Valentines Raw Chocolate Giveaway!

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and all the desserts and treats in my house have gone heart shaped ♥  

Last week I was making Raw Chocolate Pecan Brownie Hearts and Raw Chocolate Cream Hearts (now safely hidden away in the freezer)…

… and today I made a batch of Heart-shaped Raw Chocolates 🙂

Chocolate Goji Almond Hearts 2 - 500

I LOVE making my own chocolates.  They’re something extremely therapeutic about the whole chocolate making process. These chocolate hearts really are filled with love

They’re also filled with goji berries and almond pieces 😉

Chocolate Heart Cut Open - 500

Yes friends, we have another delicious, nutrient-packed, delicious treat for our loved ones this Valentines 🙂

As an added bonus, they’re gluten-free, dairy-free and free from refined sugar, which means that they’re suitable for any loved ones with intolerances to wheat, gluten, dairy or sugar.

Do you fancy having a try at making some yourself?  I promise you it’s really easy!  If I can do it, you certainly can!  You can find the step-by-step instructions of how I make the chocolates here.

But, guess what?  I didn’t make the batch of chocolates today for me or my boys.  No, my lovely readers, I made these chocolates to give away to YOU!

Chocolate Hearts with Heart Box - 500

To be in with a chance of winning them, all you need to do is leave me a comment below (any comment will do!)

The giveaway is international, but only suitable for readers living in cooler climates (the chocolates won’t be able to cope with heat… if you live in a tropical country, the postman would likely end up with a package of liquid chocolate in his bag and that could prove messy!)

The giveaway will be open until midnight GMT on Valentine’s Day (Thursday 14th February 2013).

Chocolate Goji Almond Hearts 1 - 500

Good luck everyone! xx


Bath Lantern Parade & Christmas Market 2012

This week we’ve had heavy rainfall and high winds, and many areas within Bath are now flooded. Bathampton Meadows (pictured in my top banner) has turned into a lake and our garden is completely submerged under water. It’s an amazing spectacle! I’ve posted some pics on my FB page if you want to see for yourself.

However, these adverse weather conditions weren’t going to put us off attending the Lantern Parade and opening of Bath Christmas Market last night. It was raining and blowing a gale when we first ventured out. Fortunately, by the time the Parade kicked off, the rain had reduced to a fine drizzle. Good thing too as I don’t think the paper lanterns would have lasted very long in a deluge 😉

The Lantern Parade started at the Holburne Museum and made its way down Pulteney Street to the sound of Bath Samba Band. Everyone was in high spirits despite the weather.  I noticed that lots of people (me included) couldn’t help but add a little samba strut to our step as we made our way into the city centre 😉

The Parade ended at the Abbey, the site of the Christmas Market.

I just love visiting the Market at night. The sight of all those little wooden sheds lit up is so inviting 🙂

And who are these two characters? I’m not exactly sure but they were very entertaining. Lil’ L ‘high fived’ the … Snow Queen?

In addition to the parade, there were some awesome animated light projections on the Holburne Museum and Bath Abbey. These were the work of Transient Graffiti, a local community development project.  We enjoyed the animation whilst warming ourselves with veggie pasties from Pasty Presto (by far the best pasty shop in Bath in our opinion!)

It was a great night out and I’m so glad the rain died down so we could all enjoy it. About an hour later the torrential rain started again so we were very lucky indeed!

Just before I sign off for the weekend, I must announce the winners of the Raw Hot Chocolate Giveaway.

The 3 lucky winners are…

Denise Williams
Kathleen Hooper

Congratulations guys! Please email me your postal addresses (Sharon at BitoftheGoodStuff dot com) and I’ll post the prizes to you next week.

If anyone of my other readers would like to try some of the Elements for Life Raw Hot Chocolate, Dan & Paula have given me a discount code that entitles you to 10% off any of the individual hot chocolates, mugs and hot chocolate gift sets.  Simply order before 1st December 2012 and enter the code BOTGS1112 at the checkout.

