Wednesday, 28 February 2018

#ThisIsMe Campaign - International Women's Day - 8th March


Hey lovelies! Today I'm sharing with you a campaign that is very close to my heart, and something I'm super proud to have been a part of. Lovely Aby & Ceri are the brilliant women behind it, and when they asked me to jump on board by recording a song to go along with the campaign, I jumped at the chance!

Those of you who have read my blog for a while will know that I feel very strongly about body confidence, being body-positive, building up others instead of knocking them down. 

This Social media age is a highly curated one, which can be dangerous if taken out of context we can believe that somebody's social media is an absolute representation of someone's exact life. 

It is not real though - it is curated, edited, and because of that we often get a skewed sense of reality. Everyone else is thinner than us, prettier than us, has better behaved children, a nicer home, a better husband, earns more money, has swankier holidays, eats healthier food, works out more than you do..........and so it goes on. As an "influencer" with a following I've built up over the past 6 years, I feel very strongly about showing the "real me" online, as well as the curated 'best bits'. I hope my readers will agree with that - and if you too feel strongly about supporting women to be confidently themselves: warts and all, then this campaign is for you. 
#ThisIsMe campaign
About the campaign (from Ceri & Aby)
An insanely well-organised kitchen, a monochrome house complete with bouncing baby and absolutely no aggressively bright plastic toys, snap back bodies that are enough to send you over the edge. That's what makes up a good 80% of my Instagram feed.

Our personal photo's. Ceri's rough-around-the-edges home, still no pictures up on the walls two years after the renovation. Dinner. Standard. Of course, the odd selfie taken from the best possible angle and our kids. We never could find the right filter for real life.

When we talk to women about social media they tend to fall into two camps. The ones who want to crack it and the ones who want to run from it and the runners are actually a higher number than you would imagine.

In 2017 a report carried out by The Royal Society for Public Health surveyed adults in the UK about the mental and emotional effects of social media. The survey found that Instagram users reported that they often depressed, anxious and struggled with body image.

We don't need Sherlock Holmes on hand to see that the curated feeds that we follow and like on Instagram are affecting the way we look at ourselves and every little facet of our lives but surely social media can't be all bad right?

#ThisIsMe campaign
When Aby was in the midst of PND, social media became a lifeline to this new mum who was struggling to get through the day. When I had Fred I was a self-confessed workaholic. All of a sudden the work life I had most identified with carried on and I was living in a building site in South Wales, feeling very alone. The friends I made online in those years are some of the very best I have.

When Aby & I met in 2016 we chatted, like you do with your good mates, about all things in life. Our families, our mother-struggles, work, you name it. Slowly as our businesses have grown we've tried to show real life. The un-filtered goodness that we all have around us. But at times, you'll know that doesn't come easily. When we use social channels for work it becomes imperative for an image to do well, so we want to make it as good as we can. We want to reach more people with our message so we need to grow and sometimes that can take over. Who wants to see real when flat lays, peonies and the perfect angle can send the numbers skyrocketing?

Well, we do. And we are damn sure other women just like us do too, because we started to ask them and the more real we are with what we do and present online the better it makes the online space for other women just like us and the ones who come after them.

#ThisIsMe campaign

It's International Women's Day on March the 8th and it’s a special one celebrating 100 years since women got the right to vote. This year we are asking Women to join together start spreading the message that who we are right now is ENOUGH. We will be approaching key influencers and celebrities to get the hashtag spread far and wide.

To be involved all you need to do is post a selfie on March 8th and use tag #thisisme - We want to reach as many women as possible and empower them to really embrace their own personality online instead of lusting after the small squares of someone else's feed. We want to drop the clique and encourage people to get online, communicate, make friends but most of all love what they already have. We'd be absolutely honoured if you'd consider spreading our message.

