Sunday, 25 September 2016

What's in my Degustabox? September.



Have you heard of Degustabox?

It's that time again...we've just had our exciting Degustabox delivery and I'm excited to share with you this month's contents, it's a good'un! 

Hartley's Lunchbox Jellies x4
Tesseire Strawberry & Raspberry Squash
Say Yes...Sour Cream Bread Chips
Mrs Crimbles Gluten Free Mushroom Pasta
Metcalfe's Popcorn Thins (Milk Chocolate)
Emily Fruit Crisps - Banana 
CA Sparkling Fruit drinks x2
CIRO Steam Xpress Berloti Beans x3
Get Fruit Mango bar
Chia Seeds packets x2


September 2016 Degustabox


I loved that most of this months box contained healthy foods - and so many that contained zero refined sugar - which was pretty useful considering I'm in my last weeks of #SugarFreeSeptember. 

September 2016 Degustabox

Bert and Liam have gladly devoured those foods that did contain a bit of sugar already, such as the Metcalfe's Popcorn Thins and the sour cream Say Yes to No bread chips. Bert and I shared the Get Fruity bar with our lunch on the day the box was delivered and it was delicious! 

Things like the Mrs Crimbles ready-meal pouches are so handy to have in the store cupboard for a quick meal with zero work when I'm in a rush, or an easy dinner option for Liam when I'm out and he's cooking for one, and it's also great to have cooked beans on hand (like the tinned Cirio Berlotti beans in this months box) as I use them in so many dinner recipes: I'm sure it won't take me long to use them up. 

September 2016 Degustabox

Liam was well chuffed with the four pots of Hartley's jellies - as we buy these every week in our food shop - they're so low in calories and they make the perfect sweet fix to end the meal with, minus the guilt. So the four new pots will just mean we won't need to buy as many when we hit the supermarket tomorrow night. 

Emily Fruit Crisps - Crunchy Banana

My absolute favourite item in this month's box was by FAR the Emily Fruit Crisps - Crunchy Banana. They are INSANE!! The only ingredients in them are banana and palm oil, they taste amazing - sweet, crunchy and super-bananaery! They are reminiscent of the sweet banana chips you can get in the health food aisle, except that they are crunchy and crisp-like instead of so hard that they could break your teeth!! Plus they don't have any extra sweetener added to them, like banana chips do. 

They were so nice that I immediately went online and ordered 12 bags!! I cannot wait for them to arrive, yum yum - pure snacking heaven for me. 

If you'd like to know more about Degustabox then head to their website or social media channels...

Degustabox social media channels
I'm excited to see what will be in our next box! 

If you'd like to give Degustabox a try for yourself then receive £7 off your first box with this offer code... 

Use Code BLDEG15 to receive £7.00 off your first Degustabox! 

*We were sent the September 2016 Degustabox in exchange for this honest review*

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

25 Cushions You Didn't Know You Needed...

Cushions.

Why am I drawn to cushions so much? I currently have 5 in my living room and countless cushions in each of the 3 bedrooms in my house - I think they're such a fun and quick way to add colour and character to a room, and they're useful too (as long as you go for big, plump, duck down numbers - my fave to snuggle into!) 

My husband and son both HATE them. They find them pointless, annoying and always in the way: they chuck them on the floor and I spend my life picking them up and giving them a good plump. 

Sound familiar? Surely I'm not the only one fighting the cushion war at home?

I'm currently in the planning stages of a big re-decoration of our living room, and during the process I have (of course) been looking at cushions that I might choose to accessorise my new living room scheme with. While I was browsing I found so many amazing cushions in all sorts of price ranges which would suit a variety of interiors/styles, and I thought I'd share them with you today. 

Obviously, where you choose to purchase accessories for your home is very much budget-dependent. You could of course splash the cash and buy designer cushion covers, or you can source cushion covers online at best prices in places like Yorkshire Linen's e-store

In this collection I've tried to include something for all tastes and budgets. 

