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Thursday, 29 November 2018

I Love Gin November box

*AD - GIFTED* I am a big fan of subscription boxes and nowadays there is a subscription box for everything. No matter what your passions or hobbies there is a subscription box for you. Today I am unboxing the I Love Gin November box, a new to me subscription I have been gifted.

About I Love Gin

I Love Gin is a gin and tonic club. Each month members receive a box with 2 different gins and 2 different tonics or mixers. The sizes are big enough to make four gin and tonics; Great if you want to share .. or if you want to drink them all for yourself! Members also get a voucher each month and discount on the online store to buy full size bottles of gins. The membership is flexible and you can cancel at any time.


I Love Gin November box


Unboxing the November I Love Gin box

I Love Gin November box contents


The theme of the November I Love Gin box is Winter Elixir and it contains

  • A 50ml bottle of Pin Gin
  • A 50ml bottle of JJ Whitley violet gin
  • A 200ml bottle of Lixir classic Indian tonic water
  • A 200ml bottle of Lixir blood orange and cinnamon tonic water
  • A booklet describing the contents and serving suggestions
  • A £5 voucher to spend in the store

I'm really happy that all of the bottles are glass and there is no plastic in the boxes.


I Love Gin November box contents lined up

My I Love Gin November box review


I Love Gin November box contents lined up

I am so happy with the November I Love Gin box. I love trying new gins and all three products in the box are new to me. Pin Gin is a Lincolnshire dry gin with black pepper, almond, citrus, rose, cinnamon, lavender and liquorice. It tastes great on its own but even better with the blood orange and cinnamon Lixir tonic. J.J. Whitley violet gin has violet, juniper, angelica root, coriander and liquorice and tastes and smells exactly like palma violets. The Lixir classic Indian tonic is the perfect accompaniment.

Violet gin is already my favourite flavour gin, with rhubarb a close runner up (in case you're looking to buy me a bottle) so I have to say the JJ Whitely gin is my favourite in this months box.

I Love Gin November box gin bottles standing in a row


Thursday, 22 November 2018

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds

*AD - COMPLIMENTARY* A few weeks ago a collaboration landed in my emails that was the absolute dream day out for me. A chance to go to the new Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds. I love being outdoors and anything that challenges me and is fun too. So this is a perfect day out for me. 

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds opened in May and we hadn't had the chance to visit yet. In case you don't know, Go Ape have sites all over the UK and are an outdoor adventure obstacle course. Think walkways between tree tops, nets and zip wires. The Leeds site has three different levels so has something for all ages (and height tolerances).

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - course in the Autumn

Our day at Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds

We have perfect weather for our day at Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds, clear and dry and not too chilly. On arriving we are given some rules to read and a form to sign before being put in our harnesses.

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - walking across a rope ladder 

The first part of the course is a small practice run. You get to see how you are fastened on to the course. (Super important if like Ellie you're convinced you might fall off!) Plus have a go at a couple of crossings, clipping yourself on and off and a small zip line to the ground. 

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - walking across a rope ladder 

After a practice run it's on to the main course. There are lots of crossings between the platforms in the trees. Some are quite study and others are really wobbly and swing around. The swinging platforms had us in fits of giggles before we even got on to the trickier parts of the course.

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - swinging across platforms

The big kid in me loves the Tarzan swings between the trees. It is quite exhilarating flying across the course on them and some are surprisingly fast.

The net parts of the course are the trickiest, well for us anyway. There are a few along the courses and all had us howling with laughter. From getting feet and arms stuck to just being weaklings both of us found them hard.

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - climbing a suspended net

Going to Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds in Autumn means you get to see the park at its prettiest. The platforms up in the tree tops give stunning views and I love the colours.

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - dangling feet over edge of high platform

At the end of each part of the course is a zip wire back down to the ground. These are probably my favourite part of the courses. Ellie is a pro at landing these.

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - landing the zip wire

Whereas I end up in a heap on the floor. Every. Single. Time! My crash landings definitely give us the most laughs and we are still laughing about some of them now.