If you live in the South West of the UK, you’ll be able to find Elements of Life raw chocolate goodies in a number of retail outlets. The full list can be found here.

I’ll be running another chocolatey giveaway in December and this time it will be international.  I’m excited already. I love giveaways 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone! Stay safe & stay dry xx


Raw Hot Chocolate Review

Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while will know that I’m a HUGE fan of raw chocolate. I adore everything about it… its smell, its taste, not to mention its amazing array of nutritional properties.

It was Dan and Paula from Elements for Life that first introduced me to raw chocolate. After just one little taste of their Yummy Scrummy raw chocolate brownie (pictured above) I was hooked. I came away from their stall at Frome Green Fair with a raw chocolate making kit under my arm and a big smile on my face from having met such a lovely couple. No doubt the smile was also due in part to the kick of serotonin and other ‘feel good’ nutrients found in their raw choc 😉  Honestly, it works that quick. A couple of bites and boom, I’m feeling warm and fuzzy all over.

So when I heard that Dan and Paula had created a range of raw hot chocolate powders, you can imagine how excited I became. I was extremely intrigued to find out what a raw hot chocolate would taste like.

As well as their original hot chocolate, they’ve also created a spiced blend, which contains cinnamon and nutmeg, and a fiery blend which has a smooth chilli bite. Both these new blends have won Taste of the West Awards this year.

All three hot chocolate blends are made with organic ingredients and, unlike most other hot chocolates, they contain no milk (which makes them perfect for those with dairy allergies and intolerances like me) and no refined sugars (which means they’re suitable for diabetics). Instead, they’re gently sweetened with coconut palm sugar (a low GI nutrient-rich natural sweetener).

A stint of heavy hinting on Facebook worked a treat 😉 A few days later, Dan popped round to see me armed with a box of goodies. When I opened the box it felt like Christmas had come early! Inside were six shiny tins of raw hot chocolate as well as one of their newly launched hot chocolate mugs 🙂

For my first taste testing session, I invited my friend Joni to join me. I consider Joni to be a true expert when it comes to hot chocolate. Whenever we go out for coffees, she always orders a hot chocolate. She must have drunk hundreds of different blends in her life, so I was interested to find out what she thought of this raw, sugar free version. Lil’ L also wanted a piece of the action, so I set about making three cups of chocolate. For this session, we chose to try the original blend.

And what did we think? Oh my word it was good! Joni described it as “really smooth, with a great taste”. She mentioned that some hot chocolates leave an aftertaste in your mouth and a coating on your teeth (probably from the refined sugar), but this blend doesn’t have that effect at all. Often, hot chocolates are made way too sweet but, for us, this blend had the perfect level of sweetness.

Lil’ L loved it too and said “I can see why they say it’s so good!” The following morning when we went to a coffee shop Lil’ L ordered a hot chocolate but after a couple of sips he pushed it to one side and refused to drink any more, saying that it was horrible in comparison to the one we’d had at home!  See, even he’s hooked on raw chocolate now 😉  I’m really pleased he prefers it though as it’s way better for him.

The next testing session was for the spiced blend, and the tasters were M and I.  This blend has a deliciously warming cinnamon and nutmeg flavour that makes it the perfect comforting drink for the cold season.  I have to say that, of the three blends, this one is my number one favourite.

And, finally, we tested the fiery chilli. This blend contains Aji Orange Chilli Powder which is grown locally at The Wiltshire Chilli Farm. This raw hot chocolate has a fantastic flavour with a warming spicy kick to it. Perfect for all those chocolate chilli lovers out there!  I served this blend topped with Soyatoo Rice whipped cream and a sprinkling of raw chocolate shavings. Delicious!

So far, I’ve made raw hot chocolates with four different non dairy milksAlpro Almond Milk (sweetened version), Alpro Soya Milk (sweetened version), Kara Coconut Milk and Oat Dream Oat Milk.  All tasted delicious though it’s worth noting that the oat milk did add a hint of oat flavour to the hot chocolate.

