Friday, 10 February 2017

Charity // living on £2 a day with Zamcog & Voucherbox

Recently Voucherbox reached out to me, wanting to spread awareness of how much food we waste and the amount we spend in doing so. Did you know that it costs £2 a day to feed, clothe and educate a child in Zambia? Voucherbox has teamed up with Zamcog to present the £2 challenge.

The #2poundchallenge is all about encouraging bloggers to try living off of just £2 a day and for each blogger that takes part and writes a post on their experiences, Voucherbox will donate £50 to Zamcog. Which is amazingly generous. Working in the city of London, I am only too aware that a typical lunch can cost me £5 or more. And that's just lunch.


For the challenge myself and M. would need to live on just £4 a day (£2 each). The £4 would go towards three meals for two people and some form of snack. To save as much as possible, I made lunch and dinner in bulk so the below takes into account the costs of both of our portions for just one day.

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BREAKFAST

Toast & jam 


x4 slices of toast each - 16p
Butter - 13p 
Jam- 9p

TOTAL = 39p

I bought a loaf of supermarket own brand wholemeal bread which equated to 4p a slice. A very frugal lunch meant that I could stretch to jam as well as butter (albeit in small quantities!)

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LUNCH

Parsnip soup


Parsnips - 30p
Rosemary - free!
Veg stock - 12p
Onion - 6p
Milk  - 16p
Butter - 6p

 TOTAL = 70p

The rosemary was scavenged from the garden which was a good way of being resourceful and thrifty. Being a relatively simple soup with one vegetable and no meat stock, I did worry that it may be fairly bland, but the rosemary was great at counteracting this. This was in fact one my favourite soups I've ever made!

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DINNER

Gnocchi bake


Gnocchi - 38p
Cheese - 24p
Peppers - 39p
x1 tin chopped tomatoes - 31p
Garlic clove - 5p
Tomato puree - 5p
Spinach - 50p
Smoked paprika - 5p

TOTAL = £1.97

Who knew that a £1.97 dinner with the most basic of ingredients could be so full of flavour?! I picked up a value pack of gnocchi for just 75p from the supermarket and I only used half of it as gnocchi is brilliant for being really filling - so you don't need a whole lot of the stuff. Rather than being just a plain and boring stodge, cheese and tomato combo, the veg gave it some extra colour, texture and flavour. I shopped the 'farms' range of supermarket veg which is sourced from local farms and is considerably cheaper. I usually shop this range anyway as it's just as good quality as anything else. Not the prettiest dish to plate up, but that crispy cheese on top was the real MVP!

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SNACKS

Bourbon biscuits


x4 biscuits each = 2p per biscuit

TOTAL = 16p

In an ideal world I would have been snacking on fruit but have you seen how expensive fruit is these days?! Why spend 40p on an apple when you can spend 30p on a pack of 22 biscuits? Chocolate is a lot tastier than fruit anyway. This worked out at 2p per biscuit which were perfect for late morning nibbles and the afternoon slump!

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TOTAL SPEND = £3.22

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What I learnt from the experience is that living on just £2 a day is incredibly hard. Everything has a price and it was interesting seeing the monetary value of a splash of oil and a sprinkle of paprika, because everything adds up. It really made me re-think how much I spend on food and this is something I'm going to continue. This experience has proven that this is possible and that cheap food isn't tasteless or lacking. My shop was done in Tesco - so this proves it is possible in British supermarkets other than Aldi, Lidl or Iceland.

One of the conditions of the £2 challenge was to tag another blogger to continue on the good work. But I don't want to tag just one person - I invite you all to join and contribute towards this good cause. To date over £1000 has been raised which is an amazing achievement. You can read more on the £2 challenge here. If you participate in the #2poundchallenge, please do leave links to your experiences in the comments below as I'd love to see other ideas for money saving meals!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Trying Polish food for the first time with Polish Village Bread

I must admit, but despite being a foodie, I haven't tried a whole lot of different cuisines. I'm as fond of an Italian, Chinese or Indian as the next person, but embarrassingly I haven't tried much else. I had my first taste of Columbian food last year but other than that, I haven't had much exposure to other types of food.

When Polish Village Bread got in touch inviting me to try Polish food for the first time, I was really excited to try something new. Because I genuinely had no idea what a typical Polish dish was or the sorts of things eaten.

A lovely member of the team came to my door and hand delivered a bulging tote bag of goodies. I am still over-whelmed with the team's generosity and the amount of food they provided. All of the savoury items they provided were already cooked and didn't take long to heat through by means of shallow frying, microwaving or booshing in the oven. Read on for my first experience of Polish cuisine!

