Trying Something New With Marley Spoon

We have a running joke in our house where I ask the girls what they want for supper and EVERY night, without fail, they’ll say “green pasta”. They know very well that I only make this once a week but they still ask for it every night. Recently I’ve felt in a bit of a food rut, making the same old things week in, week out – you know, the usual suspects; Spaghetti Bolognese, Chilli & Rice, Roast Chicken, Pizza and so on.  I wanted to change our diet to reflect the warmer weather and try something new, and a more exciting.

So when Marley Spoon contacted me to try one of their recipe boxes to celebrate Global BBQ Month (who knew?), I was more than keen. The box arrived as promised on a Tuesday morning and had the ingredients for two delicious recipes. The first was was Anglo-Indian Pork Burgers with a Roasted Carrot Salad and Raita, and the second was Honey and Mustard Chicken with Apple-Potato Salad. Both meals were equally good and totally different to our usual meals.

What I liked about this box is that the instructions for cooking the meat was given for using a BBQ, as well as a conventional oven. I made both recipes inside as the weather was pretty wet last week – and to be honest I feel more comfortable using my trusty old oven. However, it is good to have the option.

Marley Spoon boxes are well packaged and carefully created to insure you have all the pre-measured ingredients you’ll need to make the food shown on the step-by-step recipe cards.

Pork mince is not something I usually buy but since trying these Anglo-Indian Burgers, I’ve already bought pork mince to make them again!!

Anglo-Indian Pork Burgers with Roasted carrot Salad by Marley Spoon Anglo-Indian Pork Burgers with Roasted carrot Salad by Marley Spoon

Also, I never would have considered putting apples and potatoes together to make a fruity potato salad but it really works.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Apple and Potato Salad by Marley Spoon Honey Mustard Chicken with Apple and Potato Salad by Marley Spoon

Every week Marley Spoon change their recipes, so you’ll never receive the same box twice. There’s always a new dish to try and potentially a new recipe to add to your weekly meal plan. All the recipes are also on their website, so if you fancy trying something different, take a look!

Disclaimer: I was sent a Marley Spoon food box in return for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Our Little Girlie Girl {My Captured Moment #81}

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Welcome back to My Captured Moment, a weekly link-up where I share my favourite ‘Captured Moments’ and invite you to do the same.

I’ve mentioned before that my two big girls are very different, I’d go so far as to say that based on personality they are the complete opposite. This could explain why they get on so well, although it could also be the reason behind lots of arguments in years to come – who knows? Only time will tell.

Lili is such a little tomboy, she doesn’t care how she looks and will wear whatever  I give her. She’s so easygoing and relaxed, and shows very little interest in shopping, clothes, makeup or anything remotely girlie (although she does like wearing ‘pretty’ dresses). Poppy on the other hand, who’s two years younger, loves all of those things!

She’ll happily sit and watch me put on my makeup with interest, asking questions and playing with my brushes. She also loves shopping and is very specific about what she will and will not wear. So the other week when we were shopping in Westfield I was not surprised when Poppy asked if she (who’s only three!!) could have ‘her make-up done’. I say I was not surprised but only because I know what she’s like. A few years ago, I would have thought this highly inappropriate for a three year old but as I’ve said before, this girl knows her own mind.

We were wondering around a Mamas & Papas event for new parents and parents to be, and in a corner of the shop bareMinerals had set up a little makeup stall to demonstrate their products to new mums. Poppy started a conversation with the bareMinerals lady who then asked if she’d like to have some makeup put on. Instantly her face lit up with excitement, she looked at me for approval then climbed onto the little stool next to the exciting stand. As you can see from these pictures, Poppy was over the moon! The lovely lady only put some pink blush on her cheeks and some clear gloss on her lips but it really meant so much to our little girlie girl.

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Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm)

• Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post.

• Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

Running in Lavender


Running in Lavender 2016

My blog is now another year older. I named this blog after an annual family event, where we go up to our local lavender field and run through the purple blooms in our summer dresses. It’s something I’ve always done with the girls since Lili was born, and was something I’d just done with my (then) two daughters a few days before I launched this site. I’d thought of lots of different names but ‘Running in Lavender’ was by far my favourite. It perfectly represented what I wanted my blog to convey. I knew I wanted to write all about my life and loves and as Running in Lavender with my girls was (and still is) one of my favourite things to do, I knew it was the perfect name.

