hello fresh

hello fresh

So here’s the thing. My life just got a lot busier. I’ve just started a new job. In an office. In a field I haven’t worked in before. I just started work in a faculty student office at a university, during freshers’ week, so you can imagine just how deep the deep end was in which I was thrust. Let’s just say, my learning curve was almost vertical. 

The week before I started I was nervous. A tightly wound ball of nerves. Very excited, but with a lick of anxiety. I had a feeling it would all be fine, but when you’ve been a stay at home mum for eight years, the prospect of leaving your children to head back to work full time is a daunting one.

Getting this job has meant after school childcare, and being far more organised with my grocery shopping. It means supermarket deliveries, and the week before I started, it meant trying out HelloFresh, a food box delivered to your door, with recipe cards and everything included to whip up delicious meals the whole family will enjoy. 

So how have we found our trial of HelloFresh?

First things first, let’s talk about delivery. You get the option of Tuesdays or Thursdays and you aren’t given a time slot. Fine if you are at home, but trickier if no one is in to take delivery. I specified a safe place to leave the box if I wasn’t at home – which I wasn’t, so I don’t know what time my box arrived, but what I do know is that everything was still nicely cold when I arrived home. Delivery is free and the box was in good nick when I unpacked it. Nothing had been biffed around. Nothing was bruised. So far, so good. 

Next thing I need to talk about is the cost. A family box from HelloFresh is £64 for four meals, serving two adults and two children. I was sent my box for free for the purpose of this review, but would I spend that money every week? Probably not, to be honest. My usual weekly Tesco or Sainsbury’s delivery is around the £50 mark, and that’s all in. Inclusive of wine and cleaning products. One thing I’m good at is preparing nice meals on the cheap. I’m a shameless lover of a jacket potato, and I batch cook a lot, which drives down the price. Plus, with a supermarket shop you get the added benefits of Nectar or Clubcard points (which I turn into Air Miles). Four dinners still requires me to buy food for my daughter’s packed lunches, breakfasts for everyone, gin for me. You get the idea. As delicious as the food from HelloFresh is, and it really, really is, I’m not convinced it’s not just that little bit too pricey for me. Having said that, I realise there are families who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at spending that on a weekly basis.

But what about the food?

The quality of the produce in my HelloFresh box was by all accounts incredible. We received honey and mustard sausages, chicken thighs, tilapia, gnocchi. Packets of pancetta and chorizo. All the spices and sauces required in the recipes. Vegetables that, frankly, looked like they could be used in a photoshoot. Everything was fresh, everything was from really good suppliers and I liked that. The recipes are easy to follow, the results tasted amazing, and the portion sizes were perfect. The South Asian chicken curry was delicious, the gnocchi was quick and easy to whip up, and the sausage skewers gave what is essentially sausages and chips a whole new lease of life. By all accounts, we all ate well that week. HelloFresh is perfect for expanding your repertoire in the kitchen, and for building confidence in your cooking as well. I’ve never cooked tilapia before, but now that I have, it’s something I won’t necessarily overlook in the future. And I’m salivating just thinking about the gnocchi. 

Who would HelloFresh suit?

HelloFresh is perfect for busy people who want cooking dinner to be easy and delicious. If you can afford to eat out, but enjoy staying in and cooking, then this could be the perfect subscription for you costwise, as I think the price comes in somewhere between the two. If cost isn’t an issue and you want to broaden your culinary horizons then, again, HelloFresh could definitely be the answer. 

So would I use HelloFresh again?

All in all we very much enjoyed our HelloFresh week, so yes, if I had more money to throw at my food budget. I’m a sucker for a delivery and I really like the concept behind the boxes. You have the option to pause your deliveries, so it might well be something I dip in and out of when I’m feeling affluent or have a special occasion coming up, although this does mean keeping organised and on top of your account. Or maybe it’ll be something I consider for if the day ever comes that I am bored by the thought of a jacket potato when I get home from work.



