Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Review | Jakarta Conversation Sofa Set


Good morning all!
Today I have a review for you all of the gorgeous Jakarta Conversation Sofa Set from the ASDA furniture range in Charcoal we are in the process of sorting our garden so it looks a bit like a tornado hit it at the moment! So we decided to set it up at Ben's parents as we had planned a BBQ there for the weekend anyway so there were plenty of seats for everyone!

I must've been living in a shell for a few years because I had no idea ASDA even had garden furniture, and I was pleasantly surprised at just how much they offer! When we were given the opportunity to review something I spent about 2 days browsing and struggling to choose exactly what we wanted! We finally decided on this and boy did we make the right decision!

Packaging
The set came flat packed but it was also in one huge box which didn't fit through our front door nor over the back either (we have steps leading up to our garden), so the only option would've been to open the box and take bits out piece by piece, although it wouldn't take too long, it's just a little bit of a pain! As I said above, we were planning on setting it up at Ben's parents for now, so they happily picked it up and we got unpacking! Everything was tightly packaged and had no damage whatsoever! Definitely 5 out of 5 for that!



Features:
Lightweight aluminium frames for sofa, chairs and table which won't rust!

Fully woven seats and backs, giving greater support to the cushions, but can be used without the cushions if necessary too!

Chair and table frames include stainless steel bolts as standard, to give improved corrosion resistance against wet weather

2 wide and extra deep arm chairs, ideal for long afternoons in the sun

A large double seat sofa, with 120cm internal width, and 70cm deep seat cushions

A 100 x 52cm colour matched coffee table with toughened glass

Cushions are made from heavy duty exterior grade spun polyester!

Removable cushion covers with zip fastening for easy cleaning

Finished with an all weather poly-rattan weave in a 2 tone dark chocolate brown



"The Jakarta Collection combines traditional styling with modern materials to give great quality, stylish garden furniture. The Jakarta range includes all the furniture and accessories you need to transform your garden, whether you're interested in outdoor dining and entertaining, or simply relaxing with the family."



Comfort
The one thing that everyone mentioned out of everything else was just how comfortable this was, a lot of outdoor furniture we've tried have had cushions that sink down once your weight is on them, however these simple mould to your body and support your back too, I think a few of us could've happily had a nap on them! Haha. I love that the armchairs are extra wide, they feel more like snuggle chairs and you can properly put your feet up and get comfy, perfect in the Summer for BBQ's and gatherings but also in the colder months, snuggle up with a fire pit and a hot chocolate, bliss!




Measurements
Table:
Width 100cm
Depth 52cm
Height 42cm

Chairs: 
Width 77cm
Depth 78cm
Height 69cm

Sofa:
Width 137cm
Depth 78cm
Height 69cm


Overall I am super impressed with the quality and comfort of this set, I will be honest and say I wasn't sure what quality to expect but I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely be recommending this to friends and family! For now we will be keeping it at Ben's parents for Abbie's upcoming Birthday party in September, so it's definitely going to be well used, especially if this sunshine stays!

x

Monday, 28 July 2014

How to Sell Online Successfully!

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Before my blog was even a thought, I started up my own jewellery shop on eBay, it did take a while to take off but once it had it was a pretty steady income for me, I jumped into it without doing much research on what I actually needed to do, I guess I assumed I just made my jewellery, took photos of it and uploaded it...boy was I wrong, you'll need to know fees, tax, the ins and outs of delivery charges and so much more! Gather together as much information as you can, the more you know, the less that can go wrong, don't feel nervous about emailing other companies and asking about their delivery services and what works for them, sometimes hearing advice from those who have probably done the whole trial and error thing, can save you money and time!

Delivery
Think long and hard about this one, you'll want a courier with a good track record of delivering parcels on time, without any damage and as smoothly as possible! To choose the right courier for you, you need to figure out if there is a local depot centre you can visit too, just incase you need to sort out any problems quickly and efficiently. When it comes to bigger parcels, TNT have a fantastic rapport from many well known companies and super quick international deliveries (even next day delivery to France for next to no money!).

Packaging
This is where the cost comes in, sure you won't be paying for it but it's still not ideal to go crazy, people like cheap p&p rates, it draws them in. Obviously it is expected to have higher costs with bigger items but keep the packaging safe and secure as opposed to spending lots of money on things looking pretty! With the jewellery I bought a bulk of little boxes of all different colours and patterns, it saved me around £20 as opposed to buying it all separately, your best bet is probably eBay, it was my saviour and always has fab bargains@

Communication
Something I personally love when I buy from a company is to be kept up to date with my order, whether its just with an automated email to let me know things are rolling, followed by dispatch information and even the 2 hour delivery slot, so whether you're using a courier or sending bits off yourself, customers really appreciate being kept updated and in the case of anything going wrong, they need everything to be smooth sailing and with as little stress as possible!


x

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday Snaps!

Evening all!
We've had a super fun packed weekend this week, on Friday we had the amazing news that we'd been picked as a Butlins Ambassador! I literally shed a tear when I read my email, we are looking forward to our first family holiday together this year and can't wait to share our experiences with you all!

