Flaming Discoveries

I'm back with a spicy post today, and a trio of new hot sauces to share. Last time, I introduced you to Fuego Box along with five diverse hot sauces for the flavour driven palate—whether mild or incredibly intensifying. Keeping the "summer grilling" theme, this time we used these bespoke hot sauces during a recent late-afternoon BBQ party.  

The grilling feast was decidedly moved from the outdoors to an indoor area, because sadly it started to rain (which wasn't on the weather forecast). But, we're a spontaneous bunch and tend to go with the flow of things.

First up was the LaMar Sauce, a Caribbean Lime hot sauce originating from a little family-owned restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah. With a slight nod of island flavour this hot sauce is infused with green Serrano chili peppers, and fresh lime. Try it on poultry, or blend it with mayo or yoghurt for a quick sandwich spread.

The Scovie award-winning Fat Cat "Cat in Heat" was next, which was a spiralling staircase of heat droplets with a fiery swagger in your mouth. With every moment passing the level of heat increasingly raises a wee bit to another step. That's right, it's a super bold sauce with a brief lingering presence. Fat Cat "Cat in Heat is a creole-inspired concoction made of chipotle, habaneros, roasted tomatoes, cilantro, and ghost peppers with dashes of smoked paprika. I used it on our breakfast where I made shakshouka, which was a teardrop of brilliance for added spice. The additional smoky flavour took it to a whole other level.

Saving the best for last was Old St. Augustine Snake Bite Datil (Datil as in the word "Paddle") Sauce, which comes from the elusory Datil pepper only grown in St. Augustine, Florida. Personally, I felt that this bottle outranked them all because of the mid-range of heat, and the versatility. It has a tad bit of fruitiness with a piquant peppery notes in taste.

The hot sauce titles in this bunch were fantastic, and our favourites were actually all of them, but for different cuisines. Regarding grilling and outdoor seasoning to spice things up, I'd suggest  Old St. Augustine, and La Mar Sauce. Later on, I also used the La Mar Sauce Caribbean Lime on grilled nachos, as well as an onion and cucumber salad.
The menu consisted of vegetarian, meat, and fresh seafood options, and we tested out the Old St. Augustine on grilled salmon, prawn, and smoked meat varieties. Of course most of the guys loved the spicy heat, but for most of us ladies we lasted far longer than some who tasted Fat Cat, "Cat in Heat" sauce (a little goes a long way). Although, it wasn't as severe as the ghost pepper sauce from this gathering.

For those who like it a tad milder, yet still want a hot sauce that provides a semi-spicy and flavourful experience, the LarMar Caribbean Lime sauce is a great choice. Surprisingly, it's amazing on Irish whiskey white cheddar cheese too!

For others who like a proper dose of heat, whether mild or super spicy, be sure to grab a Fuego Box of bespoke sauces here.

What do you think of these Fuego Box sauces? Which one would you try?
The goods: Old St. Augustine Snake Bite Datil, Fat Cat "Cat in Heat," and La Mar Caribbean Lime Hot Sauce-c/o-Fuego Box *All opinions expressed are my own. Checkered mason jar tops-eBay, Ghanaian wooden bowl with utensils-family owned, Blue willow bread bowl, Lace tablecloth-Vintage, Cutting board-Art+Cook (Buy Similar).


Dinner With Martha & Marley Spoon

In collaboration with Marley Spoon, I created a summer feast for this tabletop series with an abundance of flavour. With just under nine or so weeks left to enjoy the summer season, these fresh ingredients and international combinations will take your palate to a happy place with plenty of zest to go around.

Marley Spoon is a food delivery service that have launched a new partnership along with homemaking guru, Martha Stewart, called "Martha & Marley Spoon." Geared toward making cooking tasty and simple during the week for families, the service provides quality meals that are both nutritious and exciting.

The global delivery menu includes everything from Herb Baked Shrimp to Steak & Pepper Kebabs. Each Martha & Marley Spoon box comes with a welcome booklet, recipe cards, and pre-portioned ingredients to make it easy for anyone to create unique home cooked recipes that are even Martha approved!
With their recycling programme, and a farm-to-table zero waste philosophy, Marley Spoon is different than most meal delivery services. The menu also has a fair bit of culturally blended meals that are family-friendly, and do-it-yourself ready even for seasoned home cooks.

