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Monday, 28 July 2014

12 Month Baking Challenge JULY: Bourbon Pecan Pie



This month I decided to celebrate American Independence by baking a Bourbon Pecan Pie - a classic American dessert, which I have to say is one of my favourite puddings ever. 

We frequent an awesome American diner restaurant in Northampton called 'Buddies', and they serve the most amazing warm Bourbon pecan pie with vanilla ice cream - it is literally heaven on a plate. I've eaten it for dessert every time I've been, and I've been more times than I care to admit.

Buddies Bourbon Pecan Pie

Inspired by this amazing pudding, and with American Independence being celebrated this month, I decided it would be a good time to have a whirl at making my own pecan pie. 

I used a recipe by Jamie Oliver as whenever I am baking something for the first time I tend to use a published recipe by a well known chef, hoping that it will be more reliable than just a recipe picked at random online. 

I used this recipe for his sweet shortcrust pasty with orange and vanilla. 

my gorgeous sweet shortcrust pastry

I loved making pastry in my new Kitchen Aid food processor, it was so quick and easy, and the pastry was a beautiful consistency. I then lined my loose bottomed tart tin, filled it was baking beans and blind baked the pastry case. Then it was time to make the gorgeous unctuous filling.

This is the recipe I used for Jamie's Bourbon Pecan Pie. It was really straightforward and easy to follow, there weren't too many complicated steps, and I found the recipe to be very reliable. The only thing I will say is that I had a fair amount of pastry and filling left over, enough to make two mini tarts, which husband and I tried before sharing the big tart with family this weekend. So you could afford to roll the pastry out thicker if needed, or load the pie with loads more filling to make it denser, whatever you choose. 

here are my pies a-baking 

Mmmmm pecan-y goodness

Hubby and I tried the mini tarts on Friday (the day I baked them). I very naughtily had mine for lunch! I just couldn't wait until Liam got home to try it, and the whole kitchen smelt of pecan-y goodness that I just had to dive right in…

Served warm with a dollop of half fat creme fraiche - that's a Friday treat lunch if ever I've seen one! 


We took the large pecan pie to a big family picnic down in Surrey this weekend to celebrate my gorgeous little cousin Paris' 2nd birthday. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GORGEOUS BOY! 

I love to share the things I bake with the people I love, and really enjoy watching people tuck in and enjoy my food, so it was great to watch this be devoured by everybody - it tasted really scrumptious, and is definitely something I'll be making again. People even commented on the orange and vanilla in the pastry, and some people even went back for seconds! 

A slice of pie - deep dark pecan-y goodness

Fancy a slice….?

Why not give this Pecan Pie a go yourself? It should't be something just American's get to enjoy - try a slice of this slightly warm, with a dollop of good vanilla ice cream, and you'll realise what's been missing from your life! 

Mrs B

xxx


Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Friday, 25 July 2014

WIN a 50 Flavour Gift Box from Jelly Belly UK *GIVEAWAY*

For those of you who missed it, yesterday I was chatting about my recent 5 stone weight loss, and basically how awesome Jelly Belly jelly beans are. If you have a sweet tooth and you are trying to be good they're a great treat at only 4 calories per bean! 

You can read the full post here

****COMPETITION TIME****

The lovely people at Jelly Belly UK have kindly offered to give a beautiful 600g 50 Flavour Gift Box full to the brim with scrumptious Jelly Belly beans to one of my lovely readers. :-)



All you have to do is use the Gleam widget below…just a few easy clicks and you'll be entered… 

Good luck my lovelies! 

Mrs B

xxx

WIN A 600g 50 Flavour Gift Box from Jelly Belly UK worth £22.98


Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/600g-50-flavour-gift-box-jelly-belly-beans#sthash.tBE1ntSV.dpuf

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Weight Loss and a Sweet Tooth - Jelly Belly UK *REVIEW*

Weight Loss so far…

Those of you who read my blog regularly and follow me on social media will know that I have recently embarked in a big lifestyle shake-up, which has resulted in me losing 5 stone 1lb and counting. After giving birth to my son at the end of August last year I decided enough was enough - I didn't want to be fat anymore, I wanted to be the best and healthiest version of myself for my little boy. 

