Tuesday 23 January 2018

Five Challenges of Looking After Older Relatives

If your parents live nearby and you are happy to help them out regularly, taking them shopping, picking up their prescriptions, and getting them to doctors’ appointments, you might find it hard to juggle your young family, your full time work, and your parents’ or elderly relatives’ care needs. There seems to be no time left to socialise and spend quality time with your loved one. Find out more about the main challenges of looking after older relatives below.

Image via Pexels

1. You Need to Stay Flexible
When you have elderly parents or relatives to look after, you cannot plan ahead at any point. They might surprise you by a fall or an injury, or call you in the weekend about a doctor's’ appointment. While repaying them for all their devotion for you when you were small might make you happy, being on 24-hour alert might be exhausting long term. If you don’t have other relatives to help you out, you might burn out after a few months. 

2. You Might Need to Manage Their Finances
Apart from your own money, you will be responsible for looking after theirs as well. You will have to create two separate budgets, and account for all the shopping you do for them. At the same time, it is important that you protect them from fraud, and make sure that nobody has access to them without your presence, or they might sign up for services or order products they don’t really need.

3. They Might Refuse to Accept Help from Others

Image via Flickr

No matter how vulnerable your older relative is, they might be too stubborn to accept help from local care companies or community centers offering day care. You can be convinced that they would be safer and better looked after at Porthaven care homes, but making them get help is another story. No matter how busy you are, you simply cannot refuse to go on until they can no longer stay at their house on their own. 

4. You Cannot Go On Holidays
One of the disadvantages of having to look after a relative is that you cannot leave them, and this will limit your abilities to book holidays and relax with your family. You might find day care centres, but feel guilty for leaving them, therefore, you will stay, and miss out on the opportunity of having a rest and getting a well deserved break.

5. You Will Need to Talk to All Doctors and Become an Expert
When your relative needs a long term treatment plan or an operation, they will expect you to make a decision on their behalf. This will further increase your responsibility and the pressure on you. You will start spending time researching the illness, talking to consultants, and finally become an expert.

Looking after your elderly relatives might be a rewarding task, but it is also exhausting and challenging at times. If you can, look for respite services or try to convince them to get professional care, so you can get on with your own family life, and get a rest recharging your batteries.

This is a collaborative post.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Our Second Blue Coffee Box *REVIEW & DISCOUNT CODE*

Last month I introduced you, my lovely readers, to the world of Blue Coffee Box... if you missed that post then you can read it here to get the basics. 

Our second box arrived just before Christmas (perfect timing!) and we've been loving trying three more artisan coffees across the festive period. 

Blue Coffee Box

What have we been drinking?


Varietal: Bourbon
Process: Washed
Producer: Lya Castaneda
Region: Santa Ana, El Salvador
Altitude: 1470-1650m
Notes of... cocoa, nougat, nuts

Finca Bosque Lya achieved fame in speciality coffee circles when it took first place in the 2004 Cup of Excellence. Whilst the competition's focus is all about cupping, if extra points were awarded for a farm's beauty then Bosque Lya would be in an even stronger position. 

This is 96-hectare farm- 64 hectares of which are dedicated to coffee and the balance being left as natural rainforest. In many parts of the farm, it is difficult to recognise what is pure forest and what isn't, since so many shade trees are used. 

There is an abundance of wildlife including birds such as hummingbirds, Orioles and hawks, and many migratory species. Mammals include wild cats, armadillos, deer and possum. There are endless beautiful flowers including colourful rare orchids and epiphytes  that grow on branches of the trees.

The views from this farm are also jaw-dropping, with the mountains and volcanoes of west El Salvador and Guatemala on the horizon. The towering El Chingo Volcano takes centre stage in this dramatic scene. 


Varietal: Bourbon, Caturra
Process: Washed
Producer: Smallholders
Region: Tambopata Valley, Peru
Altitude: 1600-1800m
Notes of... chocolate, hazelnut, floral

Shade grown in the Peruvian Andes at an altitude of 1600-1800 metres amongst the most beautiful flora and fauna of the Tambopata Valley, this coffee is traditionally farmed and produced without the use of pesticides or chemicals. 

