Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Getting Ready for Starting School with Petit Fernand *REVIEW & GIVEAWAY*

As the summer term begins, and we start counting down the weeks until the summer holidays, parents everywhere will be thinking about purchasing next year's school uniform, shoes, pencil cases and other school essentials. I cannot BELIEVE my baby boy is starting full time school in September (reception class) and so he needs the whole nine yards when it comes to school uniform this year. 

Not only did purchasing the school uniform almost bankrupt me, but it also meant I had to face the dreaded task of labelling everything once again!

I absolutely loathe those boring, thankless tasks and last year I spent what felt like hours sewing on individual name labels to Bert's pre-school uniform. And when the first one started fraying after just a couple of washes I vowed I'd never do it again! *sigh*

As a busy mum of two, who is also trying to run her own business from home, I'm a HUGE fan of anything that can help to simplify my life & reduce my already heavy workload. I have much better things to do with my time (playing with the kids, working, housework, washing...!) and I'd rather not spend ages labelling Bert's uniform for September. 

So, this year I was on the lookout for an alternative to having to hand sew each name label in, and I came across the amazing Petit Fernand who sell personalised stick on clothing labels! The adhesive label takes about 2 seconds to stick on the washing instructions or brand tag and best of all it is washing machine and tumble dryer resistant! Meaning that you can wash and dry your child's uniform to your hearts content and it will still stay labelled. FAB-U-LOUS. 

I was sent 50 stick-on clothing labels (RRP £12.00) and 20 stick-on shoe labels (RRP £12.00) which should definitely keep us going for the next school year, and honestly, it's only taken me five minutes to label 15+ items - amazing! What a time saver. What a game changer. 
Petit Fernand stick on clothing labels review from Mrs Bishop

The labels are super customisable with over 30 different background colours/designs to choose from, 11 font choices, and over 100 image/logo choices to ensure your stickers are perfectly suited to your little one's tastes. Bert's favourite colour is yellow and he's still dinosaurs mad, so it made sense for me to go with those options. 
Petit Fernand stick on clothing labels review from Mrs Bishop
They come in a little booklet/envelope and the only instructions is to peel off and stick on to the garment care label then wait 24 hours before you wear or wash the clothes, simple! 

Petit Fernand stick on clothing labels review from Mrs Bishop

I'm happy to report that I've tested some of the labels on Bert's current school uniform and after 6+ washes and tumble drys the labels are showing no signs of budging so I'm confident they'll do the trick nicely. 
Petit Fernand stick on clothing labels review from Mrs Bishop
I'm absolutely thrilled with the discovery of Petit Fernand and all their genius products - they even sell sticky school name tags perfect for water bottles, pencil cases, school books etc, personalised jam jar stickers or baby food labels and even personalised lunch boxes and water bottles - they've got all your back to school needs covered.

For more info head to the Petit Fernand homepage

WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN


Petit Fernand stick on clothing labels giveaway from Mrs Bishop

If you'd like to win £20 credit to spend at Petit Fernand then enter my giveaway below. 

GOOD LUCK!

Giveaway is for UK entrants only and ends at 11:59pm on 23rd July 2017. 

Petit Fernand Giveaway


SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

I was sent the stick-on clothing and shoe labels from Petit Fernand in exchange for this honest review. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Park Pub & Kitchen in Bedford is a 'Little Gem' *REVIEW*

The Park Pub & Kitchen Bedford logo
On Friday night Liam and I were treated to a rare date night: dinner in a beautiful local pub and restaurant just a stones throw from our home and the wonderful Bedford Park (which is my happy place!) The Park Pub & Kitchen is owned by the Little Gem group and is based on Kimbolton Road in Bedford. 

Bedfordshire Food and Drink Awards 2017 logo

This 'Little Gem' (literally) just won Bedfordshire Food and Drink Awards 'Pub of the Year 2017' category - so you can imagine how thrilled we were to be invited to dine there. 

