Thursday, 24 April 2014

Ravensburgers Outdoor Mandala Designer Set review - Romantic Garden



I love anything that gets the kids outside and something with a craft element as well, makes for a brilliant school holiday idea.

We  finally managed to enjoy  some dry weather last week and the girls took the opportunity to try out the Ravensburgers Outdoor Mandala Designer Set that we had been kindly sent to review. There are various designs to choose from and were sent the Romantic Garden set - which is so pretty!

Image Ravensburger


The girls love to colour or paint outside when the weather is good, so the Mandala Designer sets are fantastic for them.  They allow budding artists to become street artists as they chalk works of art on any paved surface.

Each design in the mandala template disk allows you to create various masterpieces - Simply place the stencil on the ground, choosing your chalk colour and colour in the ground through the stencil! ! Children can create beautifully coloured mandalas outside, easily and effectively - it's great fun for all the family! Even I enjoyed having a go!

 This set comes with a detailed template including hearts and flowers, plus a set of 6 coloured chalks and an instruction booklet. We kept our designs simple as it was Little One's first go - but even the simplest designs look amazing!

Image Ravensburger
The sets are aimed at children aged 5+ Even Middle Miss (12) loved helping her sister create her Mandala! 

At around £14.99, I think it's great value for money. Although you'd need to replace the chalks once they are used up, the stencil can be reused time and time again.



We were sent the set  for review purposes. All opinions remain honest as always.

Homemade Thursday - chocolate overload


 I've been baking and making the past couple of days. I don't seem to bake /craft as much as I used to lately, but that will have to change - me no likey! I haven't even made any play dough for a couple of weeks (much to Little One's disgust)

As with every Easter, we have far too much chocolate knocking around, so that's been the theme for my baking (any excuse!)

Yesterday I made some yummy Brownies from The Colossal Cake Sale website (post coming later) and the children made some edible scooters for the Team Honk Great Bloggers Bake Off. We have been enjoying some chalk art outside and trying to make sure we all enjoy at least one fun thing every day - even if that's just making a cake in a mug or going for a walk....it makes us feel good :)


Please show me your homemade/handmade posts. I will feature my favourites next time!

If you would like to link up anything 'homemade' that you've blogged/pinned/instagrammed then please do so at the bottom of the post!

The only thing I ask is that you either grab my button (below) or text link back to me. It can be an old post or something new.... it's all about sharing ideas and inspiring each other!

Homemade Thursday

You can link up anytime between now and 4th May 2014 and then the next Homemade Thursday linky will open on the 8th.

To read more about Homemade Thursday please look here.



Wednesday, 23 April 2014

24 Hour Flash Giveaway! WIN two tickets for the Pokémon X and Pokémon Y Battle Tournament 2014 Grand Final in London (26th April)




I have a very, very exciting giveaway for you all! I have been given the opportunity to give away two tickets for the Pokémon X and Pokémon Y Battle Tournament 2014 Grand Final in London, which takes place this Saturday! (26th April 2014) - Please only enter if you can attend!

Following weeks of Pokémon battles up and down the country, the Pokémon X and Pokémon Y Battle Tournament 2014 Grand Final will be coming to London on Saturday 26th April 2014 – and you can be there to watch the masters battle it out for the title!


Hosted by comedian, actor and Pokémon fan, Johnny Vegas, Pokémon experts from all across the country will descend on The Music Room, Mayfair (11.30am until 7pm) to see who will be crowned champion – with four titles for the taking: Ultimate Pokémon Expert, Junior Expert, Ultimate Team and Ultimate Pokémon Expert – along with a trip to Tokyo and other great prizes available for the victors.


Along with the final battles, there’s plenty more on hand for spectators too; including an area for guests to relax and try other try other games from the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, including Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure. As well as this, there’ll be a training centre for newcomers, where a Pokémon guru will be on hand to answer any Pokémon related questions and Pokémon Trading Card demonstrations will take place throughout the event.


Throughout the day, there will also be competitions for the best Pokémon Cosplay as well as mini competitions based around Streetpass with on the spot prizes up for grabs, so make sure you come prepared with your Nintendo 3DS console and your best costumes.

 Jonny Vegas!!! Woweee!! If you would like the chance to win a pair of tickets to the must-see Pokémon event of the year, all you have to do is complete the form below! 

THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN UNTIL 4PM ON THURSDAY 24TH APRIL 2014, so HURRY!!!

