Devonshire Woman

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Making The Christmas Budget Stretch

Christmas is fast approaching, I adore this time of year. What I don’t like is the pressure to overspend! This year, however, I have planned ahead and looked at ways I can make the Christmas budget stretch.

The first thing I have done is a present buying cull… it sounds drastic and I guess it is. It was hard but I spoke to some of my long distance friends and we have agreed not to purchase each other’s children presents this year. We are friends from university and our children really do not know each other, there is also the added annoyance of finding a gift small enough to post, postage prices can be a massive budget killer during the festive season.

For friends closer to home, we have agreed to do the same as last year. We did a book swap by simply exchanging a wrapped book that we had already read. This was great as it meant that my bookshelf got cleared of old books and replaced with a set of new (to me) books to read throughout the year.

Finally, I have been checking out websites such as, which has helped me find some great deals on presents and also offers a lot of freebies, which helps me save money to put towards Christmas.

What have you done/doing this year to help spread the Christmas budget?

What I Ate and Drank in Bath

Part One of my Bath mini-break can be found here. The first night we went to The Stable as mentioned in part one, it was my first time visiting this chain and I wasn’t really that impressed. The pizzas seemed overpriced for the amount of pizza you got ( we stalked other people’s tables). By this point we were really hungry so husband and I went for a pie, I chose the wild rooster, which contained chicken, gammon and leek, served with rosemary & thyme potato wedges,
slaw and tomato chutney.

Bath weekend

I’m sad to say it was just ok. Nothing special and not very filling. The four wedges that came with the pie just didn’t cut it for me sadly.

The next morning we headed to The King of Wessex pub, which was the local Wetherspoons to the hotel. I haven’t been for breakfast there in a while so went for the mushroom benedict.

mushroom benedict The King of Wessex pub bath

It was gorgeous! I will definitely be having this for breakfast again soon. It tasted so fresh and I loved the rocket too. I used to hate rocket but my taste has changed as I have gotten older.

I said goodbye to the boys and waited in Bath for my family to arrive for my girly weekend. My Mom arrived first, so we went for a drink at The Courtyard Cafe. I was still full up from my breakfast and knew I probably had a few indulgent days ahead of me, so I opted for a green juice.

The Courtyard Cafe Bath

We headed towards our air bnb and waited for all the family to arrive, once all 7 of us had chosen where we were sleeping, filled the fridge with breakfast bits, snacks and alcohol from the nearby Sainsbury’s. We decided to head to the local pub The Red Lion which is part of the sizzling pub and grill group. It wasn’t busy but we had to wait for ages (about 50 minutes) for food and the service was so slow behind the bar. By the time the food arrived, it had gone 9pm and I was beyond starving. I ordered stilton and mushroom chicken (Grilled chicken fillet with a roasted flat mushroom and Cropwell Bishop Stilton, served with mash, peas and a creamy mushroom & brandy sauce).

the red lion bath

The meal was actually quite nice. The flavours were good and the chicken was juicy. I cleared my plate in no time. It was such a shame we had to wait so long for drinks and food as the pub was virtually empty. I probably wouldn’t go there again for that reason.

The next day we had breakfast at the air bnb and had a look around the Roman baths (blog post coming soon). There was a lot more to see in the baths than we thought so didn’t get out till well past lunchtime. We wanted to do the tourist thing and headed to Sally Lunns Buns (i never knew Bath was famous for its own buns) for a bite to eat. There was a choice between sweet and savoury buns, I went halves with my cousin and we went for 2 savouries to share. The first was the Welsh Rarebit Special with buttery mushrooms, dry cured smoked back bacon and home-made chutney.

Sally Lunns Buns

And our second choice was Salt Beef, traditional recipe home cured salt beef with a honey mustard sauce.

Salt beef Sally Lunns Buns Bath

Both were delicious that I couldn’t pick a favourite. The bun was like a brioche, light and fluffy. We were too stuffed to try a sweet one, next time maybe.

After heading back to the airbnb to spruce ourselves up, we headed back into Bath for cocktails at Las Iguanas.