Making the Best Choice for your Child with School Reviewer

school reviewer website

Finding a school is a daunting prospect, especially if where they’ll go is not a cut and dry decision. Maybe, like I do, you live in a city where there are a number of schools in close proximity. Maybe it’s more a case of considering all your options incase they don’t get in to your first choice. Perhaps you’re relocating and are keen to get an idea of the local schools before you commit to an area. Whatever the circumstances, choosing a school is one of the most important decisions we make as parents, and one that comes around faster than we ever imagine.

School Reviewer aims to take the stress out of picking the right school for your child. Simply by entering a location, you’re quickly able to glean information about schools you’re considering. Basic details, such as the number of children attending, Ofsted ratings, and whether the school is an academy, independent or community, are readily available. As is catchment information and academic results. Everything you could possibly want to know about your choice of school is there at your fingertips, easy to navigate, and with over twenty-five thousands schools listed, that makes School Reviewer a fantastic resource. 

school reviewer website
image taken from http://www.schoolreviewer.co.uk/

Extra Features of School Reviewer

What makes School Reviewer stand out further are its extra features. School uniform, for instance, can be expensive – especially if your school includes mandatory branding as part of their uniform. School Reviewer has introduced a buy and sell area for parents to list preloved uniform and other relevant items. There’s a forum for parents, which can help to ease another stress out of the beginning of school – the school playground! We’ve all been there. We all know the school playground is one of the cliquiest places there is. Having a place online to get to know other parents and find your tribe can only be a good thing. Additionally, School Reviewer offers video walk throughs on how to score that coveted 100% on exams such as Maths GCSE and SATs. 

school reviewer website
image taken from http://www.schoolreviewer.co.uk/

School Reviewer is not just an online resource for schools. These days more and more parents are employing private tutors to enhance their child’s education. Tapping into this market, the website is aiming to be the most trusted and comprehensive listings site for tutors and parents across the country, so parents can be sure they’ll be able to find the right tutor for their child’s needs.

For now, both my children are happy and settled in their primary school, and I’ve no reason to move them. But circumstances can change, people can move on, and who knows what schools will be like when it’s time to look at secondary education. I’m sure School Reviewer will prove to be a valuable resource for parents across the country. 





Lavender Reed Diffuser and 15% off at Rooi.com

paddywax reed diffuser

paddywax reed diffuser

I have a deep and eternal appreciation for all things lavender. I like a lavender shortbread biscuit, and the contrast of the dark flecks amongst the white crystals in lavender sugar. On my dressing table, I have lavender hand cream and lavender deodorant. Pair it with the parma violet shampoo you can buy from Lush, and it’s beginning to smell a lot like fancy old ladies in here. I’m not really one for gardening, but I have plans to get someone to plant lavender all over my front garden. A good day out, in my opinion, would be a trip to the New Forest Lavender Farm. Or that place in Hitchin, except that’s a bit of a mission. 

Anyway, you get the idea. My love of those tiny purple flowers knows no bounds. 

So when Rooi.com sent me a Paddywax reed diffuser to review with a lavender and thyme fragrance. Well, let’s just say, I was excited. Happily, I didn’t have to wait long, it arrived the day after I got the dispatch email. Efficient service. Hoorah!

paddywax reed diffuser

The packaging is good and robust (and recycled), and inside, each element is separate, meaning you can put as much or as little of the oil in the bottle as takes your fancy. I half filled mine, so it should last longer and stay fresher. 

And what about the scent? Because that’s, by and large, what you care about in a room fragrance, non? It’s fragrant and aromatic, and very, very relaxing. A nice lavendery-thymey hit. Far more effective than the bunch of dried lavender I stuffed inside a china cat ornament I’ve had forever a while back. Far more pleasant than the white musk (White musk? What even is this? The Body Shop circa 1993?) reed diffuser I had previously.

paddywax reed diffuser

All in all, I really rate this diffuser. It really freshens up the room, and the bottle is cute enough to easily be repurposed after my diffuser is spent. A very nice product and one I’m happy to have in my home. 

