Friday, 19 December 2014

My Higgidy pie... in the making!



You may remember the Higgidy Recipe Hunt that took place over the past few months... Well, I was flabbergasted that my recipe idea was shortlisted ....and then I only went and blooming won!!!

I still can't believe it....thank you SO much to everyone that voted for Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato!! It will be sold in Sainsburys in February, so do keep an eye out for it.

I thought I'd give you this little update because the lovely ladies at Higgidy sent me thee photo's of the pies creation. Obviously, it needs that Higgidy magic and we all know and love, and I can't WAIT to see the pie on sale next year!

TOO EXCITED!!!

Have a look at these.... I may have squealed a bit when I saw them!!



I'm starving now!!! ;)

Thursday, 18 December 2014

New Lottie Animation Delivers Positive Message to Girls


If you are still looking for the perfect gift for your little girl, may I suggest looking at the dolls available from Lottie?

As a mum to 3 girls, I do worry about how they see themselves and this is why I am proud to support the work that Lottie does in order to empower young girls.

Arklu, the company behind Lottie, the childlike fashion doll that aims to empower young children through play, has released a new stop-motion animation that takes the hammer to limiting stereotypes, challenges toxic beauty ideals and celebrates everything a girl can be, sending a resounding message that ‘Every Girl’s a Superhero’.


The video opens with three hard-hitting messages that inspire girls to #BeBold, #BeBrave, #BeYou, before launching into a series of girls taking part in adventurous escapades under the watchful aegis of Super Lottie.  Each scene depicts how girl’s don’t require super-powers to be a superhero, but how acts of kindness, bravery, overcoming challenges, breaking boundaries, and remaining true to oneself are all superhero qualities.


Lucie Follett, Co-founder and Creative Director of Arklu explains: “We wanted to create something really inspiring, upbeat, fun and positive, targeted towards children, but also demonstrates in a light-hearted manner how we’re working to ‘bury’ the toxic beauty standards that pervade society and have such negative implications for girls.

“We want girls to see the full range of possibilities open to them, and girls being supportive of one and other in their interests and activities, however diverse those choices might be. We hope this video inspires girls to express their adventurous spirit and originality”.
 

The stop-motion features Arklu’s forthcoming dolls of science: ‘Stargazer Lottie’ doll which is a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), and ‘Fossil Hunter’ Lottie doll which is a collaboration with TrowelBlazers, an international team of scientists dedicated to highlighting the contributions of women to archaeology, geology, and palaeontology. Stargazer and Fossil Hunter Lottie dolls will launch in 2015.

View the stop-motion animation by visiting: http://youtu.be/TnLaTXMfrhA

Fantastic bath toys that make THE BEST stocking fillers for babies and toddlers




You probably know by now how much I love Munchkin products but this time I am singing the praises of their incredible bath toys. We were first introduced to the range back in March when we attended a fun breakfast event, and I think we now own most of the range!

Munchkin bath toys are bright, colourful, engaging, and best of all fun. The affordable toys come in all shapes, sizes and characters, ensuring there is something for every little one, no matter what age they are.

They also make perfect stocking fillers - I have always included a bath toy in my children's stocking when they were little and Baby Girl is no exception.

Some parents love bath time, some find it stressful. I have been on both teams over the years but what I have learnt is that if bath time is fun, then it's fun for everyone... mum and dad included. That's why I love bath toys so much-  they bring the fun factor to the bath time routine, which can become monotonous! They distract grumpy toddlers, help them to wind down after a super and switch the focus from the water to the toy if the child doesn't like bath time. Some of the toys are specially designed to build water confidence, so thee are the perfect choice if you have a little one that is a bit nervous of the bath.  Plus, it's a opportunity to play one to one with your toddler, sometime Daddy often misses out on when he is at work all day.

Here are some great gift ideas that will make bath time, the best time this Christmas!

One of Baby Girl's favourite toys at the Munchkin launch was this super-cute Bath Shape Sorter (£9.99)


Have you ever seen a shape sorter that floats before? No, me neither... but this adorable turtle does, bringing classic pattern play into the water. Little One plays with hers everyday in and out of the bath.


