Gift Guide Part One: Chocolateque

 

With Christmas fast approaching; 73 days if we’re being exact, if you haven’t already started shopping for gifts you soon will be.

We’re going to give you a helping hand by showcasing small businesses, putting together guides for specific family members and friendship groups and tracking down gifts to suit all budgets. From high fashion to hand made, you’ll find it all here.

Today we are kicking off with Part One, in which we introduce you to the online retailer of delicious sounding chocolates, made by Frederic Blondeel Belgium based company Chocolateque.

Frederic is famous in Belgium and abroad (especially in Japan) because of his exquisite skill to combine texture and flavour.
Can’t Help but Be are most tempted by the following:

  • Crispy Vanilla Caramel (Cralin M)
  • Sweet and Salty Green tea (Green Tea M)
  • Wasabi combined with Dark Chocolate (Wasabi F)
  • Pepper and Spicy Chilli (Charles Hot F)
  • Earl Grey (Earl Grey F)

For details of all the flavours available, visit the website, here

The chocolates are available in a variety of presentations for perfect gifts,
The boxes of chocolates start at 14.50 Euros for 250g (approx 25 chocolates) and are beautifully put together

ballotin_caramel  Caramel box

Also available are the beautiful looking Orangettes and Citronettes costing 6.95 Euros. We are most intrigued by these and think they would make a beautiful addition to any festive get together.

organgetes Orangettes

Chocolate bars are also in the range, but are currently sold out, but due to be re-launched with new packaging by the end of October.

All Chocolates are shipped via courier straight from Belgium
Postage to the UK costs £9 per order, which may be a little expensive for some, but given the rave reviews and great reputation of the company and chocolates, we think this is a small price to pay for an indulgent treat or gift for someone you love (or yourself, of course!)

Check out the website today and see what tempts you the most

You can also follow Chocolateque on Twitter for up to date news and coupons.

Already tried these chocolates?
Any flavour you especially like the sound of?

Get in touch, we love to hear from you!

(stay tuned for the next gift guide, coming soon)

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Beating the Chill

 

We’re almost a week in to October now and the weather has gotten distinctly wintery of late. It’s time to forget brave attempts at prolonging your Summer wardrobe’s life and dig out the knit wear and heavy coats.

Winter clothing can be a bit drab and depressing, and we at Can’t Help but Be have done some window shopping on your behalf to brighten up those dreary days.
Here are our favourite warming accessories:

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Arm Warmers (£10 from www.asos.com) are perfect for wearing with 3/4 sleeve jumpers and coats. There’s no need to compromise on style OR warmth with a pair of these. The gorgeous purple colour is bang on trend too.

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This scarf from the new IDOL range at New Look covers the animal print trend without being over the top. At £15 it’s a quick and stylish way to brighten up a coat, or accessorise for work.

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Autumn gales are no fun when your wearing a scarf. Who wants soggy ends flying in their face, or a sudden gust leaving your neck exposed? This neck warmer, £16 from Asos solves that problem instantly and the bright colour will inject some cheer in to your day (or night).

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Not everyone is a fan of hats, but cold ears can be a nightmare. Enter Urban Outfitters with their crochet ear warmer. More chic than ear muffs, and looking more like pretty hair band than anything else, we love this as a fun compromise between fashion and necessity. It comes in several colour choices and costs £18.

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And for those of you who like a bit more chic in your life, or a rock-chick edge these bow detail leather gloves (also available in cream) are for you. At £15 a pair they are fantastic value for real leather and depending on what you are wearing, can be seen as either girly, or add a touch of grunge to your look.

But, if like us you are still a child at heart, then what could be better than these mittens from Urban Outfitters?

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The colour, and the string that goes round the back of your coat just screams nostalgia, with the added bonus of never rooting through your bag only to discover you own two hands but only one glove.

How are you staying warm this winter?
Get in touch, we love to hear from you.

Food Review: Cocoa Loco

By Laura

Cocoa Loco are crazy about organic chocolate. Their online shop offers a wide range of gifts for all occasions, including Brownies, Cookies, Gift Jars and so much more.

Can’t Help but Be were lucky enough to be sent a box of goodies to review, and so, for the sake of our readers we indulged in a chocolate tasting session of massive portions.