Breaded chicken topped with mushrooms and cheese
Piers k Kurczaka w Pierzynce


This was very much like a pizza except with breaded chicken instead of a traditional dough. The crunch of the chicken contrasted really well with the texture of the vegetables and the melted cheese. It was super tasty and so easy to prepare after a long day at work - something I could easily eat every day!

PANCAKES

But not pancakes as you know them! These were more like croquettes with their crunchy exterior and a fluffy filled interior. I tried three different flavours which included:


Croquettes with spinach and cheese
Krokiety z Serem Typu Greckiego i Szpinakiem


These were my favourite of the three! The cheese in these ones tasted slightly different like they contained a garlic and herb soft cheese rather than a plain soft cheese. The middles were deliciously creamy and smooth to contrast against the crunch of the shell of the croquette.

Croquettes with mushrooms and cheese
Krokiety z Grzybami i Serem


Again, good flavours, generously filled and a good amount of crunch. To contrast, this was more of a saltier dish. I like things seasoned well so this didn't bother me one bit. The mushrooms tasted like they had been cooked in soy sauce - but don't quote me on this!

Spicy chicken and mixed veg pancake
Krokiety Mek Sykanskie


These were spiced, but not spicy (perfect for my palette as I can't tolerate spice!) These were the most generously filled krokiety and contained veg and pulses like kidney beans and sweetcorn. That combined with the spices, meant that it had a slight Mexican feel to it and were very colourful inside.

DUMPLINGS

My favourite Polish word: pierogi. But over the years I never knew what pierogi actually meant - I just liked saying it! Pierogi turns out to be plump pillowy little dumplings, beautifully crimped into little sun / flower shapes. I tried three flavours:


Dumplings with pork and onions
Pierogi z Miesem


I preferred this pork filling to the pork in the stuffed cabbage parcels (below). These were very well seasoned and tasty as.

Potato and cheese dumplings
Pierogi Ruskie


Not the easiest of things to photograph due to its samey colouring, but otherwise very smooth, soft and creamy which made for a very nice combination. One of my favourite pierogi. 

Sauerkraut and mushroom dumplings
Pierogi z Kapusta i Grzybami


As with the other dumplings, a good and very tasty dough, which was generously filled. This was my least favourite flavour of dumplings (but that's because I'm not a massive fan of sauerkraut!).

Cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and pork
Golabki


These had a very crumbly texture in the middle with the rice and pork mince mixture. The cabbage was my favourite part of this dish as it hadn't lost its crunch completely. My only critique of this one was that I cooked as per the instructions on the pack but it didn't get very hot. So my advice is that you would need to heat this one longer to get to perfect eating temperature.  

Fruit cake


I also received a cake which I was very excited about as I do love a good dessert! I only know "fruit cake" in the British sense of fruit cake and that's a cake I really do not like. The Polish take on fruit cake was much more up my street with none of the dried fruit nonsense. Instead it was more of a fluffy sponge with fruit on top. It felt massively guilt free because as well as having lots of lovely berries on top, it was also very light and low in sugar. I took the cake with me to work and everyone in the office said it was one of the loveliest cakes they have ever had!

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So now you can see what I mean when I said it was a very generous food parcel!
I was also sent a capacious tote bag, wooden spoon and jigsaw puzzle.


I would just like to say a massive Polish dziękuję (thank you is pronounced jen-KOO-yeh!) to the team for their generosity and for giving a chance to sample food that I haven't tried before. You can find a full list of the Polish Village Meals range here.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

THE CHRISTMAS GIFT POST

This post has been sitting in my drafts a little while now and I have been debating whether to hit publish or not since posts like these are always a bit controversial. Personally I love seeing what people unwrap for Christmas as it introduces me to great products I didn't know about before, and gives me gift buying ideas for the year ahead. So here goes...


Estella Bartlett necklace -  I love anything to do with angels (big clue in my name... Lucy Angèle) and the iridescent packaging really appealed to my inner magpie. I spend 93% on Pinterest pinning inspirational quotes so I loved the fact that a quote was incorporated in the packaging. And this quote has been particularly apt of late (new job offer!)


Mug - my friend Alison also found this amazing mug. Sadly we don't get to see each other as much these days, but we have stayed incredibly close. She is my forever friend so this was very apt! I love the gold typography.


Ladybird book - knowing about Tia and Bailey she also bought me some cat related goodies including a calendar and this book. I love the "How it Works" series of Ladybird books and every cat owner needs this book.


Picture - a friend of my sister's is an illustrator, so my sister reached out to her some with some photos and she created this amazing design. She really captured the essence of my day in Hampstead when I wore my ASOS coat and Boohoo dress. She also drafted in Tia and Bailey last minute. I can't wait to get this hung up on the wall!


The White Company - those closest to me know how much I love The White Company - and more specifically their candles and reed diffusers! I had the winter candle for Christmas last year, but was especially excited to receive something from my favourite range - Orange Grove. This is the freshest smelling scent and perfect for all year round.


