Posts tagged Healthy

Degustabox Healthy Box


The most recent Degustabox has a healthy theme, and features a mix of food and drink items to help keep your New Year diet on track.  As is sometimes the way with Degustabox, they did an alcohol box and an alcohol-free box, containing either a bottle of Magners Light, or a carton of Simplee Aloe.

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Each box contains twelve individual items, with a total value of over £21.  Degustabox costs £12.99 each month, so this box saves you more than £7.

Alfa One Rice Oil (RRP £2.00)


Alfa One Rice Bran Oil is ‘nutritionally well balanced and high in natural antioxidants’, and has been shown to reduce cholesterol absorption, which for me is a big positive.  The taste is practically the same as the vegetable oil I normally use, as is the calorie content, but its an all round healthier oil.  I’ve been using this a lot lately, and I actually like it a lot more.

Koko Dairy Free Coconut Milk (RRP £1.39)

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I like to use non-dairy milks whenever possible, so I was pleased to find this in the box.  Koko is made from freshly pressed coconut milk, and contains about half the calories of cows milk.  It also has 0% cholesterol, and is 100% allergen free.  I’m really impressed with the quality of this milk – it’s slightly more watery than cow’s milk, but it makes an excellent alternative.  In tea or on cereal you can hardly tell the difference, and it makes Ready Brek really smooth and creamy!  I’d definitely repurchase this and will be keeping an eye out for it during my next weekly shop.

Kabuto Miso Ramen Noodles (RRP £2.00)

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This Kabuto Noodle pot was included in celebration of Chinese New Year, and combines authentic Asian flavours with high quality ingredients.  I originally thought this was just a ‘posh Pot Noodle’, but it provides more of a meal than a Pot Noodle ever could.  For one the pot is larger, and I was surprised to find it packed (almost) to the brim with thin noodles.  After adding boiling water, leaving to ‘cook’ for a few minutes and then stirring, you end up with a substantial noodle dish in a broth of miso, soy and vegetables.  The whole thing is delicious, and the vegetable chunks, though small, are abundant.  I’m not sure I’d pay £2.00 for one of these, but they’re definitely yummy!

Sukrin Bread Mix (RRP £5.00)

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My fiancé and I both take a packed lunch to work every day, so this Sukrin Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Bread Mix will certainly come in handy!  I’m yet to make anything with the mix, but its vegetarian, and completely free from gluten, egg, sugar, wheat, yeast, and soya.  It’s also really easy to make, as you only need to add water and bake it in the tray provided.  I’ve not tried many gluten-free breads, so I’m intrigued to see how this turns out, especially as it retails for £5.00, which seems quite a lot for a bread mix!

Finn Crisp Original Crispbread (RRP £1.20)

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Finn Crisp Original Crispbreads appeared in the May 2014 Degustabox, and my thoughts on them haven’t changed!  They taste nice, the crispy texture is really pleasant, and you get a lot in the box for the price.  They’re also low in calories, so are great for a healthy afternoon snack if you’re feeling peckish.  Check out my full review here.

Simplee Aloe Drink (£1.79)

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I’m actually still building up the courage to try this drink, as to be honest aloe vera doesn’t exactly sound very appetising!  I’ve heard good things about Simplee Aloe however, and the aloe is mixed with grape juice and a splash of lemon, which probably makes for quite a refreshing drink.

Magners Light Orchard Berries

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I only really drink cider when it’s flavoured with other ingredients, so the orchard berries in this are right up my street, and sound perfect for spring/summer.  I also like the fact that this contains fewer calories than your average bottle of Magners, which makes it that little bit more guilt-free!

Little Miracles Tea Drink (£1.49 each)

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Little Miracles teas are organic, and contain a mix of tea, ginseng, acai, fruit juice, and agave for sweetness.  My favourite of these is the white tea with cherry.  The bitterness of the tea is balanced with the fruity sweetness of the cherry, making for a refreshingly pleasant drink.  The 330ml bottles are also the perfect size to throw in your bag when out and about.

Mornflake Top Porridge Pots (£1.19 each)

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After loving the Mornflake Superfast pots that came in the April Degustabox, I was really excited to try these Mornflake Top Porridge Pots.  However, I was left feeling slightly disappointed.  There were two pots in the box – one with Tate & Lyle’s golden syrup, and one with Nutella – and you can eat them plain, simply by adding boiling water, or with the topping added.  The porridge itself was a little bit tasteless, and though the toppings added extra flavour and sweetness, I’d still rather have a bowl of Ready Brek.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like them and they are filling, and I get that these are great for an ‘on the go’ breakfast, but they just don’t have the yum factor that the Superfast pots had.

Haywards Piccalilli (£1.89)

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Ah, Haywards Piccalilli.  One of those foods that always reminds me of Christmas.  Piccalilli is definitely an acquired taste, and luckily it’s one that I’ve acquired.  Haywards is packed full of chunky vegetables, such as cauliflower and gherkin, in a bright yellow mustard sauce.  I’ve been eating this with cheese in sandwiches, and it’s delicious – full of robust flavour, tangy but not too vinegary.  It goes really well with a strong cheddar.

Clipper Green Tea

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The Healthy Box also contained a little gift from Clipper, in the form of a box of ten Green Tea with Lemon tea bags.  Clipper make an excellent cuppa, and the combination of green tea and lemon is incredibly thirst-quenching.  A nice little alternative to your usual tea or coffee, when you want a hot drink but don’t fancy something strong and milky.

If you fancy giving Degustabox a go, you can get a £3 discount by entering code 2S7LB at the checkout.  You can also follow Degustabox on Twitter and Facebook for more exclusive offers.

Naomi x

PS. You can check out the rest of my Degustabox reviews here.

*This Degustabox was sent to me for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*

Degustabox June 2014


It’s time again for me to review the latest Degustabox!  The June box contained fewer products than usual, with eight brands and only nine individual items (ten if you count the extra freebie), but a couple of them were higher value, bringing the combined total to around £20 – similar to previous months.

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Estrella Damm Lager (RRP Unknown)

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According to the Degustabox leaflet, ‘Estrella Damm is an authentic imported, award-winning premium pale Spanish lager known internationally as the ‘Beer of Barcelona”.  Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of lager, so I’ve given this can to my fiancé to enjoy instead, as I wouldn’t be able to give a fair review of it anyway.  I will have a sip of it however, just to see if by some miracle I actually like this one.  I’ll keep you posted!  Also, I’ve put this down as RRP unknown as the leaflet says the cans cost £4 each, which seems unusually high, especially as you can get 4 bottles for about a fiver in Asda.

Elizabeth Shaw Milk Chocolate Amaretto Flutes (RRP £2.59)

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I loved the dark chocolate cocoa nib version of these that were in the May box, and these are 100 times better!  The milk chocolate is incredibly smooth and creamy, and they have an authentic, and really quite strong flavour of amaretto.  Amaretto is one of my favourite liqueurs, which tastes like almonds or marzipan, but unusually these Flutes contain no nuts or alcohol whatsoever!  These little sticks of luxury would make a fabulous evening treat for yourself, or to share round after a meal.  Sort of like a posh After Eight.

BEAR Alphabites Cereal (RRP £2.69)

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I always look forward to breakfast, and I like to have a variety of options available each morning as I often fancy something different, so these BEAR Alphabites have made a nice little addition to my cereal cupboard.  Unlike a lot of breakfast cereals, these multigrain letters contain ‘no nonsense’, meaning they’re completely free of refined sugar, salt and additives.  Instead, they’re sweetened with coconut blossom nectar, which happens to taste nothing like coconut, and contain wholegrain wheat, oats, corn, rice, and wholegrain barley.  Because I’m so used to eating sugar-packed cereals, these took a bit of getting used to as they don’t taste like a conventional cereal, but once you get past the ‘different’ kind of sweetness, they’re actually really nice.  And healthy too!  They even have my rats’ seal of approval.

Veetee Basmati & Wild Rice (RRP £1.49)

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Degustabox describe Veetee as ‘a deliciously convenient range of microwaveable rice products’, and though I’m not a big fan of microwaveable rice, this was surprisingly decent.  I received the Basmati and Wild Rice, which I served with a Quorn chicken and vegetable korma.  The photo above shows half of the rice, which when served with the curry and a couple of poppadoms is more than enough, so one package can easily serve two.  The rice itself is nice and fluffy, and the wild rice adds a touch of texture and flavour.  Using this kind of rice is especially great when you want a quick meal, as it only takes two minutes to cook in the microwave or wok.  I’d love to try the egg fried and wholegrain brown versions too!

Strawberry Lambrini (RRP £3.29)

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Lambrini Strawberry is one of several new flavours to be added to the Lambrini summer range, and it’s really quite yummy.  My fiancé and I enjoyed this one evening after chilling it in the fridge, and it made for a light, refreshing treat.  The strawberry flavour is quite sweet, but still has an authentic fruity taste, and at only 5% alcohol volume it’s pretty easy to quickly finish the bottle!  This would be perfect served at a barbecue.  Other flavours include cherry, peach, apple and blackcurrant, and rosé, all of which I would like to try.