To continue our theme of outdoor foodie adventures, we cooked and served the diverse menu of delectable favourites, including a recipe from Marley Spoon's 'Get Grillin' section, Honey-Mustard chicken with Potato, Celery, and Apple Salad. It's also Global BBQ Month, so it was a perfect addition to our gathering.
Delivery Pricing: varies by locale: 2-person meals boxes twice a week, start at 48 USD/ 38,00 €/£29.80/55.00 AU

Sweet, Tart, & Savoury: 
The charred chicken dish shared by chef, Liberty Fennell was inspired by the UK team, and would work perfectly for a gathering for summer grilling. Packed with robust flavour, the chicken was bathed in whole grain mustard, and honey to create an elegant coating. The surprising salad addition using tart Granny Smith apples blended with red potatoes actually balanced the dish making it delightfully refreshing. Overall, our experience was really great, and I think this service would suit busy families well.

Next up was the Miso Cod with Bamboo Rice meal from chef, Jennifer Aaronson, which was delicious. Fish and rice always work well as culinary fusions, so the starchiness of the bamboo rice only added to the overall harmony of flavouring in this dish. I've only had miso salmon, so the miso cod was different for me. The miso gave the broiled cod a marvellous sweet glaze on top, and was a saviour in helping balance the bite that spinach typically gives. It's was a great dish, and a personal favourite.

I also made Martha's rustic lemon tart recipe from the archives, and it did not disappoint!
The goods: Miso Cod w/Bamboo Rice Box, and Honey Mustard Charred/Grilled Chicken Box-Courtesy of Marley Spoon, Beet patterned bowls-World Market, Eco-printed kitchen towels-c/o Gudrun Sjoden. All opinions expressed are my own. *Rustic Lemon Tart recipe here (modified and made with beet sugar and splenda). 

Have you tried Marley Spoon? What meal would you cook?
View the latest Martha & Marley Spoon menu. Marley Spoon serves UK, USA, Germany, Australia, and Netherlands. Get $30 off your first box with code: DINNER30, or save £15 off your first box with code: LETSEAT. 

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Treasured Soles

It wouldn't be a proper summer without the ability to wear sandals, in my opinion. Although, I tend to love donning sandals mostly throughout the year, it's often not feasibly possible because of climate conditions. But, when summertime comes around, I do go all in! 

This designer spotlight is all about handmade footwear, specifically Grecian sandals by designer Elina Linardaki. You've probably seen some of her incredible creations donned by some of fashion's elite as well as stylish bloggers alike. The inspiration for the unique handcrafted collection personifies fearless fashionistas, whether Bohemian aristocrats or eclectic nomads. The diverse line of shoes is created for women who don't mind standing out; women who confidently express their personality with fashion and style.

As a person with an adoration for vibrant colour and intricate adornments, surprisingly, I don't have any shoes quite like Linardaki's creations. The designer kindly sent these magical styles, and it couldn't have been more timely. I wore these lovely sandals to the beach, strutting my way to brunch, shopping on the weekend, and will likely wear them for a little getaway for my birthday (which was actually Monday) to continue festivities on the weekend.

Upon first viewing of the sandals I could entirely understand why some would be a tad obsessed with these—it's all in the mere details. I wasn't even out and about for half an hour before someone complimented me wearing these. The designer embeds elements like gold-plated braiding, Swarovski crystals, friendship patterned yardage, and even semi-precious stones in the styles offered.

Buckled, studded, feathered, and charmed? Whatever your style is, whether it be extravagantly bold or traditionally classic, there are exuberant options for everyone.

The Athens based company was founded in 2006 and produces everything from handmade leather shoes to memorable accessories. And, these are definitely memorable! Since each style is made by hand, there are defined details that make every piece special.

Some of my favourite details are feathers, and little charms, so both styles stole my heart. I am wearing sandals from the Luxury collection in styles "Erinya," and "Maude." The Erinya sandals are motivated by Greek mythology of Erinyes or Furies, the winged deities of vengeance. Feathery details, and metallic studs adorn this style. "A statement piece, made for the ladies who are not afraid to kick some ass," the designer said.

