My organic fruit and vegetable subscription box

What I got in my first three fruit and vegetable subscription boxes, and what I thought of the products!

So, I mentioned in my subscriptions post that we’d just started getting a vegetable box from Able and Cole.

I thought I’d give it a couple of weeks and then tell you about what we’ve been getting.

I chose the medium-size box which gives us 3 types of fruit and six types of vegetables each week. The food comes on a set day every week, and you can choose not to have certain things if you don’t like them. So for example I don’t like sweetcorn, so I put that on my “never send me” list, and they just give you something else. You don’t know what it’s going to be, but hey, you don’t get the thing you don’t want!

You can also add other things from the store to your box – I couldn’t resist a little chocolate owl, but there are other, healthier options too. You just have to add the additional items to your basket and check it out two days before delivery.

You get a free cookery book with your first order – not useful for me because it’s in standard print and I can’t read it, but I think S will look through it and see if there is anything good in there. You also get your first and fourth boxes half-price if you’re a new customer.

If you don’t want a box one week, you just amend your order in your account settings, so there are no problems if you’re going away or if you have too much veg left over.

Week 1

In week 1 we got:

  • Bananas
  • Tangerines
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • onions

Ok so that was a good selection! I’d never cooked with kale before. I found a tasty recipe, but we both agreed that it would have been better without the kale, so I added that to our “don’t send” list. Still, it was good to try something new!

I usually buy bananas, onions, potatoes and mushrooms anyway, and it is good to get organic ones.
The pears made a nice change – I don’t usually pick them up, but I enjoyed them. The tomatoes and bananas were good quality as well, but the tangerines were a bit sour – not a fan of those, but I think it was just that particular batch!

Week 2

Week two we got:

  • Potatoes – but a different kind
  • Peppery salad
  • Sweet potatoes – because I didn’t want sweetcorn
  • Onions
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • bananas
  • Mandarins
  • Apples

Yum yum, I’m glad I said no to the sweetcorn and got the sweet potatoes! One went in a soup and the others went into some mash!

I think potatoes and onions are a staple in every box, and that’s fine with me. I was less happy about the carrots though – there are quite a few of them and I don’t use them all the time. This may become a problem if they’re in every box! Also, you don’t get a huge amount of potatoes, which isn’t a big deal for us because we also eat a lot of rice, noodles, and pasta, but if you have potatoes more than once or twice, you’ll run out.

The mandarins were better, the bananas were fine, and it was good to get some apples. I think these are smaller than the ones I usually get from the supermarket, but I don’t want to support an industry that throws away food because it’s not perfect or an exact size. I think too much perfectly good food gets slung out, and that makes me sad – so I don’t mind the odd wonky carrot or small apple!

The mixed leaf salad was good too, although I didn’t finish it all before the next box came. We use a lot of tomatoes, so the cherry tomatoes were a nice alternative to the full-size ones.

Week 3

This week we got:

  • More carrots!
  • Apples
  • Red onions
  • Clementines
  • Potatoes
  • Aubergine – instead of pepper
  • Spinach – instead of kale
  • Peppery salad
  • Bananas

So more bananas, potatoes and onions, but this time a different kind of onion. Fine for us because they will get used up, although I am getting behind on bananas!

I was very happy with my substitutes – I buy both aubergines and spinach, and I think they are nicer than the things we would have got! So yay for substitutes!

The carrots may be a problem if they continue to be in every box – I’m going to look for “interesting things to do with carrots so they don’t just taste like boring carrots” – any ideas welcome! I wish it were mushrooms every week because we use them so much more than carrots!

Apples and oranges again, but that’s fine – I haven’t tasted the tangerines but the fruit was in good condition and you get about 5 of each thing.

More salad – I think similar to last time. I probably would use it up – the only reason I didn’t was because we made a load of pumpkin soup.