Whiskey - Christmas just isn't Christmas without whiskey! Jameson and ginger is the best

Yankee Candles - my friend Sof gave me the cutest kitchenware, a cat climbing tower for Tia and Bailey and one of these lovely candles. My sister bought me the other candle. Both are such lovely fresh scents which are perfect all year round.


Pinata cookies - I made pinata cupcakes for a charity event at work and when my mum saw this pinata cookie set she thought of me! I am so excited to try these out!


Sandwich toaster - the holy grail of kitchen appliances. The days in-between Christmas and NYE were full of sun-dried tomato, pesto and mozzarella sandwiches and it was GOOD

Gingerbread - I'm not sure anyone else gets as excited about gingerbread as I do. But that's ok.

Bake Off book - Bake Off will never be the same again. But at least I can hold onto the glory days with this book and try my hand at the bakes seen so far.

Gardening book - I asked for a gardening book this year. I am officially becoming old before my time. But in all seriousness... I have a garden now and I'm in no way green fingered. This book is the perfect idiot's guide to gardening. With colour photos of every plant, tree and shrub, I'm looking forward to choosing out a colour scheme, heading to my local nursery and making this garden my own.

CK One - CK One is one of my favourite perfumes as it's not too feminine. I have days where I'm girly, but there are other days I don't want to smell too sickly sweet. I also received the body lotion which I didn't know existed!

Zoella Beauty - I've never tried anything from the Zoella range before, but I love the fact these products are presented in crackers!

Alice in Wonderland cookies - my parents found this tin of cookies knowing only too well that Alice in Wonderland and cookies are two of my favourite things!

What did you unwrap over the holidays? I'd love to know!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Shopping the sales

Tell me, was I the only one not excited about the sales this year? I of course had a snoop, but nothing really excited me. There are so many sales and offers pre-Christmas now (hello Black Friday and Cyber Monday!), the January sales aren't quite what they used to be. I'll be honest, I didn't buy anything until the other week. Being this far into January you would think that all the good gear would have gone already... but nope. If there's one thing I've learnt... there's always time!

The slogan sweat


Long time readers will know that I love anything French. The Reiss French sweaters are my faves <3

I was in town the other day and noticed:

1. my local Gap Outlet was holding a sale event
2. this navy blue loveliness in the window

I tried it on and it was like the jumper was made for me. In a I-can't-believe-it-fits-so-perfectly kind of way. Thanks to the Gap sale, I paid less than £20 which is amazing value considering that Gap knitwear is such good quality and always lasts the test of time.

Silent Night Hotel Luxe bedding


The boring one! I was after a spare duvet for when friends come to stay but when I spotted that this duvet was 50% off, I selfishly decided to keep for myself! Straight from Silent Night's Hotel Collection, it does what it says on the tin. It's luxurious, cosy and like sleeping in a super fluffy cloud. I also bought the matching pillows which are extremely satisfying sinking into. It has made such a difference to my sleeping patterns and quality of sleep. There are some things in life worth investing in, and bedding is definitely up there!

Christmas cards

Yawn, Christmas cards. But hear me out. How about a box of cards for... 24p? No joke, I went to my local Card Factory and they had some amazing deals on boxes of cards that were only 99p in the first place. I bought two boxes (the second was a box of 30!) for the grand price of 48p and look how cute they are:


Anthropologie

Remember last year when I got super spendy in Anthropologie? I must admit, I did get lured in the other day by an extra 20% off all sale fashion. That old chestnut. But this in itself warrants it's own post. I could literally spend all day browsing the Anthropologie website! <3

Did you pick up anything nice in the sales this year?

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The best of the Anthropologie sale

You know me. I like Anthropologie. A lot. And shopping the Anthropologie January sale has become some what of an annual tradition. Unlike some other sales which only reduce things by a few pounds (*cough* Zara *cough*), there are always some decent savings to be had at Anthropologie. This year I wasn't quite as spendy as last year (post here!), however I did found some incredible savings on the website. Here are my top picks of the sale this year:


Off the shoulder dress - £98 £28.95
I'm not usually the biggest fan of pink, but the velvet detailing is beautiful and catches in the light to create the illusion of more red / burgundy tones. This looks like the comfiest dress and off the shoulder doesn't just have to be for summer!

Blue printed skirt - £148 £37.95
Anthropologie are at the top of their game with skirts at the moment. I loved everything about how this skirt was styled (those strappy shoes though!). Sadly my size sold out before I could get my hands on one :(

Denim shirt dress - £118 £37.95
You can't go wrong with denim and this looks like the slouchiest, comfiest dress. Perfect for those days when you don't know what to wear, you can just throw a dress like this on and be ready to face the world. This was on my wish list but again, I was late to the game and my size sold out :(

Navy embroidered coat - £378 £188.95
What a coat! The most perfect over-sized coat with pretty gold embroidery around the hem and cuffs which would elevate any outfit. I would wear this draped over my shoulders cape style.