Is come with five brightly coloured shapes that allow the child to sort, scoop, pour and strain. It's a fantastic set to encourage little ones and will help them to identify shapes and colours. This is suitable from 12 month + and Baby Girl still loves hers at the age of 2!

Baby Girl is 'ball' mad, so she loves these Float & Play Bath Bubbles (£4.99. They float in the water and each 'bubble' contains a little toy that will  rattle, bobble,shine and spin. They are the perfect size for babies hands to hold and they help to teach hand-eye coordination as babies learn to reach, grasp and jiggle the bubbles. These are suitable from 3 months, so they are ideal for baby's very 1st stocking!
 

How cute are these swimming bath bugs (£5.99)?! Simply pull the tail and watch as the wings spin and these adorable little bugs dart and swim in the water! 


These are the perfect bath buddies for any child, but particular if they are unsure of the water as these have been designed to help build water confidence.


My favourite bath toys (for baby Girl, not me...ahem) are bath squirts. We have loads from cupcakes to fish, so we can have themed bath times if we want to! We love the 5 Sea Squirts (£5.99) as they are just SO cute!


They are the ideal size for little hands and to hold and squeeze, while providing endless bath time fun for little bathers. They help to develop motor skills whilst brightening up any bath time. Say hello to dolphin, octopus, pelican, sea turtle and crab!



Not just for bath time, thee fun characters are perfect for water play out of the bath and we use ours for themed activities indoors and out (we had ours in the sand pit during the summer!)

My children have all gone through a phase of loving critters and creepy crawlies, and caterpillars always rate highly, especially since we hatched our own butterfly family earlier in the year. We love playing with Caterpillar Spillers (£3.99)  at bath time followed by story time with our The Hungry Caterpillar book.

 First of all, I can't get over how affordable these are - I mean, all Munchkin products are exceptional in value, but I really expected these to cost more than a mere £3.99!

The set  includes seven coloured bath cup that connect together to create a friendly and fun caterpillar friend! 


The brightly coloured cups are numbered 1-7 to help learning and counting; making this the perfect toy to educate and entertain young children at bath time.


The cups can be used to stack towers or nest inside each other for compact storage.  These are suitable from 9 months +.


Assist this Undersea Explorer (£5.99) as he sets off on his adventure beneath the sea. Will be find a shipwreck with hidden treasure? Or perhaps he will find a beautiful mermaid as he explores the coral reefs.

We love how this toy encourages the imagination - Little One also loves to play with this in her bath and I am always blown away by the stories she comes up with.


This fun little submarine is ideal for babies aged 12 months and up and I'm sure they would be delighted to find this in their stocking this Christmas.

It created bubbles once submerged and the cabin spins with the submarine rotates. Lightweight and the perfect size for tiny hands, this exciting bath toy can help to develop fine motor skills and teaches cause and effect.

 There is nothing better than a shower of water when playing in the bath so these stackable 3 -pack of Pour & Strain Whales (£2.99) are great for providing endless fun! Ideal for use in or our of the bath, little ones will love to scoop and watch as they create their own water showers!

My girls use these to wash their dollies hair!


You know that hidden treasure I mentioned? Well, it seems that our Undersea Explorer hit the jackpot! My beautiful mermaids love to play with this pretty Sea Sparkle Bath Gems set (£5.99) - isn't it gorgeous!?


The three smaller gems float and rattle and also fit tidily inside the beautiful seashell case when not in use. The seashell case also floats for added bath time fun, whilst aiding shape and colour recognition.


Last but certainly not least, we have a very regal looking frog coming to play with us in the Magic Lily Pad Stacker (£5.99).


We love this clever toy that creates some magic at bath time - it stacks, it squirts, it strains! It even changes colour! This five piece play set includes four stacking cups and one frog water squirter  which all magically reveal secret images when submerged in warm water.


The squirting frog toy also transforms into an enchanted prince when a crown appears on his head! See... I told you he looked regal!!!
'Freddie' the frog having a shower!
This is such a brilliant toy! They all are - we highly recommend them all and as they are available in a multitude of stores, including Asda, Tesco, Boots, Morrisons, Kiddicare, Mothercare, Toys R Us, Argos and many more - you still have plenty of time to get these ready for Santa!



