Breezing the seasons with Hello Day Supplements

Have you ever noticed how your skin or general well-being takes a little adjusting through each new season. I’m always ready mentally for the change, I love seeing trees turn shades of red in autumn, the anticipation of snow in winter and gardens coming to life in spring. Physically I’m not always as good as catching up, my skin especially gives a little grumble and my winter afternoon slump isn’t as easy to embrace when the skies are blue and spring walks are beckoning.

So this spring I took a little helping hand with some carefully tailored supplements from Hello Day. My box came with the promise of vitality, libido stimulant (yeah, I won’t be sharing how I got on with that, my mum reads this!)  a digestion detox and finally something to help with my circulation. Initial thoughts lead me to think that in 6 weeks time I’d be very happy, energetic, tactile (read that bit as you like) single mum with great bowel movements. Not a bad place to be at 41, I’d say.

Joking aside, just knowing I would be on the right track to helping reduce some of the burnout tiredness which comes with my lifestyle thanks to the magnesium in the vitality supplements was enough to hook me in. I’m guilty of burning the candles at both ends; working to the early hours then waking with my 3-year-old early the next day.

I’d considered taking Siberian Ginseng in the past to help nudge me in the right direction and I had high hopes it would this time, as well as improving my mental and physical energy. The vitality supplements also contain passion-flower to induce calmness, great,  as I always stress at balancing my personal and work life.

I’m not worried about watching my weight at the moment but there’s always room for improvement to help with a body detox. The detox supplements promised to do this by improving my digestive tract health and appetite. I fell off the healthy bandwagon for a while and to get me back on it, a gentle detox was perfect kickstart.
It’s been a month now since I completed everything in my Hello Day box so I thought it was high time I reflected the effects it had had. The whole energy thing was the first thing I noticed an improvement with, that afternoon slump which always hit disappeared, helping me focus on work and be a lot more productive during the day. So much so that a month on from stopping this supplement I’m back to fighting off the urge to nap come 3pm. (Time for a new box I think!)
Hello Day boxes certainly lived up to their promise to helped see me through the season change in a nice, subtle way. It’s not so much you notice how good you feel but rather, you don’t noticed how much you’re struggling to adjust. In a not knowing a good thing until it’s gone sort of way.
You still with me? I know they’ve worked as since stopping them, I’ve finding I could do with some help with my fatigue and mental sharpness.
I’ve been browsing their site looking at what else I could do with help with and there’s certainly some scope for a stress and relax supplements in my life to see me through school holidays and ward off burn out as I combine juggling workloads, childcare and mum guilt.
And the Sleep Rest promise of some relaxation to help me fall asleep naturally is music to my ears. It combines natural ingredients such as Valerian to cope with a busy lifestyle and daily stress, and Lemon Balm for a positive mood and calm wellbeing.
I guess you could say that my little experiment worked and I’m ready to step back into starting my day with the helping hand, if only to get me through this niggling urge to take a nap while I’m trying to finish this post!
breezing the seasons with a HelloDay box of supplements
Disclaimer
I received a complimentary box of Hello Day supplements in return for sharing my experience of using them.
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Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese

Its’s not the first time I’ve raved about HelloFresh delivery boxes, (you can read all about the time I discovered them here.) As a busy, working mum of 3, they’re an absolute lifesaver as they take the stress out of deciding what to cook and having to go buy the ingredients. I’ve just restarted my deliveries after a year break as I’ve found I was cooking the same things week after week.

I’ve only been ordering 3 meals a week so that still leaves a few days, to think up healthy meal ideas. So rather than trawl through my cook books ( that super busy mum thing again) I’ve used their new  Flavour Generator to help find some recipes. I can do all this while I’m on the site choosing my meals for the next delivery so my whole weeks meals are dun and dusted in one sitting.

It’s a great tool for helping you decide what to cook and try out some new recipes, this week I was in the mood for something Italian. You can you can choose between Italian, British, Middle Eastern, Mexican and Indian on the Flavour Generator drop down menu. Once you’ve decided on that, there’s more choices on the next drop down for flavour; tangy, herby, sweet or spicy. Then its spin and het presto! My Italian, herby mood brought up this recipe for Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese, it’s  a flavour full, tomato based vegetable bake with a breadcrumb top and tomato salad on the side. The pine nuts addition give it a really nice texture and best of all, you get to use up all the courgettes which are in abundance right now and  do some sneaky veggie hiding for reluctant vegetable eating kids.

Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese

Ingredients

  • half Red Onion
  •  2 Garlic Cloves
  •  1 Courgette
  •  0.5 punnet(s) Cherry Tomatoes
  •  1 ball(s)   Mozzarella
  • Tomato Passata
  •  0.75 tsp  Dried Oregano
  • 1 bunch Basil (20g)
  • 25 grams  Pine Nuts
  • 3 tbsp    Hard Italian Cheese
  • 20 grams  Panko Breadcrumbs
  •  1 Foccacia (I subbed for ciabatta)

Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees. Peel and finely chop the red onion and the garlic. Slice the courgette lengthways into ½cm strips. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half.
  2. Next cut three-quarters of your mozzarella into slices, as thin as you can (keep a quarter for your salad). Press kitchen paper or a clean tea towel onto each slice to soak up as much excess moisture as possible.
  3. Add a splash of olive oil to a pan and fry your red onion and garlic on medium-low heat for around 5 mins, or until soft. Tip: You can start step 5 at the same time to save some time.
  4. Add in the tomato passata with a pinch of salt, the oregano and a few grinds of black pepper. Bubble the mixture for 5 mins, then remove from the heat to cool down.
  5. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan on high heat. Once hot, fry your courgette strips in batches. Cook them for 1 minute on each side and then keep to the side. Do not overcrowd the pan as this will stew the courgette rather than brown it.
  6. Put enough (about a third) of your passata in an ovenproof dish to thinly cover the bottom. Top this with a layer of your courgette (you should use roughly half your courgette here as you’re going to repeat this step!). Next, layer on a couple of slices of mozzarella, followed by some torn basil and half of the pine nuts.
  7. Spread on another layer of passata, followed by your remaining courgette, a couple more slices of mozzarella and bit more basil (save some of each for your salad) and the rest of your pine nuts. Finally add one more layer of passata and top your parmigiana with the hard cheese and the breadcrumbs. Bake in your oven for 15 mins.
  8. Tear up a small handful of basil leaves and the remaining mozzarella. Toss these and your cherry tomatoes in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve your parmigiana with your salad and foccacia on the side.
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Win a Williams Waterless Wash & Wax Car Cleaning Set

Hands up who’s with me when it comes to the satisfaction of having a nice, clean car. Even with my chaotic, busy life, I try to find time to clear out the mess, give it a quick brush down and polish and remove the constant seagull poo target practice which keeps the pesky birds happy. (I swear they aim for my little car as soon as I’ve cleaned it.)

However, keeping the outside looking respectable isn’t as easy as it sounds, as any attempt of a quick car wash is non-existent as my helpful toddler insists on joining in and I spend most of my time guiding him away from the road and trying to stop him from standing in the bucket. To him it’s the ultimate muddy puddle – fun if you’re Peppa Pig, annoying if you’re a busy mum with a never-ending to-do list.
I've found another timesaving tip, a water wash and wax kit for my car. It's cut the car cleaning time by over half!

That last little niggle has been laid to bed recently though after discovering Williams Waterless Wash and Wax Car cleaning kit. I’ve managed to squirt, wipe and buff in a record 20 minutes this week, more than halving by usual sponge and bucket attempt.  It really was a simple case of wipe, polish and go. Simples! It makes the whole process of car cleaning much less messier, quicker and stress free and I’m keeping on top of it rather than waiting until I can’t read the number plate. Shine car – happy people. There’s a song in that somewhere, I’m sure.

Fancy seeing for yourself? Lucky for you then, to celebrate the anniversary of the launch of this time-saving car cleaning kit, I’m offering you the chance to win a kit of your own. It’s open to Uk residents over the age 18

(but if you can’t wait for the giveaway to end, it’s currently on sale at £14.99 during the Ideal World #JoinTheIdealParty week)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post.

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky
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A Very Hungry Caterpillar Themed Party

What I love about toddler’s birthday parties is that I get to indulge my own loves and likes and step back into a my own childhood. If you catch them early enough, before they have very little opinion on what theme they’d like it’s perfect you can pretty much indulge yourself.

