Taste of The Côtes du Rhône | Masterchef Exose Grant’s Recipe

A taste of the Côtes du Rhône with Masterchef Exose Grant’s Rosé Poached Peach recipe

I’ve been bringing the Côtes du Rhône into my home for over a year now, through the beauty of wine and food. It’s been a welcome reminder of the South of France, and all of the delicious produce the area has to offer.

MasterChef finalist, Exose Grant has created two recipes, at home, that are inspired by and work well with Côtes du Rhône wine, reflecting just how accessible and high quality the wines are. I was challenged to replicate one of Chef Exose’s recipes – queue me running around a hot kitchen shouting “yes chef!” to myself.

Rosé Poached Peach

I find cooking/baking incredibly relaxing & satisfying, and this was no different. I had such a wonderful time trying out a new recipe, with some of my favourite ingredients; peach, star anise and rosé. I added my own little twist to the final plated dish by soaking the cake in the syrup from the peaches, sprinkling orange peel onto the cream, and decorating with fresh herbs and star anise on top! I didn’t want to deviate from Chef Exose‘s amazing recipe, but I wanted to add my own flare to it – something I like to do whilst cooking/baking.

You can view the Rosé Poached Peach recipe that I created on Chef Exose’s Instagram, as well as a complimentary savoury main dish.

Taste of The Côtes du Rhône

I love sharing food, so I made the dish for myself and my partner. He actually prefers red wine though, so he paired the dish with a Côtes du Rhône Plan de Dieu, whilst I had a glass of the Chateau Saint Nabor – the same rosé I used in the dish itself. Although it would equally go well with a white. If you hadn’t guessed it yet, all of the wines in this post are pretty versatile and suitable for most occasions and dishes. Perfect for a taste of the Côtes du Rhône.

You can find out more about Côtes du Rhône wines and where you can purchase them here.

Check out more of my lifestyle and food posts.

Three cote du rhone wine bottles stand on a wooden dish

Items were gifted by The Belleville Collective, however, all images, words and opinions are my own.

5 Mental Health and Wellbeing in Lockdown Tips

Mental Health and Wellbeing in Lockdown
5 Mental Health and Wellbeing in Lockdown Tips

This morning I logged onto social media, as I usually do. But today was different. Today I was met with a flurry of posts, all with one topic in common…

“I can’t believe it’s been a year already!”

“A year on from lockdown and…”

Yes, as of March 23rd 2021 it’s been exactly one year since the UK officially went into lockdown. Now I’m not going to go too much into the specifics as we all know why, when and how. One thing I did want to touch on though, is the effect lockdown has had on my own mental health and wellbeing, and how I’ve coped during an unprecedented year.

Mental Health and Wellbeing in Lockdown Tips

Lockdown and the pandemic have taken their toll on most of us – with feelings of loneliness and hopelessness becoming a common issue over the past year. I have personally struggled with the latter as well as ongoing anxiety. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I wanted to try and help anyone else who may be suffering. I am not a doctor, and I’m only going off my own personal experience, and what I’ve learnt from it. I’m simply offering up some small changes to try to and help combat these feelings.

Create a routine

Our day-to-day routines have changed drastically throughout lockdown. Whether it’s working from home or missing out on social activities – everything has changed. Routine is a good thing, and creating a feel-good daily routine can do wonders for wellbeing. Why not try out some relaxation techniques, or pick up a new hobby?

Watch where you’re scrolling

Social media and news outlets have become sources of escape and knowledge, for better or worse. And it comes as no surprise that they can quickly become overwhelming. Take some time to think about whether these channels are causing anxiety (through sensationalist content maybe), and take stock of how much time you spend on them. If need be, stop using them altogether.

Take a daily walk

It’s a well-known fact that being out in nature can do wonders for your mental health. If you’re able to do so, try and take a daily walk. You can mix it up by taking different routes to your usual. Make the most of this time to explore your neighbourhood.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

This is a big one, I know. And we all need help from time to time. Whether it’s friends or family, or an unbiased helpline, please do reach out to those around you if you need it. You can find some helplines and resources for those who might need them, here.

Treat yourself

A lot of us have lost out on the things that used to allow us to take a breather, such as eating out at restaurants or going to the cinema etc. So whilst it’s great to save a little money if you can, it’s also important to treat yourself from time to time. E.g. ordering a weekly takeaway from your fave local.

Read more wellbeing tips now.

Mental Health and Wellbeing in Lockdown

Source: 1, 2

Côtes du Rhône at Christmas | Lifestyle & Food

Côtes du Rhône at Christmas
Bringing a little bit of the Côtes du Rhône at Christmas this year

Remember how I boasted about enjoying the Côtes du Rhône at home this summer? Well I’m back to do it all over again, but this time with a festive hat on and a bottle of Rasteau wine in tow. I was lucky enough to be sent a beautiful Christmas hamper including a bottle of Rasteau wine, as well as some delicious cheeses, chocolate etc to enjoy alongside it.

