra £2.50 per head. The bread had a wonderful springy texture and a delicious crust which worked perfectly with a good slathering of the salted butter!

The Menu

Fine Dining for Less Than £20 Prevost Peterborough 10

The starter was described simply as Ham Hock with Spiced Apple and Plum, but this was a dish full of complexity and character. Lee brought the dish to each diner’s table personally, explaining that the accompanying salad was fresh from his mother’s garden which I thought was a lovely touch. The presentation was a joy with vibrant colours bursting off the plate, begging you to get stuck in.

This is the sort of dish where you really need to load your fork with a bit of every single element and then savour it in your mouth, allowing each taste to burst through. Acidity, creaminess, sweetness, salt, it was just perfect.

Fine Dining for Less Than £20 Prevost Peterborough

Our main was Confit Salmon and Fennel. Again, a simple description which didn’t give too much away and I loved the element of surprise that this created for us. We had fun picking out all of the different components – small white drops of sauce turned out to be a delicate horseradish, the fennel was presented 3 ways (I think!) showcasing how versatile it can be in skilled hands. The salmon itself had a delightfully crispy skin and lay on a bed of barley which reminded me of a white wine risotto. It left me craving more even though I knew dessert was still to come.

Fine Dining for Less Than £20 Prevost Peterborough 10

In all honesty I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the dessert because I don’t like banana but the Banana Soufflé with Malt Ice Cream was a sensation and my highlight of the whole meal! The soufflé was perfection – puffed to a great height over the rim of the dish with a crisp top and a light as air centre. The banana flavour definitely came through but in such a sweet subtle way that I enjoyed it without being overwhelmed. The accompanying ice cream rounded the dish off beautifully.

In retrospect we didn’t actually need the extra bread course at the beginning because the other courses were so generously proportioned and satisfyingly filling. Never let it be said again that fine dining means minute portions!

Final Thoughts

 

Fine Dining for Less Than £20 Prevost Peterborough

Overall I can’t fault the experience. To be able to enjoy cooking at this level of detail and care for less than £20 a head is just wonderful and whilst I’d encourage everyone in the area to snap up the offer whilst it lasts, at the same time I don’t want you to because I want to be able to get booked in again without a queue forming around the block!

Lee’s ambition is for Prévost to become the first Michelin starred restaurant in Peterborough and whilst I’m no food critic, I’d like to think that he’s well on his way achieving it.

Prévost

Fine Dining for Less Than £20 Prevost Peterborough

Address: 20 Priestgate, Peterborough PE1 1JA

Type: Restaurant, Fine Dining

Opening times:

Tuesday 6–9pm
Wednesday 12–2pm, 6–9pm
Thursday 12–2pm, 6–9pm
Friday 12–2pm, 6–9pm
Saturday 12–2pm, 6–9pm

Price: Usually starting at £32.50 for a 3 course meal, current Lunch For Less menu is £18.50 throughout August 2017.

Website: www.prevostpeterborough.co.uk

LovedByLaura

Disclaimer: This restaurant review is not sponsored and we paid for it in full (well… the fella did – thank you very much for the wonderful treat 🙂 ).

I have met Lee briefly at a photoshoot but we booked under my boyfriend’s name and upon observing the other tables I was assured that they received the same outstanding service as ourselves.

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Clean Eating Alice Eat Well Everyday Recipe Book Tried and Tested

Despite owning quite a few healthy eating cookery books (click here for a roundup of past favourites) I’ve made the meals so many times that I felt in need of some new inspiration. My search led me to Alice Liveing, formerly known as Clean Eating Alice. The pint sized personal trainer’s Instagram account has built a massive following on Instagram thanks to her inspiring posts on fitness and healthy eating. That success has led to 3 books published so far sharing her favourite recipes and workouts.

I chose to buy her first cookbook Eat Well Everyday as it sounded like a good all rounder. The recipes are split into Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snack sections with clear bright photos to give you an idea of how the finished meals should look.

