Our first Degustabox (June) review

Degustabox June 14

I’d seen mention of Degustabox since about Christmas time and although I was interested in the concept – a kind of monthly food subscription box, I didnt really think I *needed* it in our lives. However then I saw a deal whereby instead of £12.99 (which includes delivery) it was £6 something for your first box. So I had a search to see what had been in the last few boxes; Kettle Chips, Cawstons Press drinks, flavoured ciders, Lindt, Clearspring, Moma’s porridge, Dorset cereals, Goody Goody veggie sweets and lots more. So thought we’d give it a bash, I’m not sure if the offer I had is still going or not, I came across it on Facebook – one of those sponsored posts things had it advertised.

Degustabox collage

So I paid up at the start of June and the box arrived the other day, and for £6 I’d say yeah that’s kind of cool but had I paid £12 I’m not sure how I’d feel – everything will get used but there’s not really a favourite/wow thing in there. I must say delivery was fab, you get an email the day before delivery with the option to change the day if needed and then the morning of delivery you get told the hour slot it will arrive in, very cool. And it was packaged up really well too, thick bubble wrap and all that jazz. So here’s what we got..

Degustabox June inside

A bit of an eclectic/random assortment I think but like I said everything will get used – although some things more quickly and with more enthusiasm than others!

Bear Alphabites – we like these as a no junk cereal and have had them before so these will get used up pretty soon so useful.

Strawberry flavoured Lambrini – I’m definitely not that excited about trying this but as a summery drink it might be nice chilled from the fridge maybe?

Veetee rice – I think we’ve tried this brand before and it’s always nice to have some microwavable rice on standby in the cupboard.

Urban Fruit pineapple – I’d heard/seen of these before but hadnt tried any so it was nice to get some to try. The texture is a little odd compared to other dried pineapple I’ve had but it was nice and surprisingly enough both girls had a go and kind of liked it.

Be Fast breakfast drinks – Not really excited to try these, they would be perfect for OH when he’s running late or has to travel somewhere first thing but he’s not a banana fan so I think they’ll be mine to try. I cant say that I’d choose to have a banana milkshake type drink but I’m sure they can be kept in the cupboard for a running late emergency.

Elizabth Shaw amaretto flutes – I opened them to have a sneaky taste, I didnt think they’d be that nice but actually they are lovely not cheapy tasting at all. Really well balanced flavour but you definitely only want one or maybe two at a time!

Dr Oetker madagascan vanilla grinder – this is cool, you grind the vanilla fresh each time, I wonder if you can taste the difference? Again not something we *need* or that I’d necessarily buy had I seen it in the shops but it will be use and it’s interesting.

Estrella Damm lager – am sure OH will enjoy this at the weekend.

Tyrrells sweet & salty pop corn – as soon as Chloe saw this she said ‘I dont like popcorn’ but she tried it and then I couldnt get the bag off her! Izzy wasnt too sure on the texture of it but from the bit I managed to nab off Chloe it is lovely pop corn, fluffy and delicious. I’m sure we’ve had it before in another flavour but now I’m reminded how nice it is I might get some on the shopping, a bigger bag to share would have been nice though!

Girls and snacks

So it was different, I liked it but didnt love it, I was hoping to try lots of new things and be inspired a bit and I think I’d prefer a slight theme to the box, movie night, holidays, even just summer or something to bring it all together. So nothing was amazing and stood out but it was nice to rediscover some old favourites and try some new things. I dont know if I’ll subscribe to the next box at £12.99 – it’s nice to look forward to it arriving and having a few extra snacky bits at the weekend but not sure it’s worth the £13 for us. I think if maybe if the first 2 boxes had a few quid off then I’d definitely be willing to give it another shot but we’ll see. Oh and there was a card telling you the price of everything and I think it would have been £25ish to buy it all at rrp – not that we would buy everything had we seen it all on the shelf!

There however a few £3 off codes flying around for new subscribers, so if you do fancy giving it a bash for July then just have a little Google.

Michelle x

 

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Meal Planning Monday – 23rd June 2014

MealPlanningMonday

The lovely weather has totally put me off cooking, so I’m thinking lots of pasta, salads that kind of vibe. But actually tomorrow we have to go visit Chloe’s school in the evening so Nanny is coming round to look after them and give them chips and veggie burger for dinner whilst we’re out so that’s one night of not cooking, yay!


Monday – We had veg and sausage pasta, with garlic bread, which they both demolished in record time.

Tuesday – Chip shop treat with Nanny.

Wednesday – Easy homemade pizzas, doesnt involve too much cooking at least, with salad.

Thursday – Cheesy broccoli pasta bake.

Friday  – Eggs, beans/hoops, sausages, chips and toasted muffin type of thing, all mushrooms too.

Saturday – Take out?

