Personal and Lifestyle Blog

Guess who’s back?!

I’m writing this 213 days after my last post – that’s just over 7 months (and some pretty fast math(s) if I do say so myself). The last 7 months have been absolutely hectic and have FLOWN by. So what exactly have I been up to you ask. Well…

1. New Job

The new job has taken over my life – not least the extra 10 hours per week spent commuting but since I’ve started, there have been all sorts of thoughts about my future flying about and it feels amazing. Never did I think I’d ever be one of those people who loved their job. One recent highlight was working on the Birmingham New Street station redevelopment. We got to do this…

 
All is going well – I adore my new colleagues (most of whom are graduates and make me feel REALLY old) and there’s the potential for a long term assignment to San Fran. 

2. Married Life

At the end of July, James and I got married! The final 2 months before the wedding were pretty hectic and it seems like it’s been the same since then. We celebrated our three month anniversary last week which was lovely and just a little reminder (if one was ever needed) as to how time flies when you’re having fun. I can’t believe it’ll be 8 years in January since we met! 

  
And that’s it. Obviously two huge life changes have stopped me from posting as much as I’d like to but I’m going to try my very best to draft posts on my commute. 

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In Bruges

I promised myself I would write this before I forgot about all the great places we had been to and what better time to do it that this long Easter weekend? I’ve managed to get loads done in this time including meeting up with friends and eating all the food.  

So, Bruges… It’s somewhere that first popped up on my radar before Christmas. Once I had seen a photo of the city, I was intrigued. It looked like a mix between Amerstam and Venice but the terracotta roofs made it look almost Italian/Croatian and then there were the cobbles. Wow! We booked ourselves a trip for James’ birthday. We decided to go on the Eurostar having been to Paris two years before and remembering how convenient the whole thing was. 

Here are some of the places/things I would recommend:
1. Beer & Ribs 

If you like beer and ribs (and who doesn’t?), this place is great! Be sure to book through their website beforehand though as it gets mega busy. It’s a pretty causal affair. Most people go for the unlimited ribs – that’s right, UNLIMITED which come as a whole rack of ribs (cooked in a style and with a sauce of your choice), chips/wedges and salad. Then comes the best bit. Once you have devoured the rack of ribs on your plate, you can have more. Many more! The replacements are only half racks but it means you can try out all the different flavours they have. All washed down with some local, Belgian beer.  Check out the bucket of bones from the five racks of ribs we devoured… 

2. The Belfort

Located in the main market square in Bruges, the Belfort is probably the city’s most iconic structure. It is a 12th century bell tower which is 83m high. Entry was €8 and in order to climb the 336 steps, I would recommend eating a pretty hearty breakfast/lunch!  

 
3. De Halve Maan 

The Half Moon Brewery is situation within the city centre and I believe it’s the only brewery left within the city centre. €8 buys you a ticket to a brewery tour (conducted on the hour and in French, English and Dutch) AND a glass of the unfiltered Bruges Zot Blonde beer which is really tasty and also available in the aforementioned beer and rib joint! The brewery are planning to construct a PIPELINE between the brewery itself and the bottling plant located 3km away to reduce the air pollution created in transportation. Pretty cool! Plus they do some beer-flavoured pate in their gift shop which went down a treat with work colleagues.   

4. ‘t Gulden Vlies

I came across this restaurant when looking for places to eat in Bruges. Bruges is pretty touristy and, as I’m such a food lover, I didn’t want to have to experience a bad meal (which is inevitable in touristy places). I would recommend you book ahead at this restaurant as there aren’t many tables and it’s pretty popular. It’s easy to do through their website. If you’re after some traditional Flemsih food, this is the place! It’s a lovely little restaurant with great service and is reasonably priced. We both opted for the set menu which came in at around €20 and was delightful. I would definitely recommend the Belgian chocolate mousse and the Flemish beef stew. 
5. Trip to Damme

Damme is about 5km from Bruges along one of the canals out to the northeast and is a lovely little town. You could either walk, cycle or get the bus, we opted for the former which made for a lovely long walk to burn off some of the waffles we had been devouring during the trip. In Damme, there is an old windmill next to the water which is free to visit and some quaint little shops and restaurants.   

