Hello Fresh Review!

28 May 2014

Two foodie blog posts in one month? oh go on then...
Last month I stumbled across an advert for Hello Fresh! on Youtube and ever since I've been harping on about them to anyone who will listen. And now it's your turn! 
If you haven't heard of them, Hello Fresh! is a service that delivers fresh ingredients right to your door, in a cool box, all packaged in the right amounts for the recipes to make either three or five different meals for two or four people. As Goblin wasn't up for trying it (pfft), we decided to opt for the five meals for two people package and haven't looked back since. 

Wanna know why I love them so much??
Let me tell ya.. 

The first reason is because it's enabled me to try tonnes of recipes that I would have never ever EVER thought of creating by myself. (If I'm being honest I probably would have run away screaming from most of them if I have only known the title of them!).
The second reason is because all the ingredients come in the exact proportions needed. No more wasting food and ingredients, having half used jars and packets of ingredients floating around the kitchen never to be used again. 
The third reason is if I can avoid the hell that is Sainsburys Supermarket in Balham then I will snap that opportunity up quicker than you can say Our Little Balham Life. 
And lastly...cost wise. For us it has worked out much cheaper than buying a big shop at the shops at the weekend and forgetting half way through the week what ingredients were for what meals. It's also stopped us popping there every few days to pick up those few niggly ingredients we always forget! 

So there... the logistical reasons why I love Hello Fresh!... and now onto the REAL GOOD STUFF. 

The food.  

One fork Summertime Tomato Macaroni. 

Lebanese Lamb Wraps with Minted Tzatziki and Toasted Almonds. 

Cheeky Chicken Chow Mein with Oyster Sauce and Water Chestnuts.

This one was my FAVOURITE out of them all... Pan-Fried Chicken with Dukkah Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Citrus Sour Cream. 

Sweet n' Sticky Thai style Beef Salad. 

And this one was my Mum's favourite... Slow Roasted Vine Tomato and Goat's Cheese Tart. 

As you can see... the food looks delicious. But what's more important is that it tastes bloody delicious too! 

All of the recipes come with real handy recipe card with step by step instructions (and pictures - yay!) so it really is straightforward from start to finish. I suppose that's the fifth reason then! 

If you fancy trying them out them out for yourself you can use my promo code, which gives you £20 off!! Feel free to use it and let me know if you like Hello Fresh! as much as we do! 

Use referral code: 4S28L6

(Disclosure: for using my code I also get £12 off a future box. Also this post is not sponsored.. we just really love their service.)

Bringing a little awareness back...

25 May 2014

I very much believe that everything happens at exactly the time that it is supposed to. So yesterday, when I opened up the May issue of OM Yoga Magazine on my phone and landed on the article "Breathe better and expand your life" I decided to pay close attention. 

The last few weeks I've been taking my breath for granted. Things have been pretty hectic around these parts and the first things that goes when I feel overwhelmed is my breath. It becomes shallow and as the article so perfectly says "lack of breathe takes us further away from the magic of the present moment"...hell yeah it does. 

The key to bringing my breath back to long, easy and flowing is awareness. The article talks about ways to bring that awareness back by stepping on your mat and exploring it there. 

And that's exactly what I did. I took myself off to yoga and connected back with my breath. It was sticky, it was human and it was challenging...but the thing is, the breath is the most important part of a yoga practise and without it it's just not yoga. Switching between panting and catching yourself not breathing at all is probably the best way to create more stress and unease in your body and something that I wanted to cut out of my practice. 

One of the tips in the article is that "The breathe will tell us when we need to step back from a posture, when our ego is pushing us too far. We can use the breath to hold a position but when our breathing is struggling then we know it's time to let go."

Throughout the 90 minute class I let my breath lead the way. My practice followed the depth of my breath...not the other way round. I chose awareness and kindness when I realised I had let go of my Ujjayi breath and I simply modified and rested till I had it back. 

Awareness is the the key. How deep are you breathing right now? Bring a little attention to it and see if you can lengthen the inhales and exhales. Be mindful of it. See if you can find the magic that the present moment and the breath gives. 

Namaste xxx

If you like the look of Om Yoga Magazine you can subscribe here... go on... discover the magic.

Disclaimer: The awesome people at Om Yoga Magazine have given me a free online subscription in return for me occasionally sharing articles in the magazine here on Our Little Balham Life. This article was inspired by an article I read in the magazine.

Taking stock & looking at the progress I've made..