GOOD LUCK!!!


Terms and conditions
  • This competition is open to UK readers only.
  • The winner will be chosen via random.org.
  • There is 1 prize consisting of 2 x tickets two tickets for the Pokémon X and Pokémon Y Battle Tournament 2014 Grand Final in London . The sponsor will contact you directly.
  • The winners are final and no correspondence will be looked into.
  • A valid email address must be provided. We take no responsibility for lost or incomplete entries.
  • A cookie may be placed on your computer when commenting.
  • This competition will run until 4pm on Thursday 24th April 2014
  • Your name and email may be used for mailing list purposes by the sponsor.
  • I  retain the right to alter the giveaway if required. This may mean the prize offered or the closing date.

Team Honk Great Bloggers Bake Off - Super Easy Kids Messy, Edible Play! Team Honk Scooters!




Life has been pretty stressful at the moment (I will update soon) and I feel terrible that I haven't baked for the Team Honk GBBO. I have however, donated my £2 for this post, as well as sponsoring some lovely blogger friends and helping my children to raise £30 by scooting, running and cartwheeling for Sports Relief (We donated the £30 to Team Honk).

Anyway, I have a super easy activity for the kids to make (and eat afterwards!) Edible Team Honk Scooters!!

We chose scooters as that was a big part of our own mini fundraiser and the kids had a fab time building these.

INGREDIENTS
  • Mini Oreos (3 per scooter)
  • Chocolate fingers (1 per scooter)
  • Some red butter cream, chocolate spread or marshmallow spread for biscuit filling.
  • More red butter cream, icing, fondant, candy melts or  melted chocolate to use as a 'glue'
  • Rich Tea fingers (2 per scooter)
  • Printed logos for the front - on rice paper preferably! You can have names or party themes if you make these for a birthday!
METHOD
  • Make a Rich Tea sandwich using the filling of your choice. I used red butter cream.
  • Now you have your scooter base. Using the edible 'glue' of your choice, attach two mini Oreos to one end of your base, and one facing outwards to the other end.
  • Attach a chocolate finger, vertically; just  behind your front 'wheel'.
  • Add the logo to the front... Ta da!! An edible scooter! 
If you use icing or butter cream, the scooters won't be very stable but, candy melts or melted chocolate will set and give them more support.


Do pop over to Mummy Mishaps and see all the AMAZING efforts in aid of Team Honk.

If you want to donate to Team Honk, you can do so here.

Mummy Mishaps

Monday, 21 April 2014

New NUK Oral Care Products - Starter Toothbrush Review


Yet again, NUK have brought parents another fantastic range of baby and toddler products that really work. As experts with over 50 years experience in researching, understanding and developing baby products that make parents lives easier, NUK have launched their oral care range; designed to support your child as they develop. From teething products that relieve the discomfort that can be experienced during teething to training and starter toothbrush sets for the gentle care of your child’s first teeth.

Teeth-cleaning can sometimes be a traumatic experience for both child and parent and as I blogged before, many parents consider teeth-cleaning time the most stressful time of the day. This is why I firmly believe that introducing oral care products into a baby's routine as early as possible, can really help with this. My youngest child used a training toothbrush from about 6 months and I'm sure this has contributed to her laid-back attitude towards teeth-cleaning time.  The NUK training brush looks brilliant - if you fancy a look, you can find it here.

I was kindly sent a Starter Toothbrush for Baby Girl to try and she loves it! 



NUK say:
"The NUK Starter Toothbrush is perfect for the gentle care of your child's precious first teeth. Suitable for children from 12 months+, the Starter Toothbrush features a rounded brush head with soft bristles that gently clean the child's teeth and an easy grip handle which makes it easy for parent and child to use together. For safety the Starter Toothbrush comes with a protective guard which prevents the brush being pushed too far into the child's mouth, it also doubles up as a handy toothbrush stand.  
• Suitable for children 12-36 months.

BPA (Bisphenol A) Free "

We say:

Once baby Girl had more and more teeth through, it was time to look for a more 'substantial' toothbrush. Many on the market are good, and we have a few favourites but we particularly like aspects of the NUK Starter toothbrush that are unique to them. For example, it comes with a protective guard that prevents the brush being pushed into the mouth too far. This ensures a safe start to toddlers learning to brush their own teeth, (Baby Girl LOVES to have a go at brushing once Mummy has brushed them for her. She also likes to watch us brush ours, which is also a part of learning.) 