My husband also had some weight to lose, and so together we decided we would face our food and exercise demons head on, and here we are 10 months after we started, with a joint loss of almost 10 stone! 

The bottom photo was taken back in May, since then I've shifted another 8 lbs and counting… woop woop! 

How?

We've done it using the iPhone App 'My Fitness Pal', which sets you a daily calorie goal based on how much weight you would like to lose each week and your vital statistics (weight/height/sex/age). You input all the food you eat into a daily diary, plus earn calories by inputting any cardio exercise you partake in. 

Using the app and becoming much more conscious of how we treat our own bodies has lead us to make some important life changes. We are now incorporating loads of daily exercise into our routines, we have re-learnt (or learnt for the first time!) moderation with our eating, and we have had to re-educate ourselves when it comes to making sensible food choices as much of the time as possible. 

Liam has just reached his goal weight (he had less weight than me to lose) and is now at the wonderful 'maintain' stage, where he can eat so many more calories than the 1200 per day we'd been limiting ourselves to (before exercise). He is still doing a weekly weigh in to keep an eye on things and ensure his weight doesn't slowly creep back up. 

I am still 1 stone 1lb away from my target, and ideally would like to lose 4 more lbs after that if possible - my aim is to have achieved that by my 28th birthday at the beginning of October - it's totally do able, and at the moment I'm averaging a 1-2lb loss a week - slowly but surely.

Throughout this process we have been discovering the real 'worth' of foods in terms of calories, and by using the app to scan foods before I eat them I now equate foods to how much exercise I would need to do in order to burn them off. This really helps me to put down the cupcake, and choose a banana instead (only sometimes, I still love cake, and eat it…just much more moderately than I used to). 

I have a very sweet tooth - I love cakes, biscuits, and chocolates - and often get a sugar craving mid-evening once I sit down and relax after a busy day. This is the 'danger-zone' when I used to binge on high-sugar, high-fat snack foods and treats, and then I would feel dreadful and guilty afterwards. I used to get so cross with myself for binging, and my biggest challenge in this whole process has been breaking that cycle. 

For me, it has been about accepting that I love food, and always will - accepting that I have a sweet tooth, and that I love bread, and salty food, and enjoy takeaways. Now that I have accepted all of those things, I can embrace my love of all of those foods in moderation, ensuring I am exercising enough to make up for the calories I eat, which eliminates the guilt I used to feel when eating treats - because then they weren't 'treats' they were daily 'slip ups' - now they really are 'treats' which are planned, they are looked forward to, and they are throughly enjoyed when they are eaten, with no guilt at all. It really is the best feeling ever. 

What has been brilliant in this process is when I discover a food that isn't nearly as 'bad' as I had imagined it would be. When Jelly Belly UK approached me and asked if I'd thought about eating their jelly beans as a low-calorie sweet treat I really hadn't - I'd assumed they were horrendously calorific based on the fact that a) they're sweets and b) they're pure sugar. However, when Jelly Belly told me their jelly beans are only 4 calories per bean, which would mean I could eat 20 jelly beans for just 80 calories - I jumped at the chance of trying them out. 




What I love about them is that they are so portionable - if I want a sweet treat but I only have 20 calories left for the day I can still have 5 jelly beans with a cup of tea in front of the TV in the evening. They come in SO many flavour varieties that you can have a little mouthful of what you fancy with each bean: buttered popcorn, chocolate, vanilla, pina colada - you name it, Jelly Belly probably have a bean flavoured accordingly.

My top 10 flavours in this 40 flavour selection box were:

1) Buttered Popcorn
2) Toasted Marshmallow
3) Caramel Apple
4) Strawberry Jam
5) Cream Soda
6) Candy Floss
7) Pina Colada
8) Strawberry Cheesecake
9) Top Banana
10) Chocolate Pudding 

They all taste so decadent, and exactly as the name suggests. 

