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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Half Price Bargains from TalkTalk Mobile

TalkTalk Mobile customers can take advantage of some excellent savings this month, perfect for those with children heading off to college or university.  Until September 30th customers can get half price bargains from some of the best brands including Samsung, Sony and LG.  TalkTalk are making it so much easier and more affordable to stay in touch, allowing parents to kit out their kids while cutting their costs.

TalkTalk customers can get the Samsung Galaxy Fame from just £3.75 and the brand new Nokia 630 from just £5 a month. Customers can also get half price tablet and mobile bundles, ideal for back to school starting from just £7.50 a month.  These bargains are on offer until the end of the month, so be quick if you want the biggest brands at the lowest prices.

TalkTalk Mobile give their customers a heap of benefits, so you can be confident that you are saving money without compromising on service.  


TalkTalk Mobile


Find out more at : http://mobile.talktalk.co.uk


Proud TalkTalk Family Blogger

The Furchester Hotel - Open for Business

Coming to CBeebies at the end of this month is the exciting new series for children aged 3-6 years, The Furchester Hotel.  Starring Elmo and the Cookie Monster along with the Furchester family and a host of other lovable characters, the series is made in partnership with Sesame Workshop.

CBeebies, Sesame Workshop


Back in May, we visited CBeebies Studios in Salford to find out about more about the show and to watch the filming of an episode of The Furchester Hotel.  

Sesame Street, Furchester Hotel


The show is set in The Furchester Hotel where a family of close-knit, chaotic monsters welcome their guests and bend over backwards to meet their every need.  Mum Funella, dad Fergus and their daughter Phoebe work alongside cousin Elmo, waiter and room service guy the Cookie Monster and the furry bell monster, Isabelle to ensure everything runs smoothly.  

But they do run into problems!  For example how do you disguise a pony who checks in for a quiet break? Where is the perfect place to put a very fussy plant? What happens when Super Rock appears and needs a new super hero cape? How can they stop Cookie Monster from eating the giant cookie guest Mr. Crumb? 

The Furchester family approach every problem with determination and resolve in order to keep their guests happy and devise a solution for every situation. Even when they think they have exhausted all the possibilities, their perseverance prevails because their family motto is, “A Furchester never gives up!”

CBeebies, Furchester Hotel, Sesame Street


We were able to watch an unfinished episode that featured some singing vegetables!  Freddy loved it and thought the characters were adorable and fun.  Then we went to see the show being filmed.  Seeing the puppeteers in action in the beautifully crafted sets was really incredible.

The very best part of the day was when the children got to meet the characters!  They swept in to the room and chatted, hugged and played with us all.  It was magical!

Furchester Hotel


The puppeteers are real artistes who breathe life into the array of fantastic puppets, giving them all a personality and a voice.  Hearing the familiar sound of the Cookie Monster and Elmo as they chatted to Kizzy and Freddy left me a little starstruck!!

Furchester Hotel, Sesame Street


We had a great day at the CBeebies studios and got a real insight into The Furchester Hotel.  I love the message of inclusivity and optimism, the uplifting use of fun-filled music and the colourful characters and elaborate sets. We will definitely be looking out for it when it appears on our screens on September 26th at 5pm.


The Furchester Hotel, Sesame Street

Monday, 15 September 2014

Trackside Fun with Bigjigs #PlayPatrol

We are huge fans of the Bigjigs road and railway sets.  The beautifully crafted wooden pieces are the tools to unleash a child's imagination as they create their own miniature world complete with tracks, roads and vehicles.  Like tiny town planners, children can make a fully functional transport network, add houses, shops, zebra crossings, bridges, roundabouts and even recycling plants!

Freddy received a Bigjigs Trackside Accessory Set to test out for his latest Play Patrol mission.  The set contains 34 wooden pieces such as workers, shoppers, farm animals, vehicles, houses and trees.  It makes the perfect addition to his road and railway sets, as he can use the figures and vehicles as props for adding an extra element of story telling to his games.  The fireman, the policeman, the nurse and the builder become the everyday heroes in Freddy's little world, while the cars, ambulance, fire engine and police vehicle whizz around the roads on their travels.  An imaginative story unravels as he explores the day to day adventures in his Bigjigs town.