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The package arrived beautifully wrapped in yellow tissue paper and the chocolate was present well in clear cellophane with stickers bearing the Cocoa Loco logo, product name and ingredients list.
It was hard to know where to start, as everything looked, and smelled so good…after much deliberation we dived in and went for:

Cocoa Loco Buttons

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We were sent a bag of the milk chocolate variety, which cost £4.99 (inc delivery) for 140g. The buttons also come in a white chocolate pack, and dark chocolate (which is vegan friendly).

The website states that these are “100% scrumptious” and we agreed whole heartedly. The chocolate was incredibly smooth and not too sweet with a rich quality that meant you couldn’t eat the whole pack at once (despite us trying!). We first tried them at room temperature, and then out of the fridge. Either way, these were a gorgeous treat perfect for children and adults alike.

Organic Chocolate Bites; Dark Chocolate, Hazelnuts and Cocoa Nibs

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These aren’t yet available on the website, only in shops but they were too good not to include in the review. The dark chocolate was pleasingly bitter, with a crisp sweetness from the nuts and cocoa nibs. If you like dark chocolate then this is the treat for you. We preferred them straight from the fridge for some extra bite, but they work well served at room temperature as well.

Handmade Organic Chocolate Bar (milk and orange)

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Cocoa Loco do a large range of Handmade Chocolate bars with flavours ranging from simple milk, plain or white through to the more obscure white rose geranium. We sample the milk and orange bar, which (as do all the bars) weighed in at 100g and costs £4.99 inc delivery.

The chocolate was superb, Cocoa Loco clearly know their stuff, and the orange flavour was mild. This was another very pleasing product, our only complaint was that the bar was very thin so wasn’t as satisfying to eat. Still, none went to waste and we very much enjoyed this. Again, this would be the perfect present for all ages and there is certainly something for everyone flavour wise.

Flapjack

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This was another product not listed on the website, which is a shame as it is divine and I want more of it! The bar was very generous in it’s serving size and perhaps we should have split it in to two portions! There wasn’t much chocolate present but it made a fantastic afternoon snack and the addition of nuts really made the bar.

I must add that we were also sent a brownie to review, however it didn’t last long enough to be reviewed….it was amazing though!

Chocolate Orange Bites

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Another product not yet available online, and another orange themed chocolate. These were probably the star of the parcel we received! A stronger orange flavour than the bar and a much chunkier bite, these lasted all of thirty seconds between three of us once opened and we’re still dreaming of them days later. Incredible. These need to be on sale everywhere, pronto.

White Chocolate and Chilli Bites

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Again, not listed on the website, but there is a white chilli chocolate bar available (£4.99). These are certainly not for the faint hearted. Gorgeous, rich white chocolate with the flavour of the chilli gradually building up in to a quite intense heat. A gorgeously grown up gift, preferably to yourself.

So, on the whole, not one bad product,

the website www.cocoaloco.co.uk is well worth a visit as it showcases the full range of bars and gifts available and tells the story of the company, their ethics and the people who work there.

It’s quite clear that a lot of love and passion for all things chocolate goes in to making each and every piece and the staff are welcoming and open to enquiries about the range, and non-online stockists.

With thanks to Cocoa Loco for providing us with the chance to sample their gorgeous goods! We will definitely be placing an order in time for Christmas.

De*Nada

By Laura

With Autumn swiftly making its presence felt, now seems the perfect time to introduce emerging knitwear accessories line de*nada who have just launched a new website to showcase their Autumn Winter ’09 collection.

“De*Nada is the vision of its founder, Virginia Blanca Arrisueño, who in spring 2005 sought to blend contemporary styles with ethnic elements to offer stylish yet high-quality merchandise. Inspired by the culture and the traditions of her Peruvian heritage, Arrisueño continually works alongside skilled artisans in Peru to create De*Nada’s growing collection.”

DeNada Design Fall/Winter 2009 Lookbook. For use on website.

The new collection includes more than a dozen new designs for scarves, gloves and hats sold at selected retailers in the USA, and worldwide. The handmade products will also soon be available to order online.

For this collection, “It’s all about texture and layering,” said De*Nada’s
founder and lead designer Virginia Arrisueño. Using the traditional
methods of crocheting, knitting and braiding inspired by the culture and
the traditions of her Peruvian heritage, Arrisueño offers “exceptional
detail in each of these pieces.”
Arrisueño also wanted to “reinvent how scarves can be worn” by
incorporating versatile and innovative styles to her pieces.

