Thursday, 26 March 2015

NEW Low Sugar Oat Cheerios

NEW Low Sugar Oat Cheerios, have just 1.4g of sugar per serving, are rich in fibre and are made with 98% wholegrain. They give families the opportunity to maintain the balance between a great tasting breakfast and a healthier way to start the day.

Nestle, cereals

Freddy is a big fan of Cheerios so he was our first test subject.  I didn't tell him they were new, and just gave him a bowlful in his favourite bowl just like I always do.  Immediately he looked suspicious and asked why were they all white!  Then he tried a few spoonfuls and said that they weren't quite as tasty as his usual three colour Cheerios, but they were OK.  We compromised by adding a handful of regular Cheerios to the bowl, and he yummied them all up.

breakfast, cereals

For me, this is a success story.  Freddy is the boy who hates change and likes exactly what he likes. I happily adopt compromises that will mean he is still getting all the taste and crunch, but with less sugar in half of what he consumed. I will never make mealtimes a battlefield, and when a happy compromise can be reached, I think it moves things forward for the better with everyone still smiling. The wholegrain goodness and lower sugar recipe provides a good start to the day for my little boy.

Ian, on the other hand, always complains about the sweetness of cereals, so the Low Sugar Oat Cheerios were perfect for him.  As oats are such a superfood, packed with slow release energy, these cereals make a great start to the day.  They are quick and convenient and they retain the element of fun with their tasty 'O' format.

It is good that Nestle are responding to the new guidelines on sugar, allowing us all to continue enjoying our favourite cereals in a healthier way.

Find Nestle cereals in the cereal aisle of supermarkets.

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Importance of Vitamin D to Young People

My eldest daughter has recently suffered from some frightening episodes of extreme heart palpitations.  At first she thought it could be panic attacks, but as she is not an anxious person, this seemed unlikely. The GP sent her for a barage of tests including 24 hour heart monitoring and extensive blood tests. The blood test results showed that she was extremely deficient in vitamin D and a heart arrhythmia was diagnosed.

Some recent research suggests that vitamin D deficiency is a factor in cardiovascular disease and many young adults, because of their lifestyles are becoming at risk of the deficiency and its associated health risks. Thankfully, after a strong dose of Vitamin D supplements over the course of a few months, my daughter's condition was reversed with no lasting side effects, and she is now back to full health. It was a very scary time for us all and I'm so glad that no long term damage has been done.

Her condition made me very aware of the need for the correct RDA of vitamins and minerals in our diets. I do a lot of research to make sure that my family have nutritious and well balanced meals. Being vegetarian makes me work harder to provide all the necessary food groups and we, on a whole, eat extremely well. But, after my eldest daughter's experience, I want to feel completely confident that my younger children are getting all the nutrients they need, especially when it comes to vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is found in fortified cereals, dairy products and milk alternatives, eggs and mushrooms (these are just the vegetarian sources). It is also made in the body through exposure to the sun, making it dubbed 'the sunshine vitamin'.

Children used to play out in the sunshine all day long when I was a child, but nowadays, children spend much more time in the home. If they do go outside, we sensibly and quite rightly slather sunblock over them to protect their skin from the harmful UV rays, but in doing so, we also prevent them from producing vitamin D in their bodies. Facial make-up now comes with its own SPF so adults are also minimising their vitamin D production by being sun safe.  It is a catch 22 situation! The British weather allows vitamin D production from April through to September, meaning during the other months when we may go sun cream free, we simply don't get enough sunlight anyway.

Vitamin D is essential for the growth of strong bones and teeth. Under 5's are the group that are at most risk of vitamin D insufficiency with the average child getting just 27% of their RDA.  This can lead to health issues including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and even rickets.

One way to ensure that children get the right daily dose of vitamin D is through giving them an age appropriate supplement. Multi-vitamins often contain all the necessary vitamins a child needs or you can use a specific vitamin D product according to your child's age, such as KID_D_VIT from Health Plus, which contains 400iu of vitamin D3 in each daily dose.

vitamin d deficiency, vitamin d in kids

  • Vitamin D is crucial for the proper absorption of Calcium and Potassium.
  • Aids the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
  • Helps to maintain proper neuro-muscular function
  • Recommended by The Chief Medical Officer and The Department of Health, for all young children upwards
  • It is suitable for children aged 5 and up.
At just £3.45 for a bottle of sixty tablets it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.  I've been sent a bottle to try and intend on giving them to Kezia and Freddy as part of their daily routine.

Managing your money with Nutmeg

Being an adult is a complicated business where we have to face up to grown up responsibilities such as having to do self-assessments for the Inland Revenue, trying to find the best broadband provider whilst living in a rural area, finding the best mortgage for our personal situation and negotiating the best deal on our car insurance. Another area that we have to tackle is how to best manage our finances.  Let's face facts: life is expensive. These days being a parent comes with a massive financial burden. It has been estimated that it can cost a staggering  £227,266 to raise a child to adulthood (according to the Centre of Economic and Business Research) making it vitally important that we make the most of our savings. Managing money can be a minefield, which is why we need to make sure we do our research before making any long term decisions. offers a financial solution to investors offering a simple way to manage savings online. It provides a effective way to create a professional portfolio that can help people make the most of their savings.

