HelloFresh Classic Food Box Review

As you all know, I love cooking and creating new recipes but sometimes I lack inspiration (we all do) and wish someone else could create my meal plan for the week. HelloFresh very kindly offered to send me one of their classic boxes to try out for a few days and as I’m on Slimming World, they sent me a low calorie box which was filled with recipes perfect to stay on plan for the week.

HelloFresh Classic Food Box Review

How does it work?

Every week, Head Chef Patrick and his team create new recipes with an easy to follow photo step-by-step guide for you to cook their delicious and nutritious meals at home. The best bit? You don’t have to worry about the planning or creation, just the home cooking. HelloFresh source all of their fresh ingredients from their hand picked suppliers and package them up in the exact quantities you need so you never have to worry about measuring or weighing. They can also deliver your box on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Thursday and delivery is completely free of charge.

HelloFresh Classic Food Box Review

I opened the box and noticed that everything was packaged really well. The food came in a bag with a 100% wool liner which you can send back to be recycled or put them on your compost heap. They also use ice packs to make sure the meat stays fresh which is once again recyclable. My first impressions were good – everything looked really fresh so I put them in my fridge and cupboards and put the meals into my meal planner for the week.

I was sent a box for two people which consisted of three meals: Warm Chicken and Kale Caesar Salad, Prawn and Chorizo Chickpea Stew and Chef’s Tomato Garlic Ragu with Tagliatelle.

HelloFresh Classic Food Box ReviewHelloFresh Classic Food Box ReviewHelloFresh Classic Food Box Review

Overall I was extremely impressed by the box and the recipes – I’ve even kept the recipe cards and I will definitely be making the recipes again. Each meal was extremely easy to make following the guides so even if you’re not much of a cook, this would still be easy. The meals were all absolutely delicious, the Ragu was different to any I’ve made before as it used Soy rather than Worcestershire sauce, the Chicken and Kale Caesar Salad would be a perfect summer time recipe and the Prawn, Chorizo and Chickpea stew was packed full of flavour.

The boxes are priced starting around £39 but HelloFresh have kindly given me a code for you all if you use my code ALISONTHURSBY you can get £25 off your first box. This means you will get a box at a bargain price, so why not get yourself one and get cooking some tasty meals! As a side note, if f you are on Slimming World I would recommend opting for the low-calorie option – you can still stay on plan without any guilt.

Why I'm Giving Up Social Media For LentI’ll admit that even though I’m not religious at all, each year I do sit and think about what I could give up for lent – just for a challenge more than anything.

More often than not I struggle so I simply don’t give up anything. One of the most popular choices for others is giving up chocolate or crisps but for me it wouldn’t be much of a challenge as they aren’t kept in my house and not something I reach for. I was in London with my friend a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about giving up something for lent and she mentioned Facebook which got me thinking if I could give up maybe one or two social media platforms for lent.

It’s safe to say that we’re all on social media a lot and I often start my day with a scroll through every social media platform I’m on and then I check my emails even though a lot of them are junk. Having a Apple technology family all of which I use social media on probably doesn’t help the matter as I find that I’m flicking through quite regularly but not really looking at anything in particular. I’ve also been guilty of opening up apps on my iPhone and iPad at the same time. Please say I’m not alone!

Stepping back from social media is something I’ve done for a week or so but never for over a month. After narrowing it down I’ve decided on Facebook and Twitter. I’m signing out of Twitter and Facebook on all my devices so that if I do click on the app by accident, it won’t log me in and apart from pre-scheduled Tweets, not a lot will be on my feed. I think it will be interesting to see how I feel when I go back on.

I’ve also decided that I want to focus more on reading for pleasure while I take a little social media break. Even though I enjoy reading I don’t do it often enough. I’ve downloaded a couple of books onto my Kindle app and I have a couple of books in my bedside cabinet to read as well so I’m going to make a start and hopefully make a small dent in my reading list. I’d also like to take some time away from my emails where I can and not delve into them multiple times a day.

As I’m writing this I’m actually really excited, I think time away from certain platforms will be good for me.

Says it all really, doesn’t it?

