Gluten Free Hazelnut Praline Sponge Cake

As soon as Sponge announced their Gluten Free Hazelnut Praline cake, I knew I would have to find an excuse to treat myself! So when Sponge gave me the opportunity to try out a cake of my choice – I jumped up and down with excitement! (Preemptively burning off calories before the inevitable cake coma.) Free cake – was this a fairy-tale?! Somebody pinch me.

Having already tried and loved many from Sponge’s gluten free selection (see my Baby Shower post here) my expectations for this latest seasonal flavour were very high indeed. Particularly because I’m in love with anything hazelnut praline related. You’re looking at a girl who makes homemade Nutella and eats it straight from the jar! 

Gluten Free Hazelnut Praline Sponge Cake

So with all that in mind, I’m pleased to report that this cake did not disappoint! My expectations were not only met but dazzlingly exceeded, and all my Praline dreams came true. This is the Prince Charming of the cake world.

The victoria + chocolate marbled-sponge was light and moist (which is often difficult to achieve from a gluten-free cake!) The buttercream was sweet, creamy, and packed with praline flavour that feels oh-so decadent! To top it all off, caramelised hazelnuts added a great crunchy texture to finish the cake off beautifully.

Gluten Free Hazelnut Praline Sponge Cake

I feel so lucky to have found an online cake company that can cater for my dietary requirements, whilst not compromising on flavour or indulgence! It’s not just gluten-free either, Sponge have recently launched an entirely new vegan range!

Gluten Free Hazelnut Praline Sponge Cake

So if all that cake-y goodness wasn’t enough, Sponge have kindly given me a Vegan Cake for 8 to giveaway for FREE!! Now that’s a happily ever after! The winner will have the choice of either a Vegan Carrot Sponge or a Vegan Chocolate Sponge.

Enter below in the rafflecopter to be in with a chance of winning. You seriously haven’t tried cake until you’ve had a Sponge cake!

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Due to postage reasons, I will be accepting entries from the UK only. Accept my huge apologies to those readers from the rest of the world!

Find out more about Sponge and all their delicious flavours here.

 Sponge kindly offered me a free cake for this post. My opinion remains honest and unbiased.

Bowling House Norwich

 

Hands up who hasn’t been to the Bowling House in Norwich yet? If you’re raising your hand right now… what were you thinking?!

OK, so maybe you were too busy washing your car or walking the dog (or walking the car and washing the dog.) Who knows?! I’ll forgive you. Life’s busy and we’re often lucky if we know what day of the week it is sometimes. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a place to unwind from it all? Enter Bowling House!

 

Located at the top of Dereham Road, and a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of St Benedicts, the Bowling House is perfectly situated for a night out in our fine city.

I recently visited with my partner on a Friday evening at the end of a busy week. On entering, we were immediately taken over by how relaxed and friendly the atmosphere was. We were given a very warm Norwich welcome, and shown to our table for dinner. The dining area is located right by the bowling lanes, so you can watch all the action and listen joyfully to the sound of pins tumbling over.

The Bowling House (or BoHo) has a retro style throughout, with bright decor and pops of neon lighting. Every corner is waiting to be snapped and posted on Instagram. We admired our surroundings whilst perusing the menu and enjoyed some retro music, packed full of nostalgic hits. I felt like I was in scene from a classic cult movie, sitting in an old-school American diner but with a classy “Norwich” spin.

 

 

FOOD

 

Bowling House Norwich

 

Our waiter was already very clued up on my dietary requirements, having specified these in advance. He happily answered all of my questions regarding allergy information and made some helpful suggestions. Being gluten-free, the kitchen catered so flexibly and easily to my needs. They took all of the pressure out of navigating through the menu, which can be a daunting process when you have any form of dietary requirement.

It was recommended that we order 2-3 dishes per person (we never need much persuasion when it comes to ordering multiple dishes!!) My partner ordered Beef Nachos and BBQ Back Ribs. I went for the Moroccan Meatballs and Tiger Prawns. We also ordered some Chorizo Style Crackling to start us off. Anyone who knows me knows my (slightly worrying) addiction to anything crackling related – and this was sublime. I’ve never had Chorizo Style Crackling before, and it really added a new twist on a much loved snack. They were so deliciously smoky and moorish. Needless to say, they didn’t last very long.

 

Bowling House Norwich

 

When our main plates arrived, we were very impressed by the sheer amount of food. Dan and I are not ones for small portions, so our eyes lit up when a feast was laid out before us.

The casual style of dining was just what we needed after a long week, as we picked from the various dishes. This would be perfect for large groups of friends or family, as it encourages sharing and creates a very social and laid-back atmosphere.

 

 

Each plate was delicious in its own way, perfectly seasoned and packed full with flavour. Every dish added a new sensation on the palate. The sheer variety was so refreshing, and we were spoiled for choice at what to try next.

A personal favourite were the Moroccan Meatballs, which were so juicy and flavoursome. Dan loved the BBQ Back Ribs – the meat just fell off the bone!

