Monday, 30 December 2013

Wow what a year!

This really has been the most amazing year. It’s not been a straightforward one. There have been sad, difficult and painful times but a lot of joy, fun, surprises and flat out incredible moments. I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be, I reckon I overshot the mark there and I certainly achieved more than I thought possible, in so many ways.

I find it useful to take stock at the end of each year, to think about the events, what I’m thankful for and to get a feel for the coming 12 months and this year I’d like to say a few things publicly.

Firstly, a few thank you's. Thank you to all of you for reading my blog, for interacting here, on facebook or twitter and stopping me from just typing into the void. You guys make this a whole lot more fun.

Thank you to everyone who sponsored me early in the year and helped me to support the Scleroderma Society. Together we made a huge difference to a small charity.
Me and my Aunt, who inspired my charity choice
Thank you to all of my friends who have stuck by me. You’ve helped me through house moves, crazy training and race schedules, put up with me talking incessantly about said crazy training and race schedules and even encouraged me and pushed me to achieve some of the amazing things I’ve done this year. Without Anita-the-Crazy I certainly wouldn’t have done Tough Mudder, for instance.
Most of all thank you to my family, in particular my mum, dad, aunt and godparents. You mean the world to me and have done SO much for me this year.
Dad-hug post-marathon
I’m grateful for the opportunities this blog and the health and fitness community have afforded me. I wouldn’t have met @amerbob for some of the most fun runs I’ve done this year, I wouldn’t have gone to the Run MummyRun social and made new friends there, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to write for The Protein Works or go to the Write This Run conference and I wouldn’t have been able to write blogs or articles for other sites either.
@amerbob, Anna and me - who knew marathon running could be so fun
I’m grateful for the life change in February that meant I threw myself into my training as a coping mechanism. Silver linings…

I’m grateful for my health, especially now I’m not 100%, and for the fact I managed to get through the year injury-free.

This year I’ve taken part in 21 races: 2 marathons, 3 half marathons, 7 x 10k’s, 2 x 5ks, 3 triathlons, an open water swim and 5 others that don’t fall into a category. I’ve gotten through 2 pairs of trainers, logged 634 running miles on the Garmin, swum 10,200 meters and cycled around 143 miles. I’ve set 8 new PBs in the process. I also had my first microadventure, started my Advanced Diploma in Personal Training and became a qualified Gym Instructor.
I have lots of exciting plans for next year. I aim to be a qualified Personal Trainer by the end of June and will hopefully finish the entire qualification by the end of the year. I would love to start working as a PT and to continue writing for and working with the brands I’ve connected with this year. My studies are going to take quite a bit of time so I won’t be racing as much but I do want to work on my speed and hope to set new PBs of sub-25 for 5k, sub 55 for 10k and sub 2 hour half marathon. I am registered for the following races already:

And I intend to do my first ultra and/or 24 hour event (as part of a team). I’m considering these other events:

It would be great to know if you’re taking part in any of them too. Perhaps we can say hi to each other. I’d love to hear about your plans for next year and how you feel about 2013. Did you have goals? Did you meet them? Did you surprise yourself? Feel free to write a few words or pop a link to your blog post in the comments below.

In any case, I hope this point in the year finds you happy and healthy and that 2014 is full of adventures for you.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

This week I have mostly been full of festive tingles. I am in full on festive mode, my concentration is all to pot and I've discovered the utterly delicious indulgence of stirring a tablespoon of brandy cream into porridge with sultanas and apple for breakfast. Hum.
I've also been eating mince pies and drinking damson gin...
I'm keeping a food diary this week which I want to analyse and use to correct any deficiencies and generally improve my diet. The brandy cream doesn't seem to have had too much effect yet. I even discovered I weighed a kilo less than I expected - woo! Space for mince pies! Tempting as it is to go all out I'm trying to be vaguely sensible, despite hosting a fondue evening yesterday. I've felt up to being a little more active so it's been a 2-dog-walks, gym session, yoga and fab fitcetera workout via the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar sort of week. It's felt good. Really good.

