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Green Living, Lifestyle

Life in plastic, it’s (NOT) fantastic

Social media campaigns have kind of taken over my life just lately. Last month I took part in The Wildlife Trust’s #30dayswild initiative and this month I’m trying to reduce my plastic usage for #plasticfreejuly. Both campaigns have blown my mind.

Being ‘wild’ for 30 days made me fall in love with our planet. My surroundings. My home. My children’s home. I’m ashamed to say that up until recently this big rock we call Earth was merely just a place I inhabited. This planet is where I was born, where I would live and where I would die. I lived without thinking too much about my impact on it. I also lived without thinking too much about the other creatures who we share the planet with and how my actions does/and will affect them.

I feel like I’ve had a wake up call. A sudden slap across the face from the hand of reality. What I do makes a difference. My actions count. And so does yours.

I want to do better. I want to be greener. I’m desperate to make positive changes in the way that I live.

But I’m also overwhelmed.

I’m overcome with guilt and frustration.

I feel so guilty for every time I’ve bought my kids some plastic tat they’ve played with for all of two minutes. Because let’s face it, kids AREN’T as interested in toys as we like to think.

I feel guilty for the God-knows-how-many toothbrushes I’ve sent to landfill in my 30 years.

I feel guilty for all the times I’ve used plastic carrier bags because I couldn’t be bothered to carry around a reusable bag.

I feel guilty for every time I’ve bought a bottle of water when I could have just drank water from a tap.

And don’t get me started on the nappies…

There’s. so. much. guilt.

I get frustrated when I stand in the park, pushing my daughter on the swings, and see litter all over the floor. How can I make a difference when other people seemingly don’t care at all? And am I really any better just because I put my rubbish in the bin? It still ends up in a hole in the ground. What difference does it make?

I get frustrated because when I go to the supermarket almost every single friggin’ thing is covered in plastic. My online food shop came the other day and I kid you not, my bananas were bubble wrapped. Bubble wrapped?! If only bananas came in their own protective layer… oh wait.

I get frustrated because I want to be better. Do better. But I don’t know where to start.

I look around my home and the mere sight of plastic sets my teeth on edge.

I can’t live like this anymore.

I need to set aside the guilt (I can’t undo what’s been done) and the frustration (it’s only getting in my way) and take small steps in the direction of a greener, more eco-friendly lifestyle.

I want to be better. I want to do better.

*Life in plastic. It’s (not) fantastic.

Jenna xx

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*Never thought I’d paraphrase the song ‘Barbie Girl’ in a blog post but hey!

 

 

Family, Lifestyle

45 things we did during #30dayswild

Throughout June we took part in The Wildlife Trust’s #30wilddays initiative. The idea being that you do one ‘random act of wildness’ each day for the whole month. It wasn’t until I started writing down this list that I realised how many things we did. Nothing complicated, just quick and simple acts that helped us to enjoy nature and explore our surroundings. It’s been such a fun month and it’s really changed my outlook on life. (Yes, really.)

I thought I’d share what we got up to inspire anyone reading who would also like to incorporate a bit more ‘wild’ into their lives. Why wait until next year?!

