Review: Mister Paste’s new sweet and sour mango sauce makes vegetarian cooking easy!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Mister Paste New Vegetarian Mango Sauce Review
Photo source: MisterPaste.co.uk

I don’t always make vegetarian meals even though I did wish I made more of an effort to. LO is not a big meat fan – unless it’s oven cooked (fish fingers/chicken nuggets/turkey drummers), or meatballs with spaghetti you couldn’t get him to even touch it with a barge pole.

When the founder of Mister Paste, Ian (you can read more about Ian and his company in an interview post I wrote here) got in touch last month to inform me of his new sauce I was more than intrigued to try it out. Mister Paste’s vegetarian line of food had been recently accredited by the Vegetarian Society and was exhibiting at the Just V Show in Olympia.

So let’s talk about the mango sauce… it’s a lovely rich sauce that reminds me of Nandos’ mango and lime marinade (due to the kaffir lime leaves and mango sauce) and the consistency a Chinese sweet and sour sauce. It’s rich, sweet and tangy sauce is delicious, on the recipe printout included in the pack mentions that you could add fresh mango chunks but the sauce has so much flavour (made from real mango puréed, you don’t need to). I had made two dishes with the sauce; one for myself with Quorn cubes and the other with pan-fried salmon for the family as they’re not a big fan of Quorn.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Mister Paste New Vegetarian Mango Sauce Review
Quorn chunks with vegetables and egg noodles

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Mister Paste Vegetarian Mango Sauce Review

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Mister Paste New Vegetarian Mango Sauce Review
Pan-fried salmon with veggies and egg noodles

The sweet and sour mango sauce and other ingredients come in vacuum-sealed bags. All I had to buy was my choice of protein (salmon and Quorn), one red pepper, fresh coriander and lemon. I added in fish sauce instead salt as well as black pepper for seasoning and taste. I loved the chilli flakes that came with the pack so much that I bought extra. 🙂 I didn’t add all the flakes because otherwise the children and Daddy P wouldn’t have been able to eat it so it was more of a sweet and tangy mango sauce than a spicy one. But that suited our taste buds just right.

I had also originally planned the dish to be made with jasmine rice but we had egg noodles left over from when I was planning to make salmon teriyaki so we used that as a sub instead. I imagine that the dish would’ve been just as delicious with rice but somehow it felt a bit healthier and lighter with soy-tossed egg noodles. Daddy P who was initially sceptical about a fruity and savoury sauce admitted that he enjoyed it. I certainly did and so did the kids and my sister who was over for dinner.

Mister Paste’s sauce packs are literally an all-in-one product. The packs provide you with not only the sauce but the ingredients to go with it (all measured out for you) and comes complete with instructions on how to use it which is quintessentially the recipe on how to make the dish. Any ingredients that may be an allergen are highlighted in bold so you know exactly what goes in it.

I am very thrilled that the company’s vegetarian line has been recognised and accredited with an awarding body. It’s a statement to show everyone that Mister Paste really knows his stuff and can deliver high-quality sauces and pastes to vegetarians, non-vegetarians and those in-between like me! 🙂

LookFantastic.com August Beauty Box Review

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | LookFantastic Beauty Box Review
Shop the beauty box here

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I wrote my LookFantastic July beauty box review – it was quite popular review on my blog. I’m not going to deny it, it was a pretty good box. I never got round to posting this beauty box review last year so thought I would do it now… now that it’s August again! 🙂

This review is on the August 2016 beauty box from LookFantastic with a British theme, “Best of British”. I liked this box because it contained products just from UK brands. 100% British! It was a good box – my top three products from this box are the:

  1. REN Flash Defence anti-pollution mist toner (60ml, £24.00)
  2. Balance Me congested skin serum (15ml, no longer available individually)
  3. Bee Good honey & vanilla lip balm (10ml, £4.75)

The Mist
The REN anti-pollution mist was really nice to use. Whenever I needed to freshen up my face, a little spritz was very welcomed. It felt light and fresh on my skin and because it doesn’t have a scent I could use it again and again without being sick of a smell. It’s the ideal product on a hot, sticky summer’s day. The packaging is sleek and minimal which I really love – let the product do the talking right?!

What I didn’t like about the spray was that for a sample size it’s teeny weeny at 9ml. I used it daily and it was almost finished in two weeks but saying that, the full size version is 60ml so you’d get six times of two weeks worth (12 wks) which is pretty decent but slightly pricey at £24.00 a bottle.