On the back of the tin, there are instructions for two different methods for making the drink. I’ve trialled both methods and they both gave great results. Using the first method, I simply used a hand whisk to make the chocolate nice ‘n’ frothy. The second method involves whizzing the hot chocolate with an immersion (stick) blender. This was really effective and created a super frothy chocolate (as seen in the pics above).

During our first tasting session, Joni mentioned that these hot chocolates would make great Christmas gifts for chocolate-loving friends and family and she’s already planning to put an order in to Dan and Paula. I’ll be right behind her!

As well as the individual tins of raw hot chocolate, a new gift set has just been launched which includes a tin of your chosen blend and a mug.

One of my all-time favourite sets from Elements for Life is their raw chocolate making starter kit. This is the perfect gift for foodies and chocolate lovers. I’ve lost count of the amount of kits I’ve bought for friends over the past couple of years. As well as the original kit, they also sell a chilli kit, for those who love a spicy kick to their chocolate.

All the Elements for Life products are available online from and they have a number of stockists in the Bath/Wiltshire area too. A full list can be found via this link.


Would you like to try some of the Elements for Life Raw Hot Chocolate yourself? The kind and generous Dan & Paula have given me three tins (one of each of the blends) to give away to my lovely readers. Unfortunately this giveaway is restricted to those living in the UK, but I promise I’ll make it up to my overseas readers next month 😉

There are three ways to enter the giveaway. If you like, you can enter all three ways, tripling your chances of winning. Just remember to leave me a separate comment below this post for each of your entries.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave me a comment below telling me which of the three blends you’d most like to try.
  2. Tweet the giveaway with something like “I’ve entered the @MakeRawChoc Raw Hot Chocolate Giveaway @GoodStuffSharon“, then add a comment below to let me know that you have done so.
  3. Promote this giveaway on your Facebook page with something like “I’ve entered the Elements for Life Raw Hot Chocolate Giveaway“, then leave me a comment below to let me know you have done so.

The closing date for entries is Thursday 22nd November. After the competition closes, I’ll randomly select 3 winners. The results will be published in my blog post on Friday 23rd November 2012.

Good luck everybody! xx


A Special Birthday Treat: Afternoon Tea at Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms, Bath

For my Mum’s birthday this year (which was back in May), I wanted to treat her to afternoon tea in Bath. Incredibly, my mum has never had a traditional English afternoon tea before!

After waiting four months for her birthday treat, she finally made it to Bath this week. It was so lovely to spend some quality one-to-one time with her (something we rarely get these days). I wanted to treat her to a whole day of pampering, so we started the day with coffees, followed by a 2-hour session at the Thermae Bath Spa. By far the best part of the Spa is the rooftop pool, with its stunning views across Bath.


Before my Mum arrived, I’d scoured the Internet looking for the best place to have afternoon tea. Many places only offered the tea between 3-5pm which, of course, makes sense as it’s afternoon tea. However, this limited time window isn’t so great if you’ve got to pick the kids up from school!

Fortunately, through the Visit Bath website, I came across Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms, which offers teas throughout the day. From its description, the tea room sounded very appealing…

“Step back in time when you enter Bea’s charming Vintage Tea Rooms next to the Assembly Rooms and Fashion Museum on Saville Row in Bath.
Decorated in authentic 1930’s/1940’s style from the dainty china tea sets and embroidered tablecloths to the ceiling lampshades, bevelled mirrors and wartime posters. It offers a blissful retreat from the hustle and bustle of this popular historic city.
Retire to the comfortable sofa reminiscent of Gran while you browse wartime recipe leaflets and admire patriotic posters. Or sit at a table, to be served by smiling staff in period pinnies, bright red lipstick and landgirl bandanas, serenaded by the music of those momentous moments”.

After reading this, I couldn’t wait to check it out!

