A couple of weeks ago I did a REALLY LOVELY THING. I went to the HelloFresh headquarters in London, made a terrarium of my very own and then drank champagne and ate the best dauphinoise potatoes I have ever tasted. (Seriously, they were so good. If you’re a fan then you definitely need to read on to find out more about the HelloFresh Easter box.)

Basically I got invited to spend a couple of hours doing my FAVOURITE THINGS.

It was awesome.

We started the fun with a tour of the HelloFresh offices from Patrick, Head Chef at HelloFresh. Their space, as you can imagine, is pretty cool. Imagine that Google did food, and had meetings in an indoor potting shed, just next to a massive library of vintage recipe books. It’s like that.

HelloFresh Head Chef

HelloFresh Head Chef View Post

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unusual smoothie recipes

Belle is definitely a creature of habit.

Everyday I wake her up at the same time, and then again ten minutes later, and again ten minutes later, until she finally manages to drag herself out of bed. Whilst she gets dressed I go downstairs and make her a smoothie, a sandwich for her packed lunch and get her out a multivitamin. Although I realise that she is perfectly capable of blending her own fruit, it makes me feel like I’ve ticked off ‘parenting’ for the day, and I can then go about my business with a clean conscience.

Her smoothie of choice is banana and strawberry, with a dash of Naturya lucuma powder, which she says tastes of apricots. I also slip in a little bit of liquid evening primrose oil in a bid to reign in her hormones, although I have to say I’ve not noticed the difference.

Belle is not impressed if I deviate from the standard smoothie recipe.

I, on the other hand, love variety, which is why I love writing a blog for a living. In the last fortnight I’ve written about my pelvic floor, baked rice crispy cakes in Camden, riden around London in a Volvo watching TV, and made a terrarium in the Hello Fresh offices, all in the name of ‘work’.

Hahaha! Someone is definitely going to cotton on one day and make me get a job at the council.

But smoothies.

Smoothies are a super-duper way of getting a bit of variety into your diet. It’s dead easy to experiment with a smoothie, as you can just chuck in any damn thing you please. I’ve been having a play over the last week or so with the Breville Blend Active Pro personal blender. It’s one of those whizzy little blenders (quite literally), that act as a blender and flask in one. All you have to do in the morning, or before the gym, (ha!), is to pop your ingredients in the Blend Active Pro, whazz it up, and then pop on the lid. You’re good to go! View Post

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I had a rather fun day in London on Monday. In the afternoon I was driven around London while I got a sneaky look at the first episode of Big Little Lies, (read about it here), and in the morning I whipped up some Easter treats with the very lovely Olivia Wollenberg, founder of Livia’s Kitchen.

If there was ever a day when I felt incredibly lucky to make my living from blogging, then Monday was that day. (Also, having a whole box full of treats to share made me very popular with the film crew in the afternoon.)

Olivia has recently moved Livia’s Kitchen into a new kitchen office space near Camden. It’s Instagram heaven – lots of light streaming through big windows, white walls and cute kitchen gadgets. I was slightly nervous when I turned up, as Olivia is pretty successful, and I thought she might be scary, but she was anything but. As she told me the story of how she went from being a neuroscientist at Great Ormond Street to cooking up crumble in her parents’ kitchen, I think I may have fallen a little bit in love with her. She was just so genuine and warm and lovely – I want to buy all of her stuff now, just to make sure her business thrives.

Livia's Kitchen

Olivia’s approach to her business really resonated with me, as it felt so similar to my own. When I started my blog back in 2009, as a marketing tool to help establish myself as a journalist, I had no idea what I was doing. Literally no idea. I went into WHSmiths, wrote down loads of email addresses from magazines, and just emailed editors. View Post

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unusual frozen foods

Frozen foods get a bit of a bad name. If you’re my age – the Findus Crispy Pancake generation – you’d be forgiven for associating frozen foods with that cheap and cheerful kind of tea – fish fingers, chicken nuggets, that sort of thing.

Frozen foods have come a long way though since the ‘minced beef’ pancake of the 1980s and there are a lot of benefits to choosing frozen foods. Keeping a well stocked freezer saves you money, time and waste, and there are actually nutritional benefits too. You might not have thought about it, but the fact that food is frozen means they don’t need added preservatives, and so there are often fewer extra ingredients.

Take frozen mashed potato for instance. (Who knew that was a thing?) I picked a variety and looked at the ingredients – potato, butter, milk, salt and pepper. That’s it. Just like you would make at home.

Cool Cookery is on a mission to get people more excited about using frozen foods, so to inspire you, here are nine foods that a lot of people don’t even realise you can buy frozen and some tips on how to use them: View Post

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Kingsmill toast

Ahh!!! Toast.

Who doesn’t like a good piece of toast?

Toast is there for you through good times and bad. It’s cheap, it’s warm, it’s tasty – it’s everything you ever wanted in a snack. (And possibly a boyfriend, although probably not the cheap bit.)

I especially love toast because it makes me think of my Gran and Grandad. When I was little I used to spend quite a lot of time at their house, playing Monopoly with my Grandad and practising trigonometry with my Gran in the school holidays. (I was such a geek). Our meal of choice was tinned baked beans and sausages on toast.

I say ‘on toast’ but it was more ‘in between toast’. My Grandad and I would have two pieces of toast each, cut in half and arranged around the outside of the plate, making four walls for the baked beans and sausages in a steamy square in the middle of the plate. The toast was always just slightly overdone, which gave it a very particular smell. Thirty years on the smell of singed toast always takes me back to my Gran and Grandad’s dining table.

Kingsmill toast View Post

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