I've been going to The Park since I moved to Bedford when I was just 18 years old - it has always been a really lovely pub & restaurant with an emphasis on great food in a relaxed, country pub atmosphere. The beautiful exterior has caught my eye since those first experiences 12 years go - I especially love it in summer with its brimming hanging baskets, and wonderful courtyard garden. 

The Park Pub & Kitchen in Bedford
The Park Pub & Kitchen in Bedford

The interior is full of beamed ceilings, large flagstone floors, fireplaces and a colour scheme that Farrow and Ball would be proud of. Everything about the interior appeals to me - much like my own home it is very shabby chic/country kitchen in style, with loads of interesting bits and pieces dotted around to look at, beautiful mismatched chunky furniture, awesome statement/feature wallpaper and fresh flowers in abundance. 

Mr and Mrs Bishop enjoy the Park Pub & Kitchen, Bedford
There is also a wonderful relaxed conservatory and garden room which are the perfect dining spots in summer, as well as cosy armchairs and little nooks by the fireplaces to warm yourself during winter. The Park also boasts private hire areas for functions suitable for anything from 30-120 people - genuinely catering for all your needs. 

Amazingly, The Park serves Breakfast (Thur-Sun), Lunch and Dinner as well as having a special Sunday Menu too! You couldn't ask for much more. Check out their menu page for more details.

I've visited the pub many times over the years - for drinks and study sessions when I was at university, for lunches and dinners with girlfriends in my twenties, and more recently lovely brunches and lunches with Liam. The only sitting I hadn't tried was dinner, so it was time to rectify that! 

Liam has eaten there with his work colleagues on a number of occasions over the past few years for Christmas celebrations and summer team building and he's always been so impressed with the food, service and atmosphere - so we were thrilled to be able to go together on Friday to check out their summer evening menu and enjoy some much needed "us time" away from Mummy and Daddy duties. 

We arrived 10 minutes late to our 8pm booking (how are we STILL late even without the kids? Ha!) but it didn't phase the staff members at all, they showed us instantly to our lovely booth table which was waiting for us. Within a few minutes we had been given menus, ice cold water (it was a very hot evening) and our very polite and happy waitress had taken our food order. 

One of my favourite things about eating out with Liam is studying the menu together - we are both big foodies - and so we get really excited to see what options are available to us. We then carefully select courses that interest or excite us. On the whole we try not to order the same courses as each other, as we like the variety of being able to taste as many courses on the menu as possible - we're good at sharing so we always let each other try each other's dishes. 

The menu was fabulous - it's not often I'm stuck choosing between dishes on each course - usually there's one standout dish I think I'd like to try and then one comfort-food dish that is a safe option, and I have to choose between the two - but it was a struggle with this lovely menu to know what to pick, there was honestly 3-4 dishes for each course that I could have happily chosen. There was a clear emphasis on fresh, local produce (which always reassures me that it is going to be a good eat) and I always enjoy a menu more when it is seasonal. There's just something about knowing that you'll be eating fresh, of the season, local produce - it's the best!

After much deliberation I opted for:

STARTER: Cod cheek scampi with potato crisps, pea veloute & tartare salsa. 

MAIN COURSE: Slow-braised lamb shoulder with minted spinach, butternut squash & rosemary jus. 

DESSERT: Warm almond, pistachio & lemon loaf with white chocolate ice-cream. 
 
and Liam chose...

STARTER: Chilli & maple glazed pork belly, celeriac croquette & fennel salad

MAIN COURSE: Pan-roasted chicken supreme, sweetcorn, chilli & pea risotto with Mrs Middleton’s cold-pressed lemon oil.

DESSERT: Sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce & vanilla ice cream.

We also ordered a side dish to share with our main course of smoked bacon, cabbage, leeks & peas. 

To finish we both enjoyed an Americano coffee, with a little cheeky square of brownie on the side - delicious! 

I'll share with you the pictures I took of each course and then talk you through what we thought.

Saying that, the pictures really do most of the talking...

