First Thoughts On Hello Fresh

The Sunday I had arranged for my box to get delivered I was ridiculously excited about it and was so happy when the text and email came through to let me know the hour slot that the driver was likely to arrive in. It resulted in a few quick messages between my friend and I, who lives just up the road, to see if we were on the same delivery round and then who ended up getting their box first.

Our driver was super friendly and I was able to have a little chat with him as we were signing the delivery machine and getting the pretty hefty cardboard box through the front door. The best thing about the delivery is it is done in association with DPD so there is none of that mysterious parcel delivery we have pretty much all gone through with some of those other less reputable delivery companies that brands continue to insist on using.

Up close of egg noodles, beef strips and spring onions in a bowl

Meats, fish and dairy came in an insulated bag within the box that had a couple of ice blocks inside to help ensure everything stayed super cool and fresh. This bag specifies that everything inside needs to be kept in the fridge and I went about taking everything out, checking the dates on things like the meat to figure out which order it would be best to cook the recipes in, and popping it into the freezer.

All the other ingredients came divided up into individual meal bags with coloured labels that matched a colour symbol on the recipe sheet. This allows you to either open the bags and move ingredients around or you can just pop the brown bags straight into the fridge. I opted to pop every bag straight into the bag and nothing seems to have had an issue with going into the fridge so far. The fact that they are not going to be sitting in the fridge for any longer than a week means that there is not really any issues but it also helps to keep vegetables cool and fresh without me having to stop and think about the temperature of the flat to whether it is okay to store something outside of the fridge.

Light yellow creamy curry with fish, butternut squash and herbs sticking out of the top

Everything so far has turned out to be fantastic quality in terms of ingredients, the recipes have been super easy to follow and the portions have been decent and generous enough to leave me satisfied and content at the end of the day. It will certainly be interesting though to go forward and see if the interesting variety continues or if it starts to feel pretty samey and predictable a month or so down the line.

I cannot wait to get stuck in more and see what other tasty dishes I can create in the kitchen based on the recipes given to me or using the inspiration from those original dishes in the future.

Backdating Blogs

In my last few posts, probably actually for the last few months, I have been hinting to how my mental health is not at 100% recently. Let us be real though and acknowledge that even when people look like they have it all together they are usually not mentally at 100% all of the time; no human can be despite all the motivational speeches about waking up and looking in the mirror every day of the week and reminding yourself of what you want to achieve and just getting out there and doing it.

Imagine if just getting out of bed to look in the mirror or make a cup of tea was that easy every morning let alone heading outside to achieve whatever your big life dream is. Sometimes making a cup of tea or having a shower and popping on fresh nightwear is as successful as a day is going to get and as long as we acknowledge those tiny little successes and try not to beat ourselves up to much (easier said then done) that is all okay.

I generally have a lot of my life sort of under control to people on the outside; I probably come close to falling under the high-functioning depressive category but that could be just because depression, anxiety and autism are really challenging to break apart and put certain manifestations down to one particular thing. But things have been pretty tough recently.

You might look at this blog post and see it dated February 22nd 2018 but, as a little secret, it was written on March 18th 2018 and backdated to not ruin the blogging schedule. I have spent today managing to pull together several posts but there were two scheduled days where a blog should be present that needed filling before the next two could go live and I figured it was time to address the issue here.

For me my blog is surprisingly important to me, even though I rarely chat about it in real life (only confuse friends by whipping my camera out at meal time) and increasingly I rarely share anything about it on social media (though this is partly linked to the internal shame of falling off the scheduling grid). I do not want there to be any gaps in my schedule for 2018 and even though my mind is frazzled I actually have so much content that can fill the gaps between where I left off and where I am mid-March that it seems such a waste to just let those days be silent. My blog has been one of my few constants over the last seven or so years I have had various sites and at various points of my life and the stability of it existing and content continuing to be produced matters to me.

So yes some of my posts will have passed by your feeds and they will not be loitering on my social media channels simply because the dates do not add up perfectly. This is something that I am starting to get back on track with and by the end of March, if not before, I should be back on schedule with posts going live on the intended date. If that does not happen though I am not going to beat myself up over it.

Attempting to maintain a schedule, by any means, is a big task in itself and especially when there are so many other things going on in life it is not so simple as sitting down on an evening after work and hammering at the keyboard. My attempts to make this continue to work and my dedication to the blog is enough to make me proud regardless of whatever follows.

In case anybody is concerned please note I am seeing various medical professionals about all of this and have an amazing group of friends, a caring partner, understanding family and a patient boss that are all helping me to weave my way through each day whilst also appreciating not every day I will be full of beans or able to interact like the me that sometimes pops out of the shell. Mental health is daunting, especially when you have been here before, but having a support network that actually gets it makes it so much less terrifying and helps to ease the mental burden and thoughts flying around in my brain.

Remember to be proud of yourself however small a certain task may seem. You are incredible for just managing to get through another day. I hope that next cup of tea or coffee you make tastes good and you get around to drinking it before it goes completely cold!