The guard doubles as a handy toothbrush stand, which is helpful in the bathroom. We also like the ergonomic easy-hold grip which makes it much easier for parents and children to use together. The bristles are soft and gentle on little gums which is essential when baby still has teeth coming through.

At £4.99 I think it is a great addition to your child's daily routine and  I would absolutely recommend it to any parent.



As a NUK Approved Blogger, I have received this product for review purposes. All link are included out of courtesy. My opinions remain honest as always.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Hotter Shoes Review - Mauritius Wedges


I was very happy a few weeks back when I received a lovely email from Hotter Shoes saying I had won one of their Blogger competitions. I had to say which shoe was my favourite from the latest collection and this is what I had to say:
"My favourite from the new range is Mauritius in tan. They are great for wearing on warmer days; maybe on holiday for a walk on the beach - teamed with a long flowy skirt. Sandals are so lovely to wear in the warmers months; to feel the sun on your toes.....ahhh....it's a small thing that always makes me happy every year as it's like closing the door on the cold weather and looking forward to summer.

I'm loving the stacked, platform sole - a mix of classic with up-to-date trends. These are ultra light weight too, which are perfect hot days - no achy feet!"

I chose the  Mauritius in tan as my prize (I'm so lucky!!)  ans I absolutely love them. I wore them to a party recently, and received some lovely comments - I think people are often surprised when I say they are comfort shoes, simply because they are so stylish.

The leather is very soft, yet they look so hardwearing. The platform is surprisingly flexible and lightweight too, so I was able to wear them for hours without any problems. the strap at the heel is adjustable and has hidden elastic for even more comfort.





I love them and look forward to this dreadful rain to go away again so I can wear them some more!

 Thanks so much Hotter!

Visit www.hotter.com for more information.



I received these shoes  for review purposes. I have not been compensated in any other way and my opinions remain honest as always. Links are included out of courtesy.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Wholesome recipes in celebration of Philadelphia's Good Dairy Commendation - Salmon & Spinach picnic quiches & Ginger-Spiced Pear Cheesecake




Philadelphia, the UK’s leading cream cheese spread, has been awarded The Good Dairy Commendation by The Compassion in World Farming and to celebrate this achievement, has teamed up with chef and sustainability champion Valentine Warner. Renowned for advocating sustainable living, Valentine has created a range of delicious serving suggestions including lots of wholesome, natural produce and Philadelphia at the heart of each bite.

Philadelphia is the only cheese** to be awarded the prestigious industry Good Dairy Commendation in recognition of their on-going commitment to sustainability and animal welfare. Philadelphia believes happy cows are the secret to producing the highest quality milk and therefore, the best tasting cream cheese. That’s why Philadelphia has committed to ensuring animal health monitoring as well as no tethering of their grass fed cows and that they all graze outdoors for at least six hours per day, for a minimum of 120 days of the year. Made with simple ingredients, fresh milk goes from the farm to the tub in less than 48 hours, ensuring the most delicious Philadelphia by using the freshest milk possible.

Aditi Doshi, Brand Manager at Philadelphia says, “At Philadelphia we believe food should amplify the joy of life, that’s why we are constantly working on the quality of our product to make it more delicious. Philadelphia is made with fresh milk from farms we know and trust and we actively work with our milk suppliers to ensure the highest standards possible. We are delighted to be recognised by Compassion in World Farming for our efforts to source our milk from farms with outdoor grazing and the best possible animal welfare conditions.”

Valentine Warner said “I couldn’t be happier to be involved and congratulate Philadelphia on taking the necessary steps to ensure their cows have a better quality of life. For me, eating great quality produce makes for a great life!”
Valentine has created a whole host of wholesome inspirations, including Philadelphia on grilled sourdough with green herb sauce and Philadelphia caramel chocolate biscuits. Visit www.Philadelphia.co.uk to find out more.

_______________________________________________________________________________

To help Philadelphia celebrate such a fantastic achievement for the brand, I have taken up their challenge to create some wholesome recipes for myself.

 First up, we have delicious Salmon & Spinach picnic quiches. Perfect for summer dining.