*Review samples

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A 'Top Trumps' stocking filler - Disney Frozen Top Trumps


I am certain that most of us know of at least one Frozen fan and with Christmas hurtling towards us at a frightening speed, I'm sure that there are quite a few lists asking for  Frozen themed toys.

I've put together a Frozen themed stocking for Little One, who sings 'Let it go' at least 4 times in a 24 hour period - she is absolutely Frozen mad!


I was looking for something else to include - something small but something she could play with. Well, my search ended quite quickly when a lovely stocking arrived in the post. Along with the obligatory satsuma and candy cane, there was a set of Disney Frozen Top Trumps; NEW from Winning Moves.

Perfect! Just the thing!


Now, I won't pretend to understand anything about Top Trumps, but I do know that my daughter has been asking about them recently, as one of her friends has them. So, I've had to do a bit of swotting up on the subject!

It sounds like a fun game; similar to my sons old Pokemon cards, where the player with the best/highest card value wins  (well, there's a bit more to it than that, but you get the idea!)

I do know that Little One will love them as they feature all the Frozen characters and the aim of the game is to find out who is the most magical!

At £4.99 for a set - I don't think you can go wrong!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Win a Munchkin LATCH Newborn Starter Set


My newborn days are a not-so-distant memory and as Baby Girl is my last baby, I'll never experience that magical time again. As much as this makes me a little sad, I do have the fond memories of each of my children's babyhood, and I'll treasure those forever.

Feeding your baby is such a beautiful thing, whether you are a boobie mummy or a bottle mummy, that closeness and warmth is amazing, even when you are sleep deprived and in need of intravenous coffee!

I better stop with the sappiness now...I can feel the pangs of broodiness beginning! Eeep! ;)

Anyway, I have a fantastic giveaway for any of you who have or are expecting a little bundle! I have teamed up with the lovely people from Munchkin to give my fabulous readers a chance to win a Munchkin LATCH Newborn Starter Set worth £29.99!

"With the goal of helping new mums reach their breastfeeding goals, the revolutionary Munchkin LATCH™ bottle feeding system is designed to offer mum everything she needs to make the transition from breast to bottle feeding as natural and comfortable as possible, for mum and baby."
The LATCH range launched  in June 2014, and is the result of a 3 year programme of in-depth research, and testing. The LATCH™ feeding system has been developed in partnership with Lactation Consultants, Midwives, Health Care Specialists and a panel of Experienced Mums.

I've read all about the LATCH teat and it I am completely amazed at how much detail has gone into the design to ensure that it mimics the breast as much as possible. The LATCH teat  has a truly innovative accordion base that moves, stretches and pumps, just like the breast, ensuring baby establishes and maintains a proper latch and continuous connection to help reduce the symptoms of colic.
"As baby grows, so does the LATCH™ teat range. Stage 2 and 3 teats allow Mum to increase the flow as baby’s feeding demands increase. The slow flow rate of the LATCH™ teat mimics mums’ breast milk flow for a more natural feed, whilst the unique anti-colic valve on the base of the bottle ensures air bubbles do not pass through the milk, reducing the risk of colic."
 “Lots of bottle companies attempt to make bottles that look like the breast – LATCH was created to truly function like the breast,” said Steve Dunn, chairman and CEO of Munchkin, Inc. “We know how important breastfeeding is for babies and mums, so we designed a product that provides an easy transition between the breast and bottle and back. We created a bottle that can be introduced into a mother’s breastfeeding routine and ultimately help her achieve her feeding goals.”

The LATCH bottles are available in a range of variety packs sizes ranging in price from RRP £6.99 to £29.99. The full LATCH bottle range will be available from Boots and Kiddicare Bottles come in 4oz/120ml and 8oz/240ml sizes.


The Newborn Starter Bottle set includes 2 120ml bottles, 2 240ml bottles, 4 Stage 1 teats, 2 Stage 2 teats and the LATCH bottle & teat brush. Also available are 3 teat stages with advancing flow rates to meet baby’s needs. 