Cod cheek scampi with potato crisps, pea veloute & tartare salsa
My starter: cod cheek scampi with potato crisps, pea veloute & tartare salsa. 
Firstly, the stunning plate and presentation was what caught my eye on this starter - what an absolutely beautifully presented dish it was! The taste didn't disappoint either - think posh fish and chips; with a tangy tartare salsa, sweet pea veloute and texture added from the crunchy potato crisps and cod cheek scampi. The cod was moist and sweet, and the whole thing was light and fresh - the perfect way to start a meal. 

Cod cheek scampi with potato crisps, pea veloute & tartare salsa
My starter: cod cheek scampi with potato crisps, pea veloute & tartare salsa. 

My main course was to die for...the lamb melted and fell apart as you cut into it, it was honestly like butter. I loved the richness of the rosemary jus - it had strong echoes of the Sunday lunches I enjoyed growing up. I thought pairing the lamb with minted spinach and butternut squash was brilliant - adding much needed freshness to the rich meat.

Slow-braised lamb shoulder with minted spinach, butternut squash & rosemary jus.
My main course: Slow-braised lamb shoulder with minted spinach, butternut squash & rosemary jus. 

The shared side dish was the perfect amount for two - this whole bowl just screamed Christmas to me - there's something about green veggies cooked like this with delicious smoked bacon that is so festive to me. It was the ideal accompaniment to our meat dishes. 

smoked bacon, cabbage, leeks & peas
Side dish of smoked bacon, cabbage, leeks & peas

My dessert was the absolute high-point for me and that's saying something considering how much I enjoyed my starter and main course. Our lovely waitress recommended this dessert to me, saying it was her favourite and was really special and boy was she right, I'm so glad I listened to her. I can honestly say it was hands down the nicest warm sponge I've ever eaten - the almonds and pistachio added a rich nuttiness, the lemon adding zing and flavour, with a gooey, syrupy texture and pudding-y crumb, it was rich, decadent, really filling and basically all I could ever want from a dessert. The generous addition of thick, creamy lemon curd was the genuine icing on the cake - and who wouldn't love a melting scoop of white chocolate ice cream to lift a heavy (but heavenly) end to a meal?

Warm almond, pistachio & lemon loaf with white chocolate ice-cream
My dessert: Warm almond, pistachio & lemon loaf with white chocolate ice-cream

I loved the presentation of Liam's starter - it looked so pretty, well balanced and really thought about. There's nothing more disappointing than food that looks like it's been thrown at the plate - no chance of that happening here. His chilli and maple glazed pork belly was beautifully tender, uber rich from the fat of the pork and sweetness of the maple syrup but the chilli kick really helped to cut through that richness. The croquette added texture and a creamy celeriac flavour, and he said the dressed fennel salad was amazing. We laughed at how exciting salads can be if you make a little effort and think outside the box slightly - it doesn't just have to be the (very English) lettuce, cucumber and tomato. 

Chilli & maple glazed pork belly, celeriac croquette & fennel salad
Liam's starter: Chilli & maple glazed pork belly, celeriac croquette & fennel salad

Liam's highlight course was his main - I got to try a few mouthfuls too and can corroberate that it was absolutely stunning. The stand-out part was the risotto, with its expected rich and creamy texture, comforting traditional risotto flavours and then an unexpected (but brilliant) sweetness from the sweetcorn and then chilli heat after you've swallowed it. Neither Liam or I had ever tasted a spicy risotto before and we really loved it. The chicken was cooked to perfection on the bone, and the sharp lemon oil finished the dish perfectly - each item on the plate was absolutely necessary and wonderful in its own right. 

Pan-roasted chicken supreme, sweetcorn, chilli & pea risotto with Mrs Middleton’s cold-pressed lemon oil.
Pan-roasted chicken supreme, sweetcorn, chilli & pea risotto with Mrs Middleton’s cold-pressed lemon oil.

The only slight disappointment in terms of menu choices came from Liam's dessert choice of Sticky Toffee Pudding - it is hands down Liam's favourite dessert, and so when it's on a menu it's usually a done deal that he will have it. That does mean that he's eaten rather a lot of sticky toffee puds in his time, some of which have been absolutely incredible, so perhaps he is a harsh critic...

