Happy Friday! A couple of weeks back, we were kindly invited to the stunning Blysthwood Square Hotel in Glasgow.  It’s a beautiful spot located on a scenic square in the centre of town. I’d only ever popped in for a few press events previously, but I’d heard marvellous things. So, on a rather rainy afternoon, we popped in for a little luxury in the form of the Guilty Pleasures package.

Available from Sunday to Friday, from 12pm until 10pm, it’s the perfect treat if you’re looking for a little naughty indulgence. Served upstairs in the swish Salon, we had driven through from Edinburgh, so were very much in the mood for a little refreshment! As we were seated, it was impossible not to take notice of our surroundings. The architecture of the hotel is something that’s really celebrated – previously the RAC Headquarters, the building is littered with classical columns, pilasters and all range of original features. It gives the Blysthwood a real sense of being somewhere special, and the contrast with the modern decor is really beautiful.

Within a few minutes, our waiter had popped the cork on a bottle of chilled Baron de Villeboerg champagne, and we were able to sit and enjoy a view of the rainy Blythswood Square outside and really have a good catch up. Our fellow diners were a mix of pre-night-outers, a birthday party for a much loved grandmother (the restaurant broke out into a rousing rendition of happy birthday at one point) as well as tourists and business men. This meant the Salon had a great buzz, which continued to grow throughout the evening.

The staff at the Blysthwood Square Hotel couldn’t have been nicer. We were talked through the menu, and throughout the evening, our glasses were never left empty. The champagne was an absolute delight – crisp and dry, it was very drinkable. It also paired well with our rather indulgent treats, as it cut through the richness perfectly.

We were soon presented with the most mouthwatering tray of goodies. A selection of seriously luxe nibbles – we were absolutely in heaven! Since it’s a sharing platter, you’re spoiled for choice – and I just loved the dinky frying baskets that the fritters and sausages were served in.

The first morsels we dug into were the Panko-crusted confit pork fritters. These were a mix of crispy and porky, and were absolutely delicious. We dunked them in the mustardy mayonnaise and wondered aloud how we could recreate them at home.

Next up was the bacon-wrapped sausages which came smothered in sticky sesame glaze. These moreish bites were a step up from your usual banger, and were the perfect mix of savoury and slightly-sweet.

Last, but certainly not least, were the largest chips I’ve had in a long time. Piping hot, and perfectly crisp, we savoured these with the fabulous truffled mayonnaise. Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love a good truffle, and these were really great. The whole tray of goodies was the perfect late afternoon treat, and saw us well into the evening, as we sat and enjoyed our bubbles.

The Blythswood Square Hotel’s Guilty Pleasures package is £40 for two people. You can read more about it here.

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When it comes to celebrating Easter, there are a few things you need to have: chicks, bunnies, chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. Prestat have combined the two most delicious elements in their brand new Hot Cross Bun Spiced Easter Egg. I’ve been a fan of spiced chocolate for as long as I can remember, so the mix of cloves, nutmeg and allspice with Prestat’s signature creamy milk chocolate just sounded dreamy.

Packaged, as per Prestat’s usual standard, in a gloriously swirly box, and tucked in layers of tissue paper, the egg looks like a little jewel in there, and I love the fact that it’ finished with a daffodil yellow ribbon. It is just so wonderfully spring-like, and it took everything in my power to take photos prior to getting full stuck in!

Once you crack open the egg, you’re met with six mini eggs all as delicious as the main egg! The mix of rich chocolate with the spices is delicious. It’s not overpowering, but there is definitely a kick of seasonal flavours – think cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. It’s a gorgeous nod to Easter, and really separated Prestat’s offering from the crowd!

Prestat’s Hot Cross Spice Egg is priced at £17.50 and is available here

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I had heard great things about Steak – a rather swish restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh city centre. Located on Picardy Place, if you’ve found the statue of Sherlock Holmes you’re in the right spot!