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - falling at the zip wire

It takes around 3 hours to do the full level 3 course and we were just over that. Once you are on the ground with the harnesses off there is a certificate. Even at 36 I do love a good certificate of achievement.

Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - standing with certificates at the finish

Go Ape at Temple Newsham - tips

The Go Ape website has some great tips in their FAQ but here are a few of my own.

Wear sturdy shoes. I have my walking boots and Ellie has trainers. If you are going on a dry day I would go for trainers as walking boots can be a bit chunky when you are on the nets.

Wear gloves. There are a lot of wires and ropes to hold on to along the course. Whilst they don't hurt your hands it's just a bit more comfortable with them on.

Wear comfy clothes and fully cover up. My go to outfit for anything outdoors is a hoodie and leggings which is perfect. Especially if you're like me and spend a lot of time dragging along the end of a zip wire! Ellie found the harness a little uncomfortable in some parts of the course with skinny jeans on.

Prepare to be there a full morning or afternoon. Whilst the website does say the course is around 3 hours it's easy to presume that would be the longest amount of time to be there. But I can't imagine you can complete it all in much less time.

Have some hot chocolate, cake and a bath bomb at home for afterwards. After an afternoon climbing, swinging and falling over you can't beat coming home to a hot chocolate and sweet treat. A nice hot bath will soothe any tired muscles.


Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds - final thoughts

Both me and Ellie loved our afternoon at Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds. It is fun, exhilarating, challenging and a great way to burn off some energy outdoors. I can't remember the last time we laughed so much on a day out. Go Ape is definitely we will be doing again and I would love to try some of the different sites around the country.


Have you been to Go Ape at Temple Newsham Leeds? Or any of the other sites? Is it somewhere you would like to go?



DermaTherapy bedding review

*AD - GIFTED* Home style is something I am quite passionate about. I love shopping for new bits for our house, from little nicknacks to furniture to new bedding. I have recently been trying out the DermaTherapy bedding after being gifted a set of pillow cases to see if it lives up to its claims. 

About DermaTherapy bedding

DermaTherapy bedding is the worlds first patented and FDA approved bedding. It gives a cleaner, drier and hypogenic sleep. Due to a soil release finish, after washing you get clean sheets every time. The bedding is cool to the touch and the unique microfibres keep you from getting too hot or cold. DermaTherapy fabrics draw away any moisture and keep you dry through the night. And, the fabric is clinically proven to reduce itching and irritation. DermaTherapy bedding is perfect for skin conditions, night sweats, night terrors and post sports.

DermaTherapy bedding

My DermaTherapy bedding review

DermaTherapy bedding - bed made up with DermaTherapy pillow cases and checked bedding

My bed is one of my favourite places in the house. I love nothing more than curling up there on a night. I do have chronic sleep problems though. A new mattress is helping my hip pain and mindfulness is helping the insomnia. But thyroid disease makes regulating my temperature hard. Depending on the levels in my bloods I can be freezing cold or waking up in a hot sweat. So I had high hopes for the DermaTherapy bedding!

I have two pillow cases from the range and I was really happy to see they are a brilliant white colour. This means they go perfectly no matter what bedding I have on. As you can see the pillow cases are on the bottom through the day whilst the bed is made. Once I'm getting in to bed I flip them over to sleep on them.


DermaTherapy bedding - bed made up with DermaTherapy pillow cases and checked bedding

The bedding is a silky feeling material so feels lovely against the skin. When you first lay on them it is surprising at how cool they are; Perfect for anyone who always needs to turn their pillows for the cold side. It's really relaxing to snuggle under a thick duvet yet have cooler pillows and I have been having better nights sleep. At the moment my blood levels are fairly stable so hot sweats haven't been an issue for the few weeks I've been using the bedding. I'm sure they will return at some point soon and I'm confident the pillow cases will help with those.

Whilst I don't have a skin condition like eczema, after sleeping in the bedding for a few weeks I can imagine it is great for that. It's so soft and smooth and definitely wouldn't irritate or cause any itching.