1. Enjoyed the grass between our toes.

2. Listened to bird song.

3. Planted wild flowers.

4. Downloaded The Great British Bee Count app and logged some bees.

5. Had a mini beast hunt in the garden.

6. Went on a woodland walk.

7. Visited Westonbirt Arboretum.

8. Watched Spring Watch on the BBC.

9. Paddled in a stream.

10. Made a nature collage

11. Collected feathers

12. Went to the beach and played with sand and seaweed as well as paddling in the sea! (Brean)

13. Made a painting using feathers as paintbrushes.

14. Blew dandelions.

15. Went puddle jumping.

16. Photographed a bee (much trickier than I thought it would be!)

17. Climbed a tree.

18. Made daisy chain necklaces.

19. Went to Bristol’s Festival of Nature.

20. Got up, close and personal with an owl.

21. Had a BBQ/ate alfresco.

22. Hugged a tree!

23. Explored things that had fallen from trees.

24. Did a litter pick at the park.

25. Fed the ducks.

26. Drew and painted a picture of a gold finch.

27. Looked at spider webs.

28. Became a member of my local Wildlife Trust.

29. Watched the sunset.

30. Put a bug hotel in the garden.

31. Made a nature dreamcatcher (using sticks and feathers that we found).

32. Stacked stones on the beach.

33. Explored sea caves in Wales.

34. Did nature-inspired yoga poses in the garden.

35. Made a bee drinking station.

36. Looked at Jellyfish that had washed up on the beach. (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

37. Watched a diver bird try to catch lunch! (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

38. Played Pooh Sticks.

39. Watched the clouds.

40. Followed a Bee.

41. Went steam dipping.

42. Went butterfly spotting.

43. Discovered local nature reserves.

44. Climbed on boulders and shouted into the distance.

45. Got to know lots of other ‘wild’ enthusiasts through Instagram and Twitter.

If you took part in #30dayswild, I’d love to hear what you got up to?

 

Jenna xx

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pancake day fun with robinsons
Family, Food, Lifestyle

Pancake Day Fun with Robinsons

The lovely folks at Robinsons recently got in contact with us to ask if we’d be up for the challenge of creating some Robinsons Squash inspired pancakes this pancake day. Never one to turn down a challenge, especially one that involves pancakes, I said ‘Yes, please!’

First things first, we selected a range of fresh fruit from the supermarket including; lemons, mangoes, strawberries, kiwis and oranges (all of which are fruits that are used in Robinsons Squashes).

Robinsons Fruit Squash contains no added sugar, and a 250ml serving contains 5 calories or less.

Jasmine holding her ‘dinosaur egg’. :)

Once we had our selection of fruits prepared and Robinsons squash ready to enjoy (pancake making is thirsty work) we set about making our tasty pancake creations.

This was the first year that Jasmine could really get stuck in with making the pancakes with us. She loved helping me weigh out our ingredients, prep the fruit and she quickly became Chief Whisker! We opted to make fluffy American-style pancakes using this recipe and they were THE best pancakes we’ve ever had.

 

Jasmine opted to load up her pancake with mango and strawberries.

Some of the strawberries never made it as far as the pancakes though! ;)

Stephen tucking into a strawberry pancake with added chocolate sauce (naughty!) and sprinkles. Or “sfinkles” as Jasmine calls them. Elowen looked quite jealous. You’ll have to wait a few more months yet, Baby Girl!

I enjoyed some Strawberry and Kiwi Robinsons squash – there’s real fruit in every drop!

Tucking in!

Oh so delicious!

We were kindly sent some bottles of Robinsons Fruit Squash in 3 different flavours – so here’s our 3 squash inspired pancake toppings:

Stawberry and Kiwi

Lemon – you can’t beat a good ol’ traditional lemon pancake!

Orange and Mango

What do you think of them? Which flavour do you think you’d like best?

my-signature

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Baby, Lifestyle, shopping

My eBay Wishlist #2

I really enjoyed putting together my eBay wishlist last month… so I’m back with another one! Again, it’s relatively baby-focused, although now that I’m starting to think about decorating the girls’ bedrooms in our new house, there’s a few lovely decor pieces in there too.

I hope you like my February eBay picks… 

1) A set of 4 baby bandana bibs – £3.90 incl. P&P

2) Sass & Belle embroidered message flag “Go your own way” – £6.85 incl. P&P

3) Sleepy Eyes wall decal (various sizes and colours available) – from £3.00

4) ‘Powered By Milk’ Baby Romper – £3.84 incl P&P

5) Cloud shelf – £19.41 and free shipping (from China)

6) Handmade dinosaur pinafore dress (age 2-3)  – £20.oo plus £2.50 P&P

Have you snapped up any eBay bargains recently?
If so I’d love to know what you bought.

