Posts from May 2015.

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Two Fruit Smoothie Ideas

May 22nd  •  Posted in Food

Comes the warm weather and the fresher, juicer fruits and I’m all about smoothies. If in wintertime I can’t say no to a baking session to have cookies always done for an afternoon snack (you know you have a sweet tooth when chocolate becomes a daily basic), in spring and summertime I can easily switch to the healthier smoothie and actually be quite satisfied with my snack! It has been a couple of months that I’m getting into the habit of drinking a freshly mixed fruit smoothie in the early hours of my afternoons, and not only it is super fun to find new fruit combinations and experiment with creativity and colours, but it also makes for a great boost of energy to face the rest of the day!

Smoothies are all about creativity and personal taste, but we’ve come up with a couple of ideas that make for delicious and different smoothies that I can’t really *not* share with you! Hopefully, if you’ll ever get bored with your favourite smoothie combinations, these will be a great inspiration!

Two Fruit Smoothie Ideas
Two Fruit Smoothie Ideas

Serves 2 | Goji & Red Berries Smoothie
15 goji berries
170ml fresh water
A couple of handfuls of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
A handful of strawberries

First off create the goji juice by throwing around 15 goji berries and 100ml of water in a blender. Blend well until all the berries are chopped and the water becomes light red. Using a small strainer, strain the goji juice over a glass to remove any harsh residues, then pour the juice into the blender and blend together with all the berries (which you previously rinsed very well) until smooth. Serve immediately or let it chill in the fridge and enjoy later (remember to give it a shake before serving if you pick the latter!).

This smoothie is rich and sweet, but also a great way to implement super healthy goji berries in your diet if you’re not a fan of snacking on them by their own!

Serves 2 | Banana, Mint & Lemon Smoothie
1 banana
170ml fresh water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 or 3 leaves of mint

Pour the water, chopped banana, freshly squeezed lemon juice and mint leaves into a blender and blend well until smooth. Add a teaspoon of honey if you prefer your smoothies on the sweet side. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for later!

This one is inspired to a smoothie I got on a hot day in Milan last month at VIVA (such a blessing after walking for a long hot day in a busy city!) and it’s fresh and delicious but totally different than your average fruit smoothie!

Two Fruit Smoothie Ideas
Two Fruit Smoothie Ideas

What are your favourite smoothie combinations?! x


Online tools for bloggers & business owner

May 20th  •  Posted in Tech

I’ve been blogging since a while now, and also am running a small business at the same time, but only recently I’ve found a great routine to plan, schedule, write, work, publish and create, all of this while also staying organized. Most of it is thanks to some great (and mostly free) online tools, websites and apps that help me schedule, promote and plan ahead, while also staying updated with my website’s analytics. Here I’ve written down a little list of favourite tools that are especially awesome for bloggers and small business owners!

Stay tuned until the end for a free printable weekly planner!

Buffer – As much as I like to publish authentic content on social media too, sometimes scheduled tweets are the only way to go for me. I usually only schedule tweets to promote my blog posts, usually 4/5 times spread during the day. You’ll be able to pre-schedule standard hours for your tweets, so it’s great to look at when your followers are more active on Twitter and strategically plan ahead when to make your tweets go live.

Sunrise Calendar – I usually plan my blog posts a month or so ahead, so it’s great to have a nice calendar app where to plan ahead when those posts are going live on my blog. Sunrise Calendar has a lovely interface, and it allows me to use different colours for different typologies of posts (like food, beauty, style, etc.) to be able to never publish the same type of posts two days in a row.

LikeBtn – See that little hearts/likes counter in the footer of my posts?! I know there’re a tun of plugins to install it for free on WordPress, but it’s not that easy to find an aesthetically pleasing button that works fine on Blogger too, but LikeBtn is doing the trick for me. It’s not always free, but is very inexpensive and a great way to see what your readers actually like.

MailChimp – I’m new to newsletters, but I’m really into building a mailing list to stay connected with people that is really interested in my blog content and business and MailChimp is super easy to use (even without following a guide) and it’s great because there’re plugins for WordPress and Squarespace, and easy form codes to implement anywhere in your template.

Coffitivity – This is so great! If you’re one that likes to work in coffee shops but can’t really be in one everyday, Coffitivity recreates the sounds of a café to make you feel like you’re there whereas you’re actually in your boring office. It’s a boost for inspiration, plus you can pick the sound you most like!

Mapbox – Great for lifestyle and travel bloggers, Mapbox allows you to create maps of your favourite cities to place a mark where your favourite shops, bakeries, restaurants, ect. are located to suggest them to your followers. It’s a lovely idea to add to a page of your lifestyle/travel blog, as you can also add links to your own content in the description of the place to reindex your readers to your reviews or photos.

