Feeling the Boost with Ilumi

I don’t think I have IBS or any specific allergies, but I do get a lot of bloating and upset stomachs. I always say I have a good diet, but I do feel I’m kidding myself sometimes, I can be a bit of a junk food junkie at times and I have a passion for biscuits and cake. When I’m trying to lose weight I generally just cut out the junk, sugar and full fat milk and I can lose a few pounds easily. I do however, feel hungry and deprived when I miss out on my ‘treats’

I decided to give Ilumi a go because I wanted to see if changes in my diet would really help me, both from the bloating and stomach problems and the craving for unhealthy food. I was sent a box of food for one for one week. This was the Boost Your Energy box and included 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 main dishes and snacks for every day. The plan also comes with a handy tip sheet and menu to follow.

Ilumi produce nut-, gluten and milk free food and use no uneccessary additives. They are perfect for people with allergies, or diet related conditions like IBS. The meals are cooked in pouches and then
 sealed so they stay fresh for when you open them. They do not need to be stored in the fridge. The most amazing thing about them is that they are full of flavour!

I’ve tried ready meals before, those well known brand boxes that you pop in your microwave for a quick and easy meal, and I’ve never been impressed. The last one I tried, when I needed a quick and easy lunch for one, tasted purely of sugar and salt and had tiny rock hard prawns that were inedible. So, I’m not a big fan. In fact, I find ready meals a bit of a cheat, I love cooking and putting everything together. In my kitchen food is made with love, not microwaves. However, I was prepared to give this box of food a chance, particularly as I would be eating differently to my family for a week, the convenience of popping my dinner in the microwave at the last minute made the task doable. I guess this is one of the reasons why I find dieting so difficult, how can I prepare my meals seperately when I have another six people to feed, and a couple of them are incredibly fussy eaters.

On unpacking my box I was pleased with the amount of food, all this just for me! There was also a couple of bottles of gluten free beer popped in. I stashed it all in the cupboard and read the tips sheet to see if I would need anything else.

ilumi’s Recommended Shopping List
Semi-skimmed milk
Gluten Free Bread Rolls
Gluten Free Pasta
Fruit portions
Selection of Vegetables
Side Salad

I always buy fruit and vegetables anyway and I didn’t bother with the side salad. I did buy gluten free bread rolls and hated them, yuk! I also bought gluten free pasta which was nice and actually cooks quicker than regular pasta so I’m going to buy it regular for my Little Man who is a pasta addict and finds 11 minutes too long to wait for his fix.
The snacks included in the box were oat cakes and oat and syrup biscuits. I had a feeling I might get a little chocolate craving so I added some gluten free chocolaty type fruit bar thingies to my shopping list, just in case.
I also bought some gluten free breakfast cereal in case I didn’t have time to make up the porridge.
So the first day came and I began my energy boosting diet. 
Remember, that microwave meal I talked about earlier? Well it was no comparison to these meals. The flavours exploded in your mouth. They were really easy to prepare, just a few minuts in the microwave and put on the plate, but you would not believe that they hadn’t come straight from a couple of hours slaving over a hot stove. They were fresh and delicious. The rice dishes were fluffy and perfect, and I always thought MY rice was perfect! 
I didn’t like everything, well that would be too much to expect, but the ones I didn’t enjoy were purely down to my personal tastes, there was nothing wrong with them. 
I do believe that if my family were taking part too they’d be very happy…then I had a brainwave, these would be perfect for self catering breaks away. You know the ones where you have to give up your beach or fun time to go back to the caravan or chalet to feed the brood before the next lot of entertainment. Well, with a few Illumi products packed in your suitcase you could whip up a totally delicous meal, worthy of a restaurant, in just  a few minutes!
Within a couple of days I noticed that my ‘looking like I’m six months pregnant tum, when I’m not pregnant at all’ had reduced quite a lot…yay, the bloating was improving already. I also found at the end of the week I’d lost 2lb. Although this is not a weight loss diet, I believe I lost weight purely through not eating junk and retaining water. I never felt hungry, the meals were satisfying and I rarely had to add any more veg or salad, they were fine on their own. I didn’t finish all the snacks in the week, not even the chocolate ones. I didn’t snack on anything naughty either, I just didn’t feel the need.

As for the energy boost, well, I didn’t feel that usual ‘don’t want to get up I’ve just eaten’ feeling after the meals. Yes I was full, but not bloated. I also felt a little less tired, I do have three little ones that I have to run around after and often get deprived of sleep, so every little bit of extra energy helps. 

On the Ilumi website you can purchase the full weeks supply of the energy boost diet for just £40, that’s including delivery. You can also purchase meals individually and if you like the taste but want to add your own meat or vegetable you can even buy pouches of just the sauce. Meals start from £2.75 and sauces from £1.50 with packets of rice for one for just £1. I think these are great value, especially considering how tasty they are.


Disclaimer: I was sent a box of food to trial from Ilumi. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Linking up to Well Being Wednesday over on Autism Mumma.

Wellbeing Wednesday

Meet Our Foodimals – The Breadgehogs

This is our entry to the Tots100 Competition to celebrate the release of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs2 on Blu Ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, Flint’s invention is turning animals into food, or foodimals and we would like to introduce our very own foodimals….The Breadgehogs!

The Breadgehog first appeared in Star’s lunch box a couple of years ago. He felt really at home on his bed of lettuce with a wall of cucumber, some grapes and two cheesnails for company.

We called him Harry the Breadgehog and loved him so much he made a further appearance at a picnic the following summer along with some other family members.

We thought they would be happy with some lettuce and cucumber to snack on, but oh no, Harry got a bit cheeky and went after the treats instead.

We forgave him though, and he still makes regular appearances in our kitchen. Only a few weeks ago he was made again but this time by the littlies.