8 Tips to Whiter Teeth

One of the first things people notice about us is our smile; when our smile shows beautifully white teeth it helps make our first impression a great one.  Having a beautiful smile is actually fairly easy to attain. Here are eight tips to make your teeth their whitest.

Stop Smoking.

There are a host of reasons why smoking is bad for you; not the least of which is that smoking stains your teeth.  If you do smoke, the first step toward whiter teeth is to stop. 

Avoid Food And Drink That Stains Your Teeth.

A large number of food and beverages can stain your teeth. These include coffee, black tea, red wine and some fruits and berries.  You can minimise the effects of these beverages by sipping through a straw, but since you are unlikely to use a straw for your morning Starbuck’s latte or when having a glass of vino at dinner, simply brush as soon as possible after having one of the stain causing drinks/ foods.

Eat Healthy Foods.

A healthy diet is not only good for you; it can also help to strength and whiten your teeth. Dairy products, especially milk and yoghurt, are especially good for your dental health. Foods that are rich in anti-oxidants also contribute to whiter teeth.  You can even make a paste from fresh strawberries and rub it over your teeth (be sure to rinse afterwards). The natural anti-oxidants begin to restore your teeth’s natural whiteness. You can also protect and whiten your teeth by rubbing apple cider vinegar and coconut oil on them after brushing. Avoid foods like refined sugars which damage your teeth’s enamel.

Brush Your Teeth

Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal, but at a minimum brush every morning and before going to bed to ensure the removal of stains and decay. Buy a good quality toothbrush and replace it every few months. Consider purchasing a good electronic toothbrush as they offer superior cleaning and whitening power.

Visit Your Dentist

Regular check-ups are the best way to get and keep a beautiful smile. You should visit your dentist for a check-up and professional cleaning every six months.

Teeth Whiteners

No doubt you have seen a lot of adverts for over-the-counter whiteners. There are a number of professional whitening products available as well. The best way to select the whitening product that is best for you is to discuss them with your dentist during your regular check-up. Your dentist, like the dental team at 53wimpolestreet.com can offer you the best solution for your particular dental situation.

Floss 

Flossing is a crucial step towards having healthy white teeth. Flossing reduces and removes the plaque and bacteria that damage your teeth.  Just as with brushing, you cannot floss too often and flossing should be a part of your daily dental routine.

Reduce Acidic Foods

Acidic foods can erode your teeth’s enamel, which results in a duller smile, amongst other problems. However a number of acidic foods, such as nuts and legumes, hard cheese, citrus fruit, and some seeds have high acid levels.  Processed foods, some sweeteners, and energy drinks also have high acid content.  You dental and overall health will benefit from avoiding these processed foods and energy drinks. After consuming ‘good’ acidic foods, you can combat any negative effects on your teeth by rinsing with water.

This is a collaborative post from One Media

Blossoming Gifts

I love flowers and quite regularly have a fresh bunch in my house, they really brighten up my living room. With Mother’s Day round the corner and thinking about what I could get my Mum for the day, I was excited when Blossoming Gifts kindly got in touch with me and offered to send me one of their absolutely beautiful bouquets which would be a perfect gift for your Mum.

It was a tough choice but after about half an hour of browsing I finally settled on the beautiful Brighton Rock bouquet which I thought would brighten up the house. The bouquet is a stunning arrangement of pink oriental lily, Miss Piggy roses, Memory Lane roses, green hypericum berries and green bell. I think it looks like the perfect spring time bouquet and I think it would be great for Mother’s Day or any other occasion.

Blossoming Gifts

I’ve never had flowers from Blossoming Gifts before but can’t fault them for their service or the quality of their flowers. The bouquet itself is absolutely beautiful and within the first week of having them the lilies came out fully and the rest of the flowers are still in a great condition. Overall I’ve been really impressed by my flowers and will definitely be using them again in the future when I’m buying gifts for friends and family.

Blossoming Gifts

Blossoming Gifts have some really beautiful bouquets on the site, not only seasonal ones but ones for any occasion too and they have kindly given one of you the chance to win a bouquet worth £35 or less of your choice. To enter the competition all you have to do is follow the Rafflecopter giveaway. The winner will be drawn and contacted two weeks from today, the 14th of March.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** Note that by participating you agree to receive the Blossoming Gifts Newsletter **

This post contains a PR Sample or gifted item but all opinions are my own.

