A World Full of Prettiness

Monday, 19 September 2016

August's Degustabox Review

I swear DB is psychic. Every time I happen to be on a diet, my box arrives and it's not filled with the tempting treats I always dread (but love!).


Condiments/Sauces

Tabasco Sauce - RRP £1.99
This sweet and sticky BBQ sauce/marinade is great for either BBQ's, or to use on your chicken to spice things up a little. We have a heap of BBQ sauces in our cupboards now and really struggle to use them up so I'll be making a conscious effort from now on!

Geeta's Curry Pastes - RRP £1 each

I received Rogan Josh and Tikka paste, and they are exactly how you would imagine - rich in flavour with a great consistency. They're really convenient if you prefer straight-from-the-pack paste.




Snacks

Oloves - RRP £1

I like the name of this, however unfortunately I don't like the content. Nothing against the brand, I just don't like olives in general, so these never got opened, but went to a more appreciating home instead!

Rakusen's Snackers - RRP from £1.29

These guilt-free snackers (I'm liking it!) are 'less than 1% fat and only 7 calories in every cracker'. They are pretty tasteless by themselves, but that's to be expected. I'd have them with cream cheese (as suggested) or keep it simple with butter. I'm on a bit of a health kick at the minute so I'm trying to watch what I eat!

Willy Chase's Fit Corn - RRp £2.19

I received the apple cider vinegar flavour and it was delicious, a real 'lick-your-fingers-after-every-touch' kinda session. The kick of vinegar was strong, but it just worked, and didn't leave you choking! I did find that these had quite a few corn kernels in them, which I find mightily annoying when eating popcorn. They do some interesting flavours though!

Moroccan Couscous Nutripot - RRP £2.49

I received an 'Aromatic Thai Noodles' and the 'Moroccan CousCous' pot, and I'm going to be honest, I've yet to try these, simply because of said diet. They look convenient in size though (i.e great to take to work).

Dorset Cereals Bircher Muesli - RRP £3.49

Firstly, I'm loving that this came with a real sturdy plastic scoop. Ok - so muesli isn't my most favourite breakfast cereal, in fact I bought some a few months ago and had one mouthful and realised how foul it was. So although its great for your health in comparison to other breakfast options, taste wise it doesn't really tick the boxes for me. Sorry!




Drinks

Mahou Cinco Estrellas - RRP £1.20

This Spanish beer is mild in tasting and has flavours that 'lingers in the mouth'. I'm no beer drinker, however my boyfriend is, and his thoughts on it? '

Get More MultiVitamins - RRP £1.45

This sparkling lemon & lime drink was great for a sugar kick. It also contains ingredients to top up your daily vitamins, being made with spring water and natural flavours, with no added sugar. I'm not sure I'd want to spend £1.45 on a bottle though...

Clipper Tea (Lime & Ginger green tea) - RRP £1.59

Me and green tea have a love and hate relationship. I see tasty-sounding flavours on the supermarket shelves. I buy said tasty-sounding tea then get home and decide its not so tasty after all. Fast forward a few months and the process starts again, but with a different flavour. I like the sound of them, and I like wasting my money on them, but I don't like the taste, so my appreciative colleague gets gifted with almost fully-boxed green teas several times a year. Back on point(!) I'm still yet to try this lime & ginger tea. I know ginger is used a lot in herbal remedies in relation to health etc, so I'm kind of saving it for those sniffle type days I get in the winter, hoping it will work wonders. That's if I can get it down my throat in the first place.



Are you a foodie like me? Get yourself on the DB wagon and go purchase your very first box! There's a great saving with this code (and I mean great!). Use BLDEG15 at checkout and you're away!
If you do decide to use it, let me know what you think!


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Friday, 16 September 2016

Nostalgia in Nottingham

At the weekend we did a spontaneous (very) last minute trip to Drayton Manor, followed by a night in Nottingham. We had a stack of Tesco Club card vouchers to use up, so thought we'd try make a weekend out of it.

Friday we took to the road and headed towards Tamworth, near Birmingham. I had never been to that neck of the woods and desperately wanted to stay in Birmingham (and maybe take a sneaky trip to Cadbury World) but I also wanted the journey home the next day to be a little shorter, so I took the wise option and settled on a hotel at midpoint (well, kinda).

Beaut of a duck



After spending a few hours at Drayton Manor being kids, we took an hour drive to Nottingham, checked into our hotel and went for our first freebie meal in ASK Italian.