21 May 2014

This was me.
About a year and a half ago.
I 'd asked Ben to take a picture of me as it was the first time that I was able to sit upright with my back flat against the wall and my legs straight.

This had taken months for me to accomplish.

I was so fucking proud I can't explain (contrary to the look on my face).

Whenever I feel frustrated with my yoga practise (annoyed I cant do a handstand already/my hips are still so tight/my arms aren't strong enough) I always come back to this picture and that feeling that I had.

It's grounding to see how far I have come. To witness my progress.

I encourage you to do the same.
Celebrate those accomplishments.
Celebrate them LOUD.

Be proud. The journey is the point yes, but it is equally important sometimes to take stock. To see the progress you've made.

Now, tell me lovelies...what progress are you proud of??

A night in with Old El Paso!

20 May 2014

If there's one food that I really love it's Mexican, so when Old El Paso sent me some of their new (and older) favourites to try out with some friends I wasn't ever going to say no!
So last Monday, after being at work all day and feeling knackered (hello learning new job stuff!) I decided that I wanted to make something tasty, easy and quick for Ben, Alex and I. Naturally I went with something familiar from the box of goodies which happened to be the Fajita dinner kit and the Taco dinner kit. Holy moly. What a good choice! 
We all hung out in the kitchen catching up with a drink as I was chopping and cooking away preparing everything. Once it was all cooked I bossed the boys around setting up the table and we all sat down on the floor and munched our way through the entire spread!! No joke. Nothing was left!
One thing I really loved was how lovely it was to have the Roasted Tomato & Pepper Fajita mix rather than the Original Smoky BBQ mix we usually have. They are both lovely but the flavours in the new mix were especially nice.
After eating one enormous fajita I moved onto the tacos. And had 4 of them. After not having tacos for about 3 years I fell back in love with them in a big way. Something about the crunch of the shell and the combination of flavours inside. Oh my. I think we need to get this girl some more taco's. I'm clearly a hungry lady! 
What really stole the show though was the Sweet Corn Relish. None of us had ever tried any of the Old El Paso Relish's before but let me tell you now that you MUST try this one. It went so perfectly with the tacos and the fajitas that we nearly ran out!!
(this picture was taken halfway through the meal!)
A clear winner in the Relish competition. If there ever is such a thing. 
All in all, a fantastic night had with some of the people I love surrounded by some tasty food!

Easter weekend shenanigans..

8 May 2014

And the award for the latest Easter Weekend post goes 

Basically, I had forgotten it was on here and with everything going on I just hadn't had a good look through my posts. Oh well. It's here now if you fancy a read! 

For us, Easter weekend was spent back home in Essex. We packed up our stuff, hired a car and took a little road trip for a bit of time away from the big smoke. 

As you can see, Ben was really happy about having a BABY BLUE car. 
Matchy matchy!!

We spent the weekend chilling out with my Mum, cooking delicious food and exploring some gorgeous little towns nearby. 

Sunday afternoon involved stuffing our faces. But first, let me present Ben's "I'm super hungry face"...

But anyway, back to the point... Afternoon Tea in Dedham was INCREDIBLE. 

Just look at it!!! 

And these are our "oh my, this is bloody delicious" faces...

After our lunch we thought it would be best if we walked (read: waddled) off a little of that cake and tea around the surrounding area. 

I can't explain how amazing it was to have some fresh clean air. It was like hitting the refresh button on my lungs!!

Aren't we adorable. 

It really was just the loveliest weekend. 

Take me back??

A little update...

6 May 2014

This year is shaping up to be quite something.

I've moved house, trained to be a yoga teacher, set(ting) up my business (Spark Yoga) and changed full time jobs. All this amongst trying to sustain a semblance of a social life on the side, including travelling over the country to see family & friends and scheduling some down time with Ben in our new home. 

All this and it's only May 6th. 

What I'm focusing on at the moment is MANAGING MY ENERGY. Today after work I realised that I haven't been doing this very effectively lately and as I sat there teary eyed and yawning the whole way through dinner I noticed it like a big old slap in the face. This is where the change, the magic, the growth happens in life. In those sticky, challenging moments where I realise maybe I've been choosing fear over love a few too many times and it's about time for me to choose love again. 

Part of this journey is awareness and coming back HOME to myself. And you know what? Sometimes the quickest route to love is through ACCEPTANCE. 

Acceptance and peace for how things are right now, for how my body feels (weak) and for the choices I've made that have contributed to this. 

Acceptance is letting go of the fight and this evening I've been noticing how it feels to let go of that constricting fight. It feels good. 

Like I'm coming home.