Thursday, 27 November 2014

Our #DesignaFriend party



You may remember that we were #DesignaFriend party hosts a couple of weeks ago. Life got a bit crazy so I'm only getting around to blogging about it today! Where did the last fortnight go to?!

Anyway, what a fabulous afternoon we had! The children and their favourite people joined in with a fun-packed (read VERY LOUD) party that introduced everyone to all things #DesignaFriend.

As I already showed you in our sneak peek post, we were sent  the most amazing boxful of fun to ensure our party went with a bang! And it certainly did that; and some.


We also had two gorgeous Design-a-Friend dolls for the guest to play with, along with beautiful outfits and accessories. The girls had a whale of a time hosting their very own dolly fashion show - if we hadn't had fab activities planned, it really wouldn't have mattered as everyone was engrossed with playing with the dolls!  It was incredible to see actually, and if any of you are thinking of buying a Design-a-Friend this Christmas, don't hesitate.... you WILL NOT regret it!

The party

When our guests arrived, we introduced them to our new Design-a-Friends, Chelsea and Florence. The children instantly fell in love with them both and it wasn't long before they had both been changed into new outfits.


They really are beautiful dolls! They have cute, child-like faces and the most gorgeous hair - even I was found brushing the dolls hair as they started to look a little dishevelled after having lots of little hands playing with them. It's quite therapeutic, actually ;)


The additional outfits are stunning. They are fashionable but in a child-like way if that makes sense... I really liked them. This Blue Tango outfit looks very 'Frozen'. A few of the children (and a parent) said the same! 


Each outfits comes complete with accessories such as shoes or a belt and includes a charm that can be added to a charm bracelet that is supplied with the Design-a-Friend dolls. We think they are fabulous and absolutely recommend them.

The girls each created their own party cupcake.... they were exceedingly yummy!



We had pink themed foods, which went down well. Most children didn't sit still long enough to eat much, but I think that's a sign of a fun party! ;)


Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the craft activities - you can't beat a bit of sticking and gluing!


I think the ultimate party game has to be Pass The Parcel and oh my word, our parcel was the parcel of all parcels! The prizes included loom band books, craft kits, pencil cases and the big prize was another Design-a-Friend doll, called India. The winner was absolutely delighted, especially as she got to take home an outfit which was included in the equally awesome goodie bags.

The best party bag, ever!
It was amazing fun, but I needed wine and some serious headache remedies once it was all over!! The children however, would happily host a party every week! 

Design-a-friend dolls and accessories are available from Argos, and at the moment they have some incredible offers, so check them out!
 
Many thanks to UKMums.TV!!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Chia Pods & Oats review





You may remember the quick, yummy gluten-free Cheesy Chia Quesadillas I made a little while back, using a The Chia Co recipe and seeds. Well, I have to tell you about some more lovely products that could help you to shake up your children's breakfasts!

The Chia Co can help you to provide your children with a nutritious, ready-to-eat breakfast; helping them to start their day the healthy way. The British Nutrition Foundation says that children who eat a healthy breakfast are less like to snack on high fat or sugary snacks later in the day. 

Adding  Chia seeds to your child's diet is a really simple way of ensuring that they are having the RDA of Omega 3. Chia seeds  have the highest  plant-based source of Omega 3, fibre and protein and are packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which are an essential part of our nutrition but often missing from modern diets.

Chia seeds are virtually tasteless so they don't interfere with other flavours which is great if you have children who are not keen on trying new tastes.


Chia Pods (£2.59 each) are great for kids as they are made from Chia seeds and coconut milk in a variety of fruit flavours, such as banana, mango and blueberry. The fruit makes them naturally sweet and many of the flavours are sugar free - those that have been sweetened contain just a little natural low-GI coconut sugar, making them a healthier alternative to come cereals that can contain a lot of sugar.


Each pod has a spoon in the lid so they are a great option for taking in the car  for when you are really rushed for time! They flavours we tried were all lovely, but sadly only one of my fussy children liked the texture of them.

Our favourites were definitely the Oats+Chia sachets (£5 for 5) which are perfect for the cold mornings we are having right now. The range of fruit porridge  contain no emulsifiers or additives  and you simply add hot water for a quick, hearty breakfast that's high in Omega 3, fibre and protein. 