Be Fast Banana Breakfast Drink (RRP £1.00 each)

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Be Fast is a ‘breakfast on the go’ drink, which is very much like a milkshake, but low in fat and packed full of fibre and protein.  Now, I really don’t think one of these would keep me full until lunchtime, as I seem to get very hungry in the morning, so I’ve been having half a bottle with my breakfast as a bit of extra ‘filler’.  The drink is fairly runny, just a bit thicker than milk, and it has a nice, refreshing banana flavour that isn’t overly sweet.  It would’ve been nice to have two different flavours in the box to try – I bet the chocolate one is fab!

Urban Fruit Pineapple Snack Pack (RRP £1.09)

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I’m currently on a mission to eat more fruit, so this Urban Fruit Pineapple came at the perfect time for me.  The fruit is apparently baked gently to dry it out, and 20g counts as one of your five a day.  That’s great, but the bag contains 35g, so you don’t get two full portions.  An extra 5g would be nice!  I ate half of this bag as a snack whilst at work, and I had the other half on a bowl of overnight oats one morning (read on for my recipe!).  The pineapple has a lovely sweetness to it, and a nice texture – soft and chewy but not too tough, and I’ll definitely be repurchasing.

Dr. Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Grinder (RRP £4.99)

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This Dr Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Grinder is such a simple yet innovative idea, and when I found it in the box I was really excited as I do a lot of baking, and authentic vanilla makes cakes and suchlike taste ten times better!  The grinder is a little bit like a pepper mill, but has two grinding options – coarse or fine.  The vanilla itself has a very strong flavour, and a little goes a long way, so the contents of the mill should last a good while.  I’ve been using this in my overnight oats for breakfast, and overnight the flavour infuses into the milk and it’s delicious.  I will 100% be repurchasing this!

Seeing as the June box has a bit of a breakfast theme, here’s my recipe for tropical overnight oats, using the Dr Oetker Madagascan Vanilla, and the Urban Fruit Pineapple.  These oats are the perfect combination of healthy, filling, and delicious…

Tropical Overnight Oats



1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup semi-skimmed milk

Dr. Oetker Madagascan Vanilla

20g Urban Fruit Pineapple

15g Aldi Tropical Granola


– Before going to bed, combine the oats, milk and vanilla in a bowl, cover, and leave in the fridge overnight.

– In the morning, top with half a bag of Urban Fruit pineapple, and a sprinkle of tropical granola.

– Enjoy!

Again, this is another winning box from Degustabox, and everything in it was delicious.  Will they ever disappoint?  Hopefully not!  Bring on the July box…

If you fancy giving Degustabox a go yourself, you can get a £3 discount by entering code UPOAW at the checkout.  You can also follow Degustabox on Twitter and Facebook for more exclusive offers.

Naomi x

PS. You can check out the rest of my Degustabox reviews here.

*This Degustabox was sent to me by Degustabox for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*

It’s Taken a Year, but I’m Here


Last year I realised something about myself…  I was slightly overweight and I was unhappy, I lacked confidence and, to be honest, I wasn’t as healthy as I could have been.  It was the photographs from my dad’s wedding in August 2011 that made me realise I wasn’t the person I wanted to be.  It wasn’t necessarily the extra pounds that bothered me, but my own lack of motivation, so I set about fixing the issues that needed fixing.  It just so happened that these fixes also meant that I started to lose the excess weight.  Earlier this year I posted about my health and fitness regime.  At the time of posting I had already lost 12 pounds, but I still had a little way to go.  Now, exactly 51 weeks after deciding to change, I have reached my target!  In total I have lost 25 pounds, which in 51 weeks is a very gradual weight-loss of around 1/2 a pound per week, and I now have a ‘normal’, healthy BMI of 23.  I couldn’t be happier with my progress and I feel I have really succeeded in changing my lifestyle for the better.

The changes I decided to make were very serious to me.  Faddy diets and weight-loss plans didn’t even cross my mind as I knew the results wouldn’t last (even if they were fast) and they only targeted one tiny part of what I wanted to change.  Instead, I looked at my diet, saw where I was going wrong and altered it.  I have been vegetarian for eleven years and have always cooked healthy meals for myself, so that wasn’t the main problem.  The problem was snacking.  I have a sweet tooth and in between meals I would always snack on chocolate, biscuits and cake, several times a day.  I now avoid snacks unless I actually need one, and then I’ll choose something healthier.  As a result, I appreciate my main meals a lot  more and it’s made me realise that the snacks I was eating before were very unnecessary as I can survive without them!  They were eaten out of habit or boredom, if anything, which is a pattern I am very glad to have broken.  I by no means deny myself these sweet things…  In fact I still eat them quite often, I just eat less of them.  I used the MyFitnessPal application on my smart phone to track my meals too, which I found helped a lot as I could see if/when/where I was going wrong.