The Maude sandals are playful and brightly hued with multi-coloured pom-poms, golden coin charms, and the characteristics of the sea. The Maude sandal was influenced by exotic islands, and wanderlust living. It's essentially designed for the elegant gypsy soul in mind. Both styles are also handmade with fine leather. Take a look at some of my favourite styles below.
(Above) From Left to Right-Sandals: "Ever After," "Venus" Swarovski original crystals White Opal, "Madagascar," "Marrakech," and "Gipsy Spell."

What do you think of Elina Linardaki's sandals?  

The Goods: Sandal Maude, and Sandal Erinya-c/o Elina Linardaki, Belt-ASOS, Straw Neon Hat-(Buy it here), Army green duster-(Buy Similar), Tank-H&M. 

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Scented Luxury

For this global spotlight series I wanted to share with you a brand that embodies ethical sensibilities with a romanticised attitude.Murphy & Daughters is a sustainably motivated brand inspired by the aromatics and beauty of Australian flora and fauna. The Melbourne based brand was founded by Sarah Murphy, a former home wares buyer. Deeply rooted by family, the brand's name stems from Murphy's great grandparent's general store (Murphy Brothers), but influenced by (Sarah) Murphy's two daughters, from which Murphy and Daughters (M&D) was born.With vibrant colours catching my eye in a wee glance, I was immediately drawn to Murphy's wide-range of products—from lip balms to deliciously sweet-scented hand creams. Plus, since most things in my life equate to food in some way, I love the fact that spices, fruits, and plant-based extracts are used. If you fancy being struck by senses in the best possible way, namely the sense of smell, then these products will instantly appeal to you. The entire range is made with love, and a visual treat with an impressive tug on your nature-loving soul. The Difference: Murphy and Daughters believe in making their products sustainably and ethically as possible. All products packaged are hand done by Ability Works, an organisation with devoted intentions of empowering and hiring people with disabilities.What to ExpectM&D's offerings have a sense of opulence, as well as a genuine cosiness that will have you wanting to cuddle up in your favourite blanket. And, with the plant-based scent blends of frangipani, honeysuckle, orange blossom, and tuberose (amongst many others), this can be done so with ease.  The Bon Bon Soaps are famed for their sumptuous fragrance and colourful wrappings that are in the form of a crackers (think, Christmas crackers). There is home elements like hand poured candles, and beeswax tablets (that can replace your linen sachets) in the M&D shop as well. I recently tried the Box O'Treats, which includes: Cloudstreet Candle: 270g - Vegetable soy wax candle gently scented with lemon, orange blossom, jasmine, green tea, mandarin, bergamot, pear and musk. It's a refreshing aroma, and also the perfect guest hosting candle, or burn it whilst reading your favourite novel.Bon Bon Soap: 100g - The triple milled rectangular lathering soap bars permeated in the succulent aroma of mandarin orange, rose geranium, or pink grapefruit. Ethically sourced ingredients of glycerin, certified sustainable palm oil and palm kernal oil, and enriched with shea butter. "Just Rub It In" Hand Cream: Paraben & Sulphate free and no PEGs. 75ml/2.6 oz.  This hand cream is enriched with bergamot, pink grapefruit, rose geranium shea butter, carrageenan, and rosehip oil. Other key ingredients: macadamia oil (natural emollient and restorative properties), meadow farm oil, aloe vera, rosemary, green tea, and avocado oil. It's a thick and hydrating hand cream with a somewhat pungent burst of rose geranium, but the first note comes in as an earthy aroma enveloped in rosemary, rose, and bergamot. The scent smells more of rose geranium as it wears, with underlining notes of pink grapefruit. You needn't much, and it goes on velvety with a non-greasy silky finish. Scented Wax Tablet: Made from beeswax, the elegantly scented tablets are hand made and embellished with pieces of star anise, orange blossom, hawthorn, and roses. Fragrances: orange blossom, tuberose, and green tea, or roses and geranium. Packaged with a hanging printed liberty (lawn fabric) ribbon, and comes in a charming box with gold stamping. These smell good enough to eat, and so will your wardrobe! Stow it away in your closet, dresser drawers, or suitcase. Hand & Body Wash: Paraben free and no PEGs. 500ml - This translucent liquid soap was freshly scented in green tea. Active ingredients: aloe vera, shea butter, and green tea. It's great for sensitive skin, and washes without being harsh. Hands were soft and clean after use, yet remained moisturised with using the hand cream.   I loved these products, and the beeswax tablets, and milled soaps have a special place in my heart. The quality of each product was excellent, and you don't lose the homey feeling of both comfort and luxury with each piece. Shop the range or view other products at murphyanddaughters.com.auWhat do you think of Murphy & Daughters products?

