List: My Favourite Chocolate!

1) Dark Chocolate Golden Crunch, £4. This is my number one favourite chocolate, vegan Crunchie! It's delicious! I love it so much! It's sweet, and crunchy and YUMMY




2) Lindt 70% Dark, from supermarkets, £1.78.  This is the creamiest dark chocolate I have ever tasted but is (of course) vegan! It has the richness and intensity of dark chocolate so isn't as sweet and sickly as milk chocolate, but it's so creamy and melt-in-your-mouth! I get through at least 2 bars a week!





3) Moo-Free Caramelised Chocolate Pralines, £8.  I have a real thing for pralines, and these are lovely because they also have a caramel textured centre, and the chocolate is SO milky! You absolutely would not know these were dairy free.  They do 'milk' chocolate buttons and Easter eggs too which are brilliant for kids that prefer the taste of the milder milk chocolate to dark chocolate.





4) Organica Spirit of Tangiers Swiss Dark Chocolate Bar, £2.17.  This dark chocolate orange bar has little crunchy bits of crystallised orange zest in it and the flavour of the chocolate is scrumptious.  I really like chocolate and orange together.



5) Lyme Regis Marzipan Bar, 83p.  Whenever I walk past our local health food shop I always go in and buy a bar.  Unfortunately I walk past every day.  Sometimes twice.  But I can't stop going in! I have a passion for marzipan and used to eat a 400g box every day after school!





6) Organica Chocolate Couverture Bar with Raisins & Almonds, £2.99.  Another Organica bar! This one is super creamy like Galaxy chocolate, but with the raisins and almonds is like Cadbury's Fruit and Nut!


7) Green and Black's Organic Ginger Dark Chocolate, £2.38.  I really love the warmth and spiciness of ginger with chocolate, it's smashing.  As this one contains crystallised ginger it has that pleasing crunch! Yum! There was some debate recently about whether Green & Black's was vegan after they removed the Vegan Society accreditation.  When I spoke to the company about they said this is because they make their dark and milk chocolate in the same machines, but they 'flush' the machines through with dark chocolate after doing a milk chocolate run (as well as cleaning them obviously!) which is good enough for me :)



8) Montezuma's Marzipan and Cherry ChocoBlock, £6.99.  Ahhh marzipan.  And cherry! In a MASSIVE block of chocolate! It's about the size of half a paperback book, and half an inch thick.  It's so big it's quite hard to snap with your fingers and you sometimes have to smash it with a rolling pin. Alot of chocolate joy for your money!

9) Buccaneer Bar, £1.80.  Vegan Milky Way! Very  sweet, milky and sickly.  Yum!


Gianduja Praline
10) Hotel Chocolat Gianduja Pralines, £14.  I debated for a long time which Hotel Chocolat chocolate would make the list, and eventually decided on the Gianduja pralines, as the texture is amazing, the chocolate very balanced and not too bitter or sweet, and I love praline!  My other favourites are Nutty Yule Log and Ginger Canapes.


And I reeeeally want to try the Conscious Chocolate range, which you can buy from Goodness Direct.  It's healthier as it's made from raw unprocessed ingredients and sweetened with agave nectar rather than sugar, and as I eat so much chocolate this is a very good thing! There are lots of flavours like Essential Orange, Mint Hint and Love Potion No 9,  I'm sure there'll be many new favourites...in fact, I might make an order now! All of this talk of chocolate has made me hungry! 






Oh, and just a note, I also love Elizabeth Shaw Mint Crisps! Mmmmm choccy....

Recipe: Vegan Tiramisu!

I made a vegan tiramisu on Valentines Day and it went down a treat! It tasted just right and I was so proud! So here is the recipe:

For the creamy bit:
1 carton Mori Nu silken tofu
1 tub cream Sheese original
1/2 carton Alpro soya cream
1/4 cup sugar

For the ladyfingers:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup soya milk
1/2 cup sugar plus a little bit extra
1/6 cup maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup Pure spread

1 mug strong coffee
2tbsp Amaretto, marsala wine or other suchlike alcohol (check it's vegan!)
Dark chocolate

1) Heat the oven to 180 C (gas mark 3 or 4 ish)
2) Cream together Pure spread and the half cup of sugar
3) Stir in maple syrup
4) Sift in the dry ingredients, alternating with soya milk, then mix all together
5) Pour into a greaseproof paper lined rectangular cake tin (a 9" one) and sprinkle sugar on the top (for crunch)
6) Bake for 12 minutes
7) Take out, turn upside down into a deep dish, peel off the paper, cut into ladyfinger shapes and leave to cool
8) Brew a mug of strong coffee and add the alcohol
9) Pour the coffee over the  ladyfingers (it will soak up)
10) Put the cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, tofu and cream Sheese into a blender and whizz until smooth
11) Layer it over the coffee-y ladyfingers
12) Grate chocolate on top
13) Chill overnight!
If you want more layers just double the ingredients and layer it up!
I hope you like the recipe,
Peace and love,
Felicity