Rooi.com have very kindly given me a code to share with my readers. Just enter 15BPROMO at the checkout for 15% off your order. New customers only! 

I was sent the Paddywax reed diffuser by Rooi.com for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 

Back to School with Education Quizzes

Education Quizzes

With my two bright, sparky children gearing up to head back to school in a couple of weeks, I’m beginning to wonder what the next year will hold for them. Ruby’s heading into year four, and so is used to the general hustle and bustle of junior school. Elliot, however, has had a full year of free-flow play-based learning in reception, and year one is going to prove pretty different. I foresee a distinct lack of mud kitchen and busy bee time in his future, and a fair bit more sitting down and good listening. Not that he’ll have an issue with that; his new teacher legit looks like Princess Jasmine! 

But that’s not to say that his education is going to become boring and uninspiring. One of the things I love best about the primary school my two go to is how engaging the teachers make it. How much effort they put into making learning a very positive experience for all the children. Because one thing learning should never ever be is boring. How can you foster a love of learning new things if the teaching methods are dull? Is it not human nature to feed off each other’s enthusiasms? Is that not exactly one of the ways we get drawn to people?

In any case, I digress. 

I am a firm believer that learning absolutely does not begin and end in the classroom, and one of the ways I’ve been preparing Elliot for the dizzy heights of year one is by engaging him in a few education quizzes. He’s got smarts, that one, and sped through a lot of the KS1 material, but that said, he also found some of it trickier to manage, so I feel there’s a nice balance there. It’s good to be able to gauge how he’s doing. And anything that’s managed to successfully lure him away from Minecraft and PopularMMOs videos on YouTube for a few minutes gets a thumbs up from me. For a few brief moments I was concerned his brain may have rotted to mush in the month he’s been off school, but not so. Colour me assured. 

education quizzes

A subscription to Education Quizzes costs £7.50/month, and can be cancelled at any time. Additionally, they are keen to sell to schools as an extra learning resource for students, which can only be a good thing. 

Having proved he is well aware of the difference between capital and lower case letters, and knows all the short versions of the months, Elliot skipped off as I was writing this. It’s remarkably quiet upstairs, save for shrieks of his sister imploring him to enchant the pig… enchant the pig!

I guess we’re back on Minecraft, then. 


*Disclaimer. This post is in association with Education Quizzes. All opinions and experiences are my own, but I have been compensated for this post. 

Giveaway – Canvas Print From Your Image 2 Canvas

YI2C giveaway

We love canvas prints in our house.  Ross and I had two of our favourite wedding photos blown up and printed on canvas as a wedding gift, and for Father’s Day a 3 years ago, I got Ruby to make hand prints on a little canvas, whilst I did Elliot’s four-month old feet, whilst he was sleeping, no less. 

OK, so that last one isn’t strictly a photo, but you get the idea. 

Your Image 2 Canvas contacted me last week, and asked if I’d like a canvas, and I knew of just the photo I wanted to use.  It arrived the very next day, and whilst I’d already decided I was going to give it to Ross as a Father’s Day gift, I couldn’t not have a peek. 

Ross Chapman

I am so, so pleased with it.  The picture quality is fantastic, and the image is sharp and clear.  The image is wrapped really well around the frame, and really I cannot fault the service or the quality.  As you can see, Ross was pretty chuffed with it, too.  One very happy father on Father’s Day. 

Your Image 2 Canvas have kindly offered one lucky reader the chance to win a 16 x 20 inch canvas, worth £50! So if you’ve got a photo you’d like turned into a beautiful canvas creation, simply fill out the Rafflecopter widget below!

Please note: this competition is open to UK entrants, aged 18 or over only.  The winner will be chosen at random and contacted by Your Image 2 Canvas.  You must be able to supply a high resolution image.

Good luck, canvas fans! You have until midnight on 29th June to enter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway