GIVEAWAY: Rawr Chocolate

I’m becoming convinced I have a built in radar for quality raw chocolate because I’ve stumbled on some brilliant brands recently.

My first day back at work post-break included six hours of driving after the motorway was closed, entering the wrong code for the car park and my case being cancelled.

But I don’t regret a second of it because it led me to doing a little trip around Salisbury for a pick-me-up and discovering something rather special.


I’ll admit it – I rushed the bar to the check-out mainly because of the awesome name and fun packaging but was even more impressed when I took a bite, then saw the ingredients.

Within minutes, I’d emailed the company asking if they’d be willing to offer a giveaway of their delicious goodness to a Flake and Cake reader – and they immediately agreed!


Rawr very generously sent me a selection of all their bars to try too, which was an added bonus ;)

The chocolate, which is dairy-free and organic, was dreamt up in a kitchen in Cambridge and quickly became popular at markets and events in the area.

As word of Rawr spread, their collection of flavours developed and you can now pick up varieties including passion, a goji berry and vanilla bar.


Rawr bars are now being introduced to health food shops around the country and in Europe.

You can also pick them up in the Rawr online shop, which has gorgeous ribbon-wrapped collections – perfect gifts for raw chocolate lovers at Christmas and beyond!


Something I really love about the chocolate is its fantastic ingredients:

Organic Criollo cacao – ethically sourced in Peru, used in cacao butter, cacao powder and cacao paste.

Organic Carob – a sweet raw carob milled from the pods of Spanish carob trees.

Organic Coconut Palm Sugar – used to sweeten the bars, coconut palm sugar comes from the sap of the coconut tree. Entirely natural and less refined and lower-GI than cane sugar.

Organic Lucuma – a Peruvian fruit used in powdered form to add a rich, dairy-free creaminess.

Organic Vanilla – a little Madagascan vanilla is used in every bar.

Organic Orange and Mint Oils – small quantities are used in the Zest and After Dinner flavours.

Organic Goji Berries – gojis are known for their vitamin C content and taste gorgeous. You’ll find them in the Passion bar.


Of course, you want to know about the taste and I can tell you it’s great! The bars have a lovely texture, really solid (like chocolate in the fridge), which I adore.

My favourite flavour is the Gold because caramel is the bomb but I’m also keen on the Zest flavour, which I promised to share with James.. then ate it all myself!


And for those of you wondering about carbon footprint, all Rawr packing is recycled, chemical free and gorgeously pretty.

Now for the fun part! One Flake and Cake reader will win a pack featuring all six of the Rawr chocolate bars.



To enter the giveaway:

- Leave a comment telling me your most recent health food find

- Follow me on Twitter

- Follow Rawr on Twitter

- Follow me on Instagram

- Follow Rawr on Instagram

- Tweet about the giveaway, making sure to mention @flakeandcake and @rawrchoc

Each of the above counts as a separate entry so please leave a comment below for each one. Giveaway open to UK residents only.

Ends Friday 29th December at 11pm.

Good luck chocoholics!

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Would I like to learn all about coffee in a gorgeous tea shop, while munching on fabulously healthy salads followed by a selection of decadent cakes?

I think you can guess my reply to the above invite was an incredibly speedy yes and so it was that James and I headed into Cardiff on Sunday morning.


Bloggers from across Wales and the South West crowded into Waterloo Tea to become experts at latte art, cupping, coffee cocktails and Nespresso machines.

We took a seat and eagerly sipped our first taste of caffeine for the day, a coffee mocktail, and I chatted away to fashion blogger Christy as we admired the tea shop’s decor.


The mass of bloggers were split into groups (we went into the ‘allergy’ group!) and sent off to different stations to get caffeinated.

I was lucky to be in a group with some awesome people, including Kerry, her partner Warren, LauraRuth, and Petite Pantry.


Our first station was latte art. As many in our group were lactose intolerant, we played around with soya milk – after everyone had photographed the snazzy coffee machine!