It was 2 for 1 on cocktails so we bought a few and played swapsies. I went for Vanilla Mai Tai (Havana Club Especial Rum, Absolut Vanilia Vodka, lime, almond, bitters) and Pornstar Martini (Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, apricot, Funkin passion fruit, vanilla, pineapple, with a shot of cava). The cocktails were nice, the mouldy passionfruit in all our cocktails wasn’t!


Las Iguanas Bath

For our evening meal, we headed to a new place for all of us. Tapas Revolution.

We paired up and went for the set menu. My cousin and I opted for the Del Chef.

And added an order of Torreznos Con Mojo Dulce. We also shared a jug of classic Sangria which i forgot to photograph but was sweet and delicious. I think i managed to get photos of all the tapas, so this is what we ate…

  • PAN CON TOMATE (Toasted bread, garlic, tomato and olive oil)

  • TORTILLA DE PATATAS (Classic Spanish omelette with eggs, potato and onion).

  • ALBÓNDIGAS EN SALSA (Beef and pork meatballs in a rich tomato and vegetable ‘sofrito’ sauce).
  • CROQUETAS DE JAMÓN (Deep-fried Ibérico ham and béchamel croquettes).

  • CALAMARES FRITOS A LA ANDALUZA (Squid strips tossed in flour, deep-fried and served with aioli and lemon).

  • BACALAO CON PIPERRADA (Roasted cod loin with olives and slow-cooked red peppers).

Tapas Revolution Bath

  • TORREZNOS CON MOJO DULCE (Crispy pork belly with sweet and spicy sauce).

The meal was delicious, I love trying lots of different flavours. I would definitely head back again and try some other dishes.

After the meal, we headed next door to the Absurd Bird for some more 2 for 1 cocktails. Now this place knows how to serve a decent Pornstar Martini, they were gorgeous and the passion fruits were fresh on top so they beat Las Iguanas cocktails hands down. I think we bought all the Pornstar Martini’s!

The next day we headed to the Thermae Spa in the morning and picked up lunch after from Pret a Manger. I purchased the crayfish salad and coffee. The salad was ok, I have had better, it just needed something else as was a bit bland.

pret a manger

We had our final walk around Bath before heading back to the airbnb for our last evening. My sister tried to see if we could find any secret bars, the closest one we found was the Dark Horse bar. The cocktails were quite expensive. My sister paid £9 for a tiny one that didn’t taste anything special. I opted for a cider.

Dark Horse Bath

That was the highlights of what I ate and drank in Bath. I am heading back there this weekend with my university friends. I will definitely be heading back to the Absurd Bird for the cocktails and we have also booked in to eat there too, I will report back on the food also.

Have you been to Bath? Do you have any recommendations on places to eat and drink?

A Mini Break in Bath – Part One

At the beginning of the month, I spent a couple of days in beautiful Bath. Once a year myself and family (all girls) meet up for a weekend of giggles and exploring a new city. This year we chose to visit Bath. We only live 1.5 hours away, so myself, husband and 2 little men decided to venture there, the day before my family was due to arrive and have a night in the city before the boys headed back to Devon and I stayed in Bath.

The first thing i will say about Bath is WOW… just WOW! There is something about this city that really captured my heart. The history and buildings were amazing.

It really was a whistle-stop tour for my little family. We booked a night in a Travelodge in the centre of Bath and got really lucky with our family room as it was huge! And rather than one of those sofa beds that are normally in these rooms, we had a corner room with 2 extra single beds, we all had a very comfortable, enjoyable night.

We headed straight to The Circus to see the circle of gorgeous townhouses. It was almost like being on a film set. I could just imagine Oliver or Mary Poppins being filmed here. I can only imagine how grand these houses are or must have been when they were first built.

Next we walked a little further and approached The Royal Crescent. The Royal Crescent, is one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks. It was almost breathtaking to see it and again so grand. We probably ruined many tourists photos by playing an impromptu game of ‘it’ on the grass green in front of it, but when you are sightseeing with a 6 and 4 year old, what else can you do?


