Friday, 28 August 2015

Riverford Recipe Boxes: A Review

Earlier this month, the lovely folk at Riverford sent us one of their organic recipe boxes to try. I think we've already established on this here blog that the girls and I loooooooove food. However I am not particularly good at cooking, despite my best efforts, and I don't have the time to pour over recipe books (yes, I know I buy them all the time but I just like to look at the pictures!).

Despite my lack of ability in the kitchen, I'm very passionate about eating well. I only ever buy good quality ingredients and I hate it when I find myself stuck in a rut, cooking the same meals over and over again. For this reason I really like the concept of recipe delivery services like the Riverford one, as they have brand new recipes every single week and you get to try out lots of dishes that you might not otherwise have discovered.

I've bought produce from Riverford in the past and have always been very impressed with their delivery service (our local drivers are lovely; hello Andy and Hayley!) and with their packaging. Virtually everything is compostable/recyclable which is very important to me.

There are three types of recipe boxes available; "quick", "vegetarian" and "original" all of which contain the exact ingredients for three meals for two people (the original is also available in a slightly smaller two meal size). This speeds the cooking process up massively as there's no need to weigh or measure things - plus, of course, there is absolutely no food waste (and we all know how much I hate food waste).

I chose the original box as the recipes for that current week looked amazing and, although we received our box the following week, the recipes were equally amazing. We were sent the ingredients to cook penne arrabiata, smokey quinoa stuffed peppers with feta & sugar snap peas and chicken & spinach biryani. I really liked the layout of the recipe cards and also the cook's notes which explained some ingredient choices and offered substitutions should you fancy or need to adapt the recipe a little.

The ingredients were all super fresh, seasonal and, of course, organic and the three meals were all different and delicious! Don't judge me but this was the very first time I have ever cooked quinoa and I will definitely be doing so again. The penne arrabiata was the biggest hit and we have already replicated the recipe twice since - the kids loved it, and it was SO easy to make.

As we had guests visiting and therefore five, rather than three, hungry mouths to feed, Riverford very kindly sent us three boxes. The portion sizes were huge so this was more than enough. A box for two would definitely feed me and the girls no problem, and at £39.95 for the three meal option I think that is a very reasonable price for produce of such high quality. For larger families though, I do think it would be nice to offer a slightly larger box, rather than them having to pay for two or more. That said, I will definitely be ordering another recipe box from Riverford and am looking forward to trying out the vegetarian and quick options in the future!

Thanks to Riverford for providing us with our recipe boxes and for asking us to be a part of this campaign.xoxo

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A Little Trip to Wales

Southerdown Bay

Last week the girls and I spent four days camping in South Wales. We go to Wales quite a lot - we have family there - but this trip was different. Life changing, almost.

It made me realise just how much I miss being creative. I used to paint landscapes and driftwood and pebbles and I'm not sure at what point I gave it all up but I felt so inspired at the weekend that I've decided to start up again. I really need to do something just for me.

I also remembered why I have always wanted to live by the sea. IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL! And wild! And invigorating! And at the same time, so peaceful! And PERFECT. It won't be for a few years yet, but I'm determined to make my dream reality at some point and settle somewhere overlooking a wild and blustery beach.

This trip we camped in a place called Southerndown and explored lots of places locally. If you've not been to Southerndown Bay before, it is BREATHTAKING. I definitely left my heart there on this trip. Since we've been back I've been on RightMove and I'm totally in love with this house. Anyone want to buy it for me?

Here are a few pictures from our holiday xoxo

Carry on Camping

We got the whole field to ourselves!

Kite flying

On the stepping stones at Ogmore Castle

Across the river at Candleston Castle in Merthyr Mawr

Tinkinswood Ancient Burial Chamber

Coffee Cove in Barry 

Walking along the prom on Barry Island

Crossing the causeway to Sully Island, Penarth at low tide


Rockpooling in Porthcawl

Exploring Dunraven Gardens in Southerndown

Southerndown Bay - I so want to live here!

Building sandcastles with our Welsh family at Southerndown Bay

Paddling at Southerndown

Monday, 24 August 2015

Visiting Legoland with 365 Tickets

Last week we visited Legoland Windsor as guests of 365Tickets, an online retailer of tickets for lots of the UK’s biggest and most popular attractions, sightseeing tours and exhibitions.

We've visited Legoland once before, two summers ago, when Daisy was just three and Evie was a newborn baby. We had a super day but Daisy wasn't a huge Lego fan back then. This time round both her and Evie couldn't be more Lego obsessed, and it made the day so much more special. We're already looking forward to going back!

We kick started our day at the StarWars exhibition. The girls and I aren't massive Star Wars fans - but they still enjoyed it and we spent a fair bit of time looking at all the intricately built characters and scenes.

Continuing on our journey through the park we contemplated going on the Vikings River Splash but the queues were far too long so we stopped off for a go on the Spinning Spider ride instead; Legoland's version of the spinning teacups, which we all really enjoyed. Then we stopped off for lunch at The Burger Kitchen.

Once we'd eaten, the girls used their newly found lunch-fuelled energy to have a run around at the Castaway Camp before spending their hard saved pocket money on personalised leather bracelets at a stall next to the Pirate Goldwash and then had a go on the Jolly Rocker.

We stopped for ice cream at the Legoland Castle before making our way to Heartlake City - which was the part of the day that the girls were most looking forward to. It's Legoland's newest attraction and (yes, I know I'm biased, being the mother of two HUGE Lego Friends fans) by FAR the best bit of the whole Theme Park!

Daisy and Evie spent a bit of time searching for each of the five Lego Friends characters so that they could have their photos taken with them, then we had a look in the Heartlake City Mall (cuddly toys were purchased) before settling down by the lake to watch the 'Lego Friends to the Rescue' live show. It was BRILLIANT. 

Thanks a million to 365Tickets for a brilliant day out; we will definitely be using you to book tickets in the future.xoxo 

If you're looking for a great discount on Legoland tickets, they are currently 40% off when booked through 365Tickets' secret offers section which launched earlier this month. You can find a complete list of the exclusive offers only available to people who have subscribed to the 365Tickets mailing list by browsing here.
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