Our barista whipped up this rather perfect looking heart and patiently tried to help us do the same.

photo 2 (2)

Unfortunately my latte art efforts were not great but they did improve when we switched to dairy milk, which is much easier to work with.

photo 2 (3)

The second station was coffee tasting, known as cupping. We were presented with a selection of Nespresso and got sipping.

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The art to cupping is saying the first thing that pops into your head when you taste the coffee. From “tennis balls” to “vanilla” and “chocolate”, there were lots of variations!

photo 4 (2)

My favourite was the chocolate flavour, and not the strongest Nespresso coffee – a smoky hit that had this seasoned caffeine addict jittering in seconds.

On a coffee high, we made boozy cocktails with our (bravely white-shirted) barista.


The most popular cocktail was coffee Toblerone, which apparently tasted just like the real thing with a fabulous coffee kick.


We also whipped up a coffee orange flavour and a mocktail with berries and soya milk. I handed mine to James, who happily slurped them down!


We then headed to the ‘play station’ to use a variety of Nespresso machines, from the cheapest to pricier versions.


James and I asked lots of questions about fair trade, which country Nespresso pays tax to and the carbon footprint of each coffee capsule.

We learned that 80% of Nespresso’s coffee is AAA, which aims to create a sustainable supply of high quality coffee while improving the lives of farmers and communities.

All Nespresso capsules are recyclable and teams collect and drop them off to customer’s homes within 24 hours (they’re not for sale in supermarkets).


We’d worked up quite an appetite and were more than ready to head off for some food in the upstairs of Waterloo Tea, all tailored for our allergy needs.


The spread was a fantastic one, with a bulgar wheat salad, kale and hazelnut salad, cauliflower and pomegranate salad, canapé, sandwiches on gluten-free bread and  marinated salmon.

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The day finished back downstairs with lots of cake and fun competitions.


We didn’t win any but walked away with big smiles, a new found appreciation for latte art and even more love for coffee – if that was possible!

* Are you a coffee or tea drinker?

* Have you ever attempted latte art?

* Huge thanks to Currys and the team at Joe Blogs for inviting us to such a great day*

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Blenderless banana pancakes

During the first morning of our holiday, I was incredibly lazy and soaked up every extra second in bed while James happily started to make breakfast.

We’d bordered on obsessive with making sure we had everything we needed for our weekend tradition of banana pancakes and had a bag specially for our equipment.

As I flicked through magazines, I heard a sigh from the kitchen, then the silence of concentration, then the sound of my camera clicking.


It turns out we’d forgotten a rather key component of our banana pancake making dream team but James had thought up a way around it and wanted to share it with you.

So this is for everyone who has asked me how to make scrumptiously smooth banana pancakes without a blender (and anyone who might be caught short).

Even better? James has written this post so you can be sure the method is scientifically sound (check out the apparatus list) and without lots of exclamation marks and hyphens!

Blenderless Banana Pancakes 


Claire and I make lists. It’s important for both of our jobs to have all the bases covered, and pre-holiday the list making was bordering on excessive.

Nevertheless, we still managed to forget something important. On our list we ticked off “blender” but didn’t include the blade!

We both love banana pancakes for breakfast (Claire likes raspberries and nut better, while I prefer bacon and maple syrup) so I was forced to improvise.

Having made some fairly poor banana pancakes in the past before using the blender, I stumped upon a recipe which produced pretty reliable little pancakes.


Ingredients and apparatus:

2 eggs.

1 banana.

1 knife.

1 potato masher (a fork will also work).

A non-stick pan (we brought our own with us!).

1 jug.

1 chopping board.

1 plastic spatula.


First, slice the banana up as small as you can.


Then mash it up in the jug using the potato masher or fork until you are bored. Aim for an even consistency.