DeNada Design Fall/Winter 2009 Lookbook. For use on website.

Key items include: cowls, which can be draped around the neck or worn as
hood; eternal scarves, which are loose and lightweight, like a necklace,
and can be worn with or as jewellery; and spiral scarves; which can be worn
long or else shortened, when wrapped once or twice around the neck and
pulled through a loop.

The colour palette for this collection ranges from black, grey and white through to violet, olive green and beige.

DeNada Design Fall/Winter 2009 Lookbook. For use on website.

For further information visit the site at www.denadadesigns.com

Current online retailers of the brand are

www.buydefinition.com

www.shopnastygal.com

We at Cant Help but Be have fallen head over heels for this gorgeous knitwear…it almost makes us long for some colder weather.

Food Review: Nibchoc

By Eloise for Cant Help but Be

We all love that pleasure that chocolate gives us, the comfort and feeling of indulgence it brings with it’s familiar taste, but how many of us would love to eat it and not feel the guilt afterwards? Well, prepare yourselves because now you can! The wonderful people at Nibchoc have developed their chocolate to be

“more than chocolate…without the guilt”.

Yes, you read it correctly; without the guilt. Now I know you may be thinking this sounds too good to be true but I’m here to tell you it isn’t. Nibchoc truly is an amazing taste experience, and with it being vegan friendly, low fat and fewer calories than normal chocolate it is a true pleasure.

The secret of this product is in it’s origins- the chocolates are produced with as few and as good quality ingredients as possible. Instead of using heavy manufacturing techniques which rid them  of their beneficial nutrients, nib choc use the chocolate nib in it’s purest form. The result- chocolate that’s good for you!

But how does it taste? Well, I was extremely lucky to receive sample chocolates from their range to try and I was blown away. The first thing that hit me as I opened my box of bountiful treats was the aroma. Forget the smell of mass produced chocolate, this is a heady mix of cocoa that tingles your nose and arouses your taste buds. It puts other chocolate into the shade, a bit like the first time you smell real coffee and realise how instant coffee just doesn’t compare.

In my box was a selection of chocolates, all square and dense but imprinted with various toppings- I had great fun using the ‘menu’ they supplied guessing the identity of each. And believe me, your nose is one of the best tools for the job- unlike mass produced chocolates these truly smell of their contents- no artificial perfumes added, just the natural beauty contained within.

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My first taste was the macadamia nut– a whole nut sat proudly amongst the nib choc. The texture of nib choc was a lovely surprise, I had worried it may crumble and dry in your mouth but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead a wonderfully rich chocolate hit coated my mouth but then it went so smooth and cleansed my palate- it really was a lovely light chocolate that left me wanting more.

The goji berry was my next try, and I may be alone here, but the whole goji berry phenomenon has passed me by. I tried a dried goji berry a few months back and was not impressed by the so called super fruit but I was wrong. This chocolate wasn’t just my favourite it was one of the nicest things I’d eaten in a long time! The heady strength of the nib choc was cleansed away with the most beautiful fruity taste, like a mouthful of summer, it was delicious- so delicious I could happily have eaten an entire box full of just those!

My box was brimming with flavours, manuka honey (the only non-vegan one in their range), vanilla and rose petal that was so pretty as it was sprinkled with delicate pink petals almost too pretty to eat (but I managed it and was delighted by this beauty), coffee– the scent of which immediately transported me to a coffee bar and it’s entire coffee bean nestled in the nib choc was a total delight as well as the original pure nib bite which was a chocoholics dream.

I do however have one confession, the nib choc with chilli was not to my taste. Perhaps it was because I had spoiled myself with other yummy flavours but I found this chocolate a little too dense and somewhat dry for my taste. But don’t take my word for it, we all have our favourites and one’s we prefer in a box of chocolates, it’s what makes sharing them even more fun!

The nib choc website www.nibchoc.com  is full to the brim with information, nutritional facts and of course provide the online shop where you can buy their entire range of goodies. If you are lucky enough you may even find nib choc in a store near you, the list of their current suppliers in England and Scotland are found here http://www.nibchoc.com/contact.php .

I really would recommend these to any chocolate lover, the fact they are vegan, diabetic and celiac friendly does not mean they lack in flavour nor substance. Far from it, this chocolate is pure indulgence and without the guilt!

