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Winters here with force and so are dark afternoons and if your little ones are anything like mine they’re bored! So heres a couple of thi...
Last week I was sent Baking Mad Easy by Lorraine Pascale from the lovely WHSmiths (currently less than half price!) Being one of the large...
As you’re probably aware I have a lovely sponsor this year in the fabulous Nursery Paint Company. They offer the most amazing range of ...
Who needs the gym? Three ways to get active at home after Christmas So you’ve overdone it with the turkey and mulled wine. Haven’t we a...
How many of us out there have expensive chefs kitchen knives and no idea how to use them? Hmm well hopefully this guest post will get you ba...
Today I had the most amazing Banana cake and wanted to share the recipe with you only to discover when it was passed on its gluten free! I...
As you know I adore luxury (who doesn’t) but when I had my eldest I noticed that while you could have luxury baby clothes, luxury mama c...
“I emptied my bubble bath into the tub, Determined to get myself thoroughly scrubbed. The bottle had said "ONLY ONE CAP OR TWO",...
I've been a big fan of Trisha Ashley for a good few years and having followed her on twitter @trishaashley (do follow!) I asked her if s...
My eldest is coming up to four and has never been interested in books except as something to chew on. I have tried him with nearly every f...
Allergy baking Books gluten free recipes Book Review The gallery baking children cooking cupcake recipe recipe Muffins dairy free Chocolate baking made easy cake christmas egg free personalised gifts what i'm reading National Trust breakfast competition free free activities free family fun gardening homemade playdough lions outdoor fun photos Bored Chocolate souffle Harry Eastwood Lorraine Pascale Mud Pies Novels Raining Skinny French Kitchen St Davids Day Story The Little House Welsh cakes africa americans animals aprons author bacon and leek baking gifts bananas black and white bobotie boys toys brandy snaps britmums bunting cars cat on moon cherry pie chicken children in need chocolate mousse chocolate shoes and wedding blues christmas cake cleaning. colour cooking with kids coppordot creperie cubs curry cybher diaries dog downloads earth explore food foraging free day out fudge fun facts grandparents great british bake off halloween hedgerows hertiage day housework hugh fearnley-whittingstall infacol jam tarts jamies great britain jamjar fishing john crane kids activities learning to read linda collister low fat make your own bunting maps marmalade cake mary berry middlemoss mooskins morning mud museum name labels nappy rash national cherry day nut free outdoors paris pastry peppermint creams phone photographer picnics pioneers pitta pizza play ideas potato fudge present ideas. presents pudsey cupcakes pumkpins quick dinner raspberrys ride ons river cottage made easy roast safer internet sandpits scrabble sea sevi shoes snack snow soup sponsor stationary sudocrem summer tea teenagers template the magic of christmas tinyme toys trisha asley turtles unusual gifts vegetarian west highland white terrier when i was a kid whsmith wildlife wine charms winter wooden toys zebras
at Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Last week I discovered a rather cute and funky website called Mustard. They stock some amazing and fun gifts such as the……..They’d read my Breakfast post and in all manner of breakfast things asked if I’d like to try review one of the eggspress moulds for their blog.
Now with Valentine’s day just round the corner how cute and perfect are these to make your feelings eggspressed (sorry couldn’t help it!) to a loved one with breakfast in bed? Or hide it in their lunch box for a little surprise!
This rather adorable and cute silicone mould turns your ordinary hardboiled egg into something a little more special! Dishwasher safe, the instructions are incredibly simple to follow as my boys discovered today and weren’t happy just making one!
Mustard have very kindly offered a competition so that two of you can win one of these rather nifty eggspressed moulds to make your own loved one a fun and loving breakfast on Valentine’s day! Simple enter below!
at Friday, January 25, 2013
So if you’re a regular reader here you’ll know I’m a Panasonic intelligent living mum and that recently they sent us a combi oven to try out. I fell in love with one of these back at the Brit mums live event when their incredibly good sales guys mentally sold one to me. However at the time we had done without a microwave for over a year and were unsure about whether to get another. Needless to say I am over the moon we did get one! We had a lovely day at the Panasonic HQ and I fell in love with it all over again but this time from a practical point of view. We (Emma) and I made chocolate brownies (recipe here)(the easiest thing I’ve baked in years!) and they are melt in the mouth divine! And I watched on in awe as the others cooked up a roast chicken in 45 mins (one of the first things I tried when I got it home..Perfection!) and a scrummy couscous vegetarian dish.