We really enjoyed these - especially the Apple Spice variety. They certainly set us up for the day and tasted great - my only qualm is the cost - they are quite expensive, which is understandable given the quality and the nutritional benefits, but with 4 children, we wouldn't be able to have them every day.


The benefits of Chia for children
  • One tablespoon of chia provides 100% of their plant-based Omega 3 requirement.
  • One serving of chia gives 25% of their fibre requirement to aid healthy digestion.
  • Chia seeds provide a sustained release of energy to take them from breakfast to lunch.
  • Chia seeds are non-allergenic so will suit all diets.

To find out more about Chia, visit  www.chiaco.com.au

Sunday, 23 November 2014

How did you get on during Walk To School Month?



So, last month was Walk To School Month. How did you get on? We walk to school everyday anyway but I think it's great to encourage children to walk into school just for the fun and change of scenery if nothing else.

The health benefits choosing to walk instead of jumping in the car are obvious, but it's also lovely for the children to experience the school run on foot. Yes, OK it can also be a blooming nightmare but I love walking out in the fresh, crisp autumn air, watching the Robins flit in and out of the holly bushes and helping Baby Girl with her colours as she points out all of the red and blue cars that drive by. 

We have some of our best conversations on the school run, usually inspired by something we've seen on the way, and I've noted some real corkers of funny sayings that Little One comes out with too. There's also puddle jumping which is a must  on a wet day (wellies essential of course!) - lovely memories that I will always cherish.

Tommee Tippee discovered from a survey that only 47 per cent of primary school children walk to school compared to over 81 per cent of their parents who did so. This means that over half of our children are missing out, not only on the health benefits of being physically active, but on these happy memories associated with walking to school.

Of course, a drink is essential when being physically active; whether your school run is a quick  5 minute amble,  or a mammoth trek uphill. Keeping hydrated is just as important as the physical activity itself.

Baby Girl's cup of choice at the moment is this Tommee Tippee Explora Sporty cup that was kindly sent for her to enjoy during our school run.


This actual design is exclusive to Asda, isn't it cute!  Baby Girl is quite fussy over her cups and this is her current favourite. I like it because it looks grown up. - rather like a regular sports bottle but it is indeed, non spill. Plus, she doesn't have to open and close it as it self-seals... very clever!


It's perfect for the school run and it holds plenty of liquid, enough for the entire (mammoth) journey. Love it!

That reminds me actually, I need to get Little One a new sports bottle. Do you have any recommendations for older children's drinks bottles?

What do you enjoy about walking to school? 

 To find out more about all things Tommee Tippee. Pop over to their Facebook page.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Vote for the next Higgidy pie! Vote #Higgidypork! ;)



You may remember that I told you about Higgidy's Recipe Hunt last month, well.... now you can vote for your favourite recipe which will be sold in Sainsburys in the spring!!


 I am rather excited (and somewhat flabbergasted) that Higgidy has shortlisted my Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato recipe, along with equally delicious sounding Sunday Roast Pie and Paneer & Pumpkin. YUM YUM!!


To vote for your favourite, simply visit the Higgidy website and select your favourite! Obviously I'd love for you to vote for mine, but please do vote for whichever one takes your fancy.... they all sound rather scrummy!!


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Parragon Book Buddies: Dino Supersaurus Boxset


We have been reviewing the most awesome boxset from Parragon books; it's perfect for Christmas for both girls and boys!

Little One learned all about dinosaurs last Summer and ever since, she's bee very fond of them - even more so than before!

The Dino Supersaurus Boxset is the latest addition to the Dino Supersaurus collection and we LOVE it!


Description
Kaboom! T-rex and the evil Sinistaurs are on a mission to destroy New Dino City...again! Get busy building your heroic 3D Supersaurs and help them save the day! Charge your dinos up with superpower add-ons. Your activity book has simple step-by-step instructions and is packed with awesome activities, supercharged scribbling and cool colouring. So get ready to take on the evil Sinistaurs and save New Dino City!

The set contains an activity book, and hard backed pop-out sheets for you to create 5 of your own 3D Supersaurs. You can then use the activity book to 'act out' stories or make up your own!

So much fun!


I really like that the pop out 3D designs have been printed on strong, sturdy board rather than flimsy card that I've seen in similar activity packs. It means the characters actually stay together once built, but it also means that they pop out really easily and without tearing.