He said he couldn't fault the overall flavour of the dessert-  the toffee sauce and ice cream were both great, but unfortunately the sponge cake itself was a bit of a let down as it was slightly rubbery in texture and a bit tough. That being said, he ate all of it, the texture being the only criticism. Perhaps he was unlucky and just got the last slice in the dish?

Sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce & vanilla ice cream.
Sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce & vanilla ice cream.

We rounded off our lovely meal with two huge vats of Americano coffee (the coffee at The Park is lovely - so worth popping in even for just coffee and a sneaky dessert!) and we enjoyed putting the world to rights, having a giggle together and inevitably talking about the children (why do you miss them an hour after you leave them despite feeling in massive need of a break? Ha!)

Coffee for two at The Park Pub & Kitchen, Bedford
Coffee for two at The Park Pub & Kitchen, Bedford

As well as the food being of a really high standard, we cannot fault the service we were shown on Friday night - friendly, smiley, attentive staff who seemed genuinely happy to serve you, to provide opinions and advice, and ensure we had plenty to drink while we waited in between courses. None of the wait times were too long at all and all of our food and drinks orders were taken without a pen/pad and all correctly delivered to our table to the right person -it's details like that which make all the difference for me.

Based on our experience on Friday night as well as the copious other successful visits over the years, we will absolutely be heading back to The Park again very soon. We often recommend it to local friends and family as the perfect relaxed dining spot in Bedford, and our experience on Friday night only backs up our previous high opinion of the place. 

For more about The Park Pub & Kitchen head to their website or follow them on Twitter for updates directly from the pub and kitchen - @parkpubkitchen.

**Liam and I were gifted the above meal at The Park Pub and Kitchen in return for our honest review.**

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Connie's First Birthday with supplies from Party Pieces *REVIEW*

HOW ON EARTH is my baby girl one?

Where did that year go?

On Friday we celebrated Connie's first birthday with a lovely chilled family day which included a morning of swimming at our local beach pool, followed by lunch at Pizza Express and we spent the afternoon in the garden letting Connie loose on a giant chocolate birthday cake for her first ever Cake Smash! 

It was such a fun day. And I think if these pictures are anything to go by then it's safe to say Connie enjoyed herself too! 

Connie Bishop Cake Smash
CAKE SMASH!!

Connie Bishop Cake Smash
Chubby baby fingers! 

Connie Bishop Cake Smash
Connie enjoying her cake smash! 

We wanted to mark the occasion by spending a special day with all of our friends and family too, so we planned a massive picnic in our local park for the Sunday after her birthday and invited everyone to bring along a picnic and join us for the afternoon. 

We did a similar thing for Bert's first birthday and it works really well - people can drop in and out as it suits them, it keeps costs low as everyone brings their own food, and weather permitting of course, it can make for a wonderful afternoon. 

We held our picnic at the beautiful Priory Country Park in Bedford and thankfully we got a lovely warm (but windy!) day. 

Personalised birthday banner
Personalised vinyl banner from Party Pieces
We decided to set up a gazebo in the park with some decorations to jazz things up a bit (and make us easy to spot!) and we placed a large table inside the gazebo to house Connie's birthday cake and some sweet treats for our guests to enjoy.

The lovely people over at Party Pieces very kindly sent us some fabulous party supplies and decorations from their Teletubbies range (Connie's fave!) as well as an amazing Number 1 Piñata and sweeties to use on the day.

They also sent us a fabulous re-usable personalised party banner in yellow polka-dot that reads 'Happy Birthday Connie' - we have the same one for Albert in Blue and we use it every single year for his birthday. These banners are absolutely brilliant quality and are amazing value for money at just £9.99 each. They also have four eyelet holes - perfect for stringing it up again and again.  Our bright yellow beacon was the perfect way for our guests to spot us in the busy country park. 