The one thing I wondered about these was if you use them for cooking will they dry out your food and can you consistently get the same results…..Well take a look at this salmon. It took 4 mins in the microwave, perfectly cooked and incredibly moist. Brownies…perfectly moist and incredibly every time. A bit I have to add in here is that baking in it is easier (once you figure out the relevant settings) and my cakes don’t have the crisp edges you sometimes get in the oven as you wait for the centre to cook.
It has meant as well in our house hold that I’m piling on the weight as the baking’s spot on every time! And it’s so much simpler to do plus and get this…I can put metal in it! I know!!!! They have included a special little tray and spark ring which prevents the fires (the cause of death of my last machine) and therefore you can chuck your baking tins in, cake trays, roasting pan, you name it and you don’t have to buy extra. I have mentioned the settings. It took me about three attempts to get these settings sorted in my head which is a pretty good record and I’ve even had friends pop stuff on and pick it up immediately. Its very simple and easy to follow!
|Valentines Indulgence - Image from the Ideas Kitchen Panasonic|
A week after we had our machine our oven broke so I can say with all fairness and trial that these machines are indispensable. We cooked regularly 3 times a day (3 boys = cooked breakfast) plus the baking almost daily and not once did anything go wrong or did I burn or undercook a single meal or dish. When we joined Panasonic we were given Daniel Galmiche recipe book created in union with a microwave and I have been using it as a bible. Daniel Galmiche by the way used Panasonic microwaves in his Michelin star kitchen before he became associated with Panasonic! That’s how good these products are.
I could waffle on for hours about how good this machine is and although we were obviously sent one I would now go out and purchase one for myself in a heart beat if they took it away! If you’re still in any doubt or you have a microwave and don’t think you’re getting your potential out of it take a quick look here at the Panasonic kitchen ideas site. Any product you have they have recipes, hint or tips to try out even if you purchased your product second hand it doesn’t matter, head over and see what you think!
at Monday, January 21, 2013
Farmhouse Breakfast Week 20th-26th January
Today is the start of breakfast week and with the snow and ice outside what better way to start it than with a good proper farmhouse breakfast!
Breakfast is of course the more important meal of the day and yet the one that most of us skip if in a hurry! We’ve were lucky to be sent a Denhay Farms’ Ultimate Breakfast Box to see what we could whip up!
Of course since it was so rather rotten yesterday we did have to start with a proper farm house breakfast.
Now bacon is of course the staple to any hot breakfast! Either as fry up or sandwiches or even as muffins! Denhays bacon is outdoor reared and cured by hand with seasalt. They never have water added and are never frozen. The difference?! The most amazing tasting crispy bacon I’ve had! So much so that after having it on our delicious fry up yesterday we went to buy more to add to our breakfast muffins! Recipe for those here!
We also have Spoiltpig sausages and you can guess from the name the pigs are rather spoilt! Freedom food and raised to a strict standard they added a very flavoursome scrummy touch! To add to this fabulous hamper we had Clarence court egg and Tracklement Ketchup & Chipotle salsa, both of which are gluten free so huge round of applause! The Chipotle salsa is rather great with crisps but oh my gosh does it add something to a quick bacon sandwich!!
Tomorrow along with the Denhay baon and leek muffins I think I might also try the 8 min Hot chocolate & Raspberry smoothie!
So what do you all have for breakfast in the mornings? Porridge? Smoothies? Let me know!
Ps to make your own:
Denhay dry cured bacon is available in smoked or unsmoked, back or streaky at Waitrose and Sainsbury’s stores nationwide from £2.99 for a 200g pack
spoiltpig sausages are available at Ocado in Pork & Herb with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and Pork sausages with black pepper and mixed spices (£2.89 for 6 sausages/400g)
spoiltpig bacon is available in Morrisons and Tesco stores at £2.89/184g pack
at Sunday, January 20, 2013
Now if someone asks you nicely would you like to review a cake there is of course only one response! Add in the fact that they offer gluten & wheat free cake and you’ll see me drooling over the key board as I type!
All joking aside when it comes to other people’s wheat and gluten free cake I tend to be a bit Meh to be honest. They have a tendency to be dry and well just urgh. Baker days must have someone coeliac trained on site because their cake really was rather amazing!
I was incredibly impressed it fitted through our letter box as out postman has an inclination to leaving anything that isn’t bill size behind for collection. But nope it duly arrived and landed on the door mat! Obviously since it contained cake I rushed to open it and gosh how cute was the package once opened! Rather than just a cake covered in bubble wrap Bakers day provide a very stylish tin inside, card and even a packet of love hearts (it was a valentines cake) birthday cakes have balloons!
|See the air bubbles?!|
My mum, my grandma and youngest are all coeliac so a knife was immediately produced to cut it up…. immediately we were impressed. While small enough to fit through the letter box the cake was fluffy! Look at the texture in the photo. Just enough icing to cover as well rather than the cheap heavy handed approach so many poor companies have. You really could taste this cake and my goodness was it good! My grandma who barely touches cake managed a good half and I think had it not been for her great grandson would have managed the other half too! It was delicious, truly delicious, scrummy cake! A big Thank You to the folk at Baker Days who came up with that recipe!