#ThisIsMe campaign
Ceri & Aby Biography
Ceri & Aby run online businesses that empower women, particularly Mothers to build a business online.
Both Award nominated bloggers, Ceri runs www.thiswelshmother.co.uk a parenting blogzine for Welsh Mums with lively online groups and in -person meet ups across Wales. Aby is the creator of the Number 1 family Lifestyle blog in the UK www.youbabymemummy.com and also teaches women how to launch profitable blogs. 
Ceri lives in South Wales where she runs three businesses & juggles life with a toddler. Aby relocated to France in 2017 with her husband & daughter and is about to launch her first book ‘Blogs Change Lives’ in March 2018.
THE MISSION!
Our mission is to collaborate with 1000 women online, with the intention of impacting 1 million more women on International Women’s Day Thursday, 8 March 2018. We want you to post a picture of your face on social media with #ThisIsMe as our stand against a culture of perfection. Of feelings of inadequacy. 
Of stopping ourselves because we feel as if we're not good enough. Slim enough. Pretty enough. Put together enough.
Of feelings that we don’t fit the mould of what female success looks like. It’s our time to rise. 
To say that we are enough.  
Please add you voice & pledge to add your face on 8th March 2018.
Check out the promo video ^^ Link: http://bit.ly/videothisisme 
The song was specially recorded for this campaign by me - it is not perfect and polished, it has not been edited...it is as raw as it comes, there are flaws and mistakes, but it is me - doing me, which is all I can do! A beautiful song, perfectly fitting for this amazing campaign. Please use #ThisIsMe hashtag on all social media and JOIN US on the 8th March.

Authenticity over perfection - this is a call to action for all women, everywhere.

Mrs B
xxx

#ThisIsMe campaign

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Blue Coffee Box Review - Box Three

In December and January I introduced you, my lovely readers, to the world of Blue Coffee Box, the artisan coffee box subscription service. If you missed these posts then you can read them here (December) and here (January) to get the basics...

This month, I'm bringing you my third and final review of the coffee subscription box service. (*SOBS*)


February 2018 Blue Coffee Box

As always, we choose to have our coffee delivered as fine espresso powder because we have a Dualit 3-in-1 Espresso machine (which makes the best coffees ever!) This month we received three brand-new-to-us coffees and as usual they were packaged beautifully! 

WHAT WAS IN THIS MONTH'S BOX?

PB YAGACHI RESERVE (INDIA)

Varietal: Catuai
Process: Cauvery
Producer: Ramagirl/Krishnagirl and Kumbrikhan farms
Region: Karnataka
Altitude: 1400m

Notes of spice, cacao nibs and cream

About the coffee: There are approximately 250,000 coffee growers in India; 98% of them are small growers. As of 2009, the production of coffee in India was only 4.5% of the total production in the world. Almost 80% of the country's coffee production is exported. 

Coffee is grown in three regions of India with Karnataka, Kerela, and Tamil Nadu forming the traditional coffee growing region of India. This particular coffee is 100% shade-grown under a two tier shade canopy, allowing for consistent bean development.  The farms also employ intercropping with orange and pepper trees, adding to the unique after taste. 

Harvest is conducted via selective manual handpicking, followed by a fermentation and wash process, then a 7-day drying process. Coffee beans are laid bare beneath the sun at the Kumbrikhan plantation in India. 

For twenty-four hours they are turned so that not a single bean can escape the sun's heat. Only once they are fully dried will they be put into grain pro bags for storage, ready for sale. 

What We Thought: This was my favourite coffee from this months box, I loved the heady spices and hint of cacao nibs - I'm a big fan of creamy coffee, and I like that smooth after taste, so this was ideal for my tastebuds. As usual, I find it completely fascinating to be able to learn facts about the coffee I'm drinking, it makes the drinking experience all the richer. 

February 2018 Blue Coffee Box

GUJI SHAKISO (ETHIOPIA)
THE COFFEE FACTORY 

Varietal: Indigenous heirloom varietals
Process: Natural
Producer: Shakiso Dry Mill
Region: Shakiso district, Guji Zone, Oromia, Ethiopia
Altitude: 900-2100m

Notes of guava, mango, peaches and cream. 

About the coffee: Shakiso dry mill is located in the kebele of the Bubeuke, near Shakiso town in Guji zone. This is in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The mill specialises in producing high-grade sun-dried coffee. Over a number of years, the region has developed a distinguished reputation for fine coffees, producing some of the most sought after micro lots in the world. 

The combination of high altitude, fertile soil, consistent and plentiful rains, and an abundance of local knowledge are all contributing factors to the high status of Guji coffees. 

Cherries are delivered to the mill for careful sorting, then dried in the sun on raised African beds for approximately 12-15 days. In the daytime, they are raked and turned periodically to ensure a consistent drying process. 