All in all, would I go back to Bruges? Most definitely! But maybe before Christmas to experience all the markets. The weather was awful when we were there which is a real shame as all the sights are outside! 

Have you been to Bruges? More importantly, have you seen the film ‘In Bruges’? It is WEIRD! 

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I Got The Job!!!

So, finally, all those years of education and working have finally paid off – I have been offered a job at my dreeeeeeam company! It’s all so very exciting and scary all at the same time. I’m excited because, hello, dream job (!!!) but also scared about leaving my current place of work. I handed my notice in yesterday and it didn’t go down well. I have to have a meeting next Monday which I am really dreading as it will most likely be used to drag me back in. Too little too late, I say. My mind is made up and I don’t want to dwell on this job or the past, I just want to draw a line under it and look forward to the future. They just don’t seem to want to let it go! 

At the same time I’m so freaking happy I keep letting out little squeals of excitement every now and again. Not. Good. In. Public. It has always been my dream to work there. So much so, that it is my measure of success. Everyone has a measure of success. It’s the one thing they want that will prove (mostly to themselves) that they have done well. My dad’s was that he wanted to own a Mercedes Benz before the age of 35. Mine was and always has been to work at this company. And, even better, they came to me!! I’m pretty sure my head could not get any bigger. Eeek! 

Getting this job is a huge thing for me. It’s a massive change in terms of work/life balance as I will have a two hour commute into and from London daily, I will have to sell my car (😩) and make changes to loads of things which I have managed to get into a good, solid routine. I do love a good routine and so for the first month, I imagine everything will be up in the air. 

I’m actually looking forward to the commute. Before Christmas, I was commuting in two days a week to attend site and I really enjoyed it. I can get a seat from my local station so I just need to make the most of the time rather than just sitting there staring at my phone or, worse still, sleeping! I will find some new books to read and maybe I can watch things on the iPad. 

Another thing I am really looking forward to is new work clothes. As I will be commuting and working with lots of young professionals rather than middle-aged men, I feel I need to make more of an effort with what I wear. Plus I have friends who work in Central London so there will be many an afterwork meet! I have  even had thoughts on to how I do my hair. I have been looking into quick, effortless, tube-friendly hair styles. It’s so sad but so true. I have become THAT person! 

Bring on the overnight oats and doing my make-up on the train! 

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The Good Life: February 

Every time I read this title, I think of that Kanye West song (which I guess isn’t too bad). What’s been good recently, I hear you ask? Well…

1. Wedding Invites: James and I have spent most of February printing, cutting, tying and assembling and, although it has taken a few pushes, 80% of the wedding invites are OUT! I feel it may be a tad early but with our wedding being on a Saturday in school holiday season, I thought we should give people plenty of notice. Plus, look how cute:



2. Feeling Better: The whole of Februay was a write off for me, although I didn’t realise this towards the end of the month which is always the way. I had started the month thinking I had a sore throat and cold which disappeared after a few days and then came back. TWICE! It had been a horrible cycle of throat pain, sneezing, coughing and tiredness so I bit the bullet and went to the doctor. I was prescribed antibiotics (for the first time in my life) for a chest infection. I can’t believe how much better I feel. This past weekend has been the first in a long time where I have felt ‘well’ and it has been brilliant!

3. Fabric Softener: You are officially a grown up when you have a favourite/preferred fabric softener. I purchased the Comfort Creations Waterlily and Lime the other day and I haven’t stopped smelling myself since. It’s so fresh and so very spring!