Starting Up Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is something that I had seen around for a long time through adverts and social media but until recently I had not encountered anybody in person that actually used them.

There are people on social media, including one of my favourite lifestyle/beauty YouTubers, that get sponsored to cook Hello Fresh on their channel every couple of weeks but whilst they are usually very honest with their reviews it is still a little hard to tell if it is really authentic (is anything authentic any more).

Other people on my social media use similar boxes by other companies and sing their praises based on price, quality, portions and delivery and that did increase my interest in wanting to try one of the boxes out but some let you choose the meals without access to the ingredients list and others seem to lack a real active community of people sharing their thoughts and experiences and that made me a little nervous.

On discussing it with one of my friends that uses Hello Fresh I decided it was time to give it a go, especially after he made us some super tasty burgers for a late lunch on a day when I was feeling super sorry for myself. Downloading the app I discovered a backlog of recipes I could access, things that I could search for specifically as well as them putting videos up for suggestions about what to do to liven up breakfast or an office lunch. The community feel that hello Fresh presents and is visible based on numbers of reviews on the app and the number of comments on social media was one of the things I was really looking for.

It is something that I am looking forward to trying out when the box arrives at my front door as the way the ingredients are divided and the recipes are presented just looks so warm and inviting. Given I am currently trying to ease the pressure of things on my mind to be able to focus on other life things and also just to avoid depression resulting in me not being able to figure out what to purchase and what to cook (because that results in unhealthy food and yet more weight gain) it will hopefully make me feel a little bit more like I have everything together.

For some people this certainly would not work because it only gives you meals for five days of the week but as we go to quite a few meetings or like to socialise with friends at points during a week it works out well for us not having too much food in the house but also because it still allows for a little creativity and space for my partner to whip something from his mind up.

My first box is expected to arrive on Sunday with the recipe and ingredients to make five dishes including a creamy fish curry, a chicken dish with a butternut squash and mozzarella jumble and also a sweet chilli beef noodle bowl and I absolutely cannot wait to get stuck into it and get back into the kitchen. Just thinking about the box arriving has me excited to do some cooking and that is a feeling I have been missing for a little while.

If you have tried Hello Fresh I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Food Youtubers I Love Right Now #1

My Instagram and YouTube subscriptions are a wide variety of food, lifestyle and beauty but I find myself getting sucked into the food hole a lot. My Instagram explore page is pretty much wholly food and my Youtube home page throws up videos from food channels from a number of years ago because I am so basic that their algorithm actually works for me.

But recently I have made an attempt to expand the channels I subscribe to on YouTube to get a bigger variety of food in my life. Several of these channels came from recommendations from friends and YouTube itself and it is safe to say that they can only be watched at certain times of the day otherwise I end up being very hungry!

Every month or so I am going to try and bring you five channels I am loving right now – there might be the occasional overlap of channels but generally I am hoping I can include five different channels each time. The five below are pretty well known but the further on we get the more obscure and small channels I am hoping to be able to include. Keep tuned and follow my blog for more in the future!

Emmy Made In Japan

Emmy does a wide variety of food videos but a lot of them are not things that you would actually want to follow and give a go yourself. Some of my favourite videos on her channel are trying out various military ration packs and spicy food challenges. She also tries out some pretty weird gadgets that leave me facepalming at the idea they were ever created in the first place.

Sorted Food

If you have been around reading my blog for a while you will know that I attended an event in collaboration with the Co-Op and Sorted Food at the end of 2018 and I am a huge fan of videos. The balance of funny, knowledge and approaches amongst the group really helps all of the videos to work plus they do super tasty looking food with recipes that could be followed with a little time and dedication. The variety of videos through series also really helps to keep the variety going. I love watching the ones where they head out and about around London with different budgets to get a specific type of food because hellooo restaurant inspiration.

Seonkyoung Longest

Noodles are almost certainly my biggest obsession at the minute as they are just so super comforting, tasty and versatile. This channel does a lot of Asian cooking and in a way that it is easy to follow and replicate at home which makes it ideal for inspiration and also gives me the chance to occasionally drool over a noodle dish without venturing further than the screen in front of me. I love the Life In series that she has going as well as it provides great restaurant inspiration in case I ever happen to hop on a plane and explore!


This is a huge channel run by Vice but it has a huge variety of chefs, food styles and locations in their videos which make for tasty, informative and often pretty funny content. If there is one channel I could probably watch and go through their backlog of videos of one after the other this might be it. The current question is what do I attempt to make from their videos first?

Scott Rea

I love doing food preparation, the way that it is so methodical and ordered, but I also find watching other people doing food preparation really calming as well (much like declutter videos and tidying videos). Whilst there are a lot of things I would never consider doing on Scott’s channel because I would 100% screw it up or do not have the right tools to do a decent job I love watching the process of everything butchery related he does.

Molicero, Croydon

Tea and cake is pretty much always a winner in my books. It is even more of a winner when the cafe is a quiet place, the prices are decent, the portions are generous and the staff have a smile on their face.