On Sunday we made our annual trip up to the beautiful lavender field, we ran around, we ate ice cream and drank homemade apple juice. It was, as always a lovely afternoon, and as it was Iris’ first trip it was made even more special. The weather wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, with lots of grey clouds but it was still a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Here are some of my favourite shots from the afternoon we spent in the lavender field…

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If you’re interested my dress is from ASOS, Lili and Poppy’s dresses are from River Island kids (last summer) and Iris is wearing a dress from Marks & Spencer.

No Make-up Make-up – For that perfect Natural Look

no foundation foundation, no blush blush, no lipgloss lipgloss from Perricone MD the perfect no make-up skin care

I’ve done it! I’ve finally found the holy grail of no make-up, make-up. You know what I mean, make-up that leaves your skin looking glowingly healthy and beautiful, and more importantly so natural that it looks like you’re not wearing any make-up at all – basically leaving you with a better version of your own skin.  At last the search is over, Perricone MD have designed a range of ‘clever make-up’ with all the properties and benefits you’d normally expect from a top skin care brand.

As soon as I’d read about this unique range, I knew I wanted to give it a try. So when I was asked to review the items I was beyond excited. My inner beauty obsessed self couldn’t wait for the package to arrive.

no foundation foundation, no blush blush, no lipgloss lipgloss from Perricone MD the perfect no make-up skin care

I was sent the No Foundation Foundation, No Blush Blush and the No Lipgloss Lipgloss to try  and I must admit I was very impressed. The No Foundation and No Blush are both designed to restore the natural colour/ pigment and radiance of youthful skin, leaving your complexion dewy and glowing with health. They’re both packed with vitamins, include high UVA and UVB protection (SPF30) and are 100% mineral based with no chemicals. Best of all, I can tell you that both products are light (almost like a serum) and glide on effortlessly, making it easy for you to blend them into your skin using just your fingertips. There’s no need for any special techniques here but the results are still very impressive.

The No Lipgloss is infact an innovative ant-ageing lip serum designed to restore the natural colour, suppleness and shine of your youthful lips. It also deeply nourishes your lips and protects them from any sun damage – making it an ideal choice for the summer months.

As you can tell I am a complete convert and will be stocking up on all three items very soon! There’s also a No Bronzer Bronzer and a No Highlighter Highlighter that I can’t wait to try.

no foundation foundation, no blush blush, no lipgloss lipgloss from Perricone MD the perfect no make-up skin care

Disclaimer: I was sent these items to test and review. However, all images and opinions are my own and true. 

 

Sisterly Love {My Captured Moment #80}

Welcome back to My Captured Moment, a weekly link-up where I share my favourite ‘Captured Moments’ and invite you to do the same.

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As a mother I have tough days, fun days, bad days, annoying days and some truly great days. Today wasn’t easy, it had some rough moments but it also had these wonderful, tender moments that I caught between my oldest and youngest daughters. Watching the relationship between my girls grow and develop is one of the most rewarding things about being a mother.

Little snippets like these, little captured moments of love and kindness between my girls is why I always have my camera lying around the house – because I don’t want to miss or forget any of these memories and feelings. This is also why I decided to create this little ‘picture linky’ in the first place!

Iris’ face lights up whenever she sees either of her big sisters. She gives them both a massive smile that takes over her entire face, and her arms and legs wave around with huge excitement. There’s no doubt in my mind that she already knows and recognises them – looking up to them like a fan who wants to join the fun of the games they play and songs they sing. This I’m sure will become more and more apparent as the months and years go on.

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This time last year I was about to find out I was pregnant, something that was not planned and came as one of the biggest and best surprises of my life. A year on and our beautiful baby Iris is now almost four months old and has become a massive part of our family, fitting in perfectly and making us all fall in love with her instantly.

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Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm)

• Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post.

• Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

Running in Lavender


How to be a thrifty mum without being cheap!

How to be a thrifty mum and not look cheap!