Côtes du Rhône at Christmas

Picture this – a village nestled deep in the heart of the Southern Rhône Valley, perched on a sun laden hillside with ancient Château ruins. This is the village of Rasteau – the wine’s namesake.

This November, the Rasteau appellation celebrates 10 years of being recognised as a Cru (recognised for its quality and distinctive terroir) of the Cotes du Rhone; the highest accolade given within the region. It’s well known for producing a small, yet impressive, selection of both still and fortified wines.

Typically, Rasteau red wines have a spicy warmth, which in my opinion is perfect for this season. They’re also ideal for food pairings, such as stew, charcuterie, blue cheese, slightly spicy dishes and chocolate – so I know what I’ll be doing with my bottle. If you’re looking for a bottle or two to adorn your table this Christmas, I’d suggest you take a look next time you’re perusing wine shelves (whether they’re virtual or physical).

Check out more of my lifestyle and food posts.

Items were gifted by The Belleville Collective, however all images, words and opinions are my own.

5 Helpful Wellbeing Tips for the Bedroom

wellbeing tips for the bedroom
My 5 Top Wellbeing Tips for the Bedroom

Personal wellbeing is something I’ve been discussing on this blog for years and I believe it’s even more important now than ever before. With a lot of people spending more time at home, I got thinking about what I could touch on next. My own sleep pattern has been up and down for years, but oddly it’s improved since lockdown. I’m sure this is due to a number of factors (some of which I touch on below) but I believe having a bedroom that allows me to breakaway from all of the chaos of the day helps a lot. So here are my wellbeing tips for the bedroom.

5 Wellbeing Tips for the Bedroom

Create a calming environment

Above everything it’s important that your bedroom is a calm place that you can withdraw to when you need it – whether that’s for a cheeky midday nap, or just as the room you escape to at the end of a long day.

One way of creating a calming environment is to do a spring clean. Clear out things you don’t need. For those that you do, less is more – choose storage solutions that allow you to hide clutter. It will help you feel less stressed and make it easier to tidy your room.

Introduce some nature into the bedroom

Houseplants are an amazing way of transporting you to a different place. Research has shown that they can reduce stress & anxiety, lower blood pressure and help with breathing problems. Some of the best plants for improving the air quality in a room are snake plant, peace lily and devil’s ivy. And of course they look lovely.

Also consider natural materials in your bedroom. Try cotton sheets, wooden interiors and a wool throw – for example.

A tech free room

Lying in bed and watching tv, or scrolling on your phone – everyone does it. But technology in the bedroom is a big no no. It’s been shown that the light omitted from our phones, laptops and tvs can contribute towards a poor sleeping pattern and keeping you awake for longer. Removing the temptation from the room (no tvs, laptops etc) can go a long way towards helping.

Make your bedroom look good

It’s not rocket science, a well styled room makes us feel good. So why not do the same with your bedroom? Blue is the best colour for painting your bedroom – it’s a calming colour, which is conducive to sleep. In terms of bedding, choose quality fabrics that will let your skin breathe such as Egyptian cotton.

Luxury bedding company Dusk’s research has shown key design trends across the UK:

  • Scot’s purchase 10% of Britain’s faux fur (more than anywhere else)
  • Simple, minimal styles are favoured more in Wales
  • Londoner’s purchase more goose-down bedding
  • Northern Ireland spend more on luxury (higher togs and quality fabrics) bedding

Lighting is important

Natural light has a ton of benefits, physically and emotionally. It does wonders to boost both your mood and quality of sleep. But did you know that having a lack of light in your bedroom is just as important?

Black out curtains are a must to block out artificial and natural light whilst you’re sleeping. Darkness is essential for your body to produce melatonin – basically to get a good nights sleep and help your body clock. If you love being woken up by the sun, sleep lamps are a great idea and mean you won’t have to compromise.

wellbeing tips for the bedroom
wellbeing tips for the bedroom

Items were gifted by DUSK, however all images, words and opinions are my own.

How Bloggers Can Work with Brands – A Guide

How Bloggers Can Work with Brands

I’ve been working with brands for over 8 years on my blog and social networks. I’m not a ‘big influencer’ (I’d be classed as a micro influencer) but I’m contacted on a daily basis by brands; I’ve been gifted products, experiences and even holidays – all because of my content. Lately I’ve seen certain brands calling bloggers out for contacting them about potential collaborations. Not only is it unprofessional and just downright petty, it makes no sense. Influencer-brand partnerships can be rewarding for both the company and the content creator.

I don’t want to get started on the politics of small or big bloggers being paid, marketing strategies etc. Those are rants for another post. But I do want to give some advice for bloggers who want to work with brands, but maybe feel they can’t reach out to them.