My postman's been busy this week, delivering a few treats from shoebird, elle, sportsisterThe Protein Works, flipgym and nuun. I'm now fully kitted out for all my fitness needs :) Can't wait to wear my new-to-me leggings to the gym to see how many people I distract. I've just worn them around the house so far.
You can just about see the amazing pattern of those leggings.  I'm smitten with them.
flip gym workout cards and my new favourite thing… gymboss!
In other related news the Christmas Giveaway competition has ended and the winners have been picked! Congratulations to the winner and runners up; I'm sorry that you couldn't all win but hopefully I'll be in a position to run another competition in the future. The winners have been contacted and if you'd like to see who won you can hop on back to the competition page where they'll be displayed on the rafflecopter widget.

I think all that remains now is for me to wish you all a VERY merry Christmas. Have fun, make merry, don't begrudge yourself that second helping of Christmas pud or glass of prosecco. You've worked hard all year, you'll no doubt be working hard next year, a couple of days isn't going to hurt (advice I need to take) and in any case you'll probably dance it off at a party or run it off at a festive parkrun. I've scheduled a reflection post for the end of the year but this is really my last post of the year. I'm off to enjoy myself :)

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Race Review : Crazy Christmas Cracker Run

You know those moments in films where the character hears a noise, looks over his shoulder and sees a wall of water cascading down the corridor towards him? I experienced something akin to that on Sunday at the Crazy Christmas Cracker Race at Beale Park near Reading.

I can’t quite remember how I found out about the race but something about it convinced me to sign up. Maybe it was the promise of mulled wine and mince pies for all runners, the yule log obstacle run or just that it was a local, fun 10k. But sign up I did and found myself standing in the race village trying to keep warm and surrounded by Christmas jumpers, Santa and elf costumes, and a variety of other outfits including, but not limited to, a chap wearing only green speedos, a slowly deflating turkey and a large gift, wishing that I’d made more effort than just putting on my red parkrun t-shirt.

In addition to the 10k there was a 5k and a kiddies 1 mile mini-marathon around the obstacle course. I eyed the maze of tape around said obstacle course with some trepidation. In all honesty, if it hadn’t been for the fact I knew there was a very cool medal for the finishers and that I really really wanted some mulled wine, I’d probably have not bothered to start as the drizzle started and the wind picked up. 
The awesome final medal of 2013
This was a late starting race in both senses, as it wasn’t scheduled to start until 11:30, but actually started even later. I don’t know how long we were kept at the start, probably not half as long as it felt like as I grew more and more irritated by someone who had seen fit to bring along a school bell and kept on and on ringing it. I clocked the finishers medals just hanging on a post near the start and the thought did cross my mind that I could just swipe one and save myself the effort but clearly this wouldn’t have been in the spirit of things and I’ve been good all year so it would have been a shame to ruin the track record. But it was a relief to get moving and to note that the chap with the bell was faster than me.

About 2k into the run I had the “wall of water” experience. Happily minding my own, watching my footfall along the river bank I look up to see the entire front part of the race running back down the path towards me. This was unusual. I was fairly certain there wasn’t a turnaround point so soon. I glanced to my left, saw a path, and decided to take it; on the assumption a wrong turn had been made. My hunch paid off and I enjoyed being closer to the front of the pack for a while than I have ever been in a race. A marshal or a sign might have been useful at that point. I’m just glad it was a festive occasion and children were present or I might have heard a lot more swears.

The rest of the race was fairly uneventful, just a bit slippy in places, until we reached the final 2.5k section. This was where we entered the maze of tape, over “yule logs” and into the “Christmas Spiral” which was a seemingly never-ending spiralling run towards a Christmas tree and back out again (I’ve never hated a course designer so much) and then into the final kilometre over (the Hanukah?) hay bales and through the path of a snow machine.

Finally happy with medal, mince pie and mulled wine
I legitimately earnt my medal in a slow but steady 1:02. This was never going to be a PB kind of course and I’m out of practice and it felt like hard work so I was perfectly happy with that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed it… but it was certainly fun and festive. The mulled wine was pretty ace too!

