Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Lighting Options for Your Home



When it comes to interior design, one aspect of our homes tends to commonly be neglected - lighting. Now, considering that lighting plays a major role in how we perceive anything that we see, you should focus a whole lot more attention on this aspect of your home than you probably do at the moment. Even the most stunning property can still fall short if the right lighting options aren’t installed! So, here are a few different options for you to consider!


Ceiling Fittings


The main source of light in each of your rooms can hold so much more potential than a simple ceiling rose, hanging bulb, and lampshade. There are plenty more options on the market. Consider chandeliers, spotlights, … the possibilities are endless! Sure, you might need to bring in the help of a professional to install these fixtures properly, but the results are more than worth the effort.


Accessories


Remember that as well as main lighting sources, you can also incorporate lighting into accessories, such as a gloss TV unit with LED lights, lights in bookshelves, strings of fairy lights, and lights above frames or canvases. These are much more subtle additions to any space, but really contribute to the mood of a room.


Lamps


Lamps are designed to give you a small boost of light when needs be. They won’t completely flood your room with light but are likely to give a nice glow that is sufficient to help you get by during low light (evening/night/winter days) without bumping into things and knocking things over. There are seemingly endless varieties available, and you should consider getting more than one. Consider the different spaces you have in your home and what you need your lamps to provide for you. If you like to read in bed, a bedside table lamp will be perfect. It will give you sufficient light to prevent you from straining your eyes while reading and can be turned off without you having to leave the comfort of your bed to turn the main light off. For your main living space, you will want a little atmospheric light for while you’re watching the television. A freestanding lamp or tripod lights will meet your needs perfectly.


Natural Light


Many of us take natural light for granted. After all, it surrounds us as soon as we step outdoors every single day. However, it’s always worth considering how natural lighting can affect your interior design, rather than leaving its benefits to the realm of the outside world. So, how do you go about incorporating this into your property? Well, you can always call in construction workers to install large enough windows to allow light to come in at all angles, or consider a large skylight. You can also undergo renovations such as the implementation of French doors or windows on stairs or corridors to eliminate darkness.


Light really can be incorporated into your interior design in a number of different ways! Hopefully, some of the ones that have been suggested will fit perfectly into your home and suit your needs down to a tee!

This is a collaborative post.

Monday, 9 July 2018

June Degustabox Review

Degustabox UK

It's that time of the month again where I share with you the contents of our latest Degustabox. June's box was (as usual) crammed full of goodies - so let's get started and show you what we've been trying this month.

June 2018 Degustabox review

This month's box had a loose BBQ theme, which is apt and very handy considering this heat wave we're having. Hubby and I have been barbecuing pretty much every night, so plenty of this came in super handy this month. 

June 2018 Degustabox review

Product of the Month

Capsicana Cook Sauces 2 x £1.99

Capsicana are changing the way we eat Mexican and Latin American food at home in the UK. Packed full of authentic flavours, our products help you to create tastier meals at home. This multi award winning range of cook sauces, help you to make the BEST TASTING FAJITAS at home!
*Two flavours of Capsicana Cook Sauces are included in each Degustabox.

What we thought: 

Cor! These sauces make EPIC fajitas! :-) We love Capsicana, having discovered other products of theirs through earlier Degustaboxes, so we were excited to try these sauces and they didn't disappoint. Full of flavour, a good level of heat/spice and really exciting flavour combos and serving suggestions. I even enjoyed leftovers cold for lunch the following day, and it was just as delicious cold. 

Capsicana fajita's from our June Degustabo

Rosie’s Pig - Raspberry Roller Cider £2.00

Raspberry and cucumber flavour sparkling cloudy cider. A refreshing berry flavour with citrus notes creates a well-balanced easy drinking cider with a fresh finish.

What we thought:

Hubby and I shared this with a BBQ on a weekday evening, and it was just the ticket! A perfect summer boozy drink - light, fruity and fresh, with a punchy finish. We both said we would definitely buy this again when we see it. 

Frylight - Avocado Oil Cooking Spray £2.99

Frylight Avocado Oil cooking spray is a great alternative to fatty oil for everyday frying, roasting and baking. It can be used at higher temperatures than most cooking sprays due to the more resilient nature of avocado oil – perfect for stir fries!

What we thought:

I love this stuff! I had previously bought it from Aldi on a special buy, so I was thrilled to get another bottle. Great for summer months when you're cooking lighter and it lasts absolutely ages. 

Peckish - BBQ Rice Crackers Multi-Pack £1.79

Peckish is a thinner, lighter crispier snack made of rice and full of flavour! We are baked and not fried, gluten-free and under 100 calories per person.