Bigjigs, railway


Freddy used the accessory set alongside his figure of eight road set.  The extra people, buildings and vehicles added to the play value, allowing Freddy to make an elaborate set up.  He enjoyed making up a story involving a pig that got run over by a car that came flying over the bridge (typical Freddy). The policeman, the nurse and the fireman came to the rescue so it all ended well!!

train track, Bigjigs


The wooden accessories develop a child's dexterity and coordination and spark creativity and imagination through play.  The figures and vehicles are also great tools for counting, matching, comparing and for encouraging conversation.  A child's vocabulary can be enhanced by discussing the various animals, the jobs done by the characters, the shops and the types of vehicles.  There is so much to look at and talk about in the busy town set up.

Bigjigs, wooden toys


Freddy's verdict on his new toy was that it was "awesome!"  He loved being able to extend his play and enjoyed arranging everything exactly how it wanted it.  The scope for imaginative play was increased by having the extra accessories to use in his games.  He made a tower block out of the individual shops.  He used the people as skittles, knocking them down with his cars! He made some of his characters into superheroes flying over his town and he raced the cars against each other.  He had so much fun!

The Bigjigs Trackside Accessory Set is available on the Bigjigs website for £20.49 and is compatible with all road and rail sets from Bigjigs and other major wooden railway brands.  It's a great add on set to engage young minds for hours of imaginative play.

wooden toys, Bigjigs



Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Benefits of Chia Seeds

Having been vegetarian for 14 years, we have enjoyed discovering many new and interesting whole foods along the way.  One of our latest discoveries is Chia Seeds, a small tasteless seed that can be sprinkled onto cereals or yogurt, used in salads, added to smoothies and shakes, used in porridge or baked into cookies, muffins or bread. I throw a spoonful into many meals I cook to give them a nutritional boost.

One tablespoon of chia provides 100% of your Omega 3 requirement, provides fibre for healthy digestion and also gives a source of sustained energy, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and protein. They are nutrient dense and non-allergenic. The seeds swell up when in contact with a liquid so will swell in your stomach, keeping you feeling fuller for longer (great when you are trying to cut down on calories).  It's no surprise that they have been hailed as a superfood.

The Chia Co have recognised the benefits of incorporating chia seeds into the diets of children to give them a healthy start to the day, especially now with start of the new school year.  By giving kids  a healthy, nutrient packed breakfast they will be less likely to snack on 'junk' food.  This will help tackle the issues of childhood obesity and reduce the consumption of refined sugars. Adding chia seeds to children's diet is a simple way to give them a real nutritional boost. Even if you have a child with a small appetite, the seeds will provide a rich dose of essential nutrients in just one spoonful. They are a pure and 'clean' food, which is completely natural and free from the nasties associated with processed foods.

To encourage children to eat chia seeds, The Chia Co have come up with some dairy free, vegan breakfast products, Chia Pods and Oats + Chia, which are a great way to get kids to enjoy a healthy start to the day. I received some samples to try.

the chia co, chia seeds


Chia Pods are ready to eat pots of chia seeds and coconut milk naturally flavoured with fruit; banana, mango or blueberry, or with vanilla bean and coconut sugar.  They are conveniently packaged in individual pots with a spoon in the lid, so they can be enjoyed on the go or popped in a lunchbox. They are mild tasting and naturally sweetened, and have the consistency of a thick jelly and resemble tapioca pudding in appearance.  There is a slightly crunchy texture, as you eat the Chia Pods, from the seeds. Chia Pods are quite an unusual product in both texture and appearance, and in such may take some getting used to.  But the wholesome ingredients and convenience makes them well worth a try.  Each pot contains 100% of your daily intake of Omega 3 and 25% of your fibre.