 The Dino Supersaurs look fantastic and you can add parts to them to 'supercharge' them, as Little One calls it. Nothing can stop them now!!
This fantastic boxset can be found on Amazon for just £8.49 at the moment (RRP £12), which is incredible value. Link: http://amzn.to/1qr2hSZ

Friday, 14 November 2014

Degustabox October #review PLUS a quick, hearty curry #recipe using a Kents Kitchen Meal Kit



I know, I know! I say it every month, but this is my favourite Degustabox so far! They do genuinely get better and better each month!

It was packed with goodies that we all are enjoying as a family; treats, cupboard staples and new products we hadn't even heart of before.

What was in the box?



Kellogg's Special K Cracker Crisps - These are really tasty and with 60% less fat than some other crisps, you're on to a winner with these.



The Degustabox Fridge is back this month and I'm so pleased that the voucher is valid in all my usual supermarkets. The voucher entitles us to a 4 pack of  New Benecol Greek Style Yogurts. I haven't picked these up yet as I put the voucher away and keep forgetting to take it out with me! Doh! I shall be enjoying these in next weeks shop though!


My baking favourite, Dr Oetker introduces me to yet another new product - Premium Extra Dark Chocolate.  I can't wait to treat myself to a rich, decadent cake to celebrate my birthday ;)


The kids absolutely love BEAR Alphabites, so we were very happy to see a mini box of these in our haul. They make a delicious healthy breakfast with no refined sugar or salt, and the little ones wolf them down, ending the fuss at breakfast time.



I have to say, I think Middle Miss almost passed out when she set eyes on this rather scrumptious pot of Solo Marshmallow Crème in their Toasted variety. This is spreadable marshamllow, perfect for a treat on toast, used as a baking ingredient or just eaten straight from the tub..... ahem....so I'm told ;)



We had two Brioche Pasquier products in our box this month, Pain Au Lait, which I passed on to my parents who had yet to try them (they loved them by the way!) and the most amazing Sliced Brioche Loaf which I am in love with. It's gorgeous toasted with butter or a sprinkle of brown sugar and delightfully sinful smothered in clotted cream and topped with sliced strawberries!

I've promised the kids that I'll make some 'donut-style' Gypsy Toast with it, so I'll blog that if they like it!!


A baker can never have too much cocoa powder and I do like this one by Dr Oetker. I love the handy sachets as they are so convenient and don't take up much space in my (over-flowing) baking cupboard!


I've saved this scrummy looking Get Buzzing energy bar for hubby as he is really into them. They are  100% natural healthy flapjacks that 'complement a well balanced diet by providing fast and slow releasing energy that will keep you going for longer.'

They look amazing!!!



Jelly Belly are our favourite jelly beans ever! We had never tried the sour ones though, and we were not disappointed. So juicy, so sour! YUM YUM!!

Did you know that every single bean can take up to 21 days to create???? No, me neither until I heard about it from Degustabox!



I love Enhance for water. Such a great idea, perfect for making drinking water more exciting They are made with real fruit juice and is only 1 calorie per drink!


Blue Dragon is a brand that's very popular in our house, especially with hubby. These Sweet Chilli dipping sauces are so versatile. You can use them as dips for snacks, in cooking or as condiments to enhance your favourite meals.


Finally, my favourite product in the box was this Bengal Meal Kit from Kents Kitchen. These clever kits provide you with an easy way of creating a fantastic meal in just 20 minutes. Made with only natural ingredients they are a must-have for every kitchen cupboard.

I really fancied a curry for tea the other night and decided to have a go at the lovely recipe provided in the Bengal kit. Unfortunately though, it required a tin of coconut milk, which I love but hubby hates, so I improvised. 
3 little pots - infused oil, spices, curry paste

Ingredients:
  • 1  Bengal Kents Kitchen meal Kit (it's infused oil, spices and a curry paste base)
  • Chicken breasts (I usually use 2 per person)
  • 2 tins/cartons of chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh coriander to garnish
Method:
  • Using the meal kit instructions, heat everything in a pan until the chicken is properly cooked though.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with your favourite fluffy rice, Naan and condiments.

I absolutely loved using this meal kit, and I will definitely be buying some more from the range. You only need to add a couple of ingredients and you have a beautiful, delicious meal in under half an hour. PERFECT!

Find out more from Degustabox on social media - Facebook and Twitter


 *Review

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Homemade Thursday - Kents Kitchen Chicken Curry

  
This is a little bit of a cheat but I don't think that matters when the ingredients are great in quality.