Which is your fave? 


25 cushions you never knew you needed


YORKSHIRE LINEN:


Sofia Chenille Cushion - Teal
Icons Shaped Cushion - Wink

Hayes Spot Cushion, Slate

Stag Embroidered Cushion, Navy


Enjoy Today Slogan Cushion H&M


John Lewis:
Scion Mini Mr Fox Cushion, Orange/Beige
Little At Home John Lewis Anchor Knitted Cushion, Blue
Orla Kierly Linear Stem Cushion (Persimmon Sunflower)
Morris & Co Strawberry Thief Cushion (Indigo)
John Lewis Sheep Cushion



John Lewis Miko Floor Cushion (Saffron)
John Lewis French Knot Seagulls Cushion
John Lewis Nordic Houses Cushion
Scion Snowdrop Bicycle cushion


Voyage Expressive Thistle Cushion

Voyage Rory Cushion (Cow)

bluebellgray portree cushion

Joules Chevening Cushion, Blue


Laura Ashley :
Laura Ashley Garden Birds Cushion

Amara Living:

Watermelon silk cushion
Nikki Jones Concentric Cushion
Cath Kidston Antique Rose Cushion

Nikki McWilliams:

Nikki McWilliams Malted Milk Cushion


Bouf:
Bouf Typewriter cushion

25 cushions you never knew you needed Mrs Bishop
^^ Why not Pin This for later ^^

So, what do you think? Is my taste too ecclectic for you? Too colourful? Kitsch? Or are you lusting after some of my choices too? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Mrs B

xxx

This is a collaborative post. 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

A Little Owl Gift Basket for Connie's Arrival... and WIN a £20 gift voucher

Shortly after Connie's arrival back in June, the lovely Helen from Little Owl Gift Baskets very kindly sent us one of her beautiful baby gift baskets - Helen creates bespoke gift hampers from a Newborn essentials collection, a bath-time hampers, to bookworm baskets. She also sells nappy cakes, milestone cards and some rather fabulous 'preparing for birth' affirmations in the form of a digital download. 

The basket we received was the utterly gorgeous Baby Bookworm Book Gift Basket priced at £64.99  - which contains a bath book, buggy book and then your choice of 4 classic children's books (or you can opt for a surprise selection). This little mini-library comes presented in a gorgeous wicker basket, and is wrapped in cellophane and can be decorated with your choice of pink, blue or yellow ribbon. 
Little Owl Gift Basket - Baby Bookworm Gift Basket
Connie's stunning Little Owl Baby Bookworm Gift Basket 

Our basket contained:

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (board book)
  • Guess How Much I Love You? (board book)
  • Dear Zoo (board book)
  • That's Not My Owl... (board book)
  • Freddy Frog - Buggy Buddies (buggy book)
  • Numbers in the Jungle (bath book)


The book list selection is genuinely perfect for little ones - there are such classics to choose from including:

  • Each peach Pear Plum
  • Fox's Socks
  • The Gruffalo
  • The Gruffalo's Child
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea
  • Where's Spot?
  • Zoom
And obviously the books that were in our basket too!

Little Owl Gift Basket - Baby Bookworm Gift Basket contents
What a BRILLIANT selection of books! 

This book basket is such a thoughtful gift for a new baby - what a perfect start to a little one's library! There's something so overwhelming (in a good way) about receiving such well put together gifts shortly after the arrival of a new baby - especially one's that you know they'll get use out of for many months ahead. 

In fact, even Bert was mega excited by the arrival of the  book basket - there were some titles in the box that he remembered from his own early years (as well as some from MY childhood too *Dear Zoo*) and he got stuck into reading the books as soon as they arrived. 
Bert reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Bert getting stuck in to The Very Hungry Caterpillar! 

We're already enjoying sharing the books with our gorgeous girlie - how time is flying...she is 14 weeks already and growing FAST! 
Connie - 14 weeks

Look at this cheekster...Connie messing around with her Big Brother Bert!



WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! 

The lovely Helen from Little Owl Gift Baskets has very kindly offered to giveaway a £20 voucher for her website to one of you lovely lot. To be in with a chance of winning, use the Gleam app below. 

Good luck guys! 

Mrs B

xxx

WIN a £20 voucher for Little Owl Gift Baskets

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Friday, 16 September 2016

Backpack Roundup: The Perfect 'Mum-bag'

As a busy working mum of two I need a handbag which is robust, roomy and realistic (wipeable!!) ...I'd say I'm fairly fashion-conscious too, I like to look good - to feel well put together, and so often I struggle to find a bag that fits the brief without bankrupting myself! 

On the most part I tend to head straight to Cath Kidston or Joules (I have quite a collection now!) as I find their bags fit the bill perfectly, however they can be on the pricey side: I love it when I find something brilliant in the Joules Sale

I try to keep my finger on the pulse of new trends in women's fashion, and I was delighted to see backpacks coming back into vogue - it seems that all things 90's are cool once again (think chokers, backpacks and platform pumps!) HOORAY!

Not only is the backpack the perfect Mum-bag (you can carry it hands free, there's plenty of room, and they are usually wipe-clean or washable), because they are back in fashion there are some absolutely beautiful ones on the market, so it's easy to look stylish without compromising on practicality.

There are tons of ways to find bargain bags online - for instance Black Friday is fast approaching (Friday 25th November) and Black Friday Deals are a plenty, if you're planning on purchasing a new bag, it's probably worth waiting until then!  

Today I wanted to share with you some of my favourite backpacks which are currently a steal in the end-of-summer sales - I've tried to select a range of prices from high end to bargain!



1. Knutsford Quilted backpack (The Hut)- currently £250 from £500
2. Modalu Flora backpack in Aquamarine (The Hut)- currently £102 from £169
3. Carvela by Kurt Geiger Navy backpack (ASOS) - currently £48 from £79
4. Accessorize Stripe Panel backpack - currently £29 from £32
5. Accessorize Scout Patchwork Spot Print backpack - currently £29 from £35
6. 7X Women's Quilted backpack (M&M Direct) - currently £12.99 from £26.99


I love each and every one of these practical but pretty bags  but I couldn't justify all of them, so had to choose... I am pleased to have added the Carvela by Kurt Geiger Navy leather backpack to my bag collection. It was by far my favourite (I LOVE Navy) and I thought it was really elegant and timeless. 


Mrs Bishop wearing the Carvela by Kurt Geiger Navy Backpack

Mrs Bishop wearing the Carvela by Kurt Geiger Navy Backpack

Mrs Bishop wearing the Carvela by Kurt Geiger Navy Backpack

Carvela Navy Backpack

Isn't it a beauty?

The bag is such good quality, it has plenty of room inside for all my Mummy essentials, it is so comfortable to wear, the leather is easy to clean, and it goes with pretty much everything in my wardrobe - added bonus!

It is also a really good work bag for me to take to my client meetings: it looks professional but is practical for this busy mum who doesn't drive. 

For £48 from £79 this is an absolute BARGAIN!

Do you have a favourite handbag style? Which of my picks would you choose?

Mrs B

xxx

via Love the Sales

Saturday, 10 September 2016

3 Ingredient SUGAR FREE Brownies *RECIPE*

As of today I am 10 days refined sugar free!

I've pledged to have a #SugarFreeSeptember with the hope that it will speed up/boost my weight loss, reduce my sugar cravings, stabilise my blood sugar, and encourage me to discover some new, exciting, healthy recipes. 

So far I'm feeling GOOD - no headaches or withdrawal from the lack of refined sugar as of yet, and my mood seems stable (I'm no grumpier than usual, tee hee!). This is reassuring as I'd read loads of horror stories about how awful I would feel for the first few days/weeks of no refined sugar. I have realised that I generally don't eat masses of sugar that often day to day anyway- hence the lack of horrible side effects, phew! 