All the major sightseeing and places to visit are in walking distance. We decided to cut through a park to get back into the centre and saw some beautiful gardens.


And found the amazing Victoria Falls Adventure Golf.



We did a bit more sight seeing.


And because we didn’t need to drive anywhere, we stopped at the Garrick’s Head for a beer and sat outside watching the world go by.


We popped back to the hotel close by and rested up before heading out to dinner. The hotel was close to the theatre so a lot of the restaurants were full. We did manage to get in at The Stable although i wasn’t that impressed. I’ll explain more in my ‘what i ate in Bath’ blog post which is coming soon.

Like i said earlier we had a great night in the hotel, being so central i was worried about noise but it was so quiet and Bath isn’t really a city where there is a rowdy night life.

The next day the boys all packed up and headed back to Devon and i waited around for an hour or so for my family to start arriving from the Midlands and London. So i didn’t have to lug my big bag around with me, I found a baggage storage shop that held bags for £3.50 all day. We used this shop again during our stay so i recommend it if you have time on your hands and a lot of baggage!

It really was a last minute, quick stop over with the boys but it was nice to do some sightseeing and the crazy golf was perfect at keeping our little men entertained. Now the grown-ups were arriving the real being a tourist began…

To be continued.

5 Random Monday Musings

It’s time I dusted off my keyboard and wrote a proper blog post! So I’ll keep it short and sweet for now with 5 random Monday musings for this wet (in Devon anyway) Monday evening…

1. Don’t underestimate your worth if you are a stay at home Mum…

I became a stay at home mum back in 2011 when I had my eldest son (my work basically said come back full time or beat it…) so I said ‘laters’ and off I went! In fact, it was awful, but that’s a whole other blog post! Other than doing general admin for my husband’s business, I felt like I wasn’t contributing and felt frustrated being the house cleaner and cook. In January, when a work at home job came my way,  i was overjoyed to get it. It was nice to be doing something different. I enjoyed the job but unfortunately, I couldn’t dedicate the time to it with still having my littlest at home 2.5 days a week and my husband needing more help with the admin side of the business. So I recently handed in my notice. I was sad that it didn’t work out but it did make me realise that I love my role as a stay at home Mum. When I was working my second job, it was cutting into my time with my boys, something I have invested the past 7 years of my life to. I am going to fully embrace my role as Homemaker, it’s a job I love and should never have underestimated myself and my value to my family.

2 How freaking amazing is The Greatest Showman?…

The film is amazing, the songs make me want to dance like the albino twin in ‘From Now On’! I’m thinking of making it my summer goal to learn the dance routine but let’s keep that between you and I shhhh!

3. I have a slight obsession with watching people clean on Instagram…

I love a good bit of house cleaning and nothing motivates me more to clean than watching others on Instagram clean their sinks/bins/toilets 🙂

4. I’ve always said that I will never EVER watch Love Island…

That was until I flicked over to Itv+1 last night and got sucked in… god damn you Love Island. It felt like watching Big Brother but when it didn’t use to be shite. I have a few questions though, do people in their early 20’s not eat much? I don’t think I have ever looked like the girls on there! ‘Ya know what i mean?…’

5. It’s time to start blogging more consistently…

One thing I did take from my little job (as discussed in musing numero 1), is how hard working I am. I dedicated more time than needed for my work to ensure it was perfect and met my client’s briefs. I kept thinking that if I had been so dedicated to my blog with my time and effort, I could actually make something of it (maybe?) So that is what i am going to do. I have 2.5 days child free a week, 1 day will be dedicated to my home, 1 day to my blog and half a day for everything else.


So that’s all that is in my head out on the interweb! Happy Monday everyone x


Choosing Your New Home Gym

Life is a busy old thing, isn’t it? We work, we commute, we socialise with friends, we spend time with family, we pay bills, we buy food shopping – there doesn’t ever seem to be time for health and fitness. It’s easy to find it too hard to get out of the house to the gym, because of the lack of time in the day to get there. The other thing is that we all seem to live to a budget these days, and when this has to be cut back, the gym membership is usually the first thing to go.