At £18 on the day for entry but less in advance it was a good value event, family friendly and jolly. It was easy to get to, parking was free and close to the start and apart from the one poorly marked point on the route it was well organised and a decent flat route. There’s a lot of festive runs out there and this should rate as one of the good ones.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Nuun on the Run

Way back in the summer I got my hands on a sample of nuun, a tablet that you add to your water to assist your hydration. It's aimed at sporty types as it's a good source of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium), those things you lose when you sweat that aren't inches, calories or your mascara. What's slightly different about nuun compared to other sports drinks like, say lucozade, is that it doesn't contain any sugar (although it does contain some sweetner), is only 6-8 kcals and isn't a source of carbohydrate. It is not an energy drink, it's only concerned with hydrating you, and because of this it's a lot lighter. You simply drop a tablet into 500ml of water, watch it fizz away as it dissolves and you're good to go. But don't worry, although it fizzes, it's not fizzy so you're not going to get all gassy.
I rather enjoyed my free sample and so I got in touch with the company to get my hands on some more. I got a tube each of tri-berry, strawberry lemonade, orange and kona cola flavours but they have 11 flavours in total including lemon + lime, grape, lemon tea, tropical and banana. My favourite is the strawberry lemonade. By adding a little flavour to your water, nuun reckon that you'll consume a lot more fluid, helping to keep you fully hydrated. I'm inclined to agree. It just takes the edge off of plain water without it being over powering. It's like a very weak squash but much nicer.
I've been taking this to the gym for my workouts, having it to hand after runs and even drinking it when I'm sat on the sofa. It's a versatile little product. What I like about it is that it's very light. It doesn't make my teeth go all furry from sugar and as it's low calorie I know I'm not undoing a load of work by chugging a carbohydrate sports drink; I can get my carbs and proteins from recovery shakes if I want or just good ole plain food. As I'm no longer in heavy training having something lighter that will help to rehydrate me is a good thing.

Now I liked nuun enough to become an ambassador. This means that I can extend a very special discount to you lovely readers of mine. If you'd like to try nuun for yourself you can get a fabulous 25% off in their shop by quoting the code "ambassadorRoberts247!" at the checkout. Hope you find a flavour you like!

Disclaimer: I was sent four tubes of nuun for free to try but was under no obligation to write a review, positive or otherwise. As ever, my opinions are all my own, like it or not.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Spirit and Lemsips

This week I have mostly been… sleeping. And being kinda snotty, in the I-have-a-cold sense rather than the holier-than-thou sense. I'm still getting to grips with anaemia and all it entails and this week it has been entailing a compromised immune system.

The weekend was a delightful mix of seeing friends in London, going to Matilda at the Theatre, eating amazing Indian food at Dishoom and visiting Waddesdon Manor for lunch, spending too much at the food fair, ooo-ing and aaah-ing at the house all decked out for Christmas and wandering around the grounds looking at the light exhibition they have at the moment. I got to wear my favourite extra long scarf and feel about 7 years old. It was magical. Even with a sniffy nose.
The full effect of Waddesdon Manor at Christmas time
However, the sniffy nose continued on Monday, got worse on Tuesday, forced me to work from home on Wednesday afternoon out of consideration for my colleagues and had me flat out on the sofa by Thursday. Today I feel as though I'm coming out the other side which is just as well as I've got a race on Sunday that I'm determined not to miss.
Stollen danish and latte for breakfast in an attempt to cheer myself up. It worked :)
So I have done zero exercise this week. Not even a yoga class. I had PT booked for Wednesday night but cancelled as I was feeling rather foggy-headed and thought it unwise. I've also had less appetite though so I've not had the usual guilt associated with not working out. I'm skipping a planned parkrun tomorrow to ensure I've got the energy for a spot of ice skating and the Crazy Christmas Cracker Run near Reading on Sunday. I'm entered in the 10k yule log obstacle run. I'm quite glad there are obstacles as I won't be tempted to chase a time. There's an amazing medal and the promise of free mince pies and mulled wine for the runners. It's going to be GREAT!
The medal for this Sunday's run was revealed on Facebook this week. YAY!
It's hard to know if the iron tablets are making a difference yet but I'm feeling more positive about things now and want to plan a couple of workouts for next week. Nothing major, maybe just a short outdoor run, a home work out and a swim or some PT. I just want to get back into the habit while not pushing myself too hard. There'll be time for that next year. I admit to forgetting to take one of my tablets two days in a row but I'm eating loads of greens and upping my vitamin C intake so something should work. If not then I'll rely on copious amounts of Christmas spirit.

Hope you all had a great week and have a fab weekend lined up. Tell me all about it in the comments.