As to the ordering it couldn’t have been more simple. Log on to their site and there a clear list of categories on the left. A simple click and the range is there for you. Once you’ve chosen your cake design the next step is flavour and personalisation. Its step by step incredibly easy. There’s over 400 designs to choose from and 5 yummy flavours and for the extra pizazz it comes complete with little extras, cards, balloons, sweets, and a horn! I have to say these letterbox cakes are a fabulous idea.
Aside from being scrumptious tasting and pretty darn cute on arrival what a wonderful idea if you can’t be with someone for their birthday or something important and no hanging about or having to stay in to wait for a courier! Starting from £14.99 I am so glad they sent me one of these to review! I will be sending one up to my brother (also coeliac) who has had to put up with balloons (no flowers he is male) being delivered for years and no cake!
at Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I was recently asked if I would like to review a personalised book for Jack from Asda. Jacks just started learning to read and I thought this was an excellent idea. For a start it’s incredibly personalised with not just his name and birthdate but his description, where we lived, his family, his best friends etc.
You can also include a dedication in the book if you’d like to (all part of the price) We had a huge range of books to choose from Peppa pig, Spiderman, Snow White straight through the old fashioned lady bird classic like Three Little Pigs and you if you wanted them for older children why not try Pride & Prejudice or for boys a personalised Football archive book. Personally I like the thought of my own personalised Hound of the Baskervilles!
Anyhow when Jack got his book he was over the moon. We quietly read along with the first two pages and suddenly he recognised his name! Not only that the next page his brother appeared! Needless to say by the next page we could barely wait to read and find out what the words said. A big bonus I must say since we’re getting very bored of reading biff and chip books!
Now I’m rather impressed by these as the prices start from as little as £9.50 and he’s now quite happy to read the book on his own and try and learn the words he isn’t so sure of yet just so he can find out what happens to him in a story! A perfect selection of personalised books for little ones, do check them out here!
So you’ve overdone it with the turkey and mulled wine. Haven’t we all. It’s a rite of passage,
right? But you needn’t fret because gift experiences website Buyagift.com has come up
with some novel ways to shift the festive paunch in time for spring – everything from speed
hoovering to ultimate stair climbing.
Speed Hoover your way to a better shape
What the devil are we talking about? How many of you have stood staring at the aftermath
of a full day of pet and child induced bedlam and wished somebody would just do the
hoovering for you? Well, if Buyagift made adverts then we might just be offering you
a cleaner. Sadly this is a guest post – and besides, old Mavis is still cleaning up after
our Christmas party - so don’t even think about it. But why not turn what is essentially a
mundane chore into a good workout?
For complete focus, put in your headphones (or if you’re lucky enough to have the house to
yourself – then crank up the stereo to get yourself in the mood for the ultimate work out). We
might recommend Queen’s ‘Another one bites the dust’... get it?) OK, sorry...
In any case, quick movements of any sort will work to get your heart rate going – which
will in turn help you to burn those calories. Doing this a couple of times a day could be as
beneficial as a quick jog or power walk - and you’ll have a shiny clean house to boot! Once
you’ve become a pro at this, why not mix up your work out with some lunge hoovering
(maybe not while you’re wearing your favourite jeans).
This one is fairly self explanatory. All you’ll need is a good duster and some polish and
you’re set. Although you’re obviously not going to be able to reach every single crevice
(maybe utilise you’re power hoovering to get right into the corners of the ceiling) this would
be a great way to tighten up any wobbly bits while getting the cleaning done at the same
time. Squats are really good for developing your leg, thigh and stomach muscles. But,
if you’re wondering how to actually execute a squat, have a quick Google – there are
thousands of cool example videos out there.
Although a little wacky, you’ll actually burn more calories doing this then you will jogging
or cycling at a moderate pace. In actual fact, stair climbing is something that personal
trainers recommend and there are machines in the gym that are built to replicate the action
of running up and down a flight of stairs. A twenty minute session will help to tone ad tighten
your leg muscles, improve cardiovascular fitness levels and of course, help you to lose
weight. Psst.. If the kids join you for a stair run in the evening, they probably won’t have the
energy to make a fuss come bedtime – just saying.