I have been loving this months Degustabox (review coming later today), as it's introduced me to Kents Kitchen Meal Kits.

I really fancied a curry for tea the other night and decided to have a go at the lovely recipe provided in the Bengal kit. Unfortunately though, it required a tin of coconut milk, which I love but hubby hates, so I improvised.



Ingredients:
  • 1  Bengal Kents Kitchen meal Kit (it's infused oil, spices and a curry paste base)
  • Chicken breasts (I usually use 2 per person)
  • 2 tins/cartons of chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh coriander to garnish
Method:
  •  Using the meal kit instructions, heat everything in a pan until the chicken is properly cooked though.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with your favourite fluffy rice, Naan and condiments.

YUM!!

What have you been making?

I'd love to see your homemade/handmade posts, please do link them up and share your creations.

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! This doesn't have to be food. It can be needlework, crafts, paintings, woodwork.... you name it!

It can be an old post or something new.... it's all about sharing ideas and inspiring each other!

I would love you forever if you would either grab my button (below) or text link back to me.

Homemade Thursday


You can link up anytime between now and 16th November 2014 and then the next Homemade Thursday linky will open on the 20th November

To read more about Homemade Thursday please look here.

Travel Sleep Solutions: Peppa Pig My First Ready Bed

Review -


We have been having a few sleep challenges with Baby Girl recently. Many of those I will talk about in another post, but one problem we were having was encouraging her to have her daytime nap when not at home.

The mind of a toddler is always on the go... dragging their not so willing, over-tired bodies with them. There is far too much going on to sleep. I mean what if she misses something? Who will play with her toys? Will nanny save her any 'cake-cake'?

Sometimes if we are out, she will fall asleep in the pushchair, but she is the only one of my children that will rarely fall asleep in my arms. So, what do you do at nap time when you are visiting friends or family? You can't very well lug a travel cot with you, especially if you don't drive.

Well, we no longer have this problem thanks to Baby Girl's very special Peppa Pig My First Ready Bed by Worlds Apart. Oh, the look on her little face when she saw the box, let alone the actual bed, was priceless.


In case you don't already realise, Baby Girl is head over heels in love with Peppa Pig (and Doc McStuffins). Wherever that lovable pink pig can be found, Baby Girl will follow. This adoration can be put to good use! ;)

What a better way to entice an over-tired toddler to climb into 'bed' and snooze away those weary grumps than with the help of their favourite character? My  children have always found having their favourite character with them very comforting.

I must admit, I've never liked inflatable.... well, anything to be honest. But, this is brilliant! It inflates with little effort using the supplied pump and stays that way until you want to deflate it again.

Unfolded, waiting to be pumped up

All pumped up, waiting for snuggles

It has an integral cover which is super-soft and lovely to snuggle under, and I really like the 'bed head' that acts as a bumper to prevent tumble or bumps as the little one sleeps.

The cover also can be removed for washing, which is always a blessing when it comes to bedding of any description.

The clever design means that when deflated, it folds into a handy carry case with a handle, so it can be carried easily or even hung on the pushchair like I do (The pump fits in the shopping basket underneath too!)

Awww all snuggled up and cosy

It's been a Godsend this last few weeks - perfect for visiting family, camping, holidays, sleepovers or just as an alternative sleeping area if your child is sick. Little One used this recently when she was poorly and we wanted to keep her close to us so that we could keep an eye on here easier in the night.

The girls love it, and the mattress is surprisingly comfortable! They love it so much that they use it for playtime as well as sleep.


This is how I found their Wendy house the other day - how cute is that?!

My First Ready Bed is available to buy from various outlets, such as Amazon, Toys R Us and Tesco (Around £30)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Join us for a fabulous #DesignaFriend Twitter party on 12th November 4-6pm #sneakpeak



Little One is beyond excited! We have just received the most amazing box full of goodies ready for the #DesignaFriend party next week!


I haven't opened anything up properly yet, as I want Little One and her gang to have a surprise on the day, but wow!! They are going to have SOOOO much fun!


There's DesignaFriends goodies for the girls to play with, goodie boxes and lots of fun activities for them to enjoy!

I can't wait either! It's going to be amazing!!



Join in with the fun on Twitter on Wednesday 12th November 4-6pm with @UKMumsTV using the hashtag #DesignaFriend 

See you then!!
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