This is a post that’s been at the back of my mind for the past two years. I love nice things – I’ll be the first to admit that but I’m also pretty thrifty – or shall we say ‘clever’ with my money.

I gave up my career two years ago to become a full time mum, which meant giving up my monthly salary and with that my major shopping habit. Before we had kids (and I had my ‘own’ money) I’d think nothing of spending money on expensive beauty products, designer handbags, shoes and clothes. I guess I took it all for granted and enjoyed the freedom that came with being young, free and employed.

These days I don’t have as much disposable income and what I do have has to stretch a lot further – with three little girls. This does not mean I want to go without or that I’m less of a shopper but it does mean that I have to be more careful.

I’m also very time poor now that I have three kids. Those long, lingering shopping days are a thing of the past. None of my girls enjoy shopping (although Poppy is starting to get more interested) and my husband just hates it! As a result, we hardly ever go shopping as a family – and when we do, we’ll have a few tantrums followed by a very fed up husband who just wants to go home.

So what do I do?

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Here is my guide to being a thrifty mum…

1. I used to hate sale shopping (messy shops, with no order or consistency) but shopping the sales online means you get the bargains without experiencing the horror of the shops. You’ll also get the items in good order – no make-up stains or missing buttons!

My personal favourite sites for sale shopping are –

For me – ZARA, Boden, Top Shop and ASOS

For the kids – NEXT, Marks & Spencer and GAP

For the house – The White Company, John Lewis and Anthropology (I do less shopping for the house these days)

2. When it’s not sale time, I use sites like Bargain Buys for Busy Mums to source out special offers and great deals. These sites are especially good for birthdays and Christmas, as well as other peak shopping times like the run up to going ‘back to school’. They also have discount and free shipping codes – I hate paying for the shipping!

3. I watch YouTube hauls to get fashion and beauty inspirations – also I’m nosy and love seeing what other people have bought. There are so many of these vlogs online and usually they’re from the cheaper shops like H&M, Primark and Boots. These videos have encourage me to venture into these shops and buy the pieces I’ve liked online.

4. Last year I did a blog post for Lidl. They asked me to do my usual weekly shop with them and the result was pretty amazing. Following this, we have regularly shopped at Lidl and have saved so much on our weekly food bill.  The quality is great and I still get my little luxuries thanks to their deluxe ranges.

These are just a few things I do to make my money go a little further. Budgeting is of course another important factor and is something I try to do on a monthly basis – but lets not get too boring. Just have an idea of how much you’ve got to spend each month verses what you need to buy.

Do you have any tips to add?

Disclaimer: This post is in conjunction with BargainBuysForBusyMums.co.uk

Supporting the Boys, Go Wales!! {My Captured Moment #79}

Welcome back to My Captured Moment, a weekly link-up where I share my favourite ‘Captured Moments’ and invite you to do the same.

This week there’s almost no need for words…

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I was given this bib when Poppy was a baby and of course I had to dig it out again now. I’m not normally a big football fan (much more into Rugby) but this summer I’ve been getting more and more involved with every Welsh game.

I may live in England and my children were all born here but I’m very much Welsh through and through. It has been so amazing to support the Welsh team throughout the tournament and see the boys do so well. The dream might have come to an end last night but I still feel incredibly proud of what they achieved.

This also gave me the perfect opportunity to get this bib out again and take some pictures. I’ll now always remember that Wales made it to the semi-finals of the Euros the year you were born my gorgeous girl.

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Share your Moments

Your ‘My Captured Moment’ can be a single picture or a series of shots, new (taken this week) or old, with or without words. The idea is to simply share a moment in time you’ve captured on your camera and make sure it doesn’t go unseen. This could include vintage shots of your own childhood and beyond or a simple picture you’ve recently taken and want to ‘show off’.

How to Play Along

• Link up every Thursday to Sunday (ending at 11.00pm)

• Add my badge (or link back to my website using #MyCapturedMoment) at the bottom of your post.

• Share the love – try to comment on a few of the other posts. After all that’s what it’s all about.