 You can find out more at www.munchkin.com/latch

To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic newborn starter set, simply complete the tasks given in the widget below.
DAILY ENTRY AVAILABLE!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Safety starts at home this Christmas - Lindam safety gates lifetime guarantee + a review



Lindam safety gates are for life, not just for Christmas!

Whether you are visiting family with your little ones this Christmas or staying at home, it's never more important to ensure the environment is safe for young children once they are mobile.

Safety gates are an essential part of my own personal 'home safety kit' and Lindam gates are the only ones we buy - why? Simply because they are fantastic quality and Lindam is a brand I completely trust; celebrating 25 years specialising in safety - no wonder they are the UK's number 1 safety brand!


Now, there is even more reason to choose Lindam. In case you are not aware, all Lindam Safety gates have a lifetime guarantee. Lindam boasts a comprehensive range of award winning child safety gates and guards from pressure fit, wall fix and portable solutions. With a new LifeTime guarantee on all gates, parents can rest assured that their gate really is for life!

Find out more here. You can register any Lindam safety gate purchased from 01/01/2014.

When choosing a safety gate, please do make sure that it is suitable for it's purpose. For example, the pressure fit safety gates like the one I am reviewing today, are not suitable for use at the top of stairs. In this instance, you would need to choose a wall fixed gate with no step over bar like this one that we also have in our home.

The brilliant FlexiGuard Portable Safety Barrier (RRP: £27.99) is the ideal solution for traveling with babies and toddlers as its so simple to install and take down. You can read our review of this gate here.

 Review of Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Safety Gate by Lindam (RRP: £23.99)

Baby girl is now in her own room and we are contemplating putting her into a 'big girls' bed very soon. Before we do that though, we needed to ensure that she remains safe if she was to get up in the night. This means having a gate on her room so that she can't wander out onto the landing and potentially hurt herself.


The one we have chosen and have been kindly sent to review is the Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Safety Gate by Lindam. It's absolutely brilliant and the 4 point pressure fit frame means there is no need to make holes in the bedroom door frame. It is a breeze to fit for this reason too; fitting openings of 75cm to 82cm. For wider openings, it can be extended to up to 138cm with the use of separate extensions.

It comes already assembled, so you literally take it out of the box and you're really to install. All required tools are provided and the unique handle provides for comfortable and easy one handed adult opening. It also has a  wide walkthrough offering more space as you pass through the gate, no more hitting my hip as I walk through! Hooray! ;)

The Easy Fit Plus Deluxe features a clever pressure indicator, providing a visual assurance that the gate is installed correctly. You can even double lock the gate which is great peace of mind if you have a very inquisitive toddler than can master the handle.

We are very impressed!

For 2014, Lindam has enhanced its offering of the most comprehensive range of award winning child safety gates and guards available, including pressure fit, wall fit and portable solutions.  The new Consumer LifeTime guarantee now applies to all our gate range reaffirming how confident we are about the quality of our gates.  All Lindam pressure fit gates are now fitted with pressure indicators - this extra safety feature adds reassurance to parents telling them when they have fitted the gates correctly.  Additionally, packaging has been redesigned to aid consumers shopping between pressure fit and wall-fix and calls out all the unique features that our gates carry enabling an easier buying experience.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

What's in my children's stockings this year?

Featured post


When in comes to my children, I could literally buy and buy and buy. There are so many fabulous little bits and bobs out there that make perfect stocking fillers.

I recently went a bit crazy when shopping at The Works (my new favourite shop). It's an Aladdin's cave for books and craft bits! I have been asked a few times for stocking filler ideas so I thought I'd share what I bought with you (plus a few things I'm still yet to buy).

My girls are till as mad as ever for anything Frozen related, so I couldn't resist this Frozen Super Activity Book Bundle - a snip at  just £5.99!

Image: The Works
More of a small gift than a stocking filler, but I fell in love with this Disney Frozen Fleece Blanket and Cushion Bundle, especially at that price! (£8.99).