If you do fancy giving it a try, I’d recommend going for the REN Urban Grey skin kit which is cheaper at £13.00 and has the mist (in the 9ml sample size) as well as the flash balm 1-minute facial cleanser (15ml) and the anti-ageing day cream moisturiser (15ml). This sample sized kit would be great if you’re travelling or need something small you can take on holiday.

The Serum
The Balance Me congested skin serum was also extremely lightweight and easy to use. I love the tube of the serum. In terms of packaging, its tip-application tube means that you could squeeze out every last bit of product before throwing the tube away. Definitely cost-effective.

I think this product is no longer available as a stand-alone product. Maybe Balance Me are planning to discontinue it… I dunno but it’s a little disappointing because it is actually a really good product. If you’re familiar with the Balance Me range and want to give this serum a try, it’s available in the Deluxe Clearer Skin kit which you can buy from LookFantastic.com.

The Lip Balm
Bee Good’s honey & vanilla lip balm smells absolutely divine! I love the smell and the consistency of the lip balm. It goes on very smoothly and feels very lightweight on the lips. The packaging is cute – the yellow colour I guess represents the honey and vanilla and the honeycomb design goes well with the bee logo and the brand name, “Bee Good”.

The honey and vanilla provides a good amount of moisture for the lips however for me personally I felt the lip balm was too lightweight. I’m used to the thicker consistency of Carmex balms but most days I can overlook this because of its delicious scent. 🙂

The other products in the box:

RENU Lip And Eye Active Lift (25ml, £11.00)
This is a lightweight lip and eye cream. The natural ingredients in this eye cream helps to stimulate collagen in the skin which plumps and firms the skin. The arnica extract in this product will also help to combat puffiness. If you have ageing skin or looking for a product to help give you a more youthful appearance, this RENU lift cream is right for you.

Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm (75ml, £18.00)
A great little hair saviour. Percy & Reed is a brand that I am familiar and this wonder balm has some great reviews. It can be used alone or as a hair primer for other styling products. It’s best to apply it to towel-dried hair but can also be used on dry hair sparingly to give volume.

Bloom And Blossom Rejuvenating Facial Spritz (100ml, £15.00)
Two facial spritz in the same box! This one was bigger than the REN one which was my personal favourite out of the two. This Bloom & Blossom spray has a scent which smells quite earthy but don’t let that put you off because it’s a very light scent. The spray can be used over make-up and at anytime of the day. The aloe vera extract soothes the skin and leaves it soft to the touch. This spray is made without any parabens, SLS or synthetic nasties and is not tested on animals. Perfect for those who are looking for a green and ethical product.

And that’s it!

Out of all the six products, I had three faves but that’s not to say the other three weren’t good they just weren’t to my personal taste. If you liked this review, check out my other box reviews using the search bar at the top of the blog page.


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NB. This page contains affiliate links

Healthy fizzy drinks for the family with the SodaStream Fizzi

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Lizzie King x SodaStream

Last month I was invited to a wonderful event. SodaStream had just launched their new range, the Fizzi and had linked up health chef Lizzie King to put on an evening soiree for guests to sample her delicious sugar-free cocktails (and mocktails). As a non-drinker I was a bit unsure if it’d be wise for me to attend but then thought why not?! Just because I don’t drink alcohol doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a beverage. I was also very intrigued on what type of mocktails could be made sugar-free as they are usually loaded with sugar.

The event was held at the Clerkenwell Grind. A lovely urban place to go for drinks and nibbles. The event was held downstairs in an intimate little bar area. I was treated to a lovely drink on arrival – I picked the Watermelon Cooler and all I can say is WOW! It tasted amazing!! Fresh watermelon juice, a hint of mint, all topped up with sparkling water from the SodaStream Fizzi machine. I literally downed my drink, it tasted that good. I also met another mummy blogger there and we started talking. She was also a non-drinker so I felt much better. 🙂 We chatted away about babies, blogging and had a good laugh.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | SodaStream Lizzie King Event

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | SodaStream Lizzie King EventThen a second round of mocktails came, this time it was a peach bellini.  I was sceptical if it’d be nice and… I was right. It didn’t taste nice. The combination of fresh peaches juiced (which was heavy and bitty) with light sparkling water was something I wasn’t used to. I was not a fan of this combination especially after having the watermelon one. I didn’t finish my bellini mocktail but politely drank enough.

Lizzie King floated about the event, looking amazingly polished in a beautiful white dress teamed with red lips and natural makeup. She looked absolutely stunning. I’ve had a look at her cookbook on Amazon called Lizzie Loves Healthy Family Food and it’s got some really nice recipes that I’d like to try out.