Go Social

Tweet your posts to me @HeleddLavender using the hashtag #MyCapturedMoment and I’ll retweet. Hashtag your picture #MyCapturedMoment on Instagram (follow me @HeleddLavender) so we can share our pictures and hopefully get some new followers and likes.

Running in Lavender


I Need a Skin Pick-Me-Up! {Clarins Skin Boosters}

Clarins' ‘turbo charged’ skin boosters, that you can mix into your favourite face cream, mask or foundation to give them extra oomph

I don’t know about you but my skin is in serious need of a pick-me-up at the moment. The dreaded post-pregnancy slump is playing havoc with my complexion and this humid weather is not helping one little bit. I need to give my skincare a little boost!

Well Clarins have recently launched three ‘turbo charged’ skin boosters, that you can mix into your favourite face cream, mask or foundation to give them an extra oomph. They’re incredibly easy to use and deliver impressive results.

Here’s a little more information on the three different formulas…

Energy (The Orange One)

This booster tones and re-energises your skin and minimises any signs of tiredness, which will revive your natural radiance.

Perfect for:

  • Late nights (with a new born baby – every night)
  • Hectic lifestyle (definitely, with three children under six)
  • Long haul travel (I wish!)
  • Fatigue (all the time)

Repair (The Blue One)

This booster will sooth any dry, uncomfortable patches and reduce redness by increasing the skin’s natural strength and recovery speed.

Perfect for:

  • Sunburn (lets face it, it’s going to happen)
  • Extreme climates (I feel like we currently have a pretty extreme climate – wet and extremely humid)
  • Hard, salt or chlorinated water (that’s London water for you!)

Detox (The Green One)

This booster will detoxify and purify your skin, while also reviving it’s natural radiance and plumpness.

Perfect for:

  • Partying (life’s always a party of sorts with three young daughters)
  • Overindulgence (I’m definitely burning the candle at both ends, just not in the way I used to)
  • Extreme pollution (again, that’s London life!)

Clarins' ‘turbo charged’ skin boosters, that you can mix into your favourite face cream, mask or foundation to give them extra oomph.

So it turns out I need all three Boosters, just maybe not all at the same time! I’m currently using ENERGY (The Orange One) mixed into my day cream and the results are pretty impressive!

Disclosure: I was sent these items for the purpose of this post. All images, copy and opinions are my own.

Best Places to Eat Out With Kids in Norwich

eating out with kids

Let’s face it – there are few better things than being wined and dined in a lovely restaurant whilst you spend time with your family. However, it can often be tricky finding somewhere everyone agrees on! Now, Norwich might not be the first place you think of to take your kids out for dinner, but why not? The East Anglian city has an abundance of eateries and taste bud teasers to delight even the youngest of diners.  If you’re looking for a beautiful summer holiday spot, why not try Norwich? Here are some fantastic family-friendly places to eat out with kids in Norwich.

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Grosvenor Fish Bar

If you’re in the mood for traditional British seaside cuisine, then look no further than the Grosvenor Fish Bar. Renowned for being one of the city’s best loved restaurants, the Grosvenor Fish Bar is situated in the heart of Norwich’s Lanes district, nestled between narrow cobbled streets and beautiful architecture. Serving all of your fishy favourites, they also serve a wide variety of wraps, rolls and plenty of other tasty delights that the whole family can enjoy. This isn’t just your average chippy; it’s a real local gem that’s not to be missed!

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Jamie’s Italian

You and your family can enjoy delicious and affordable modern Italian cuisine at Jamie’s Italian. It’s inside the city’s elegant and historic Royal Arcade, making it the ideal location for a quick bit of lunch or refined three-course dinner. Jamie’s Italian has an award-winning children’s menu with a wide variety of healthy and fresh meals for the younger set.

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Côte Brasserie
With a host of incredible French cuisine, you can take your kids for dinner at Côte Brasserie for a modern French bistro experience. Côte offers an authentic and modern twist on classic French dishes in an elegant yet informal environment. Children can choose from a range of tasty and healthy treats such as cod goujons, risotto and roast chicken. Plus – a wonderfully varied selection for gluten-free diners! Superb and well-priced food for all.