Diary: How It Feels To Love Your Child

Before I had Eric I was worried I wouldn't love him and that we wouldn't bond, and I had no idea what it would be like.  Describing the love you feel for your child is almost impossible, there seem to be no words strong enough to describe the feeling, so I can only begin to try.  My baby is the centre of my whole world, and without him I couldn't exist.  The love I have for him is calming and satisfying.  It's different to the way you love a partner as I won't love him any less for anything he does.  A partner might cheat on you, or be lazy or you might just fall out of love with them, but the love I feel for Eric is forever, and will never fade, it'll only grow.  He makes me strong as I want to be the best I can be for him.  I'm so happy that he was born, even though we hadn't planned it.  At any other time or with anyone else he wouldn't be him, he would be a different baby, and I love him so much that I feel so lucky that the one tiny sperm in a million made it through so he is him! Joy and happiness bubble up in me when I see him smile at me first thing in the morning, or cuddle me, or when he finds something funny and laughs and I just want to scoop him up and tickle him and kiss him and make him as happy as he makes me.  On the flip side the thought of losing him makes me feel physically sick.  It's inconceivable.  I am so proud of my little boy, how even-tempered, sweet and funny he is, how he's developing and everything he does.  I love watching him sitting, rolling over, laughing, bouncing and standing up when you support him.  My heart swells with pride! I love taking him swimming and seeing him splashing around having fun with his mummy and daddy and learning something new, and being there for him when he feels frightened.  I love feeding him.  I love all his little noises. I love seeing him sleepily rubbing his face into his bunny rabbit comforter and cuddling it as he falls asleep.  My favourite time is when he wakes up for an 11pm feed just as I'm getting ready for bed, how he is all sleepy and cuddly and I just want to hold him close and breathe in the scent of him.  I love stroking his soft hair and skin.  I sleep in his nursery with him as I can't imagine waking up and not being near him, it's almost like the umbilical cord still links us and I don't want to stray far.  If I go out for a few hours I'm happy to return to him.  If he is hurt I feel a physical pain.  I wish he could stay a baby forever and at the same time I look forward to him growing up and seeing his personality, and to him having conversations with me.  Before he was born I had conversations with people who would say they love their pets as much as they could love a child, and I used to think I loved our bunnies that way.  I still love my bunnies, they are in my heart, they're so cute, I'd love to cuddle them (if they'd let me!), they make me laugh and I'd run through a fire to save them, but the love I feel for Eric is bigger than the whole world, I couldn't even have imagined this love before I had him.  Don't get me wrong, it's tiring, it's hard work, there are days when I just want a break.  Sometimes when he's whining and I don't know what's wrong I feel frustrated.  Sometimes when he pukes all over me or throws puree at me I feel cross.  Sometimes when I'm tired I feel upset and down and blue.  But I still love him soooooo much, and he always cheers me up! I wouldn't change it for anything! He's the best :)
Peace and love,
Felicity

List: Fortnightly Wishlist!

I wish I  may I wish I might, have the things I list tonight (well, today really as it's only 14:08, but that didn't rhyme so nicely!)...


1) Tan Crepe Midi Skirt from Miss Selfridge, £22.  I love the length and colour of this skirt, it reminds me of 1940's wartime clothing, and I think it's really flattering.  I want it so much!


Spring Large Vegetable Garden : Vegetable gardens Spring 2011

2)  A Rocket Garden Spring Children's Vegetable Garden, £34.99.  We've just got an allotment after being on the waiting list for over a year, and I'm so excited! (I'll make a diary blog about it!) I'm planning to buy an instant veggie patch from Rocket Gardens who send the tiny little plants all ready for you to put straight in the ground rather than having to grow from seeds, then in a few months we'll have our own homegrown veg.



3) SpaRitual nail varnish in Innocence is Bliss, £8.50.  I love these vegan nail varnishes, they have endless colours, are cruelty-free with no animal ingredients and have no nasty chemicals like formaldehyde.  I'd wear a pale colour like this as Spring is in the air, the colour makes nails look fresh and clean and pale shades make my nails look longer, which is ideal for me as I keep my nails short so I don't scratch Eric!


Lamaze Learning Through Play Gift Pack 0 - 24 Months Toy

4) Lamaze Learning Through Play toy, £48.49.  Eric would love this pack as it has all the great Lamaze features such as bright, contrasting patterns and little tags to fiddle with, plus it includes his favourite toy of the moment - a baby mirror! He loves looking at his reflection, kissing it, looking away, going back in really close etc.! It's so cute.  This gift pack also includes a shape sorting toy for when Eric's a bit bigger, and as with all Lamaze toys I'm sure it's excellent quality.  I really want the Activity Knot toy, £7.75, as he loves his friend T's (I'm going to use initials when talking about his friends rather than their names to protect their privacy lol!), and a Sir Prance-A-Lot, £8.75.