The cherries are covered between 12pm and 3pm to protect them from sun damage and at night time to protect it from rainfall and moisture. Once the coffee has dried to the right level it is milled, graded and sorted. 

What we thought: This was a really lovely coffee, and although our least favourite from this selection, still a really beautiful coffee, elevated way above most shop-bought or cafe coffees I've had in the past. Another coffee with a beautiful rich and creamy flavour, a great smooth and silky texture, and definitely clear hints of fruit in the flavour notes. 

February 2018 Blue Coffee Box

JANSZOON
ARTISAN ROAST COFFEE
SUMATA & BRAZIL

Varietal: Various
Process: Wet Hulled, semi-washed
Producer: Aceh Province, Daterra Estate
Region: Various
Altitude: 1000-1600m

Notes of chocolate, fruity. 

About the coffee: Janszoon has been around since Artisan Roast first started and has remained one of there most popular coffees to this day. 

It's big, full-bodied and syrupy sweet, perfect for pulling espressos at home or for a really punchy filter to get you going in the morning. 

It's comprised of exquisite high altitude Arabica beans, roasted to two distinct profiles, the main bean in the blend is a wet-hulled Northern Sumatran from the Aceh Province. The Sumatran bean gives the blend the deep chocolate bass notes and heady tropical fruit notes. The Sumatran beans just bursts through milk and is a great base espresso for a tasty cappuccino. 

The semi-washed Brazilian bean from the Daterra State gives the blend a bright citric snap and red fruit. This really comes through when served as a pure espresso or long black. Together, these beans complement each other and the result is a balanced, syrupy espresso with massive chocolate notes, bright fruity finish and a wonderful crema in the espresso. 

It's an oldie but a goldie, handpicked, before being bagged in GrainPro for export from the port of Djibouti. 

What we thought: This coffee was Liam's favourite from this month's box - as a massive chocolaholic he really enjoys sweet coffee and the deep syrupy taste of this one was a winner for him - lifted by the fruity notes, the overall balance of flavour is delicious and it leaves a wonderful non-bitter after taste. 


February 2018 Blue Coffee Box

February 2018 Blue Coffee Box

GET £5 OFF YOUR FIRST BOX... 

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. 


Enjoy lovely blog readers! 

Mrs B xxx

I was sent a three month subscription to Blue Coffee Box in return for these honest reviews. 
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Sunday, 4 February 2018

What was in our January Degustabox?


What is Degustabox?

It's time to share the contents of our January Degustabox. There were lots of great goodies in this month's box - plus some introductions to some new-to-me brands that I'll be looking out for in the future.

January 2018 Degustabox contents

The theme of the box was 'NEW YEAR, NEW ME' which however unoriginal, was a great selection of healthier goodies to enjoy after an indulgent December. So I was pleased, as I've been trying hard all month to be sensible and make mostly healthy choices. 

JANUARY DEGUSTABOX CONTENTS

Mahtay Yerba Mate Sparkling Tea £1.49

FROM THE BRAND: Mahtay is a lightly sparkling drink that was designed with today's busy, health-conscious lifestyle in mind. It blends the ancient energy-giving properties of South American Yerba Mate with coconut water and a├žai berries to deliver refreshing taste, natural energy and supportive health benefits in every drop. 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: Liam absolutely detested this drink, but I couldn't decide what I thought. I *THINK* I liked it - it was an odd taste, but there was something about it that meant I couldn't stop taking another sip. It definitely has an ice-tea vibe, and it smells of biscuits! 

Pulsin Vanilla Choc Chip Protein Booster £1.59

FROM THE BRAND: Looking for a scrumptious bar with a boost of protein? Then snack a Pulsin Vanilla Choc Chip Protein Booster! With a cookie dough taste and texture, plenty of diary free choc chips and packing 13g of plant based protein it's a healthy and filling snack. 

WHAT I THOUGHT: Oh my goodness, this was by far my favourite product out of this month's box. Not only did it taste like a really naughty treat, but it was SO FILLING! I ate it for my mid-morning snack and wasn't hungry for lunch until 2pm!! I'll definitely be buying these again, and I'd probably just eat half as a portion next time. YUMMY! 