Other flavours in this box include:

Orange Sherbet, Strawberry Daiquiri, Vanilla, Green Apple, Pink Grapefruit, Raspberry, Kiwi, Berry Blue, Bubble Gum, Red Apple, Lemon, Cantaloupe Melon, Crushed Pineapple, Blueberry, Lemon Lime, Coconut, Liquorice, Pomegranate, Very Cherry, Juicy Pear, Plum, Orange, Island Punch, Peach, Tutti-Fruitti, Margarita, Sizzling Cinnamon, Tangerine, Cappuccino, and Watermelon

Liam and I have been indulging in these sweet treats when we fancy a little naughty sweet mouthful of something, and we have thoroughly enjoyed them. We especially loved the recipe section on the Jelly Belly website where they give you fun combinations of beans to create your favourite desserts - such as: 
Mmmmm….Tiramisu….my favoruite and all for 24 calories! :-)

Believe it or not we've had the box for over 2 months and there's still over 1/4 left. So we're doing well at the moderation thing! And we've even managed to share them with friends and family…

My mum and sister were even allowed a taste when they came to visit! :-)

Now, don't get me wrong I totally understand that jelly beans aren't good for me! They aren't 'clean' and nutritionally they give me nothing but a sugar rush - but sometimes a sugar rush is just what you fancy! 

For me, my food intake is about being realistic - I can't eat 'clean' 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and I don't want to - there's nothing wrong with doing so (if you have the will power and dedication to do that then I applaud you), but I have a sweet tooth and will always enjoy a treat. The key for me is learning to enjoy the treats in moderation, and finding treats which aren't too disastrous for my waistline. 

Thanks Jelly Belly…we've throughly enjoyed our taster box, and we're looking forward to trying out some of your other flavours on the market. 

Mrs B 

xxx

To shop all things Jelly Belly UK click here
You call follow Jelly Belly on Twitter @JellyBellyUK 
Or on Facebook here


Disclaimer: I was sent the Gourmet Jelly Belly 40 Flavour Selection Box for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own. 


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Beautiful accessories for your home from Harriet Rose *REVIEW*

A few months ago I stumbled upon a gorgeous lady called Jess on Facebook who runs her beautiful handmade crafts business Harriet Rose from home. This very busy lady (who is currently expecting a lovely baby and still working like a trojan!) makes the most beautiful fabric covered letters - which would make the perfect accessory for any home or a fab gift for a loved one. She also makes wooden bunting, tassel garlands and lots more lovely things.

Jess kindly sent me some of her gorgeous products for my own home, and I'm so excited to be able to share them with you today. 

My items came wrapped beautifully and I even got a yummy lollipop to enjoy while deciding where my lovely new items were going to live - thanks Jess! 


Jess sent some of her bespoke large fabric letters spelling out "BERT" to go in Albert's nursery - I sent Jess a photo of his Quentin Blake "Cockatoos" themed nursery with Emma Bridgewater striped bedsheets as inspiration, and she found the perfect match fabric to use...

Aren't they just wonderful?

Pride of place on his lower bookshelf

T'ah d'ah! I still love the little cockatoos perching on the shelves which I lovingly cut out of the wallpaper when I was about 8 months pregnant, and pasted on to the wall - they're hiding all over the bare walls - one sitting on the clock, the skirting board, the curtain pole etc! Sweet! 

Albert's Nursery - Quentin Blake wallpaper and Emma Bridgewater stripes on the day bed - now with the lovely addition of Harriet Rose letters - just fab! 


I cannot tell you in words what fantastic quality these beautiful letters are - the finish is incredible, and I will treasure them for always. Jess has managed to match them to the room in question perfectly, and I love how fun and quirky they are!

Jess charges £5 for each small fabric letter (10cm) and £7.50 per letter for the large fabric letters (20.5cm) = BERT would have cost £30 plus p&p. This is such an amazing price for the work that goes into making these beautiful items, and is a small price to pay for something so personal, quirky and finished to such a high standard. 


Jess also sent me one of her beautiful wooden letters - this time as a gift for me instead of Bert (Mummy likes to be spoilt too!) I'm now the proud owner of a 'B' for Bishop with a wooden tag attached which reads 'Mrs Bishop's Bakes and Banter'…it will be a stunning accessory for my blog photographs and fits into my shabby-chic/French country style dining room perfectly. 


My gorgeous 'B' for Mrs Bishop 

I can't wait to use it when I photograph some of my bakes! 

Pride of place on my dresser! 