4. Box Swapping: My uni friends and I decided to put together a box swap because what’s more fun than swapping boxes with strangers? Swapping boxes with people you know, that’s what! We used Elfster to set the whole thing up. You go online, put in your details and budget and Elfster will select one person at random for you and provide you with their details so you can post your box of loveliness. I had so much fun coming up with ideas and putting my box together. It is so much easier to do when you know the other person really well. I had even more fun opening mine too. Obvs! Look at all the fun stuff: 



5. Job Interviews: Job interviews are never fun but I have had two this last month (a first and a second for the same company) and, even with all the illness, I’ve actually enjoyed the process. The best part was chatting to the interviewers about what they most enjoyed about their jobs. It was so refreshing to speak to people who enjoyed and were fully engaged with what they do. I want to be like that! I should hear back any day now so fingers crossed. It’s not like it’s my dream job at my dream company!? And at the ripe old age of 28! No. Big. Deal. At. All.

6. Double Carbs: Whilst I have been ill, it has been all about the carbs and at one point, the double carbs. This Jamie Oliver Mac and Cheese is a firm Patel-Prior favourite and comes back in times of need. I made this after my second interview last week (mostly to try and take my mind off it). Cooking can be therapeutic, who knew?! Anyway, I also made a garlic and parsley flatbread to go with it. And then I sat and watched TV and drank the wine that James bought me (New Zealand Sauv, my favourite) all in a double carb coma:



7. The Spicery Subscription: If you know me, you know I love food and travel. This subscription combines both loves with a dash of spice. Once a month we are sent a Friday Night Curry spice pack with all the stuff you will need to create a meal for 4. It is brilliant for when you have no food-spiration (which happens a lot) and the spices are of a better quality than anything I have ever found in the supermarket. All you need to do is shop for the fresh ingredients. Most recently, I made a Cambodian feast which was just lovely. It is a great way to sample foods of the world without having to shell out for all the specialist ingredients. The spice packs even tell you what they contain so you could make the meals again on you own:



8. Pen Pals: I don’t care if this sounds ‘so Year 8 French’ but I have recently acquired some new pen pals (through the help of snail mail ideas). I love recieving and sending post and all this box swapping (Oh Comely Perfect Strangers and Curiosity Project) has made me want to pursue people with similar interests. I feel like a bit of a pen pal whore as I responded to everyone who contacted me but I’m sure, over time, some will lose interest and I will be left with one or two good friends! The girls sound really interesting and it would be lovely to meet them in person one day! 

What fun and exciting things have made your Februay fabulous?

Do you have a pen pal? 

Are you a Spicery subscriber?

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The Coach, Marlow: Review

I absolutely love Tom Kerridge. He’s up there with Jamie Oliver (in my view) as far as chefs are concerned. Both have worked hard in making cooking accessible. I love how, Tom especially, makes ‘normal’ everyday dishes taste and look amazing.

Imagine my excitement when, late last year, I heard that Tom Kerridge was opening a pub in Marlow which had a NO BOOKING policy! There was a chance I could get in there and do some serious scoffing before we reached our booking at The Hand and Flowers. A year in advance for Sunday lunch, people. A YEAR?!?!

The pub is right in the centre of town and has been renovated to a very high standard since its previous incarnation as a Chinese restaurant. James and I decided we would go and see what all they hype was about. Marlow is only a 10 minute drive from us so we decided to pop up there after work on a Monday night for our best chance at getting a table (because no one goes out for tea on a Monday night). Or so we thought.

We arrived at approximately 6.30pm and all the tables (bar one) had been taken. Sigh. The restaurant as a whole only seats around 40 people but the tables take the form of booth seating where you could squeeze in 3-4 people. As you can expect, no one really goes out in groups of three or four so all booths were filled with twos. Not a problem we thought as we spotted and gestured to the empty table. ‘No can do sorry’ was the response. We are keeping that as a four. I’m not sure that’s totally the ‘no booking’ policy The Coach were going for but there were seats up at the bar so that’s where we sat. It was nice being up at the bar – you can watch the serving staff making up drinks and chatting to fellow diners and you can peek into the kitchen too.