Nutmeg is an investment company that has reinvented the wealth management industry, with an aim of making it accessible to everyone, giving complete transparency and peace of mind. With a team of talented, dedicated individuals, they aim to create an intuitive service that is an example of how investing should be. Nutmeg can help you set up your portfolio in under 10 minutes; you can create as many funds as you like and you can top up, transfer or withdraw whenever you like. They regularly rebalance your portfolio, selecting from a diverse, global range of assets, to ensure you have the best chance of staying on track.

To set up a professional portfolio, all you have to do is tell Nutmeg’s team about your financial situation, how much you want to invest, your time frame and your attitude to risk. With this information, Nutmeg build and manage a portfolio for you, diversifying your investments. Their experienced investment team monitors your portfolio, adjusting the asset allocation and rebalancing every month.  In this way, they aim to produce the best return, at low cost, for the risk level you choose.

finances, savings, investments

You can start with as little as £1,000 per fund (plus minimum monthly contributions of £50 for portfolios below £5,000) and set up as many funds as you like — whether you are investing for your children's university fees, saving for a deposit on a new home or just saving for a rainy day— each with their own time frames and risks. You can open a Nutmeg ISA, start a Nutmeg personal pension (min investment £5,000) and transfer your ISAs and personal pension pots from other providers, consolidating your investments to suit your financial needs.

You have access to an online, jargon-free overview of your investments whenever you like, so you’ll always know exactly how they’re performing and how much you’re paying.  You can then sit back and relax while the investment experts constantly monitor and rebalance your portfolio to keep it on track with your goals.

The cost of choosing Nutmeg to manage your investments is similar to the cost of doing it yourself, and avoids many of the fees charged by primary alternatives, making it a good value service.
Nutmeg charges a simple fee of between 0.3 and 1.0%, which is based on the value of your investment, which gives you:

Professional discretionary investment management
Free withdrawals on a weekly schedule
24/7 access to an online account
Regular rebalancing to keep your funds on track
Live chat, phone, and email support

As with all investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your portfolio with Nutmeg can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.  This post has been written in association with Nutmeg.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The End of the World is Nigh - What Fred Said

Mishearing grown-up conversations can definitely have its consequences.

This morning Freddy nervously asked me what was going to happen after the Zombie Apocalypse on Friday morning.  I had to explain that there was going to be an ECLIPSE not an APOCALYPSE!!  I think he was actually a little disappointed.

Unless of course he knows something we don't!

what Fred said
The Zombies are Coming

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Gorgeous Colouring and Activity Books from Buster Books

If you are looking for a healthier, longer lasting and all together more thoughtful gift idea for the children this Easter, Buster Books has an absolutely gorgeous range of art and activity books for all ages.  Inspiring creativity, unleashing artistic talents and occupying children's time in a productive way, seems to me a much nicer way of celebrating Easter than by overindulging in chocolate eggs! They are also perfect for keeping kids occupied during school holidays or when April showers lead to wet weekends.

I have received a selection of new titles coming soon from Buster Books and each one is stunning.  I love Buster Books, as they take colouring, drawing and stickering to a new level of gorgeousness. With a range of different styles and themes, they have a title that will appeal to everyone, young and old.  The quality of the paper and of the designs is superior to most colouring books found on the market. Children can create masterpieces that can be framed and treasured or have fun completing the educational activities.

The Amazing Creative Colouring Book

Featuring complex, geometric designs, this book is perfect for building creative imaginations. Children can lose themselves in the patterns, which include retro prints, repeating kaleidoscopic motifs and designs taken from nature.  Such intricate colouring in can be very therapeutic and relaxing for both children and adults.

Publication date: 2/4/2015
Price: £5.00

Buster Books

The Dinosaur Colouring Book

Featuring fun facts and cartoon style pictures, this is a must for dinosaur fans.  There are illustrations of monster fish and giant insects alongside the Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor and Stegosaurus.  The phonetic pronunciation of the tricky names are included so children can learn the names of the dinosaurs too.

Publication Date: 16/4/2015
Price: £5.00

Buster Books

The Fashion Through Time Colouring Book

For fashion lovers, or those with an interest in the history of clothes, this book is a look back at the fashions through the ages from the Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, right up through the roaring 20's, the swinging 60's to the present date.  The intricate pictures are detailed giving a glimpse into the lives of people throughout history and around the world, focusing on what they wore and the accessories they had. It's a lovely book for older children and is also educational, inspiring an interest in fashion and design.

Publication Date: 16/4/2015
Price: £5.00

buster Books

The Pirate Colouring Book

Ahoy me hearties!  Grab your crayons or pencils and dive right into the seven seas with this colouring book that is bursting with pirates, treasure maps, shipwrecks and hidden treasure.  The detailed, cartoon style pictures are perfect for little pirates to enjoy as they follow the adventures of the band of swashbuckling pirates. There is a lot of funny detail hidden within the pages and each spread tells a story, so it is a great prompt to get little ones talking and thinking creatively.