As well as eating better, I started to exercise more.  I used to find exercising quite a chore, but now I really enjoy it.  I’m not sure how I managed to change my mindset on this so easily, but the sheer determination I felt to change my lifestyle drove me forward and made me want to exercise.  The more I did it the better I felt, and the better I felt the more I wanted to do it.  Believe it or not, my main source of exercise is simply walking.  I walk whenever and wherever I can and it really has helped.  I also find the Wii Fit really useful as the fun element of it distracts me from the hard work!  I have noticed a great difference in my health since starting to exercise more.  I used to suffer from asthma which was aggravated if I exerted myself too much, but now the asthma is so much better and I hardly ever need to use my inhalers, which is a massive bonus.

As I got healthier, my confidence grew.  In my case, a healthy body really has lead to a healthy mind.  In February I started Bewitchery, which I would never have done this time last year, and getting positive feedback from my lovely readers has helped me a lot, so thank you to all of you for helping to boost my confidence.  As Bewitchery grows, my confidence grows, which helps me in other ways too.  I’m far more assertive now than I was a year ago, which has definitely helped with my university work, I now feel comfortable wearing clothes such as shorts and strapless tops, which I would never go near before, and I feel confident that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to, which is the most important thing I have taken from this.

Overall, I am now healthier, happier and more confident, both in my body and my mind.  I’m glad I took the steps to change my lifestyle for the better and there’s no looking back now.  This is me and this is how I want to be.  It’s been an amazing year full of personal achievements, and here’s to many more to come!

Naomi x

My Health and Fitness Regime


Over the past few months, I have been trying my hardest to live a healthier lifestyle, both physically and mentally.  I have always eaten quite healthy main meals as I have been vegetarian for eleven years, and the meat replacements I use, along with vegetables, contain far less saturated fat than meat.  Snacking was my main problem as I have a gigantic sweet tooth and as such I find it very difficult to say no to chocolate and cakes!  I also had a mentally unhealthy attitude towards exercise – I saw it as a chore and often underestimated my fitness levels.  However, about six months ago something clicked in my head and I realised that I needed to alter these attitudes.  I by no means needed to lose a drastic amount of weight, but I felt a few pounds would help tone me up in the right places and show off my hourglass figure.  So far I have lost about 12 pounds, which is a very gradual weight loss which came from adjusting several aspects of my lifestyle which I will now highlight.


  • As I said before, I have always been a big fan of sweet, chocolatey snacks and puddings.  I now eat far fewer snacks than I did before, which I admit makes me appreciate my main meals a lot more, but when I do snack I try to have fruit, yoghurt or crackers etc instead.
  • I do still have sweet things, just a lot less of them.  For instance, I’ll buy a bag of treatsize chocolate bars instead of full size bars and make them last, or I’ll have smaller pudding portions.
  • I have always drank a lot of water, but I’ve found that replacing the juice or fizzy drinks that I’d have with water has helped me cut down on sugar.  I still have them sometimes every now and then though :)


  • I got into the habit of using the bus to travel short distances just because I have a student bus pass.  I now leave my bus pass at home on purpose when I know I won’t be travelling far so that I have to walk.  I really enjoy walking, especially when I have someone to walk with, so me and the other half regularly go on long walks.  I usually take my camera too which gives the walk a point!
  • My other half’s parents recently invested in a Wii Fit, which I have found very useful.  Even when it’s raining outside, exercise is still possible and the games are fun so before you know it you’ve done half an hour of exercise!

MyFitnessPal App

  • About 2 months ago I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my Android phone.  Once you input your height, weight and weight loss aims, the app tailors a plan to suit you.  It gives you a calorie target to keep to each day and lets you know whether you’re eating too much fat, sugar etc, which helps you see where you’re going wrong.  I’m not much of a fan of calorie counting as it become quite obsessive, but this app really has helped me keep my focus!  You can add other users of the app as friends and they can comment on your achievements which is a great encouragement.

Mental Attitude

  • I’ve learnt that denying yourself the things you love only makes you miserable!  You only live once (that old cliché) so enjoy these things whilst you can, just do it in moderation.  Gorging yourself on bars of chocolate isn’t healthy, but one bar every now and then isn’t going to hurt.
  • Being realistic is also important.  At first, I felt that the MyFitnessPal calorie target was far too low for me when I told the app that I wanted to lose 1.5 pounds per week.  I kept going over my target by a few calories each day, and though I was still below the recommended calorie intake for a woman of my age, I started to feel guilty.  I reflected on this, changed my plan to 1 pound loss per week, and had 200 more calories per day to play with, which is perfect for me.

Obviously these techniques won’t work for everyone and I’m not saying everyone should follow this plan, but this has worked for me and I definitely feel healthier and happier.  Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up!

What have you done to improve your health and fitness?

Naomi x

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