My DermaTherapy bedding has been through the wash a few times now. It washes and dries easily and comes out bright white and silky feeling. As it is such a shiny fabric I don't think I would try ironing it though. (Not that I iron bedding, but you know, if you did ... don't!)

I'm really happy with the DermaTherapy bedding and would love to get the duvet cover for the summer months.

Is DermaTherepy bedding something that would be useful for you?


Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Fox Menston Leeds

*AD - COMPLIMENTARY* The Fox in Menston, Leeds has recently undergone a stunning refurbishment. As it is sitting on the edge of Ilkley Moor it not only has a gorgeous new interior but a picturesque setting too.The venue has an amazing history serving the area for 200 years. Last week we were invited along to see the refurbishment and try out the menu.

The Fox Menston

The Fox Menston review - photograph of dining room interior

The interior of The Fox Menston is just stunning. Brick walls, dark wood, luxurious seating, candles, open fires and pops of colour on the walls. I love the attention to details, like flowers on the table and mirrors on the walls. We haven't been before so can't compare it to the old decor but love their new look. I can imagine it  being a perfect place for a meal or bottle of wine on a cold winters day.

The Fox Menston starters

The starter menu at The Fox Menston has dishes to suit most people. There are nibbles, sharing platters, soup of the day, meat, seafood and vegetarian starters. We have the deep fried brie in panko breadcrumbs with chutney and salad to share. The portion is really generous so I am glad we are sharing!

It tastes amazing, a crisp outside with an oozing centre and the chutney is the perfect accompaniment.

The Fox Menston review - deep fried brie with chutney

The Fox Menston review - deep fried brie with chutney


The Fox Menston main course

For a main course at The Fox Menston there is a huge choice of meat and fish dishes, pasta, pizza, burgers and steaks. There are lighter meals too like sandwiches and salads. For vegetarians there are a few options to choose from too.

Ellie has the home made British beef burger with Irish cheddar, mustard mayonnaise, relish and fries. Like the starter it is a good portion size, the burger is huge. The burger is juicy and well cooked and the fries are especially good. I really like the relish, it's great for dunking in a chip you pinch.

The Fox Menston review - home made British beef burger with fries

The Fox Menston review - home made British beef burger with fries

 I have the roasted pork belly and seared scallops with potato dauphinoise, butternut squash puree, green beans, toasted almonds and crackling. Pork belly is my go to dish when eating out as it's not something I cook at home, so I'm becoming a pork belly expert.

The Fox Menston review - roasted pork belly with seared scallops

The Fox Menston review - roasted pork belly with seared scallops

The Fox Menston review - roasted pork belly with seared scallops

This is an amazing pork belly dish. The pork is cooked so the fat has rendered away, leaving it moist and delicious. Who doesn't love a good piece of crackling? It's super crispy and salty and adds a great crunch to the meal. The vegetables and puree go well with the meal. I have to say the potato dauphinoise need a special mention, it is SO good! Soft potatoes with a crispy outside, creamy, garlicky and the ultimate comfort food.

Scallops are something I always want to try but then order something else, so this is my first time trying them. Whilst I like the taste the texture just isn't for me. This is obviously nothing against The Fox Menston, just my personal palette. I am glad I have eaten one though and they are a great accompaniment to the pork belly dish.

The Fox Menston - dessert

The dessert menu again has a great choice. Sharing desserts, cheese boards, hot and cold desserts as well as lighter choices and mini desserts with a hot drink.

The Fox Menston review - vanilla creme brûlée with biscuits

The Fox Menston review - vanilla creme brûlée with biscuits

 After all the yummy food we are both pretty full. But, there is always room for a dessert, even if you share like us.

We have the vanilla creme brûlée with home made biscuits and strawberries. How adorable is the presentation? I love anything that comes in a teacup so this is a winning dessert before I even taste it. It is delicious though. A crispy sugar top, creamy creme brûlée and the strawberries and biscuits add a great touch.

