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Fancy a peek at our December Degustabox?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Decembers goodies!

Just before Christmas we received a very welcome early gift - another fabulous Degustabox!

For those of you that don't know, Degustabox are a company that provide you with a box full of products that are new to the market. For £12.99 a month you will receive a box with 9 - 14 surprise food/drink items. I have found them to be an excellent way to shake up what I cook, trying out new recipes has been fun and getting try new items at a lower price than the Supermarket charge is a brilliant incentive!

So, here is what we received last month.

Gloworm premium mixer.

We received four of these mini cans of mixers in flavours:
Rasberry & Orris (perfect for Vodka)
Cucumber & Apple (perfect for Gin)
Pear, spice &lime (perfect for Rum)
Ginger & Lemongrass (perfect for Bourbon)

We tried all of these drinks with and without alcohol and they were all lovely. Very refreshing and they would make a lovely change if you just feel like a soft drink. 

They all mixed well with the spirit that was recommended although we didn't have bourbon, brandy was a perfect substitute.

Priced at £1.50 a can it would work out quite pricey to drink a lot but definitely worth it for a lovely treat.

Frylight infuse - Chilli.

Being a Slimming World fan, I am well acquainted with Fry Light, however I hadn't come across the infuse range (garlic is also available). For you those of you not so familiar, Fry Light is a very low fat cooking spray that you use in place of oil.

I love the idea of the infuse range as it completely dispense with the fiddly and dangerous job of chopping chillies. 

I have used it once so far for making some quick spicy croutons to go with my homemade parsnip and apple soup - they were delicious and went down a storm with my Husband and 3 year old Liv.

I intend to use this spray next time we have a stir fry as I think the chilli would be fantastic on chicken.

I will definitely be making sure I have one of these in stock and will be buying the garlic one too. I think this is very reasonably priced at £2 per bottle.

Kent's Kitchen meal kit.

These little spice pots are very clever. in each of the three pots there are all the seasoning and oil you need to make your dish, you just add the meat/fish etc and follow the simple steps.

We received the Jalfrezi in our previous Degustabox and thoroughly enjoyed it. This time we were sent the Brazilian fish stew meal kit which we have not used as yet. I will update when we do have it but I'm sure it is just as lovely.

Priced at £2.50 I have bought a couple of these meal kits to keep in the cupboard as they are so handy to give you inspiration and also can be cooked in 20 minutes once you add your ingredients.

Eisberg alcohol free wine.

I was actually surprised with this as it tastes very much like wine! I would have enjoyed a glass or two of this when I was pregnant instead of Orange juice!

I was a little sneaky with mine and had a couple of glasses on New Years Eve to prevent a hangover without seeming unsociable - no one even noticed!

If you have any alcohol free Friends or Family coming around, I would definitely recommend buying a bottle as a thoughtful treat, it only has a third of the calories of normal wine so dieters will thank you too.

Priced at £3.49 they are available in Chardonnay, Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon and Reisling.

Pukka Herbs clean green tea.

This is my favorite treat from the December box. I am not usually a hot drink person but the green tea, lemon and dandelion root together make for such a lovely clean, refreshing drink I haven't been able to help myself and have finished the whole box!

Priced at £2.39 for 20 tea bags (roughly just 12p per cup!) I will definitely be buying more of these and trying some more of the extensive range.

The Chia Co - oats + chia.

This product was completely new to me. Inside the packet is wholegrain oats and chia*, blended with the finest quality fruits and coconut oil. This allows you to just add water - not dairy - for a lovely creamy texture.

*Chia seed offer the highest combined plant source of omega-3, fibre and protein. They are also packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Priced at £1.70 a sachet it could run expensive to eat every day bit I'm sure it would be invaluable for people with dairy allergies.

Bonne Maman coarse orange marmalade.

Firstly how beautiful does this jar of coarse marmalade look? Sadly none of us in our household are a fan, while I was tempted just to pop it on a shelf for display purposes, my Parents are lovers so we handed it over to them. They assured us that it was delicious zingy and had the thickest orange peels they had ever seen in a marmalade - a hit!

Priced at 2.30.