 How Bloggers Can Work with Brands

  • Contact PRs
    • Ask to be put on their mailing lists. This is a great way to get an insight into the brand/industry and how they work. It helps to build a relationship with the PR, and can lead to potential gifting or partnerships.
  • Follow brands on social and interact with them
    • @ them when you include them in your organic content.
    • Be genuine, let them know why you love their brand.
  • Blog/Instagram quality content regularly
    • Brands want to work with creators who are consistent in both timing and quality.
    • Uploading quality content on a regular basis will help grow engagement and following, which is exactly what brands want to see.
  • Show brands what you got!
    • Pitch them your ideas for content (e.g. ‘Valentines gifts for foodies’).
    • Show them stats and link to previous work you’ve done.
    • Tell them why you’d be a good fit for each other.
  • Don’t expect something for nothing
    • Be realistic. If you are brand new to the game it’s unlikely you’re going to be gifted the latest iPhone or be paid big bucks.
    • You need to tell the brand what they will get in return. Let them know how you can both help each other out, and what you will bring to their marketing campaign.

Reaching out isn’t a bad thing!

Pitching has been a part of marketing for a long time. This is no different. Don’t be afraid to contact brands. After all, you don’t lose anything by contacting them and the worst thing that can happen is they say no. I’ve been turned down before, and it just inspired me to work harder and do better (“that’ll show ’em!”). That said, most of the time I get a positive response, and so can you!

I hope this has helped any budding bloggers, or the more seasoned ones who are maybe still unsure about how to reach out to brands. If you enjoyed my ‘How Bloggers Can Work with Brands – A Guide’, let me know if you like to see more posts, such as email templates etc.

Read more of my How-to guides.
Source: 1, 2

How Bloggers Can Work with Brands

Enjoying the Côtes du Rhône at home | Lifestyle

Côtes du Rhône at home
Enjoying the Côtes du Rhône at home

This time last year, long before lockdown was even a thought in people’s minds, I was holidaying it up in the South of France. Provence to be precise. I was basking in the sun, enjoying everything the region had to offer – food, laid-back culture, stunning scenery… and of course, wine.

Funny story, I actually didn’t drink wine until I met my now husband. His family are wine lovers, who coincidentally shared their passion with me. In fact one of my best memories from recent years is holidaying with them for the first time; travelling around Provence to different vin yards, tasting the wine on offer, and getting an in-depth understanding of the people and their craft.

Enjoying Côtes du Rhône at home

I’m by no means a wine connoisseur, but I can get by. One of the areas I know more of (thanks to it being my father-in-laws favourite) is the Côtes du Rhône region. The Côtes du Rhône Villages is a French wine Appellation d’Origine Controlle (AOC – you’ve probably spotted this on your bottle of wine), in the southern wine region of France. They produce red, wine and rosé wine, which only 21 select areas can claim the ‘village’ title to.

I was lucky enough to be sent some amazing bottles of wine (which you can see in my photos) from Côtes du Rhône, as well as some delicious cheeses, bread etc to enjoy alongside them. We enjoyed this with the rosé on one of the hotter days this year, with the 21 Stories of the Côtes du Rhône podcast on in the background, it almost felt like we were back in the South of France.

Check out more of my lifestyle and food posts.

Côtes du Rhône at home
Côtes du Rhône at home

Items were gifted by The Belleville Collective, however all images, words and opinions are my own.

How to host a successful virtual event

How to host a successful virtual event
How to host a successful virtual event with Moonpig

Last month I received an email titled “Emma, your invite to Moonpig’s VIRTUAL event in July”. I was shook. An event… in this lockdown?! No but seriously, I was already a fan of Moonpig having used them during lockdown to send flowers and cards to family, and the mention of a virtual press event had me intrigued.

How to host a successful virtual event

I always think there are 5 key things to any successful press event. In no particular order, they are:

  1. Food & Drink
  2. Activities
  3. Networking
  4. Goodies
  5. Info on the company & the new “product”

Why? First off you need to be hydrated and energised, and I don’t know about you but there’s nothing that makes me feel more relaxed than nibbles and a good drink (alcoholic or not). Next you need an activity – something people can get involved with, that’s fun and will give them a memory to take away from the event. Of course both of these also help to encourage networking and socialising. And lastly, you need some goodies for people to “take home” with them – something that screams ‘[your] brand’, something they can show off on social media. For me personally, this is the recipe to a successful event.

Moonpig’s Virtual event

Let’s look at what Moonpig’s virtual event included:

  • We were given a food voucher so we could have dinner on the day.
  • A cocktail kit with alcohol, fruit etc. and a bouquet of flowers were sent the day before.
  • During the event Moonpig hosted two DIY classes for us to follow – flower arranging and cocktail making.
  • We were also sent gifts before the event, to showcase Moonpig’s products and delivery.
  • On the night Moonpig walked us through the app, some exciting new features, and how to personalise a card.

So was Moonpig’s virtual event a success? I think so. Apart from some slight difficulty in networking – anyone who has used Zoom with more than two people will get this – it had everything I would have looked for in a regular event.

It was cool to have someone from Moonpig’s product team talk us through the app, and show us personalisation options in real time. And obviously the classes stood out as a really cool experience – I’ve made the cocktails a few times since. I felt that I came away with a deeper understanding of Moonpig and what they’re about; if that’s not a success then I don’t know what is.

You can get 30% of a card & gift via the Moonpig app with code: APP30ORDER

Items were gifted by Moonpig, however all images, words and opinions are my own.

How to host a successful virtual event