The coffee beans are first fed and washed by pure spring waters and then harvested by hand by local indigenous Quechuan and Aymara speaking families who have worked the area for generations in harmony with the land. 

This coffee has won several awards: in 2013 it came second out of 51 entries in the Rainforest Alliances's Cupping for Quality, held at the Speciality Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Lab in Long Beach California. 

In 2012 it was one of the best coffees of the year in the Roasters Guild Competition. It won first place in the National CafA expo awards in Lima and was the coffee used by the third place winner in the UK barista final. 


Varietal: Pacas, Catuai
Process: Washed
Producer: Leidy Chinchilla
Region: La Labor, Ocotepeque, Honduras
Altitude: 1200m
Notes of... honey, cream

This coffee is part of an initiative from one of Island Roasters green bean suppliers to match growers with roasters to form direct trade relationships which benefit the grower in the form of getting the highest price for their coffee (considerably more than the FAIRTRADE rate). 

The roaster gains exclusivity to some amazing micro-lot coffees that may have otherwise been mixed with other coffees in co-ops. This is truly sustainable trade. 

This is the second year Island have been working on this farm and this year's crop is even better than last. Leidy Chinchilla inherited the farm from her grandmother, her main income is from coffee but she also produces fruit such as bananas, limes and mangos. 

She grows Pacas and Catui varietals which are shade grown at around 1200 m in the rich volcanic soil. When at optimum ripeness, cherries are carefully picked by hand and are transported to COCAFELOL where they are wet processed for 24 hours. Drying is in greenhouses, mechanical dryers and patios. 

Blue Coffee Box tasting notes

I literally find it mind-blowing to be able to find out so much information about the coffee I'm drinking. For me, it makes the drinking experience all the richer for understanding the heritage of the coffee, who has produced it and what flavour notes to look our for. 

I can honestly say that each coffee we've tried from Blue Coffee Box has been delicious in its own right - and each stands alone with individual flavours, aftertaste, scents etc. This box contained the fourth, fifth and sixth coffee for us to try, and all six we've tasted I would happily drink again - superior to most coffee-shop coffees and certainly WORLDS away from anything instant, I'm definitely becoming a bit of a coffee snob! 

My favourite from this months selection was the nutty Finca Bosque Lya which smells like heaven, and tastes rich yet really smooth with clear nutty and chocolatey notes, it's quite naturally sweet and we've found it to be the perfect after-dinner coffee. 

Blue Coffee Box coffee pouches

As we found with last month's box, these three pouches are an ample supply which lasts hubby and I for the whole month. I'd say we drink on average about 5/6 cups each of the good stuff per week, opting for our favourite instant the rest of the time for ease, budget etc. 

We enjoy our all our coffee white using Oatly Barista foamable milk, which if you haven't tried in your coffee yet YOU MUST. It makes honestly the most delicious coffee you'll ever try - creamy, rich and smooth without the calories of whole milk or cream. 

We've been so impressed with our Blue Coffee Box subscription that we bought a 3 month gift subscription for Liam's Mum and Stepdad as a Christmas present - they are also hugely into their coffee, and they're so excited to try out some boxes - with their first box arriving this week! 


Use coupon code is MB518 at the checkout and receive £5 off your first order (what a BARGAIN!!)

The code can be applied to gift boxes or the longer subscriptions, too. 


Mrs B xxx

Tuesday 2 January 2018

What was in our December Degustabox?


How is Christmas over already? HOW is it 2018? Goodness, 2017 has flown by and I can't believe the decorations have been packed away for another year - it seems like five minutes ago I was unpacking them all and making the house super festive. 

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year - ours has been wonderful - busy, lots of family time, travelling to visit family, some lazy days at home too, lots of sorting out and making space for all the new Christmas things - it was just what we needed! 

Tomorrow is our official 'back to work/school' day - and actually it feels quite nice to be heading back to our normal weekly routine - I honestly don't know what day it is...anyone else the same? 

Before normal work resumes I've just got time to share with you the contents of our December Degustabox and what we thought of the mostly new-to-the-market food and drink items we received. 

If you haven't heard of Degustabox before here's a quick description...



December 2017 Degusatbox contents

December 2017 Degusatbox contents

What was in our December Degustabox?