P.S. Anyone else seen the "Elf Storage" on the A4 near London?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Exploring Unusual Whey Protein Flavours

As a thank you for writing a number of articles for them recently, The Protein Works gave me some credit to redeem for their products. This has given me the perfect opportunity to try a number of different flavours and ways of using protein powders. I'm still very much a novice when it comes to using this stuff but it's been fun experimenting.

I ordered three flavours to try; Rhubarb & Custard, Cherry Bakewell and Butterscotch Ripple. Honestly, their range of flavours is incredible, particularly in the Whey Protein range… Jaffa Cake flavour anyone? Mint Choc Chip? Rum 'n' Raisin?! The unflavoured stuff is more versatile, for sure, and of course it's not difficult to add your own flavourings, but these sounded fun so what the heck?
Rhubarb & Custard and apple "crumble" smoothie
First off, inspired by a recipe in my new Abel & Cole cook book, I tried the Rhubarb & Custard flavour  whizzed up with a handful of frozen chopped apple, 200ml skimmed milk and 2 tbs porridge oats. These flavours worked really well together, a bit like a fruit crumble!
Butterscotch Ripple and banana oat breakfast shake
Next up I combined the Butterscotch Ripple with a chopped, frozen banana, 200ml semi-skimmed milk and 2 tbs porridge oats. This was absolutely delicious; another winner people! The Butterscotch Ripple combo also works exceedingly well with a peeled and de-seeded pear substituted for the banana. As a point of note, I would add the oats after you've finished blending and leave it to stand for a while, or even overnight, so that it thickens up a bit. Blended oats can be a little gritty.

I then stepped outside the comfort zone of smoothies and tried protein microwave cake using this recipe. I used the Cherry Bakewell flavour here as I thought that might be pretty tasty. Well, dear reader, I'm afraid this didn't turn out quite so well. The taste was lovely but I don't think I mixed it enough, it seemed to need a fair bit longer in the microwave than the recipe suggested and I ended up with little lumps of protein in the cake… but feel free to try the recipe yourself!

Disclaimer: I have not been asked to write this review let alone a positive one. I just fancied sharing my ideas with you good folks. The products were not gifted, I merely used credit that I earn by writing articles for the company. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Progress 8

I’m a sucker for a free sample. I ate so many bits of Clif bar at the Running Show I barely needed lunch. I’m also a sucker for getting things through the post. I love a bit of post. And this is probably why Progress8 caught my eye. They also produce sports nutrition bars but have an ethos I can really get on board with. For a start they’re freshly made by hand each week. That’s some dedication right there. Secondly they will post them to you!
Fits through your letterbox!
Start off with one of their £5 taster boxes. You’ll get this within 3-5 days of ordering, straight to your doormat because the boxes are designed to fit through your letterbox. These contain one of each of their six flavours. Once you’ve decided which flavours you like best you can order boxes of those, single flavours or mixed, it doesn’t matter, on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Postage is included in the price of the box and you get a supply of bars to suit your lifestyle or training plan. Awesome!
All the flavours. Yum!
The bars are substantial with a consistency that is less dense than most flapjack type bars. There are six flavours to choose from: Raspberry & White Chocolate, Multi-seed Crunch, Honey Flapjack, Banoffee Slice, Blueberry & Sesame and Cranberry & Yogurt. I think my favourites are Cranberry & Yogurt and Multi-seed Crunch as they're less sweet, not that any of them are overly sweet, mind. The ingredients are all things you'll recognise, no nasties, and you could be forgiven for thinking you could have a go at making them yourself from the ingredients list.

There's no gluten free bar at present but it's in the pipeline and they're also looking to expand into soups, snack pots and cereals which I'll be interested to try when they come out.

You can follow Progress8 on Facebook and twitter to get training tips, training tune of the week, special offers and much more.

Friday, 6 December 2013

No Gold, Frankincense or Myrrh. Just Iron.

You'll have noticed there was a distinct lack of a weekly round up post last week. This is partly because I wanted to announce my competition (Have you entered yet? Go on, get on with it!) but also because I didn't really do a lot.