The benefit of buying digital versions of cookery books

Whilst I do love flicking through the pages of a beautifully illustrated cookery book I was such an eager beaver that I decided to purchase the digital version of this one. It meant that I could download the book to my devices straight away using the Kindle App, plus it was cheaper than buying a hard copy.

Clean Eating Alice Eat Well Everyday Recipe Book Tried and Tested

I’m starting to think that digital recipe books are the way forward as I’ve found it super handy for days when I haven’t planned any meals in advance. I can flick through the recipes on my phone during my lunch break, choose one that I fancy cooking and then pop to the supermarket on the way home to pick up the bits I need. I don’t even need to write a shopping list as I can just bookmark the page.

Clean Eating Alice Eat Well Everyday Recipe Book Tried and Tested

Overall I’m really pleased that I bought Eat Well Everyday as it’s exactly what I was looking for. The recipes are simple and don’t require too much skill in the kitchen, in most cases just a bit of chopping and food prep. There are lots of exciting ingredients featured in the book such as tahini and ras el hanout which help to pack flavour into the healthy dishes.

Eat Well Everyday Recipes – Tried and Tested

Rather than just telling you that I love this book though (which I do!) I thought I’d show you some of the things I’ve cooked so far and my thoughts on them so that you can get a closer look at the recipes.

Crispy Courgette Fritters with Smoked Salmon

Clean Eating Alice Eat Well Everyday Recipe Book Tried and Tested

This recipe appealed to me as it takes the humble courgette and gives it an exciting makeover. It’s simple enough to prep and make, just cut the courgette into batons, dip them in egg and oats and then fry them in a little bit of oil in a pan. Nothing else needs any cooking, it’s served with chopped spinach, smoked salmon, wedges of lemon and seasoning, so it’s quick to whip up at any time of day.

I found that the courgette fritters were actually rather filling and it looked really healthy which made me FEEL healthier for eating it!

LovedByLaura? Yes I give this a solid 7.5 out of 10!

Roasted Aubergine with Feta, Tahini, Pomegranate and Yoghurt

Clean Eating Alice Eat Well Everyday Recipe Book Tried and Tested

This one split opinions! I really enjoyed the flavour combinations with a burst of tangy feta offset by sweet pomegranate, complimented by a nutty tahini dressing. When I then cooked it a second time for the fella however he said, I quote: “It’s a bit too healthy for my liking!” The abundance of aubergine wasn’t a winner for him.

It took all of 5 minutes to prepare but does take about 40 minutes to bake in the oven so it’s not as quick to whip up as some of the others, but once it’s cooking you can leave it so that’s 40 minutes that you can use to do something productive. Or you can watch Netflix. Both valid choices.

LovedByLaura? Yes – I give this one a tasty 7 out of 10.

LovedByLaura’s Fella? Not so much.

Creamy Puy Lentils with Peas, Feta and Bacon

You might notice that there’s no picture accompanying this one – that’s because I didn’t want to put you off your dinner! It did not turn out like picture…

The problem was that it required 200g Puy lentils which are cooked with other ingredients in a saucepan for 20 minutes and I couldn’t find them at the supermarket so I used red lentils instead. BIG mistake. Huge.

It turns out that whilst Puy lentils keep their form when cooked, red lentils break down. When I lifted the saucepan lid after the allotted time I found that my lentils had turned to mush and looked like a very dodgy coloured mashed potato. Mmm appetising! When I finally plucked up the courage to try the mess I’d created it tasted really good, but I just couldn’t get over the appearance.

LovedByLaura? Not so much, because the main ingredient wasn’t easily found and I had to use a substitute which didn’t work as well. I’ve given it 4 out of 10 because the flavour was good and it showed promise but I wouldn’t attempt it again in a hurry.

Mushroom and Mozzarella Shakshuka

Clean Eating Alice Eat Well Everyday Recipe Book Tried and Tested

This is like a healthy version of a fry up with gooey bits of cheese in it – sold!