Finding My Makeup

When I got really into blogging I was mainly writing about beauty and following beauty blogs but I quickly realised that there was only so much I could write about a new lipstick, eyeshadow or foundation. Let’s be honest, there is  only so much makeup I can put on my face – I only have one face after all.

Over the years I ended up parting with quite a bit of cash to buy a lot of makeup products to add to a collection. Over the past year I have really tried to streamline how much makeup I put into my collection, what makeup I keep and what makeup I think is essential. This project led to a lot of my products going to friends for a good home and, if they were no good, they went straight in the bin.

I own a two drawer acrylic storage system from Muji where I keep my daily makeup. I try to change this every month because I want to make the most of the makeup I do have until it goes bad or gathers dust for months on end. I’ve been trying to really get together my essential makeup products so that maybe one day I can just own makeup to fit into one bag. Who knows, one day I’m hopeful it might happen but recently I’ve been finding a few essentials within my collection.

I delved into my main MAC eyeshadow palette recently and picked out a perfect quad for me which I absolutely adore and have been wearing on a daily basis for the past month or so. It consists of one of my most loved MAC eyeshadows – Patina, and three that were not so loved – Shroom, Woodwinked and Cork. I always go for the same kind of eyeshadows – copper, brown, neutral tones to really bring out the blue in my eyes.

After my beloved Clarins Everlasting foundation kicked the bucket, I went on the hunt for a new base to wear for when I need that bit of extra coverage. I was kindly gifted the Urban Decay All Nighter foundation which has fast became the replacement for my Clarins. When looking for a new base I’ve always been a more dewy, natural finish kind of girl so when I saw that this foundation was matte I wasn’t sure I would love it, but I do. I always think of a matte foundation as cakey on the skin but with this, I can’t feel it at all. It’s flawless and leaves such a nice, natural finish on my skin while providing a slightly fuller coverage for the days my skin needs it.

Talking of matte – I’ve been delving into the world of matte lipsticks recently thanks to my friend Kirsty who very kindly bought me the MAC Mehr lipstick for Christmas. It is a beautiful, wearable red shade which leaves my lips still feeling hydrated even though it has a matte finish. I’ve been a big fan of this one recently and don’t feel so afraid to try matte lipsticks in the future – times are definitely changing!

This post contains a PR Sample or gifted item but all opinions are my own.

When I got on the scales this week I knew I felt bloated and it showed on the scales as I maintained. I never feel bad when I maintain because I know how much weight fluctuates and I know that losing weight every week is just not realistic.

I’m going to be honest with you all and say that at the moment I’m just finding that I feel increasingly frustrated – not with the plan, but with myself. I started to feel like I’ve been on this journey for too long now and I felt as if I should have done better and lost more by now.

They say it takes twenty one days to change a habit and that’s what I’m really trying to do at the moment – I want to feel good about myself again and stop focusing on the negatives as I know it’s getting me absolutely nowhere.

I have a habit of getting myself stuck in a rut and dwelling on what I should have done differently which is a nasty habit I need to break. I know why I’m trying to lose weight and I know that I’m only losing weight for myself and my health but I feel increasingly frustrated with the way I feel when I look in the mirror. I don’t tend to carry weight well, most of it seems to be on my stomach and although it’s coming off, it seems to be coming off very slowly still.

Luckily it didn’t take me long to realise that I was stuck in a rut again and I knew that I needed to feel good about myself so I decided I would do a bit of retail therapy in the form of a few new tops from Sainsbury’s. I’ve never thought that retail therapy can lift a mood that much but it really does, especially when you fit into a nice top and feel good about yourself.

With that all in mind, I am putting my positive pants on and this focus on what I’ve been enjoying lately, rather than the negative way I’ve felt recently.

Favourite Meal

Over the past week I’ve made some really delicious food and I’ve been really enjoying making my tuna pasta bake again – it’s a firm favourite in my house. I’ve been trying to concentrate on getting more speed foods into my day (fruit and vegetables) and have bulked my pasta bake out with lots of different coloured peppers and more or less a whole punnet of mushrooms.