We’re getting through most of the fruit and vegetables and I do think it’s a good way to try new things that you wouldn’t pick up. I did need to buy more mushrooms last week, but apart from that we haven’t had to stock up with extra fruit and veg from the supermarket – well apart from to feed my mango obsession!

For now I’m really happy to keep the subscription going, though if I see carrots in the next box, I may have to stop them!

There are also a lot of recipe ideas on the site, and you can get the newsletter, which gives you three new recipes each week, although these are not specific to one box. You can also get different boxes – smaller ones, ones for only fruit, ones for the slow cooker etc. Oh and I’ve just noticed a cheese club mmmm!

Have you tried these boxes? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Also, if you’re interested in trying out one of the boxes, they do a recommendation scheme. If you send me your email address, I can invite you, which means you get £20 off your first order and I get £20 credit too! Even if you get your first box half-price, you can still fill up your order to make sure you get the full value for your £20 – just remember to check out the basket (I didn’t the first time, so I only got my box and not the extra things I’d added).

Update

I’ve since realised that there is no need for any unwanted carrots. If you go into your account, then click on the subscription box, you will then see what is going to be in your next box. I think this works two or three days before the box is sent out. Rather than adding the carrots to the never send list, I can click on them and see some alternatives, one of which is extra potatoes, so if you are finding that you don’t get enough of them, you can add in extra.This is also a way to select what you want instead of a mystery veg option if there would normally be something from your “never send me” list.

Click here if you’d like to find out about our other subscriptions.

Never miss another post!

If you’d like me to email you when new posts come out, usually once or twice a week, you can sign up using this contact form.

12 empties from August – reminiscing, being scared, and new favourite shampoo

The products that I used up in August – which ones I loved, and the ones I’ll avoid in future!

Before we get on to the August empties, if you live in the UK and you’d like to be in with the chance to win some skincare products, my birthday give-away is running throughout September, so head on over and enter if you haven’t done so already!

Haircare

The good, the great, and the somewhat scary!

Let’s start with the good. When I did my 7th Heaven review, I hadn’t had the chance to test out all of the masks. Although the papaya was my favourite, I also liked the honey one and I still need to try the coconut. I’m happy with these though and I like these little single-use masks, particularly for going away.

I raved about the Yes to cucumbers volumising shampoo in July, and now that the tube is finished, I’m pretty sure that this is what I’m going to stick with – that is, once I’ve used up the Mane & Tail one that I’ve just bought. But this Yes To product smells good, lathers up well, is affordable, and leaves my hair feeling clean and alive – so I will definitely be buying more of it!

And now for the thing that left me wondering if I was having an allergic reaction – the John Masters scalp stimulating shampoo. (I do have allergy issues, but not usually with skincare ingredients!) Fortunately this was just a travel size from the Lovelula box. I know some people really like it, but apart from not being a fan of mint-scented hair products, I didn’t like the way it felt like someone set light to my head. It’s apparently meant to do that and feel all tingly, but it’s not for me!

Bath and body

I was so sad when the Anatomicals Java Lather coffee buzz shower gel ran out at the beginning of August! It smells amazing, like you’re bathing in coffee, and I’d recommend it for any coffee lover! I can’t justify buying it again because I have some other shower gels knocking around, but it’s definitely something I’ll get again in the future.

If you like banana and want some bubbles, you might like the Imperial Leather banana bubble bath I just picked it up from the supermarket because I fancied a change, and I was pleased that it foamed up well, and although the banana scent was there, it didn’t smell sweet and like fake bananas as some other products do. So nice for a change when I’m swapping out my bubble baths!

It must have been a month of baths, because I also got through a Radox stress relief bath soak with rosemary and eucalyptus. As a child growing up with my grandparents, I always had bubble bath, but we didn’t have Radox! Radox reminded me of my visits to my mum during the holidays when we would make bathtime last for ages, relaxing in the water and having stories! Now, when I smell it as an adult, it often takes me back to those times. I haven’t been impressed with one or two of the shower gels that I’ve tried, but the bubble baths are something that I often go back to!