So, last Friday, after positively skipping out of work, we headed to Steak in the sunshine. I’d never been before, and was seriously impressed with the building. Previously a ballroom, the dining room is a dark, shadowy space, filled with candles. It creates the most wonderful intimate space, and the whole time I was there, all I could think about was how perfect a date-spot the restaurant is.

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Since it was Friday I treated myself to a glass of something fizzy, and went with a glass of prosecco. Served icy cold, it was exactly what I needed, and made the perfect accompaniment for the meal to come!

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Steak’s menu is pretty much perfectly sized – unsurprisingly it’s heavily focused on steak, but there is a good mix of seafood in there too (especially in the starters). If you’re swaying over which cut to choose from, the waiter helpfully brings over a heaving slab of steak cuts to help you decide which one you’re after. It’s especially handy to hear which cuts are leaner, or how long the meat has been aged when you’re making up your mind.

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When it came to the choice of starters, neither of us could resist the Pan Seared King Scallops (£12). Served with chunks of rich black pudding, a zesty spring onion puree and crisp pommes gaufrette. The dish was the stuff dreams are made of – the soft, buttery scallops paired well with the rich indulgent nuggets of black pudding. It was one of those dishes you just want to sit and savour, but at the same time just gobble right up!

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Then it was time for the main event. We couldn’t come to Steak and order anything else, so we both opted for star of the menu – the T-Bone steak (£40) served rare. Like all steaks on the menu it comes with a cooked portobello mushroom, tomatoes and a leafy salad.

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Honestly, this has to be the best steak in Edinburgh. Not only was it caveman-huge, but it was so tender, juicy and flavourful. It was an absolute dream of a Friday night supper, and it was cooked to rare perfection.

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I’m a big believer in keeping things simple, and so it seems, are Steak. The lack of adornments allowed the steak’s quality to shine through, and it’s one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. The meat was so flavourful and tender – and it felt like such a treat to enjoy it in such a gorgeous restaurant.

To accompany our steaks, we opted to share three of the most delicious sides you could imagine (£4). All the sides on offer sounded divine, but we finally wrestled it down to Creamed Peas with Leeks and Bacon, Roast Seasonal Vegetables and Buttered Mash Potatoes. They were all equally delicious, although I think the creamed peas were my favourite – they tasted not unlike the base of a pot pie I make at home, and I’ve already tried my best to recreate it (although mine lacked a little je ne sais pas in comparison to Steak’s).

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After savouring the best steak in Edinburgh for nigh on an hour (there was a lot to enjoy!) we somehow found room for dessert. After having such an rich and indulgent meal, I was in the mood for something a little lighter, so the Rhubarb and Custard Parfait (£7) sounded ideal.

What arrived was a creamy rhubarb and custard gelato served on a homemade ginger biscuit. The fieriness of the ginger contrasted well with the creaminess of the ice cream, but what made the dish come to life was the inclusion of peanut butter on the plate. It was an absolute explosion of flavour, and finished the meal off fabulously.

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I also managed to sneak a mouthful of the Creme Brûlée (£7), and it was incredible. Rich, creamy vanilla contrasted with the caramel snap of the crust. Served with rich and buttery shortbread discs, it was an absolute dream of a pudding!

As you can probably tell, the meal was a roaring success – getting to enjoy the best steaks in Edinburgh as well as fabulous starters and desserts was a dream! Thank you so much to Steak for having us!

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I’m not sure when exactly it started, but it feels like there are a million and one great restaurants popping up in Edinburgh at the moment, and it can be difficult to find the time (and sometimes the funds) to visit everywhere. So, when I heard about a deal which sounds almost too good to be true, I had to check out No. 8 Lister Square.

I’ve never really checked out the development which has popped up over the past few years at Lister Square. Honestly, I’d written it off as being overly student-y, but more fool me – it’s an absolutely stunning cluster of bars, restaurants, cafes and apartments, the star of which is 8 Lister Square.