Foil Teletubbies 'Happy Birthday' banners
Foil Teletubbies "Happy Birthday" Banners ran around the inside of the gazebo

Setting up Connie's Birthday Picnic
Setting up for Connie's First Birthday Picnic
Teletubbies table cover
Party Pieces sent us a Teletubbies table cover to use on the food table. 

We decided to have a piñata instead of party bags - I find party bags can be so costly and mostly full of plastic rubbish and sweets that are a choking hazard - so I liked the idea of instead providing a game that all the kids could join in with, and win small bags of Haribo sweets to take home with them afterwards. 

First Birthday Piñata
A very full piñata waiting to be hung from the gazebo

We gave the toddlers who were too small to take part in the piñata a Teletubbies mask and Teletubbies phone to take home as a little gift, these went down really well. 

Teletubbies masks and phone
Teletubbies masks and a Tubbie Phone all ready for the kids to enjoy (we also bought frisbies and other outdoor games to help keep them amused)
Connie in Teletubbies mask
Connie loved her Teletubbies masks! 

Toddler in Teletubbies mask
The masks and phones went down well with the little ones
Teletubbies masks fun!
Even the bigger kids loved the masks - I think this is my favourite photo from the day - Bert and his cousin Paris (aka Dipsy!)

As well as party supplies like plates, cups and banners, Party Pieces also sell a fabulous range of sweets - they kindly sent us 1kg of their jelly beans as well as 1kg of their mini dots for the picnic. We placed these in bowls and dotted them around the gazebo and picnic blankets for everyone to enjoy. 

*Cue adult sweetie hysteria - they were very popular! Ha!*

Party Pieces sweets and Teletubbies napkins

Party Pieces sweets

We also provided our guests with other treats such as cookies, crisps and of course, a giant birthday cake for our baby girl. 

Giant chocolate Costco Birthday cake
Giant Chocolate Birthday cake for our little lady! 

The highlight for me was watching all the kids delight in hitting the piñata with the stick (while blindfolded) in the hope that their whack would be the one to cause the sweetie avalanche! 

I was so impressed with the piñata - it was the first time I'd ever seen or used one in real life: it was brilliant fun, and robust enough to withstand a good 40+ whacks before the sweeties fell. 

Bert doing the Piñata
Bert concentrating on getting that prize! 
Bert doing the Piñata
You can do it Bertster!  
First Birthday Piñata
Even the birthday girl had a go (with Mummy's help!)
After the piñata we lit the candle on Connie's cake and all sang "Happy Birthday To You" while she smiled and squealed with delight. 

I think Bert's face in this picture perfectly sums up what a happy day it was. 

Thank you to everyone who came along and helped to make Connie's first birthday one to remember. 

Happy Bert at Connie's Birthday Picnic
A very happy Bert enjoying his sisters party picnic! 

We were sent a selection of party supplies from Party Pieces in exchange for this honest review.

Monday, 5 June 2017

What was in our May Degustabox?


About Degustabox

This month's Degustabox had the theme of 'Picnic Box' - so it contained foods and drinks you might enjoy on a picnic - lots of ready to eat treats, and even some strong bread flour for baking your own loaf of bread to make sandwiches.

