About Me

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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, reformed gym bunny, broken runner Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Giving Gousto a Go !

Have you ever looked at the adverts for Hello Fresh! and Gousto and thought "mmmm wonder if they're any good"?   I know I have, so when we were at the Cycle Show in Birmingham last month and there was a Gousto stand offering half price deals it didn't take long for us to say yes.

We set up our account there and then and chose our 3 meals for our first box, paid and walked away having booked our delivery for the following Saturday.   During the next week we planned when to have our various meals - one on the Saturday night, Sunday and then Wednesday.

There's no need to stay in for delivery so long as you have somewhere safe to leave the box, or with a neighbour.  I ended up staying in anyway - I was far too excited to go off out for the day.

Delivery is between 8am and 7pm by courier - mine arrived just before 6pm which was cutting it a bit fine in view of the fact we'd decided to have our first meal on delivery day!   The contents are packed in a sturdy box and inside is a plastic bag which contains sheep's wool together with a couple of large blocks of ice to keep everything cool.   You could re-use the sheep's wool bag but to be honest I didn't bother, and just chucked it in the bin.  The ice blocks went into the freezer for emergency use (replaces the frozen pea ice pack nicely).    A quick unpack and put everything where it needs to go.   I put all the fridge items together on a shelf and left everything else (spices, herbs, stock cubes, garlic and onion) in the cupboard, all together so they wouldn't get used for something else during the week.  Absolutely EVERYTHING is pre-weighed and labelled - if your meals require 3 cloves of garlic that's what you get!

We decided our first meal would be Mexican Pork & Black Bean Rice.  The recipe cards which come in the box are very detailed.  It tells you exactly what you need in picture form, how long it will take, nutrition information and what extras you will need - salt, pepper, cooking oil is not included.

 The step by step guide on the other side of the recipe card takes you through the preparation (very little apart from chopping and slicing) and then cooking, and before you know it you have dished up a delicious meal which looks something like the photo on the recipe card.   Sorry I'm no photographic expert, but it does kind of look something like it.

Portion sizes are generous, and all you need to add is a nice glass of wine and a pudding, although I was so full after I could only manage a small yogurt.

On Sunday we decided rather than having a roast we would have our second meal - Pork Belly, Lentils, Pea Shoots & Eggs.   Again, the recipe card is very detailed and advises you that you require a pestle & mortar, I didn't have one so adapted the end of my rolling pin in a small bowl to crush the fennel seeds.

 This was definitely a good choice for a Sunday lunch.

We left our final meal until mid-week due to Shaun's shifts and he wanted to have a go at cooking the meal by itself whilst I took Danni for her weekly food shop.   Shaun is a "chuck it all in a pan, season as you go, and if it turns out edible it's a bonus" kind of cook.  He usually gets it right, but really struggles with recipes.  He did very well and produced a very tasty Feta Stuffed Courgette & Spicy Yogurt for Wednesday's evening meal.  I made a bit of a mistake and chucked all the spice in the yogurt, even though the recipe card warns you to go easy if you don't like it hot!  Oops!

All in all we really enjoyed our week of alternative meals.  I absolutely love the fact that absolutely EVERYTHING is weighed out and the recipe cards are so detailed you really can't go wrong.  There is no waste - unless you can't finish the meal.  Everything is home grown - so you shouldn't get anything which is "out of season" and the meat, yogurt and cheese all had good use by dates on them so you're not rushing to use the ingredients.  I managed to convert everything to record on Slimming World and you get to keep the recipe cards so you can make the recipes again by buying your own ingredients.

Our Gousto account is currently frozen so we won't get anything else until we subscribe.  You can order as often as you like.   You can order 2, 3 or 4 meals, for 2 people or a family of up to 5 (2 adults & up to 3 children) at what I consider to be a very reasonable cost.   I think we're going to have a box once a month.

Please note no monetary gain has been made from this post.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Our Baby has Flown the Nest & A Tribby Trip

During our recent road trip there were frantic phone calls from Danni who had viewed a flat with her boyfriend.  By the time we'd got home they were signed up and ready to move in as soon as they got back from the Gran Canarian holiday on 20th September.  While they were away I gradually started to pack her stuff up.  When they got back from their holiday they began moving into the flat - a week later they're pretty much settled in, just a few items left to go like a fridge freezer and a washing machine.  In the meantime all the washing is coming home - luckily they're only 10 minutes walk away.  Oh, and they have no internet at the moment so anything web based has to be done at ours too.

It doesn't feel like she's moved out yet, guess that will come when she's only coming back to visit.  The nice thing is that now she's in the flat I don't have to lay awake at night waiting for her to come home, or for a phone call to say she's staying at the boyfriend's.   Obviously we do worry about how they're going to afford it, but they've been doing their sums for what seems like ages so we just have to sit back and hope it all goes ok.   She's back to Uni now for the 2nd year of her Psychology/Criminology degree.

Last weekend Shaun and I headed to the West Midlands for the Cycle Show at the NEC.   We dropped Archie at my parents for the weekend and drove to Halesowen where we'd booked a pitch at the Caravan & Camping Club Site Clent Hills.   A lovely site not far from the M5 surrounded by countryside.  It was very peaceful.   On Saturday morning we drove to the NEC for the cycle show.  No problem parking Tribby in the general car park - I had emailed them to check beforehand!  The car park staff directed us to a special area so we had plenty of space around us.

The bike show was pretty much as expected - a LOT of lovely bikes to drool over, some lovely kit and some non-bike related stuff.  We also got the chance to see the Boardman bikes used by the Brownlee brothers and Chris Boardman's hour record bike from the 90's

We were a bit disappointed that there were no freebies - at the London show a couple of years ago we had loads of trial cleaners, lubes and other stuff.    It was also disappointing that all the cycling heroes were at the show on the Friday, but we later found out that it was Trott /Kenny wedding on the Saturday so may be why!

Shaun signed me up for a bike breakdown insurance - 3 recoveries in a year for a tenner!   Will make me more confident about going out on my own over the next 12 months knowing that if I have any kind of issue and I'm far from home I can ring Green Flag and get taken home.   We didn't really buy very much, a pair of gloves each, a cap for Shaun and arm warmers for me (my nice ones were wrecked during the fall earlier in the year) and some cycling tshirts from Saddle Rags.

We also signed up for Gousto boxes at half the normal price (I'm blogging whilst waiting for the first box to arrive!)  I'll let you know how we got on with it next week when we've had our 3 meals.  It seems quite simple and if we don't like it we don't have to do anything to stop another box arriving.   I quite like the look of the whole scheme - let's face it I'll still have to go shopping for food and it means we get a nice mid-week treat instead of having to go out (although it would be nice to go out out).

 There were a lot of stands offering cycling holidays and cycle hire abroad - food for thought so we bought home loads of brochures.   We left the show at about 4.30pm and headed back to the campsite.   We were both really tired and whilst I was happy to cook dinner Shaun decided we'd stop off at a pub and have dinner there.   We spotted The Swallows Nest, a Vintage Inn pub not far from the campsite.   Highly recommended, the food was delicious.

It was a lovely weekend - and we've already planned to go back to Clent Hills next year for a little road trip.