These are the first things Liv wanted to try. Popchips are never fried or baked, they are simply popped with heat and pressure resulting in a lovely crunchy crisp! We received the barbecue flavour and they went down a storm. Very crunchy, with a slight spice = they didn't last long.

23g of Popchips (approximately 18) contains 96 calories, 3.2g Fat, 0.4g saturates, 0.46g salt and 202g sugars.

Priced at £1.79 for an 85g bag, we will definitely be buying these again. We have a duty to try the other flavours, right?!

Bahlsen biscuits.

Liv was equally as excited when I pulled out not one but two boxes of chocolate biscuits!

The biscuits were very lovely without being too sweet. THey consist of a butter biscuit topped with lovely chocolate, one packet als had a lovely gooey caramel inside.

Liv enjoyed dunking these in Daddies cup of tea - they don't disitergrate easily which is a big bonus with a 3 year old!

Priced at £1.79 per packet they are very reasonably priced and I will pick her up another box when we see them.

You can find out more about Degustabox or contact them on Facebook, Twitter or their website.

Improve your health through your sleep pattern.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

It's January, and everywhere we're being bombarded with images and advertisements of how we can nip, tuck and generally improve our bodies in order to keep up with our New Year's resolutions.

But while it's one thing to get more exercise and eat better, we have to consider – are we getting enough sleep? There are more benefits to getting a good night's sleep than you might think – here are just a few areas of your body which will benefit.

Your waistline:

If you are one of the aforementioned January dieters, then you'll be pleased to know there's one way of keeping trim that doesn't involve pounding on a treadmill. Studies have shown that those who are sleep deprived are more likely to crave food – particularly sugary treats – so make sure you're setting yourself targets to get seven to eight hours per night.

Your back:

Many of us may not realise it, but our back problems can be down to more than just acquiring injuries from sport or any other type of exercise. In fact, anything from poorly adjusted office chairs to a badly sprung mattress can contribute to those aches and pains, so make sure you're doing all you can to prevent this. For example, you can make sure you get a better night's sleep by replacing your mattress every nine to 10 years – you'll also feel the benefits from the improved sleep too!

Your skin:

They say you are what you eat, but you are what you sleep, too! It doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but the underlying point is that by getting more sleep, your skin will look less tired, with fewer lines and generally have a better 'glow' to it. For example, sleeping with a few pillows propping your head up will encourage fluid to drain away from your eyes, helping to prevent the dreaded 'puffy eye' look that we all suffer from every now and then.

Your brain!

This one might not be as visible as your skin, but you'll certainly feel the difference mentally if you catch up on your sleep. In June last year, studies published in the journal Science revealed that sleep can improve your memory. It was revealed that those who get more sleep have more connections between neurons, helping us to learn and store more information and recall it at a later date. You can help to improve your memory, for example, when revising for an exam, by learning the new information just before bed. You'll be amazed at how much sticks!

Are you sticking to your New Year's resolutions?

Monday, 26 January 2015

As we near the end of the first month of 2015, I wonder how many of us are struggling to keep up those health goals we said we would stick to?

I'm doing pretty good and have really cut down on alcohol and junk food and I've also increased the amount of exercise I do - so far so good!

A rare treat now!
If like me 10 years ago, one of your goals was to give up or cut down on smoking, you should consider electronic cigarettes as a smart and healthier alternative. These weren't around when I quit cold turkey but I wish they had been! Not only are they better for you health wise, they don't leave a bad smell on your clothes and are more socially acceptable as no evidence has shown that the vapour produced by them is harmful to others. They won't stain your teeth and the cost after initial purchase is much lower than regular cigarettes. The benefits speak for themselves - so what are you waiting for? 

You'll probably find that once you start using e-cigarettes, those other goals will become easier to obtain. The health benefits will mean you can exercise easier so getting down to the gym for a class, having a swim, or going out for that run won't be as difficult, particularly with your lungs a little clearer! 

If one of your goals was to lose a bit of weight, more exercise will obviously help and so too will a more balanced diet. Keep an eye on your calorie intake, perhaps by using a smartphone or online app that can track your daily amount. That way you can assess when you are allowed that little treat of a chocolate bar or slice of cake! 