Last week was a difficult week for me. I felt incredibly low in terms of emotions and energy and it was a struggle to get through the week in every way. I considered all sorts of causes. Maybe I was coming down off the high I got from the Running Show over the weekend, maybe not eating enough or had a vitamin imbalance. All I knew for certain was that it knocked me for six and I just wanted to go into hiding. I tried exercising in the hope that it'd perk me up but it didn't work and I didn't feel physically able to do any running at all. I hated the thought that I was losing fitness with every day that passed; I've been getting so slowly towards my goals of increased speed and strength. People around me noticed the change, even my PT commented that I didn't seem myself.

I tried listening to my body. Mine seemed to be saying "you need ALL the sleep, a break from EVERYTHING and to eat cake". So I ate cake. I tried to convince myself that doing anything active was better than nothing and I forced myself to talk to people. I'd have loved to have called into work sick but I couldn't quite bring myself to do it so I worked from home when I could, in layers of jumpers and slouchy socks with mugs of mum's hot damson cordial and Paul Hollywood's Pies and Puds on iPlayer at lunchtime. There was one evening where I changed straight into my PJs after work, got into bed and was asleep an hour and a half later.

I'd tried to get what I call my "power up jab", a B12 injection that I was prescribed on a 3-monthly basis almost a decade ago to combat pernicious anaemia. My last blood tests showed a spike in B12 so I'd been told to leave it 6 months. It'd been 5. I was DENIED my jab and I felt like crying. The doctor decided to run some blood tests and this week I was diagnosed with actual proper severe anaemiaThe healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml and the normal iron levels for women ranges from 12 to 15.5g of haemoglobin per decilitre of blood. One of my readings was 2.something in either case that's extremely low.

Rather than being surprised that I have it, I suppose I should be more surprised that it's taken this long for me to get it. I've been vegetarian since the age of 10 and being a woman and a runner also makes it more likely to occur but I've always been mindful of my diet and love things like broccoli and greens, beans and nuts which are all high in iron. It can take decades for your iron levels to fall to anaemic levels but thankfully not quite so long time to build them back up again, although we're still talking months not weeks. I'm now on iron tablets, which have their own downsides, and am hoping they make a difference to my energy levels and moods. I'll get tested again in the new year. I'm still curious as to why it's come on so quickly; my iron levels weren't commented on in my last blood tests.

I don't mean for this to be a whiny, woe-is-me post but this isn't something that's talked about very much and it's been a real relief to me to find out that others have had similar experiences. I'm finding that shouldn't feel bad because I can't do so much at the moment. This is an actual thing that happens to people, these levels of tiredness are not uncommon and I'm not being a hypochondriac. It can take a while to bounce (or crawl) back. This week I have tried to work out at a lower intensity, just to stop myself from feeling as though I'm turning into a blob. I managed a lower impact PT session with lots of strength work built in, a couple of dog walks, some yoga at home and a circuits class that took far more out of me than usual. Although I've still not run, I'm considering a 2-miler over the weekend but if I don't feel up to it, then that's just the way it is. It's a day at a time right now.

If you want to find out more about anaemia, recommended iron intake and so on, I've linked to the relevant NHS page above but this page is also very informative. If you've had anaemia, whether you're a runner, sporty, or not, I'd really love to hear your experiences so please do leave a comment below.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Guest Post : Winter Workouts

Hi all, I am Julie Roberts, a proud wife, SAHM, runner, outdoorsy nature lover, and a fitness fanatic! I also love to write and now that I am a full-time SAHM I have a lot more time to focus on it! Thankfully for me, Vikki has been kind enough to let me share my writing with you, her readers, on her amazing blog. So for today, I have some of my favorite tips to working out in the winter months when it’s so easy to let up on your workouts because of the cold, I hope you enjoy it! Here’s my email if you have any questions or would like to get in touch!
Is it really that time of year again? If the snow isn’t already on my doorstep, it’s in the forecast for sure. Although the cold weather tempts me to stay in with a big cup of apple cider, I still need to stay in shape. After all, the kids don’t feel the same as I do about the snow. They love it, can’t get enough of it, and cannot wait to spend a lot of time outdoors. If I invest in myself and my body, I’ll be better able to enjoy that time with them.

Hard Work Outdoors

Last year, I had an epiphany. I used to have my husband do a lot of the more ornery outdoor chores, such as gardening, raking leaves and shoveling snow and ice off the stairs, driveways and walkways. I reasoned that he’s stronger and it’s probably easier for him. Then I wondered, why is that? He is stronger in large part because he does those activities. So I started doing them. Yes, 20 minutes spent shoveling snow is not how I imagine a luxurious morning. But I was going to exercise anyway, and this is a great way to burn calories! This is like free exercise minutes that pays off in a more comfortable home. I happily do these chores myself now.