Park Plaza

ASK Italian
After leaving ASK, we spotted a statue figure in the street, and like magic, memories came flooding back to both of us at the same time, and we quickly recognised that we had been in this spot 8 years prior (we hadn't visited Nottingham since). We then had a chat about how 'times have changed' - 8 years ago we were spending Valentines day here, dancing the night away in Flares nightclub. Now we're spending our evening trying to hunt down Cineworld to watch a movie before resorting back to the hotel room for an early night. Old age, old age, it gets to the best of us...

After a remincising conversation and the need to stop someone to ask for directions, we settled down in the plush seats of the cinema (why can't our local cinema be that comfy?!) to watch 'Don't Breathe'. Great little film..

The next day was spoilt by the rain - Me, being the 'organised and well-prepared' woman I am, never bought a coat, jumper or even umbrella with me so I got wet pretty quickly. It didn't help that I stood in a 2 inch deep puddle in my ballerina pumps which left my feet squelching for the remainder of the day.

Nonetheless, we proceeded to our 4th and final freebie of the weekend; lunch in Zizzi's. How 2 restaurants can be so similar in menu choice I'll never know. Either way, I chose wisely, opting for a 'skinny' pizza in my attempt to stay on plan as much as possible.

We made the obligatory trip to Primark (what city break is complete without a trip to Primark?!). I bought the cutest Minnie mouse candy striped night shirt (which is definitely going in my 'holiday bag' ready for Disney!). Because the rain was playing games, we decided to call it quits and head back home.

Although we were gone for just over 24hrs, it really made me feel like I'd had a break and change of scenery. We spent very little money thanks to Tesco's and I'm definitely going to be planning another similar trip in the New Year! I think that a change of scenery is good for the mind and can really motivate you! (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it...)

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

August Round Up - Birthdays, The Body Coach and York

Wow, summer is almost over. Which means we're only a season away from our holiday!

August has been the month of food for me, but not the junk food  I usually eat. It's been a month of eating lean meals. A friend of mine sent me her diet plan, and I've been using that to plan my meals. It's been bloody hard work, more so the preparation of foods and working it alongside my daily routine. Some days have been tough going and I've felt like throwing in the towel on more than one occasion, not because I've craved sweet things, but just because the prepping, and the thinking ahead has been too much for me. But I did it, I got through cycle one! Either way, this food plan has taken over pretty much the whole of August, and at times I have felt like it has ruled my life. However its definitely made me think more about food and healthier ways of cooking. When I complete the 3 cycles, I'll definitely be investing in the Lean in 15 books to maintain this lifestyle.


August has also been a busy month for family birthdays. I treat my dad to a nice meal out of town, at a restaurant I'd never been to before. For Mike's birthday we had a fairly quiet one. With our holiday payment looming, we kept it low-key. I bought him a fancy coffee machine (something that he's been wanting for a long time now), so we had a play with that and went to the cinema to watch a film that he wanted to see (David Brent: Life on The Road). He also wanted me to bake him his favourite Ferrero Rocher cheesecake, which was no fun when I couldn't eat any! (Didn't want to spoil the diet now, did I?!).



We also took our niece and nephew out for their annual day trip that we do every summer with them.

We took a fairly last-minute trip to Meadowhall in the hope of stocking up on some summer clothes which were in the sales, however the sales didn't appear to have kicked in properly! Still, it was a nice change of scenery and a day out.

At the end of the month I took a trip to York with my mum and her partner. Her partner was there for a work medical, so they thought they'd make a day of it, and invited me along to be navigator, basically.



In between all of this and work, I've been decorating my dressing room. We've been in our house 5 years now and I haven't painted the room since we moved in. It was originally a pastel lilac colour, and although it went with my shabby chic pastel theme at the time, the last few months I was wanting to give it a fresh, more mature feel. I've gone with white walls and it already makes it look so much brighter. Although its taking a lot longer than anticipated... 3 coats of paint later and the lilac is still showing through in places!

I can't believe we're almost into Autumn! What did you get up to in August?

Until next month...

Want to keep up to date with what I get up to? Come follow me on Instagram - @kateld85
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Thursday, 25 August 2016

TRAVEL: TOP 5 TIPS ON PLANNING FOR A BUSY HOLIDAY

I feel that when it comes to planning things, in particular holidays, I'm not afraid to say that I think I'm pretty good.