 

A super modern, glass-fronted restaurant, downstairs there is a buzzy pub, complete with pool tables and quizzes in the evenings, with the restaurant upstairs.

We popped in on a Tuesday after work, dying of hunger and all too ready for the almost too good to be true offer of Steak & Shake for an incredible £10 per person! Since it was early-ish, the restaurant was quite quiet, so we grabbed a table by the window, and got to work choosing our milkshake flavours.

After we both opted for vanilla (you could also choose flavours like Oreo) it was just time to sit back and wait for our Rump Steak (150g) and chips which all come as part of the deal.

Soon after a plate of steak, a sizzling hot stone and a couple of generous pails of skin-on fries appeared. I had no idea that this was a do-it-yourself job, and it was such a lovely surprise. It means your steak is cooked specifically the way you like it – and all you need to do is sprinkle a little rock salt on the steak, then you’re good to go!

So that you’re not sitting around for hours, the steak comes pre-cut in thin slivers which make cooking it an absolute breeze. Just spear a slice of Rump and place it on the hot stone. Within a minute or two, it’s time to flip and the meat is all crispy and charred.

As the meat cooked, we munched on skin-on fries, and enjoyed the milkshakes. It was such a fun, casual way to update a weekday supper. It felt like such a treat to go out for steak during the week, and to know it’s so affordable is absolutely incredible!

Steak & Shake is available Sunday to Thursday from 4pm until 7pm, so it’s the perfect place for a casual mid-week outing!

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When it comes to accessories, I am a bit of a sunglasses hoarder. I’ve got pairs from years ago, when ‘blinged out’ embellished legs were all the range, I’ve got vintage classics I sneaked out of my mother’s and I’ve got classics which I can throw on with any sort of outfit and feel vaguely polished.

So, a few weeks ago, when I was invited to see a whole new line of sunglasses from luxury British brand Taylor Morris launch in-store, and have launch with the brand founders, I absolutely jumped at the chance. Taylor Morris are all about an update on classic shapes – their glasses are unisex, and designed to reflect British Design and Hollywood glamour.

Made in Italy to the highest standards, Taylor Morris glasses mix old school design with modern accents. They’re just releasing a new collection which play with colour and pattern on classic shapes, and they’re such a fun way to add a little something extra to your outfit.

Getting the chance to sit down with brand founders Charlie and Hugo was so much fun. I just love getting to hear the real stories behind brands, and why people are doing what they’re doing. Getting insight into Taylor Morris’ marketing was fascinating, and very generously, everyone at the lunch was gifted a pair of their stunning sunglasses!

I’m planning a whole post on them, because, honestly, I’m a little obsessed. So in the meantime, you can find Taylor Morris at Harvey Nichols exclusively here.

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If you’re familiar with Edinburgh, you’ll probably have noticed a whole lot of building work going on around St. Andrew Square. A rather ugly 1960’s brutalist monster was torn down, and in it’s place, a marble and brass-clad phoenix has risen in it’s place. Chock filled with new restaurants and bars, it now feels like the obvious place to start an evening out in the city, and I had been dying to try The Refinery who opened just before Christmas.

With views over St. Andrew Square Garden, The Refinery is something of a Pinterest dream come to life. A huge high-land cow mural greets you as you enter, and there is a packed bar to weave past, and up the spiral staircase is the dining room. All warm tones, copper and interior #goals, it’s the perfect place to spend the evening.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Drake & Morgan, so of course cocktails are a big deal here. Of course, there are the classics, but I couldn’t resist when I read ‘Goldfish in a Bag (£7.95).’ Gin, vodka, rosemary and a cute name? It was meant to be. Since I wasn’t driving, I got to have the ‘fun’ drink, but the runner up prize – a spicy Virgin Mary (£4.50) was equally delicious.