Working Out at Home

There are certain parts of the year, however, when outside chores are the only energy I’m willing to spend outside. That’s when I take my exercise routines indoors. I also take the outdoor chores approach to the home interior. I clean the kitchen counters, wash a few dishes, and do some squats. Done! When it comes to proper indoor workouts, I’m a runner who has no treadmill. I have no choice but to get creative. I like to put on my heart rate monitor and push myself with some bodyweight exercises and cardio workout routines. I’m a big fan of interval training, so I create a few plans for myself and go for it. But I get bored easily, working out indoors day after day. So I like to change it up with a few workout videos. If I’m feeling up to an intense workout, I set aside some time with Tony Horton. If not, I will do some stretching videos like Cardio Barre, Pilates or yoga.

Outdoor Fun

The holidays and winter are a fantastic time to get some serious cardio in. For a simple task, I like to take my kids for a long walk in the stroller to see holiday lights. But I can do much, much more than that. My daughter is getting just old enough that she’s asking about going skiing or snowboarding. She has a few friends who have done it, and she’s eager to try it for herself. I thought that we might make it a family-friendly activity this year. We’ll get her into a class, and then we can all go together. And there’s always sledding. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been sweatier than when I spend an hour dragging a child in a sled up a steep hill. Now that is an outdoor workout.

Winter is barely almost here, and a part of me is already longing for spring. Not yet–I need to wait and savor it. Even if I’m not as big of a fan of the cold weather as I was when I was a kid, my kids are. Taking advantage of the cold and snow to keep in shape will prevent the worst of the winter weight gain, and make me look all the better when the weather finally warms up.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Hello Fresh!

Today I’m going to talk a little about yet another box scheme. It seems there’s a box subscription scheme for just about everything these days; I’ve already written about two snack box subscriptions previously but now I’m turning my attention to meal kit subscriptions.

Hello Fresh is one of two companies I’ve tried recently that sends meal kits to your door. You choose a type of “box”, a number of meals and a number of people you want to cook for (generally a choice between 2 or 4). The recipes change each week. Then Hello Fresh packs up every single ingredient you need to make the meal (with the exception of oil, salt and pepper) in the exact quantities you need, so there’s no waste, along with the recipe cards and get it to your door.
All the recipes are created by a chef and are designed to be nutritionally balanced, varied and simple. Typically it’ll take you about half an hour to prepare the meal. They also try to include a few ingredients you won’t find in your regular supermarket.

You can choose from classic, veggie, family and Christmas boxes. It’s a good idea for people who have the sorts of jobs that mean they struggle to plan meals or get to the shops. I’m not one of these people but I just fancied giving it a try. I ordered a Veggie box which contained 3 meals for 2 people for £36. Postage is included in the price of the box.
My meals were Baked Tofu with Peanut Satay, Courgette & Quinoa Burgers and a Moroccan Spiced Lentil & Chickpea Soup. All the ingredients were carefully packed, in great condition (no wilting coriander here) and clearly labelled so you knew what was for each meal. The recipe cards were also nice and clear, gave you the nutrition content of each meal and had plenty of pictures so you knew what it should look like at each stage, perfect if you’re a beginner or less confident cook!
Step by step
All the meals were extremely tasty and easy to make but the portion sizes were huge! Each was meant to serve 2 people but I easily got three portions out of each kit. Bonus!
Spicy Lentil and Chickpea Moroccan Soup
I think the concept is good and the kits and recipes are well presented and thought out. You pay for convenience here so as someone who is generally good at planning and shopping, and can be a bit thrifty, I wouldn’t be paying for these regularly, but a friend of mine, who is one of these high flier, work 15 hour day type people, tried the service and it really suited him.

The other service I tried was Gousto, which differs only in as much as you have a small element of choice over the recipes you get. The only reason I’m featuring Hello Fresh as opposed to Gousto is because I forgot to take photos of the Gousto product.

If you fancy trying Hello Fresh then you can get £20 off your first box by using the code 5SQQ2V when you place your order.