22 Mar 2018

New Home Goals

In the last three years I've lived in a small studio flat within a student accommodation. In that time I have accumulated lots of homeware pieces that I love, and have slowly been coming closer to finding my preferred interior style (I say 'closer' because a mix of pastel furnishing, witchy paraphernalia and Americana may seem a bit inconsistent, but it's slowly melding together to reach a happy medium).

In my time in this studio I have often been restricted creatively due to finances, accommodation regulations and the niggling knowledge that my residence was always going to be temporary. But now my student life is fast departing and the promise of a bigger space and better wage is quickly approaching. And these impending changes have got me mentally planning what I want my next home to look like. Here's a list of some items and elements I want to include in my future flat:

Wall art. 
Currently, the art in my room is limited to postcard-sized images on my pinboard. But for a bigger home I like the idea of one large statement print of one of my favourite paintings or photographs on at least one of the walls.

A more extensive kitchen
A bigger kitchen to me means expanding on my kitchen utensils to make room for items such as kitchen scales and a water purifier. I also want to add dark coloured drinking glasses to my collection. I currently own mostly mugs, which needs to be rectified, and I've always thoughts drinks taste best when drunk from the aftermentioned type of glasses. 

Elegant bathroom furnishings. 
My idea of the perfect bathroom is pristine and with white-marble furnishings and a few pops of colour in items like tumblers. The bathroom I have now is pretty close, and I hope to be able to continue to incorporate this theme in my next apartment. 
Bathroom City is a retailer that has an extensive range of bathroom furniture, accessories and fittings.  

A record player. 
A record player is something I've yet to be able to justify money or space wise, but it's something I'd like in a bigger flat. Similarly, I'd want new, high-quality iPod speakers, as I haven't replaced my last set which broke years ago. 

Makeup storage. 
In the last year I've become a lot more into experimenting with different makeup looks and collecting makeup products. My growing collection means that when I move I should consider looking into purchasing proper makeup storage, rather than cramming everything on top of my dresser like I do now.

Do you have any goals for your future or current home?

Disclaimer: This post has been kindly sponsored, but all views are my own.

Amani x

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5 Mar 2018

Dolcino: Italian Artisan Gelato | Event

I love desserts. I'm that person who ticks the box to indicate they prefer sweet to savoury. And my lowkey addiction means that no meal is complete without some sort of sweet right after - though it's usually something small, just enough to satisfy the craving. But of course, every now and then, I'll raise the stakes and treat myself to something more substantial, like ice cream or cake. And anything overindulgent like ice cream sundaes or chocolate covered waffles become the cheat meals I live for. 

So you can imagine how hyped I was when Dolcino sent me an invite to sample some of their desserts at their in-store event, which took place last month.

Dolcino is an Italian gelato diner/cafe specialising in a range of desserts, with venues in both Nottingham and Loughborough. As I arrived at Dolcino's spacious Nottingham Market Square branch in time for the event I was greeted warmly and handed a glass of prosecco, before then going around to mingle with my fellow bloggers and attendants.

Soon we were all served our first dessert sample of the night (I say sample, but their samples turned out to be pretty sizable) - the Unicorn Sundae. The Unicorn Sundae is comprised of a myriad of ingredients, including vanilla and bubble gum flavoured gelato, smarties and raspberry coulis. Each of these flavours harmonised really well together, creating an amazing amalgamation of tastes.

Then came time for a presentation by owner Francesco, during which he the detailed history and origins of Dolcino. With a humble passion he told us that his family history is steeped in dessert and restaurant culture. And that the driving force behind Dolcino was the desire to bring the traditional gelato that is made in Italy to the UK. He told us that he and his wife, Kirsten, work together and run Dolcino as a family business.

Francesco also revealed the differences between gelato and ice cream, which are:
 - Gelato doesn't melt as fast as ice cream. This is because there is less cream in the ingredients, meaning it can be served at a higher temperature without melting.
 - Gelato is healthier. It contains less sugar and less fat than ice cream.
 - Gelato has more flavour. It's churned more thoroughly and for longer than ice cream is, meaning there is less air in the final product, making room for more flavour. The higher temperature also means that, unlike ice cream, it won't make your tastebuds freeze - so you'll be able to taste the flavours more, without them becoming muted by the freezing temperature.

Dolcino's gelato is also 'artisan', which means it is hand made on site, with high quality, natural ingredients. Francesco proudly stated that Dolcino is the only business in Nottingham that makes fresh gelato, with their gelato never being kept on display for longer than a week.

Flavours of gelato that are served at Dolcino include: Apple & Cinnamon, White Mint, Bubblegum, Salted Peanut Butter, Kinder Bueno, Chocolate Sorbet, Ferrero Rocher, Raspberry, Banana and many more. And Dolcino don't only do gelato and desserts, they also serve English breakfasts, savoury crepes, pizza, sandwiches, Italian coffee and more. They also have an afternoon tea menu.

During his talk, Francesco told us that Dolcino aims to promote a healthy lifestyle alongside the consumption of desserts, one that takes you outside. This explained the presence of the multiple Bianchi bicycles displayed against the teal backdrops of the gelateria walls. Community spirit is also an important element to Dolcino. They view their customers as extended family, and they even regularly invite kids into the store to make their own gelato.

After the presentation there was to be a live gelato making demonstration/workshop in the kitchen - where bloggers were given the opportunity to learn how to make gelato and to try their hand at it themselves. I made the decision to be on the other side of the kitchen's glass wall, and I watched the gelato being made with the other half of the guests.

Luckily we were all given samples of the result of the bloggers work, which turned out to be fantastic. They had made a Twix, Caramel and Amaretto gelato. Gelato infused with Twix and caramel is about as amazing as you'd imagine it to be. And the amaretto added a freshness and uniqueness to it that tied all the tastes together beautifully, making the gelato even better than you would imagine it to be.

Not too long later we were then served a sample of Dolcino's Oreo Lux Freakshake. At this point I was really starting to see how Gelato as a base for a dessert seems to enhance the overall taste of it. The Oreo Freakshake was SO. GOOD. It was rich with a cascade of flavours and very sweet - but delicately so, not being too intense or leaving you feeling like you overindulged in a big way.

Soon our Freakshakes were accompanied with American Blueberry Waffles - waffles served simply under blueberries, a dash of maple syrup and a side of cream. You may think that this more demure serving would pale in comparison to the epic sweet flavours of the desserts beforehand, but that wasn't the case at all. Though less sweet and indulgent than it's predecessors, the waffle was equally tasteful. Francesco told us that the waffles were served to balance things out, as he doesn't believe that people should experience an overload of sweetness. And this method worked. The taste of the waffles was an enjoyable encore to the richer desserts. And despite feeling ridiculously full at this point, I had no trouble in completing this last treat of the night.

We were also served a gluten-free alternative to the waffles. This illustrated the fact that Dolicino are very accommodating to various dietary requirements. Upon request they will customise orders for customers who may be vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free.

A huge thanks to Francesco, Kirsten and the staff at Dolcino for a lovely evening. And also to fellow blogger/vlogger Ka-Ho for helping to organise the event!

Follow Dolcino on Instagram if you would like to be updated with regular photos of their amazing desserts!

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