What we thought:

These were right up my street. Crisps/savoury snacks are definitely my weakness, and because of that I'm always on the lookout for lighter alternatives to potato crisps. These had a lovely flavour, they were light but they did taste strongly of barbecue (I find these sorts of things can often be very bland). I'd happily buy them again - enjoyed every packet. 

Brioche Pasquier - Pains au Lait £1.75

Get creative with our delicious Pains au Lait! Free from preservatives, artificial flavours and hydrogenated fats, out soft and tasty milk brioche rolls can be enjoyed at any moment of the day. They are also ideal for BBQs with family and friends! Please visit our website for more recipes.

What we thought: 

A family favourite - the kids have devoured packet after packet of these over the years - so I knew for sure they'd not go to waste when I opened our June box. What was super cool about this pack however, was the alternative serving suggestion ideas that came with it - why have I never thought to use them for sausages at a BBQ? My kids usually just enjoy them on their own as a sweet treat, but I definitely will use them for sausages on the BBQ in future...FYI they're also AMAZING in the winter to use in a bread and butter pudding! 

no&more - raspberry & blueberry water £1.29

Beautifully balanced spring water with a hint of raspberry&blueberry. No sugar, no sweeteners, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and pH neutral; the perfect alternative to plain water that will help you to reach the recommended quota of 2 litres of water a day. Finds us in Boots and Waitrose and follow @noandmore.

What we thought:

Really delicious and not 'fake' sweet tasting like so many of these fruity waters are. We enjoyed this after arriving home from a horrendous 4 hour car journey at the weekend, and it was amazing cold from the fridge on a super hot day! 

Idahoan - Gratin Bake £2.30

Idahoans’s super easy Gratin Bake. With a preparation time of less than 3 minutes and a cook time of less than 30 mins it makes an impressive accompaniment to any meal. Add contents to a casserole dish, with hot water, milk and a knob of butter and let the oven do the rest!

What we thought:

Another Idhoan product to blow my mind!! We tried the garlic mashed potato in a previous box (which was excellent) and this gratin was no exception. It is ridiculously easy to prepare, cheap to make and it smelt absolutely FABULOUS while it cooked. We enjoyed it with BBQ meats and salad, and my goodness, what is usually a really labour intensive and faffy potato dish to make, was reduced to the work of emptying a packet, pouring in hot water and a knob of butter and bunging it in the oven! It was totally delicious and easily passable as home cooked. Really cheesy and garlicky! Yum! 

Orangina 2 x £1.20

Orangina, with it’s unmistakable orange flavour, soft sparkle and real citrus pulp, makes the perfect summer drink. It is both delicious on it’s own with ice and a slice of orange, or as a mixer in mocktails and cocktails.

What we thought:

Now this took me back to the 90's, which was probably the last time I tasted Orangina (it also reminds me of one of my uncle's ex girlfriends from a similar time period who was called Gina and had quite a fake tan addiction - we all secretly called her Orange-Gina...I hope she's not reading this!) It still tastes similar to how I remember it: like fresh orange juice mixed with sparkling water, which is essentially exactly what it is! Even lovelier with a splash of gin!

The Jelly Bean Factory - Fairtrade Box £1.25

Filled with 36 delicious flavours and made using Fairtrade sugar, they are the perfect on the go snack.

What we thought:

I didn't get a look-in! Bert commandeered the whole box as his own, and devoured them over the course of a few days, he really enjoyed looking up the different flavours on the back. Oh, I lied...I did get a look in...I was allowed all the coffee flavoured ones! 

Mighty Fine - Salted Caramel Honeycomb Bar £1.00

The finest handcrafted honeycomb made with the very best natural ingredients. Our new 30g salted caramel bar is made with our signature light, crisp and lightly salted honeycomb covered in a creamy, caramel Belgian milk chocolate. Our bars really are the bees knees, so indulge and enjoy.
Available in Sainsbury’s Local up and down the country.

What we thought:

Funnily enough, Liam and I had already tried these bars a few weeks before the June box arrived. We are both big Cadbury Crunchie/honeycomb lovers, and I saw this new bar in my local M&S garage, so picked us up one each to try as a weekend treat. They are AMAZING! Think: really posh/grown up Crunchie. Will now most likely be my chocolate bar of choice. Big thumbs up. 

Great British Biscotti Co £1.30

A heavenly huddle of Belgian White Chocolate, zingy Cranberries and sublime Pistachios, entwined deep within our classically buttery crumbly Biscotti. All 20 Flavours of our Biscotti are hand made with the best ingredients in our Artisan Bakery on Dorset. Soon to the available on Ocado and Amazon.