Publication Date: 19/3/2015
Price: £5.00

Buster Books,

The Puzzle Activity Book

There are hours of fun to be had within the pages of this activity book!  There are mazes, objects to find, dot to dots, spot the differences and puzzles to solve.  The illustrations are detailed, fun and kid friendly.  Children can practice their penmanship and their mathematical skills as they solve the puzzles by matching shapes, counting and following mazes.  It's lots of fun and excellently presented to keep little ones happily entertained.  It's a good way to get reluctant readers and writers engaged as they have to read instructions and use their pen to complete tasks.  This is perfect for my 5 year old Freddy, challenging him in a fun way.

Publication Date: 9/4/2015
Price: £5.00

Buster Books

The Original Sticker By Numbers Book - Animals

By matching coloured stickers to their numbers, children can complete the beautifully illustrated animal pictures within the pages of this book.  From tropical birds to underwater scenes, the mosaic effect creates some lovely works of art.  The white spaces are numbered to correspond to a certain colour of sticker, making it simple to do.  There are over 3500 stickers, so even when the pictures are completed there will still be some stickers left for a bit of freestyle designing of your own.  The finished pictures are all so colourful and detailed, children will get a real sense of achievement through this activity.

Price: £6.99

Buster Books

The Tracing Paper Colouring Book

This is a stunning colouring book with an artistic twist. In addition to the colouring pages, it also contains 20 tracing paper pages, which can be used to create stunning stained glass effect designs. Some of the tracing paper comes ready printed with simple designs that can be completed by tracing patterns from the book or adding your own embellishments. The rest of the tracing paper is blank so children can come up with their own complete designs, or trace and colour favourite images from the book.  The tracing paper is very thick and high quality, and it is perforated for ease of removal. Once done, the tracing paper pictures can be stuck on a window pane to give a stained glass effect.

Publication date: 16/4/2015
Price: £9.99

Buster Books

You can visit to see their entire range.  You can also follow @BusterBooks on Twitter and Instagram and find them over on Facebook too.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Fairytale - A True Story

The infamous, true story of the Cottingley fairies inspired a media circus back in 1917. Cousins Elsie and Frances claimed to have discovered fairies living in a meadow and took photographs showing the winged creatures as they played with them. The girls' claims catapult the family into fame as the imagination of the public is well and truly captured by the images. The family face a barrage of scrutiny from sceptical journalists and curious members of the public, and celebrities such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini become involved in the magical mystery.

This 1997 film is loosely based on the true life story and boasts a star studded cast including Peter O'Toole, Harvey Keitel, Paul McGann and Bill Nighy.

film review, DVD

The issue of whether the photos are real or faked, challenges the beliefs of all involved. Some want to believe with all their hearts, others stringently attempt to disprove their authenticity, steadfastly refusing to publicly acknowledge the existence of fairies.

In the aftermath of World War I, both girls have suffered personal tragedies in their lives, but their imagination, innocence and sense of wonder leads them into this incredible journey.  The time is right for the world to want to believe in magic and to recapture its innocence.

 In the real life version of events, the photos are renounced as fakes, but the film is more open minded to the fairies' existence and to life's mysteries. This allows a real sense of wonder and magic to be brought into the storytelling.

This film is beautifully shot and the gentle story and excellent acting go together to produce an enchanting family movie. It also makes the viewer think about whether perhaps there is more to the world than meets the eye, and makes us question to what extent our cynicism prevent us from finding out about it. As grown-ups we lose our ability to truly believe. This film reminds us that perhaps we should remember how to make the impossible possible again.

This lovely film is available on DVD on March 23rd 2015 courtesy of Icon Film Distribution, rated certificate U.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Breakfast in Bed for Mum this Mother's Day

If you are planning on treating your mum to a well deserved breakfast in bed this Mother's Day, then Roberts Bakery has some advice on making the perfect boiled egg, served with soft and fluffy toasted soldiers. A soft boiled egg with a dippy yolk and perfectly cut toasted soldiers with butter is such a classic breakfast choice.  

soft boiled egg

Roberts Bakery sent us a loaf of their Soft and Fluffy white bread along with some breakfast goodies so we could have a trial run for making our own breakfast in bed.  Freshly made toast in a rack, a deliciously soft boiled free range egg and a cup of tea (black no sugar for me!) would make a great start to the day.  It definitely makes a change to my usual breakfast choice, which is a green kale and spinach smoothie!

soft boiled egg, toast

You can make a breakfast tray more inviting by popping on a vase containing a single bloom and don't forget to bring mum her Mother's Day cards and gifts so she can open them in bed.  Sunday promises to bring a relaxing lie-in for many lucky mums this weekend - I just hope I'm going to be one of them!

What better way of showing your mum how much you care this Sunday!


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