I’ll be honest, it’s definitely not in the same league of deliciousness as an actual fry up, but it’s a good enough substitute if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight. Smoked paprika and cumin give the tomato base more depth and the eggs are an energy boosting source of protein.

LovedByLaura? Yes – another solid 7 out of 10 for easiness to cook and a full up feeling that lasts until your next meal.

My Overall Verdict on Eat Well Everyday by Clean Eating Alice

Overall the recipes in this book are not going to win awards for being the most flavoursome and complex things you’ll ever eat, but if you’re looking for healthy meal inspiration and want to keep your recipes quick, simple and tasty this book is a great place to start!

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Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost

The past month or so has been a lovely mixture of fun filled hectic days followed by wonderfully quiet uneventful ones. Here are a few of the highlights!

Christmas In July

Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost

Although it’s way to early to be counting down to Christmas I couldn’t help but get into the festive spirit and feel a tingle of excitement when I visited The White Company’s press day preview: Christmas In July. I’ll be doing a full post in November but I just had to include a sneak peek because oh my gosh I’m excited for Christmas 2017 now!

Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost

There were gift ideas spilling from every corner of the room and dreamy dinner table display that makes me want to considerably up my dinnerware game.

Life Lately Gravitas Magazine PrevostLife Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost

Candles and diffusers filled the air with gorgeous scent combinations that immediately made me think of Christmas .

Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost

If that wasn’t enough this little scene stole the show for me.

Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost

It’s totally Hygge and makes me WANT it to be cold so that I can snuggle up under a blanket with a good book and lots of scented candles. Basically they did a fantastic job of making me wish away Summer, even though I know I’ll be moaning like anything the day I need to wear long sleeves and a coat again!

Bounce Ping Pong

I’ve wanted to go to Bounce in Farringdon for years. It’s a similar concept to going bowling except you’re playing Ping Pong instead. It’s a huge place with row upon row of ping pong tables so there’s a really buzzing atmosphere when it’s busy. A bar runs the length of the space so you can stick around after your turn at the tables at watch how everyone else handles a bat after a few drinks!

Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost

I felt like I got a good workout from all of the running around and spent the half hour laughing my head off as stray balls went everywhere, including into drink cups and ricocheting off people’s heads! Luckily a ball guy would pick up all the escaped balls and refill our bucket at regular intervals so even though neither of us turned out to be particularly skilled at keeping the ball on the table we never ran out!

Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost

After 6pm you can only advance book a table for six or more players, but we had popped in before 4pm and so managed to bag a table for two at 7pm as walk ins. When we arrived people were getting turned away so it’s good to organise it in advance or go before peak times if you can manage it.

Price wise it’s a bit hefty at £15.50 for 30 mins per table if there’s only two of you (adding on more if you buy some drinks too which of course we did!) but it was a really fun unique experience too so that just about justified it for me!

Gravitas Blogger Photoshoot

On Saturday I took part in a photoshoot for Gravitas who are running a feature on top local bloggers in their Autumn edition – eep!

Life Lately Gravitas Magazine Prevost

Gravitas is a regional luxury lifestyle magazine which launched six months ago. It’s aimed at professionals in the Peterborough area and is full of offers for local restaurants, bars and shops as well as lots of inspirational articles on all of my favourite subjects like food, fashion and beauty. I love having a flick through as I can relate to so much of the content so it’s incredibly exciting to think that I’ll be part of the next issue.

The photoshoot itself was nice and relaxed mainly thanks to the fact that I was with lots of other lovely bloggers so we all had a chat and a giggle during the process. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

If that wasn’t enough, the shoot was held at Prévost which is Peterborough’s renowned fine dining restaurant. It was a privilege to be allowed in before opening time as not only is the decor gorgeous for photos, but also I got to see them preparing for a busy day’s restaurant service.

Watch out for a review coming soon as I’ll be back there in a few weeks time for lunch!

