July 2017 | Modern Mummy

Friday, 21 July 2017

Schools Out! Celebrating the start of the holidays with The Lakes Gin from 31DOVER.com (+ jammy dodgers, of course)

I'm getting really rather passionate about gin in my old age. Is it a 37 year old mum thing?

The latest bottle to grace my famous spirits shelf is The Lakes Gin Explorer Edition which, aside from being a truly gorgeous, premium gin, also happens to come in a rather pretty bottle (I've always been a sucker for good packaging).

The gin itself made from the finest English wheat spirit and pure Cumbrian water - as well as a diverse blend of fifteen carefully selected botanicals, including six from the Lake District National Park, where the distillery is located. 31DOVER describe it as a "complex, super premium gin, with zesty notes and herbal overtones" but in 37 year old mum lingo, I'd describe it as a really (really) delicious, smooth, citrusy gin. It's recommended that you serve it with a slice of grapefruit but I couldn't resist a slither of cucumber in mine - plus a plate of jammy dodgers on the side ;)

A large, end of term G&T for me, and jammy dodgers for the kids. I think we all know who's winning here!

Available at my favourite online drinks store, 31DOVER.com (who very kindly sent this bottle to me as an end of term treat - thank you!) a 70cl bottle of The Lakes Gin is £39.95 - and comes with a free Lakes Gin glass while stocks last. If you fancy buying a bottle (of gin, or anything else) don't forget to use my exclusive 10% discount code MODERN31D!

ps Every good gin deserves the best mixers. 31DOVER.com also sell Fever-Tree naturally light tonic water which is my absolute fave and compliments The Lakes Gin perfectly.

Enjoy the summer holidays all!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Introducing... the HelloFresh Flavour Generator!

My love for HelloFresh is very well documented on here and over on my Instagram account. After working for them at the beginning of the year I'm a total convert and have continued to pay for my weekly recipe boxes ever since.

There's a few reasons why I love them so much. First of all they have genuinely given me confidence in the kitchen and I actually enjoy preparing meals these days. I used to be a terrible cook. Sure, I'd give new things a go, but the kids would always turn their noses up at them which stressed me out no end,  so for years I just cooked the same five meals on rotation to keep them happy and to ensure their bellies were full. In the seven months we have been HelloFresh customers we've not had a single bad meal - and the girls get really excited to find out what meals we have lined up when our box arrives on a Tuesday.

The other thing I'm pretty passionate about is eliminating food waste. I absolutely despise wasting food, or throwing it into the bin rather than recycling it (you can read my post about why it's essential to recycle or compost your food waste here and my guide to reducing food waste here). I love receiving the perfect amount of ingredients for each recipe (and knowing that HelloFresh use recyclable packaging). And because the meals are so darn delicious, there are never any leftovers!

Anyhoo, I digress. The reason for this post is to let you all know that HelloFresh have just launched a new feature over on their website. It's called the Flavour Generator, and it's essentially a tool to help you find the perfect recipe when you're not sure what you fancy (yes, their website is jam packed FULL of recipes, even if you don't have the boxes delivered!). You type in your preferred cuisine, and whether you're in the mood for some spicy, or tangy, or herby - et voila! HelloFresh make some suggestions for you. It's a great way to get the kids involved, and excited about food, and each recipe provides step by step photos and full nutritional info.

Tonight we will be having Chermoula Spiced Chicken, with courgette rice and lemon yoghurt - and I'm already salivating at the thought! If you are too, you can check out the recipe for yourself here.

Interested in trying HelloFresh for yourself? You won't be disappointed. Use this discount code: KATY50 to receive 50% off your very first box. Enjoy x


5 Savvy Tips to Make Your Money go Further when Holidaying Abroad

Is there anything better than having the school summer holidays to look forward to? I'm currently counting down the days until I get to have the girls at home with me six whole weeks. However, the cost of a family holiday isn’t quite so exciting, is it? Whether you’re heading to Spain, Portugal or somewhere else altogether, memorise these tips for making your money go further when you’re abroad…

1. Go all inclusive 
If you’re travelling in large group and have lots of mouths to feed, or you know that you’d like to base yourself at your hotel without moving too far, you’re probably best off going all-inclusive. An all-inclusive deal will mean you save a small fortune on food, meals and snacks while you’re away, and it’s an even better idea if you like to enjoy a cocktail or two while you’re on holiday. Check what’s included (as it can vary from provider to provider), but you tend to get a huge variety of food and peace of mind knowing you’re not going to blow your budget. If you’ve already booked your holiday, see if you can upgrade your package to an all-inclusive deal.

2. Set a daily budget  
You’ll probably make your budget stretch further if you know precisely how much you have to spend. Set yourself an overall figure for your holiday, and then divide it by the number of days you’re abroad. This will give you an average amount to spend every day, but bear in mind that you can adjust it to account for the fact you might be travelling to and from the airport on one or two of those days so won’t be spending very much. If you plan a couple of low cost days too (sticking to the hotel and playing in the pool, for example), you’ll have more to use on days where you fancy heading out somewhere – and you won’t break the bank in the process. 