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The menu is quite a casual affair – no set courses as such but split into ‘meat’ and ‘no meat’. Due to the pub nature of the establishment, James had decided on the chicken Kiev and I went for the Coach burger. We both opted for the Coach chips which were served with a pot of béarnaise sauce. It was only after we ordered, we overheard one of the waitresses mention to a couple nearby that the menu is quite ‘tapas-y’ and looking back at the menu afterwards, I could see why. There are loads of small portions of things you can try, the Kiev and burger being two of them. I think if I returned, I would probably sit and feast on dish after dish rather than order two things to create a meal. I guess that’s the beauty of the place. We didn’t have to wait long for our food.

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Hands down by far the best burger I have ever had. It was quite a large slab of good quality meat topped with some smoked cheese. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to photograph James’s plate before he wolfed it down!

We decided to share a dessert and went for the hot chocolate tart with hazelnut ice cream which was gooey, oozy and chocolatey! Mmm…

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All in all, a great experience. The food was simple but so well done!

If you want to know more about the establishment, visit their website

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Money Talks

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I’m pretty good with money – even if I do say so myself.

I’m at the age where a lot of my friends are turning down offers of nights out or holidays/weekends away as they are ‘saving’. I have always been a saver, ever since I was forced by my parents to get a job at 14. I worked in a cafe as a Saturday girl earning a measly £2.70 an hour. Even though it didn’t pay a lot, it did loads for my confidence (I was a quiet child/teen) and taught me the value of money. Plus, as the cafe was closed on a Sunday, we pretty much had free reign on the baked goods which wouldn’t make it till Monday. Mmm… baked goods!

Over the past three years, James and I feel like all we have done is save. First for the deposit on our house and now for our wedding. Even though I’m excited about the big day and can’t wait to become Mrs Prior, I’m even more excited at the prospect of the wedding being over (shock horror, I know) and all our spare cash being ploughed into holidays. LOTS of holidays! I love travelling and that’s the one thing I have missed whilst doing all the saving.

January is a good time to make a conscious effort to change old habits and start saving. Remember: new year, new you (or something equally as corny!!)

Here are some tips I have found are helpful when squirrelling money away for something big, whether it be a house or a holiday:

• Each month when I get paid, I roughly know where most of my salary will go and so I split my money and transfer it into various accounts: mortgage and bills, wedding savings, personal savings and other. The other is for all the fun stuff and stays in my main account. I find that once the rest is out of sight, it’s out of mind and I only spend what I have in my main account.

• If you want to go one step further to stop you dipping into your savings, you could withdraw the money from your main account so you only have cash to spend. Psychologically, you think more about what you are spending if you’re handing over cold, hard cash rather than the plastic. Then you could give someone else your card to stop yourself withdrawing more.

• Make your own lunch. It’s so much cheaper and healthier than buying a supermarket sandwich every day. They always look so limp and nasty! Each week, I make a soup for my lunch and take that with me every day. You don’t need to spend hours slaving over a hot stove. There are loads of soup recipes which can be whipped up in less than half an hour and, if you have a slow cooker, there are plenty of good soup recipes which can be cooking through the day or overnight. In 2015, there are 253 working days. If you spend £3.50 a day on lunch, that’s nearly £900 saved!

• Same goes for coffee. If you find yourself picking up a coffee on your way into work each morning, why not make yourself one. And then transport it to work in a lovely hot drink flask. Cutting the £2 a day spent on coffee saves over £500 a year. Add that to your lunch savings and that’s almost £1500!

• When going food shopping, MAKE A LIST! I cannot stress this enough. Every week, I will sit and make a list of meals we fancy for the following week. I will write down all the ingredients we will need, list out any lunch items and household buys like cleaning products and then go to the supermarket and only but the items on the list. It’s a much better way of shopping than popping into the shops before you head home in the evening (hungry). It’s cheaper and saves time.