WIN TICKETS TO THE NEW SPRING CARAVAN & CAMPING SHOW
NATIONAL EXHIBITION CENTRE (NEC)
19th- 24th FEBRUARY 2013
As you know we are huge fans of camping in our family so I am over the moon to be able to offer you the chance to win one of FIVE pairs of tickets to the new ‘Spring Caravan & Camping Show’ in February at the NEC Birmingham (19th – 24th February 2013)
The brand new show celebrates the very best of the great outdoors and is packed with ideas and inspiration for new holiday destinations, outdoor activities and days out attractions, plus all the very latest advice and equipment for camping, caravan and motorhome newcomers and enthusiasts.
A huge choice of new family dome, backpacker tents and camping accessories will be available from leading retailer PJ Camping in the Show’s ‘
’. New season tent models will be available from Coleman, Kampa, Outwell, Sprayway, Vango and Zempire – many pitched and on display for the first time before they are available in the shops. Come to the show and chat to the experts to find the right tent for you. With frame free, extendable and inflatable tents all on display, pitching needn’t be difficult. Tent Village
Pick up a bargain from the Show’s massive range of camping accessories and whether you’re new to camping, or looking to upgrade your equipment, you’ll find everything you need for your outdoor adventure.
The Show will welcome a host of TV personalities who’ll be encouraging visitors to get stuck into sensational free ‘have a go’ features. These include a 'Drop Zone' ‘Rock Face Challenge’ climbing wall, ‘Campsite Cooking’, kayaking, zorbing and raft building on an indoor pool, 'One to One with Wildlife’ presentations in association with Dudley Zoological Gardens and a 'Rod and Reel' angling competition.
Fresh from filming dramatic “Operation Iceberg” with the BBC is extreme diver, climber, kayaker, author, zoologist and all round adventure seeking ‘action man’ Andy Torbet. Andy will be joining in some of the more dynamic and energetic Show attractions and sharing some of his on and off camera experiences in the natural world. Don’t miss him on Tuesday 19th February.
Growing up on a farm in rural
Dorset; cook, writer and broadcaster Valentine Warner learnt early on the important connection between the natural world and the table. His best selling book “What to Eat Now” led to a successful TV series of the same name and a follow up title ‘The Good Table’ Valentine will join in the action in our “Campsite Cooking” and “Rod and Reel” features on Wednesday 20th February to explore the rich pickings on offer to those that ‘live off the fat of the land’.
Nick Baker is a naturalist and wildlife TV presenter who has travelled to the wildest parts of the planet in search of weird, bizarre and incredible creatures. With a particular fondness of bugs and insects (his nickname is ‘Bugboy Baker’), Nick will be introducing us to a few of his favourite six (and eight) legged friends at the Show’s “One to One with Wildlife” attraction, in association with Dudley Zoological Gardens on Friday 22nd February.
Both The Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club will be attending the Show and entertaining visitors with new initiative launches, expert towing and motorhome manoeuvring tuition and celebrity guests.
Book early and benefit from a discounted advance ticket price of just £7.00 for seniors (60 + years) and £8.00 for adults. * Children under 16 years are admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult. To book tickets, please visit the show website www.springcaravanandcampingshow.co.uk or call 0844 581 1250.
1>CompulsoryPlease leave a comment below telling me what you'd like to see most at the show.
Bonus Entrys (please leave a seperate comment for each)
2>Tweet: I'd like to win tickets for Caravan & Camping show at the NEC with @ljbarton and @springcaravan
3>Follow us both on twitter:
4>Like their page on Facebook
Closing date is 13th February. All winners will be contacted by email so make sure you leave one!
Closing date is 13th February. All winners will be contacted by email so make sure you leave one!
at Thursday, January 03, 2013
Over Christmas we purchased my youngest “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” he is incredibly fond of the Michael Rosen Youtube version so I wondered how he’d take the book. Needless to say he adored it!
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt is full of clever drawings by Helen Oxenbury which capture, to me, the spirit of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. The illustrations (Michael Rosen wrote this and imagined a court going on a hunt but adored the pictures as soon as he saw them) are just wonderful to the adult eye and my children just soak them up! They loved seeing the bear chase the family back to the house and I was quite surprised by how much they enjoyed the black and white drawings in it too!
We chose the board book for Harry as even at two he gets somewhat excited and the pages can rip and be damaged being thrown around. The board version at £4.99 is smaller than the standard version but it’s just perfect for me. He carry’s the book around with him and quite happily sits up in a chair on his own reading through the book and follows the story through the pages.
A definite must have book I think for all ages! I’m rather partial to it myself!