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Lifestyle, Toddler

Things we’ve been loving lately… #1

This year I want to share more of the things I love on my blog. Whether it be the products that make parenting that little bit easier, something I’ve treated myself to, or even just what I’m lovin’ on the telly box! And of course, my blog is as much about my girls as it is me so I’ll be sharing the things they love too. (Although it might be a while yet before Little E loves anything more than milk and sleep!)

Here’s some of mine and Jasmine’s recent faves…

Things that Jasmine (aged 2) has been loving lately…

1. Tickly Octopus by Ruth Galloway (Book)

Jasmine often goes through phases of being obsessed with a particular book. She’ll ask us to read the same book every night for several weeks at a time. Lately, her favourite book is Tickly Octopus by Ruth Galloway. I bought this at a book sale at our local library for about 50p ages ago but she’s only recently gotten into it. It’s about an Octopus who enjoys tickling his fellow sea creatures, however, they aren’t quite so keen on it! This leads Octopus to find out what other things he’s good at besides tickling.

2. Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike from Kiddies Kingdom

Jasmine received this balance bike for Christmas and initially wasn’t bothered by it at all. “It’s too wobbly!” she’d say as she tried to ride it, she’d get frustrated and give up. With plenty of gentle encouragement she’s now starting to gain confidence in herself when riding it and is really starting to get the hang of it now. She’ll ride it around the house and announce “I like my bike!” I’m now on the hunt for a helmet for Jasmine so we can venture outdoors with it.

3. Hallmark Itty Bittys

I’ve mentioned a few times on the blog and social media that Jasmine is obsessed with superheroes. She spends a good 90% of her waking hours pretending to be Spiderman. On the run up to Christmas I was looking around for superhero toys but annoyingly I found that many were a bit too old for her. They were made up of lots of small plastic parts or they had toy weapons. They didn’t really seem suitable for a two-year-old in my eyes. But then I discovered Itty Bittys – small plush collectible toys and immediately knew Jasmine would adore them. She now has Spiderman (obvs), Bat Girl, Batman and Super Girl! I can’t wait to add some more to our collection as they are so blummin’ cute. There is a HUGE range of itty bittys available – not just superheroes either. From Star Wars to Snoopy, there’s an Itty Bitty collection for everyone!

4. PJ Masks (TV show)

Staying with the Superhero theme – we have both been loving PJ Masks. A children’s animated series about 3 six-year-olds who become superheros (Owlette, Gekko and Catboy!) at night. It’s available to watch on the Disney Jnr channel. Check out the trailer here to see what all the fuss is about!

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

And now on to Mama’s recent faves…

Things that I’ve been loving lately…

1. Tangle Angel

I have such incredibly knotty hair. So much so, that brushing it with a ‘normal’ hairbrush makes my eyes water. Not only that, I can hear my hair snapping with each stroke – NOT good! Enter stage left: The Tangle Angel. This brush has been my absolute saviour – it glides through my wet or dry hair easily and doesn’t yank on my locks! Appaz, even Kim Kardashian uses these brushes!

2. Tesco Stawberry Flavour Mineral Water

OK, I know this is random but bear with me a minute! I’ve been trying desperately to cut down on my sugar intake lately. I’ve been looking for an alternative to juices, squash and fizzy drinks (because let’s face it, plain ol’ water is dull after a while!) It’s then that I came across these sugar free flavoured mineral waters in my local Tesco. And well, I’m hooked!

3. The Rightmove mobile app (available on iPhone and Android)

We’ve recently accepted an offer on our house (yay!) which means we are now desperately looking for a new one (eek!) This means my go-to mobile app has been Rightmove – it’s been a great tool for searching for new properties on the market in our chosen location and shortlisting ones we want to view. Exciting times!

4. Fortitude – Series 2 (TV Show)

Fortitude is a British psychological thriller television series which is available to watch on Sky Atlantic. It’s creepy, intriguing, well written and well acted. I was a huge fan of the first series which aired in 2015 and I’ve been looking forward to the second series ever since. The basic premise of the show is that a quiet and ‘safe’ town, Fortitude, which is located on the edge of the Arctic Circle becomes plagued by a prehistoric parasite. I’m 3 episodes into the second series and it, so far, has been well worth the wait.