So, what do you do when you need to look after yourself, but you just can’t find the time of the day to do it? Well, you decide to build your own home gym, instead. You can choose to transform the spare bedroom, empty the basement of all the boxes into self storage or even renovate the garage to customise a gym that’s going to be what you want rather than be something that others want instead. There are so many benefits to working out at home, and you can do so much more than just buying one treadmill and popping it in the corner of the room. You can do an entire transformation for your home gym, including replacing the floor and installing spotlights across the ceiling. The question is where you should start? The answers are below.

Pick Your Favourites.

If you enjoy running, then a treadmill of the highest calibre with the right inclines and the gadgets that you need for it. If you are a lover of gymnastics, instead, and aerobics, then installing wall to wall mirrors and padded mats for the floor is the best idea here. You have to choose what your ideal workout would be and model your gym around this. You could install a large television and DVD player to play your favourite workouts if you’re not a fan of machinery, too.

Weigh In.

Free weights are ideal for training if you just want a simple daily workout. You can look here for the best kind of weights for your needs, which often means buying a range of weights and sizes to allow you to progress.

Climb New Heights.

If you have the ceiling height, think about installing a climbing wall. It’s fun, the kids can get involved and it’s a great way to burn calories and tone up. If you don’t have the space, think about a machine like the Treadwall M4. It fits into any space, which means that you can continue to climb even if you can’t get to the space you’ve always done it.

Dance Party.

Those keen dancers and Zumba lovers among you will adore a home gym space with a sound system for dancing the calories away. Dancing releases endorphins, meaning that you will thoroughly enjoy your workout! Dress the space up in your favourite dancing theme and enjoy every second in there!

Give Your Garden A Head Start This Spring

If you find that your garden always seems to be lacking compared to what you would want from it, then you might want to look at some of the ways in which you can give it a head start. As it happens, this can be easier than you might think, and the good news is that there is no such thing as a lost cause when it comes to your garden. But whether or not you consider yourself a competent gardener, it’s worth looking at some of the things you can do to help your garden along this spring. Consider the following if you want your garden to really flourish well this year, and you’re not entirely sure where to begin.

Plant Seeds Early

If you are planning to have plenty of flowers and plants in your garden, then it is always best to start planting those seeds as early as you can. You can of course alternatively choose to buy plants already matured, but it is much more pleasing to do it from seed, and if you are careful you can even make it more successful than ones you might buy in the garden nursery. However, you will want to make sure that you buy and plant those seeds nice and early, which means being well prepared and happy to get out in the garden, come rain or shine. What actual time of year to plant seeds depends from plant to plant. For some brassicas, you can wait until late May, while for leafy greens and many flowers you want to do it in April. Regardless, make sure you are planting your seeds as early as is recommended on the packet, and you will be giving your garden a better chance of flourishing in the summer.

Use A Greenhouse

As well as planting the seeds early, you also want to make sure that you are creating the best possible conditions for them to grow. In general, seeds need a lot of light, heat and moisture in order to germinate and ge sprouting. If you live in a climate where this is unlikely to happen in April and May, then you might want to consider using a greenhouse. This can be a literal greenhouse, if you have one – or you are happy to build one. Or if you don’t have the space, time or inclination, you might instead choose to create the greenhouse effect some other way. If you have been considering building a conservatory, now might be the time to leaf through and get building. Or for a simpler approach, you can create the greenhouse effect just by putting your seeds in a shop-bought windowsill propagator, or by putting them in pots and covering with cling film until germinated. Any of these methods will ensure you have much more growing even sooner in your garden, so it’s well worth considering them.

Mulch Out The Beds

If you are to plant out lots of plants later in the Spring, then you will want to make sure that you have properly prepared the garden as best as you can. When it comes to getting the flower beds ready, this is a simple case of mixing in some mulch, such as manure or just compost, and sprinkling in some fertilizer as well. As long as you do this, you are providing your flower beds with the necessary sustenance to grow flowers and plants properly, and you will absolutely notice a profound difference in the beauty of the garden on the whole. It is actually ideal to mulch out and prepare the soil in the previous winter, but doing it now will also produce some great results and still be extremely beneficial for your garden on the whole. With well-prepared soil, you can be sure that your garden has a much better start this year, so make sure you don’t overlook this step. Take a look at for advice on mulching out.