Masterchef Australia 2016

I finally got to finish watching last year’s Masterchef Australia and I’d forgotten just how much I love the show! It always inspires me to be more creative and experiment with new cooking or baking techniques. Last week I made chocolate honeycomb for the first time after seeing them do it in an episode. It was such a fun process as when you add bicarbonate of soda it instantly bubbles up and triples in volume, plus the end result tasted delicious!

I’m hoping that the return of The Great British Bakeoff will help fill the gap that it’s left! (Game of Thrones is currently helping…)

LovedByLaura

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Turtle Bay VIP Opening PeterboroughTurtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough 16

A few weeks ago Turtle Bay Peterborough held a VIP preview dinner ahead of the restaurant’s grand opening to the public that weekend. I was thrilled to be invited along to share in the celebrations and get a sneak peek at the new restaurant. Here’s how it went down!

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough

Food and cocktails at a Caribbean restaurant seemed the perfect way to end the hottest June day on record in 40 years. The cheerful beach-shack inspired decor instantly put me into a relaxed holiday mood with it’s wooden ceiling fans gently whirring to provide a welcoming respite from the heat outside.

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough

Vibrant murals, twinkling fairly lights and a central island hut bar made of reclaimed wood all added to the laid back tropical effect.

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough

We sat down and proceeded to make our way through the extensive cocktail list. The Raspberry Reggae with dark rum, raspberries, fresh lime and lemonade was a refreshing favourite of mine, as was the Caribbean Pimms which put an exotic twist on the British classic. The fella picked the Island Iced Tea; a heady concoction of white rum, silver tequila, vodka, gin, triple sec, fresh lemon & diet cola. After taking a sup I wished I’d ordered one for myself!

Then the food started to arrive. As it was a preview evening we were treated to sharing platters with all sorts of spicy delights to tickle our tastebuds and offset some of those potent cocktails!

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough

One of the platters was entirely vegetarian and yet packed full of flavour with delights including sweet corn fritters, crispy okra, and spiced curried chickpeas.

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough

Next it was the turn of the Turtle Bay signature dishes, both Caribbean classics.

First, Curried Goat which was so tender that it practically melted in my mouth.

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough

Then, Jamaican Jerk Chicken which fell off the bone and was succulent and full of flavour.

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough

I was feeling fit to burst at this point but Kat and Emily insisted that I had to at least take a nibble of the desserts. The chocolate brownie looked pretty run of the mill but turned out to be a melt in the mouth delicacy – it was almost too soft to pick up, a sumptuous chocolatey goo!

At some point I met the rather awesome Mayor of Peterborough whom I have a sneaking suspicion is Santa Clause on Summer vacay. After asking if his chain of office got heavy he was good enough to let me try it on and it went rather splendidly with my dress! I think I could get used to wearing it actually…

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough 16

Meanwhile, the boys had developed a bromance with the bar’s rum expert and together were making their way through the vast selection – there are over 40 Caribbean rums to choose from which they seemed to take as a personal challenge.

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough 16

Turtle Bay VIP Opening Peterborough 16

I ended up joining them for a shot which turned out to be 75% alcohol. “That really burns.” I spluttered, eyes tearing up…

The next 100 photos taken that night are out of focus. Oops.

Despite having work the following morning I have no regrets as it was the most fun night out that I’ve had in ages. Great food and drink in the company of the best friends a girl could wish for and a big dose of Caribbean spirit!

Turtle Bay Peterborough – Restaurant and Bar

Location: 46 Queensgate Shopping Centre, Westgate, Peterborough, PE1 1NH

Happy Hour Cocktails (2 for 1): 11.30am – 7pm and then again after 10pm

Opening times: Sunday to Thursday 11:30 am until late, 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays

Website: Turtle Bay Peterborough

LovedByLaura

*Disclaimer: All food and drink was complimentary and it would be remiss of me not to say a massive thanks to Turtle Bay for putting on such an awesome evening filled with warm hospitality. Rest assured however that the views expressed in this post are my own, honest opinions.

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