What have you been loving lately?

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Blogging, Lifestyle, Tags

The Bedtime Tag

I’ve been tagged by Jaymee from The Mum Diaries to take part in The Bedtime Tag. 10 questions all about my bedtime routine. I love reading these kind of posts because, quite frankly, I’m nosy! Do let me know if you decide to take part in the Q&A yourself as I’d love to read your answers. :)

The Bedtime Tag:

Describe your usual bedtime routine.

Firstly… Hahahahahahaha…. bedtime routine… hahahaha. Right, OK… I’m done.

My ‘bedtime routine’ usually starts with me drifting off on the couch in front of the telly at around about 8pm! Since I’ve had two children to look after all day (Jasmine’s two-years-old and Elowen is a mere 7 weeks) I’ve been absolutely knackered come the evening. I can’t remember the last time I managed to watch a TV programme from start to end! (No Sherlock spoilers, please!)

I will continue to drift in and out of consciousness for several hours before finally admitting defeat and heading to bed.

I’ll brush my teeth, go to the loo and if I’ve worn make up that day (which happens very rarely at the moment) then I’ll wipe it off with a face wipe. No fancy skincare routines here – by this point I just want to get into bed ASAP.

I’ll then get into bed and feed Elowen whilst scrolling through Instagram (what can I say, I’m addicted). I’ll lower my phone’s brightness so that when I use it throughout the night (nightfeeds) it’s not so glaringly bright. Once Elowen is sated I’ll pop her in her co-sleeper crib (for all of 10 minutes until she ends up back in bed snuggled up with me) and then it’s off to the land of nod I go until my first wake up which is usually around 2.00am.

What are your favourite pyjamas?

These ones…

I fell in love with them when I saw them in a shop window back in November. Stephen remembered and bought them for me for Christmas. They’re so fleecy and snug! I also love that the trouser legs are cuffed because I’m short (5ft 1in) most PJ trousers are far too long for me and I end up tripping up over them!

What is your current bedtime reading?

I loved watching the BBC TV series Versailles last year so I asked for the book (which is based on the series) for Christmas. I need to start going to bed earlier to make time to read it. It’s not one for the fainthearted – it’s rather racy.

What would I find on your bedside table?

Not a lot – I’m not a fan of clutter! But you will find my Lumie Bodyclock, my aroma diffuser, a notepad and pen, my book and a bottle of water. I usually keep my phone under my pillow… which probably means it’s frying my brain or something.

What scent makes you sleepy?

Lavender!

What is your usual bedtime and wakeup time?

Bedtime tends to be anytime between 10.30 and midnight.

As for wake-ups? Every two hours! ;)

What are your top three bedtime products?

  1. My breastfeeding pillow
  2. Lavender room spray (I use this one.)
  3. My Lumie Bodyclock

What is your most common sleeping position?

I usually sleep in the foetal position, facing out of the bed (towards Elowen).

Do you have anything you like to take to bed with you?

A small orang-utan named Hogan. (I’m not referring to my husband!)

What is your worst bedtime habit?

Eating food in bed and then complaining that there’s loads of toast crumbs in the bed clothes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m now going to tag some bloggers whose answers I’d love to read so please join in if you fancy it:

Jess

Vickie

Janine

Cassie

Amy

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Baby, Lifestyle, shopping

My eBay Wishlist #1

With a house move to the other side of the country imminent, I am very much on a self-imposed spending ban at the moment. I’m trying not to buy anything we do not *need* to buy in order to save as much cash as possible – moving house is an expensive business, after all. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a little online window shopping! ;) I love perusing eBay in search of a bargain and so I thought I’d share a little wish list with you of some of the items that have been catching my eye just recently.

This wishlist happens to be very baby/nursery focused but I’m planning to do a few more eBay wish list posts in the near future with different themes. Watch this space!