As we perused the menu, we munched on smoky almonds (£2.95) and fat Italian olives (£3.65).

Starters were a shared affair, and by chance, we both picked ‘kebab-ed’ options, which made sharing an absolute breeze. Prawn Lollipops (£6.75) were huge, juicy shrimp coated in a light, crispy layer of tempura batter. Accompanies by a sweet chilli dip, these were deliciously moreish.

I couldn’t resist ordering the Chicken Satay (£6.25) to start, and was pleasantly surprised by the generous portion. The chicken was well cooked – crispy on the outside but still moist in the middle. They came with a healthy portion of sweet and peanuty satay sauce and were absolutely wonderful!

Our table was by the window, and we had the most stunning views over St Andrew Square. The service in the restaurant was efficient and friendly without feeling too overbearing, and when we popped in post-work on a Thursday, the restaurant had a steady buzz all evening.

Choosing main courses was tough. Literally the entire menu sounds delicious, so we stuck to old favourites, and happily, they were just delicious! The Fillet Steak (£24.95) sounded too good to miss. Served with chips, watercress and a choice of sauce (an additional £2.95) (we went for Blue Cheese) the fillet was everything you hope for in a good cut of meat. Ordered Medium Rare, the steak was perfectly chargrilled on the outside and still tender in the centre. The accompanying chips were crisp and crunchy with fluffy centres, and the Blue Cheese sauce adds a wonderful richness to the dish.

I opted for the Wagyu Burger (£13.75) which came with blue cheese and relish. I’ve heard a lot about these burgers, and I have to say, it was fabulous. The burger was so rich and succulent, it was everything  you crave when you’re in the mood for one. Since you order it on it’s own, I opted for a portion of Roman Fries (£4.50)

Scented with Truffle Oil and topped with rosemary and parmesan, the fires were fabulously hot, crisp and savoury. They paired well with the savoury notes of the burger, and honestly, I think I’ll be ordering all chips in the future with rosemary, truffle and cheese!

Even though we were absolutely stuffed from dinner, a quick look at dessert menu persuaded us into enjoying one more course. The Refinery even has dessert themed cocktails (it was a school night, so we couldn’t indulge) as well as drinks from Edinburgh based establishments, which we both thought was a lovely touch.

 

A slice of Pecan Tart (£5.95) came with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, and was a seriously satisfying pudding. Rich and sweet, this was such a delicious, and surprisingly unusual (for the UK) way to end a meal.

I couldn’t resist ending the meal off with the rather indulgent Creme Brûlée (£5.95). Topped with a satisfying ‘crack’ and three buttery morsels of shortbread, the pudding was everything you could wish for.

Rich, and full of vanilla goodness, the Creme Brûlée was absolute perfection, and the little flowers which decorated the pudding were just adorable! We savoured the last course for as long as possible, then it was time to head home.

Reluctantly we headed back to the car, but not before promising each other to return soon – perhaps sitting outside, where each chair comes equipped with a blanket to fight off the Edinburgh chill!

Thank you to The Refinery for having us!

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Tigerlily is one of Edinburgh’s George Street icons – if you’re trying to arrange to meet people, everyone knows where it is, and it’s central enough to be a great base for nights out in the capital. They also have rooms upstairs, so if you’re in the mood for a bit of a luxurious night away, you know exactly where to go!

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Last week though, we popped in after work to give Tigerlily’s brand new Dine Out! menu a spin. With a dinner menu that’s only £15pp for two courses, we couldn’t resist!

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In a bit of a food blogger fail moment, we both ended up ordering the same meals, but you can’t blame us! To start with we ordered the Belhaven smokehouse chilli lime
& coriander hot smoked salmon with caper berries. I’m on a massive smoked salmon kick at the moment, and eat it about three times a week, and this didn’t disappoint!

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The salmon was soft and sweet, and paid beautifully with the briny, fried caper berries, which added a bit of crunch. It was a lovely, light, almost summery feeling starter to the meal, and I loved the light crispiness of the caper berries!