Planters (Energy Mix & Health Mix) 2 x £1.29

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: At Planters, we only use the most delicious nuts to make sure each mouthful is as tasty as the next. Whether you love cashews, peanuts or dried fruit, you can rely on Planters to deliver protein packed nuts that taste delicious. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: Delicious nuts, brilliant for a healthy snack on the run, the bags aren't massive so good to snack on whilst out and about. 

Sleep Well Milk £1.75

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: Get Unstressed For Bed with Sleep Well. Our gorgeous tasting vanilla drink combines Jersey milk with honey and valerian, a herb that's been helping people relax and sleep for 2000 years. Great for the whole family to enjoy, simply drink hot or cold thirty minutes before you want to sleep. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: This was really tasty actually - a sort of vanilla-milkshake flavour milk with a slightly herby taste too. Really creamy and a nice soothing/relaxing drink to have warm before bed. I'm not a huge milk drinker, so I can't see myself ever buying this, but I think if you're big on hot drinks and wanted to avoid caffeine before bed then this would be a great option for you. 

Candy Kittens Gourmet Sweets (Watermelon) £3.00

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: Hello! We're Candy Kittens and we believe that life's too short for boring sweets. So, we decided to do something about it. We're leading the way in British style and taste, making gourmet sweets, with natural colours and flavours for you to enjoy. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: I'm not a sweet eater, fruity sweets like this don't really do anything for me (I'm a chocolate or crisps lover when it comes to treats). Bert on the other hand loves a sweet - although these were slightly too big and chewy for him, and got stuck in his teeth, which he found annoying. He said the taste was good however, and as a parent I like the fact that they contain natural favours and colours. 

Popchips Galactic Puffs (Sour Cream & Onion)  £1.99

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: Every fan in the galaxy knows that boring snacks can lead you to the dark side. We found a new way to use heat to pop this light and airy snack into your favourite Star Wars shapes. And if you're lucky you may even find the secret shape! 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: My boys are HUGE Star Wars fans, so these went down extremely well in the Bishop household. As big fans of Popchips anyway (I love the BBQ ones!) we were fairly certain we'd enjoy these bad boys, and we did! They were super tasty and fun (Bert loved telling us which characters he was chomping on!) We shared them with friends at a Christmas buffet, and the whole bag was polished off without trouble.

Ryvita Lightly Salted Rye Cakes £1.39

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: Made with popped wholegrain rye, Ryvita Rye Cakes are naturally high in fibre, and low in fat, making them a delicious and wholesome snack. Get creative with your favourite toppings or have them on their own. The choice is yours!

WHAT WE THOUGHT: I love crackers and cakes like this - as a rule I try to eat as little standard bread as possible: opting for rye and sourdough varieties where possible, and crackers etc instead. I loved that these are rye-based rather than wheat and I found them really tasty. Great as a quick in-between meals snack, or to dip into my weekly homemade soup. I'd definitely buy these again. 

Taking The Pea (Smoked Ham) £1.50

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: The UK's first Great Taste Award winning grab and go range of savoury pea snacks. With more protein than crisps and less fat than nuts our peas are the perfect healthy snacking product to satisfy those in-between meal cravings! 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: OMG! I absolutely loved these and pretty much single handedly devoured the whole bag (I did let hubby have a try!) The smoked ham flavour was addictive, and just the sort of salty snack I usually crave. The fact that they're healthier than crisps is a big bonus. I literally can't wait to buy these again. I actually looked up where they're stocked and found out that they pretty much only seem to be stocked at Tiger stores locally - so next time I'm visiting the Milton Keynes store I'll be stocking up! 

Coldpress Juice (Orange) £1.50

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: Our delicious juices are made using cold pressure HPP (High Pressure Processing) Most juices are heat pasteurised. Vitamins and nutrients are damaged by heat, so we use cld pressure instead to keep the vitamins, nutrients and fresh taste in! 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: I don't ever really buy fresh fruit juice as none of us drink it - we got so used to never 'drinking our calories' during weight loss, that now we just drink water and coffee at home. Hubby drinks a little bit of fruit squash, but never fresh juice. Both the kids will also only drink water - even if you offer them juice they don't drink it. So I was at a loss as to whether I would use this or not - then I remembered I was making a big pot of mulled wine for Christmas, and I often like to sweeten it slightly with some fresh juice, so this was the perfect size bottle for the job. it added a lovely freshness, zing and sweetness to the spicy red wine, complimented the slices of clementine mulling away in the pot, and made it go further - bonus! 

