Sunday, 7 February 2016

- Sunday Summary: Cats, Nature & Catch-ups...

Hello, me again. She who hasn't posted in 3 weeks. Gah, this is so unlike me. Time literally seems to have escaped me lately. Why?

Because cats.

Yep, that's right. Me and Rob abandoned our little hub in London and moved back to his parents whilst they were on holiday.

Oh hey there commuting, I've not missed you one bit. I was out of the house 7am-8pm and to be honest as much as I love it, the last thing I wanted to do when I got in was sit on my laptop to blog. I was z.o.n.k.e.d.

Good job cats are cute (even when they do sit on top of laptops...) and it was nice to escape back into the countryside for a bit. Without getting too deep, there really has been some amazing scenery lately. We had our first snow day of Winter 15/16...

...and on the first morning of being back in our flat, there was stunning golden sunshine across London...

... and then walking home from work, this happened! Beautiful layers of purple dusk sky...

I don't even know why, but scenes like this make me so happy and remind me to stop getting caught up in the London rush.

What else has made me happy lately?

Well just as I realised I've been doing yoga for a year now, graze* sent me this cute leaflet along with possibly their tastiest snack. This cocoa vanilla protein flapjack is a new addition of theirs and reminded me how pleased I am when I see flapjack included in their variety boxes, so much so, I decided to order a box dedicated to the stuff - nom!

Speaking of tasty snacks, I want to share with you this a-mazing box of Nakd bars. I often nip out of the office to grab one of these healthy snack bars, so when I saw Natural Balance Foods* sells them online in bulk, I was thrilled. It makes so much more sense economically and it's been fun trying out so many different flavours - who knew there were so many?!

What else have I been up to? Last week I headed to All Star Lanes, Holborn for a friend's birthday. At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about this as I literally haven't bowled since I was about 10. Thankfully I wasn't as bad as I expected and even managed a cheeky strike. We stayed afterwards for food, which was such a good idea - hello dreamiest brownie (my fave).

Now fitness update: as well as yoga, I'm still bouldering, spinning, running and going to the gym - and enjoying them all! I have a personal goal of being able to do a pull-up (ha!) and can now wriggle myself up to do one - that counts, right?

Lastly, just because I love organisation (especially when it comes to beauty products), I finally caved and bought some storage. Why oh why did it take me so long? I wasn't sure about Muji sizes and pricing etc so headed to eBay and it turns out they have tonnes listed there - win! I posted it to Instagram and it got so many likes (for me, anyway). Happy, happy!

I hope you've enjoyed this catch-up. I've tried to fill you in on everything. Life is busy; I'm still playing catch-up with friends from before Christmas, but I'm super happy. Plus, me and Rob are celebrating Valentine's Day today as he's away next weekend.

Let me know what you think of this post and what you've been up to lately in the comments below.


*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been gifted. I only feature products/services to my personal taste and all opinions are 100% my own.


KAREN
BLOGLOVIN' TWITTER INSTAGRAM

Sunday, 17 January 2016

- Healthy New Year Degustabox...

So who's vouched 2016 will be their year for healthy eating? As mentioned in my 'New Year Same Me' post (here), setting goals with the arrival of a new year isn't really my jam, but it's just personal preference I suppose.

When I heard Degustabox were doing a themed box, and this time a healthy one, I was excited to see what would be included. I generally eat healthily; I'm all about a balance and a big believer of having everything in moderation.

In case you're unaware, Degustabox* is a monthly service full of food & drink treats. At just £12.99 (inc. delivery), it's a great way to explore different products you might otherwise bypass. There's usually 9-14 surprise items, most of which are new to the market.

As always, Degustabox have kindly provided me with a discount code to share with you: simply type 'BLDEG15' when registering to get £6.00(!!!) off!

So let's see Degustabox's spin on healthy eating...

KoKo Coconut Milk, RRP: £1.79
Betavivo Cereal, RRP: £1.00 (each)
Happy Monkey Smoothie, RRP: £1.00

I had this adorable heart-shaped cereal with a splash of coconut milk, along with the apple & blackcurrant smoothie one morning. The cereal is perfectly crispy and, more importantly, lowers cholesterol and blood glucose. I'd recommend adding chopping banana or berries to liven things up a bit though!

As for coconut milk, I love all dairy alternatives. Coconut, almond, soya, oat; you name it, I'll have it. As well as having this at breakfast I also used some when making a thai green curry rather than the fatty tinned real deal, and it worked just as well!

This months 'Degustabox Discovery', which has the aim of being completely new to you, is Happy Monkey smoothies. The smoothie has no added sugar and the flavour would definitely appeal to kids. However, when I imagine a smoothie it's creamy and yoghurt-y, this on the other hand is more of a 'juice'. I didn't have a problem with this, but just thought it was worth mentioning.