May's Degustabox contents

What was in our May Degustabox?
  • ZEO SOFT DRINK - £1.19 - Zeo are delicious all-natural, low calorie soft drinks. Blended with natural fruit juices, exotic botanicals and a splash of spring water. They're big on flavour, without the guilt! #CheatOnWater
  • CRABBIE'S ORIGINAL ALCOHOLIC GINGER BEER - £1.89 - Crabbie's, the UK's number 1 Alcoholic Ginger Beer is crafted for 6 weeks using real Asian ginger with a secret recipe using only a handful of ingredients. This product can be enjoyed as part of a gluten free diet. Find us in the beer/cider aisle of all leading supermarkets. 
  • CADBURY DAIRY MILK PEANUT CARAMEL CRISP - £3.49 - This delicious new bar from the Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste range combines thick Cadbury Dairy Milk with a peanut filling, containing generous peanut pieces and crunchy crisps, all topped off with gooey caramel and peanut halves. Perfect for sharing with family and friends!
  • MOMA GLUTEN FREE RASPBERRY & COCONUT BIRCHER MUESLI - £3.20 - At MOMA, we think oats are the bees knees! Say hello to our gluten free Raspberry & Coconut Bircher Muesli - our speedy answer to overnight oats. Simply add yoghurt (or a diary free alternative), a splash of apples juice & voila - overnight oats in 5 minutes! Enjoy! 
  • MILLIONS - 2 x £0.50 (chocolate) £0.60 (sour) - Millions - the tiny tasty chewy sweets that have been delighting kids and adults alike since 1992. This year, adding to the 9 fabulous flavours we have, amazing Milk Chocolate Covered Strawberry Millions and Sour Strawberry Millions...very moreish. 
  • CEREAL LOVERS CRUNCHTIME NUGGETS - £1.59 - Cereal Lovers CrunchTime Nuggets are a deliciously crunchy new snacking concept to be the healthy way to energise and sustain your day. Nothing nasty in this snacking granola, all natural ingredients. 
  • DELI KITCHEN SKINNI WRAP - £1.25 - Here at Deli Kitchen we're on a mission to reinvent mealtimes with a range of delicious new flatbreads - flatbreads with a twist, that are simple, handy and versatile. Diversify your mealtimes with our new Skinni Wrap, which is just 91 calories, and comes in a unique easy to fold shape. 
  • HOMEPRIDE STRONG WHITE BREAD FLOUR - £1.50 - Homepride have been making great quality flour for over 50 years. The newest addition to our family is our strong white bread flour - made from 100% British wheat to help you bake the finest loaves and buns.
  • HIPPEAS IN HERBS WE TRUST CHICKPEA PUFFS - £1.50 - Hippeas is the all new range of organic chickpea puffs which is set to shake up the global snacking market with a bold brand story and purpose, clear health credentials and exciting flavour profiles. #PeasAndLove 
  • PORTLEBAY POPCORN - £0.79 - Portlebay Popcorn is made using 100% natural ingredients, unrefined raw cane sugar, a splash of rapeseed oil and the finest butterfly corn from the Pyrenees. Hand popped in Devon, we're masters at bundling together that happy, sunny, care-free feeling that makes our popcorn the best it can be. 
  • CANDY KITTENS ETON MESS SWEETS - £3.00 - Hello! We're Candy Kittens and we believe that life's too short for boring sweets. Championing British style and taste, we use the best possible ingredients to produce the finest quality gourmet sweets. 

Degustabox May Box

What We Thought

The Zeo soft drink was really lovely - refreshing but natural tasting and uncharacteristically low in calories - I'm so used to used to passing on drinking fruit juice/fizzy drinks because of the high calorie content, it was nice to drink something a bit different without compromising on calories, especially appreciated during last weeks hot weather! 

Liam tried the Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer first, apprehensively, as he's not a huge fan of Ginger Beer, and unsurprisingly it wasn't to his taste - I however LOVE Ginger Beer and found this lovely and fiery yet still refreshing with that slight burn of alcohol after swallowing. I'd love to drink this stuff at a summer picnic or BBQ.

The Cadbury Dairy Milk Peanut Caramel Crisp was a family sized bar, meant to feed 8 people 3 large squares each...Liam and I loved this chocolate so much that we ate the whole lot in just two sittings, on two consecutive nights - oops! It's seriously the tastiest bar they've created in a long time - think Snickers with Cadbury chocolate! 😍

I have used the whole box of MOMA Raspberry & Coconut Bircher Muesli in just two weeks, I've had it for breakfast every single morning with Greek yoghurt and fresh berries, it's truly delicious. I love the overnight oats consistency it gives, mushier than your classic muesli or granola, its a really tasty breakfast staple that I look forward to every morning. 

Bert was absolutely THRILLED to see a selection of sweets from Millions and Candy Kittens in this months box - lucky boy! Sweets aren't something Liam or I eat, but Bert informed us that they were tasty & he shared them with his auntie when she came to stay in half term.