 On Saturday we vented out for a little drive in the countryside and pulled over at a gorgeous little field to let Abbie run around, she had fun digging in the gravel and playing with the stones as toddlers do! She just loves being outside, the fresh air makes her nap really well too which is a bonus for us! Ben & I then took Abbie to his parents and left her there whilst we went on a 'date night', it was the first time we'd left her since she was about 8 weeks old so I was super super nervous, but she had lots of fun and didn't even notice we were gone, Ben & I demolished a 3 course meal and it was so nice to have quality time together :)

Today we headed out for a walk over at Stourhead House & Gardens, after the initial stress of not having enough change on us to park then finding out no where took cards either, luckily the woman behind the kiosk was lovely and took our details as she could see Abbie was getting raty and we were all getting ab it stressed! So we had a lovely walk around and Abbie enjoyed every second! The views are so beautiful and although we didn't get long there, it was worth every penny! Definitely somewhere we want to go again, but will plan it better next time! 

This evening we had some lunch then headed over to Ben's parents for the rest of the afternoon, they cooked a delicious BBQ with probably the yummiest burgers i've ever tasted! Abbie was an angel as always and played with her toys, had fun in the giant box and made us all laugh lots too! Overall it was a really lovely weekend, lots of sunshine, fun and naughty food! Yay!



























Friday, 25 July 2014

Family Holiday: London

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When it comes to planing a holiday for the family, whether you've done it before or not, it can be stressful, I think we all put so much thought on it being 'perfect' that we forget it's about having a relaxing break with the little ones as opposed to being super strict, it's your chance to all relax the routines and enjoy yourselves! With that said, you don't have to travel to a different country for a nice family holiday either, so if you're on a budget or just fancy somewhere more local, I've put together my tips below and some lovely places you can visit in London! I personally have a bond with London as I lived in Essex for the first 14 years of my life and often visited with my Nan for days out! About to re-live my childhood right now!

Where to stay?

You'll want to be close to as much stuff as you can, especially with the little ones, they might not mind walking to places but at the end of the day their little legs will be exhausted! Hotel Direct offers a great selection of hotels in Covent Garden, London Victoria & even Trafalgar Square, all of which are easily accessible and close to the famous attractions such as Big Ben and the London Eye! It's not necessary to stay in a posh and expensive hotel, I mean if you have the money and it's what you want to do, then by all means go ahead, but for us I think we will be choosing somewhere that has everything we need, a bed, a shower and a window, after all, you'll only be sleeping there, the rest of the time you'll be exploring the city!

- Staybridge Suites Hotel
A lovely family friendly hotel with fab prices too, lots of great reviews and currently ranked number #33 in the top hotels in London! Perfect for the whole family and close to lots of amenities too!

Hilton London Docklands
Again a hotel close to whatever you need and also surrounded by gorgeous views of the river! A bit more of a basic set up here but as I mentioned above, it's for sleeping, not for staying in all day! The food has always been great when i've stayed at Hilton Hotels in the past so definitely has my recommendation! 

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What to do?

Oh where do you even start, sure if you're out just the two of you or with some friends you could probably do more of the touristy things, but thinking of the little ones they'll probably want to skip the museums and anything that doesn't shout ''fun''. For me I used to love going to the Tower of London then having a boat ride across The Thames, then having a trip to Hyde Park and being followed by all the squirrels who were all desperate for my ice cream! Below are some of my favourites from when I was younger..

- Trafalgar Square 
was one of my favourite places too, lots of bird food and having pigeons eating from your hands and landing on your head was epic for a 6 year old like me! 

- Play Fountains
There are surprisingly lots of these around, as soon as summer hits you are allowed to run through them, splash in them and anything else to cool yourself or the little ones down, some even have choreographed night lights too, fancy!

-Battersea Park
A small, but charming family run zoo, with the usual rabbits, goats, sheep and chickens, there are also more exotic (some endangered) species such as meerkats, lemurs, Asian short-clawed otters, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, monkeys, emus, tortoises and talking mynah birds. In the meerkats’ enclosure children can make their way down a tunnel to pop out on a level with the creatures. It also has an indoor and outdoor play area, as well as picnic tables, a coffee shop and nappy-changing facilities. Perfect!

There are so many other things to do in London, If it's your first time properly exploring or you've never been, try this London guide for more tips and advice to make your family holiday perfect :)

x


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Getting the Kids Outdoors: Family Activies

*In collaboration with Rawk


With so much technology around these days, it can be hard to get the kids off them and out in the fresh outdoors, growing up I was glued to my computer, as soon as I finished school I was on it and if it was the weekend sometimes I wouldn't be off it till the early hours of the morning! It took a lot to get me outside, i'll be honest, I hated walking, but then my passion for photography grew and grew and I was asking to go out and take photos every day! So whilst your little ones are still little' and whilst the sun is still shining, why not try out some of the following things to get the family together and spending quality time together without anyone getting bored!