I've discovered a few really tasty new dinner recipes over the past ten days, but, by far my favourite discovery are these THREE INGREDIENT (yes, really!) refined sugar free brownies. 

I've been doing lots of nutritional research about a refined sugar free diet and during my research I found various people talking about baking blended bananas with cocoa/cacao powder and organic peanut butter, and how it creates a fudgy/truffley textured "cake" - I was sceptical to say the least - so I had to test it, and I am amazed. It worked. Not only did it work but it created a really yummy, healthy alternative to a sugar-laden 'proper' brownie. 

Don't get me wrong, it ISN'T a substitute for a full-on brownie: a little of what you fancy does you good after all, but it is a really tasty sweet morsel which will help to curb sugar cravings, while keeping your blood sugar stable. Perfect for those on a sugar-free diet, for people trying to lose weight or generally health-conscious people who don't want to eat all-the-crap. 

*They are the best for when you're watching the new series of Bake Off and this just happens to coincide with #SugarFreeSeptember (D'oh!)*

If you could replace some of your sugar-laden "treats" (I hate that term) with these brownies then you'd be making a very positive diet choice, and would greatly reduce your calorie intake - as well as filling your body with "good calories" - as not all calories are equal as we know. 

So, here we go... 

3 ingredient sugar free brownies
^^ Why not Pin This for later ^^

THREE INGREDIENT SUGAR-FREE BROWNIES

Makes 6 brownies

INGREDIENTS
  • 300g good sized bananas (about 3)
  • 125g organic nut butter (I used peanut but you could use cashew or almond)
  • 30g raw cacao powder (a good cocoa powder is fine too)
TOPPING IDEAS:

Crushed nuts
Cacoa nibs

Seeds
Sugar free cereal 

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS:

Raisins
Tahini
Dark chocolate chips (if you don't mind a bit of sugar)

METHOD:

Blitz all the brownie ingredients in a food processor until a smooth batter forms. Add any additional ingredients you choose, or simply leave them plain.

Pour into a brownie tin lined with buttered/greased baking paper.

Top with any extras, I sprinkled over bashed up macadamia nuts. 

Bake in a 180 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (mine took 17 minutes) until firm on top - watch out for burning...especially if you have a nut topping (they can go from toasted to burnt in seconds!)

Leave to cool for 10 minutes and then remove from tin and slice into 6 slabs.

approximately 200 calories per brownie. 

3 ingredient sugar free brownies
^^ Why not Pin This for later ^^

3 ingredient sugar free brownies
^^ Why not Pin This for later ^^

Store your brownies in an air-tight container in the fridge (they are also lovely fridge-cold!), or freeze on the day you make them. 

Please let me know how you get on if you give these a make. Tag your pictures on social media with #MrsBishopsSFBrownies as I'd love to see your sugar-free masterpieces. 

Happy sugar-free baking my lovelies! 

Mrs B
xxx

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Top Five Recipes from Previous Bake Off Contestants...

It's t-minus 5 hours until tonight's instalment of #GBBO and I'm over-excited as usual. 

Gosh, how I love this show! 


My love for it has never wained, and I still laugh at every single pun and hint of innuendo from Mel, Sue, Mary and Paul. 


Usually, I settle down to watch GBBO with a scrumptious homemade (sugar-laden) treat - but alas, this month I am putting myself through a personal challenge and attempting a refined sugar free September! So there'll be no snacks for me tonight. 


I'm one week into #sugarfreeseptember and so far so good - it has already taught me how much I normally pick at food unconsciously: a crisp or leftover biscuit off of Bert's plate, a few chocolate covered raisins, a bite of Bert's leftover sandwich or chicken nugget. Hopefully that's a habit I'll be able to kick by the end of the month. 


Anyhow, for all you lovely lot who aren't banning the white stuff from your life and in anticipation of tonight's show (Series 7, Week 3: Bread Week) I thought I'd share some of my very favourite recipes from past contestants of the show...


