Thursday, 30 October 2014

World Vision's Night of Hope

World Vision are asking people to abandon a night of fear and replacing it with a Night of Hope this Halloween. Their campaign is to highlight that for some children it is a night of fear every night. With this post I hope to raise awareness of the hard work that World Vision do to help these poor children. This year World Vision are focusing on the children refugees of Syria.

Syria is in it's forth year of war and it has stolen the childhood of millions of children who have witnessed horrors that no one should see, let alone children. Their innocence has been stolen and replaced with fear. Fear for loosing family, fear for bombing and fighting, even fear of dying. For us, this is an unimaginable situation to be in, but for them it is a reality.

This Halloween please help World Vision make live a little easier for the children of Syria by visiting and supporting World Vision a Night of Hope.

Please, if you can, text Heart8 to 70060 to donate £5 to help the children of Syria.

Here is our pumpkin for a Night of Hope...

I hope that you will take part in this worthy campaign and carve a heart in your pumpkin this year.

Disclosure: No payment was received for this post. I have written it as I truly believe that World Vision is a worthy cause.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Alphabet Project - Y

Believe it or not Y was an easy one for me. One word stood out. That word is...

Yellow is a colour that I love to see. It is such a happy, vibrant colour. It always makes me feel warm and happy. Whenever I see yellow flowers I am drawn to them and their beauty. Yellow reminds me of a warm, sunny, summers day. It is never dull, but always cheerful!

That is why I have chosen Yellow as my Y word.

As always I am sharing with the lovely Podcast - Alphabet Project.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Lapland Mailroom - A Letter From Santa

Christmas is certainly creeping up on us. My children are already planning their Christmas lists and the excitement is building.

The magic of Christmas evolves around Santa and what better way to truly start the festive season than with a personalised letter for your child.

Lapland Mailroom create beautiful, personalised letters for your children from Santa. We were lucky enough to receive some to review. For obvious reasons the children have not yet seen them, but as a parent, I am over the moon with them and cannot wait to see their faces when they see a letter arrive from Santa.

The letters come addressed directly to the children in white envelopes with a "From Santa" stamp on the top.

On the Lapland Mailroom website you are able to select from three styles of letter. This is a great way to make each letter more personal to each child. On the website you are able to view the letter as you proceed through the order so you can see what your child will receive. You can add details such as what your child would like for Christmas and about any siblings or friends. As well as the three personalised letters is a baby's first Christmas keepsake letter.

Lapland Mailroom are offering a free a free "Nice Child List" certificate with all orders for a limited time. This is a fantastic way to encourage and reward children for their good behaviour.

You are able to select from a letter only with a free Nice Child List or for just £1 more you can order a letter and activity pack with the free certificate. The activity pack will be perfect during the build up to Christmas to keep the children busy and occupied. The activity pack contains:

An A4 Santa Stop Here colouring in card

A Merry Christmas A5 Christmas card

An A4 activity card

2 A5 colouring in cut out activities
Lapland Mailroom post letters from Santa to children all over the world so visit their website and see for yourself. This Christmas I would thoroughly recommend ordering a magical letter from Santa.

Disclosure: I was sent letters and activity packs for the three children. No payment was received. All views and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Rooibos and Orange Marmalade Cake

I was recently sent a jar of Robertson's Golden Shred Marmalade to celebrate the release of the Paddington Bear film. We all love the tangy taste of marmalade so I knew that I would love creating a new recipe. I decided to bake a cake!

My hubby is a huge tea fan and loves rooibos. You may have noticed recently that I have been using a lot more tea in my bakes for him.

Today I am sharing a cake that contains rooibos red bush tea. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, has a high level of antioxidants and is low on tannins.

This is what I did...

Rooibos and Marmalade Cake


150g butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
150g self raising flour
1 tbsp rooibos tea
3 tbsp Robertson's Golden Shred Marmalade


Pre heat the oven to 180C fan

1 - Beat together the butter and caster sugar until light a creamy

2 - Gradually add the eggs along with a little flour to prevent curdling

3 - Sift in the flour and mix until all of the ingredients are evenly combined

4 - Stir in the rooibos tea and the marmalade

5 - Pour the mixture into a prepared cake tin and place in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for 40 minutes or until thoroughly baked

6 - Once thoroughly baked leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling wire

This cake is lovely and light and the combination of rooibos with the tangy marmalade go perfectly together.