Now for a couple of shower gels. I used up a body wash from the Sanctuary Spa advent calendar, and I love their fresh and luxurious scent. This wasn’t a floral one, so it got extra points from me. I also used up the virgin mojito shower gel from the Body Shops summer range. I think the mixture of lime and mint was a cool idea, but I preferred the pineapple and coconut one! Still, I’m glad I tried them both.

Skincare

I have to say I was a little disappointed with the wonderous whip body lotion from Zoella, but then I think I’m maybe expecting more from it than it was meant to give. Even when I use a whipped lotion, I still want a degree of moisture for my fairly dry skin, and I don’t think this lotion gave me enough. It’s fine if you’re at the gym and you want something to dry really quickly, or if you don’t have dry skin, but I probably won’t get this again because I need that bit of extra help!

Another thing in the Sanctuary calendar was the Sanctuary spa luxurious body balm and I was happy to see it again! I’d already tried this from Latest in Beauty, so I knew that I liked it. This is a thick and luxurious balm which smells good and leaves your skin feeling pampered and moisturised for hours afterwards (not greasy, just soft and smooth).

The next thing I tried was the Skyn Iceland hydro cool firming eye gels. The link leads to a pack of 8, but I only ordered 1 in my Latest in Beauty box, so I can’t report on what it does if you use them over a number of days. I read somewhere that you are supposed to cool them first, but I didn’t know that at the time. They are supposed to help soothe the under-eye area, reduce fine lines and puffiness. They were easy to apply and having them on was a pleasant experience, but I can’t say I noticed any dramatic effects. I think for me the money is better spent on sheet masks, but if you have tired eyes or you want to give your under-eye a treat, then why not?!

Make-up

My ELF hydrating face primer ran out, so I replaced it. I do use the Porefessional one from Benefit as well, but I can’t afford to use that every day! The ELF one is a more affordable alternative, and it does the job well enough. I like the pump dispenser because you always get the right amount. As I have dry skin, I like the fact that this one is moisturising too. It doesn’t have that same silicone base as the Benefit one, but it gives good coverage and doesn’t go weird and flaky with my moisturiser as some primers do. I’ve already got a new one!

Can someone explain to me the point of Foaming micellar water? I got some in my calendar and whilst I’m a fan of micellar water for removing make-up, I really don’t get why you’d want a foaming one! I’ve used it up, but won’t be repurchasing.

So, those were my August empties. Have you tried any of these products? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments, and also drop your links if you’ve done an empties post or video!

Never miss another post!

If you’d like me to email you when new posts come out, usually once or twice a week, you can sign up using this contact form.

February 2017 empties

Find out what I used up in February and whether I would repurchase these products.

So, this is a list of the products that I got through in February and what I thought of them! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you think of them in the comments! Also, feel free to link your February empties posts!

If you’re interested in Body Shop products, I’m holding an online Body Shop party at the beginning of July. Let me know using the contact form if you want to know more or to get an invitation.

Skin care

It always looks as though I’ve got through loads of hand cream, but remember that most of the Body Shop ones are mini 30ml ones!

I finished up the Sanctuary Spa essentials hand cream and this is something I’d recommend for people who don’t like a strong scent. It’s got shea butter and almond oil in it, and although it’s a thinner consistency than some on the market, it smells good and does a decent job. I prefer my orange and lemon one from the same brand, but if you like it less fruity, you will probably like this!

I also used up the satsuma hand cream from the Body Shop, another of my favourites, and the coconut one, which is nice enough but I found it a bit intense!

I was sad when my Cowshed – grumpy cow uplifting body lotion came to an end. Apart from totally loving the name – to wake up my inner grumpy cow – I was really impressed with the moisturising properties. My skin was wonderfully soft for ages after using this and I’d definitely buy it again. Actually I wanted to use it as the picture for this post, but when you get to the end, you have to be quite brutal with it to get the rest out, so the bottle wasn’t in the best state to be photographed! I think it might be better in a tube, but I love the actual product.

