Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Out of Office

As you read this I'll be on my way for a 3 week stint in America. 5 nights in NY before flying to Orlando for a further 2 weeks of Disney fun!

Flashback to the castle - Sept 2015
We have lots planned and I'll be keeping my Instagram up to date, so if you want to see what we're up to, come and join me over there at @kateld85

I'll also be giving filming a go again. I always film when I go away, however I don't vlog as such, but I'm going to give it a go, and if I succeed, you'll be the first to know about it once I begin uploading to Youtube again!

For NYC & Disney blog posts, stay tuned!

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

HelloFresh Subscription Box Review

Some of you may (or may not!) know that I am a subscriber of Pink Parcel (a cute 'time of the month' subscription box filled with all those womanly essentials, plus some treats for us around 'that time'). In last months box, a £20 off gift card for Hellofresh was included, which meant I could purchase 5 days worth of meals (for 2 people) for £30 (instead of £50). Considering each meal consisted of some form of meat or seafood, I thought £30 was pretty damn good! So we enjoyed 10 days worth of yummy and creative recipes.

My thoughts on HelloFresh...

Packaging

I was always impressed with the packaging. As you can see from the photo, there were boxes within boxes to separate the food. The refrigerated foods were stored in an insulated blanket complete with large ice-packs to maintain freshness.






Ingredients

I think the idea behind HelloFresh is to have the exact amount of ingredients so it takes away the hassle of weighing food/spices out. I found that with some food items, I could make them stretch a little further than what the recipe suggested and save for something else! (i.e. we had 2 bags of spinach for 2 recipes - I found this a little too much so I always kept half a bag and used for a shake the following day!). I never had any problems with freshness of any fruit/veg, and they all appeared really good quality.



Recipes

I can't praise these enough. They come attached to each other similar to a little booklet, but each had a perforated line to rip and store away individually. Each recipe was so detailed, it had a photo of each ingredient that was required, the amount, a step-by-step instruction guide, photos, nutritional value.. basically everything you need for a successful recipe from start to finish!



Taste

Now I understand that this will be down to individual preference but each recipe differed on the taste scale for me, some where to-die-for and left me wanting more, others not so much. But, I never had a bad meal. Some ingredients were new to my palette but definitely brought out the adventurous side in me, in terms of cooking anyway! Below were some of my favourite meals...





Convenience

Even though these recipes took a little more time and effort than most recipes I tend to do after a full day at work, because I was reading off a recipe and knew I had each ingredient to hand, it motivated me. There's something I love about reading off a recipe, knowing I'm ticking off the steps in my head. However I will say one thing - I found the preparation time (that was stated by hellofresh) to be a little out. I don't believe I'm awfully slow in the kitchen, but for example it may have stated prep time to be 30mins, when in fact it was taking me 45 minutes. That was my only bugbear.

Service

When writing this blog post, there wasn't a lot I could fault HelloFresh on, however unfortunately I've had to edit this section as things took a nosedive shortly afterwards. I had used up my vouchers, and didn't intend on paying full price for the box afterwards, so I unsubscribed. I went through the process via their website and everything seemed hunky dory, all settled. It wasn't until I was at work a week or so later that I received an email on my phone that stated a delivery was on its way. I was confused but I knew I wasn't expecting anything. I arrived home to another Hello Fresh box. I checked my bank and low and behold, they had taken £50 from our account. I was not happy. For one reason or another, I knew I had definitely done the process properly. I emailed HelloFresh and unfortunately they weren't overly understanding, and refunded me just £10 to show that they 'had made no profit from the box'. This whole thing really got my back up because only a day prior we had been food shopping ourselves, so we had almost 2 weeks worth of food, half of that stuff being fresh vegetables which I later had to dispose of. I do believe I had completed the unsubscribe process properly, but it was my word against theirs, and they weren't budging.

Price

For people on a budget, this box probably isn't for you, coming in at £5 per meal per person. Each meal did consist of either meat or some form of fish, so they were really nutritious tasty meals, however you then have to consider all the other essentials that you would normally get in a weekly shop (i.e. milk, bread), not to mention food for breakfast and lunches, because this box only covers 1 meal per day. I don't think I would ever pay full price for this box, but it made a nice little treat coupled with the vouchers.


Have you ever tried HelloFresh before? What were your thoughts?


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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

October Round Up - Country Walks, Travel Planning & Halloween

October has been so quiet for me, the main reason being because we're now on the last stretch before our holiday (4 weeks to go!), so we've been careful with our money.

I've really got into walking this month with my mum. I started in September and we've gone 3 times a week since. This has been my current method of getting exercise, and I've actually really been liking it. I've enjoyed getting in touch with nature, as sad as that sounds! We end up walking through fields and occasionally venturing into the prettiest (and most expensive!) village ever, with houses to die for. It also enables us to catch up and just chat. It's great if I need to vent too!

Apart from that, I've been working, and enjoying cosy nights in now the days have become darker. I've enjoyed nothing more than lighting a few candles, turning on my fairy lights and sticking a movie on. I'm not a massive movie kinda person, but just lately I've been loving them.

I've also started a bullet journal which is making me super productive! I love it and find that it makes me do things that I'd otherwise try and procrastinate over.

Top L Clockwise - My Halloween weekend - My view on one of our country walks - A naughty take-away night in - Travel Planning, can't wait to add another pin to this map!

With only 4 weeks to go till our big holiday, it's meant lots of last minute planning, booking of insurances, airport hotels, transport etc. The usual dribs and drabs that get left till nearer the date. I'm slowly (very slowly!) starting to gather things together ready for my suitcase. I hate feeling stressed on the run up to a holiday, realising I haven't got something at the last minute, so I figured slowly but surely has got to be the best way, right?!

Whilst booking all of the above, I had to book Take That tickets for their tour next year! So excited for that! Myself & Mike have been to the last 3 tours, so its tradition now!

I never celebrated Halloween this year. In fact I'm writing this on actual Halloween and I've deliberately turned off most of the lights and hermitted in the kitchen till most of the trick or treaters disappear! Call me scrooge but Mike's on a night shift, and I don't fancy opening the door - you just never know! Plus I never bought any sweets! Too much temptation! I did however drive home from work through a village today and saw the best house decorations! It reminded me of America, how much they go to town on Halloween. It then got me reminiscing about my childhood, and how we'd get home from school, have our tea then go out in our black bin-bags and plastic witches mask that used to give off so much condensation after a few breaths! I remember coming home and emptying my basket/bag out on the living room floor to see what I had. Then eating as much as I could before my mum used to take the sweets off me and tell me I've had too many! This time of year felt so much colder as a child compared to what it does now too! Ahhh, how times have changed.

What did you get up to in October?
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