1) Mini Boss Long-Sleeved Baby Vest – £2.29 + 99p P&P

2) Black & White Striped Children’s Teepee – £64.99 with free delivery

3) ELC Safari Squeaker Rattle (Zebra) – £5.00 + £3.95 P&P

4) Scandinavian Swedish Large Muslin Swaddle Blanket – £22.50 with free delivery

4) Minene Toy Storage Set Large/Small, Black and White Chevron – £34.99 with free delivery

6) Pink Panda Baby Booties (0-8months) – £2.99 with free delivery

Have you snapped up any eBay bargains recently?

 

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Family, Food, Lifestyle

Dinner Diaries #1

I thought I’d share something a little different on my blog today – a meal diary! I think meal planning posts and food grocery hauls are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. I, personally, love reading these kind of posts. Probably because, in our family, it’s my job to plan our meals and do the weekly online food shop. I’ve noticed that over the last few months (excluding Christmas) I’ve been stuck in somewhat of a meal planning rut. Sometimes it’s hard to think up new meal ideas to keep things interesting but I’m hoping that by doing these ‘Dinner Diary’ posts regularly, it will help me to be a bit more adventurous. Hopefully these posts might even help others who also find themselves struggling for meal ideas.

Now, I have only included our weekday meals as we tend to have ‘something Mexican’ on Saturdays and a roast dinner on Sundays. I should also point out that Stephen and I tend to eat dinner together during the week, after Jasmine has gone to bed. (Although she will often have a leftover portion of our meals for dinner the next day).

Bear in mind that we do have a 7-week-old and a (fussy) toddler so lately I’ve been going for ‘simple meals’. As much as I love doing it – I currently don’t have the time or inclination to cook completely from scratch. I also don’t claim to eat uber healthily either – although I try my hardest to incorporate plenty of veg!

Anyways, enough rambling – here’s our 5 weekday meals from last week…

Monday:

Lasagne with Garlic Bread and Spinach

Tuesday:

Minted Lamb Grills with New Potatoes and Mixed Vegetables with Mint Gravy

Wednesday:

Jerk Chicken Drumsticks with Corn on the Cob and Golden Vegetable Rice

Thursday:

Pulled Pork in Brioche Buns with Potato Wedges and Side Salad

Friday:

Meat-free Chicken Style Kievs with New Potatoes and Mixed Green Vegetables

I’d love to know – what is your favourite ‘go-to’ easy midweek meal?

Do you also find yourself in meal planning rut?

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Baby, Home, Lifestyle

My ‘Stars & Clouds’ Nursery Wishlist

I’ll be honest with you all, Baby No.2’s nursery is merely a figment of my imagination, at least for now anyway. We are planning to move house and relocate back to Bristol early next year (yay!) so for the time being Baby Button-Nose will not have a room of their own. (Ahh, poor second born!) But hey, it’s all good because he/she will be rooming with the ‘rents (Stephen and I) until they’re at least 6 months old.

When I was pregnant with Jasmine, I spent a lot of time creating her ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ inspired nursery. It was one of the more enjoyable aspects of my pregnancy and I’m still really proud of how her room turned out. This time around I’m thinking of creating a little ‘nursery corner’ in our bedroom – a small but beautiful space for our baba.

I’ve noticed that I’ve definitely been drawn to a certain theme when looking at items for nursery decor – stars and clouds.

I thought I’d share some of the items on my wishlist:

somewhere-to-sleep

The Chicco Next to Me (in Silver) – £165

With Jasmine we hired a Bednest for the first 6 months of her life, which means we don’t have a bedside crib to reuse for Baby BN. I had been considering buying a Snuzpod or a Chicco Next to Me and, after seeing them both in the flesh at our local Mothercare, I now have my heart set on the Next to Me crib in silver. (You’ll notice a bit of a grey/silver theme going on!)

star-cushions

Polka Dot Pastel Star Cushion from Sass & Belle – £13.00

How adorable are these star cushions? I think I’d pick the grey but all three of the pastel colours are gorgeous.

blankie

Meyco Cotton Baby Blanket (Amazon) – £29.99

I can just imagine our little bubba being snuggled up under this stunning cloud blanket. It’s made with soft brushed cotton and is breathable, meaning there’s minimal risk of overheating. It’s machine washable which is super important where babies are involved. They are messy little critters!