New Breakfast & Snack Ideas

I’ve been absolutely obsessed with the new Salted Caramel HiFi bars since they came out, they are addictive and feel like a real treat. I have been using them as my healthy extra B choice which is new to me as I usually have that in the morning.

As well as that I’ve been enjoying my overnight bulgur wheat – a bit like overnight oats with an extra crunch. The bulgur wheat isn’t measured and is completely free on the plan so I would recommend giving it a go if you want to free your healthy extra choice up for something else.

Aim for next week

I won’t be weighing in next weekend as I’ll be in London for the weekend with my friend but I want to stay on plan all next week, enjoy next weekend and get straight back on plan the week after to hopefully get a loss the weekend afterwards. I’m really trying to focus on being positive, looking after myself and getting to target while feeling happy and not frustrated. I want to try some new recipes so any recommendations are welcome.

Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel as well as I will be doing updates on there as well and my Instagram where I post photos of what I’ve been eating.

January is done for another year and it feels like a long time since I last did a monthly round-up (it was, the last time was October, oops!). This year definitely felt like a new start for me and if I’m honest, I enjoyed January more than I have in previous years. I started a new job and set my goals for 2017 which I have been working on already.

So, what did I get up to in January? One of the first (and most important) things to do in 2017 was to order a new bed as my old one was basically falling apart. January seemed like a good time to find a new bed with all of the sales going on so we went to Dreams to find a new bed and we fell in love with the bed we’d chosen more or less straight away – it arrived this weekend and is honestly like sleeping on a marshmallow!

I dusted my trusty camera off, ordered myself a new tripod and some new props and starting working more on my YouTube channel. I really want to focus on enjoy blogging and making videos again this year which will hopefully mean producing content I’m proud of.

I also booked my main holiday for this year which I am really looking forward to as going to New York honestly feels like so long ago now and the promise of some nice views and exploring somewhere new is something that was definitely needed.

My boyfriend and I decided a while ago that this year we would like to go to Croatia which as a country has appealed to me for a few years now, it looks absolutely beautiful. We booked to go to beautiful all-inclusive resort in Pula which is a seafront city known its Roman ruins, stunning beach-lined coast and protected harbour.

During January I’ve also been loving the new Salted Caramel Hifi Bars from Slimming World – they are heavenly.

I’ve been dancing around my bedroom to the new releases from Ed Sheeran, I can’t wait for his new album.

I always find January a bit blah TV wise as a lot of the programmes I watch tend to go on a break but this year I found some new TV shows. I was very late to the party on The Missing – my boyfriend and I watched season 1 in a week after we watched season 2 at Christmas. We also started on Blindspot which is a crime drama series based in New York, it’s one of those TV shows which you can easily binge watch as you need to find out what’s next.

Overall, January was a very good month for me and I am excited for everything I have planned for February – a baby shower for one of my best friends, a weekend in London and more.

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I absolutely love my Leek, Bacon and Potato bake. In fact, I love it so much that I make it on a weekly basis so today I thought I’d share the recipe with you – it’s so simple to make and absolutely delicious and it won’t break the bank. It is a syn free recipe on Slimming World using the cheese as your healthy extra and the recipe is for three portions (I make it for two of us and then have one portion left for my lunch the next day).

Leek, Bacon and Potato Bake

INGREDIENTS

  • 600g Potatoes (I use desiree)
  • 2 Bacon Medallions Per Person (all fat removed)
  • 2 Large Leeks
  • 4 Eggs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 90g Red Leicester (healthy extra or 6 syns)
  • Frylight

METHOD

  1. Firstly preheat your oven to 200°
  2. Then, chop up your ingredients (I always peel my potatoes as well) and whisk the eggs in a bowl adding in a little salt and pepper
  3. Pop your potatoes into a pan of cold water and leave them to start boiling. Meanwhile, take your cut up bacon and add to a pan with some frylight and cook until crispy
  4. Once they have started to boil, leave them for about 10 minutes so they get a little soft. Then cut up your leeks and add them in for a few minutes to soften slightly.
  5. Once the vegetables are ready, drain them off and add to an ovenproof dish adding in your bacon and whisked up eggs  and mix together. Then, take your red leicester cheese and add to the top.
  6. Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and then serve.