What we thought:

Anyone who knows me in person or has read this blog for a long time, will know how obsessed I am with biscuits, and actually biscotti are one of my favourite - especially with coffee. I love baking them at home, but you can get really amazing quality shop bought ones these days (especially from my local Italian deli!) and the Great British Biscotti Co was up there with the best ones I've tried. I loved the combination of Belgian White Chocolate, cranberries and pistachios (my favourite nuts) - I'd definitely be interested in trying their other flavours. 

FYRE Fruit Drinks 2 x £1.29

With the mission to literally spice life up, we created FYRE, a refreshing sparkling fruit drink with an added kick of spices and sweetness from fruits to keep anyone wanting more ... Available in two lively flavours!

FYRE is a great-tasting drink with the perfect balance of sweetness and spice.
*These products were included in the non-alcohol version of the Degustabox.*


What we thought:

I have worked with a drinks brand in the past here on the blog that produces a really similar product, and I love the concept! I'm big on spice and chilli heat - so these were right up my alley. I like to have a little stock of non-alcoholic drinks in the fridge for parties/visitors who aren't drinking - it's nice to be able to offer a guest something more exciting than tea/coffee/water/squash - especially in this hot weather. I've drunk one myself (for testing purposes) and saved the other for a future guest.

What a successful box, eh? Really enjoyed trying these products and I'm really excited to see what we get in next month's box. 


If you'd like to give Degustabox a try then you can receive a whopping £5.00 off your first box by using code:


1VRVA

at the checkout! 

Enjoy everyone and let me know if you try it! 

Mrs B

xxx

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


We were sent our June Degustabox in return for this honest review. 

Family Days Out: Godstone Farm (Surrey) Review.

I grew up in a cute little chocolate box village in Surrey called Bletchingley - steeped in history and full of pubs and antiques shops, I love this little village so much, and love even more it's easy location smack bang in the middle between London and Brighton, and literally a few minutes off Junction 6 on the M25. 

The neighbouring (equally lovely) village is called Godstone, and you can wander from one village to the other, as they're only a mile or so apart. My parents, sister and niece still live in the family home I grew up in on the border between Bletchingley and Godstone, and so we go back there to visit them often. 

This weekend, we headed back to catch up with everyone and spent a glorious day in the sunshine at the wonderful Godstone Farm, which is located just a five minute drive from my mums front door! Win!


Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - sign

The beautiful Godstone Farm & Playbarn is the perfect place for a family day out. It has been a regular haunt for my family ever since I was a small child. It's changed a fair bit since I was visiting 25+ years ago: it has expanded, modernised and they have added many amazing play aspects for all ages of children, making it so much more than just a 'day on the farm' experience. That being said, what I truly love about Godstone Farm is that is still retains that old fashioned children's farm vibe - it feels more farm than theme park, unlike other places that we have visited over the years. The farm caters for all needs, all ages and the facilities seem centred around making your visit as easy, fun and carefree as possible. 

We haven't visited the farm since Connie came along, so we were excited to introduce her and my baby niece Elsie who is 5 months old, to the farm. Bert was of course thrilled to be returning (he's been 3 times before, but not for the last 2 years)...we already know that anything including animals will be a winner with our creature-mad boy! 


Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - entrance

We spent the day basking in the glorious sunshine and making our way round the vast collection of farm animals - animals always being the priority for Bert, we tried to ensure we saw absolutely every creature we could. Shetland ponies, alpacas, goats, cows, sheep, pigs, donkeys, Highland cows, chipmunks, ferrets, a range of birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises, terrapins, ducks, turkeys, chickens and even 'Creature Caves' containing lizards, snakes, tarantulas etc. For a traditional farm there are an awful lot of animals to see, and you can spend the majority of your visit exploring the animals without running out of things to see. Our favourite animals by FAR were the chipmunks - they were so full of personality and completely adorable. We loved the way their enclosure was filled up with interesting pieces of furniture (chairs, tables, bookcases, crockery etc) for them to climb, play on and explore. My personal absolute favourite (always) is the Highland cows - cutest animal ever! 


Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Chipmunk

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - chipmunk

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - birds

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Rabbit

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - feeding the animals

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - rabbit drinking ice water
The animals were hot too - it was lovely to see the caring staff giving them iced water from bottles to help cool them down. 

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - sleepy rabbits
Hahaha! Very sleepy bunnies!

