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Do you know one thing I miss about the (not-so great) utopian suburban couple-based dream? DINNER PARTIES.
In my past life I loved a good dinner party. One year, as a 25th birthday treat to myself, all I wanted was for my friends to come round for supper and a day and a half to prepare a five-course feast for them: cooking for dinner parties is my jam. Give me a week of planning, a stack of recipe books, a big grocery shop and 12 hours in the kitchen and I will happily work my fingers to the bone creating restaurant-style food, only better because you don’t have to pay for it.
So when the supermarket cashback service Shopmium got in touch to ask me to host a dinner party using products I’d bought with them, I was all over that literal gravy train. I dug out my recipe books, started planning and convinced my BFF Bryony to come over to Casa More Than Toast for an evening of wine, gossip and delicious food (it didn’t take much).
Shopmium is a brilliant new app that gives you the option to try new products or save money on old favourites via a cashback system. I’ve never really tried anything like this before, always wondering if it would be worth the admin time, so was interested to see how I’d get on.
It was easy to get started: I downloaded the app and scrolled through the list of products currently on offer to find ones that would suit my dinner party. I selected Poshcorn (B and I love to nibble on nice popcorn when we gossip), bread and sausages (that I halfheartedly threw in the direction of the kids that evening while I focussed on the grown-ups food ;). Off I popped to do my supermarket shop as usual and made a special note to buy these particular products – variations of which I would have purchased in any case.
Before I got cooking I decided to try out the app’s cashback process. Using these sausages as an example, all I had to do was scan in the barcode so their eligibility could be checked, then snap a photo of the receipt before whizzing that off using the app, too. Within 24 hours my cashback had been confirmed, and within 48 hours nearly a fiver had been deposited into my PayPal account. It really was that simple! At the frequency I shop I reckon I could claim back around £25 a month, which although isn’t going to make me a millionaire is still pretty impressive: that’s £300 a year. I’ll take that!
You can download the app here, and if you use the code ‘ALICECHOC’ when you sign up you’ll get a free bar of chocolate (you’re welcome ;)
For Bryony I pulled together not only a feast of Poshcorn but also a lovely quick smoked salmon and lemon starter using the Genius bread I’d bought with Shopmium (shhh! She didn’t realise it was gluten free!), followed by the most incredible Cote Du Boeuf with homemade chunky chips and homemade béarnaise sauce. Pudding was apple crumble made with apples from my garden: it was all AWESOME.
But, more importantly than my amazing food, it was so wonderful for us to have the chance to catch up properly without any chatty children in tow. With life seemingly moving at a million miles an hour for not just me but all of my friends, busy with careers, kids and relationships, it made me realise I don’t set aside enough time to nurture our friendships as much as I should. This stops now – I might not be in couple-based suburbia any more but there’s nothing stopping me hauling my girlfriends over for evenings of good food, great wine and raucous gossip.
And if I can earn a fiver back from my food shop while doing it? Well, it doesn’t get much better than that!
(I’d like to say I’m don’t always have a glass of wine in my hand when I’m cooking but that would be untrue)
WIN A £300 SHOPPING VOUCHER
Shopmium have kindly given me a £300 voucher to a supermarket of your choice (not Co-Op, Aldi or Lidl) to win! You can enter using the easy form below – and don’t forget to use the code ‘ALICECHOC’ when signing up to get a free bar of chocolate. Good luck!!
Go here to see competition Ts & Cs.