The Fox Menston final thoughts

I really love the new design of The Fox Menston. It is chic and stylish whilst still keeping the countryside cosy pub feel. The food is incredible, I can't fault a single thing from the dishes we had. It's definitely somewhere I can see myself going for a meal again, either with Ellie or with friends. The location is perfect if like me you like to have a little wander around too; Although after three amazing courses you might also need to go home to put your pj bottoms on be full to bursting.

The staff we spoke to are all lovely, friendly and attentive without being overbearing. They know the menu and the food really well too.

I want to go back and try the Sunday roast dinner, so we will hopefully be doing that soon.

I would love to know what you think of the food we had. Would you have chosen the same dishes? Have you been to The Fox Menston before?


Thursday, 1 November 2018

My Cook Box

You will all already know I love eating out, it's something I share regularly on here. One thing you might not know though is that I am a huge fan of cooking too. I really enjoy cooking (and eating) new meals and our family favourites. When meal planning for the weekly shop though it is so easy to stick to meals you know how to make and that you know everyone likes. And eating the same thing week in week out gets boring pretty quickly! Meal subscription boxes take the weekly meal planning out, as well as saving on actual food shopping and weighing and measuring the ingredients. I recently heard about My Cook Box and had to give them a go.

What is My Cook Box

My Cook Box - delivery box

My Cook Box is a flexible meal subscription box. Each week you can choose 3 recipes, for either 2 or 4 people, and they will deliver everything you need to make them. It costs £24.99 for a 2 person box and £39.99 for a 4 person box. The recipes change weekly and you see them a couple of weeks in advance to choose from. If you don't fancy a box one week or if you're going away you can skip deliveries online. The cancellation process looks really easy too.

Inside the My Cook Box

My Cook Box - food contents

I have the 2 person box, so have the ingredients for three meals for two people. Everything is individually packaged and weighed out ready to use. My boxes arrive on a Saturday but the boxes have special packaging and insulation to keep everything cold if you are not in.

My Cook Box - Mexican Beef Enchiladas 

My Cook Box - Mexican Beef Enchiladas

The first meal from our first My Cook Box is the Mexican Beef Enchiladas. The recipe is really easy to follow, the timings are all correct and the meal tastes great. The portion size is huge and could probably feed three lighter appetites. The enchiladas are a big hit with Ellie who is quite fussy and hard to please sometimes!

 My Cook Box - Fennel and sausage pasta

My Cook Box - Fennel and sausage pasta

The second meal from our My Cook Box is fennel and sausage pasta. Again the recipe is really easy to follow and makes an incredibly tasty dish. The tuscan sausages are really high quality and taste great. Like with our first dish there are two huge portions for us.

My Cook Box - Tartiflette style bake

My Cook Box - Tartiflette style bake

Our last meal from the My Cook Box is tartiflette style bake, a potato and pancetta bake. This is the meal I was most looking forward to trying and it doesn't disappoint. It is delicious and a real Autumnal comfort food. Like the previous recipes it is easy to follow. The portions aren't as large with this dish, which is perfect for us but bigger appetites might be left wanting a bit more.

My Cook Box final thoughts

I am really happy with my first My Cook Box delivery. The meals are easy to cook and all taste great. I really love that the recipe cards are so detailed and you can use them again to re-make the meal. My ingredients are all really fresh and high quality. It has been great to not need to think about all of our meals for the week and we have some new recipes to add to our meal plans now.

One thing worth noting is the delivery does use a lot of plastic. There isn't as much as previous meal subscription boxes I have used but it is still there. I'm not too sure what the company can do about it though? Whilst I think herbs could be perhaps in a paper bag I can't see how else they can send the meat.

I'm really happy with the price of the subscription, £24.99 works out at about £4.16 per person per meal. We are keeping the subscription open and will probably get a box once a month or so, depending on the recipes on offer. My Cook Box freshens up our weekly menu and is great for busy weeks as it cuts out a huge food shop and pre-meal preparation.

You can see the recipes on offer for the next couple of weeks here and sign up for your own subscription too.


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