The reason for cutting the banana first is to cut as many fibres as possible. You will find if you skip this step you end up with unpleasant big lumps, because no amount of mashing will break some of the longer fibres in bananas.

Break the eggs straight into the jug and whisk up, mixing with the banana.


Heat the pan up to a medium heat and pour your pancakes in. I like mine mug-sized, Claire likes them a little smaller. Flip them when they start to develop bubbles like crumpets!


Serve with whatever takes your fancy, I wont judge.

* What pancake topping do you like?

* Any ingenious methods for making a food/drink without a piece of kit?

 I have been put off green smoothies for life after trying to blend up watercress, avocado and lettuce with an immersion blender. There are just no words to explain how bad it was!


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Back from Center Parcs

Hello there! We’re back from our wonderful holiday at Center Parcs, which was full of festive cheer, cycling, swimming and fireworks.


I thought today I’d do a recap of our holiday, then review Center Parcs (you know you want to see a billion pictures of the bathroom…) another time.

Day One


We arrived at around 5pm on Monday, having taken a detour to nearby Warminster – a historic market town, as the signs kept reminding us – for a shop.


Our villa, number 588, was lovely. It slept six so we had lots of space and, after unpacking, got down to the most important aim of the stay – relaxing!


Center Parcs lodges have fully equipped kitchens and we cooked every meal in ours, which saved a fortune on restaurants and cafes!


I whipped up some gammon with chilli and cucumber for our first dinner, served with sweet potato chips, salad and avocado. Followed by chocolate for dessert!

Day Two


I slept terribly as I had awful allergies all night, we think from the feather pillows, and woke up all puffy and with scratch marks all over my arms and legs.


Still, the vat of coffee and banana pancakes James prepared helped bring me to and we headed off to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise on our bikes.


I spent ages looking for a swimsuit before our break and I am so pleased to report that this Seafolly costume, currently 30% off, is everything I was hoping for.

Boy leg, padded cups (can be taken out), flattering fit, stays put even in river rapids and doesn’t ride up even after a fast slide – Seafolly I salute you.


We headed home for a delicious lunch before walking down to the Jardin du Sport for some festive treasure trail action.

The trail ended up being quite a trek and we picked the shorter, walking version! We spent around two hours finding clues before reporting back to claim our prize.


Chocolate penguins and compasses (ignore my still-puffy face)! When we were at the Jardin du Sport, we may have picked up a little pick ‘n’ mix to replenish our energy..


After sugaring ourselves silly and reading, it was time for some festive fireworks by the beach, our favourite experience of the stay.


The 10-minute display was set to classical music and was breathtaking, with so many colours and different types of fireworks, all reflected in the water of the lake.


After the fireworks, we went for a walk around the park, and stumbled upon the winter wonderland.


It was rather magical, lots of fake snow and fairy lights plus some singing stuffed reindeer (ok they weren’t as magical!).


Dinner was hot dogs stuffed with onions, tomato ketchup and mustard, served with tenderstem, asparagus and sweet potato mash, which mainly went to hungry man James!


I finished with a lovely dessert of dates, dark chocolate and almond butter, ahh!

Day Three


We woke up rather late thanks to our active day and had a very lazy morning, reading and eating pancakes. It was bliss.


Afternoon hit and we dragged ourselves onto our bikes for a cycle around. I was determined to complete the cycle part of the treasure trail, so we did.


After finishing the trail, we went to the Village Square to do some festive pottery painting, something we both really got into!


James unleashed his artistic talents on a reindeer, while I turned my brush to a gingerbread man – I think they worked quite well!


We had a late lunch before jumping into our swim suits and heading for an evening swim. The pool is all lit up and heated but sadly became a little too Club 18-30…

Nothing like groping teenagers to get you sprinting out of the water as fast as possible!


Dinner was chips, chicken, salad and avocado followed by something special I’d been saving for the trip..


Locally made chocolates!