Sunday – If it’s not too hot then veggie toad in the hole or something with mash and gravy but otherwise possibly yet more pasta and things!

Michelle x

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Today is a home made play dough kind of a day

Easy homemade play dough

So Daddy is away for the next few days so I thought me and girls should do something fun, so this morning I made some play dough and we’ve been having fun with it. I thought it would be good to share the recipe as it’s so easy to make – if you can boil a kettle, mix and knead for a few minutes then you’re done!

All credit goes to the amazing Anna over at The Imagination Tree – a truly wonderful site that once you start reading you’ll spend hours looking at things and bookmarking them for later. There’s simple and creative ideas for play, some which require no real set up just things you never thought of using before and other more creative things, it’s really brilliant!

So her recipe is the best I’ve tried, it’s the no cook play dough version, I’ll give a quick run down but do go and check her post and read her A-Z of play dough recipes and activities as again it just fills you full of creativeness.

You need:

      • 2 cups plain flour.
      • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
      • 1/2 cup salt (I buy a massive value/basic range bag for a few pennies, lasts ages).
      • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar (easily found in the cooking aisle).
      • 1 to 2 cups of boiling water.
      • food colouring (optional, we use the wilton ones, both the normal and the neon gel ones, see below, but normal ones from the shops are fine too).
      • few drops glycerine (again optional but it adds more shine and again a little bottle costs about 60p and lasts years!).

http://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS1=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=flufmumm-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=tf_til&asins=B007EMYD8M

Making play doughhttp://rcm-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?t=flufmumm-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&asins=B007EMYD8M&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Method:

  • Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
  • In Anna’s original recipe then the next step is adding the food colouring to the boiling water and then mixing with the dry ingredients. However I like to make lots of different colours from one batch so I dont add any colour till the end, but either way is fine, whichever is easiest for you.
  • So if you are doing the colouring at the end or are leaving it uncoloured then you add the water now, I generally add a cup and a half and add more if I feel I need to.
  • Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough (it starts off super wet but keep stirring).
  • Add the glycerine if you want to, it’s still good without it in.
  • Allow it to cool down if little ones are helping you knead, otherwise I knead it for a bit whilst warm until the stickiness starts to go then I split into however many colours I want, add a few drops of colour to each and then carry on kneading until they are just right and the stickiness has gone.
  • If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour and knead until just right.

Colouring play dough

And that’s it, really really simple, and once you’ve spent a few pounds on the ingredients, they’ll last you years. It’s much softer then ‘normal’ play dough and cheaper too – without that weird smell as well! Store them in air tight containers, I use food freezer bags and they will last about 6 months – simple!

Homemade play dough

And here’s the girls enjoying them. after we’ve used them a few times I think the texture improves even more, and to keep things interesting I’ll then add glitter and sparkly bits to it.

Play dough fun

Have a great weekend everyone!

Michelle x

 

 

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A spot of shopping: Frugi, Liz Earle and String a Rainbow

So there has been a few bargains over the past few weeks and of course things that I just *had* to buy – I really need to curb that habit! Here’s what the postie has brought me lately,

Frugi haul

Some lovely goodies from Frugi – who have a £10 off £40 spend (and free delivery) on for the next few days in honour of their 10th birthday celebrations (happy birthday Frugi!). Their stuff is so lovely, such good quality and just generally lovely so it’s always good to stock up when there’s an offer. Sadly no pics of the girls in their bits as the weather has since gone cold and wet (Hello June!), but there’s a strawberry vest/bodysuit with a skirt attached for Izzy, along with a yellow normal vest. And Chloe got the blue spotty skirt which is great as it has shorts inside and will go great with some of her Frugi Tshirts we already have. I think as well the yellow vest/bodysuit was in the sale so even more of a bargain as they would have come to £45 at normal price but I only paid £31. No really needed but wanted, it lasts really well and there’s a good preloved market in various Frugi facebook pages or on Ebay once they’re outgrown.

 

 

LE cleanserAlso I picked up the new Limited Edition Liz Earle Orange Flower & Chamomile Hot Cloth Cleanser which is £19.75 from them for 150ml with 2 muslin cloths. There was a free delivery offer on so I thought why not – actually there’s another free delivery off on now until friday if you want to stock up on anything. I’ve written about how I like the Liz Earle range before (see here) and although it’s not the only brand I use for skincare I do still like it, nothing harsh in it or as full of chemicals as most others brands, yes there are much more natural products out there but LE ones do work really well and smell nice! I’ve yet to use it as I’m just on the last bits if my other cleanser but I cant wait to try it out as I do generally like orange scents, especially to help wake me up in the mornings! I think this is just out until stocks last so again if you do fancy trying it I’d get it sooner rather than later as otherwise it might be gone!