Enjoy x

Monday, 27 October 2014

Weekly Meal Plan - Favourite Meals

At the end of August I shared some of my favourite recipes. This week I thought that I would share a few more of my favourites as I am not meal planning this week.

I hope that by sharing some of my favourite recipes I am able to inspire you to cook home cooked meals and help if you are stuck for what to cook.

Here are a few of my favourite meals...

Gardeners Frittata

Authentic Spaghetti Bolognese

Rich Mushroom Pasta

Leek, Potato and Bacon Soup

Quick and Easy Fish Pie
Weekly meal planning will be back as normal next week. Hope you have a lovely week.

Enjoy x

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Keeping Kids Busy on a Long Journey

All parents will know how important it is to keep the kids occupied and busy whilst on a long journey. We all dread hearing the words "are we there yet?" and "I'm bored".

Here are a few of my tips for long journeys...

  • Invest in a portable DVD player
  • Have children's CD's close to hand
  • Play games, good old eye spy will keep them guessing
  • Pack up little bags of foodie treats, both sweet and healthy snacks
  • Take regular stops to stretch everyone's legs and visit the toilets, the last thing you want to hear on a motorway is "quick I need a wee!"
  • For the older ones make sure their tablet/Kindle/Ipod/games console is fully charged the night before leaving
  • Giving them a box of loom bands will keep them busy
  • Make sure you have their little necessities to hand like dummies, nappies, wipes, drinks the last thing you need is to be searching through bags
  • Make it as relaxed and fun as possible, if you start to get stressed they soon pick up on it
  • Then there is always a quick game of bingo for the adults if they get bored!
Most of all remember that you are all going on holiday and that you are all going to have a great time, creating new, happy memories. Don't start off with a bad journey!

Tommee Tippee Explora Snack n Go

Tommee Tippee do a fantastic range of products for toddlers called Explora. These products are an ideal stepping stone for toddlers going from baby items to children's items. We were recently sent a Tommee Tippee Explora Snack n Go to review.

We loved it as soon as we saw it. The Snack n Go pot is a little pot with a handle and lid which allows little hands go in to get their snack but does not let the snacks out.

We have found them to be perfect for trips out. The amount of times that we have given the twins a bag of snacks in the car or out and about and they have been dropped and gone everywhere. But thankfully the Snack n Go has stopped this happening. If it gets dropped their snacks are safely inside and clean to for them to eat. The pots are the perfect size for a portion of snacks. In the picture the pot contained 3 cherry tomatoes and as you can see there was plenty of room for more. Not only are they a good size for food but they are fantastic for little hands to hold and place inside.

We have liked it so much we have been and bought more. They will be the perfect thing to take away on holiday, as it'll be a long journey they will be wanting snacks in the car.

Disclosure: I was sent a Tommee Tippee Snack n Go pot for he purpose of this post. No payment was received. All views and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Green's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cupcakes

To celebrate the release of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie Green's have released a new Turtles cupcake set. We were sent a box to try out for the purpose of this post.

As soon as Joseph saw the box he decided that he wanted to bake the cakes. The great thing about the cupcake boxes is that children are able to make these quick and easy cakes. It is an ideal way to introduce baking to children who want to bake more independently.

This is how we got on...

The kit contains all of the dry ingredients needed.
To make the cupcakes just add an egg and water.

Joseph poured in the dry cupcake ingredients into a bowl
with the egg and water.

Joseph mixed the ingredients together.

He divided the cake batter between the cupcake cases.

Once the cakes had baked and had cooled it was time to ice
and decorate them.

The cupcakes finished!

Joseph really enjoyed baking Green's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cupcakes. They are a great way to get more children into baking!