Halfway through the event, Lizzie thanked everyone for coming and spoke a little bit more about her recipes including the mocktails. She explained that she wanted to create something the whole family could enjoy which wasn’t loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. The #sparklingsummer drinks recipe book has 5 interesting recipes to try including the two I tried (the watermelon one and peach one). There’s also a cocktail and mocktail guide at the end of the booklet to show you how to get the best mix.

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | SodaStream Lizzie King event
The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | SodaStream Lizzie King event

Before the end of the evening, I had a bit of fun with all the different SodaStream machines. I tried the entry level range, the Fizzi (pictured above) which was super easy to use and I loved the traditional push button function. All the other machines had an automatic button function. The sleek design of the Fizzi would look great on anyone’s kitchen worktop. At the end of the event, I received my very own SodaStream Fizzi complete with a #sparklingsummer drink recipe book to try out at home. I was over the moon!

A month on, all I can say is that I am still in love with my Fizzi machine. It’s like having sparkling water on tap! 🙂 The kids still love their water and squash with water but now LO can ask for “fizzy juice” (sugar-free dilute squash with sparkling water) and I don’t have to feel guilty about giving it to him. I’ve hardly had soft drinks since I started my health and fitness journey but now I can enjoy a little bit of fizz without feeling guilty.

With our Fizzi machine, we use it on a daily basis. We just can’t get enough of it! I’m yet to host a house party to show off my mocktail skills but I’m very happy that in the meantime I can offer friends and family both still and sparkling beverages. All of the machines have a gas canister that needs to be changed when it runs out. I have used mine daily and I think there’s still quite a lot of uses left which makes the Fizzi an economical purchase. The canisters are available from Argos and I’ve been told by the SodaStream team that empty canisters can be returned to the Argos stores for safe disposal.

If you’re looking for a new useful gadget in the home and are a fan of sparkling drinks, I highly recommend purchasing the SodaStream machines. Prices start from £99.99 for the new ranges but I’ve found older models on Google from just £40… a bargain. 🙂

My LookFantastic Black Friday Beauty Box Review

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It’s taken yonks to publish this Look Fantastic Beauty Box review. I’ve just not had a chance to go through all of the products yet and mummy life has caught up with me so yeah… apologies guys! I was originally planning to make a video for this review but I don’t think I will at the moment though if I do change my mind, I’ll update this post accordingly.

Okay, so as you know Black Friday has become a MASSIVE thing. It’s one day (apart from Cyber Monday and New Years sales) when people go crazy and splash out the cash on everything from food to football shorts. For me, I decided to indulge myself and my debit card in purchasing a lovely beauty box.

The LookFantastic.com team created a luxury bumper box for Black Friday which was priced at £20.00. It contained no less than 10 samples and I’m going to go through what I got in my box and give you my thoughts on each product and the overall beauty box.

So here’s what I got in my box…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: LF Black Friday Beauty Box Review

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: LF Black Friday Beauty Box Review

First Impressions

There’s a LOT of products but a lot of products I’ve actually had before!

Now, my main reason why I desperately wanted to buy this bumper box was because I saw their launch post which showed a list of ‘promised’ brands that would be in the box. These included my faves – Rituals, BareMinerals and Benefit… I really wanted to get at least one of these.  Even the image they used to promote the bumper box which you can see on my Black Friday Promo post had an Elemis product in it but apparently the image is for “display purposes only”… I didn’t get any of the brands I wanted but I did get two of the ‘promised’ brands, Nuxe and Caudalie.

Bot being funny but what disappointed me about this box  was that it was so many products were repeats from previous boxes. This is one reason why I stopped subscribing to Birchbox. At least include more different products that customers wouldn’t have gotten before in your limited edition boxes!

As an LF affiliate I really do love their stuff and adore their beauty boxes but this Black Friday box let me down. I felt like I could’ve put that £20 to better use like buying a REN skincare kit from their site which is even cheaper (£15!)

The Products

Moving on, let me show you what else I got…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: LF Black Friday Beauty Box Review

Tan Organic self-tan oil, Cowshed moisturising hand cream, This Works 3 in 1 moisturiser (primer/mask/moisturiser)…

Tan Organic Self Tan Oil
I do like this tanning oil but for me, nothing can beat St. Tropez – it is and will forever be my favourite self-tanning lotion. It comes in spray, mousse, lotion and dry oil form.. you can’t really beat that. And the colour is great, it’s light and very natural looking. For me personally, I found it too light and felt a second application was necessary as it wasn’t as dark as I wanted it.

Cowshed
The Cowshed moisturising hand cream was a surprise for me as I didn’t think I would get something from this brand in the box so it was a nice surprise. I do like Cowshed and never used any of their stuff before and quite liked their hand cream. It’s not too heavy in terms of texture and sinks into the skin well.

