Monday, 15 September 2014

Gousto Food Box Review

A little while ago I reviewed Gousto food boxes. Gousto food boxes are a home delivered food box full of organic food. The unique selling point is that each box contains carefully measured ingredients in the right proportions to cook the delicious recipes on the cards they supply. There's no waste here. You get to choose the food online and each week the selection is updated. The boxes are delivered right to your doorstep each week.




Inside a Gousto box

What I love is that that the recipes are: - 
Easy to make, they don't need any complicated cooking skills, you won't have to stuff a mushroom here.
Quick to make, all have preparation and cooking time clearly stated and most if not all are rustled up in well under an hour.
Most ingredients are locally sourced, wherever possible.
All meat carries the Red Tractor stamp of assurance to guarantee animals are reared in Britain in accordance to animal welfare guidelines.
Fruit, vegetables and herbs are from certified organic suppliers.
All the herbs and spices are carefully measured too, so no having to buy a whole packet of paprika or chili flakes when you are not sure when you will use it again.
Meals are nutritionally balanced and healthy whilst still being filling.
Oh and each dish is incredibly tasty!

I was sent a box of food to review as Gousto have recently revamped their website, making it mobile phone friendly and lowered their prices whilst still maintaining the great quality of their food.

The recipe cards are simple to follow and give nutritional advice such as calories, fat and protein per portion, prep time, how many of your five a day contribution as well as cooking time. 



Pork and Sesame Meatballs recipe card


The finished result


Fennel crusted pork tenderloin before


The finished result

The dishes I tried out were tasty, easy to cook and filling. I was worried there wasn't going to be enough food but there was plenty. 

When I cooked the meatballs I was concerned one chili would be too hot so I added less. I shouldn't have done as I think the meatballs weren't spicy enough, although they were very flavourful. I should have had courage in the recipes! I particularly liked the way the broccoli was cooked, roasting in the oven in a little olive oil added a lovely caramelisation to this often boring vegetable.

Another dish I tried was the fennel encrusted pork. This was easy to prepare and I really enjoyed the butter bean, tomato and garlic dish. Being not a great fan of fennel I was apprehensive about cooking the pork as it had a fennel crust. It did have a distinctive flavour but it made a meat that can often be bland full of flavour.

I also tried the sumac chicken and courgette ribbon salad. Unfortunately my photos did not come out so well for this one so I do not have photos to show you. It was quick to make but we didn't rate this one as good as the other dishes, mainly because we didn't really enjoy the flavour of the sumac, which is a middle eastern spice, and it was served with millet which is not our favourite grain. But that's the joy of these food boxes, it allows you to try new things but also if you don't like something you don't have to order it again. 

I have a special offer today for my readers get £25 off your first box. Yes £25!

Enter code JEWELLERY25 at checkout to take advantage of this very special offer.

You can follow Gousto on Twitter  and Facebook here and they also have a Pinterest account so you can see their yummy dishes.

Have you ever tried Gousto? What do you think of the concept? Let me know.

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Great British Beach Clean

I am an extremely lucky lady. I live in a seaside town. I often don't appreciate it as it is a quiet little place, except on Bank Holidays and when we have the largest Elvis festival in Europe of course!


My husband and I love walking along the seafront and watching the world go by. We have a new marina in Porthcawl and it's very picturesque. 




Porthcawl marina

One of our favourite walks is up to the Parkdean Holiday park at Trecco Bay. Ever since the park was taken over by Parkdean you can really see a difference in the park, and I am not just saying that. The park is clean, everything looks well looked after, and they have lots of bins dotted around the park.



Coney Beach, Porthcawl

So it was no surprise to me to hear they are working with The Marine Conservation Society to host The Great British Beach Clean on the 21st of September. The Great British Beach Clean is being run over 15 beach areas from Scotland to Wales, Devon to Cornwall, Dorset to Hampshire.

A few generations ago the British seaside was free of litter, but our throw away society means that today, that is far from the truth. Clean beaches will protect our marine life, as many birds, fish and other sea creatures are killed each year due to pollution. Clean beaches also make for a safer environment for our children.



How sweet is this?

It's incredibly easy to volunteer too. What you have to do is pop over to the website and register online. Then all you have to do is join the staff from Parkdean on the day. They will provide everything for you ... from bags, gloves and tongs to even refreshments. And after helping out, you can feel smug in the knowledge that you have worked to keep the gorgeous local beaches clean and litter free.