3. Look for free or low-cost activities 
When it comes to finding things to do on holiday, it’s up to you to decide how cheap or expensive you want to make it. An organised tour will undoubtedly cost you more than it would to take yourself around (but you’ll probably get more out of it if you have someone knowledgeable talking you through what you’re seeing!), so do your wallet a favour by organising doing a mix of paid-for excursions and free activities. For instance, spend a few days reclining on a local beach, jumping in and out the pool, and ambling round local towns and villages. Then, on other days, your budget will easily cover the cost of entrance tickets to waterparks, zoos or surfboard hire, for example.

4. Try not to use your debit card
Some debit card providers won’t charge you a fee for using it abroad, but many do. So, you’re better off paying in cash or using your credit card to be on the safe side (provided you repay your credit card in full when you’re supposed to!). Using cash or a credit card means you won’t pay the kinds of fees placed on debit cards at ATMs when you’re on holiday, and in fact, paying in cash gives you the option of haggling a little if you’re able to. Try haggling when you’re at a local market and see how much further your money goes.

5. Ask locals for tips
Finally, if you fancy spending your money at a good quality bar in town, or want to take advantage of the best fare for a bus ticket to the local waterpark, consider asking the locals. Pluck up the courage to try speaking some of the local language and see if anyone can help you: residents of the area will point you in the direction of the best shops, restaurants and attractions, and they’re bound to know one or two special things about the area that you haven’t been able to learn online first.

But while these tips are helpful, do try to go easy on yourself. Holidays don’t seem to come around often enough, and you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to have a good time while you’re abroad! Don’t spend more than you can afford, of course, but try not to spend feel guilty about spending money – what you do with it on holiday is often worth every cent.  

Monday, 10 July 2017

Amazon Prime Day 2017

It's that time of year again! Yes, tomorrow is Amazon Prime Day - a massive event where Amazon offers its Prime members hundreds of thousands of exclusive deals across all its departments. This year members will be able to enjoy 30 hours of deal shopping starting at 6pm this evening, with new deals being added as often as every five minutes!

I love my Amazon Prime account and honestly don't know where I'd be without it. The next day delivery option has helped me out on so many occasions when I've had to buy last minute presents, or when my impatient self has needed That Book as soon as humanly possible! Plus, of course, members also have access to Prime Video (current Amazon Video original addition: Hand of God - so, so good) and ad-free music on Prime Music too, which makes the £79 annual price tag more than worthwhile (that's just £6.58 a month!).

Some of the deals on offer this year include:

Up to 30% off* on various Trunki Ride On Suitcases
At least 30% off* a 43-inch 4K Ultra HD LG Smart TV

*discount based on product Amazon site price as of 04/07

For more details, and full terms and conditions, take a look here

To participate in Prime Day you need to be a member of Amazon Prime; customers can sign-up or start a free trial of Prime any time before or on 11 July by visiting amazon.co.uk/primeday.  


Friday, 7 July 2017

Sea, Sunshine, Sushi + Sunglasses

Sea, sunshine, sushi and sunglasses: four of my favourite things.

When the weather's as good as it has been this past week, is there anything better in life than heading to the beach straight after school, for a sushi picnic dinner?!

That's exactly what we did today. Evie and I went to the sushi bar and picked up enough california and maki rolls to feed the five thousand. Then we packed our beach towels and bikinis, picked Daisy up from school and headed to the Witterings to enjoy the early evening sun.

Something else we packed were our brand spanking new Ray-Ban sunglasses, sent to us by the lovely people at Smart Buy Glasses.

Now I'm a sunglasses addict (just ask Tom... I think he was pretty horrified by the completely overflowing 'sunglasses drawer' in my dresser when we first met!) My collection consists of a 50/50 split of designer and high street pairs and a 50/50 split of classic, timeless designs and completely over the top, big, bold ones. Until now, the girls have only had sunglasses from the high street, mainly down to my fear of expensive ones getting broken or going missing. I wouldn't consider spending £100 on a pair for either of them (although I've been known to spend twice that on mine), but I really do appreciate quality - especially when little, delicate eyes are concerned - so would have no objections to spending £40-£50 on a pair, especially now that the girls are getting older and are able to take care of their belongings.

With that in mind, and with the instructions to choose a pair of sunglasses each from SmartBuyGlasses, the girls and I set about browsing the website, which is jam packed full of every single designer you could possibly imagine.

I'm a massive fan of Ray-Ban, and my sunglasses collection already contains gold aviators, black wayfarers and tortoiseshell clubmasters. I'd always fancied a second pair of wayfarers in a brown shade - so chose the Wayfarer Havanashttps://www.smartbuyglasses.co.uk/designer-sunglasses/Ray-Ban-Junior/Ray-Ban-Junior-RJ9538S-252/2Y-334700.html for myself.

Following in their mother's footsteps, the girls also chose Ray-Bans; Evie opting for a pair of the juniors, and Daisy going for an adult pair (the mirrored round lites in blue and white which I'm crossing my fingers she'll lend to me one day!).

I'm definitely a Smart Buy Glasses convert now - they sell a huge range of affordable designer sunglasses (some with a massive 70% off!), plus they offer same day dispatch, 100 day free returns and a 24 month warranty. What's not to love about that?

ps How good was our sushi picnic? We even had ice cream afterwards! Have a great weekend all.
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