LighterLife Fast Ready to Drink Shakes 2 x £2.49

FROM THE BRAND: The diet that works around you! 2 days each week replace all of your meals with 4 LighterLife Fast products (available exclusively from Superdrug). These delicious ready to drink shakes can be enjoyed as part of the Fast plan, as a quick protein hit or meal replacement. 

WHAT I THOUGHT: As many of my blog readers will know I am not a believer in meal-replacement diets, they are just not my cup of tea at all. However, I am realistic about my busy lifestyle and I know there are just some days when I have way too much on my plate, and I won't give myself the time to prepare a balanced meal (this is usually breakfast or lunch) sometimes, you just need something speedy and satisfying - if you don't have something healthy and balanced to hand then this is the time you'll most likely opt for junk, so shakes like these are quite handy to keep in the fridge for such meal-related-emergencies. Actually, I surprisingly enjoyed these shakes - they have nice flavours (although still have a vitamin-like after taste) and they are very filling. 

Clipper Everyday Organic Tea GIFT SAMPLE

FROM THE BRAND: A beautifully rich, full-bodied black tea blend from some of the world's finest organic tea gardens. All our organic products are grown in a way that preserves the natural balance of the environment and we were the first tea company to used unbleached tea bags! Clipper products are made with pure, natural ingredients and a clear conscience. 

WHAT I THOUGHT: What a lovely cuppa! I've had Clipper Tea before usually when out in cafes/coffee shops, and I've always enjoyed it, so it was a nice treat to have a little stash of bags for drinking at home.

Pulsin Vanilla Whey Protein Powder £1.99

FROM THE BRAND: The NEW Vanilla Whey Protein powder is rich in essential amino acids and high in calcium which is vital for muscles and bones. With 22g of protein per 25g serving, the natural powder is vegetarian, low fat, made using hormone-free milk from UK grass-fed cows and has no added sugar.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Protein powder is a great product to have stashed in the cupboard if you're serious about health, fitness and working out. I work out twice a week in the gym, and after a particularly heavy session I like to have a protein shake straight after my workout to help repair and rebuild muscles - protein shakes being particularly great at this due to their compact nutrition (isolated nutrition source) and relatively few calories. On top of that protein shakes only take about 30 minutes to reach the muscle after ingestion, which makes them super effective. Finding a protein powder that is right for you is hard, I often don't like the flavour or after taste they give, but this one was very vanillaery and super tasty! I liked the consistency is produced when mixed with a banana and my favourite oat milk. 

Explore Cuisine Organic Edemame & Mung Bean Fettuccine £3.00

FROM THE BRAND: Explore Cuisine's Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine is great in taste and texture and provides a high amount of plant based protein and fibre per serving with the lowest level of carbohydrates, 22g of protein per 50g serving, almost 3x more than regular pasta.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I'm yet to try this, but in theory I love the sound of it! Excited to try this soon for a speedy lunch or dinner. 

Mallow & Marsh Coconut Marshmallow Bar* £1.35

FROM THE BRAND: A coconut marshmallow bar that 100% melt in your mouth gooey deliciousness. These Mallow & Marsh bars are handmade in England using only natural ingredients and they are under 100 calories each. 

WHAT I THOUGHT: I've enjoyed Mallow & Marsh bars on many occasions, I'm a big fan! When you want a sweet-treat without too much calorific impact these are perfect. I especially liked this coconut flavour. 

*This product wasn't included in every box, you either got a Mallow & Marsh Bar, the Ramen Noodle Kit OR Tabasco Sauce. 

Latin America KITCHEN BY Santa Maria Chipotle Mayo Topping £1.80

FROM THE BRAND: Creamy, hot & smoky. The Chipotle Mayo Topping makes a great addition to any of our Latin American Kitchen range. 

WHAT I THOUGHT: We used this gorgeous spicy and super creamy mayo to top our homemade 'fakeaway' Lamb Doner Kebab meal last night (recipe from celebrity chef Tom Kerridge's BBC programmed 'How To Lose Weight For Good') It was the perfect condiment for this meal - added much needed spice, but also acting as a dressing for the salad aspect of the meal. 

'Fakeaway' Homemade Lamb Doner Kebab with Chipotle Mayo Topping. 