The wooden letters sell for £8.50 each, plus p&p. Another really reasonable price for something so beautiful. Everyone who has visited me since owning these new beauties have commented on how fabulous they are, and I'm already planning who I can buy some for…!

So, what are you waiting for? 

Head over to the Harriet Rose Facebook page and place your orders with lovely Jess. 

Alternatively you can email her at harrietrosedesign@hotmail.com - she'll happily talk to you about custom order ideas, and she has an awesome stash of stunning fabrics to choose from. 

Thanks Jess for sending us such wonderful gifts! 

Mrs B

xxx

Disclaimer: We were sent the beautiful BERT large fabric letters, and wooden 'B' letter for the purpose of this review, all words, opinions and images are my own. 


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Snake in the Hole : A great FAMILY RECIPE from Jamie Oliver

So far, this week has totally sucked! My poor little Bert has picked up (another!) nasty virus and I've been dealing with raging temperatures, vomit, hardly any sleep and the general pissed-off-ness of my little man. He is usually such a happy chap, and it is the most rubbish thing in the world to see him miserable and not be able to do too much about it. We've been to the GP just to check after our hospital stay last month I'm not being too careful - and it is just a virus which will run its course - hopefully he'll be feeling on the mend tomorrow, and a bit of normality can resume. 


Bert still managed a smile, even though he's feeling rubbish! 

Until he is better, food is my solace - last night ended in a much needed mini tub of Hagen Daaz, and tonight ended with family dinner of EPIC proportions. 

SNAKE IN THE HOLE

I'm always searching for inspiration in the kitchen. I get bored of the same old dinners every week, and as a general rule I like to try and make something new once a week. I don't always stick to this, as I can't always find the time but on the whole it's what I aim for. 

Most of my food ideas and inspiration come from cookery shows. My default TV channel is Food Network UK, and I'm always on the look out for new cookery shows to record. I'm a huge fan of Jamie Oliver, and am yet to make a recipe of his I've been disappointed with. I also love Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater, Gordon Ramsay and The Hairy Bikers for reliable feed your family recipes. They are my go-to chefs when I want something wholesome, hearty, not too fiddly and ultimately, delicious! 

On last weeks "Save With Jamie" on Channel 4, he introduced us to the wonder that is "Snake in the Hole"....a distant cousin of Mr Toad, and a blooming genius idea! It left me miffed that I hadn't thought of it myself...what else could be cooked 'in the hole'...any ideas on a postcard (or a comment!) 

The basic principal of this recipe is a baked meatloaf encased in Yorkshire pudding. And like all the recipes featured in this series, it is intended to feed 4 hungry adults, or 2 adults 3 kids a healthy hearty meal for as little money as possible. 

The main 'need to buy' ingredients are a 500g pack of beef mince and a sweet potato. Apart from that all the ingredients are store cupboard staples: bread, oil, flour, eggs, milk, dried or fresh rosemary, wholegrain mustard, seasoning. 

What I love most about this recipe is the novelty of it! Once you've made the meatloaf style mixture of beef, grated sweet potato and seasonings you shape it into a snake & bake it. What fun! I can imagine kids will absolutely love this dinner, and they could easily help with the prep and shaping of the snake. 


shaped and ready to bake...

Once baked for 20 minutes you add your Yorkshire batter, cook for a further 20 minutes and Bob's your uncle….


baked for 20 mins and waiting for its Yorkshire...

On goes the Yorkie batter, and back into a hot oven for 20 minutes

Once it has risen and is golden and burnished on the top it is ready to cut and serve. I teamed it with mashed potato, peas and onion gravy tonight, and oh my days…it was GOOOOOD. 



What a feast! This dinner will brighten up any dull day! 

We absolutely devoured it, it was so tasty, and will definitely become a regular in The Bishop household. Mmmmmm!

Thanks Jamie....you've done it again! 

Why not make Snake in the Hole for your family this week? Jamie's full recipe can be found here

Mrs B 

xxx  




Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Monday, 14 July 2014

I Would Walk 500 Miles…. Bert taking steps with the help of his BoiKido Rabbit Wagon *REVIEW*

Little Albert is just a week away from turning 11 months old and I genuinely cannot believe how much he's grown and changed in that time. He's gone from our tiny little munchkin to a very handsome grown up little man. He is genuinely the happiest little person I've ever met, and I know I'm biased, but he truly is (nearly) always smiling. 