After 15 years of parties and having to give in to Thomas the Tank Engine, Rory The Racing Car and Lego City, I wasn’t even going to enter in negotiations with The Toddler about what theme he would like for his impeding 2nd birthday.

The little he knows about my plans the better. He’ll get his chance for many more years to come!

One of my childhood loves is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a bright unusual book which I could stick my little fingers all the way through! I’m not sure why, or if there’s one sole reason for the appeal of the book. But one thing I DID know was that a book with pretty pictures for food and an underlying message about mundane looking caterpillars turning into beautiful butterflies has been one of my favourites to read my boys. (And possibly what inspired me to write a blog post about likening my teenager to a caterpillar!)

Or it could just have been the holes which ran all the way through appealing to my rebellious side.

So a Very Hungry Caterpillar party theme it will be for my boy. My only problem was having the time to get it all organised. So what does a busy mum do when there simply isn’t enough time in the day to surf the internet, sourcing party supplies? She heads straight over to Party Bags & Supplies and orders it all from one place!

If you do have time you can browse the site at your leisure you can fill your boots with all it has to offer or just like I did and pop a table wear set and pre filled party bags into your basket  and hey presto it’s delivered to your door ready for the big day.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar themed party for toddlers

 

My set came with a grass effect table cloth, plates, cups, napkins and party bags. You can even go all out with garlands, candles and a butterfly themed caterpillar though if you really want to impress the parents  kids. I must admit it really has taken the stress out of organising a kids party, I’m not sure what I find so stressful exactly but this year I feel so much better prepared.

And all I need to add now is cake!

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And that’s not all! If you’re feeling lucky Party Bags and Supplies are offering one lucky ready a £30 credit to their website ready for your next party. If you’re a UK resident and over the age of 18 you can enter below

 

Win a £30 Credit Voucher For Party Bags & Supplies

UK competitions at ThePrizeFinder – See more at: prize finder

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How to find professional services online

The internet is a wonderful thing, I’m sure you’ll agree. I think back to my pre computer/iphone/ipad days and its remarkable how I got anything done. I remember spending hours phoning insurance companies for quotes when I first need home insurance, waiting for the local paper to come out every Wednesday when looking for jobs or a flat to rent and furniture for said flat I was in search of. Or scouring notice boards then trying to memorize phone numbers.

It’s safe to say I have truly embraced this evolution of instant information and one of the handiest tools its given me is looking for services on-line. So much so, I no longer have any large, bulky yellow pages or Thompson directories gathering dust.

For example, when the Toddler was born, I was desperate for a newborn photo shoot. Not really knowing how much it would cost or the logistics around it I set about searching the web to find a photographer and their prices. It took a while and still required a fair amount of writing things down and emails being sent back and forth, as well as reaching out for recommendations on the ones I’d whittled down. I had a little more time on my hands back then with lots of sofa feeding sessions to take advantage of until I found the perfect photographer for my needs.

finding the right online professional service can be a mine field but I've found a few tips which help.

photo credit Phaze Photography

But in those 18 months and even simpler way of finding exactly what I’m looking for has evolved once more in the form of Bark.com which changed how I find professional services online completely. Instead of me doing the leg work, I typed in my requirements through a series of tick boxes and they did the searching. This meant I could find what I needed, within my budget and needs.

This method of finding a service online is super handy when trying to find someone when you don’t know the area. Maybe you’ve just moved or you’re looking for someone else, an elderly relative perhaps. Theres always the argument floating around that a good local firm doesn’t need to advertise, and that word of mouth is the best way to go about finding someone. while that is good advice, it’s not the only way. Much better to do your own research and then get recommendations, then checking, for example, the review section on Bark’s website.

I’m currently at this point myself. We need to call in a professional to finish a few jobs around the house, they’ve been on our to do list which is constantly ignored so with the new year enthusiasm I’ve made them a priority, my only problem being a very limited, post-Christmas budget and a serious lack of time. I’ll be taking my own advise and trying out Bark.com to see whats out there and with any luck, I can tick one or two jobs leaving more time to work on my other new years must dos.

finding the local and national professional services online can be made quicker and simpler with these tips;

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