This blanket is also available in Mint, Pink and Blue.

cloud-print

Cloud illustration poster from Desenio -£7.99 (12×16″)

I’m all about the finishing touches when it comes to nursery decor. I think they are truly what makes a beautiful space… well, beautiful. This super cute cloud print from Desenio is a brilliant example. I think it would fab on the wall in Baby BN’s ‘nursery corner’. Tying my stars and clouds theme together perfectly.

mobiles

  1. Cloud, stars and Moon Mobile from Velveteen Babies – £72.00
  2. Songe Musical Mobile from Maisons Du Monde – £34.99

I have an obsession with baby mobiles which is probably why I’ve ended up sharing two of them on my wishlist.

1 – You must, MUST check out the range of mobiles available from Velveteen Babies. They are all “carefully and lovingly created by hand from start to finish.” I was lucky enough to win this particular mobile through an Instagram competition and I can tell you now, they are even more stunning in real life! It’s also probably what started my fascination with cloud nursery decor.

2 – I love the simplicity of this grey and white musical mobile from Maisons Du Monde. I think it would make such a lovely baby shower gift. This mobile is currently unavailable to buy (boo!) but according to the website, more are due back in stock soon (yay)!

cloud-light

Sass and Belle LED Cloud Light available from ASOS – £20.00

I’m. In. Love.

I just cannot think of anything more perfect to complete Baby BN’s cloud and star themed nursery corner. The light is freestanding and battery powered (x2 AAs) which means it could sit on my bedside table and be used as a nightlight during those 4am feeds!

And that brings me to the end of my ‘Stars and Clouds’ nursery wishlist. If you fancy a bit more nursery inspo – take a look at my post about Jasmine’s Little Red Riding Hood themed nursery:

jasmines-nursery-tour

You can also check out these nursery decor wishlists from two fellow mama-to-be bloggers – Emma and Debbie:

nursery-picks-emma

nursery-decor-wishlist-1024x1015

 

I’d love to know – what’s your favourite item on my wishlist?

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Home Etc

Food, Lifestyle, Reviews

HelloFresh Family Recipe Box Review

I recently had a very exciting e-mail drop into my inbox, asking me if my family and I would like to trial and review HelloFresh boxes for two weeks. For each week of those two weeks a box would be delivered to my home, complete with dinner recipe cards and all the ingredients needed to make the meals. Anyone who is in charge of meal planning and food shopping in their household will understand my excitement – it’s a total grind and a job I was very happy to avoid for a fortnight.

There are 3 types of HelloFresh boxes available – Classic, Veggie and Family. I selected to have the Family boxes as they are tailored to be more ‘child friendly’. Would the meals appeal to my fussy two-year-old? Time would tell!

I was given a choice of 3 days in which my delivery could take place so I chose Thursdays (as we tend to eat more together as a family over the weekends). I was also given the option to leave a note for the courier, such as a place to leave the box in the event that I’m not at home when it arrives.

Both of my boxes arrived just before midday. Each box contained recipe cards and ingredients for four meals. The items in the box are packed with cold packs to keep the chilled items (meat, dairy products etc.) fresh.

The first thing that struck me when I opened the box was just how much was in there. Everything was accounted for, right down to the herbs & spices. Secondly, I was blown away by how good quality everything looked, the meat in particular looked far nicer than our usual supermarket-bought meats. I was also pleased to see the new potatoes were locally sourced from Suffolk! At this point I was really hoping it was all going to taste as good as it looked.

box contents

Pictured above is every item that came in our first HelloFresh box. The only things we had to supply ourselves was cooking oil/spray and water.