The tea room is only about a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre, but far enough out to feel that you are truly away from the ‘hustle and bustle’.  We walked from the Circus to Saville Row, but probably the quickest way to reach it from the city centre is to walk up Bartlett St, off George St (that’s the way we returned to the centre and it’s very direct).

The establishment did indeed live up to its description. It was a feast for all the senses. Before I’d even entered the tea room I was drawn to the staircase with its eye catching wall coverings.

The interior of the tea room is beautifully decorated with vintage mirrors, lights, ornaments and crockery.

Check out the beautiful 1940s tea dress in the display cabinet!

I loved the cute menus and hand-embroidered tea cloths. I remember my Nan having a cloth like this!

And check out the cake cabinet. Everything looks so scrumptious!

Shortly after we arrived, we were warmly greeted by one of the waitresses, followed by Bea herself.  My mum ordered her afternoon tea for 1 (sadly there were no vegan options), and I chose to have a rocket and roasted pepper toasted sandwich and a pot of tea. The teas arrived in vintage pots with a little egg timer to indicate when the tea was fully brewed (I loved all these little details!)

And check out my mum’s afternoon tea! There were finger sandwiches, a scone with clotted cream and jam, and 2 slices of cake!

The cake on the left was filled with lemon curd, with a meringue topping. Absolutely delicious, according to my mum! After eating the sandwiches, scone and a piece of cake, she didn’t have room for the other piece, so Bea gave her a little box to take it home in.

My mum’s afternoon tea cost £10 and, in my opinion, this was the best value afternoon tea I’ve experienced in Bath. Others I’ve seen (I’m not going to name & shame) have been similarly priced or more expensive, and totally underwhelming.

I’d like to say a big “thank you” to Bea for making my mum’s birthday treat so special.

Eek! Check out my swimming pool hair and no make up look. My mum carries it off so well… unlike me!




Dharma 4 Kids Festival 2012 & A Chocolate Giveaway!

Hi everyone!

Here’s a few pics that I wanted to share from this year’s Dharma for Kids Festival. We went to this festival for the first time last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go again. Lil’ L had been looking forward to it all year!

The festival took place at the beautiful Nagarjuna Centre in Kelmarsh, near Northampton (about a 3-hour drive from Bath).

This place has such a relaxed atmosphere. It’s got a fantastic cafe with an outdoor seating area, where M and I love to sit, chat, and drink cappuccinos while Lil’ L’s busy having fun with his friends 🙂

The theme of the festival was ‘You Before Me‘ and, over the course of the weekend, there were workshop sessions, meditations and activities arranged for the children and teenagers based on the theme of ‘kindness’.

There was a dedicated art marquee where the children could make objects that they would like to see in a ‘Kind World’.

They made marzipan tormas and mandala sets out of paper and coloured rice. Here’s the results of Lil’ L’s torma making…

There was table football, table tennis, a karaoke marquee, bouncy castles, and gladiators.

And lots of opportunities for general larking about.

On the Saturday morning, I got a surprise call from my friend Nicky to tell me that her family were ditching their original plans for the day, and were going to join us instead 🙂 They got in their car and drove for 2+ hours simply to spend the afternoon with us (what total stars they are!) Seeing them at the festival made the weekend even more special for me. I wish I’d taken a few pics but I was way too engrossed in the chat. At that point, photography was the last thing on my mind!

We paid for day passes to the festival (M, Lil’ L and I stayed overnight at the nearby Travel Plaza) and I was happy to find that the passes included all meals. The food was fantastic! All veggie of course, which saved us having to sift through the buffet 😉

On the Sunday afternoon, the children had the option of taking part in a drama session, where they enacted ‘The Giving Tree’. I’m sure my American readers will be familiar with this story, but I’d never heard it before.

Lil’ L’s only encounter with the book till that point had been through reading one of the Wimpy Kid books. Apparently the Wimpy Kid is terrified of the author on the back cover. I have to say, I know what he means! You should have seen Lil’ L’s face when he realised that it was that book!