10 minutes old vs. 10.5 months old

Bert develops new tricks every day - he likes to keep his mummy on her toes!! He has always been very inquisitive, and in a hurry to do things - he rolled over early, crawled when we least expected it, and started pulling himself up and cruising around the furniture in a flash! We had to Bert-proof our downstairs as quickly as we could (think baby gates, corner guards, fire guards, rearranging furniture, boxing up breakables) and just embraced our little monsters eagerness to get around on his own two feet. 

When the lovely people at NUK offered to send us a wooden walker from BoiKido for Bert to try we jumped at the chance to try it out - we hadn't gotten round to purchasing any walker-style toy for Bert yet and we knew how much he would enjoy being able to explore our living room on his feet. We also hoped it would help him develop his balance and further his walking skills. 

When it arrived my husband put it together and said it was very easy to assemble (it took him less than 10 minutes). My first impression (as hubby was putting it together) was firstly what beautiful bright colours it was, but also how good quality it seemed - nice chunky pieces of wood produced to a really high standard.

BoiKido Push & Play Rabbit Wagon RRP: £59.99 Suitable from 6 months +

Bert was instantly interested in it, and had started trying to get to it and touch it before it was even fully assembled. When it was built we filled it with his favourite books and toys, and then watched Bert as he worked out what to do with it. 

He worked it out within seconds, and before we knew it he was RUNNING at speed across the living room carpet! He of course, tripped over himself and looked a little perplexed, but after a few minutes of practising and a little guidance from us he began to work out how to control his speed. Watching the grin on his face when he realised he was walking without holding on to us (albeit being held up by a walker) was priceless! 

my beautiful munchkin on his first attempt with his lovely new walker - oops mind that fire guard Bert!

Since we received the walker (around 6 weeks ago) Bert has been playing with it non stop - he loves nothing better than showing off his new skills to any visitor who happens to drop by, and he giggles as soon as he picks up speed - it is very cute! He also very much enjoys loading and unloading the storage part of the walker with all of his books (books are his big thing at the moment). When he isn't careering around at speed you can usually find him engrossed in the side panels where there are maze-style puzzles which you can slide the little wooden characters around in. This toy keeps him entertained in so many more ways than I originally anticipated. 

What I love most about this walker is the quality of the product - from the strength of the wood to the beautiful details and paint job it is worth every penny of the £59.99 price tag! 

I have a real thing about wooden toys and always much prefer them to their plastic contemporaries. I also think they last longer - as when wooden toys age they just look cooler - but with plastic it will usually just break over time. Without meaning to sound too irritating - I would call this toy an 'investment piece' as it could easily be passed on to brothers/sisters/friends/family for years to come. 

In true Bert-style he absolutely floored us with hysterics last week when we walked into the living room to find him pushing our cat, Pickle, around in the walker! There's a use for it I imagine BoiKido didn't really intend...a mode of cat transportation! 

*do not try this at home kids!* (look at our poor cats face!!) HAHAHAHA

It was just so funny - he pushed her around and around the living room for about ten minutes, and our silly cat just sat there - I think she quite enjoyed it. Bert thought it was just brilliant, and I'm sure he couldn't believe his luck when she jumped in it. Needless to say she hasn't been in a hurry to jump back inside. 

Of course, Bert had to have a go at riding around inside it too - I think he loved it more than the cat! When my husband was pushing him around the living room in it I had flashbacks of my grandad giving me wheelbarrow rides around his garden in the summer - such happy memories! 

Look at that little face! 

Finally, I had to share with you a little video clip of our wee man in action with his lovely walker. The best thing about this clip is the adorable bum wiggle he does when he's getting praise and is proud of himself…totally adorable...

video

Bert's skills are definitely improving thanks to the rabbit wagon, and the next step on his road to walking unaided is to get him measured for his first pair of cruising shoes - these should help him balance better and ensure he feels a little more sturdy on his feet. 

Did your little one use a walker product to help them develop their walking skills? 

Are you a wooden or plastic toy lover? 