Do you have any money saving tips or ideas?

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Pizza Dreams Cafe, Cookham: Review

I have wanted to go to Pizza Dreams Cafe for ages after I came across it on Twitter. On Tuesday, we finally had an excuse. It is official, I am on the first rung towards becoming a Chartered Engineer and James thought this was a reason for a celebration. He even said it was his treat so, before he changed his mind, I suggested Pizza Dreams Cafe and it was a date!

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We arrived having not booked a table but were welcomed in and shown to an empty table. The cafe was pretty busy for a Tuesday night on the run up to Christmas and there were also quite a few people waiting for their pizzas to take away. The decor inside the cafe was lovely, lots of Farrow & Ball paint, a huge pizza oven in the centre of the room and some quirky lighting.

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We had got lucky: Tuesday has been declared by Pizza Dreams Cafe as ‘Treat Yourself Tuesday’ which meant that it was two courses for £10 and treat ourselves we did.

The waitress suggested we could share and starter and dessert. We ordered one of the specials to start. It was a baked Chellington cheese served with beetroot chutney and bread. This cheese has officially changed my life. It is like a Camembert but is made with goats milk which you can totally taste and is quite a bit stronger. I have managed to find a stockist nearby and will definitely be getting some in. It was so gooey and oozy and lovely moped up with bread. James needed a second order of bread, obviously!

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For mains, we both ordered a pizza. James went for the Vesuvius which was basically a feast of meat with hot chilli sauce and topped with sweet chillies. He even poured on extra chilli oil which may have been a step too far and I’m pretty sure he paid for it later on…. I went for the frutta de mar which was delicious. It was loaded with prawns, mussels, squid, smoked salmon and tuna. The pizzas were really nice, thin and crispy and even though James managed to wolf his down (he is a big eater), I struggled with mine and had to take half home with me!

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After all that, we were both far too full for dessert so had to skip on that but we were assured that all desserts were homemade and the Christmas pudding cheesecake sounded lovely. I think if I hadn’t been so greedy, I probably would have gone for the tiramisu. I LOVE tiramisu!

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If you are in the area and fancy pizza, I would definitely recommend this place. There is a convenient car park opposite which is free after 7pm and makes the perfect after work meeting place. The food is great, the service was amazing and it’s so much nicer than those chain pizza restaurants which I have grown to hate.

For more information on Pizza Dreams Cafe, click here for their website! They can also bring their wood-fired pizzas to your event.

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Christmas Craft

This year, I have made the most of my sewing machine by doing all the Christmas craft. I only really have experience of sewing in a straight line but trust me, that’s all you need! And a little creativity, of course!

I had always wanted an advent calendar made up of individual bags and after a quick perv on Pinterest, began scouting out some fabrics. Our lounge (when it is eventually finished and decorated) will have a pale blue and grey theme so I thought I would go down that route. I managed to find some lovely fabrics in grey and dark blue with snowflakes on them and the most adorable natural coloured fabric with a reindeer print. I teamed those with some off white and hessian (obvs) and we were good to go.
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As I had never made tiny, drawstring bags before, I had no clue where to start. I did a search on Google and found this helpful blog by The Little White Cottage that tells you everything you need to know. It is, without a doubt, idiot proof. Sometimes with this sort of stuff you (read: I) NEED a step by step guide and this is definitely one of those. I’m not going to lie, cutting out and making 25 bags took an absolute age but it was definitely worth it!

I bought some iron-on glittery numbers from eBay and used some blue and white baker’s twine (so very Pinterest) for the drawstrings.

Note: hessian doesn’t ‘drawstring’ very well and is a bit of a bitch to sew but it looks so goooooood!

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The bags were filled with flavoured chocolates, sweets, chocolate coins, hot chocolate and marshmallows and small yankee candles.

