Simple mid-week cooking with a Gousto Box

Chatting to a fellow mum at the nursery gates the other day, we got onto the topic of food and cooking our evening meals. As always, this conversation stemmed from talking about the weather, which we do love to talk about here don’t we. When the leaves start falling, we turn to hearty and wholesome dishes. But if you’re like me, I always tend to cook the same things, beef stew, chicken casserole, lasagne etc, I’m a bit of a sucker for the classics. It was this mum that recommended I try a Gousto box, quoting it as, a ‘bit of a lifesaver’ for her mid-week meals. This sounded right up my street. But who or what exactly are Gousto? Well, it was started by two friends, Timo and James back in 2011 when they founded themselves frustrated by the lack of time to cook in the evening and by the lack of decent supermarket ready meals (sounds familiar). They came up with the idea for recipe boxes, first selling at market stalls before setting up their online service. They source fresh produce from local farms in Lincolnshire, and the majority of ingredients come from the UK. They exclude additives, preservatives and chemicals, opting instead for wholesome, natural goodness and their meat is 100% British. Sounds good eh?


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Bright Future Challenge

Having a child brings with it great responsibility, it’s almost like they should be delivered complete with a Paddington Bear type note tied around their ankles, telling you that you must, ‘Remember to look after this baby and oh, forget about sleep for another fifteen years’. I may have not bonded with my baby straight away but I felt that need to protect her, the urge was enormous despite my tired state. And as my daughter has grown into the awesome two and a half year old that she is, along with that need to protect, I have felt the urge to want to help make the world a better place, the world in which she is growing up in. Having a child gets you thinking, what difference can I make to their lives? And it’s not just me either, apparently 83% of parents feel they want to make positive changes in their lives after the birth of their first child. We’re not all perfect (okay, maybe Kate Middleton is) and the reality is that as parents the majority of us lead busy lives often juggling work and home life, think lots of spinning plates. So can we actually make a difference? Can we truly challenge ourselves to make changes at home, that will have a positive effect on the world we live in?


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Hockey, inspiring the next generation

Hot off the back of the Rio Olympics and Hockey is still basking in the limelight. The nineteen ladies chosen to represent Great Britain hit a nerve with the UK public, finding themselves the heroines of an unbelievable fairy-tale that had the nation hooked. The Gold medal final was watched by nine million people, nine million, that’s an amazing amount for a sport that has taken a bit of a back seat until now. After we won Bronze at the London Olympics, hockey funding went up, and the participation of women in sport went up by 25%. We can only wait and see what the Rio effect will be, but I think it’s safe to say that as far as hockey is concerned, it will be a positive one. Those nineteen women had a shared goal (aside from winning Gold that is) and that was that they wanted to, ‘inspire the next generation‘. My club, Old Cranleighans started it’s junior section (Colts) nearly five years ago with just fifty children. They now count nearly three hundred mini-players. I caught up our Ladies Club Captain Helen Hawes, who helps coach the Colts, to find out more about it.


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Easy Chicken Biryani

The colder nights are closing in, it’s time to batten down the hatches and start cooking that comfort food. Over the Summer (yep, that did happen) it was all about delicious salads, whereas now that the seasons have shifted, the leaves are falling and the winter coats are making an appearance, there’s the need for warmer, tummy filling food. I do love a curry, especially if I’m feeling run down with a cold as the added ginger, garlic and spice make me feel like I’m helping kill any germs. I made this dish for the first time a few weeks ago. It’s a super quick,mid week meal to make. It’s a good ‘left-overs’ dish if you’ve got a few random veggies in the fridge that need cooking, and the added bonus is if you use one of those packets of microwavable rice, you can have this on the table in about 30 minutes. Winner, winner, chicken dinner 😉


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International Coffee Day

Saturday 1st October if you didn’t know it, was International Coffee Day (yep, there’s a day for everything) and being a coffee lover naturally I wanted to spend the day downing the stuff. I’ve written before about my love for strong stuff and how my trips to coffee shops aren’t quite as enjoyable anymore with the toddler in tow (think muffin throwing,  spilt drinks and flustered exits). So to be invited along to an afternoon at TY Soho minus the kid was an opportunity I jumped out. This was an Afternoon Tea of sorts, but obviously, with coffee. Our hosts Sophie and Phil guided nine of us through slurping six different types of coffee, paired with cake, ending with ice-cream *dreamy sigh*


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