Not everyone keeps the beach as clean as Parkdean

If you have family and friends that are free why don't you take them along too. They need as many volunteers as possible, so click on The Great British Beach Clean to find out if there is one near you today. Did you also know even if there isn't one near you, you can register to organise one yourself too? So come on and join over 10,000 people to clear up litter and make us proud of our lovely beaches again.


It's easy to volunteer

in association with ParkDean 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Natural Face Masks

Recently I was sent a number of natural skin care products to review from VitaBella and Beauty Naturals. You can read about my review of natural anti-ageing skin creams here.

I was also sent some treatment masks all made of natural products. Today I am reviewing the two I was sent. 

Vita Bella Spa treatment In A Box



The VitaBella Face mask is a little bit different to most masks. You add the liquid complex to the mask which is in the form of a tablet. The tablet then expands as the liquid is absorbed. This turns into a face mask. You then unfold the mask gently and apply to your face. It is recommended to leave it on for ten minutes for the best effect. You then peel it off and apply the moisturiser supplied.


Add the liquid to the tablet and it turns into a face mask

What I liked about this mask is that it is relatively mess free and simple to apply. After you add the liquid to the tablet, it is amazing how the tablet expands. It can be a little tricky to keep the mask on, you really need to relax and put your feet up when you do this.


Top tip, don't answer the door to the postman with it on!

When I removed the mask, I then added the moisturiser that came with the treatment. My skin definitely felt soft after treatment and felt hydrated. I feel this mask is a great treat for those that have dry skin in particular and need that little boost. 

As this product is full of lovely natural ingredients, this is an added bonus.

Skin Revivals Natural Enzyme Mask



The Skin Revivals Natural Enzyme Mask comes in a white bottleThis creamy gel is made to effectively exfoliate the skin, decongest the pores and smooths fine lines. Also enriched with avocado oil for added moisturising I was looking forward to trying it.

To apply I smoothed the gel onto the skin in circular movements. As it dried it felt slightly tacky on on the skin and my skin felt tight as if it was working. After ten to fifteen minutes I washed it off. My skin felt soft and looked radiant. I did feel it needed some more moisturiser on top so I applied my usual moisturiser before I applied my makeup.

As the product is all natural and made with anise and pumpkin extract I was impressed. I feel this is a good treatment for those with oily or combination skin.

It also has no artificial colour or fragrance, no parabens and is not tested on animals.

I have to admit, after using both face masks in a week, I did have one or two spots on my face. Whether it was due to my skin being sensitive or it was the impurities coming out of my skin, I am not sure. I would therefore not advise using a face mask within a few days of a big social event.

Do you use a face mask as part of your beauty routine? What do you think of the two products above?

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Blog Makeover Competition - Ends 30/09/14

Recently my blog had a makeover, from Jade Alana Marshall. I love the new blog header and badge which I think sums up what my blog is about, and to celebrate I am running a competition to win a Cadburys Treasure box hamper. 




Entry is via the Gleam application. If you haven't used it before it's incredibly simple to enter. Just click on each entry mechanism and do as it says. A blog comment is mandatory and all other entries are optional.

Please bookmark this page and come back daily for a daily tweet and click on the app for a daily bonus entry.

Good Luck!



Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/chocolate-hamper-cadburys#sthash.p2TCCHT7.dpuf

Jacamo For Men Of All Shapes and Sizes

Jacamo used to be known as a mens clothes brand that caters for the plus size man, but did you know that's all changed?  Now catering for men from chest size S to 5XL and waist 34 to 54 they now sell clothes to fit most men. Gone is Johnny Vegas as an ambassador, welcome Freddy Flintoff.

The Freddy Flintoff collection  is full of easy to wear casual clothes such as hoodies , jeans and military jackets, to smart blazers, suit jackets and trousers all designed by Freddy.


I was sent the military jacket for my husband to try out, and we were both impressed with the smart yet relaxed jacket and quality of the finish, no unfinished seams here.



a versatile jacket of great quality

Regarding the detailing it has two top and bottom pockets, a drawcord fastening at the waist and a zip. The jacket is heavily padded and feels warm on so would be great for Autumn/Winter strolls. Available in navy and olive (featured) these two great colours would go with most things. A great plus point is that is is machine washable so you can save on the dry cleaning bills.