Makes 8

INGREDIENTS
  •  600g Shortcrust pastry, make your own or buy it!! There's NO shame! I needed about 75g per quiche.
  • 1 tbsp Olive OIl
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200g cooked Salmon (tinned, fresh, leftovers...), flaked
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 45g Baby leaf spinach
  • 200g Salmon & Dill Philadelphia cream cheese (this will work with any of thesavoury or plain varieties)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • Splash of milk

METHOD
  •  Preheat oven to 200C/Gas mark 6
  • Roll out and line your lightly greased quiche tins with the cold pastry. (You can make a huge quiche if you wish!)
  • Line with greaseproof paper and fill each case with baking beans (this is to stop the pastry from rising) 
  • Prick each case all over with a fork
  • Bake pastry cases for about 15 minutes until golden - It might take longer than this, so keep checking at regular intervals.
  •  Remove from the oven, carefully rove beans and leave to cool for about 10 minutes. Then carefully remove from the tins and leave to cool further on a wire rack.
  • Once cool, place on a baking sheet ready to be filled.
  • Now we we make the filling. You can do this whilst your cases are baking if you wish.
  • Saute the onion  for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  • Add the salmon and saute for a further 2 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice and spinach and allow the spinach to wilt. 
  • lower the heat and add the Philadelphia. Mix through until it melts into a sauce. 
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the eggs; adding a splash of milk to loosen the mixture.
  • Fill the pastry cases almost to the top, but be careful not to overfill them. 
  • Bake for a further 20-30 minutes until bubbling and golden.
  • Allow to cool if required - can be served hot or cold.



Secondly we have a real treat! I dessert for the whole family or dinner guests that tastes divine yet is light enough to enjoy after a feast - Ginger-spiced Pear Cheesecake.





INGREDIENTS
  • 200g of Ginger biscuits, crushed to fine crumbs
  • 50g Butter, melted
  • 4 Dessert pears
  • Around 2 litres of water
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 200g  granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp Mixed spice
  • Small piece of fresh ginger (1-2in), peeled and grated
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice, placed in a saucer or shallow dish
  • 600g regular Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 150ml Double cream
  • 175g Caster sugar
  • Chocolate of your choice, melted (for decoration)
METHOD
  •  Add the water to a pan.
  • Add the ginger & mixed spice, vanilla extract & granulated sugar and boil for 20-30 minutes over low heat to infuse the flavours.
  • Meanwhile, peel the pears; rolling them in the lemon juice as you go, to prevent discolouration.
  • Halve and core them and add them to the fragrant water.
  • Add any remaining lemon juice and simmer for a further 30 minutes or until the pears are tender.
  • Meanwhile, make the base. Mix the biscuit crumbs and melted butter together well.
  • Press into a loose bottomed cake or flan tin as firmly as you can. 
  • Chill in the fridge until required.
  • Once the pears are ready, remove from the water, and allow to cool. Set the syrupy water aside.
  • Once the pears have cooled completely, add to a blender with a little of the syrup and blend to a puree. You can leave it lumpy if you like the texture.
  • To make the cheese filling, simply whisk the Philadelphia and double cream together with the caster sugar.
  • Add layers of cheese/cream mixture onto the base; swirling spoonfuls of pear puree as you go. You could just spread the fruit onto the top if you prefer.
  • Chill for at least 4 hours, I'd say, but overnight is best.
  • Serve each slice with a drizzle of melted chocolate - it solidifies quickly due to the coldness of the cheesecake and is DIVINE - it's nice for guests to do this part for themselves....It feels VERY naughty.



Finally, a gorgeous recipe from Valentine himself, Philadelphia sourdough and green sauce


Makes 8 slices

INGREDIENTS

  • Approx 100g chopped fresh green herbs of your choice (Val likes parsley, tarragon, basil and mint)
  • 1 tbs very finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tbs baby capers from vinegar, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1small clove of garlic, very finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of ½ a small lemon
  • ½ - 1 tsp of red wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 x 300g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • Loaf of good sourdough

 METHOD

  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, adding the vinegar, lemon juice and oil at the end
  • Season to taste, it may need a little more salt than you think
  • Toast the sourdough and spread thickly with Philadelphia Light
  • Spoon the green sauce over the top
Philly tip: Use Philly Light as a lighter option!

Image (c) Philadelphia

*Nielsen 52w data to w/e 28.12.13
**Philadelphia is the only mainstream cheese manufacturer to receive a Good Dairy Commendation in 2013




I was given a voucher to cover the costs of my ingredients. I have not been compensated in any other way and links are out of courtesy.
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