Your Low-Cal Shop

By Laura

A few weeks ago I posted my review on PB2 powdered peanut butter, noting that the one place it’s available to buy in the UK is a site I’d never come across before: Your Low-Cal Shop

Simone Jacobs, the owner of the store got in touch to tell me a little bit about herself and her business and so that’s what I’m going to share today.

Simone Jacobs became obese at the age of eight and continued to gain weight until she became morbidly obese in her early twenties. After many unsuccessful attempts at weight loss, her doctors warning of impending illness finally gave her the wake- up call she needed to do something about her unhealthy size.

At 31 years old, and after finally reaching her goal weight (losing over 10 stone), Simone realized that a new chapter in her life had begun. She now faced new challenges on how to maintain her weight loss, and found the answer in a new career in the Low Cal food industry. After starting her business from home, of selling low cal dressings and sauces, her business has now grown into a full service E Commerce shop called Your Low-Cal Shop.

Your Low Cal Shop carries a variety of no calorie and low calorie delicious products such as coffee flavourings, cooking sprays, puddings, snacks, sauces and sensational peanut butter. The product line is continuously expanding and Simone is always asking for feedback and suggestions from consumers on her website.

In a short amount of time, and after a lot of hard work, Your Low Cal Shop has become the online destination of choice for a delicious selection of healthy foods to help you maintain a balanced lifestyle.

For more information, please visit the website: www.your-lowcalshop.com

The shop is a treasure trove of goods that have until now, only been available to the USA.
Perfect for dieters and those who like to save their calories for the main part of their meal, I’m most intrigued by Walden Farms Apricot Fruit Spread (£3.99), Froops Natural Apple Crisps (79p) and of course my beloved PB2, as well as flavoured Splenda packets for your morning coffee.

Simone is currently on an adventure in America tracking down new products for the shop and according to the website we can look forward to Low Carb Protein Cereals later this month. The website also features a newsletter and recipes, which include a tempting sounding PB2 French toast. Shipping starts at £3.50 for up to 1kg of products, which in my eyes is a bargain..much, much cheaper than a flight to the USA after all.

Simone,
many thanks for getting in touch with Can’t Help but Be, we look forward to seeing more from your shop and wish you the very best of luck with it.

Food Review: LoveDean Granola

By Laura

I’m a breakfast cereal fiend, I can’t think of a cereal I’ve ever tried and didn’t like. My favourite variety has to be granola though, for it’s versatility and health benefits, so when I came across LoveDean I was immediately intrigued.

LoveDean Granola is an award winning cereal freshly made with jumbo oats, nuts and seeds which are slowly toasted with oils including hemp and pumpkin, and is sweetened only by honey. Free of all E numbers and preservatives LoveDean is endorsed by many well known nutritionists and celebrity chefs and has won several awards since it’s launch in 2005.

There are four varieties of granola in  range making it perfect for the whole family, choose from:

  • The Famous Original
  • Tangy Cranberry
  • Juicy Date and Apple
  • The Lite Fantastic (containing 37% less fat)

I was lucky enough to be sent a pot of The Famous Original to try out and share my thoughts with Can’t Help but Be.

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The plastic tub packaging (which is perfect for re-using for snacks on the go) is practical and looks sleek and classy. It also means the granola stays incredibly fresh and makes it easy to dip your hand in and snack throughout the day.

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I sampled the granola in several ways, initially just scooping out a handful for that all important initial tasting.

My verdict?
Impressive. Instead of being overly sweet as many breakfast cereals tend to be, this had a rich, dark taste and the flavours from the nuts and seeds shone through.

I also tried some for breakfast with both hot and cold milk; sprinkled over Greek Yoghurt and fruit, and I think it would be a wonderful addition to a fruit crumble topping too.

My only warning to you, readers, is that this is addictive stuff. Once you start eating it you cannot stop
(but considering this is so healthy, there is no need for guilt!)

Visit LoveDean at their website (www.lovedeangranola.com) for further information, many recipe ideas and stockists.
Currently LoveDean is sold at most of the UK Waitrose Stores and will hopefully soon be back up and running with mail order.

You can also read more about LoveDean creator Lucy O’Donnell here. An incredibly friendly and multi-talented woman, she’s on to a winner with her granola creations.