The November Degustabox

Another month has passed us by, and another delivery from foodie subscription service Degustabox* has arrived. Unless you are brand new to my blog (in which case, Hi!) you’ll know this is a regular feature. As with last month I’ve done my absolute best to try everything in the box, but time constraints and wanting to get a post up in a fairly prompt manner means that there are a couple of things I’m yet to sample. I’ll pop up some mini reviews of these on social media when I do try them for anyone who is as curious as I currently am to know what they were like, I’m getting really quite adventurous with my food trying lately so with each month the arrival of this box brings a whole new level of excitement! This month the box had a distinct festive feel, and has to be one of my favourite boxes, contents wise in a long time.
Kicking off with some Kallo organic stock pots- I was sent the chicken variety which makes a great base for a hearty pan of soup, or a comforting stew. I always have stock pots in my cupboard and these ones are organic and all-natural which is a real selling point.
There was also a really rather fancy looking tin of tuna in this month’s box- I’m not a massive fan of tuna these days and I’m phobic of olive oil so I haven’t tried it yet. I have it earmarked for making some tuna pate in the coming weeks- my Nan and I used to make this all of the time and it’s delicious (and full of enough other ingredients foe me to be able to ignore the oil!
The tuna has a RRP of £3.00 and the stock pots are £1.80
Included in this month’s drinks selection was some rather fancy coffee from Taylor’s of Harrogate- a brand I often turn to when I want a touch of luxury. The Cacao Superior Colombia blend is truly magnificent and I highly recommend this to any coffee fan.
I haven’t tried the other two drinks included- the Alo water I just can’t get my head around if I’m honest. The Dalston’s Fizzy Apple appeals more, but, as long time readers know I’m not a big drinker of these kinds of things so I’ll be passing this along to someone who will appreciate it.
RRPs are £4.49 for the coffee, £1.99 for the Aloe Water and £1.89 for the apple fizz.
Pasta and pesto is such a great standby meal and one of my favourites too. This Filipo Berio Classic Pesto is really one of the best I’ve tried and well worth picking up as a storecupboard staple. I don’t have price information for it, but I imagine it to be around the £2.00 mark.

I actually reviewed a large selection of The English Provender Co’s products last year and loved them- their caramalised red onion chutney was a favourite so I was excited to see a jar of it nestled inside this month’s box. Perfect with goat’s cheese in a toasted sandwich, this jar won’t be lasting me long! RRP £1.99

December isn’t really known as being the month for healthy eating, but I do like to try my best. With the current freezing temperatures I’m enjoying a lot of soup and the Ryvita Multigrain Rye Cakes are the perfect thing to dunk in it. Equally they’d be great as part of a cheeseboard over the festive season, unless, like myself you aren’t a fan of cheese.
Having an allergy to peanuts meant I couldn’t try the Planters Fruity Chocolate Crunch but given that the bag has since vanished from the house I’m guessing they were a hit. This kind of product seems synonymous with this time of year- and this pack with it’s mix of peanuts, cranberries and milk chocolate buttons sounds wonderfully festive. RRP £2.00
Finally on the savoury snack front we have Filipo Berio Formaggio Crostini- I haven’t tried these yet but you can expect a review over the coming weeks. It should be noted that Degustabox subscribers will only get one of the three Filipo Berio products mentioned.
I’m a huge fan of Popcorn and Propercorn is my current go-to brand when I’m on a snack mission at work. The Perfectly Sweet variety is a welcome addition to the range- sprinkled with unrefined, fairtrade sugar it’s utterly addictive and I’ve eaten about a dozen bags of it since my Degustabox arrived.

When it comes to sweets Jelly Beans are my ultimate favourite so I carefully hid this bag of super sours from The Jelly Bean Factory. Made with natural colours and suitable for vegetarians I’d be delighted to find these hiding in my Christmas stocking.

Finally we have Cadbury Picnic Bites which my Dad devoured due to aforementioned peanut allergy. I used to love Picnic bars so I was saddened I now can’t have them, it might be a bit of a gimmick but I can’t resist a minature version of anything.