The Christmas Eve surprise in the Body Shop advent calendar was the raspberry body butter, which doesn’t appear to be available online at the moment. It was a full-sized product and a good buy if you’re into the raspberry scent. I thought it was ok, though I am more of a fan of the less solid body butters like the almond and honey or the pink grapefruit one.

I also used up a mini of the Apivita Bee Radiant Age Defence Illuminating Cream. It’s described as a rich cream, although I’d say it’s more of a light moisturiser. Still, it’s apparently 98% natural ingredients, including orange stem cells, and it’s something I would probably use in the summer for dull skin and for moisturising.

I mentioned the Clarins exfoliator in my favourites post. Finding out about this made me happy because I do not like the gritty texture of most other exfoliators on the market. However, this one uses natural fruit acids to do the same job. So the product is smooth and there are no bits in it. It was a bit hit and miss getting it from Boots – the website doesn’t seem to be stocking it any more, although some shops still do. So if you want it, it’s cheaper to go to a local boots. If you can’t or don’t want to do that, you can also get it from the Clarins website, which is more expensive because you pay P&P, but you also get free samples, which isn’t guaranteed at Boots. I’d just say if you’re visually impaired, watch out, because it’s quite a thin liquid and the bottle opening is quite large – I think a pump would have been better but ultimately I was just happy to find n exfoliator I could bear to have on my skin!

Bath and shower

As a lover of all things fruity, I decided to try the Radox cherry shower gel. After all, their bubble baths are good and they remind me of being a child! However, I would never buy this again. It does smell of cherries, but it also has an unpleasant synthetic smell and I was glad when the bottle was empty! I will still buy the bath soaks from Radox, and in fact I have enjoyed other shower gels from them, but not this one!

Staying on the theme of shower gels, I used up another of the minis from my Body Shop advent calendar, the rose shower gel. This isn’t one of my favourites, but I liked it more than some of the other floral scents. If you like the smell of roses, then this is a perfectly decent shower gel.

I’ve already reviewed the Almond milk and honey shower cream when I reviewed the almond and honey range and this is something I would particularly recommend for people with dry or sensitive skin. Just don’t be confused by the name – it contains both almond and honey, but smells predominantly of honey. It’s gentle on the skin and I would buy it again.

I don’t tend to stick to one hand soap, and the one I’d really like to review here is the Carex chocolate orange one, but that seems to be out of stock. Still, if you want something a bit light-hearted, they also do a strawberry laces hand wash, which takes me back to my childhood and has a nice, strawberry scent.

Hair care

I’m switching out my shampoo and conditioner and I’m trying a few new brands, looking for my holy grail!

In terms of shampoo, I tried the Body shop’s banana shampoo. I was a bit worried about going round smelling like a banana, but it wasn’t a really in-your-face banana smell and it lathered up nicely. It’s a gentle, cruelty-free shampoo and I would buy it again, after I’ve tried out the other products that I have my eye on. It says “use daily” and I never wash my hair daily, but at least it’s good to know that it’s gentle enough to do that if you want to.

I bought the Alberto Balsam mango conditioner just because it had mango in it and someone on Youtube had been raving about how great it smelled! It did in fact smell wonderfully of mangos, but I found it very watery and had to use tonnes of it – much more than I would have with the higher end brands. Ok, it’s half the price, but I didn’t really feel I was giving my hair a treat with this. I’m totally up for a bargain, but I think this is a case of you get what you pay for!

Now over to you

So, have you tried any of these products? I’d love to know what you think of them!

This post contains affiliate links. All views are my own.

Never miss another post!

Podcast

Unseen Beauty is also available as a podcast. If you want to listen to it, you can find it on iTunes or Player FM.

The URL for the podcast feed is
https://player.fm/series/unseen-beauty