Mrs B 

xxx

Disclaimer: We were sent the BoiKido Push and Play Rabbit Wagon for the purpose of this review. All words, opinions, images and videos are my own.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Coping with Back Pain: Deep Freeze Cold Patch *Review*

For those of you who don't already know, I suffer from serious back pain caused by 3 slipped discs at the base of my spine. The discs have slipped one by one over the past three years, and according to my back specialist are likely to continue to do so. Eventually I will need spinal corrective surgery called spinal fusion, but until then I have to deal with the pain, and change my lifestyle in order to cope on a day to day basis.

How Do I Cope With the Pain?

First and foremost I have been concentrating on losing weight - although my specialist never mentioned my weight as a factor, common sense tells me that the lighter I am surely the easier it will be to get around, and the less pressure I'll put on my spine.

Secondly, I have learnt what jobs to avoid around the house - anything that involves very repetitive movements such as hoovering, and anything that involves bending and crouching for long periods - i.e cleaning the bathrooms/washing floors. Although not doing these jobs aren't exactly a bad thing, it is frustrating to not be in control of getting my house cleaned and having to rely on and remind my husband to fit those bigger jobs in once a week (if I'm lucky!).

I exercise regularly - from walking to cross training I ensure I keep active - I do not want to seize up completely, and I have noticed that the cross training has definitely helped build my strength, helping to relieve my back pain. 


I take pain killers. I've had very bad experiences with opiate based pain killers in the past (you can read about my bad withdrawal from Tramadol here) and so because of that I choose to avoid all very strong pain killers. I stick now to a concoction of regular paracetemol and ibuprofen when the pain is particularly bad. 

I understand my limitations and don't take any risks. This has been hard to get used to - but I've had to accept that there are things I will just never be able to do because of my back such as very high impact sport and exercise. I have learnt to say no to things that I know will cause me unnecessary pain. 

I use holistic methods to ease my pain - such as a microwavable hot wheat bag, gels, sprays, muscle relaxing bubble bath and recently Deep Freeze cold patches. 


DEEP FREEZE COLD PATCHES

I was recently asked if I'd like to try out some cooling patches to help with pain relief. I am always looking for something that will help ease my daily back pain, so I jumped at the chance to give these a go.

The patches come individually wrapped and are self adhesive - they stick directly onto your skin at the point of pain, and the cooling effects can last up to 3 hours. You can use up to 4 patches one after the other in the same spot, if necessary.

HOW DOES DEEP FREEZE PATCH WORK?

"Deep Freeze Patch works like ice by cooling the affected or swollen area. Cooling therapy for muscle and joint injuries is well established and recommended by sports physiotherapists. Prompt cooling has been shown to effectively reduce pain and may help in the healing of minor injuries. Coolingtherapy can also be used to soothe tense, tired or sore muscles and joints. Deep Freeze Patch is convenient and easy to use, is placed directly onto the skin and can be used under clothing." (Deep Freeze packaging)

WHAT DID I THINK?


I've been using these patches on and off for a few months now, and I really like the cooling effect they give. They have been especially good for me when I have slightly overdone it after a long long walk, or cross training session and I am paying for it with bad back pain afterwards.

The cold gel patches are so cold on contact, which provides instant relief, and then a cool, tingly sensation begins, and lasts for around three hours. The patches have a really lovely smell - they contain a mixture of aloe vera and menthol which also help to soothe any pain you have. The
 menthol, aloe vera and water sit in a hydrogel layer which slowly evaporates to produce prolonged cooling relief for up to three hours.

I have learnt over time that there is no miracle product or remedy out there for me; until my discs have been fused with surgery I will always suffer from pain. What I can seek out, however, is temporary relief. I have found that these patches certainly help to soothe my pain, even if it is just for a short while.


wearing a Deep Freeze Cold Patch to soothe a sore back


You can purchase Deep Freeze products online here or they are also available from Asda, Boots, Morrison's, Sainsbury's, Superdrug, Tesco and independent pharmacies nationwide.

The Deep Freeze Cold Patches retail at
 £1.55 for a single patch and £5.10 for a pack of four patches. 

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Do you suffer from any ongoing pain?

How do you cope?

Mrs B

xxx

Disclaimer: I was sent 12 Deep Freeze Patches for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions used in this post are my own.