With the leftover materials, I made James and I a stocking each. This Christmas, we are doing stockings for each other as our ‘main’ presents and have a £15 budget. I swear, it has been harder spending £15 on him than it would have been spending £150. I reckon I have cracked it though. I used this tutorial from Sew Like My Mom to make the stocking. This one was tricky as, because I had decided to use the reindeer fabric as the cuff (foldy over bit – definitely the technical term) of the stocking, I had to make sure the reindeer were the right way up! This was definitely a clenched fist to head moment. I persevered and the reindeer were all the right way up and accounted for – and after the first attempt too! Hurray! The stocking was made from hessian with the off white fabric as the lining and a bit of ribbon for the loop.

I’ve never been much of a sewing whizz so to end up with anything that closely resembles a stocking is an achievement for me. And for it to LINED? Well, mummy will be proud when she sees this. I’ve definitely come a long way since the days of gluing on buttons!

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What do you think? Have you tried any Christmas crafts this year?

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An Alternative Gift Guide

Christmas presents piled underneath a christmas tree.

Whilst scrolling through my Bloglovin feed recently, I have noticed a LOT of gift guides. There are thrifty gifts, gifts for pug lovers, gifts for under £60 to link but a few. Every shop has its own version of this season’s ‘must buys’ and most newspapers and magazines will have a section on gifts for men/women. My least favourite has to be the secret Santa gift guides – they really do manage to dominate every corner of the market, don’t they?!

It seems that, for some people, Christmas has come to be about all out gift-giving and, more importantly, receiving. Take Black Friday, for example. Seeing the footage of people tearing flatscreen TVs off the shelves and attacking each other for the last ‘bargain’ made me feel embarrassed to be human! I stayed away from the shops last weekend for that very reason. I imagine it was pure mayhem. I’m not assertive in the best of situations and I most definitely didn’t want to be the meat in a bargain-bargain hunter sandwich!

What are we going to do with all these gifts? I’m pretty sure most people I know will be taking pictures of them and posting them all over social media. I’m not sure if that says more about today’s materialistic, consumerist society or the people I call acquaintances. To be honest, I think it’s a bit of both. These things, these items won’t make you happier, they won’t make you a better person, no one will like you any more or any less than they currently do and you can’t take them with you when you’re cold, dead and buried. I don’t mean to sound morbid here, but it’s true!

I recently read about the 100 things challenge. If you are not aware of it, it’s about creating better relationships of all kinds through the formative power of simplicity. A lot of people around the world feel like they are ‘stuck in stuff’. The 100 things challenge is basically whittling down your personal possessions to just 100 items and getting rid of everything else. Dave Bruno, who felt like he was a slave to his possessions, did just that for a whole year and wrote all about it in his book. In doing so, he says he regained his life and his soul.

Things don’t make you who you are and they definitely shouldn’t define you. James and I aren’t materialistic in the slightest. Most Christmases we have taken a trip and that has been our gift to each other. I would much rather have an experience than a gift. We talk about our pre-Christmas trip to Paris or Prague every year. The black handbag James got me from Topshop one year, not so much. This year we are setting a small budget (£15) and we are doing each other a stocking.

It’s not just all the gift giving but the financial pressure that comes with it. I have been reading the series of blog posts by athriftymrs on how Christmas has affected different families. I can’t imagine being the parent who has to choose between paying a bill and getting your child the tablet they have been longing after all year.

So, I bring to you, the alternative gift guide. Here are some ways for you to part with your hard-earned cash, give someone an amazing gift and feel that warm, fuzzy feeling inside and all at the same time:

•£10 will buy you winter clothes for a child from Save The Children.
•£5 will buy a young person a Christmas dinner from Centrepoint
•£25 will buy a family a goat from Oxfam
•£11 will buy you an emergency water kit for a family from UNICEF

With all these gifts, you get a card which you can give to your recipient so they can learn more about where the money has gone.

My personal favourite has to be the Centrepoint Christmas Dinner. Amongst all the gift-buying mayhem, often, people take for granted that they have somewhere to go on Christmas Day and a nice, warm meal to eat.