 

Also, Izzy broke her amber necklace a few weeks ago so I wanted to get it replaced (as well as getting the old one repaired which I’ve yet to do!). Chloe also still wears her grow up pink opal and amber necklace (see here) so I thought I’d get her something different as well. Dino-Daisy is where we’ve had all our amber from previously but sadly they are no longer doing amber jewellery. But then I found String a Rainbow who do custom amber and other beads on Facebook. So I placed and order and they arrived yesterday, so pretty!

SAR amberRaw amber on the left for Izzy and polished amber and rainbow beads for Chloe – who loves hers. I like to keep these when they out grow them (I have Chloe’s original amber necklace in her memory box) and they could maybe get them restrung or made into bracelets if they wanted to when they’re older.

And finally well it was Father’s Day so we treated Daddy to some new aftershave and a face scrub (sounds glamourous I know but it was posh stuff!) and Chloe picked out an Iron Man card for him and did some pretty pictures and writing for him. We went out for the day to a garden center with Nanny and Granddad and had a lovely time. We even brought some seeds to plant, as Daddy and Granddad are having a pumpkin competition to see who can grow the best one. I’ll do an update on the garden (it looks lovely) once the weather brightens up a bit – which could be a while!

Father's Day

 

And here’s one of the girls, just because I can! Sorry some of the pics are a little poor in quality, I’ve been using my phone a lot as it’s easier to upload via dropbox/wifi and because our normal camera is on its way out and is becoming temperamental (something to save up for before replacing). But anyway, sisterly smiles.

The girls

Michelle x

 

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Meal Planning Monday – 9th June 2014

MealPlanningMonday

So following on from my trying to get organised post, I’m going to be joining in as often as possible with the Meal Planning Monday’s over at athomewithmrsm. It’s not very adventurous but am hoping by joining in the linky I’ll pick up a few more ideas for scrummy meals, so here goes..


Monday – Veg and pasta/freezer night (food shop arrives tomorrow so running low).

Tuesday – Homemade Mushroom and Quorn pie with mash and veg.

Wednesday – Veggie stir fry. Need to take dogs to vets so need a quick dinner for when we get home.

Thursday – Casserole and Dumplings.

Friday  – Homemade pizza.

Saturday – Shepherd’s pie.

Sunday – It’s Father’s Day so probably take out or maybe even a meal out!

So that’s us for the week, I also need to make some bread and jam tarts with Chloe. And dont forget to pop over to athomewithmrsm and have a look at some of the yummy recipes!

Michelle x

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Getting organised

So since having Chloe and Izzy, life seems to just be running on a day to day basis, I keep saying I’m going to meal plan but I never quite seem to get around to it. And with Chloe starting school in September I thought it was about time I got organised. I’d been eyeing up a few things from Busy B for a few weeks when out of the blue they decided to have a sale, yippee!

Busy B goodies

So  I clicked right on over and got a few bits, a receipt book, school year calendar, recipe folder and some sticky notes. Oh plus I also got an extra 15% off with code BB15 for it being my first time shop with them and free delivery which is always nice. I think it was £21 in total, but the calendar alone full price from elsewhere is £14 so I thought that was super good and it arrived really quickly. The quality is really lovely, nice thick pages on the calendar and pockets everywhere and the recipe book has space to put in hole punched pages and some cute little mini plastic wallets as well as cards to write out your own creations and it has a built in stand and a clip at the front so you can see what your doing when cooking. I love how the calender has sticky notes at the bottom to write bits down on and stickers for birthdays or whatever you want to use them for, a really nice touch.

Busy B calender

 

So I spent the other night filling out all the dates on the calendar (oh the thrilling life I lead now) and filling the recipe folder with all the random pages of magazines that I tear out whenever I spot something yummy. So hello I’m Michelle and I am now semi organised! Tonight I shall make a meal plan for possibly the rest of the month and go through our budget to see if there’s anything I can save or reduce and then I just need to follow it all!

The sale is now finished over at Busy B but you can save 15% off your first order with BB15 and it’s free delivery over £15 if you too need to get organised.

Michelle x

 I bought everything mentioned in this post and no one asked me to write this, I just thought the products were really cool and wanted to share!

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A poorly Dillon dog

Our dog Dillon was at the vets yesterday for some Xrays and dental work, he’s 15 so I was super worried about him but like the trooper that he is he was fine. Getting that call to say he’d woken up and was okay was amazing, a tidal wave of emotions and relief washed over me – I’d spent all day tense and trying to keep busy, after the call I was euphoric!

Picking him up from the vets was again filled with happiness, when he saw me and started wagging his tail, bless him. So he’s recovering well, just waiting on news from the Xrays.

So if you’ve got a four legged friend at home then give them an extra hug and be thankful that they’re in your lives as they bring so much joy and ask you for so little in return. Here’s a pic of him from last week, isnt he gorgeous!

Dillon dog

Michelle x

 

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