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Then it was time for the main event. I had been toying with the idea of the pork belly, but it had been too popular, so we both plumped for the slow braised beef shin, celeriac & parsnip puree with kale & pancetta jus. This was the most wintery, comforting dish you can imagine. Rich, tender meat was paired well with gravy, and the celeriac and parsnip purees were absolutely delightful.

We also indulged in a portion of truffled chips to share. Topped with a mushrooms and slivers of parmesan, they were toasty hot and crispy, and delicately scented with truffle oil.

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The Dine Out Menu is such a great addition to Edinburgh’s dining scene! It’s so nice to be able to just pop out during the week and enjoy a supper out – especially somewhere as pretty as Tigerlily!

The Dine Out Menu is priced at £15 and can be viewed here

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If you’ve been in Edinburgh recently, chances are you might have heard about a rather exciting restaurant opening up in Stockbridge. It’s an absolute jewel box of a restaurant, located on Raeburn Place, and named after the Gaelic to journey or travel. This little hint should give you clue for what’s on the menu – wonderful, Scottish produce in dishes which are inspired by global cuisine. It’s a genius combination, and one which Head Chef Gordon Craig pulls off with aplomb!

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The restaurant only opened in January, but it’s already become something of an Edinburgh destination. It was fully booked on the Tuesday evening we went, and it was the perfect place to while away a rather drizzly evening. If you’re in early enough, there are two menus to choose from -a Market Menu which includes two courses for an incredible £10 per person, but we opted for the A La Carte offerings.

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In something of a food blogger fail, we ordered the same starters and main courses, but it was a tough choice. Everything on the menu sounds incredible, but neither or us could resist the lure of Pan Fried Scallops with Satay Sauce, Black Pudding and Pomegranate. (£9).  The portion was generous, with five perfectly cooked scallops placed amongst morsels of rich black pudding, pomegranate seeds and delicate peanut tuille. The combination of the buttery scallops, and black pudding, is of course, a classic, but the inclusion of pomegranate and peanut was genius. It was a starter which really exceeded all expectations, and was an absolute joy!

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The mains were an equally tough choice, but the Maple and Five Spice Gressingham Duck Breast with Grilled Pak Choi, Edamame Beans and Shitake Samosa (£17) was absolutely dreamy. The combination of rich, moist duck with the charred greens, fresh edamame and mushroom samosa was just too good to resist!

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Honestly, I don’t order duck as often as I would like to, but this was absolute perfection – the meat was tender, juicy and flavourful, and the 5 Spice sauce it was served to was absolutely divine. Gently spiced, there was an almost coffee-like note which was just divine.

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The Shitake Samosa leant the dish a savoury note, and it was one of those meals which you just hoped wouldn’t end. The mi of flavours was just wonderful, and I’m not sure we chatted much, instead just motioning at out plates and declaring how good they were!

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Honestly, when we had popped in, we both thought we were going to skip pudding – it was only a Tuesday night after all! But after the absolute joy of starters and main courses, we both just kind of looked at each other, and agreed we couldn’t leave without finishing the meal off right! I opted for the Chocolate and Yuzu Fondant, with Orange Curd, Powder and Sorbet (£6.50), because honestly, Yuzu is one of my all time favourites, and I never see it on menus in Edinburgh. What came was the most perfect Fondant you could imagine – cut with a spoon, it puffed out a stream of molten chocolate sauce, which had been lightened with the hint of citrus. This coupled with the scoop of Orange Sorbet was just perfection. Warm, rich and gooey, it was absolutely heavenly.

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We also couldn’t resist a slice of the Lycheesecake with Stem Ginger Ice Cream (£6.50). This was, again, divine. The rich, whipped cheesecake was delicately flavoured with Lychee (again, a childhood favourite of mine) with a rich biscuity base. Studded with popping candy, it was an absolute joy of a dish – with the subtle perfume of the lychee contrasting with the ginger-studded ice cream. The desserts were an absolutely perfect way to end one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time, and I can’t wait to go back!