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - tortoise

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - chickens

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - lizard

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - sleeping pig

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - sleeping pig

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Highland Cow

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Bug Hotel

Aside from the main attraction of the animals, there are also amazing play facilities and extra attractions for children of all ages. We particularly enjoyed the Fairy Woodland and Dino Trail. Both set outside, they were especially enjoyable in the lovely sunshine. Connie and Bert both adored exploring the Fairy Woodland trail - full to bursting with cute little fairy houses, mini villages, hanging ribbons, flower garlands and even a wishing wall. 

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Fairy Woodland Trail

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Fairy Woodland Trail

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Fairy Woodland Trail

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Fairy Woodland Trail

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Fairy Woodland Trail

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Fairy Woodland Trail

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Fairy Woodland Trail

Apart from seeing all of the animals, Bert's second favourite part of the day was walking around the Dino Trail - centred around a small lake, the Dino Trail is a lovely walk featuring huge dinosaur statues with realistic dinosaur noises in amongst the vegetation - complete with 'digging for dinosaur bones' sand boxes, lots of dinosaur facts and some fun photo opportunities too! 


Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Dino Trail

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Dino Trail - Digging for dinosaur bones

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Dino Trail

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Dino Trail
Uh-oh! Nanny Seaside got eaten by a T-Rex! 

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Dino Trail - Wooly Mammoth

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Dino Trail - Cavemen
This weather forecast from cavemen times made us chuckle! :-)

We stopped to recharge at lunch time and headed to the cute Tea Rooms - it was lovely and quiet on Saturday (something to do with the England World Cup match possibly?) so even at peak lunch time (12-1) there was plenty of room for a table of 4 adults and 3 children, and we were thrilled with the lunch choices. 

There's brilliant kids lunch boxes available where you can choose a sandwich (ham, cheese or jam), a drink (water, fruit shoot, juice carton or milkshake carton) and 3 other items (crisps, fruit, raisins, cakes, cheese dinosaurs, jelly pouches) for £4.95 - which is ideal for my snack-loving bambinos. I also love that if the kids don't get through all the lunch items at lunch time, you can pack them in your bag for them to snack on later in the day - no waste! My mum and sister are both currently on the Slimming World diet plan and they were also well-catered for - with a lovely salad bar and jacket potato option: they both chose a jacket with beans and salad and they said it was fresh and delicious. 

Liam and I both fancied a cold lunch (as it was a sweltering hot day) so we went for their super fresh and really tasty 'doorstep' sandwiches with a Diet Pepsi each: I had crisps with mine and Liam chose a brownie cake bar. The whole lunch came to £35 for 4 adults and 2 children (baby Elsie just had her bottle!), which I actually think is really good value at around £5.80 per head, especially considering how much choice their was, and how fresh and delicious everything was. 

There were lots of other hot food options for adults and kids, as well as snacks, ice creams, hot drinks and more cold foods like wraps etc available too. There is also free Wifi available in the tea room, which is a massive bonus for a social media addict like me, and perfect for me to share some snaps online from our morning! 


Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Food & Drink
Snacktastic lunch for Bertster! 

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Food & Drink
Tasty cold lunch for the grown ups

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Food & Drink
Healthy hot lunch for the grown ups!

Baby Elsie with her cousin Bert at lunch time, Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Food & Drink
Baby Elsie enjoying some attention from her big cousin Bert in the Tea Rooms at Godstone Farm

Later in the afternoon we visited the Snack Shop for an ice cream treat. I love a good quality ice cream brand - so I was thrilled to see that they stocked Marshfield Farm ice cream from the West Country: I opted for the uber delicious sounding Blackcurrants in Clotted cream flavour, Bert the Chocoholic Heaven, Liam the Salted Caramel (all in waffle cones) and Connie had one of their Vanilla Milkshake Ice pops. My mum and sister were super good a resisted. All 3 ice creams came to £9.40 so again, not bad going and certainly very competitively priced with other similar attractions we've visited. 


Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Food & Drink - Ice cream

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Food & Drink - Ice cream

After getting round the last of the animals we headed to the amazing outdoor play area which features a range of adventure playgrounds (for differing ages and abilities), a zip wire, a maze, a climbing wall, swings (including an amazing double swing where an adult and toddler/small child can swing together facing each other - see pic below - it blew my mind!), plus a HUGE sandpit with an awning to keep little ones out of the sun. Honestly, the kids loved this part of the day so much that it would be worth visiting for the adventure play alone. It was a perfect end to the day, allowing them to run free, let of steam and expel that final little bit of energy before the (5 minute!) drive home. Ha! 
They both particularly enjoyed the sandpit and swings. 


Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Outdoor Play Area

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Outdoor Play Area - Sandpit

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Outdoor Play Area - Double swing

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Outdoor Play Area

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Outdoor Play Area

As well as the adventure playground outdoor play area, Godstone Farm also have a lovely outdoor Ride on Runway, which is essentially a little slope of tarmac that children can speed down on ride on tractor toys - both of mine had a go on this too and loved it (Connie at 2 was perhaps a little too young for it, but she is a daredevil and thinks she's 5, so she did it anyway!) They also have an outdoor but undercover ride on toys enclosed paved area which is full to bursting with ride on toys, bikes, tractors and trailers. The perfect place to let your tractor-driver-in-training zoom around and let off steam!

Godstone Farm, Surrey - Review - Ride on Runway

Aside from the vast range of ourdoor play facilities they also have a MASSIVE indoor soft Playbarn complete with the new Wiglets Play Village which is an indoor adventure area where children can role play being a vet, working on a construction site or serving in a cafe. It also includes a baby area and a thrilling ball play zone. So again, something for children of all ages. Also worth noting this is all under one roof, so perfect if you're a family with children of a range of ages. It looked so fun but we just didn't find the time to stop and play here during our visit, the weather was just too good to stay indoors - but I would imagine it's an absolute god send during the cooler or wetter weather. 

Other things we've done during previous visits to Godstone Farm but we didn't have time for this weekend was the brilliant Tractor Ride (which is an extra cost of £1.20) which runs three times per day during the week and on the hour every hour between 11am-4pm during the weekend and holidays. Also the Hogstacle Race (pig obstacle course!) which happens once a day during weekdays and twice on the weekend. 

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Hogstacle Course

We ended the action-packed day with a trip to the lovely Gift Shop to treat the kiddies to a few little bits. It is a gorgeous shop full of high-quality gifts, toys, cuddly toys, confectionery, books, garden toys and even gifts for grown ups like sweets, jams, chutneys, homeware etc. The prices are really reasonable, and range from small gifts for under a pound, pick and mix animal figures (4 for £1 - Bert's idea of HEAVEN) to the higher budget more luxury toys and items. I love that the Gift Shop is also totally avoidable: you don't have to pass through it to get into or out of the farm, like most attractions we've been too, meaning that if you are on a budget and want to avoid the 'can I have...' tantrums, then you absolutely can. Another parent win, nice one Godstone Farm! 

By the end of the day (we lasted until 4pm!) the kids were absolutely shattered - so exhausted in fact that Connie had conked out by the time we got to the gift shop, bless her...


Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

As well as being well equipped on the 'things to keep everyone amused' front, Godstone Farm also has brilliant facilities: plenty of nice clean toilets, hand washing stations all over the farm, loads of picnic tables for bringing along your own food, and an amazing baby changing room which is HUGE and has changing stations-a-plenty (honestly, there was enough room to change about 5/6 babies at a time) plus a toilet cubicle for parents to use in there too. The whole farm was easy to navigate with pushchairs and my favourite part about the farm is how well-kept it is: lots of care and attention has been made to make it pretty and welcoming - with lots of flowers and decorative displays, art work/murals etc all over the farm. 


Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review
Beautiful pompoms adorn the garden area of the Tea Rooms

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - potting shed/greenhouse
Gorgeous potting shed/greenhouse, which is used by the gardener to grow from seed the impressive veggie patch! 

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Scarecrow

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - flowerbeds

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review

You could take along any age child at any time of the year and I guarantee you'll have a brilliant day out here. Personally I think the admission prices are incredibly reasonable considering just how much there is to do at Godstone Farm. 

Admission prices are as follows (prices correct July 2018):

2 Adults & 2 Children (Over 2) £37.60 on the door or £33.60 online

Adult (16+) £9.40 on the door, or £8.40 online

Child (2-16 Years) £9.40 on the door, or £8.40 online

Child (Under 2 years) £3.60

Child (Under 1 year) FREE

We will absolutely be back time and again to Godstone Farm - I'll enjoy watching my kids grow with the farm as they work their way from the baby, toddler and pre-school areas, right up to the older equipment and activities. 

I'll leave you with my favourite images from our day - these selfies of Connie and her daddy, while they were enjoying the play park together - if these don't convince you that you'll have the happiest of days at Godstone Farm, then I don't know what will? :-)

Godstone Farm, Surrey Review - Happy Connie and Daddy

Have you visited Godstone Farm before? If not - add it to your to do list this summer! 

Mrs B

We were given free admission to Godstone Farm in return for this honest review. 


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