‘The Giving Tree is one of those special stories that has very few words, yet leaves a great impression on the reader. I’m sure everyone that reads the story will have their own take on what it’s all about. Seeing that I tend to read everything from a Buddhist perspective, for me, the story is first and foremost a lesson in where happiness truly comes from. I’m sure there’s also some environmental messages in there. Anyway, I’d be interested to know whether you’ve read this story yourself and what you think of it.

The children at the Buddhist festival acted out the story beautifully. Last week I thought that I’d try it with my Wednesday Workshop kids too. We first read the story using a powerpoint version I found on the Internet, then we watched an animated version from YouTube (there’s many version of the story on YouTube but I thought that this one was well suited to the kids in my groups).

We then acted it out. It was a bit manic but the kids were so enthusiastic and had a whale of a time. We decided that a more suitable title for our version would be ‘The Crazy Tree and Mad Boy’!

Since then, we’ve followed on the ‘giving’ theme in our Wednesday Workshops and, this week, after a beautiful meditation, the children made bookmarks to give to a friend or relative, and I gave each of them a cookie 🙂

It’s Giveaway Time!

Continuing with the ‘giving’ theme, I think it’s about time that I gave something away to you, my lovely blog readers. It’s been a while hasn’t it? Does anyone fancy some of my home-made raw chocolate hearts? You do? Well, I would be very happy to share some with you!

There are four ways that you can enter, and each way counts as a separate entry. So, if you enter all four ways, you’ve quadrupled your chances of winning. Happy days!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave me a comment below
  2. Follow me on Twitter (@Goodstuffsharon) and leave a comment below to let me know
  3. Tweet the Giveaway and leave a comment below to let me know
  4. Follow me on Facebook and leave a comment below to let me know

The giveaway is open to everyone, regardless of where you live.

I’ll select a winner at random on Friday, 5th October.

Good luck everyone!

And have a great weekend xx



A Trip to Essex, My 100th Post & a Raw Chocolate Giveaway!

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend!

We had a couple of important birthdays to celebrate this weekend so, on Saturday, we decided to take a road trip back to our home town of Essex.  It’s the first time we’ve been back to Essex this year, and it was really nice to catch up with family and old friends. 🙂

On Saturday night, we celebrated M’s Dad’s birthday at the Strada Italian restaurant at Lakeside.  We had a great night and the food was really good.


On Sunday, we headed to M’s best friend’s in Hertfordshire to celebrate his 40th birthday.  It was really good to catch up with the gang and their off-spring (all of whom have grown incredibly since we last saw them!)  To mark his friend’s special birthday, M had sprayed a unique piece of graffiti art for him.  (The lettering spells out his friend’s surname!)


Before we left for the party on Sunday, I managed to squeeze in a visit to see my best friend from school.  It was so good to see her!  We met each other on the first day of school and we’ve been friends now for 35 years!  I still can’t believe that we turn 40 in a few weeks time!


So, after a busy Bank Holiday weekend, I’ve finally managed to sit down and write a blog post and… guess what…. it’s my 100th post!!!  After nearly a year of blogging, I’ve finally made it to the big 100!  It took a while didn’t it?



To celebrate reaching my 100th blog post, I thought I’d make some celebration raw chocolates 🙂  I’ve made one batch of goji & almond raw chocolate hearts, and one batch of raw chocolate orange segments.  Do you fancy sharing them with me?  If so, just leave me a comment below and I’ll choose a winner at random next Monday, 14th May.

Good luck everyone!

And finally, before I sign off, I must announce the winner of my ‘Be the Change’ book giveaway.  The entrants were placed in chronological order, and a winner was selected at random using

I am pleased to say that the lucky winner is…..

Candy @ Healthy in Candyland!

Congratulations Candy!  The book will be flying its way across to you very shortly! 🙂

Have a great week everyone! xx