Barilla Whole-Wheat Fusilli, RRP: £1.50
Barilla Mediterranean Vegetables Sauce, RRP: £2.00

I've always preferred brown rice and pasta, so was happy to see this whole-wheat fusilli. Also, yay for fusilli - it can't just be me who has preferred pasta shapes?! The vegetable sauce also sounds yummy - I'll be using both of these to make a pasta bake in the next few days!

Eisberg Alcohol-Free Wine, RRP: £3.50

So who's doing dry January? If so, you'll be pleased to see an alcohol-free wine included! My partying hard days at Uni are certainly over, so this was a nice little surprise and something I wouldn't have thought to buy myself. I totally respect those who decide not to drink and am aware of and regret immature views in the past eg assuming none drinkers are boring etc, and I'm sure I'm not alone. In fact, the lovely Nicole wrote a wonderful piece recently about her experience with being teetotal which is definitely worth a read.

Fabulous Bakers Bars, RRP: £1.80
Compete Energy Bites, RRP: £1.99

I'm a big fan of snack and cereal bars, but Fabulous Bakers is entirely new to me. Mango and Pineapple bars sound yummy, but something about these didn't agree with me. Despite being made from all natural ingredients, I found the flavour too overpowering and artificial?

I was happy to see these energy bites return. I adored the pack of 6 chocolate coffee ones, and despite not enjoying these 2 lemon ones quite as much, I still had them before I went to my spinning class.

Nothing But Snacks, RRP: £1.69 (each)
Hip Pops, RRP: £1.00 (each)

I'm kind of over these frozen dried fruit and vegetable snacks to be honest. Most of them seem to get stuck in my teeth? I'd much rather have a fresh portion of my five-a-day.

On a different note, and ignoring the cringeworthy name, the Hip Pops were delicious. With 6 flavours available (I received sweet chilli and salt & pepper) these are soy pieces and a nice change from your typical crisp. £1 per small bag seems a lot, so it's worth trying these in this box first.

Drink Me Chai, Gift

This sachet was such a lovely addition and finishes the box off nicely. If you follow me on Twitter, you would have seen me complaining about having the flu. When I'm feeling under the weather all I crave is hot drinks so this was a great, comforting change - like a hug to the stomach!

Overall, I'm not blown away by this box but like the message it spreads. It certainly inspires lifestyle changes, such as cereals, whole-wheat pasta, non-dairy milks, less fatty snacks etc. However, I'd say it's more 'Healthier New Year' rather than using the word 'Healthy'. I think it's important to keep an eye on sugar intake too - if Degustabox were to create a low-sugar theme in a future box, I'd certainly be interested!

What do you think of this Degustabox? Don't forget, you can receive your first box for just £6.99 using the discount code above!


*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been gifted. I only feature products/services to my personal taste and all opinions are 100% my own.


KAREN
BLOGLOVIN' TWITTER INSTAGRAM

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

- #SendMeAway ft. Triangl Bikinis...

Oh January, you're an odd one. Christmas is over, Winter's setting in and what's there to look forward to? How many of you have booked a Summer getaway? I can't stop thinking about being on a sandy beach right now soaking up the rays, cocktail in hand. I promise I'm not typically a misery guts, but this feels so far from reality for me right now.

As a child, I was lucky enough to be whisked away each year for a family Summer holiday. These are where some of my best childhood memories lie, which I think adds to my sunny beach/pool getaway craving. I haven't had a holiday like this since 2013 when I visited Malta, which also holds some fond memories as it was mine and Rob's first holiday together, and towards the start of when we started dating (shudder at typing that word...).

Ok, that's enough now. I can't bear to look through more photos, it's bad enough scrolling through my Instagram feed of various tropical destinations. I really can't complain though; 2013 isn't even that long ago and I've definitely had my travelling fix. In the meantime, I visited Sri Lanka, Thailand and China, so I've certainly had my time to explore. However, when Triangl recently sent me their truly gorgeous Poppy - Sea Spritz* bikini, I had a sudden urge to be paddling in the Mediterranean and just, well, relaxing.

So when I was told about the #SendMeAway competition icelolly.com are currently running, I leaped at the chance. Up for grabs is a holiday to a destination of your choice, plus an Olympus PEN E-PL7 camera. Yep, that camera that every blogger/vlogger/their pet pug are raving about at the moment. I'm not sure which I'm most excited about!

A blog post based on your dream destination of 2016 is classed as an entry, so as you can probably guess, this is mine. And as you've also probably guessed, my current dream destination is anywhere with a beach, pool and adventures. Just the other day, me and Rob walked passed adverts on the street of Dominican Republic and we've been itching to hop on a plane since! The scenery, the food, the white sands ... *continues dreaming*...

Entries posted between between 31st December - 14th February 2016 are accepted and I've been asked to nominate 3 bloggers to join in the fun, so I nominate Caz, Serene and Jasmin, but anyone can enter! I'll keep my peepers peeled for your dream destinations!

Where do you wish to travel to and why? Let me know if you enter this fab competition!


*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been gifted. I only feature products/services to my personal taste and all opinions are 100% my own.


KAREN
BLOGLOVIN' TWITTER INSTAGRAM