 

To wash it all down, I opted for a couple of mocktails. Being a non-drinker, I often judge a place purely by the soft drinks on offer. I had nothing to worry about here though, I found some unique mocktails on the menu, which were more thought-out that the usual non-alcholic Mojito or Pina Colada. Care has clearly been taken to make sure there’s something for everyone here!

 

Bowling House Norwich

 

Looking at the regular cocktail menu, I could clearly see these being a hit for those who like a good drink. Just in itself, the bar would be a great place to grab a chilled drink with friends in the evening – even if you’re not in the mood for bowling!

 

 

Despite the mountain of food we had just conquered, dessert looked too tempting to pass up!

I opted for the BoHo Pinapple, which was by far the best dessert I’ve eaten since being gluten-free. The ingredients were so perfectly balanced – the tropical pineapple paired beautifully with the heat from ginger and chilli. The toasted coconut ice-cream pulled everything together with a creamy velvet finish.

Dan ordered an Eton Mess Sundae and was equally as delighted with his choice. The dessert was gone in seconds.

 

Bowling House Norwich

 

BOWLING

 

Next we turned our hand to a few rounds of bowling. Shocked we could move after all that food? So were we.

It’s been a while since Dan and I went bowling, so it must have been the excitement to get playing. Needless to say we were both hilariously rusty – but isn’t that half the fun of bowling?

 

The Bowling House offers 5 intimate lanes for you to practice your strikes (or spares in my case!) The boutique bowling alley adds a hint of sophistication to a night of bowling that you wouldn’t get from any of the current chains in and around Norwich.

I can see it becoming a staple addition to the city’s nightlife, and seems perfect for any occasion – whether that be date night, a family day out or fun with friends + co-workers.

 

Bowling House Norwich

 

Bowling isn’t something we’ve done together just the two of us, and we found it a really fun and refreshing addition to date night. It reminded us that we need to step out of our usual go-to activities and mix things up every now and then.

While I didn’t come away victorious, I certainly left in high spirits feeling like we had shared a wonderful evening together as a couple – and what could be better than that?

OK, so maybe a few strikes would have been nice. But there’s always next time – right?

 

Bowling House Norwich

 

You can find out more and book online here.

 The Bowling House kindly offered me a free meal and a couple of games of bowling in return for this review. My opinion remains honest and unbiased.

 

Hi all! How’s things? It’s been a while.

I’m turning 28 soon and that’s pretty damn scary. The older I get, the more I feel the need to self-reflect and look back on the passing year. I also like to set myself little goals and notes to prepare for the year ahead. Inspired by my good friend’s blog, I wanted to start up my own annual list to summarise all the things I’ve discovered about myself. This will consist of anything from life-altering realisations to silly little things.

I don’t pretend to know all of life’s secrets, these lists are mainly for me to look back on someday. Maybe you’ll enjoy them too!

So here’s twenty seven things I’ve learned whilst being 27…

ONE

Time is money. Time is worth more than any amount of money you can ever earn.

TWO

It’s all about work-life balance.

THREE

Never google your symptoms.

FOUR

Deleting Instagram made me instantly more productive.

FIVE

Avoiding social media doesn’t mean missing out. Conversations become more interesting + meaningful without it.

SIX

Don’t respond to every message or notification instantly. It can wait.

SEVEN

I am obsessed with Hygge and would love to visit Denmark soon.

EIGHT

If you don’t give a fuck about something, DO NOT GIVE THAT FUCK.

NINE

Playing boardgames with friends has become one of my favourite things.

TEN

Believe the stories. Buying a house is stressful and hard.

ELEVEN

I can make excellent sesame prawn toast.

TWELVE

What we are and what we need; they are different things. (Thank London Grammar for that one.)

THIRTEEN

There’s something soothing about the process of making loose leaf tea.

FOURTEEN

Minimalism keeps the mind clear. Get rid of the clutter and keep only what you use and love.

FIFTEEN

I really don’t like being micro-managed.

SIXTEEN

I love visiting new cities and rediscovering old ones. Toronto + York were highlights this year.

SEVENTEEN

Don’t buy cheap vinyl players. They break as easy as your heart will when you can no longer play a Sinatra record.

EIGHTEEN

Joint Hypermobility Syndrome is the thing that’s been giving me pain all these years – who knew?

NINETEEN

I really must start muscle-building and core-strengthening exercises to help this.

TWENTY

I love live music, but really hate standing in the same hot sweaty spot for two hours. Is this an unsolvable problem?

TWENTY-ONE

You can do more than you think. Mind over matter.

TWENTY-TWO

I love Norwich more with each passing day.

TWENTY-THREE

I need to pick up old hobbies and passions. Make and create more.

TWENTY-FOUR

You can grieve for someone you’ve never even met. Scott was a musician close to my heart + I felt like I lost a friend.

TWENTY-FIVE

It’s ok to have a day of self-care every once in a while.

TWENTY-SIX

Smoothie bowls are my current addiction.

TWENTY-SEVEN

I will be a homeowner by the time I’m 28 – and that’s pretty much the most excited I’ve been about anything.