There's a theme with this box...eating most of it super quickly as it was so delicious - we did the same with the Cereal Lovers CrunchTime Nuggets - they were such a tasty little snack (I'm a HUGE cereal lover!) and it felt good to know there was nothing nasty in them, just good old fashioned slow-release energy, perfect for that mid-afternoon slump!

The Deli Kitchen Skinni Wraps were the only fresh item in this month's box, and as they box arrived on a Wednesday when I'd already planned out our meals, I popped them in the freezer to be used at a later date - we use wraps often for fajitas and other similar dinners, so no doubt we'll get round to using them soon - I loved that fact that they're only 91 calories each as the ones we usually have are around 190 calories usually, so that's a big calorie saving! 

As you all know, I'm rather big on baking, so a nice big tub of strong white bread flour from Homepride went down a treat with me, I can't wait to find some time to get my bake on - there's genuinely nothing better than freshly baked bread, right?

The thing I love most about my Degustabox delivery is when I discover totally new-to-me brands and product releases, I'd never heard of Hippeas before, but I'll be buying their chickpea puffs whenever I see them next in the supermarket - they were absolutely delicious, think of them like a coarser textured and much tastier version of a Wotsit but healthy and full of flavour. Connie, Bert and Liam all loved them too, one small packet just wasn't enough! 

Finally, the Portlebay Popcorn in Sweet Thai Sriracha flavour was delicious - I'm a huge lover of all things super spicy and I get so disappointed when brands play it safe on the spice front - but this bag of popcorn was super fiery and so bursting with sweet Thai flavours at the same time, it pained me to leave half the packet for Liam to try, and I'd definitely choose it over a bag of crisps any day. 


Our 3 TOP PICKS from this month's picnic themed box were actually really hard to choose, but I went for the MOMA Raspberry & Coconut Bircher Muesli, the Hippeas In Herbs We Trust Chickpea Puffs and the Cadbury Dairy Milk Peanut Caramel Crisp - all of which I'll be seeking out at the supermarket during our next big food shop. 

Top Picks from May's Degustabox

I wonder what will be in store for us in next months box? 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Would you like to give Degustabox a try? If so you can receive a whopping £7.00 off your first box by using code:

1VRVA

at the checkout! 

Enjoy lovely peeps...

Mrs B

xxx

For more info on Degustabox follow them on their social media channels:

Degustabox social media

Tropic Skincare - Deluxe Skincare Collection *REVIEW*


Have you heard of Tropic Skincare? They are a natural, vegan and cruelty free brand of skincare and make up products with a "pure, honest, effective" ethos - I always champion natural products when possible, knowing they'll be kinder to my super sensitive skin, and won't subject my body to unnecessary chemicals and the such. 

Back in 2011 Tropic's founder Susan Ma appeared on BBC's The Apprentice, and was given the opportunity to present her passion and vision for natural and cruelty free skincare to Lord Alan Sugar. Impressed by the products, he spotted a unique business opportunity and invested in Tropic to become a 50/50 partner.

Since then the social selling business has grown with over 7,500 ambassadors to date and over 70 products in their skincare, bodycare and make up ranges. 

Honestly, now I'm in my 30's I've really started to take looking after my skin a bit more seriously - recently I've begun to notice deeper lines on my face, I've been getting more frequent spot breakouts and since having my children I've noticed pigmentation changes too! I've never been one to keep up a daily skin regime...a sensitive face wipe or a quick face wash has been about the most I've ever managed to do day to day, with the odd face mask, scrub and dot of moisturiser when I remember/have time/can be bothered. 

This slap-dash approach to looking after my skin just isn't cutting it any more, and I was on the lookout for set of products that would take care of skin, smell great and be gentle on my sensitive face. I needed something I really enjoyed using otherwise I knew life would take over and I'd be back to my quick face wipe routine once again. 
Deluxe Skincare Collection from Tropic Skincare
My local friend Ellie Boyde is a Tropic Skincare Manager based in Bedfordshire and she kindly sent me the Deluxe Skincare Collection to try out - I've now been using it for over 6 weeks, and I absolutely love it! I can understand why I've heard so many good things about the brand and it's products...