We hope you love the breadgehogs as much as we do.

Amazing Star!

I haven’t done a post for Ethan’s Escapades Small Steps Amazing Acheivements for a while, so I thought I would write about how proud I am of my little girl.

If you are a regular reader you will know that Star suffered (in laymans terms) a slipped disc at the very top of her spine. This happened six months ago and treatment is still on-going. For the last 12 weeks she has been wearing a halo.
Just in case you don’t know what a halo is:

 This picture was taken shortly after surgery. The halo is a type of traction, it keeps her head, neck and shoulders perfectly still and aligned. The halo around her head is screwed into her skull. the vest comes down to her waist and is bolted on, it can only be removed by a doctor.

But that picture is horrid. I only showed it to you so you could see how horrible the halo is.
This picture is my Star, taken just over a week later.

She really is amazing. She has carried on regardless, always smiling, never complaining. Even when she is in pain she doesn’t complain much. And to wear that horrid contraption for 12 weeks is a real acheivement in my eyes.

So I dedicate this post to my shining Star. Just one more week honey and we’ll have you out of there and back into my arms for that long awaited cuddle. You are amazing sweetheart.

Ethans Escapades

Kids in The Kitchen – Chocolate Shortbread

Welcome to this weeks kids in the kitchen. Ours almost went pear shaped this week when I had two very naughty children get a little over excited while making chocolate shortbread. More about that later.

First I’d like to say thank you to the Beesley Buzz’ Little Miss T who made some glorious Valentines Day cookies. and also to Broody Me for linking up their amazing American Cheesecake. Double yum!

If you’d like to know more about Kids in the Kitchen it has it’s very own page here. The rules are simple though, just do some cooking with your kids, post about it and link it up. Short or long, old or new, I really don’t mind.

Chocolate Shortbread Hearts.

I’m a big fan of shortbread but I’ve not tried making chocolate shortbread before. I’ll definitely be making it again though. Because it was Valentines Day we decided to make our shortbread into little heart shapes using a chocolate mould.


260g plain flour
100g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
200g butter


We put the the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl and mixed it around.
We chopped the butter into cubes and then rubbed it into the flour until it became a sticky dough

We pressed the mixture into the mould to bake in the oven at 180C or gas mark 4 for 15 minutes.

Everything was going well but then my little monkeys got a little over excited and began making a terrible mess all over the table with the mixture, which then spread to the floor. I stopped them and sent them to wash their hands and on return I got them helping to clean up their mess. I don’t know what got into them but once they had calmed down and cleaned up they were happy to enjoy the finished biscuits. They are usually quite co-operative in the kitchen, but I guess we all have our ‘off” days. Maybe I’ll still keep cooking with them.

Please come and join in your posts for this weeks linky.

I’d also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. 

Cancellations, Goodbyes, and Black Eyes

Yesterday was one of those mad days, busy from beginning to end.
It was the day that ED went to America!
Now, it’s not the first time she’s been abroad alone, she has been to visit her Dad in the South of France a few times now. It is however, the first time she’s gone so far, and the first time she’s not been met by her Dad at the other side.

The day started at 6am. The little ones were still in bed while me and Ed were rushing around getting showered and dressed. Then I switched on my phone and the notifications scrolled before me…what was that I saw…Your Flight Has Been Cancelled…WHAT!
So, on goes the laptop and Ed grabs the phone and I leave her desperately trying to sort something out while I tend to the little ones who have finally woken up. Then, just ten minutes before we catch the bus to get to train station she has something sorted, a new flight which will get her there around the same time but to a different airport. It’s ok though, she called her American friend who is meeting her (yes, at 2am, but it’s ok because she was up baking brownies) and she’s still able to meet her.

7.30am and we are on the bus into the City Centre. 8.50am and we are on the train to London. 10.30 and we are on the tube to Heathrow.

I’ve not been to Heathrow before. Yet another airport to add to my list, but I’ve still not flown on a plane. One day I will!

We had lunch together before saying Goodbye. She was getting so nervous, and I was starting to stress too, so she just went for it and after a hug she went off through security, leaving me behind. Off to fly so far away. I thought about a friend of mine who waved her son off when he was about the same age, he went to Australia to live. At least I know that Ed is coming back. I hung around for about half an hour just in case something went wrong, and then I started my journey home, tube, train, bus.

On the train I saw a plane leaving Heathrow. I don’t know if Ed was on it, but I waved anyway.

I was home in time to start cooking dinner. Lucky me. The little ones had missed me terribly even though in reality I’d not been gone long. It felt like a long time, nine hours long, and all but one and a half hours of that was spent travelling.

At bedtime the Little Man was choosing his book for his bedtime story and in he’s excitement of choosing one he decided to throw it at me. It was a hardback book. It had sharp corners. It caught me just short of my eye, tearing my skin and making it bleed. At the time I was thankful that he actually missed my eye ball. This morning I woke up looking like this!


Today is Valentines Day. I don’t really celebrate, it’s just another one of those days when I watch other women getting showered with gifts and cards and I try my best not to feel bitter at receiving nothing. This morning however, I was surprised to find a lovely card that my other half had made while I was sleeping. He made several heart shapes and wrote some lovely words on each one before sticking them all together. So thoughtful. I’m glad I made him a card now, although to be honest, his is much better.

I spent some time with the kids making things for our activity wall. We enjoyed doing word searching and making up a poem using the letters V.A.L.E.N.T.I.N.E and then glued some cut out pieces of magazines onto cardboard heart shapes. They had lots of  fun, and now we have a pretty wall. Big thanks to Twinkl for the inspiration and resources.
Happy Valentines Day xx

The MAD Blog Awards

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.