the chia co, chia seeds


Oats + Chia are individual single serve sachets of wholegrain oats, sun-ripened chia, real fruit and coconut oil.  You just add 120 ml of hot water to make a hearty, fruity porridge.  It comes in Banana and Mango, Mixed Berry and Apple Spice flavours.  

chia seeds, porridge


The porridge is thick with a lovely texture and the fruit bits add a juicy burst of flavour.  Perfect as the weather starts to change, giving a great, wholesome and nutrient packed start to the day.  I loved the convenience of being able to make such a nutritious porridge in super quick time and the fruity flavours were a big hit.

the chia co, chia seeds, wholefood


Chia Seeds make you feel better on the inside, giving you more energy and providing lots of your daily intake of nutrients.  Eating one of The Chia Co breakfast products or sprinkling the seeds onto or into your own dishes, gives your family's diet a real boost. 

Chia Pods are £2.59 each and are available from selected Tesco and Costco stores. Oats + Chia are £5.00 for a five pack and are available from Ocado.  150g packs of white or black Chia Seeds are £4.79 each from selected Tesco and Costco stores.



Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Banana and Date Loaf Recipe

Banana and Date Loaf  is a great recipe for using up over ripe bananas.   So when we were left with a fruit bowl full of brown spotty bananas, it was the perfect choice!  The fruit make the cake so moist and the dates give an indulgent almost fudge-like flavour. A sprinkle of demerara sugar on top gives a crunchy sweet crust that is delicious.

cake, recipe


Ingredients

100g Kerrygold* block butter cut into cubes
225g self raising flour
75g golden caster sugar
125g stoned chopped Medjool dates
2 ripe bananas mashed
2 free range eggs
2 tblspn maple syrup
1 tblspn demerara sugar


cake recipe

Method

Line a 2lb loaf tin with a greaseproof paper liner.
Rub butter and flour together.
Stir in caster sugar, dates, banana, beaten eggs and maple syrup to make a soft batter.
Spoon into tin.
Sprinkle demerara sugar over the top.
Cook in a pre-heated oven at GM3 for 1 hour.





*Kerrygold is having an exciting makeover for 8 weeks from October 1st, as Orla Kiely has redesigned the packaging giving it an iconic new look.  Inspired by the colour palette of a lush Irish meadow, the use of faun, green and cream complements Kerrygold's iconic green and gold signature colours.

In addition, Kerrygold is offering the chance to win Orla Kiely kitchen items every week as part of an on pack promotion running across the limited edition packs. These prizes include cake stands, butter dishes and cake tins which can be won by visiting the Kerrygold UK Facebook page (facebook.com/KerrygoldUK).



We received a voucher for a pack of Kerrygold butter to use in this recipe.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Nivea - the nation's preferred wipes brand

Nivea Pure and Natural Facial Cleansing Wipes - UK's Preferred Wipes Brand

Nivea have been voted the nation's preferred brand of wipes, with a range that covers all skin types. You can use wipes as part of your night time routine or for a quick clean-up fix when on the go, as they are so versatile and convenient.

We recieved a pack of their Pure & Natural Facial Cleansing Wipes, which contain Bio Argan Oil and Aloe Vera.  They cleanse, tone and hydrate, and remove make-up including mascara.  They are made from 95% of ingredients from natural origin and are free from parabens, mineral oils, alcohol, silicone and colourants. The pack contains 25 wipes, which are biodegradable.

They feel gentle on the skin and do their job well, removing make-up and leaving the skin feeling soft and clean.  They are really convenient and great for travelling.

wipes, facial wipes


The full range includes:

NIVEA® Daily Essentials Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes

NIVEA® Daily Essentials Refreshing Facial Cleansing Wipes

NIVEA® Pure & Natural Facial Cleansing Wipes

NIVEA® Daily Essentials Sensitive Facial Cleansing Wipes

Each pack retails at around £3.00 and are available from Boots, independent chemists or online at shop.nivea.co.uk.




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