I only really got into planning in 2013 when we went on a family holiday to Florida, since then I've planned another trip to Florida, smaller European holidays, city breaks and I'm currently in the process of planning a NY trip and yet another Florida holiday. I'm pleased to say that each holiday I've created itineraries for in the past have all ran smoothly and people have commented that I organised everything perfectly.

Of course, all of this takes time and effort, however I love doing it. My worst nightmare is spending a lot of money to go somewhere, then arriving and wandering around aimlessly, not knowing where to go, wasting time and money in poor restaurants and taking longer routes to places (and suffering in the process!) all because no organisation was put into it.

Of course there are certain holidays that I probably wouldn't plan so meticulously for, such as sun/beach holidays. Although I still wouldn't be able to resist planning for restaurants (I do that in my own hometown, never mind somewhere new!).

Over the years, I've built up a process in my head of how I plan holidays, so I thought I'd share them with you!

1. Buy a pocket travel guide of the place you're visiting. My go-to brand are the DK travel guides, the smaller 'top 10' books include a handy laminated pull out map that you can detach from the book and throw in your handbag so you always have a reference guide. I think our NY map is definitely going to get over-used on our upcoming trip! The larger books from the DK range have more in-depth detail about the country you are visiting, however in my opinion, these would suit people that are travelling for a lengthy amount of time, or going on long road trips. For an average 2 week break, the top 10 guides will be just fine. If you don't want to spend money on books, you could find all of this information out on the internet, but collating all the information together then making note of it would be a little hassle, so personally the book and map is worth the £7.99 fee.



2. TripAdvisor is your friend. For everything I plan or book, I turn to this website. I know there can be a lot of negative comments on there, however I've learnt to read through the first few pages of something, then take an average of what people are saying about a particular place. If its 90% positive, then I'm likely to still visit, however if its 90% negative, I'd probably think again. You have to read the negatives because once you sieve through their 'issues', most times you'll realise that it was just bad luck on their part, and the chances of you experiencing similar are slim. Tripadvisor also offer a 'Top 10' of every area, including restaurants, things to do etc. Always check through tripadvisor's traveller photos too. Official websites for hotels and restaurants can often give a very different 'view' on their business. Photos can be overly edited to make everything look almost perfect. However looking at travellers photos gives you a realistic view of what it really looks like!

3. Be realistic with timing. If you've planned 1 day to be very active, out the hotel by 8am, not back till 11pm, chances are, you'll be tired the next day and want a small lie-in to rest, so booking a breakfast reservation for 8am might not be wise! Its so tempting to squash as much as you possibly can into the days in which you are at your destination, however sometimes this can be a bad move, especially if you don't usually lead an active lifestyle at home. A lot of walking can be torture on your feet and will ruin your holiday if you over-do it (I've been there!). Try and allow for a few chill out days whereby you might have a lay in, then take it easy and not venture too far and do anything overly strenuous. If you can't afford to lose a few days, maybe a morning or afternoon, just to allow your body to recoup.

4. Depending on your destination, booking activities/restaurant tables is often essential, especially if its a Disney holiday. First-timers to Disney don't often realise how important it is to plan before. If you expect to turn up on the day and walk straight into a Disney restaurant for table service, you'll be very lucky! I will be booking for certain landmarks for our upcoming trip to NY too. It's not worth the disappointment otherwise.

5. Checking distances. I am forever referring to google maps if I've found somewhere I'd like to eat or visit. I see how close it is in relation to the hotel or other plans that we have on the same day to see if it is a viable option. It also helps to distinguish if its in walking distance or if we'd need to grab a taxi.
If its quite a distance, try and incorporate it with other plans in that area so you're killing 2 birds with 1 stone as opposed to making a few unnecessary trips.

Have you got any upcoming trips that you're planning for? Let me know in the comments below! I love to talk travel!
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Monday, 15 August 2016

Review: July's Degustabox

Another month gone, another Degustabox demolished.


Let's take a closer look...

Drinks (L-R)



Rejuvenation Water - RRP £1.99

I've tried all of their flavours before and honestly? They're not my cup of tea. Because they include natural fruit flavours and amino acids, personally the taste is bland and tickles my taste buds in the wrong way.

ALO Drink - RRP £2.45

This aloe vera juice drink was lovely. I discovered the exact same drink (but a different brand) in Tesco's about a year ago, I got addicted to them for several weeks, then they vanished and I could no longer find them, so this was a lovely surprise. They're not everyone's cup of tea but I love them.