The meals included in our first box were the following:

  • Garlicky Courgette Chicken Gratin with Roasted New Potatoes
  • Beef and Chorizo Burgers with Red Onion Marmalade
  • Jamie’s Sausage Gnocchi with Broccoli and Tomato
  • Stir-Fried Chinese Chilli Beef

And here’s what we thought of them…

Meal 1

I think this was possibly my favourite meal overall. The chicken was brilliant quality (although 4 large chicken breasts was probably too much for the 3 of us). I had never thought to roast new potatoes before but they came out lovely and crisp. Spinach isn’t something I tend to eat as I find it a bit boring. However, the Honey and Orange salad dressing that was supplied in the box to dress the spinach was divine so I scoffed the lot! I cooked this meal (Stephen and I took turns) and it took exactly the amount of time the recipe card said (35 mins). This was a tasty, quick and easy meal which I will definitely be making again in the future.

meal 2

We love a good burger in this house so we had high hopes for these Beef and Chorizo burgers. The recipe we was fairly straightforward but I did find it hard to grill the meat as the burgers do fall apart a bit. It also took quite a bit longer to cook the meat than the 4 minutes each side that was instructed on the recipe card. All in all, it was still a quick dinner and very tasty.

meal 3

None of us had ever tried gnocchi before and to be honest we weren’t entirely sure what it was. (FYI gnocchi are small Italian dumplings made from potato, semolina or flour.) I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver’s recipes so I was still excited to try this meal. There was quite a bit of prep involved with this recipe (mostly chopping veg) and it did take us closer to 40/50 mins to make (recipe card says 30 mins). It was well worth the wait though – this meal was full of flavour and I’m already looking forward to using gnocchi again. Oh an my fussy two-year-old? She was asking for “more, more, more!”

meal 4

I felt this meal was a little faffy for a stir-fry – the ones we usually make at home take a lot less than 30 minutes to make. The beef was brilliant quality but we couldn’t really get it to ‘crisp up’ like it was supposed to have done. It was an OK meal but nothing to write home about. Jasmine also found this recipe a little too spicy.

My final thoughts on our first HelloFresh box: 

I really enjoyed trying out new recipes and eating ingredients I had never eaten before. I looked forward to our evening meals and eating together as a family. Aside from the stir fry – they all went down well with our little lady. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my toddler’s clean plate! I couldn’t wait to see what was going to be in our next box…

second box

The meals from our second box were:

  • Lebanese Lamb Tortillas with Minted Tzatziki and Toasted Almonds
  • Speedy Vietnamese Steak Stir-Fry
  • Pan Fried Pork Medallions with Tarragon and Potatoes
  • Chicken and Romanesco Pasta Bake with Bacon and Courgette

Here’s what we thought of them…

Lamb 2

We had my mother-in-law stay over for the weekend and I decided to make this as a lunch for us all. This meal had quite a lot of prep involved but made a nice midday meal for the 4 of us (3 adults and 1 child) – there was plenty to go round. I didn’t bother with the almonds in this recipe as neither hubby or myself are that keen on them. The mince was lovely although I am used to buying reduced fat/extra lean mince from the supermarket. I feel like an extra side would have been nice with this meal, although I’m not entirely sure what… some couscous perhaps?

pork

This meal was by far the biggest ‘surprise’. My husband pulled a face when I showed him the recipe card. “I won’t like that, I’m not that keen on pork and I hate tarragon”. Oh! Although it’s definitely not the type of meal we’d choose to cook, I was a little more open-minded and was looking forward to trying something a bit different. Despite his initial reaction, hubby offered to cook the meal for us and within in minutes he was was starting to change his mind as the sauce smelled so good whilst it was cooking. I thought the meal looked quite fancy when it was placed in front of me, I don’t think it would look out of place in a classy restaurant! But the truth is in the eating…. the mother-in-law gave it “11 out of 10!” and the rest of us agreed. This meal has been added to the “must cook again” list!

steak2

After being a bit disappointed with the last HelloFresh beef stir-fry I had my reservations about this one. I needn’t have worried though because this stir-fry was GORGEOUS. The steak was tender and the sauce was full of flavour. The toddler didn’t have this meal with us as we had it on a nursery day (she has a big dinner there) so I can’t say if she would’ve eaten it or not. But it was an absolute win with the adults of the family!

pasta bake

I’m not sure that I’d ever even heard of Romanesco before, let alone cooked with it. It’s a strange looking vegetable that is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It turns out that it’s pretty tasty too. I’m a big fan of pasta bakes and make them regularly but tend to stick to making the same old ones. This dish felt like proper comfort food and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. There was even quite a bit leftover so I had it for lunch the next day.