 

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If you’re not from, or live in Scotland, chances are, you might not have come across Burns Night before. It’s something of a localised celebration, which is probably celebrated with more gusto by expats outside of Scotland than the most of us in it! But Byron is changing all of that, with their Calvin Haggis special, which is being served exclusively in their Scottish restaurants until January 29th (Sunday).

I popped in yesterday, and I had had one of those days where I hadn’t had a second to think, let alone have lunch, so I was absolutely starving by the time I arrived at the North Bridge restaurant at 7.30pm. So, prior to getting to grips with the special, we ordered a plate of Nachos (£5.95) which came piled high with salsa, guacamole, sour cream and melted cheese. Absolutely delicious as always, the Nachos are the perfect mix of zesty, creamy and crunchy.

To drink, I feel like there is really only ever one option at Byron – their Vanilla milkshakes are just too good to resist, and, even though it was a school night, we opted to add a shot of bourbon (£7.50). Honestly, the Hard Shakes are just dreamy, and the mix of bourbon and vanilla is just perfection!

Then it was time for the main event – the Calvin Haggis burger. The brainchild of one of Byron’s Glasgow employees, it was originally thought-up as something of a hangover cure, and it might just be the most stocked burger I’ve ever tried.

The Calvin Haggis consists of a 6oz hamburger, haggis, bacon and onion relish, tattie scone, American cheese, dry cure bacon, fried egg and onions, all finished off in a glazed bun with some Byron sauce. Honestly, it’s an absolute monster of a burger, but it’s surprisingly delicious! I ordered my egg well done- and the mix of all the flavours was an absolute revelation.

I have to admit, I did eat my burger with a knife and fork because it was so packed with cheese and sauce, but the mix of savoury flavours, thanks to the potato scone, bacon, cheese and onions was mouthwatering, and I’m sure that Byron will have to make this a regular Burns Night special, because everyone seemed to absolutely love it!

Many thanks to Byron for having us!

 

 

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I feel like this year has been the year where I’ve indulged in rather a lot of rather fabulous chocolates, but perhaps my favourite out of the selection has been Carbonnel et Walker’s Milk Orange Thins. They feel like an update on the classic golden coins we all got for Christmas, and honestly, delicious is an understatement!

Coming packaged in a double box which feels like a jewel box to unwrap; the Milk Orange Thins are creamy discs of smooth milk chocolate, delicately flavoured with orange. The snap of the discs is seriously impressive, and I love enjoying one with an espresso for a mid-afternoon treat!

Charbonnel et Walker Milk Chocolate Thins are £12 per box and are available here (UK) and here (US)

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Ok, so I don’t think there is anything better than waking up to find a gift from Prestat under the tree, and their most seasonal of gifts has to be their Stockings and Baubles Gift.

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Packaged in an absolutely stunning Prestat Jute bag, which would make the most darling little lunch bag, and it’s absolutely chocolate-a-block (pun intended) with gorgeous little treasures which are perfect for Christmas.

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All the boxes can be hung on the Christmas tree, and they are just the cutest thing imaginable. Then, once you crack them open, there are the most divine little truffles inside!

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The Snowman Baubles is filled with coconut truffles. Dusted in coconut, and filled with a rich creamy centre, these are the very best snowballs you can imagine!

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The stocking of Praline Truffles is just a dream. The truffles inside have crispy outer shells, which dissolve into a chocolate-nut heaven. Again, these are a must-have little treat with a well made espresso!

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Last up are the Sea Salt Caramel Truffles, which are the absolute definition of indulgence. A dark outer shell holds the most perfect, gooey salted caramel centre. These are an absolute joy of a treat!

Prostate Baubles and Stockings is priced at £35 and is available here

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