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Wild Thyme

Looking for somewhere to satisfy vegetarian and vegan requirements? Or just looking to try something delightfully different? Then look no further than Wild Thyme. All of their dishes are available as either a starter or as a larger main course – perfect for young children after smaller portions! Their enchanting rustic interior is enough to set the imagination running wild. In addition to their gorgeous array of veggie and vegan choices, Wild Thyme also offers and wide range of gluten-free dishes.

Donnelli’s Pizzeria

Pizza lovers rejoice! You’ll find it hard to beat the authenticity and charm (and great price) of Donnelli’s Pizzeria. This family-run pizzeria serve traditional Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas in Norwich’s historic and picturesque Timber Hill district – perfect to explore beforehand. Make sure you save plenty of room for their delicious Parravani Neapolitan gelato ice cream, which is made locally in Norfolk.

Bill’s

Fancy a wide range of delectable modern European cuisine? Then Bill’s is your answer! Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Bill’s is a truly expansive dining experience (with a great kids’ menu too) that will have something for everyone to enjoy. Bill’s has a fun and relaxed atmosphere with a delightfully modern interior that’s sure to give you plenty of style inspo. Plus it’s just a stone’s throw from Castle Mall, the city’s shopping hub!

So there you have it: six delicious and delightful places to grab something to eat whilst out and about in Norwich. I want to back there now!

Things the girls are loving lately {Now TV and Mini Miss KG shoes}

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In some ways my big girls are growing and maturing so quickly. For example, what they’re watching on TV is changing and they’re slowly developing an interest in fashion and beauty, an interest that certainly was not there before.

Thankfully, they no longer want to watch the dreaded Pig but they do still watch Ben & Holly, which I don’t mind as I actually enjoy that one.  Also, Poppy has started taking a real interest in jewellery and clothes, and Lili’s getting into nail varnish, shoes and sun glasses!

Here’s a taste of what they’ve been loving lately…

Lazy Days and NOW TV

Both girls love being home enjoying lazy days, and with all the recent wet weather, we’ve had plenty of opportunities for chilled out sofa days. Now TV have recently launched a new ‘Kids pass’ on their digital streaming platform and the girls are loving it! This afternoon we’ve been indulging in back-to-back episodes of their new favourite show The Haunted Hathaways through our Now box. It’s a US children’s sitcom about a mother and her two daughters who move into a house haunted by three friendly ghosts. It reminds me of something I would have watched as a child (although, maybe not as young as Poppy!).

Truth be told, I think Poppy would have been just as happy watching back-to-back Bubble Guppies or Dora in the City – which are also available on Kids pass.

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Miss KG Shoes

As I mentioned, the girls are getting very interested in shoes – so when these gorgeous, glittery ‘Wild Child’ espadrilles arrived from Mini Miss KG (Kurt Geiger’s amazing new kids range), they were both over the moon.

Lili had a cinema party on Saturday and before she’d even decided what she was going to wear, she told me “…well I’m definitely wearing my new shoes”. She ended up wearing a white floaty top, jeans and of course her new favourite shoes!

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Play-doh TOWN

The one thing that doesn’t seem to be changing is their mutual love of Play-Doh. Given the choice, Play-Doh is an activity they’ll always choose when we’re relaxing at home. Yes, it can be messy but to be honest they’re kids and kids are messy – so I’ve learnt to embrace the mess and their insistence on mixing the colours (which used to give me slight anxiety).

We were recently sent this Play-Doh Town set to test and as you can see it’s been a massive hit. They love playing ‘ice-cream shops’  and creating different ‘flavours’ to ‘sell’ to each other.

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A LUSH Bath

If I’m honest, I never really understood the Lush craze, I found the overwhelming smell of the shops so off-putting I never even ventured inside. However, the girls were given some bath bombs last year and now they’re hooked, and I totally understand why – they make bath-time fun and exciting in a non-childish way. The girls enjoy all the colours and smells that come with the bubble bars and bath bombs. And I like the fact that they’re made of 100% natural ingredients.

lush bath bombs

It does seem crazy to me that my three year old daughter is already showing an interest in beauty products and clothes but what can I do? She’s her own person and I definitely don’t want to suppress that in any way.

What have you been loving lately?