Last but not least we have Weetabix Additions in apple and raisin. I’ve reviewed other products in this range before and really enjoyed them, but this one, with it’s warming hints of cinnamon is my favourite- perfect with hot milk on a cold morning. RRP £2.99 for a box of 24.

For those who don’t yet know, Degustabox* is a monthly food subscription box that gives you the chance to try new and exciting products on the market whilst providing amazing value for money.
On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this as you can see if you do the maths.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

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Chemist 4 U haul

My name is Laura and I am a nail polish addict, I have hundreds of them and yet can never resist adding new shades and finishes to my collection whenever I see one that catches my eye (which is often). The irony in this is that I rarely paint my nails any more, I spent years having to keep them bare due to clinical work, and now I’m in an office based role I’ve been splashing out on shellac manicures. Still, when I was given the opportunity to order some products from Chemist 4 U I just couldn’t resist the lure of bargain O.P.I. polishes, especially in shades that are just perfect for the festive party season.
The shades I picked (L-R on the swatch wheel) are: unfrost my heart, I Carol about you, first class desires, kiss me- or elf! and I’ll tinsel you in. Each polish cost a bargain £2.99- a huge saving on the RRP of £7.99 each! O.P.I. was the first nail polish brand I really fell in love with, they just look so luxe and last really well- at this price these would make awesome stocking fillers this Christmas, or the perfect little pick me up for yourself.
I also picked up my absolute winter lip saviour- Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream lip protectant stick for just £10.49 which is a saving of over £9 on the RRP. Chemist 4 U sells primarily pharmacy products (also at excellent prices, for the record) but it’s the beauty section where the true bargains hide. I hadn’t used the website before but was impressed with the ease of ordering and the prompt, well packaged delivery. Well worth checking out if you’re looking for some Christmas gifts or want to stock up for yourself.
Does anyone remember the hype over O.P.I’s Russian Blue? I bought about three bottles at the height of it’s popularity! Which is your favourite shade?

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Products were provided for blog consideration, all thoughts about the products and the service I received are my own.

The New Pinafore

Look back at my outfit post archive and you’ll probably notice that I have a bit of a thing for pinafore dresses- typically of the mini dress, dungaree style variety that is ten-a-penny these days.

On a recent shopping trip with Mum we were browsing in Monki (of course) and found the perfect new pinafore for my collection- a step away from tradition with it’s midi length and over-sized cut this seemed like the perfect way to update my wardrobe whilst sticking to what I know and love.

Dress: Monki (here) | Velvet Tee: New Look (here) | Boots: Daniel Footwear

I’m always happy to see Velvet appear in the shops at this time of year, it’s one of my favourite textures to wear and this teal tee from New Look is a bargainous (£12.99) update for both smart and casual. I’m not really sure where I’m at with my personal style at the moment, it seems to have taken a bit of a back seat as I’ve been coming to terms with being at a very new health, and therefore weight territory in this journey called recovery from anorexia and most recently I’ve taken to hiding away in anything that, well, hides me.

In the mean time I’m really enjoying outfits like this as a bridge between wanting to hide and still wanting to look semi like I’ve bothered. I’m looking forward to layering this dress with some chunky knits now the weather is turning much colder. And I’m looking forward to a fresh attitude to my body, to my health and to blogging in 2018. I plan to finish this year by coasting through, meeting the last few goals that need to be met- next year is all about actually living, building upon who I am and increasing my confidence and hopefully getting more inspired with blogging to bring about some fresh content, a new look and a new attitude.

Watch this space – a promise or a threat?

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The Rise of Being Connected 24/7*

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Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

These days it feels pretty much like I’m never not connected to the internet. The only time in recent memory was during the week I spent in the North West Highlands where I had almost seven days entirely free from my laptop and constant influx of emails. This really got me thinking about how much I rely on the internet these days for just about everything- from doing my day job to working at home- and with thanks to internet providers like TalkTalk Business anyone who wants to be their own boss, can be.

During that week I was away it really hit home to me just how dependant I am on having a constant connection, 24/7. After the initial adjustment period I really started to enjoy having a break and being forced to focus on other things- books were read, board games were played and the times where I did manage to grab a spot of Wifi were spent generally being more productive than when I have constant access to the internet.