This Works
Okay so this product… when I first tried it I completely hated it. I thought it was heavy and did nothing but sit on my skin but oh how wrong was I?! It’s now one of my skincare staples. I already got one in a previous box which I’m currently using so I am glad to see this repeated product in this box.

Yes the 3-in-1 moisturiser is slightly heavier than what I’m used to but what do you expect? It’s a primer…  and a mask… and a moisturiser, of course it’s going to be heavier than a lightweight moisturiser.

I think if you have very oily skin you might want to just use this product as a mask or just as a night cream. For all other skin types including combination it’s great for any one of its purposes. I’ve got combination skin; hydrated/normal and oily t-zone, cheeks and chin. It’s got shea butter, argan oil, borage oil and aloe vera in it which will give your skin just enough moisture without leaving it feeling heavy. Once it’s completely sunken into the skin after application (which takes about a minute) it’s semi-matte to the touch which is probably why it makes a great primer. My makeup did last a little longer with this on underneath. Absolutely amazing stuff and I definitely recommend it!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: LF Black Friday Beauty Box Review

Mr. Blanc teeth whitening strips, MiTi hair bobbles, Kebelo Silk anti-frizz hair cream, Nuxe Huile Prodiguese shimmering dry body oil, Bella Pierre lip & cheek cream stain…

Mr. Blanc
Okay this product I didn’t use at all. I am not a fan of teeth whitening strips as my teeth are quite sensitive so didn’t try them out even though I do need them for all the large amounts of tea I drink!

They’re still sitting there in the box and to be honest I thought it was a random addition to the box. So sorry guys but I can’t comment on this product. Maybe they’re great but you’ll have to look for another review on these.

MiTi
I am in love with these anti-snag hair bobbles. When I first heard about them I refused to get them but after trying them in a previous beauty box I actually fell in love. I have completely swapped all of my hair bands for these now and haven’t gone back since. Okay, maybe for an intense cardio or kettlebell workout I might switch to a normal hairband as I need a seriously tight grip on my thick hair but for 99% of the time these bobbles do the trick. They do end up stretching but I find when you leave them alone for a little while they shrink back. A friend of mine told me you can place them in hot water to shrink them back if they don’t go back naturally. I’ve not tried it yet but will do if it gets to that stage. Luckily my hair bobbles have always regained shape albeit being a little stretched out than before.

They don’t leave a dent in your hair unless you wear them tight or wear them for a long time. I wear them to bed and can’t feel them at all. I don’t wake up with head tension like I used to with standard hair bands either. They’ve actually been a life-changer. They also make a great teething ‘toy’ for babies lol.. well my little girl loves to snatch them from me to chew… then she snapped one with her sharp growing tooth so now I hide them from her.

Kebelo
One of my local salon raves about this product. I actually really like this product, it works well and doesn’t leave my hair feeling heavy or greasy at all. Its anti-frizz properties does work, I usually let me hair air dry after washing and it does tend to frizz a little due to humidity but it was fine after using this cream. The cream also smells really nice and is a very lightweight cream which made me more confident when I used it as I didn’t think it would weigh my hair down.

Nuxe
I love the Huile Prodiguese range. It smells amazing and the multi-purpose dry oil makes it great for everyone. My favourite time to use the dry oil is in the evening after a relaxing bath. I put it all over my face and body. I don’t use it in my hair but you can do (the beauty of a multi-purpose oil!) Going to sleep smelling of this stuff makes me feel like a million dollars haha! Sad I know but seriously… this. stuff. smells. so. good.

Okay so the reason why I am not a massive fan of the shimmer version is because I am quite light in complexion so I personally don’t like shimmery products unless I’ve got a bit of a tan and I’m not going to tan myself just to use the shimmering dry oil. I also hate seeing the shimmer on my hands after application which means I’d have to wash my hands and that defeats the purpose f moisturising my hands with the oil. It is a lovely product and I highly recommend it but if you’re not into a shimmer finish, definitely go for the original!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: LF Black Friday Beauty Box Review

Caudalie eye cream, Spa Magik colour correcting cream (dark), Korres basil lemon shower gel, Naobay oxygenating cream moisturiser, Lancer exfoliating cleanser…

Caudalie
I love the Caudalie brand. Their radiance moisturiser and serum are great products to use. I am not a big fan of eye cream so haven’t tried this product either. It does have SPF which is great especially if you’re going abroad (probably the only time I think of using eye cream) or have fair skin. The skin around the eye area is very delicate so an eye cream with added SPF is a dream.