Rollerskating
Every child needs a pair of roller-skates, even if you insist on them wearing all the padding and protective gear, it's something all children have to try! There are different kinds of footwear you can have, whether it's inline skates, roller-skates or even Heely's, depending on the age of your little ones obviously, Rawk have everything you need if you weren't too sure where to look, they really aren't that expensive either which is fab! Why not even invest in some for Christmas, I know it's early but the sale section has some amazing deals which you won't want to miss! It's always good to be prepared!


Crazy Golf
When I was younger I lived just down the road from a crazy golf centre over in Southend (Adventure Island if you're interested), it was amazing, with the typical windmill holes and bridges too, with an Aztec feel and design and 2 separate 9 hole courses, take whichever takes your fancy! It can really bring out the competitive side to everyone but it's so much fun as well, perfect for all ages too, whether you have a toddler who can just about hold the club (they'll have lots of fun chasing the balls and having a go), or even a teenager, everyone will help each other and is a great opportunity for bonding time!


Camping!
You don't need to spend crazy money on a campsite (unless you want to be by the sea maybe?) Instead, try setting up your own campsite in the garden, pitch the tent, get some snuggly blankets and pillows, some lanterns, books and teddies and yummy snacks and there you have it! Tell stories to them or create your own stories together, have some ice lollies, ice creams and other cold snacks on hand! Or if they're at the age of being "too cool" doing it with mummy and daddy, get them to choose a friend or two to come over and join in, it doesn't mean they have to stay out there all night though ha, but they can come in and go to bed watching a movie or something :)


x

Monday, 21 July 2014

Review | Gousto | Bulgar Risotto with Grilled Goat's Cheese

You may remember our reviews a few months back for the Gousto box, we loved the meals so much we were thrilled to have another opportunity to review some more! I love new meal ideas and trying foods i've not had before! If you've not heard of Gousto, here are some details below which I took from the previous post :)


Gousto is an amazing service which provides you with a box full of yummy, healthy and nutritious ingredients for certain recipes, every week you get the chance to choose from recipes on the website, which are updated every week, ensuring you don't cook the same meal twice! The recipes are then delivered right to your doorstep once a week so you decide when to cook! From delicious pasta bakes to oriental stirfrys, with different cuisines from Italian to Chinese, Indian to Caribbean, with plenty of meals to choose from you'll find it easy to choose meals to suit the whole family! 

I have taken pictures of the prep and cooking below, along with everything you need to know about how to cook the meals we were given! Don't worry if you're not much of a cook, these are so easy to do and can be done by anyone, also there's no worry about using too much or too little ingredients, everything comes in the exact portion needed for you so no food waste either, perfect!


So onto the first recipe..

Bulgar Risotto with Grilled Goat's cheese



What drew me to this recipe was the simplicity, i've watched on shows like Masterchef and Hells Kitchen where they cook risotto and it's always done so quickly, it seems like the perfect meal for those hot summer days where you just don't want to slave away in a hot kitchen! I've never cooked risotto before, nor have I ever tried Bulgar wheat, so I was a little nervous but excited to try them too!

The ingredients for this recipe are;
(for 2 people)

3 x Tomatoes
150g Sugar Snap Peas
10g Rosemary
155g Bulgar Wheat
30g Parmesan
Goats Cheese
1 x Red Onion
2 x Garlic Cloves
Vegetable Stock Cube
1 x Lemon
1tsp Chilli Flakes

ONE
Boil the kettle
Dissolve the stock cube in 500ml of boiling water
Cut the lemon in half


TWO
Now get all your prep done, chop up your tomatoes, onion garlic and rosemary and finely grate the parmesan!


THREE
Add some oil to a frying pan and once hot add your onion and cook for 3 minutes until softer, then add the garlic and mix together for a further minute.


FOUR
Add the bulgar wheat and stir, allow to tots for 4-6 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low.

Add the rosemary, half the stock and chilli flakes if using.

Allow the stock to absorb - stir constantly.

Preheat the grill to a high heat


FIVE
Once all the liquid in the pan is absorbed, add the tomato.

Add the rest of the stock gradually, allowing it to absorb and stir constantly.

Cut the goats cheese in half crossways and put under the grill for 5 minutes (we left it in for almost 10)


SIX
Whilst the cheese is cooking, add the sugar snap peas and mix well. Add the juice of the lemon and cook for another minute or until the bulgar is cooked through.

Tip: If the risotto becomes too dry, gradually add a few tbsp of water.


SEVEN
Add the parmesan to the pan and remove from the heat.

Season to taste.


EIGHT
Serve with the grilled goats cheese on top and drizzle with olive oil!

And you're done!
This was both Ben & I's favourite meal we've had so far and will definitely be making it again, it was so full of flavour, colour and is super healthy too! Abbie loved the bulgar wheat and the sugar snap peas too, win!

If you're looking at trying out a graze box, here's a 50% off code just for you :)
Simple enter it at checkout - SHARE50

X

Sunday, 20 July 2014

SUMMER.








Can you see CHEESE!








































Upset she wasn't able to blow the bubbles...



Happy Summer :)

x