Disclosure: I was sent the cupcake kit for the purpose of this post. No payment was received. All views and opinions are my own  and 100% honest.

Healthier Halloween Treats

We all know that Halloween and sweet treats go hand in hand. The children get an overload of sugar, which is not great for them and often results in hyperactive little ones! Don't get me wrong I would never say no treats in moderation, but I do think that we should try and encourage more healthier snacks.

Sykes Cottages have challenged me to come up with some treats that the children will enjoy just as much as a bag of sweets, but treats that are healthier. This was a challenge that I have enjoyed coming up with and the twins have loved the spooky themed food and helping me in the kitchen.

The spider web pizzas and the banana ghosts are great recipes to cook with the children. The twins had so much fun helping me make them.

This is what they have been enjoying...

Spider Web Pizzas


Mini pizza bases
Tomato puree
Dried oregano
Black olives
1 carrot


Pre heat the oven to 200C

1 - Place 1tbsp of tomato puree per mini pizza base in a bowl along with 1tsp of dried oregano per mini pizza base in a bowl and mix together.

2 - Spread the tomato puree over the pizza base.

3 - Scatter over the mozzarella.

4 - Using a peeler shave off fine strips of the carrot. Taking a paring knife, carefully slice fine strips of carrot.

5 - Arrange the strips of carrots in a pattern that resembles a spiders web.

6 - Halve 2 black olives and place one half down in the centre of the spiders web. Slice the other halves into 8 strips and arrange around the half of the olive, they will become the spiders legs.

7 - Place in the centre of the pre heated oven for 8 - 10 minutes.

Banana Ghosts


Chocolate chips
Cake pop sticks


1 - Cut the bananas in half.

2 - Take the chocolate and place on the banana as eyes and a mouth.

3 - Place the stick through the base of the banana and serve.

Mini Pumpkin Pies


Makes 24 mini pumpkin pies

Flesh of a carved out edible pumpkin
600g sweet pastry
1 tsp mixed spice
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
150 mls milk
25g butter, melted
White chocolate writing icing


Pre heat the oven to 180C

1 - To prepare the filling boil the pumpkin until soft, once cooked, drain and leave to cool.

2 - Cut out discs of sweet pastry that will fit into a muffin tin and line the holders.

3 - Gently prod the base of the pies with a fork, line with baking paper and weigh down with baking beans. Place in the pre heated oven and bake for 10 minutes.

4 - Remove from the oven and take out the baking beans and baking paper. Return to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes until the pastry has a golden colour.

5 - Once the pastry bases have baked remove from the oven and allow to cool.

6 - Increase the oven temperature to 200C

7 - Take the cooled pumpkin and press it through a sift so that you get a smooth puree.

8 - Beat together the eggs, milk, melted butter, caster sugar and mixed spice.

9 - Stir the egg mixture into the pumpkin puree.

10 - Spoon or pour in equal amounts into the pastry cases.

11 - Place the pies in the pre heated oven and bake for 5 - 10 minutes or until the filling is starting to harden.

12 - Remove from the oven and allow to cool before drawing on a spider web pattern with the chocolate writing icing.

These are sweet treats made with pumpkin and the children will never know that they are eating it. These pies are very similar to custard tarts in flavour and were soon devoured by all!

Have a great Halloween and enjoy x

Disclosure: This is my entry into a healthier Halloween competition that is run by Sykes Cottages. I received a budget for ingredients.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Gousto Review

In the past I have seen Gousto recipe boxes and have always wondered what they were like. But I was unsure whether would there be enough food for all of us and would we like the recipes? Because of these questions I have not ordered in the past.

So when I was asked if I would like to review a Gousto box and their services I jumped at the chance. In this review I will be giving you my opinion on how Gousto will feed your family, the quality of the meals and if they were enjoyed.

Gousto's website is nice and easy to navigate. Each week Gousto change the selection of meals that are available. You simply go online and select which meals you would like to be in your weekly box. They supply boxes to feed 2 people and 4 people.

When the box arrived I couldn't wait to see what we had been sent. The box was divided into two sections. One section for vegetables and dry ingredients while the second side contained a wool cool bag containing meats and chilled ingredients.