Robinsons Fruit Cordial (Raspberry, Rhubarb & Orange Blossom) £2.49

FROM THE BRAND: Robinsons most sophisticated squash yet. New, Robinsons Fruit Cordials is a sophisticated twist to squash with combinations of real fruit and botanical flavours. Contained in a glass bottle, Fruit Cordial is a new more concentrated way to bring a burst of Robinsons' flavour to the dinner table. 

WHAT I THOUGHT: I'm not much of a squash drinker, but I tried this and was pleasantly surprised, it definitely has a much more sophisticated taste, and would also make a lovely flavour addition to a gin and tonic, which is next on my list to try! 

Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna Steaks £3.49

FROM THE BRAND: Ranked #1 in the US by Greenpeace for sustainability, these Albacore Wild Tuna Steaks - No Salt Added are 100% pole and line caught. Cooked once to retain the natural juices in the can. Please don't drain! Mix the Omega 3-rich juices into the tuna for added flavour and nutrition. 

WHAT I THOUGHT: I'm yet to try this, but I regularly enjoy tuna as part of my diet, and always try to buy a sustainable and fair product, so I will enjoy trying this next time I cook with tuna. 

Columbian Crunchy Chicken Bites Seasoned Corn Coating £0.90

FROM THE BRAND: A mild blend for light, oven-baked, crunchy bites. Use our simple blend to make delicious Columbian-inspired crunchy chicken bites in your oven. We use corn, instead of wheat, to get that extra crispiness which is loved by adults and kids alike, making it perfect for a family night in.

WHAT WE THOUGHT: I've just done our meal-plan for this week and we'll be putting this mix to the test then. We are all big fans of 'nursery food' style comfort-food dinners such as homemade chicken nuggets, so I'm confident this will go down well. 

Snack Bars from the January 2018 Degustabox

Jordans Juicy Red Berry Frusli Bars 2 x £0.45

FROM THE BRAND: Jordans Juicy Red Berries Frusli Bar: handfuls of zingy cranberries and raisins, all mixed up with British wholegrain oaty awesomeness.

WHAT I THOUGHT: I ate one of these bars about 20 minutes after my box arrived! Haha! I adore these style of energy/cereal bars and the box arrived during my usual morning snack window, so who was I to resist? Having lived in Bedfordshire for over 12 years now, Jordans has become a brand I've gotten to know very well - born from Jordans Historic Mill* which is just down the road from us, the products are fab - this bar not excluded.

*Jordans Historic Mill visitor centre celebrates Bedfordshire's role in food production - if you're local or visiting Bedfordshire why not pop down for a visit where you can take a tour around the mill, and then relax overlooking the beautiful gardens whilst trying out their delicious locally sourced food in their amazing cafe.

Hersheys Cookies N Creme 5 Pack Snack Pack £1.00

FROM THE BRAND: HERSHEYS Cookies 'n' Creme Candy bars are a unique twist on a classic flavour combination. Enjoy crunchy chocolate cookies and smooth white creme in each delicious bite.

WHAT WE THOUGHT: Needless to say, Liam and I barely got a look in with these bars. They went straight into our 'Shameless Bribes For Children' tin & both Bert and Connie have enjoyed them over the past few weeks. I did get a little bite of one, and can confirm that are DELICIOUS. I loved the size, making them perfect for little tummies, or fo adults trying to enjoy a moderate treat.

Miso Tasty Spicy Ramen Noodle Kit* £1.99

FROM THE BRAND: Miso Tasty Spicy Ramen Noodle Kits are perfect for tasty and easy mealtimes. Our noodles are accompanied by our signature miso soup base plus a seaweed garnish for an authentic experience. This spicy flavour provides a warming, healthy base for a quick noodle meal - simply add your own toppings! 

WHAT WE THOUGHT: Another product I'm excited to try - again, on our meal-plan for next week. Liam and I have both enjoyed Ramen dishes at Wagamama restaurants, but we've never made one at home, so I'm intrigued to see how it turns out. 

*This product wasn't included in every box, you either got a Mallow & Marsh Bar, the Ramen Noodle Kit OR Tabasco Sauce. 

January 2018 Degustabox contents

As usual, here are my three top picks from this months box... 
Mrs B's Top Picks from January 2018 Degustabox


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

1VRVA

at the checkout! 

Enjoy you lovely lot...

Mrs B

xxx

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

Degustabox social media channels

We were sent this month's Degustabox in exchange for our honest opinion of its contents.