Image: The Works

We have a reading corner that the girls love to snuggle up in, so a gorgeous cushion and fleecy blanket seemed just the thing.
I've also got quite a few jigsaw puzzles on my list - I have a couple of adult family members that love a good jigsaw and Baby Girl has just started to enjoy the fun of a jigsaw so I've got her a lovely lift-out wooden puzzle and this charming Christmas puzzle in a book (£4.99)

Image: The Works
Grown Boy is much, much harder to buy for. What do you buy your teenagers as stocking fillers? I've bought him some chocolate and shortbread (his favourites), a toiletries gift set and some books.

He is into The Hunger Games books, and I found the trilogy in The Works for just £7.99 which I thought was such a bargain!

Image The Works

Finally, I've bought some stationery. Being children of mine, they were never going to escape without some form stationery addiction so this always goes down well. I've got some funky notes books and The Works have some really cool pens and pencils. That remind me, I need to grab one of the Frozen colouring pencil sets to go with Little One's colouring pack!

What is in your children's stockings this year?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Parragon Book Buddies: Gold Stars Factivity: Journey Around And Inside Your Amazing Body



Little One wants to be a doctor when she grows up *proud face*, so it was no surprise that she absolutely loved this fantastic book by Parragon Books: Gold Stars factivity: Journey Around And Inside Your Amazing Body.


She loves that is isn't just packed with fascinating facts about the human body, but there's lots and lots of activities to complete too.

These sort of books bring a different approach to learning; making it fun and practical. Children gain a sense of achievement as they successfully complete puzzles and experiments.


Little One was fascinated about the hiccups facts and the tour of the brain (I may have found that quite intriguing too!)

This book is great for introducing science into your child's everyday learning and would make a brilliant stocking filler this Christmas.

Fern Britton's #Challenge57 in aid of Genesis Research Trust



I like to write about charity events as much as I can on White Lily Green and this one has really struck a chord with me.

TV presenter and author, Fern Britton is taking on a 1,000 miles cycle challenge from John O’Groats to Lands End in aid of Genesis Research Trust from 1-21 May 2015. At the age of 57, Fern has decided to cycle for 21 days to raise funds for research into miscarriage. 

Devastatingly, one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage and many couples who suffer the agony of miscarriage go on to have further miscarriages. Recurrent miscarriage affects 1-2% of couples in the UK. This can lead to physical trauma and psychological stress and a variety of complications in a subsequent ongoing pregnancy, including preterm delivery and low birth weight.



Please join Fern on her once-in-a-lifetime trip across the nation as she raises vital funds for an incredible charity. You can sign up too!! Visit fernbrittonchallenge57.com for more information.

Alternatively, you can show your support by donating to the cause here: http://fernbrittonchallenge57.com/donate-to-challenge57/.

Tweet your support using #Challenge57

Let's help end miscarriage heartache.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Degustabox November: My ultimate cheese toastie PLUS KETTLE Chip Topped Chicken Fajita #Recipe



This months Degustabox was lovely and comforting, just what we needed after a week of freezing cold weather and sore throats. It almost had a festive feel about it, with lots of treats and winter warmers.

I had an extra treat in my box this month -  Baru chocolates as a thank you for being with Degustabox for a year (how amazing is that!? A year.... wow!) Anyway, if you have the opportunity to buy Baru Marshmallows, DO! They are incredible! 

What else was in the box?

Holy Cow curry sauces (x2) - £1.69 each.
Authentic Holy Cow Indian curries are made from all natural ingredients and this shows. The sauces were delicious and you could taste the quality in every mouthful. We will certainly be buying these again. The gluten-free sauces are suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs.

Cool Dawn Recovery drinks (x2) - £1.49 each.
These are new to us and although we enjoyed them, they are possibly not to everyone's palate. They are herbal detox drinks that are perfect for the party season as they help to prevent and cure hangovers. They present a complex and unique combination of citrus and liquorice flavours without stimulant ingredients and is not carbonated. Cool Dawn recommend one cold and shaken can at the end of the night and one the next morning if needed.