The box that we received contained three meals. All of the ingredients were weighed out and clearly labelled. 

We received:
  • Chicken and Parsnip Risotto
  • Harissa Beef Patties
  • Chorizo and Giant Couscous
This is how we got on with each of the meals...

Chicken and Parsnip Risotto

This was the first meal that we tried. We all love risotto so I had a feeling that we would enjoy this meal. In the past I have never thought about using parsnips in a risotto. But after cooking this meal, I will be using them a lot more! They added such a lovely sweetness to the meal and the whole family loved it. The children were even asking for more! The parsnips that came in the box were still covered in mud they were that fresh!

The ingredients for the meal.

The finished Chicken and Parsnip Risotto.

Harissa Beef Patties

The recipe for the Harissa Beef Patties is very similar to beef burgers so I expected these to also be a success. The patties contained harissa which is spicy, as the children were eating the patties I did not add all of the recommended amount as I did not want them to be too spicy for them. One advantage of Gousto is that the ingredients are all separate so you are able to add less spice if you wish. The beef patties were served with roasted sweet potato wedges and red onion. The harissa yogurt was too spicy for the children, however it was perfect for me! If I was to cook this meal again I would probably add a side dish of salad purely to have more of our five a day.

The ingredients for the meal.

The finished Harissa Beef Patties.

Chorizo and Giant Couscous

After living in the Canary Islands for 7 years, I love Spanish cuisine, so I was delighted when I saw this dish. Chorizo is one of my favourite meats to cook with. It has an immense flavour which adds so much to a dish. We all enjoy couscous but have found in the past that it has been too small for the twins to manage eating well. However this recipe used giant couscous, which I have not seen before. The couscous grain is the perfect size and goes well with lentils. The only down point with this meal was that it was too spicy for the twins. I did not use all of the Moroccan spice ras el hanout, next time I would use even less. However the hubby, Joseph and I loved the meal and all had seconds!

The ingredients for the meal.

The finished Chorizo and Giant Couscous.
I have been delighted with all of the meals, my only tip would be to add the spices gradually if you are feeding young children or do not like your food too spicy. But this is easily done as the ingredients are all separate. I do have to admit to being very fussy with the quality of meat that I buy. The meat that is supplied by Gousto is from British farms that uphold the highest standard of animal welfare. All of the meat was of the highest quality and was lovely and lean. Having all of the ingredients weighed out for you certainly saves a lot of time when preparing a meal. We received a box for 4 people and we found that it was the perfect amount to feed the 5 of us. The Gousto boxes are also ideal to take on holiday in the UK. It is such an easy way to pack the ingredients that you need to create delicious meals as you would at home.

I would thoroughly recommend using Gousto and will definitely be ordering from them in the future. For more information visit

Disclosure: I was sent a Gousto box for the purpose of this review. No payment was made. All views and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Bubblegum Angel Delight #AngelDelightMoments

As a child I remember loving Angel Delight. Part of the enjoyment of Angel Delight was being able to help my mum to make it. Angel Delight is such a quick and easy dessert to make and to make it with the children is a perfect way to start getting them involved in cooking.

When we received some new Bubblegum Angel Delight Isabella excitedly looked in the box. As soon as I saw her reaction I knew that I would make it with her as I had done with my mum.

This is how Isabella got on making Angel Delight for the first time...

Angel Delight, check!
Mixing bowl, check!
Milk, check!
Whisk, check!
New glass bowl, check!
Ready to go!

Take your Angel Delight...

Tip it into the mixing bowl with the milk.

Start mixing.

After a bit you will start getting bubbles on the top!

Once thickened pour into serving bowls.

Have a sneaky taste before placing in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Then enjoy!
 This was a fantastic activity that both Isabella and I enjoyed. We spent some quality mummy and daughter time and had a yummy dessert at the end of it!

Angel Delight is a great way to for children to easily and safely start cooking, go on, give it a go!

This post is an entry for #AngelDelightMoments Linky Challenge