Oh and remember, if you want to give through charity Christmas cards, please buy these directly from the charities themselves and not from supermarkets.

Will you be giving to charity over the festive season?

Have you attempted the 100 things challenge?

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Hello Fresh: A Review

I had come across Hello Fresh a few months ago by way of the vouchers you get if you order anything from Amazon. If I’m honest, it really didn’t grab my attention. I only started taking note when friends of mine has received boxes and were telling me all about it. One friend said that her and her other half get them once a month as a ‘treat’. I asked her if she had been cooking things she wouldn’t normally cook and she said she had. This definitely got my attention. James and I are quite organised when it comes to meal planning and food shopping. Once a week, I make a list of meals for the week and then write our shopping list based on these meals. The hardest part for me is coming up with new things to have and this was the main draw of Hello Fresh.

So, armed with my £25 off voucher, I placed the order. The whole process was quite simple. You can select how many meals you would like for the week and for how many people. I went for 3 meals for two people. This usually comes to £39 (with delivery) but with the voucher was reduced to £14.

Ordering and Delivery
As I said, the ordering process was pretty easy. Once you order, you get a list of meals you will receive ingredients for and there are options to swap. I had selected delivery for between 9am to 5pm and got the box delivered to the office. On the day of delivery, the box arrived at approximately 3.30pm – well within the time frame. One thing to bear in mind is that once you order, you are automatically opted in to the same ‘pattern’ for the next 8 weeks. If you do only want them as a treat every now and again, be sure to click off for the weeks you don’t want a delivery. I know this has caught quite a few people out. When the box arrived, everything was well packaged and there was even an ice pack included with the meat and fish to keep everything nice and cold.

Ingredients
Most of the ingredients were well-packaged and fresh. I did have a problem with some spring onions, see below. They were most definitely not fresh!
IMG_4667-0.JPG The quality of the meat and fish was brilliant, so much better than you would get from the supermarket. The fish was nice and fresh and the chicken didn’t shrink to a quarter of its size on cooking so spring onions aside, thumbs up!

Meals and Preparation
The three meals we received were ‘Stir Fried Chinese Chilli Beef’, ‘Moroccan Spiced Salmon with Lemon and Caramelised Onion Couscous’ and Butterflied Chicken with Feta, Leek and Minted Potatoes’. The meals were really easy to prepare. Each meal is accompanied with a recipe card which is very easy to use and follow. It also includes pictures of each step so you can be assured you are doing it right! This is probably personal preference but , generally, I didn’t think there was enough in the way of veg in any of our meals. It was all very much meat/fish and carbs. I often make my version of the Moroccan salmon and I serve it with a side of green beans.
IMG_4668.JPGIMG_4671.JPGWhilst cooking these meals, I was struggling to find the niche in the market that Hello Fresh would fill. James agreed and said that if we weren’t together and he lived on his own that this would be a good way for him to eat ‘properly’. If you want to eat well and don’t have time to plan meals or go shopping then I suppose this would appeal. If you’re like me and really into your food and have the time to plan meals and do a weekly food shop, then I’m afraid it’s nothing new. Although the Moroccan salmon is a regular on our menu, I did like the idea of the butterflied chicken. It was so quick and easy to do so I think this may make an appearance in the future.

Was it worth it? With the discount, I would say so. I’m not sure I would pay £39 for 3 meals. Even without stepping into a supermarket, I could get the bulk of the ingredients for less than that. Plus the smaller things (cornflour, soy sauce, Ras El Hanout) I already have in the cupboard,
Would I order again? Probably not and looks like I won’t get the chance to now (once I complained to Hello Fresh about the freshness of the spring onions, they refunded my the cost of one meal and cancelled my account… Not sure why)

All in all, an interesting experience but nothing life changing!

Have you tried Hello Fresh or any of the other companies which offer a similar service? What was your opinion on the quality of food and variety of meals?

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