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The Bathory custom bath soak: review & giveaway

bathorylemon

What do craft beer, Instagram-printed marshmallows and luxury bath soak have in common? They’re all startups from the clever folks at Mint Digital. Check out DeskBeers and Boomf at your leisure, but today we’re talking bathtime with The Bathory and their custom-made, hand-blended bath soaks.

bathorybottles

The Bathory invited me to have a go at making my own soak a little while ago. It’s a pleasure to browse the lovely site and choose the perfect ingredients for your very own bath-time invention. First you pick a base of salts, either designed to soothe, detox or just bask.

bathorysoothe

Then you can layer on three essential oils: information is given about the properties and effects of each fragrance so you can pick ones that revive, relax or inspire you. Pop your choices in the basket and a few days later a beautifully-designed little bag lands on your doorstep.

Bathory

You can clearly smell the fragrant oils even from outside the packaging! I couldn’t wait to give it a go. The jar is pretty enough to display on the shelf all the time and is enough for several happy bathtimes.

Bathory

I went for a detox base with grapefruit, bergamot and rosemary oils, and it smelled absolutely amazing. You need to add quite a lot to get a truly scented bath, but my favourite way to use it is in the shower: mixed with a little olive oil it’s a dreamy shower scrub. It made my skin really soft and the scent lasted after I dried off. I’ll definitely be replacing my jar when it runs out – the question is do I stick with my current blend or  try a new one…?

bathorywin

The competition is now closed. Congrats to the winner, Louise and thanks for all your entries.

Thanks to The Bathory for giving me a soak to review and one to give away.

Giveaway! Tickets to moonlit ballet at Kew

Kew gardens

Wanna win two tickets to the world’s first ballet on water at the beautiful Kew Gardens, with a tea tasting from Taylors of Harrogate thrown in for good measure? Read on…

Kew gardens
Taylors of Harrogate has collaborated with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to launch its new range of fruit and herbal tea infusions with an exclusive moon-lit, tea-tasting experience. Hosted in the magical setting of Kew Gardens, the evening will feature a unique, first-ever performance by Northern Ballet, on water.

ballet

They’ve kindly given me two tickets to give away to the event, which takes place at Kew on Thursday, 8th May at 7.30 – 10pm. You’ll also get a taste and take-home supply of the new fruit and herbal infusions from Taylors of Harrogate, which is certified by the experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and consists of six blended infusions: peppermint, lemongrass and ginger, chamomile and vanilla, spiced apple, sweet rhubarb and blackberry and elderflower.

KEW-LINE-UP

To enter just leave a comment on this post; tell me your favourite herb or flower to make it more fun. A winner will be chosen at random, and entries close at midnight on Thursday 1st May. Get an extra entry by tweeting, just include my handle @whatkatiedoes and a link back here so I can spot it or retweet the below.

The competition is closed. Congrats to the winner, Sabina of Shades of Red.

Good luck, and hope to see you there!

Terms and conditions
Taylors of Harrogate and What Katie Does reserves the right the select the winner at random. This is a one-off VIP event and tickets are not exchangeable or redeemable at any other venue. The winner will receive a ticket for themselves and friend only. Attendees must be available on Thursday 8th May 2014 between 7.30pm and 10pm to attend the event at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew London. The winner will be notified via email on Friday, 2nd May 2014. Travel and accommodation will not be provided as part of the competition package.

Lomography Smartphone Scanner: Review & giveaway

Lomo smartphone film scanner

Lomography got in touch to offer me a review product, which I could then give away to one of you lovely readers. Rather than pick a camera I was rather more intrigued by their Smartphone Film Scanner

Lomo smartphone film scanner
Lomo smartphone film scanner

This nifty gadget lets you scan 35mm films directly into your phone just using the phone’s camera, so they’re ready to share immediately. The adaptable device works with any iPhone and most Android phones, and you can scan regular 35mm, panoramic, or Lomokino films.

Lomo smartphone film scanner

It’s extremely easy to use. Just feed the film into the bottom and load your phone onto the clamp at the top. Turn the dial to advance the film, snap, and repeat. There’s something quite magical about being able to view your photos this way and ‘release’ them from the negatives so quickly. It works particularly well with iOS7′s super new camera improvements.

These were taken straight off my phone with no editing:

You can also take the photos with a digital camera instead of the smartphone, for a higher res scan. These were taken with my camera through the device, again with no editing:

Lomo smartphone film scanner
Lomo smartphone film scanner
Lomo smartphone film scanner

Competition now closed, thanks to all who entered and to Lomography for the prize

If you missed out, you can buy the scanner here!

Giveaway! Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi

If you’ve been following my Instagrams recently you might have noticed (amongst the cats) a renewed enthusiasm for home-cooked dinners. The reason is that I got the new Ottolenghi book Jerusalem and I want to try making almost everything in it!

Written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, who both grew up in the city, the book is a love letter to the city’s rich food history. From childhood favourites to street food and special occasion desserts, this book covers loads of different recipes as well as giving lots of little insights into the fascinating history and culture of the area. You’ll also find a few recipes from Ottolenghi’s new restaurant NOPI, like the stunning butternut-tahini dip. It’s probably two-thirds vegetarian – there are separate meat and fish chapters but the pulse, pastry and vegetable chapters are stuffed full of things I want to try. (Talking of stuffed, there’s a whole chapter dedicated to things stuffed into things. Oof.)

It’s beautifully designed and photographed as usual and while the recipes can be time-consuming, they are not particularly difficult to follow. Perfect for relaxed Sunday evening cooking. One frequent complaint of Ottolenghi recipes is that the ingredients are hard to find, but I haven’t found anything hard to track down yet – though handily I do live in an area full of middle-eastern shops. But if you don’t, Ottolenghi has opened a web store of ingredients so there’s no excuse!

Here are a few of the dishes I’ve made already. Griddled and roasted courgette and tomatoes, boreks, and chermoula aubergine with fried cauliflower. They’ve all been super tasty, though I do need to learn to not deviate from the recipe or just guess at quantities, because the balance of flavours can get a bit overpowering if not handled properly.

Since the publishing company gave me a review copy but I was geeky enough to have pre-ordered it, I’m giving away the spare copy, along with a promo tote bag, to one of you! To enter, just comment on this post telling me to your favourite cook book or recipe site. Get an extra entry by tweeting about the giveaway too – just hit the share link right at the top of the post. The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday 23rd September. UK entrants only please.

The competition is finished, congrats to the winner, Jenny

The little prints: MOO giveaway

Business cards

The lovely folks at MOO.com got in touch recently, asking if I’d like to share some of their printed products on here. Well, I’m already a happy Moo customer – I use their cute little Minicards to pop in with my Etsy orders – so I used the opportunity to get some of their newly-offered Luxe cards for my freelance design work, using a little monogram I made (which might feature in yet another blog redesign soon…)

Business cards
Business cards
Business cards

They’re a sexy thick 600gsm with a textured matte finish, sandwiched with a layer of coloured stock which gives the edges a lovely pop. The great thing about Moo is you can mix and match your designs at no extra cost, so I could try out a few colour options for my cards. I’m so pleased with them, they feel great and I’m looking forward to giving them out!

Postcards

Giveaway – win one of three 40-packs of postcards!

Moo.com have kindly offered up some postcard packs for me to give away too. Three people will win a set of 40 printed postcards – you can either supply your own designs or receive a mix of some of my shop designs as seen above and below. They look damn cute, eh?

Postcards

The competition is closed

Congrats to the winners Alice, Danielle and Kerri-Ann.