Lindt My Melting Moment (x5) - 65p each.
We all adore Lindt chocolate and these gorgeous snowflakes are no exception. Lovingly crafted by the Lindt master chocolatiers, they help you to melt away in a moment of sheer bliss.Each snowflake shape is filled with smooth and indulgent Lindor milk chocolate. Heavenly!

PIP Organic drinks (x2) - £1.50 each.
Hubby is really into trying different soft drinks at the moment, so these really appealed to him. PIP Organic is a family run, London based business that produces an award-winning range of pure organic juices and smoothies. Following environmentally sustainable principles and made from 100% organic fruit, these refreshing drinks are free from concentrate and contain no added sugars, water, preservatives or additives. YUM!!

Montano Italian Cider - £2.79.
This fabulous cider is crafted only from the apples grown in the foothills of the Trentino region of Northern Italy. Hubby absolutely loved it!

Sample present - Drink Me Chai

NEW Branston Chutney - £1.50.
This is my favourite product from the box as it's so versatile (see the recipe below). We received the Mediterranean Tomato variety, and Oh My Goodness - it's GOOD!!! Great with meats, cheese and crackers and it makes a stunning ingredient in your cooking too.

Kent's Kitchen Flavour Shots - £1.85.
Another favourite of mine - they help you to create a top-notch, flavour-packed meal in no time at all. The clever gel shots coats the meat, fish or veg whilst cooking to add a delcious taste that will enhance your meals. We had the Fajita variety and LOVED it! I can't wait to try one of the other flavours in the range!

KETTLE Chips - £2.19 
Due to popular demand, KETTLE Chips have reintroduced two of its most loved limited edition flavours; Salsa and Mesquite and Stilton & Port. We had tried the Stilton ones last year and LOVED them, however, we hadn't tried the Salsa chips so we were delighted to find these in our box. This flavour was one of the brands original seasonings back in 1988, so they are a fab blast from the past!


My ultimate Cheese Toastie
OK, so you could call it a panini, but this is real comfort food, so I call it my ultimate cheese toastie.

Ingredients
  • 2 slices of your favourite bread - ciabatta is particularly good if you want to be more 'authentic'.
  • A good cheese - we used the new Cathedral city with caramelised onion.
  • A generous slathering of Branston's Mediterranean Tomato Chutney 
  • A scattering of peppery babyleaf rocket (or basil leaves or baby spinach...all work well)
Grill in a panini press, George Foreman type grill or place in a hot pan until the bread is beautifully golden and the cheese is molten and gooey.

ENJOY!

Kettle Chip Topped Chicken Fajita
(Serves 4 hungry people or up to 8 as a light meal/snack)

This was one of those throw-it-all-together-and-hope-for-the-best kind of meals that myself and the children enjoy creating. It was SO GOOD that I had to share it with you all. The chutney gives the fajitas a mouth-watering sweetness, whilst the KETTLE CHIPS provide crunch and heat as the Salsa chips have a bit of a kick to them.


Ingredients
  • 400g chicken breast, cut into strips
  • Half a red pepper, sliced
  • Half a green pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 x Kent's Kitchen Flavour Shots ( Fajita variety)
  • 8 Tortilla wraps
  • About 3 tbsp pf Branston's Mediterranean Tomato Chutney
  • A generous handful of crushed KETTLE CHIPS Salsa and Mesquite flavour.
  • Handful of grated cheese.
Method
  • Cook the chicken, peppers and onion as per the Kent's Kitchen Flavour Shots packet instructions. Set aside.
  •  Lightly oil a large roasting tin.
  • Fill each tortilla with an eighth of the chicken mixture.
  • Roll up and tuck in the ends.
  • Place into the roasting tin.
  • One all 8 fajitas have been made, top each one with about a teaspoon worth of tomato chutney (You can use more or less to suit your taste.)
  • Top with a scattering of crushed KETTLE CHIPS and then sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake at 200C for about 10 minutes or until warmed through. The cheese will have melted, the chutney will have started to become sticky and the chips, browned.
  • Serve with Guacamole and a drizzle of sour cream.
 If you would like to give Degustabox a try, you can save £3 off your first box buy using the following code: BCGP0

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