Pineapple, Coconut & Lime Drink, by Cracket - RRP £1.50

For me, these flavours didn't work very well. You could taste each flavour equally as much as the next, and because of this, I found it quite overpowering.

Berrywhite organic drink/Cucumber drink

I wasn't a fan of these drinks either (Sorry DB!). I poured the cucumber drink into a bottle one day and took it to work... bad mistake. 3 weeks later and every time I drink water from it, all I can taste is cucumber. It's tinged the plastic and the smell/taste wont budge. Arghh!

Condiments



Sarson's Balsamic Vinegar - RRP £1.99

This was yet another DB repeat... I think I've got about 3 balsamic's sat in my cupboard now, growing old. Yes its nice to add taste to salads extra, but the repetitiveness of the products get tiring..

Felix Gerkhins - RRP £2.15

Sweet pickled crunchy gerkhins. I take the gerkhins out of my McDonalds burgers.. what more do I need to tell you?

Cereal



Jordans Swiss Style Muesli - RRP £2.79

I remember my dad giving me muesli one morning before an early morning trip to the airport. I wasn't overly keen then, however years later, my taste buds seem to have grown an even bigger barrier against the stuff. Definitely not for me.

Snacks (L-R)



Brookside Chocolates - £3.40

I was apprehensive about these when I saw it said 'dark chocolate' on the packaging, however these became surprisingly moreish the more I ate, to the point where I was disappointed when I had hit the bottom of the packet! There appeared to be 2 different berry flavours going on, they were different but so good! I'm not sure I'd pay the full RRP price though!

Seabrooks Lattice Crisps - RRP £1.99

Yum! These were gooood!

Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles Infusions - RRP £1.29

Who doesn't love a good fruit pastille? Even better now they've released 3 new flavours, and this packet was full of them. Definitely too good to put down!

Bahlsen Choco Leibniz - 40p each (I was sent 4 but I ate 2 before the photo was taken!)

This is the perfect combination of chocolate and biscuit. They're great to shove in your bag and take to work. Great little sweet fix to see you through the day.

Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins - RRP £1 (x 2)

I've tried crispy seaweed from the Chinese before, but never tried it like this. I can honestly say I wont be trying to again. The taste from the sea (salt & fish) was overwhelming and definitely not up my street.

All in all, a very mixed bag. I loved most of the snacks, but give me sweet things and you really can't go wrong. A lot of the drinks I wasn't keen on, but again, this is down to personal preference (although I will say I wouldn't class myself as a fussy eater in the slightest).

Degustabox is a great little monthly treat if you're a foodie like me. It sends approx. 12 items that has a retail value of over £20 but with my code (BLDEG15), on your first box you can get a massive £7 discount, meaning the total of your first box will be just £6! (inc P&P!)
 

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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

July Round-Up - New Arrivals, Donut Burgers and Family Days

A little late doing July's update but I didn't want to break my cycle!

July saw seen some absolutely glorious weather, which I tried to make use of on my days off. When we have hot sunny days I long to be a kid again, knowing I have a full 6 weeks worth of freedom ahead of me. Unfortunately though we have to move with the times...

Although its been perfect weather, I unfortunately haven't had the opportunity to venture very far. Our holiday payment deadline is looming so we're having to be careful with the pennies as it draws closer. Instead we've been appreciating things in our home town a little more, and creating 'free' afternoon outs by packing up a picnic and venturing to the nearby woods for a few hours (which we've already been to a handful of times this summer!)

There's been a lot that's been happening at work, and we've waved a few of my colleagues off  as funding cuts struck. Its been sad times as we're down to only a bare minimum now. With this happening I have joined in with the leaving celebrations over meals and drinks for one last farewell.




Mike's family had a gathering to celebrate his uncle's birthday. There was a lot of his family that I'd never met before (I don't often come into contact with his dad's side of the family). After that, Mike and I went and grabbed some tea.. I had a burger were the bun was a Krispy Crème Donut (I know, I know, but trust me, it worked!).

I've also had the pleasure of becoming an auntie for the second time and welcoming a new niece into the world. We've also took my other niece on a lovely afternoon out as she broke up for the summer holidays. I'm hoping to do more things with her in August and have already got a few things in the pipeline. It's also Mike's birthday, and although we're watching the pennies, there are a few places I have up my sleeve, nothing too grand though with the holiday coming up. Its summer after all, and it doesn't take a lot for me to get jealous over all these swimming pool and beach shots!

Hope you're all having a great summer!
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