We both really liked the jacket. It's smart enough to be worn for a meal out but casual enough to be worn just walking along the beach. At £50 it is a great buy too for a jacket of this quality.

Soft cord detailing on the neckline adds a touch of smartness

When talking to my husband we both said we would buy from Jacamo again. They have a wide range of clothing, prices seem reasonable and the quality is definitely there. One thing, just check the sizing, which you can easily do on the website, as my husband had a medium and usually he is a large. The sizes appear on the large side for the size. They also have loads of great brands including Ben Sherman, Lacoste, and Nike to name but a few.

So next time you go shopping for your man, check out the Jacamo website. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Family Fever

Monday, 8 September 2014

Curbzz Bracelets From Silver Tree Jewellery

Hot new trend: Curbbz bracelets

Back in January this year, The Diary of a Jewellery Lover, introduced you to Curbbz. Curbbz bracelets are a new brand on the scene and are the brainchild of Wayne Lineker. Offering affordable pieces that have the look of a high end bracelet, each bracelet is crafted from the highest quality silicone in a variety of colours. The bracelets also feature different colours of metals in a link pattern at the front of the bracelet and vary from the popular rose gold to silver and also the more traditional yellow gold. 

The mix of colours and metals are what makes this brand unique but the entire line is also unisex. 

Below we have showcased a few products from the range:



Nude + Yellow Gold Bracelet £49.00
This gorgeous nude silicone bracelet is right on trend at the moment as are most nude accessories but this bracelet definitely holds its own. With a yellow gold link detail at the front, this bracelet would look great paired with other nude or gold accessories to complete the look. 


Mint + Silver Bracelet £49.00
As the bracelets are made from the highest quality silicone, it means that the bracelet will stretch to any size, suiting anyone. This particular bracelet in a cool mint shade will be a favourite for anyone that loves their silver jewellery as this colour goes perfectly with the silver links at the front of the bracelet. 


Black + Rose Gold Bracelet £49.00
If you’re looking for a traditional colour in the Curbbz bracelets, then you cannot go wrong with the simple black silicone option. However, when paired with the rose gold links, this bracelet really does make an impact. 


All bracelets are available from www.curbbz.com direct but you can currently get 10% off all Curbbz items with the discount code: DSU6DD7HJKLM at www.silvertreejewellery.co.uk  

* guest post

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Play The Zodiac Wheel With Pandora And You Can Win

Pandora the luxury bead and jewellery company have just created the Zodiac Wheel in conjunction with their Zodiac charm range. The app is totally interactive and allows you to pick your star sign and find out more about your personality, your compatibility with others and your monthly horoscope. 

In this post I am going to take my readers through the stages of the app and show you how you can have a chance to win a Pandora bracelet and Zodiac charm of your choice. How exciting!



The Zodiac Wheel

Astrology is the study of the influence that distant cosmic objects, usually stars and planets, have on human lives. The position of the sun, stars, moon and planets at the time of people's birth (not their conception) is said to shape their personality, affect their romantic relationships and predict their economic fortunes, among other divinations. What most people know about astrology is their "sign," which refers to one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac.

On the first screen of the app it shows you a pictorial representation of all the zodiac signs. The graphics are stylish and elegant, which I think appeals to Pandora's target audience, ladies who like to keep up with fashion trends.


Star Sign

Once you click on your star sign it takes you a landing page for that sign. My star sign is Pisces, the fish so I will follow this in this post. You then have the option of clicking on Personality Traits, Compatibility, Monthly Horoscope or Prize Draw. At the very top of the page is the home button and arrow keys (not shown) which helps with navigation.


Personality Traits

The explanation of the star sign is well thought out and interesting. I have been told that I am a typical Pisces as I am a bit of a dreamer, and I also live in the future (always planning my next holiday) which is another typical Piscine traitI have always worked with people and I feel I am in touch with others feelings having great compassion for others, which can be shown with my previous occupation of nurse.

I do love soft colours and a natural look on times but I also like bright jewel colours to go with my dark colouring. I wouldn't say I am particularly spiritual however.


Compatibility

The compatibility section is interesting as my husband is a Scorpio, who knew he was a perfect match?! It is also true that I am not that competitive, but do I value fulfilment over money, hmmm, not sure on that one?  I am however sensitive and I like to think I make a caring friend and that is two of the main traits of a Pisces.



Monthly Horoscope

My horoscope for September says I have been having a romantic time so far this month, maybe I should show this to my husband to encourage him on this matter! I like their recommendation of a weekly date night, this maybe a good idea, I will let you know readers.

It also states that I will be super busy with work until next year. Being self employed is always a worry, so I hope this comes true.  I need my sleep as well, especially when the nights draw in, so I will make a conscious effect to get more sleep this month.


Prize Draw

The last page lets you enter a prize draw, either by email, Twitter or Facebook. If you wish to enter be quick as the prize draw ends in September. The prize is a gorgeous Pandora bracelet and zodiac charm of choice and there are 5 prizes to give away in September.

My opinion of the app is that it is an enjoyable experience for a few minutes of your time, whether you are a big follower of star signs and horoscopes or not. The app works on mobiles as well as computers and touch screens although it is displayed slightly differently.

Their personalised charm bead bracelets are very popular and many of my readers love competitions so the chance to enter and win one is definitely a bonus. Whilst you are there you can also check out the jewellery Pandora sell. If you go to the top of the page you even have the link to the zodiac charm to buy.


The Zodiac Charm for Pisces

Tell me, do you own or do you have plans to own some Pandora jewellery? Have you tried the app and entered the competition? Do you enjoy astrology and horoscopes? 

*In collaboration with Pandora, all words and opinions are my own.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Children Grow Up Fast

Children grown up fast. 

It only seemed like yesterday my son, J was born. Such a happy and affectionate child, so cheerful and full of life. He used to love his baths, playing in the water, watching it going down the plug - the 'whirlpool' as he called it.

He used to love Teletubbies, Pingu and Thomas the Tank engine. He always loved drawing and used to draw pictures of me, and loved making cards for my birthday. He didn't say much before the age of two but it didn't worry me as I knew he was bright as a button.

He started a local nursery attached to a school when he was two and a half. He wasn't really ready though and I didn't realise this at first. Due to his speech difficulties he became frustrated easily and had the odd temper tantrum. He would also get excited when asked questions and would shout out instead of putting his hand up. When I went to see the nursery teacher, she basically implied he would never attend mainstream school due to his behaviour. To say I was upset and outraged was an understatement. I took my son out of the nursery and put him into a less formal playgroup, where he blossomed, with support.






J as a baby

As he got older, I almost dreaded the day he was about to start school. I must admit I shed a tear, on his first day at the local infant school, whilst he was happy to go in.

Due to his speech difficulties, there were some ups and downs and it wasn't easy at first, but slowly his speech improved.

Every day before he went to school we would cuddle up on the sofa under a blanket keeping warm, enjoying the fresh smell of Fairy from the blanket and watch the TV together. This was our morning ritual.


I knew he was/is incredibly talented and creative and I always encouraged this at home as well, every spare minute he was creating a new masterpiece, at first his dabs of paint looked more like just what they were, dabs of paint but as he got older he refined his skills and became accomplished at painting and drawing people.




J starting school

My son is now in the sixth form but I will let you into a little secret. We still have our hugs on the sofa in the morning. He may now be towering over me, he may have had a couple of girlfriends in the past, he may now have size 10 feet but he's still my little boy. I won't embarrass him any further by posting an up-to-date photo of him though ...

He was away on holiday when his GCSE results came through. They were being posted to the house, and so I was waiting eagerly for them to come that morning. Eleven o' clock came and they still hadn't arrived. I started pacing, walking up and down the streets trying to find the postman! I finally tracked him down, apparently the post was still in the sorting office. I sprinted over to the sorting office and explained the situation and luckily it was there. I couldn't wait to open the envelope and ran back home... as I opened the envelope tears were streaming down my face. My lovely boy, who was told he wouldn't attend mainstream education at two and a half had done brilliantly - nine GCSES at grades A to C, and an I.T qualification, I couldn't believe it!

I rang him and he was so happy. He spent hours getting extra maths lessons and he actually had a B grade in Maths as well as three other subjects and an A * in Art. My heart was beating so fast, as I was so proud of him. 


The Joker by J (at age 15)

J's talent for art is exceptional. He is a brilliant artist and uses a fine brushing technique with oils to create lifelike paintings of film stars and real people, as well as being interested in fantasy and science fiction art.

Last year I was also incredibly proud when he was nominated for and won a special award in his school for Art. The memorial award in memory of a child who died early who had a talent for art, was for his talent in oil painting. Again I must admit I took some tissues when he collected his award.

He is now in his final year at school studying A levels. He hopes to work in the film industry in the future working on special effects and motion graphics. When we were in LA last year I joked I hope one day to see him collecting an Academy Award for special effects at the Sony Theatre in Hollywood. J laughed this off but one day this could actually be a reality.

Fairy non bio have a campaign called the #PowerofSoft. The purpose is to encourage parents to embrace every single moment with your children before they grow up. You can check out their video here. 



Children grow up fast, enjoy those moments with them, enjoy those cuddles in the morning, nurture their talents and their abilities and always believe in them, even when others don't.



* a sponsored post, all words, opinions and true stories are my own

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Degustabox For August

This month's Degustabox was an eclectic mix of new foodstuffs as always. Degustabox - the monthly box scheme, always guarantees to provide value for money, with 9 to 14 surprise products every month.

This is what I received this month.





Mexican Dave's Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips - We are a big fan of tortilla chips as a family. Great for snacking on, these lightly salted tortilla chips have a light toasted flavour without any strong flavours, which is perfect for serving with salsa, guacamole and sour cream. I used them as an accompaniment to my slow cooker Campfire Stew.

Berry White Goji Berries with Peaches, White Tea and Echinacea Organic Drink - This fruity drink with slightly unusual ingredients is light and fruity and refreshing. It has no added sugar and 10% of their profits go to charity. Added to this that the drink is Organic made with superfruits and healthy extracts and you are onto a winner. Available from Waitrose and Ocado.



Caribbean Twist Strawberry Daiquiri Cocktail - This delicious fruity cocktail reminded me of sunny days by the beach. For lovers of sweet and fruity drinks, serve chilled on ice with a couple of sliced strawberries and some mint for an authentic cocktail experience. Available from Asda, Tescos, Sainburys and all good supermarkets.

Fever Tree Ginger Beer and Tonic Water - The ginger beer was a pleasant drink, with a touch of heat. I don't really drink tonic water, so I didn't know what to expect. The slightly bitter taste was balanced with a touch of sweetness, it would be the perfect choice for gin lovers everywhere.

Lindt Hello Chocolate Hearts - These sweet little chocolates were creamy and delightful. My son and I were hugely impressed! The tin is really cute too so a great gift as a token of love or just a little treat for yourself.

Cawston Press Apple & Pear Kids Blend - This drink was really lovely, not too sweet at all. It is made with pressed juice and a blend of water with no added sugar or anything artificial. A great drink for your kid's lunchbox or even your other half!

Brioche Pasquier Croissants and Pains Au Lait - We all really enjoyed these products. The chocolate croissants were fabulous when warmed up, the oozing chocolate made these incredibly delicious. Individually wrapped these kept for ages too. The pains au lait were like a sweet bread. I ate these with a little butter and jam. Again a tasty product, they made a perfect treat at breakfast time and are a super store cupboard staple.

Dr Oetker Edible Wafer Cupcake Cases - What a great idea! I am certainly going to make up some cupcakes on the weekend to try these edible cupcake cases. A brilliant idea for kids parties too I think you will agree.

Schwartz Flavour Shots Mexican Fajitas and Spanish Smoked Paprika Chicken - These little taste sensations add delicious flavours to your dishes and are brilliant to jazz up your food when you don't know what to cook. The mixes contain oil, herbs and spices and pack a flavourful punch. Perfect to have in your cupboard to spice up chicken dishes, dinner will never be boring again.

As an added bonus Degustabox are trying out a new scheme called "Degustabox fridge" which will include a voucher in each new box for a chiller or freezer item. In this box they have included a voucher for a MOMA bircher muesli pot to be redeemed in Waitrose or Sainsburys. I don't have either in my small town but will pick it up when I go to Bridgend next week. The MOMA muesli pot is a mix of muesli and yogurt so it definitely appeals to me and I look forward to trying it soon.





If you would like to subscribe a Degustabox subscription costs £12.99 per month, inclusive of delivery. The value of the items is usually a lot higher. If you would like a discount of £3 enter code 
DSX3T into checkout when registering.

You can find Degustabox here:-



http://bit.ly/DBUKTwitter - Twitter

Tell me what do you think of the food this month?