Spa Magik
I tried this product as I was really intrigued to see if it would really correct my skin. Happily enough it did and the product was really nice to use. I did find the dark shade a little too dark for me, it suits my tanned summer skin more so not a good product for me right now while I’m lighter. I have a little bit of redness on my cheeks and it seemed to cover it up well. It gave me a lovely dewy glow but I did find the cream a little too heavy for me on the skin.

Korres & Naobay
Unfortunately I cannot comment on these two products because I still haven’t tried them out! I wasn’t a big fan of the smell of the Korres gel wash and I’m still using my This Works moisturiser so not got round to using this product.

Lancer

Lancer’s micro exfoliator is an amazing product. I really love it – I didn’t at first as it is much more grainier than I am used to (I prefer my Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant and Liz Earle exfoliator but it’s a good product to try). This product really sloughs away those dead skin cells to reveal a fresh layer of skin after just the first use. It smelt of lavender which was an added bonus. I found that because the exfoliator is quite abrasive, if using daily don’t rub it into your skin. Smoothing it in a circular motion is highly advised. I will definitely be purchasing this product again but in the winter when my skin is a little drier. My skin tends to work better with cream or finer face scrubs in summer.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: LF Black Friday Beauty Box Review

And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed the LF beauty box review. Hopefully the review helped you made up your mind on some of the products you may have seen before and wanted to try. 🙂

All the products can be found on the LookFantastic website.

The Greenwich Mummy | Affiliate Look Fantastic Beauty Box

 

Review: Fresh curry pastes and sauces delivered straight to your door with Mister Paste

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Mister Paste Review

Love a good curry but don’t know how to make your own paste? Or maybe, like me, you just don’t have the time? 

Fear not because help is at hand. I love all these companies that deliver fresh food straight to your door – Hello Fresh, Fresh Fitness Food, and a new fresh curry paste company that I discovered last week called Mister Paste.

A former work colleague told me about Mister Paste (it’s her partner’s business) and she asked if I would like to try out some of their products – of course I said yes! 🙂

1) because I love food and 2) because helping out other small businesses is a good thing

She sent me a link to her partner’s website and I checked out the large range of pastes and sauces available. The site was really easy to navigate around and I was surprised with how cheap the pastes were as they’re made fresh. I chose the portion option for two people as I knew LO and Baby Girl would just be eating from our portion.

So I chose two curry pastes that I am very fond of; Thai Green Curry and Rogan Josh. For me, the balance of spices, sweetness and saltiness has to be on point in order for me to consider the recipe being a fantastic one. I had very high expectations for these curry pastes that I was going to try.

The kits arrived really quickly, around 2 working days, and there was a message on the packaging that said to refrigerate as soon as they’d arrived which I did. I originally wanted to save my Thai Curry for when I bought seafood but we only had chicken breast in the fridge that day so I made a chicken green curry instead. Continue reading “Review: Fresh curry pastes and sauces delivered straight to your door with Mister Paste”

Review: Personalised gifts for her from JewelleryBox.co.uk

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Jewellery Box Review

It’s Mother’s Day – woop woop! 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day! 

It’s been such a long time since I last posted anything and it’s because there’s been quite a few changes. I came up to the end of my maternity leave and decided to go back to work… just not back to where I was working. There was nothing wrong with the place – I had a good team, the workload was manageable and I liked the workplace but now with two children under 5, the commuting made me anxious to return.

I found another job closer to home, it’s literally a 5 mins walk away which obviously much more convenient in terms of travel. Dropping off LO at nursery is en route to work and the job role gives me more flexibility. I can choose to work from home if I have childcare problems and can’t get into the office and I can spread my hours over the week (working half-days) without having to worry about any bus, tube or train commuting. Ker-ching!

So that’s basically why I’ve not been present on the old blogosphere for the last month. Work is manic – I have paperwork, bookings and deadlines up to my ears. Already! It’s stressful but I guess it is because it’s still early days. When I got an email asking if I’d like to write a review on personalised jewellery I said yes without hesitation. It’s been such a long time since I owned any piece of jewellery it was a chance for me to reintroduce myself to it.

I’m always torn between gold and silver so I picked a dainty little gold bracelet with ID plate and a silver disc pendant necklace – both of these items were from the personalisation collection so that meant I could add an engraving of my choice on to the jewellery. I chose the simple engraving of “K & A” for the initials of LO and Baby Girl. Both items arrived quickly and were presented in beautiful gift boxes. If you love dainty, quirky little jewellery pieces you need to check out their website. Continue reading “Review: Personalised gifts for her from JewelleryBox.co.uk”