Gold print skirt - £108 £53.95
If you like gold and copper, then this is the skirt for you! This metallic print livens up an otherwise simple black skirt and gives it added warmth. Pair with a plain black knit or tee to keep the print the star of the show.

Blue off the shoulder dress - £118 £34.95
Yes, perhaps more of a summer dress... but it's never too early to build up your summer wardrobe right?! My size sold out in record time but I wait with baited breath in the hope that someone returns one!

Velvet slip dress - £158 £49.95
The most beautiful dress with rich jewel tones. And such a versatile piece. Wear with jumper on top to highlight a seriously dreamy skirt. Or with a white tee or long sleeved top underneath for clever layering in this cold snap we're having.

Layered knit dress - £148 £29.95
On the website it says this dress is grey but it looks more pink to me? I love the marble effect. The beauty of this piece is that on the site it looks like the dress and knit aren't stitched together so you can mix and match them with your own clothes.

Blue pleated skirt - £198 £58.95
Another beautiful blue skirt. A skirt like this should take center stage. Pair with a plain white tee and statement necklace.

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I would seriously buy all of the above if I had the funds! Plus this dreamy grey skirt. But I don't. So I limited myself to the two velvet dresses, the dusty pink layered dress and the embroidered coat. Their current extra 20% all sale clothing was a nice touch and is still active if you want to take advantage! Just enter code TWENTY at checkout.

Which items are your favourites?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Say hello to Bailey and Tia!

Things here have been a little quiet on here lately and I can only apologise. 2016 was quite the year. There were a lot of publicised deaths in the press (still massively in shock that Alan Rickman and Victoria Wood have gone), as well as one a little closer to home whereby I lost a member of my family. Any loss is horrible, but one where it's unexpected and someone just dies in their sleep and never wakes up... I was in pieces. I didn't take any time off from work to grieve properly and then amazingly work took a dramatic u turn and transformed 2.5 years of happiness to making me feel like nothing. It really hurts putting your heart and soul into something and then finding out it has all been for nothing. That you are invisible and undervalued because you are a woman. This in itself warrants its own blog post, but I'll save that for another day.

I don't want to dwell too much on the negatives of 2016 as there was also plenty good with 2016. One highlight was buying and moving into my first property after waiting almost a year. It's starting to feel more like a home now there's a dining table and chairs. But the main reason it's starting to feel more like a home is starting my own little family. A family of the furry variety. Say hello to Bailey and Tia!


Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram (I'm @lucy_angele on both!) will have seen their adorable little faces already! One weekend I went to my local RSPCA but never imagined I would be putting my name down for two eight week old kittens that very day! With this particular rescue shelter, it's very rare that they have kittens that are still available or even that young / small. But as soon as I saw them, I knew.


They came from a litter of four and they were all named after drinks. Tia (Maria!) was the only girl, and their two other brothers were called Brandy and Bourbon (one pure brown tabby, the other identical to Tia). It was heartbreaking to separate the gang, but Brandy and Bourbon were more independent and preferred their own company, whereas Tia and Bailey were inseparable, following each other around everywhere - so it was an easy decision which two to adopt!

I am still really happy with my decision to adopt not buy. Although cash was obviously handed over, being a charity, I see it as a donation for the good work that they do and the care they give the animals there. But also the money paid towards the chip, registering, flea and worm treatments, neutering etc etc. - additional things I would have had to pay for on top of if buying from a pet shop or breeder. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking down on people who buy from pet shops. Everyone is their own person and makes their own decisions. But I liked the idea of rescuing a homeless animal rather than handing money over to people who have intentionally bred an animal for profit. For example, a local pet shop were charging £400 for a kitten and that sort of money is madness. I don't know how anyone can justify that.

But back to Bailey and Tia. They are growing fast but have great chemistry. They follow each other around everywhere and I can sit and watch them for hours playing and darting around chasing one another. Both have very different personalities. Bailey (black and white) is more shy around people, but is slowly becoming the biggest softy of them all. He sits up close to me most evenings and loves rolling over to have his belly rubbed. Tia (tabby) LOVES people and knows damn well that she is cute and takes it to her advantage! She purrs whenever she is picked up, chirps when she is looking for you, and loves hitching a ride on your shoulder / back. She has the cutest tail which she walks with all curled up like a husky.


Every day I look at them and they melt my heart. They seem to have that affect on any visitors we have too! They are cheeky little things and typical curious kittens who must see / do / play with everything. But so, so loving. And I can't imagine life without them.