Robinsons Fruit Creations (Pear, Blackcurrant & Cherry) £1.99

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: New Robisons Fruit Creations contains twice the fruit and more juicier and fruiter flavours. Our flavour experts have worked hard to source and create a refreshing blend of the very best fruit combinations created specifically for grown-up taste buds. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: Hubby is the fruit squash drinker in this house (as I mentioned earlier) and he absolutely loved this flavour combination. It is exactly as the brand say - a grown up flavour (although I'm sure kids would enjoy it too). 

San Miguel 0.0% £3.00

WHAT THE BRAND SAY: San Miguel presents its original alcohol-free beer: San Miguel 0.0%. With all the flavour, freshness and quality of beer, but with none of the alcohol. Malty notes of barley deliver a subtle roasted flavour, with balanced bitterness to deliver great beer refreshment. 100% San Miguel, 0.0% alcohol. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: Again, this is hubby's domain as the only beer drinker in the house. He actually was pleasantly surprised by this - it really does taste like beer and would be a great option for a beer drinker who was having to drive or wanted a clear head in the morning. 

Mary Berry's Foods Lemon & Mustard Seed Vinaigrette £2.99

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: Mary Berry's Lemon & Mustard Seed Vinaigrette is a versatile zesty vinaigrette that works very well with all salad combinations. This flavourful and delicious dressing is the perfect accompaniment for smoked salmon and potato or pasta salad. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: I'm excited to try this - I usually make my own dressings for salads etc but it's nice to have a bottle of this in the cupboards for those days when I just don't have the time, ingredients or inclination to make my own. I trust Mary Berry implicitly, so I'm sure this will be delicious when we get round to trying it. 

Willies Cacao Black Pearls (Sea Salt Caramel) £6.59

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: Pearls of single estate chocolate containing cascades of molten caramel. Available in two flavours: Sea Salt Caramel in fruity Chulucanas 70 dark chocolate, and luscious Passion Fruit Caramel in Rio Caribe 44 milk chocolate.  100% natural, batch made from the best raw materials. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: Wow! These were an absolute delight! We've used Willies Cacao products before and always enjoyed the quality of the chocolate, so we were excited to give these caramels a go! They came at the perfect time - Christmas - when hubby and I love to indulge in some good quality choccies (we usually opt for Hotel Chocolat) but it was lovely to try something completely new. We had the Sea Salt Caramel flavour chocolate pearls and they were totally scrumptious. Dark, salty, sweet and rich - a real treat for Christmas time and we had no trouble at all polishing off the box over the Christmas break. 

Lift Matcha Instant Green Tea £4.49 

WHAT THE BRAND SAYS: We have mixed South Indian Instant Green Tea and Japanese Matcha to produce this super premium and deliciously fresh tasting Instant green tea. Matcha is produced through a unique process where the tea plantation is shaded, meaning that the plants produce lots of amino acids and chlorophyll so the leaves become packed full of the lovely good stuff - antioxidants! After harvesting, the leaves are dried and slowly ground in granite stone mills to produce a fine powder. When you drink Lift’s Instant Matcha Green tea, you digest the whole green tea leaf, unlike you would with traditionally brewed leaf tea. Being a powder, in convenient single serve sachets, you can easily add to a shake, to baking recipes, or simply just make an uplifting cup of tea!
WHAT WE THOUGHT: I'm definitely interested in the health-benefits/properties of Matcha but I'm yet to be convinced on the flavour. I tried one of the sachets just as a tea, but found it to be rather tasteless. I think I'd most likely use these handy sachets in shakes or healthy bakes rather than drink them. 
Willies Cacao Black Pearls: Sea Salt Caramel

Ryvita Rye Cakes: Lightly Salted

My TOP THREE from the December box were...
December 2017 Degustabox Top Three

All of which I would happily buy and use again if I saw them in the supermarket.


If you'd like to give Degustabox a try then you can receive a whopping £7.00 off your first box by using code:


at the checkout! 

Enjoy you lovely lot...

Mrs B


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