Day Four


Another late rising meant for a hearty breakfast, it tasted so delicious. We showered then headed straight to the pool for our last swim.

Our second day of 25 lengths felt awesome and the rapids were quiet, I thought it was hilarious to shout “I’ve got something important to tell you James, it’s about…” before flinging myself off the edge of each slide.

Luckily there was noone else around to hear me laughing at my own terrible joke!

??????????????????????????????? The rest of the day was walking, reading (recommend this book for an engrossing read), cycling and relaxing.

In the evening, we headed down to the Jardin du Sport for the final time to take part in the festive pub quiz.

Our team of two, named Christmas Spirit & Mixer, scored 52 out of 80, the winning team, What The Dickens, managed a jaw-dropping 66 points – but they did have seven members!

Day Five

Up with the larks to pack the car up, tidy the lodge, cycle our bikes down, pick up the car and be out of the park by 10.

A little someone (oh yes we did!) is very unimpressed with all the travelling and upheaval, think we have some making up to do…

* Do you like active holidays? 

* Do you prefer to cook or eat out on holiday?

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Eats and Shrieks

Hello there! Hope you’re having a fabulous Sunday and have enjoyed some of the sunshine, it feels like a proper winter’s day.

I’m having a productive working day today, isn’t it strange how good finally sorting things out can make you feel?

I’ve done a big clean-out of my laptop, moved a billion pictures and videos to my external harddrive, cleaned my camera, charged three sets of kit batteries and written lots!

However, I think most of you will be more interested in what I got up to yesterday…



Yup. I had a 350-mile round trip (in a car, in one day..) to Pembrokeshire to cover a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.


Maybe it’s just me but I was a bit bemused by the hysterical screams and shrieks of people who met Kate, but the picture above just about sums it up. That girl is so overjoyed!

I asked a colleague about the overwhelming reception (from people who had stood in pouring rain and gales for 3+ hours) and she replied: “She’s a princess, isn’t she?”

Kate is very princess-like and managed to look flawless despite the weather, the rest of us were a mess of frizzy hair, smudged make-up and drenched clothing.

Anyway, away from royals and onto the rest of the week!


Work-wise everything was a little crazy all week, with lots of driving, so it was a real treat to get out for a walk with Rufus on Wednesday evening.


We took him to Ashton Court and I had great fun running through mud and grass with him scampering beside me. He looked adorable with grass on his nose!


We babysat him that evening and he was very stressed by the fireworks, which was upsetting to see. It’s so hard when you can’t explain what the noises are :(


When we returned home our own little man was in need of some reassurance, he was a little spooked to but relaxed burrowing in our bed and interrupting James reading!

Today is the year-anniversary of me picking Meeko up from the unwanted box in the pet store, I can’t imagine life without his fluffiness.

Fun fact: I covered a visit by Prince William to Wales the day before too!


My vegetable kick has continued this week, which is good given the lack of exercise and amount of driving I’ve been up to.


Sweet potato fries, onions, sprouts, tenderstem, pork, salad, avocado


Haddock, avo, salad, a forest of tenderstem


Free-range chicken stir fry with veggies and courgette noodles


Smoked salmon fillet, avo, salad, steamed veggies

* Are you a fan of the royals? Do you have a favourite?

* Did you see any fireworks this year?

I didn’t go to any displays but saw a few through the window and when walking home!

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Real Food Resources: Books

These days it might seem a little old fashioned to recommend books to those looking to embrace a real food lifestyle as there are so many fantastic free resources available online, from blogs to websites, YouTube to apps and of course aforementioned podcasts.

However, I think that while the Internet holds much wisdom, books are a great way to learn at your own pace, without feeling overwhelmed or questioning where to start.

The following books are tried and tested favourites of mine, I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone regardless of dietary requirement.

Just like the podcasts I listed previously, these books often come from a paleo perspective but I still firmly believe they contain great information for everyone.