5) Skinny Bitch Ultimate Every Day Cookbook, £20.  I have all the previous Skinny Bitch books and they're brilliant, no nonsense, clever books that present the facts about food in a funny way.  I can't wait to buy the cookbook!



6) Raw Banoffee Pie from The Living Food Kitchen, £2.74.  Oh my god, it's just delicious.  Absolutely delicious.  I can say no more, I am salivating too much.



7) Cath Kidston Bag, £28.  Ohhhhh I loooooooooooove this bag! SO MUCH! And it is only £28! I need it.  It must be my new yummy mummy changing bag!


Light Concealer

8) Lily Lolo Concealer in Barely Beige, £7.29.  I'm an idiot and bought the wrong colour when I made my order the other day as I didn't check the name of the colour on the sample I had a bought the shade 'Blondie' instead -  too pale for me! Stupid Mummy Brain! I always use Lily Lolo makeup as it's vegan and not tested on animals, but actually works amazingly well and has pretty packaging.  As it's mineral makeup you can build up coverage and it is free from disgusting ingredients like Bismuth Oxychloride, petrochemicals, parabens and nano particles which irritate the skin.

9) Royal Wedding Memorabilia, various prices! Of course I want to get some Royal Wedding Memorabilia! I love the Aynsley China range but it is £29.95 for the mug and £9.95 for the saucer, and the Jan Constantine Cushion is amazing! But it is £93! So maybe I'll just get a tea towel for £6.95!



10) Hatley sleepsuit, £16.50.  I love Hatley and Eric would look so cute in this! The brand are great quality and fit well. 

Diary: Mummy Money!

Unfortunately becoming a Mummy results in a rather drastic lack of income.  During my maternity leave I was paid SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) of £122 per week which the employer pays the pregnant mama but then claims back from HMRC, the cheeky beggars.  Some employers top this up and pay extra, as it's not really enough to live on, but unfortunately this wasn't the case for me as I worked for a charity who couldn't really afford to pay any extra.  SMP is paid for 39 weeks, so I have 1 week left! After which I will be scrounging off my partner as I've decided not to go back to work, so I'll be a stay at home mum/kept woman!  I've decided not to go back to work as I love looking after Eric and would be heartbroken if someone else got to be with him all day, and I couldn't really afford to pay for childcare anyway as it would cost more than my wages!

Every Mum can claim Child Benefit which is £80 per month for your first child, and this really helps us buy the inevitable piles of things Eric needs! You can also claim Child Tax Credit which is variable according to your household income.

If you're a new mum who is confused by any mummy money matters I would highly recommend ringing up HMRC as they're actually surprisingly helpful (although they're very security conscious making you choose 2 passwords and refusing to tell you certain things like your Child Benefit number over the phone).  There is also a website called Turn 2 Us which has a fantastic benefits checker called Entitled To which works out what help you are, well, entitled to! In Bristol we also have a Family Information Service who were amazing and really friendly and helpful, and brilliant at helping out if you don't understand anything on the form or website.

As I'm such a shopaholic it's been a bit sad not to be able to go shopping, so I've had to get creative, whether it's budgeting the money we do have, buying things second hand from eBay, or making things.  I also make wishlists of things I would like to buy each if I was rolling around in wads of money, bathing in it, like in Duck Tales.  And I will start listing these so you can see what amazing, stylish and wonderful items I would be buying if I could (fingers crossed that I win the lottery!)

Peace and love,

Felicity

Diary: Blogging!

My first post has to be a diary entry about starting Blogging... because by god making a Blog has been harder than I could have imagined! HTML code plus Mummy Brain is a disastrous combination.  First of all there was thinking of a name for a Blog.  This is tricky.  I spent days trying to think of something either witty or descriptive...going from My Bloggy Wog to Yummy Vegan Mummy, but nothing felt right! I eventually decided on Tea With Felicity as one day I dream of opening a vegan tea room called Feliciteas, and everyone who knows me will confirm I am a fiend for the old tea, drinking at least 6 cups a day and have a cupboard full (about 20 different types).  My next hurdle starting the Blog was working out how the hell to work Blogger.  After about a week I could finally navigate the website - yes! Lastly I had to try to make the Blog pretty.  This has been my nightmare as I'm such a perfectionist and wanted a quirky Blog that I could be proud of, but I don't understand HTML code at all! Every time I found an element I wanted to add to the Blog I painstakingly copied the instructions and it wouldn't work! I've done my best and am just hoping that you lovely readers will comment with ideas (and step by step instructions!) I'm so happy to be starting blogging now, and I promise to update as often as I can.  I'll classify posts at the start of the title with either 'Review' if they are a product review, 'Article' if they aim to be more factual, 'List' for lists of things I lust after, love or loathe, 'Ideas' for crafty things to make or fun things to try, 'Recipes' for, well, recipes (!), 'Diary' if they are about personal experiences and general nonsense etc. so look out for things you are interested in!
Peace and love,
Felicity