My final thoughts on our second HelloFresh Box:

I was glad to see that the quality of produce supplied in this box was just as high in standard as the first time around. The meat, in particular, was second to none. Again, there wasn’t a single meal that I didn’t like and I actually now have a few new favourite meals! The toddler enjoyed all of the meals that she ate with us which is kind of a big deal seeing as mealtimes are often a bit of a battle.

What we weren’t so keen on: 

  • It was often difficult to know which order we were best off cooking our meals in, in order to make the most of the fresh ingredients. The spinach (from the first box) did have an “eat me first” sticker on it but after that we had to go by eye and decide what would keep best in the fridge and what would need eating first.
  • I never thought I would say this but… there was too much food. We’re a small family – two adults and a two-year-old (who, as I mentioned earlier, doesn’t eat an evening meal with us every night) and therefore the quantities supplied for each meal was more than we could actually eat, which is a real shame. I have, however, noticed that you can order the Classic HelloFresh boxes for 2 or 3 people so perhaps that would be better suited to our family/lifestyle.
  • Recipe timings: more often than not the meals took quite a bit longer to prepare and cook than it said it would on the recipe card. Although, I often find this is the case when you’re making something new for the first time.
  • We have a very well stocked kitchen cupboard so it felt a little silly at times to be using sachets of ketchup or balsamic vinegar when we have whole bottles of the stuff to hand. I appreciate that not everybody has a cupboard full of condiments, though.

What we loved:

  • The high quality of the meat products – it was far better than the meat we usually buy at the supermarket.
  • Seeing locally sourced veggies in our boxes!
  • Not having to do as much grocery shopping or meal planning – I loved having that time back to do other things.
  • Enjoying cooking again – hubby and I both love cooking but due to having such busy lives we often end up making the same meals for dinner week in, week out. Having our HelloFresh boxes delivered seems to have renewed our love for cooking food and trying new ingredients.
  • Seeing the toddler’s ‘happy plate’ – I’m so pleased that our two-year-old enjoyed the food. You can tell the recipes have been well thought out in terms of supplying ingredients/meals that the whole family can enjoy.

In conclusion: 

We have loved trialing the HelloFresh Family boxes and I would urge anybody who has ever considered trying them to give it a go – you’ll not be disappointed. The Family box, which is available from £37.95, is enough food for 2 adults and 2 children which I think is very reasonable, especially considering the fantastic quality of the ingredients. Unfortunately, as we are only a family of 3, we ended up not being able to eat all of our meals and so we would’ve been paying for food that would end up being thrown away. Personally, I think the Family Box would be better suited to a family of two adults and two older children.

It’s worth noting that if you subscribe to the HelloFresh boxes you can check out the forthcoming meals for the next week and if you don’t fancy them, you can pause your subscription. I think this is a great idea. I don’t like fish so being able to pass up on recipe boxes containing fish meals makes a subscription more appealing to me – there’d be nothing worse than paying for food you would never eat in a million years!

If you’re stuck in a rut with meal planning – then I would encourage you to try the HelloFresh boxes (there’s normally a good offer available on your first box). It will give you plenty of inspiration and bring a bit more joy back into dinner times.

Check out the HelloFresh website to find out more about their subscription options and have a look at the recipes.

Are you currently stuck in a meal planning rut?

Do you think your family would enjoy the HelloFresh boxes?

**I was sent two HelloFresh Family boxes over a two week period for the purpose of this review. All photographs and opinions in this blog post are my own. **

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