Your Personal Paleo Diet – Chris Kresser


I pretty much read this book in an entire afternoon and have since re-read it as it is crammed with so much advice and knowledge.

Chris Kresser advocates a customised diet for each person, depending on their needs and how they react to certain foods.

A great part of this book is the way it explains reasons behind suggestions and gives details about many different foods so you can make an informed choice.


My favourite part of the book, however, is the chapters on lifestyle. Managing stress, exercise, sleep and how to improve your quality of life are all here.

Each chapter is packed with facts and studies, which are all neatly summarised in bulletpoint form at the end – I especially appreciated this.

The book comes with a reset plan to ‘reset’ your body by removing certain foods, ‘rebuild’ it by introducing some (full-fat dairy for example) and ‘revive’ by tweaking supplements, lifestyle and diet to your personal needs. Note: I didn’t use this program

I Quit Sugar For Life – Sarah Wilson


Sarah Wilson is leading a crusade against sugar, which she believes is making us sick, sad and fat. I Quit Sugar For Life follows the success of her first book, I Quit Sugar, which was a New York Times bestseller.

I adore the quick tips, fun and easy to understand way the book is written and the ‘let’s try this’ sections.

The book is very approachable and not at all daunting, with gorgeous pictures of Sarah looking rather fabulous by the seaside, as well as food.


I’d recommend this book to people starting out, or looking to sharpen up their eating habits, though anyone could pick up a tip or two.

There are so many ideas including staying healthy while travelling, what to pack for breakfast and lunch on the go, kids food and even fun projects like sprouted chia heads.

Practical Paleo – Diane Sanfilippo


Let’s just start by making one thing clear: Practical Paleo is HUGE!



Yup, this isn’t a book you’ll want to lug round all day but don’t let that put you off. Practical Paleo is brimming with information, meal plans, recipes and tear-out guides.

It’s everything you need for a real food lifestyle, arranged into three parts: The Why – Food and Your Body, 30-Day Meal Plans and Recipes.

The Why contains everything from stocking a paleo pantry to digestion, regulating blood sugar and eating in restaurants or at parties.



The Meal Plans are tailored for specific needs (so if you’ve been diagnosed or want to eat in a certain way they’re a fantastic resource).

From Autoimmune conditions to thyroid health to athletic performance and fat loss – you’ll find what you’re looking to achieve and an easy way for it.

I’m a huge fan of Diane’s recipes too as they’re simple, with easy-to-find ingredients and taste fantastic (the apple streusel egg muffins are so good!).

The 21 Day Sugar Detox - Diane Sanfilippo


You can see by the number of pages I’ve marked how much I love this book and it’s the only one that lives in my kitchen, rather than on the shelf.

21DSD may be a baby in comparison to Practical Paleo but if you’re wanting to learn more about sugar and carbs, there’s lots of approachable information for grabs.

Of course, the main point of this book is the brilliant 21 Day Sugar Detox it walks you through – through preparation checklists, what to expect each day, supplements, a daily success log, guides and a great option to sign up for daily email support.


The 21DSD is placed in three levels depending on where you are on your ‘journey’. I’ve personally done 21DSD twice at the third level and had fantastic results.

This is the book that really taught me how to cook and to go crazy for vegetables. It changed my life hugely.

The World Until Yesterday – Jared Diamond


Fun fact: before I was pulled into the world of journalism I was dreaming of becoming an anthropologist.

In a way, I suppose my job is a little like anthropology but it doesn’t quite satisfy my appetite for learning about other people and cultures.

I was surprised when I read this book just how much lifestyle and diet advice I would glean from it, and just how much I learnt in general.

From how to raise your children from the mouths of tribal people, to optimal ways of staying healthy and avoiding disease – this book is one of my all-time favourites.

It’s a book you’ll feel the need to read aloud every few paragraphs and want to re-read as soon as you’ve finished it.

Other books destined for my shelf (check out the previews!)