That in short is why I love Molicero a Portuguese cafe on Lower Addiscombe Road, Croydon. The cafe is understated and quaint to appearance with a varied and manageable menu as well as a few Portuguese items, specific brands and products, available to purchase from three or four shelves. A couple of TVs are present as well and they have Portuguese channels on with English subtitles underneath.

Mango juice and orange cake, Molicero Croydon

It is one of the many cafes locally that allows you to pay for your items at the end of your visit making it a lot easier to just start with a drink and then get a drink with some cafe the next time; it also means if they get charged per debit/credit card transaction they are able to keep their fees to a minimum and there is less impact to price of the items they sell.

People can also ring in and make specific requests for sandwiches or similar to be collected around lunchtime; great for the many small businesses locally as it means only one person ventures out instead of all the staff staggered over a few hours. Or you can pop in spontaneously and get certain food and drink items to go making it perfect for those in a rush to get to work after dropping kids off at the local primary school or those desperate to get home after a shift at work.

I have gone into Molicero a few times now. Once I had tea there with a large group of people where tables got moved around and the staff seemed happy at such a gathering after the lunchtime rush on a Saturday. Another time I went in after work for a catch up and had cool juice and a hefty slice of orange cake (pictured) as a nice little pick-me-up.

It has simple food but does it well and the atmosphere really gives it an enjoyable boost. Whilst the owners are proud to be Portuguese and show that in the shop it has an environment that is welcome to everybody whether they are local to the area or just staying nearby for a couple of days on business.

Night in the Woods

There are certain things that I tend to lean towards to escape from reality; cooking, reading, art and games are just a few of those things.

Different amounts of effort are involved for each of them though and whether it is using your eyes to focus and read after a long day at work, having the brainpower left to think up a dish and actually prepare it to the nicest possible standards or to be able to do a piece of art that can be stopped at a ‘sensible’ place in time doing things that help you to escape and relax can be super challenging.

I mean I struggle to make a cup of tea half the time or take the washing out of the machine let alone finding extra reserves of energy from somewhere to do what I enjoy. Games are one of the few things that I can just about manage and especially when it is a game like Night in the Woods (NitW) where there are no real time pressures and it just follows a deep, meaningful and playable storyline instead.

Until recently I had not even heard of NitW but a friend suggested it to me for the way the storyline develops and how the characters all have meaning and interesting back stories. It touches upon topics that a lot of people can understand or will be heart right in the chest by; self-love, feeling lost, depression, money struggles, friendships changing and so much more.

There was a particular scene down by a lake with the main character, a cat called Mae, and one of her close friends that really resonated with me in terms of finding ourself, feeling good enough for others as well as not always being in the best place and ending up feeling we are a burden to those around us. That scene happened just as I was entering one of my darkest times in a while and the conversation brought me a little comfort of not feeling quite so alone.

It is a deep and meaningful game. The ending felt a little disjointed in terms of it not wrapping up all the loose ends that were on the go throughout but partly that is a representation of life and how some chapters close and new ones open without answers being given and comfort provided.

This is a game I would highly recommend if you need to rediscover yourself or just to come to terms with where you are in life right now as at least one story thread throughout the game will mean something to you and stick with you for hours, weeks or even longer.

Have you played this game before or something similar? I would love to hear your thoughts and any recommendations in the comments below.

Cosy Home Hot Chocolate

I love a hot chocolate. In the morning when I get to work, when I am out in a cafe or at home as a way to unwind after a long day.

Cream and marshmallows are usually reserved for the ones that are made for me in a cafe but that seemed a little sad when I could make a super cosy one with all the bells and whistles on a cold evening.

Hot choc with cream and marshmellows

Simply due to price and it being easy to get hold of, I tend to just use standard squirty cream but you can get a vegan squirty cream from the odd hidden location.

The marshmallows here are another own brand product and just Asda mini pink and white ones to sit on top of the cream before melting into the Cadbury’s drinking chocolate.

After much umming and ahhing I did decided to go for the drinking chocolate that only really works if you mix it with warm milk rather than water. In fact doing this actually is less effort than boiling the kettle because I just mix the powder and milk together in a mug before popping it into the microwave.

Cream and marshmallows melting

Doing the hot chocolate itself in the mug in the microwave seems to really give it that creamy and chocolate depth to it and there does not end up being any bits or lumps to battle with as well. It allows you to give it a little whisk up and a small froth appears on the top; nothing of great proportions but it already helps to make it feel like a cosy little treat.

Part of me thought about getting the Bourneville drinking chocolate as its darkness would be counteracted with the cream and marshmallows but this does depend on a constant supply of all three.

It is nothing groundbreaking but it does make it a really special moment of relaxation, especially with a candle lit and being snuggled into a blanket on an evening instead of just having some chocolate mixture mixed with water and ending up a bit lumpy and tasteless.

What do you do to up your hot chocolate game? Let me know in the comments below.