The Deluxe Skincare Collection contains all you need to cleanse, tone, exfoliate and moisturise your skin, plus also contains their super popular organic elixir oil, Tropic headband and bamboo face cloth to boot!


The collection is priced at £82 and saves you £33 on the combined cost for all the products - what a bargain!

This collection contains:

• smoothing cleanser (120ml) 

• bamboo face cloth
• vitamin toner (120ml) 
• skin revive (50ml) 
• eye refresh (10ml)
• organic elixir (30ml) 
• face smooth (100ml) 
• tropic headband

ALL PRODUCTS ARE FREE FROM:

• parabens 

• SLS/ALS (sodium/ammonium lauryl sulphate) 
• unsustainable palm oils 
• formaldehydes 
• phthalates 
• alcohol
• MI (methylisothiazolinone) 
• petrochemicals 
• mineral oils 
• gluten 
• lanolin 
• triclosan 
• beeswax/honey 
• harsh preservatives
• toxic chemicals 
• micro beads

My first impressions when using the Deluxe collection was how amazing each product smelt; a mixture of citrus and botanicals with a floral note that smells fresh and not over-perfumed, smells such as bergamot really come through and leave your skin smelling incredible. The combined scent is also really relaxing, so I especially enjoy using these products at night. 

You can use the cleanser, toner and moisturiser morning and night, and add in the use of the skin revive scrub, eye refresh roll on and elixir oil as you see necessary. The daily routine has been leaving my skin feeling fresh, clean, revived and most importantly, none of the items irritated my sensitive face - hooray! I especially love the little extras of the headband to keep my long hair out of the way, plus the absolutely super bamboo face cloth (to use with the cleanser), which is honestly the softest thing I've ever had the pleasure of rubbing my skin on - it's amazing!!

I usually use the face scrub once a week, on days when my face feels like it could do with a deeper clean - especially if I've worn a lot of make up - it's a lovely extra element to add into your weekly pamper session...and leaves your skin feeling brand new. 

The elixir age-defying oil contains the perfect balance of antioxidants, essential amino acids, plus a powerful blend of organic plant and seed oils which I've found to intensely hydrates my skin, it has also improved my skin tone and has given me a noticeably smoother complexion. It gives every other night-time face oil I've tried a run for its money, and it is very competitive in it's pricing at just £26 for 30ml (which will honestly last you about 6 months I reckon, as a little goes a really long way!)

Six weeks on and my skin is feeling revived, healthy and my dry skin and breakouts are totally under control. I have very deep pores, especially across my nose, and these are so much cleaner, and less visible now. My dark circles have become less obvious and I just feel like my skin is more toned, tighter, brighter and each time I do my Tropic facial I'm left feeling uber clean and properly pampered. 

It is also worth noting that the collection comes boxed in the most beautiful packaging: a huge white box, with the classic tropical/botanical/jungle/rainforest-esque papers wrapped around each item in the collection. There's a little booklet containing everything you need to know about the individual items, and instructions on how you should use each one and in which order. Obviously, I think you should treat yourself to these amazing products, but there collections would also make a perfect gift too! Everything about this collection screams luxury - and in my opinion it provides incredible value for money.

Deluxe Skincare Collection from Tropic Skincare

Deluxe Skincare Collection from Tropic Skincare

Deluxe Skincare Collection from Tropic Skincare

I genuinely can't fault these products - I know they've truly impressed me as I'm 6 weeks into trialling them and I'm still using them at least 6 nights out of 7 - pretty impressive considering this is the first time in 30 years that I've managed to stick at a skin regime longer than a few days!

I've recommended the products to so many friends and family members already, and will be definitely replenishing my stock when my current collection has run out. 

If you'd like more info on their products and ranges you can head to their social media channels...


Do you have a good skincare regime? What are your favourite products? I'd love to know! 

Mrs B

xxx

Disclaimer: I was sent the Deluxe Skincare collection from Tropic Skincare in exchange for this honest review.