1. Miranda Gore-Browne CHOCOLATE BOURBONS


This recipe is my all time favourite biscuit recipe. Totally outstanding results - will make the best Bourbon you've ever eaten. I promise. 



Miranda Gore-Browne's Bourbon Biscuits
Miranda's Bourbons! Image from 'Biscuits' by Miranda Gore Browne 

If you're as biscuit-mad as I am then you need to ensure you have Miranda's book 'Biscuit' in your life...


2. Holly Bell - Lotus Bread 

The lovely Holly Bell published this recipe on her blog this morning and oh how I rejoiced (and then died a little inside because I can't give it a whirl until October, *SOB*). 

If you've read my blog for a while then you'll know that I'm mildly obsessed with Lotus Biscoff Spread (basically crack cocaine in a jar!)...a decadently creamy and addictive smooth or crunchy spread made from caramelised biscuits. So, needless to say, any recipe containing this wondrous ingredient is sure to raise my heart rate a little. 

Think brioche loaf meets cinnamon whirl filled with Lotus spread and you'll be close to the core of this bake. It looks INSANE and I cannot wait to try it. 

It is also the perfect recipe in time for tonight's Bread Week on Bake Off, perfect timing Holly you evil genius! ;-) 

Holly Bell's Lotus Bread
Holly Bell's Lotus Bread - image from her blog Recipes from a Normal Mum

I can throughly recommend Holly's book for a whole host of brilliant family-friendly recipes...


3. Edd Kimber - Melting Moments

Now you're in for a real blast-from-the-past with Edd's 'Melting Moments' - anyone else remember these little beauties from their childhood? My Nan used to make these, although they didn't look quite as amazing as Edd's do and they weren't filled with delicious sounding passion fruit curd: Edd's are my Nan's melting moments on steroids! Ha! 

Edd Kimber's Melting Moments
Edd Kimber's Melting Moments from The Boy Who Bakes

Have you read Edd's book Patisserie Made Simple? It's I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E 

SaveSave

4. Jo Wheatley - Ferrero Rocher Brownies

I first made these decadent brownies for my auntie's 50th birthday a few years ago - they went down an absolute storm (who doesn't love a Ferrero Rocher?) They've now become my go-to brownie recipe. I hope you'll love them as much as I do...

Jo Wheatley's Ferrero Rocher Brownies
Jo's Ferrero Rocher Brownies - image from her blog Jo's Blue Aga

If you're looking to expand your cook book collection then Jo's 'Home Baking' is a brilliant all-rounder. 


5. John Whaite - Giant Banana Butterscotch Chelsea Bun 

I leave you with yet another perfect bake for tonight's Bread Week on Bake Off...this monstrous bun combines two of my favourite flavours: banana and butterscotch. Heaven in a bun right there! 

I defy anyone who wouldn't want to give consuming this whole giant bun in one sitting a good go! 

John Whaite's Giant Banana Butterscotch Chelsea Bun
John Whaite's Giant Banana Butterscotch Chelsea Bun - image from johnwhaite.com

John's book 'Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients' is just the best book for simple, hearty but impressive cooking...



If those recipes haven't got you drooling then I don't know what will!!

Before I leave you, I wanted to share a cool money-saving website to check out if you're an avid baker like me, and regularly give the recipes you watch on Bake Off a whirl at home...

VoucherBox has launched The Great British Save Off - where each week they compare the prices of ingredients for a bake featured in that week's episode of GBBO across all the major supermarkets and work out where is the best-value place to shop for the bake. 

WEEK 1: Lemon Drizzle Cake - cheapest supermarket = Sainsburys

WEEK 2: Gingerbread biscuits - cheapest supermarket = Morrisons

Cool huh?

They also have a brilliant page of Sainsbury's vouchers at the moment if you're looking for a bargain! :-) Happy money-saving guys! 

Will you be baking anything in readiness for tonight's show?

Mrs B 
xxx