Real Life Paleo – Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry 

Mediterranean Paleo Cooking- Caitlin Weeks, Nabil Boumrar, Diane Sanfilippo

The Paleo Approach Cookbook – Sarah Ballantyne

* Have you read any of the above books?

* Any health/diet book recommendations? 

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Beaching and Bouldering

Well hello there and a very happy Tuesday to you! Hope you had a brilliant weekend and are looking forward to the rest of the week.

Today I have a fun weekend to recap with you, it seems crazy to be writing about sunshine and sand when it’s been chucking it down all day here and quite chilly.

I’m going to jump straight into the recap so you can look at picture of finer days instead!



Getting out of bed for a run at the end of a long week is never easy but Laureen and I did it – only to be rewarded with this fabulous sunrise as we ran over the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Such a great way to end the week! I also enjoyed a special lunch, thanks to surprise leftover smoked salmon in the fridge.


Have you tried Marks and Spencers’ roasted pumpkin and sunflower seed mix? Seriously addictive, I have to stop myself eating it by the handful!


Dinner was colourful too, we tucked into chicken fajitas – this was the first plate of many. We followed it up with dessert, films, and relaxing.


While I might have stayed in for Halloween, my sister Jenny decided to recreate one of the moments of our childhood I try to forget.

So I was a witch with Simon Cowell trousers, my sister was my cat. Wearing a bin bag. And a leash.

Her friend Sarah managed to catch my pointy pose and Jenny.. well, she hasn’t changed much from when she was four years old ;)



We woke up super early and felt really energised so decided to go and pick up breakfast. The only bananas we could find were super ripe, hence the burnt pancakes. They still tasted fab though!

After breakfast I had a yearning to go to the beach, it was almost as if my body knew temperatures would soon be dropping.

I managed to convince James that 5 hours in the car would so be worth it and we embarked on one of my bucket list items: showing him my university town.


I managed to bribe him through the long journey with promises of fish n chips on the beach, so that Harry Ramsdens was our first port of call on our arrival.


Side note: In my mind I think I still look 18. This picture sadly shows me that this is not the case, especially after a long drive. Le sigh.


Anyway, I digress! It felt oh-so-good to be on the beach, wind in my hair, sand beneath my feet and the above view.


We spent a little time on the beach before heading to the amusements, where we rocked the penny slots and won a little penguin. James was rather proud!


We went for a really long walk along the beach, which I adored, then headed into the town centre. I even took James to my favourite bar as a student, he was a little horrified!


Another highlight was taking James to my favourite ladylike haunt, Chocol8 - a gorgeous chocolate cafe in upmarket Westbourne.

You can pick your own chocolates to have with a hot drink, the above are a peppermint cream, strawberry truffle and balsamic truffle. Oh so delicious!


The drive home was long again, I was in a food coma from the chips and chocolate! Dinner was quick and fresh, I felt in need of some serious greenery after our lunch.



Sunday started with pancakes (this time we used green bananas for success!) and chores before we headed for a bouldering session.

It was great fun apart from some idiot basically forcing me off the wall by standing underneath me and distracting me as I attempted an endurance challenge.

Clearly going underneath someone is banned when bouldering because of potential for serious injury but this guy just wanted to boast to his girlfriend how he would be doing it better than amateur me.

I wish I’d had a chance to retry the challenge but he hogged for the rest of the session, showing off to his girlfriend who looked less and less impressed. Grr!

We stopped after an hour as our hands were beginning to suffer and I knew I needed them on top form for Monday’s job.


My mood lightened considerably when I found gluten-free, rubbish-free sausages at Mark and Spencer, meaning I could finally do ‘hot dog as the bun’.

I sliced my sausages down the middle then filled them with roasted onions, gluten-free mustard and ketchup. They were as magical as I had expected!

* Any embarrassing Halloween costumes to share?

* Have you tried sausages without the bun? 

I’m sure veggie or vegan varieties would also work brilliantly!

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