Reviewed by Jenny Seymour
Struggling for Christmas gift inspiration – this article hopes to help with you that and covers something you could give to that person who appears to have everything this Christmas and an idea for those little ones in your life.
SimplyCook Gift Subscription
So, what do you get for that someone who has everything? My favourite idea is a subscription to something that will keep them healthy and that they can enjoy for a long time after the festive season is over. This gift is great, not just for “foodie” friends, but anyone… After Christmas everyone is ready to kick start their new healthy lifestyles and SimplyCook is a great way to do that.
Depending on what package you choose SimplyCook provides you with the flavours and recipes for 4 meals per box for either 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. Their strapline is to cook restaurant quality meals in 20 minutes and I have to say this proved to be correct for all of the meals that we have made so far. That in itself was a treat for us – after putting our 3 kids to bed, often the last thing we want to do is cook and so we end up usually preparing some form of pasta dish that is quick to make. So, now we have far more meal options that are quick and easy to make and really do taste like restaurant quality.
How does this add to simply downloading a recipe from the internet? One, SimplyCook put together some great meal ideas which I would never know where to find on the internet and the recipes are truly international. Two, each pack comes with the flavour pots (which truly do provide mouth-watering flavours) and a card with pictures, the recipe and a handy serrated part of the card which has the shopping list of fresh ingredients you need and provides fool-proof step-by-step guides as to how to make meals from all over the world. It will enable the person you have bought your gift for to not only have healthy meals each week, but also to widen their repertoire of recipes.
In our pack, we have had Thai Prawn Red Curry, Nyonya and Vietnamese Pork. We have yet to use the 4th box – Chipotle Steak, but the beauty of SimplyCook over other food home delivery services, is that because they don’t deliver fresh produce, you can cook each dish when you want and are not forced to have them all within a few days of delivery. I’ve had other home delivery food services before (such as Hello Fresh and Gusto), but I stopped those services within a month or so of starting them because I found that the boxes were arriving quicker than we could eat them (as we’re often out in the evening ferrying kids to different after school activities or meetings etc) and they worked out for us about £5 per meal per person.
With SimplyCook, although you only get the flavour pots and recipe and you do need to buy some additional ingredients, each recipe only has a few additional ingredients, which were fairly simple and cheap to buy and the result of each of the meals actually looked quite like the picture on the recipe card! If we can do it, any fool can!
One negative thing I thought of was that the recipes all rely on the pastes as an integral part of the ingredients. So, you would need to order the same meals from SimplyCook again in order to be able to use the recipe cards and there should be a service where you can re-order the flavour pots without the full box of recipe cards etc, so that they’re not duplicated and wasteful. Otherwise, it’s pretty pointless having the recipe cards if they can’t be used again – you somehow need to know what is in each flavour pot: fine for the Thai curry pastes (which you can buy in most supermarkets), but not perhaps for the more unusual dishes such as Nyonya.
You can even get a trial box for £3 to try these fabulous flavours yourself before buying the gift subscription! For more information visit www.simplycook.com.
Cute Lil PUPS Swim to Me Puppy
Well, this is TOP of my little girl’s Christmas list. My little girl is 4 and a puppy that swims and she can take for a walk is all she wants for Christmas. Short of a real-life puppy (which she will NOT be getting!), Cute LIL PUPS Swim to Me Puppy (RRP: £29.99) is ideal.
The packaging is a bit bulky, but the pup is a great size and is a cute Dalmatian. Each pup comes with its very own adoption certificate to identify your little one as their new owner – great fun to choose your very own pup’s name! It may even encourage them to care and look after their puppy so that the pup is for longer than just Christmas!
There is a lead that you can attach with Velcro around the dog’s neck. The height of the lead and the speed that the puppy walks at is just about right for your little one to walk along with it and will discourage them running off. Having said that, he does move quite slowly, so I can imagine my little one becoming a bit frustrated with that when she does want to go faster and he will get scraped if dragged around the park by an over enthusiastic little puppy lover!
The fun continues at bath or swimming time! The Swim to Me Puppy also includes goggles he can wear in the bath or swimming pool. You need to have him in quite deep water for him to swim more effectively, but he soon starts to doggie paddle across the bath or pool. It’s quite expensive if you are only going to use it as a bath toy, but this little puppy does more than your average bath toy!
The dog requires 3 AAA batteries (and a screwdriver to install them), which don’t come with the puppy and, surprisingly, the puppy seems to work well in water despite using batteries (although we did make sure we had a separate towel for puppy and left him to dry after bath time until the next day). This product is 3+ years only.
All in all this product is really easy for little ones to use – you just press the paw button on his collar to make him walk/swim and fit the goggles under his ears.
Another great product from Little Tikes and you can find out more by visiting www.littletikes.co.uk.
Simply Cook: What’s better at Christmas than to treat your loved ones to restaurant quality flavoured meals that are easy to cook and add to their repertoire! They may even invite you over to join them for the meal – if you’re lucky!
Lil PUPS Swim to Me Puppy: Another great product from Little Tikes. Short of a real life puppy (which my little girl will NOT be getting for Christmas), LIL PUPS Swim to Me Puppy is an ideal Christmas gift!
What’s Good To Do will be reviewing lots of Christmas Gift Ideas this year, and you can read them all here and get some gift inspiration.