If cutting down your alcohol intake was a goal, try and set yourself a weekly limit and stick to the recommended weekly alcohol units intake. When socialising with friends, suggest doing fun activities on a Saturday afternoon such as a pilates class, a visit to a gallery or check out the latest film together. Soon enough, your energy levels will soar, you will concentrate better at work and your skin will most definitely thank you for it.

Try and remember why you set these goals and made these resolutions in the first place. Did you want to get a better body, get fitter to enter an event, or just generally want to feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle? Visualise how you could look and feel in a few months' time if you stick to your goals, and remember that small steps are fine. You don't need to run a marathon tomorrow! Just a small change each day can make a huge difference in time - whether that's getting the stairs at work rather than taking the elevator or saying no to indulgent food, it all adds up to creating a healthier and happier you! 

Good luck and let us know how you are getting on!

Find out what we think of Natural Balance Foods Nakd bars.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Recently we were asked to review some natural fruit and nut bars. They are made by a company called Natural Balance Foods who started making healthy alternatives to processed foods back in 2004.

We always try to be conscious about snacks, especially ones Liv will be eating too. She can go from perfectly lovely little Girl to hyperactive she-devil after a hefty dose of sugar, so it really is in everyone's benefit!

We readily agreed and received a mixed box of 18 bars. A box of 18 of these bars costs £13.99, which works out as approximately 78p per bar and importantly - Free UK delivery!

These Nākd Bars are described by Natural a Balance Foods as:

"Our simplest and most beloved bars. Just raw fruits and nuts smooshed together. Containing 100% natural ingredients with no added sugars or syrups,  these bars are also wheat, dairy and gluten free, and bursting with yummy goodness. With a soft, chewy texture they fill you up till your next meal and most count towards 1 of your 5 a day too. Ideal for lunchboxes, grabbing on the go and refuelling between meals!"

The taste test!

They really are lovely! You can actually see some of the berries in this Berry delight bar. The texture is quite hard to explain, they are quite chewy and a little fig like if consistency - yummy!

They genuinely have a wonderful flavour without that odd aftertaste of artificial sweeteners.

Using this berry delight bar as an example, the ingredients are as simple as:

Dates (49%),
Cashews (31%)
Raisins (17%)
Raspberries (3%)
Natural flavour

They are also:
Dairy free
Wheat free
Gluten free
Vegan friendly
GM free
Low in saturated fats
Free from added sugar
All that and they even count as one of your 5 a day!

Typical values per 35g bar:
Energy 135 kcal, Protein 3g, Carbohydrate 18g (of which sugars) 16g, Fat 5g (of which saturates) 1g, Fibre 2g, Sodium <0.1g>

They are small enough and healthy enough to pop into a lunchbox, with so many flavours, everyone is bound to find one they like.

We will definitely be purchasing these in the future as the whole Family enjoyed them, a truly guilt free snack!

Disclaimer - we went sent these for the purpose of the review, however all opinion if out own.

How would working a 4 day work week change your life?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Have you ever wondered how working 4 days a week would change your life? It sounds fantastic when you first hear about it, a no brainer really!

However when you actually stop and really start to think about it, there are other aspects too such as possibly working longer hours on those 4 days, less time spent with your Children those four evenings, the cost of extra Childcare and facing a possible reduction in wage.

The positives however far outweigh the niggles in my opinion. For example, losing a little time each evening with your Children will give you a full extra day to spend with them (which in effect will even cut Childcare costs) 

A four day work week would hugely benefit us personally. Since Liv was born we are a one income family, due to working in sales, my Husband has always worked Wednesday to Sunday. This has never been a problem for us until the prospect of Liv going to school has got nearer, now Daddy is worried about not being able to spend as much time with her as he works Weekends.

He has said that he would happily start work an hour earlier and leave an hour later. Working 8am - 6pm four days a week would balance out so wouldn't require a decrease in wage at all. If his colleagues were happy too they could even work out a rolling rota to ensure everyone got a weekend off every few weeks! 

The lovely people over at GoToMeeting have sent me this four day working week infographic. It has some very interesting points. Why not check it out then pop back and let me know your thoughts.