i-Wipe Tech Cases

If you have been reading this blog awhile, then you already know that I like to share unique brands with you, especially when it comes to tech design. Today's post is no different, and has an interesting concept.

The emerging brand i-Wipe have created an essential, and very practical element within their new Smartphone case range. These case covers allows the user to clean their phones with one swipe from top to bottom. The i-Wipe mobile case range includes cover book opening styles, as well as vertical flip opening covers for Apple, Samsung, and other brands. The Italian patented cases have an ergonomically designed wiper that's engineered to be easily replaceable, and keeps your screen clean.

I currently use a sterilized cloth and alcohol-free cleaner for my tech devices, because of the germs that live on mobiles, tablets, and other tech devices regularly. Just like cleaning your makeup brushes, it is just as important to keep your Smartphones clean.

Studies have shown that there are dangerous amounts of bacteria and germs that live on your Smartphones. Surprisingly, many people neglect to cleanse their hands regularly throughout the day. Imagine, every time a person touches their Smartphone, or their face, shake hands with various people, touch their food, or handle other items during the day sans washing their hands. It's disturbing to even ponder, but it happens in many cases!
Above: i-Wipe materials used.

Which? swabbed a variety of devices: including thirty tables, keyboards, and Smartphones, according to a study taken in 2013. Six-hundred units carried Staph Infection (Staphylococcus Aureus), in comparison to one-hundred forty units of it found on a Smartphone, and from the most unclean keyboard, four-hundred eighty units.1

After using a Smartphone, it typically leaves a microbiological imprint on the device. Some bacteria is harmless, as we all carry some form of bacteria even as healthy humans. However, think about your environmental surroundings, such as being in an airport, in close proximity to someone sneezing, or coughing, (which are considered medium bacterial transferences).

The Verdict:
I think the concept of the i-Wipe is a clever one, and I have been using it in rotation with my microfibre wipes. The case itself is well-made. The actual toggle comes in a contrast colour (mine in red), and the case covering (mine in black) has an invisible magnet tab closure with dyed to match top-stitching, and the brand logo embossed on the top.

If I could tweak one thing, it would be to make the wiper/toggle another colour and texture—I think silver would look lovely, or some other type of metal-like material for a sleeker aesthetic and finish. Aside from that, the case did live up to its claim in cleaning my iPhone screen whilst on the go. On the contrary, I would be interested in seeing other variations of this concept to see what works best over time, perhaps even styles with removable fibre sheets attached to the toggle, etc.

Have you heard of i-Wipe? What do you think of their concept? 
The goods: i-Wipe phone cover in booklet style in black-Courtesy of i-Wipe. Made in Italy. I was given a case for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. *1-Reference here. Images: Fashion Tales, and i-Wipe.

*For more information or to shop more i-Wipe styles click here.  Get 10 off any cover with the code: BLOGGER.

Country Décor and Modern Decadence

Whenever there is free-time (which isn't very often, as of late), I try to get creative with our home décor. Whether it be as simple as changing the tablecloth to a seasonal hue, or rearranging the space entirely for new furnishings, there's always something that can be updated, revamped, or refreshed. It's usually something simple, because I quite like our current décor, but recently I have been grabbing more of my inspiration from furniture pieces and textiles.