Attract Pollinators

Your garden needs pollinators if the flowers are to grow and in particular if you are trying to grow vegetables. The easiest way to ensure that you attract pollinators into your garden is to buy a seed mix of wildflowers which are bee-friendly, and plant them around your borders in your lower beds. This will attract the bees, but also help to distract other insects from your other plants once they are fully grown. Get the pollinators, and your garden will flourish much more easily and look much more beautiful on the whole.

Indigo Nutrition Chocolate Starter Kit Review

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

Who doesn’t love chocolate, right?

And if you’re like me, I adore dark, good quality chocolate. When Indigo Herbs asked me to review their Chocolate Starter Kit, they had me at ‘chocolate’! Seriously, I thought how cool it would be to make chocolate from scratch. Everything that you need (apart from the chocolate moulds) arrives in lovely looking purple packaging. Once you open the bag, the pure scent of chocolate heaven hits you.

What’s to love about Indigo Chocolate Making Kit…

  • All ingredients are organic.
  • All ingredients are raw.
  • All ingredients are dairy free.
  • All ingredients are vegan.
  • 100% pure botanical ingredients, absolutely nothing added.

What’s inside the bag…

  • Organic Cacao Butter
  • Organic Raw Agave Syrup
  • Organic Cacao Powder
  • Organic Raw Vanilla Powder
  • Easy to follow recipe instructions.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

Although I felt a bit out of my comfort zone when the kits arrived the instructions couldn’t be easier. All the ingredients are measured out it was just a case of mixing them all together! First, you need to make a bain marie, this is easilly done using a large saucepan full of simmering water and then a smaller saucepan to mix the ingredients in.

The first ingredient to go in was the Cacao Butter, it comes in a big block so I chopped it up a little before adding to the bain marie so it would melt quicker.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

Next to be added was the organic raw vanilla powder. I have only ever used liquid vanilla (& if I am completely honest, it is usually the cheap supermarket kind), what a difference the powder makes. The vanilla scent was so much richer and tastes 100% better too.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

Next to be added was the big bag of organic cacao powder, this is when my taste buds really started to zing and the house smelled amazing. It was a good job I made the chocolate when I was home alone, otherwise my boys would have been begging me for chocolate.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

The mix was started to look rich and indulgent. I did have a sneaky try but it was very bitter at this point as no sweetener had been added.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

To sweeten the chocolate, instead of cheap, refined sugar that is added to everyday chocolate bars, this chocolate was sweetened with organic agave syrup. It seemed a bit extreme when it said to add the whole bottle, but then it put it into perspective just how much refined sugar is in a chocolate bar… I would much rather have the better organic agave syrup any day!

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

Once all the ingredients were mixed together and the mixture was glossy, it was time for the fun bit, adding it to the moulds. I had a cute heart silicone mould and a rectangle mould. In total, I made 25 small chocolates and one large slab of chocolate (which I later used to make brownies!)

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

I placed them in the freezer to chill as I could not wait to try them. I also had the task of licking the spatula out of the bowl so I knew what I had to come.

I ended up with the most indulgent dark chocolate that I have ever tried. The chocolate was smooth, silky and rich. You wouldn’t want to eat too many in one sitting. After trying this chocolate and tasting how different it tastes when it’s made with good quality ingredients has really made me realise that cheaper chocolate is just not that great. I would choose quality chocolate over quantity that’s for sure.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit

Making my own chocolate was a lot easier and quicker than i imagined. This kit would make a lovely gift (either to make or as made up chocolate). It would also be fun to make with the girls over a couple of glasses of wine, it’s just something different.

If you would like to purchase an Indigo Chocolate Making Kit, you can find them here.


I was offered an Indigo Chocolate Starter Kit in return for an honest review. I take full responsibility for the number of calories I consumed following this review… every single one of them was worth it!