That being said, it was frustrating too. Being on holiday could have been the perfect opportunity to sit down and catch up on getting some blog content written, and being able to stream music or use Netflix would have been really handy, and I’ll admit, it came as a bit of a shock to actually stumble across an area of the country that hadn’t yet manage to conquer connectivity.

A break from the online world was on the whole a refreshing thing and I do feel like I had more of a relaxing time than had I been able to update social media, keep connected with friends and family or write blog posts. It did however make me eternally grateful for the advances in technology meaning that I can go away to different places and still be able to meet blogging deadlines, respond to urgent work emails and keep updated with friends and family.

In this day and age I feel this is a bit of a divisive subject, even within my own head. I don’t like that feeling of dependance on modern technology- it feels a bit defeatist and almost a bit…sad? But on the flip side, being out of contact with my nearest and dearest (no internet and no phone signal meant no texts to my family, no face time with the cat and no catching up on the latest happenings within my friendship group).

How do you feel about being constantly connected? Do you feel like the benefits outweigh the somewhat sad fact that these days you can access a whole world of information all of the time and do work wherever in the world you might be? As you’ve gathered, I’m torn. It’s so hard to switch off when you know you’re constantly online and you feel like you might be missing out- I’ll pick up a book then get distracted by yet another notification and not return to my page for hours, or even days.

My personal solution, I think, especially over the festive period where family time should take precedence is to try and have a day or two where I do switch off, flip off the WiFi, ignore my emails and crack out the board games.

I’d love to know where other people stand on this- I feel like it’s a more and more relevant topic and technology advances, and I might starting to show my age here, but I do kind of miss the good old days whilst appreciating what being constantly connected has helped me to achieve.

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Tiny Tricks To Turn Your Home Into A Vintage Palace*

Photo by Brianna Fairhurst on Unsplash

Vintage isn’t just something that consists of hip clothing- it’s a lifestyle, one that you can implement in to every aspect of your day to day living. This means that your home could benefit from being changed from a boring little apartment or rental property to a vintage palace. Lots of people rent their homes now, and so they feel that they can’t make major changes, but there are ways to turn your home into a vintage dream, it just takes a little creativity.

Maximize Wood Furnishings
To increase that vintage feel you should purchase plenty of wooden furniture. From sideboards, to bookcases- or anything else you can think of this doesn’t just help to create that nostalgic feel but it brings a lot of warmth and character to your home. And, regardless of the quality of wood whether it is single planks or board and battered any type of wood adds a very vintage appeal to any modern looking home especially with the addition of some Chalk Paint.

Go For Earthy Tones
It’s a great way to offer a timeless look in your home and by going for muted colors it helps everything to blend in rather than overshadow. It’s a very subtle process but you can even purchase accessories that although are essential to the home, still blend to that vintage style and feel. Something like a towel rail radiator you can purchase in vintage styles and is practical at the same time. The blending process is quite difficult, so, if you have guests over that don’t notice it don’t be concerned- it means that you’ve done your job well!

The Thrift Store Is Your Friend
When looking for ways to decorate a home in a vintage style accessories are going to be your saving grace. To spend an afternoon in every thrift store imaginable stocking up on quirky footstools, tea sets and tray tables, you will gradually begin to get a feel for what will benefit your home. And the great thing about thrift stores is that you are going to come back fully loaded with every item imaginable for a very cheap price! Lots of people underestimate a thrift store because the quality of items may not be at their best, but the great thing about making your home a bit more vintage is that an imperfect item can be an advantage in this case, adding to the vibes.

You Can’t Fight Architecture!
The big issue in trying to add a vintage layer to your home is that if you have a thoroughly modern apartment or house, the styles can tend to jar somewhat. Instead, don’t fight the natural architecture of your home look at how you can use this to your advantage. This means go in with a basic plan and it will benefit your home far more than if you decide to randomly swathe your home in a mishmash of styles.

Vintage is very popular right now, and the great thing about vintage styling does that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you are renting a property, or you are somewhere that you can struggle to put your stamp on, try a few of these, and see how it benefits your home.

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