I came across The Cotswold Company site a while back during a browsing session for my hopeful living room, and kitchen revamp. I made a few wish lists, but I didn’t need anything at that particular moment. After a thorough glance and virtual cart fulls later, I could somewhat narrow down the styles that I was looking for. The Cotswold Company offers rustic, elegant, country, classic, and many other styles of furniture.

Currently, we have mostly stainless steel and granite in the kitchen, a very industrial, but modern design. But, I keep finding myself charmed by French country style kitchens, or period inspired furniture. My interior style for the most part has always been classic vintage meets contempo-chic. However, there has been occasions when I've found myself gravitating to certain pieces that conjure nostalgic memories of my family's old kitchens. Some of these pieces remind me of my nan's larder cupboards, and farmhouse kitchen, or my parent's English country style breakfast nook from childhood.

How you decorate your living space can say a lot more about you than you think. Since this photo shoot, I have been heavily influenced by venturing out more into the world of wall art, not only wallpaper.  In terms of background design décor, these wall designs below (although not in the styles that we'd choose for our home) were influence enough to have me contemplate further about textures on one of our walls that is now an arts and crafts studio space.

At my friend's recent housewarming, I was struck by the intricacies in the wall paper that they chose for their living room. It was a desert theme with palm trees that almost looked too real to be on a flat standing surface. I've put together some inspiration for both rustic furnishings and modern décor.
Home decor Cotswold Co. UK Furniture
Above: Living room / Mudroom Inspiration: (From left to right) Farmhouse Natural Hall Bench and Cushion, Appleby Oak Shoe Storage, and Bourton Painted Medium Bookcase available at CotswoldCo.
Murals Wallpaper
Above: (From left to right) Cream Knitted Jumper Mural, Crumbling Brick Wall Mural, Zellige Tile Effect Wallpaper, and Jelly Beans Mural via Murals Wallpaper. Below: (from left to right) Kitchen: Cheltenham Cream Dresser, Oakland Dresser with Wine Rack, and Caldecote French Grey. View more via CotswoldCo.
The Cotswold Company
Above: Ivy Covered Wall via Murals Wallpaper. "Cottage Oak" Coffee Table. Images via Cotswold, and Murals Wallpaper, edited via Fashion Tales. 

What style is your kitchen or living room? Do you have any wall art or hanging décor in your home?


Summer Dressings, and Event Style

After attending the two weddings that were planned for this year, and undertaking the task of making decorations for another one, there's only one more special event (even greater than those) that I am much looking forward to.

My siblings and I have been planning a massive surprise party for my mum at the end of summer, to celebrate her being cancer-free, so this inspiring style board could not have come at a better time. Although, the event will not entirely be a black tie affair, it will be semi-formal (think, casual evening glamour). Much inspiration for versatility, given the summery climate will need to be taken into consideration.

Above1-Jolie Moi 3D Striped Dress, 2-Jane Norman White/Foil Printed Maxi, 3-Jolie Moi Polka Dot Jacquard Dress, 4-Warehouse Striped Dress

The food and tables will obviously be one of the main details that I am partaking in, as well as helping with coordinating. Since various family friends will be coming from cooler climates, and others from warmer locales, we decided that a blend of styles would be appropriate, yet still maintaining the smart aesthetic and elegant party theme of immense gratitude, and a celebration of life as the focus! We're very excited, even though still weeks away.

Judging by previous family affairs, I'm sure that will be no problem at all, as I am usually the casually dressed one these days, which isn't exactly "casual" per se if you know my personal style.

I looked to House of Fraser again for some influence in the styles that I'd like to see at the event, and dress styles that I would wear. This time, I also included a couple styles that are a bit outside of my typical choosing for events such as this. Given the right accessories styled with a splendid pair of heels, anything can be possible when you're confident and having fun with fashion!

*View more House of Fraser dress styles here. 

Above:1-Lace and Beads Ombre Maxi, 2-Phase Eight Clemetis Dress, 3-Jolie Moi 3D Print Bardot Dress, 4-Therapy Candice Cold Shoulder Dress, 5-Dorothy Perkins Billie and Blossom Knot Maxi.*This is written in collaboration with House of Fraser, a Fashion Tales sponsor. All opinions expressed are my own.

What dress style is your favourite? Do you have any upcoming events to attend?

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