Twitter Cards – Did you know you can create cards on Twitter to make it super easy for your followers to visit your website or subscribe to your newsletter without even leaving Twitter? You can create lead, website, images or app cards for free, but to me these are extremely lovely for promoting and incrementing my mailing list!

Pinterest for Business – If you’re using Pinterest already, you’ll know its a great one for inspiration. If you’re looking into inspire your following, it must be the place where to promote your products or content. Sign up to Pinterest for Business to see the stats of your Pinterest account and see which pins are more popular and even how people pin from your website. Take a look at this amazing guide if you’re new to promoting your blog/small business on Pinterest.

Google Analytics – You’ll know Google Analytics better than me, but if you’ve not yet signed up, you really need to take the step. The tricky part is setting it up, but once done, you’ll see all the stats of your blog in one place, even the demographic of your readers, which is not only interesting to know, but also important to understand what kind of people is interested in your blog/small business.

Rich Pins – These add extra informations right under your pins, and make it super easy for your followers to see what your recipes, places, products pins are about!

What about your favourite online tools for creatives? Do you already use all of these? x

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Tea shortbread covered in blueberry chocolate

May 18th  •  Posted in Recipe

I remember the taste of my step-mother’s shortbread covered in Easter egg dark chocolate (that year we won a huge Easter egg, that huge that we made chocolate covered cookies for a very long period – not complaining, really) like it was yesterday, though I was probably not older than 13!

When a parcel filled with various flavours of Lindt Excellence Chocolate Bars (I bet you all have already spotted their extremely delicious dark chocolate line, right?!) knocked at my door last week, all I could think of were those shortbread cookies I used to eat from Easter to summertime when I was younger. I couldn’t resist and made a slightly more creative version, and quite a summer-y one too, inspired by the blueberry chocolate that was loudly calling my name ever since.

These cookies went down a treat and in less than 24h they were all gone. That’s how good they were! I’ve used the classical english breakfast tea that I love if paired with lemon, which is such a good fresh fit for the blueberry flavour of the chocolate – but you can really experiment with different flavours of chocolate and tea with these!

Tea shortbread with Lindt chocolate
Tea shortbread with Lindt chocolate
Ingredients for 12 cookies
150g white flour ; 80g white sugar ; 2 egg yolks ; juice of 1 lemon ; 90ml seed oil ; 1 English Breakfast tea bag ; 100g Lindt Excellence Dark Blueberry Intense ; 3 tsp butter.

1 :: Preheat the oven to 170°C. In a food processor blend together flour, sugar, egg yolks and seed oil until nicely combined.

2 :: Squeeze one big lemon (taking care of eliminate the seeds if necessary) and add the juice to the other ingredients while still blending. Cut open the tea bag and add the content to the other ingredients too. Blend well.

3 :: The ingredients should start to come together into a nice dough by this time. If yours is too dry, add a tiny bit of seed oil and blend well. Use your hands to shape a ball of dough and leave it rest of a couple of minutes.

4 :: Place the dough between two foils of parchment paper, then roll it out with a rolling pin until 1cm thick. Avoid to make it too thin or your cookies will be too dry when baked, also try to make them all the same thickness or some will cook more than others.

5 :: Remove the top foil of parchment paper and use a cookie cutter to cut your cookies out of your dough. Place the cookies onto a baking tin lined with parchment paper (it’s not important to place them far apart from the other, as they won’t spread out). You’ll might need to roll the dough out a few times to cut more cookies out of it!

6 :: Bake the cookies for 15 minutes – do not overcook. They must be crunchy but also almost buttery soft, so you don’t want to go for more than 15 minutes for them.

7 :: It’s important at this stage that you remove your cookies from the oven and let them chill for 30/40 minutes until they’ve completely cooled down. Then you can go on and melt the chocolate in the microwaves together with 3 tbsp of butter. Make sure you don’t burn it and give it a stir or two in the middle of the process until you are left with a very liquid mixture.

8 :: Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate to cover half of them with it. Use a spoon to help you add sprinkles of almond and blueberry from the chocolate mixture. Place the cookies onto parchment paper and let them cool down for a couple of minutes before putting the tin in the fridge for an hour or two.

9 :: Store the cookies in the fridge (especially now that it’s starting to be warmer, they will melt if not in the fridge) and enjoy the fresh and fruity combination of flavours with your afternoon tea or just by themselves!

{ Enjoy! }

Tea shortbread with Lindt chocolate
Tea shortbread with Lindt chocolate

This is quite of a different recipe, but I love it and hope you’ll like it as well! Let me know if you give it a try! x