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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The cool classic Mr Frosty is back!

I remember as a young child really wanting a Mr Frosty so badly. I dreamed of making crushed ice drinks to enjoy on a summer's day, but sadly the closest I got was an ice cube in my glass of lemon squash. However, the original Mr Frosty, the iconic must-have toy of my youth, is back and is better than ever and Freddy has received one to try out. He was pretty excited to make his own icy treats, especially knowing just how much his mum had always wanted one.

The Mr Frosty Crunchy Ice Maker from Flair comes with everything you need to make crunchy ice, fruity ice shapes and ice lollies - just add the ice, juice and squash. The Mr Frosty snowman itself has been revamped with a fresh new look and redesigned to make it easier for children to use. They simply need to add some ice under his hat and turn the handle on his back to crush it. The churned ice ends up in a drawer in his tummy, ready to be served up, flavoured and enjoyed. The lolly moulds and ice cube trays make yummy frozen shapes using your favourite juice or drink. You can even use the flavoured cubes inside Mr Frosty to make some ready flavoured  fruity, icy slush.

Mr Frosty Crunchy Ice Maker review


It's fun to get creative with Mr Frosty. Freddy loves slushies and ice lollies and this gave him the chance to create his own unique flavours using fruit juices and squirty squash. There is no need to use any unhealthy, additive ridden syrups, you can make your creations using the natural or sugar free options that your family already enjoys. The set comes with a squeezy penguin for squirting flavourings over the crushed ice.

One tip we found very useful when using Mr Frosty was to not use ice straight from the freezer as it can be too hard and to use small sized cubes. Leaving the ice at room temperature for a little while made it much easier to crush, without affecting the end result. Freddy was able to turn the handle himself quite easily, which was good. It's great to see a classic toy reinvented for a new generation of children to enjoy.

At £19.99, Mr Frosty is a good value creative toy for children. It comes with lots of additional bits including the squeezy penguin juice pourer, two sundae bowls, two spoons, two ice cube trays and a mould to make three lollies. An instruction sheet gives step by step methods for making fruit shapes, crushed ice and ice lollies plus hints and advice on using Mr Frosty.

I am very impressed with the new Mr Frosty and loved watching Freddy have so much fun making and eating his icy treats. He told me that I can share his Mr Frosty, so my childhood dreams have at last come true. It really will be wonderful in the summer months, giving Freddy the freedom to create his own slushy, iced drinks whenever he wants. The novelty of Mr Frosty will make sure he is getting plenty to drink.

Find out more about Flair’s range of creative products for children here www.coolcreateclub.co.uk. You can buy Mr Frosty at Smyth's and from The Entertainer. Look out for a Mr Frosty ice cream maker coming later this year for some more cool fun.


                            

Review Round Up - Persil Pouches, Cheerios Oat Crisp, Cadbury's Dairy Milk Medley

New Better Value Persil Pouches

The Persil brand very much believes that 'Dirt is Good' and encourages parents to let their children get outdoors to enjoy messy play, with the promise that Persil will wash away all the dirt from their grubby clothes. The Persil Mono Bio-Capsules are tough on stains, making them great for keeping the kids outdoor clothing clean. Each convenient, fuss free capsule contains a single dose of detergent to make light work of laundry, tackling the muddiest of messes.

Persil washing capsules, laundry


Persil is now even better value as it has changed its mono washing capsule packaging from boxes to pouches (using 70% less plastic) with the new packs containing two extra washes for the same price. So this is good news for the environment and for our pockets. The pouches take up less cupboard space too (just be sure to keep them out of reach of the kids).

With two free washes now included in every 12 and 22 capsule pack, there is no excuse not to get outside with the little ones and indulge in some messy family fun!

Persil Mono Capsules 20 + 2 washes pack is £8.32 RRP.

laundry


Cheerios Oat Crisp and Cinnamon Oat Crisp

Cheerios Oat Crisp is a brand new cereal that combines light, crispy Cheerios with crunchy flakes of oat. Cheerios Cinnamon Oat Crisp is flavoured with the delicious spice for a sweeter taste. Each bowlful contains a mix of textures and has all the goodness of wholegrain, is high and fibre and low in fat for a nutritious start to the day.



Cheerios Oat Crisp is a natural source of beta-glucan, which can help reduce cholesterol. One bowl contains one third of your recommended daily intake of 3g, needed to obtain the beneficial cholesterol-lowering effect. This is why Heart UK has given Cheerios Oat Crisp its seal of approval.

CHEERIOS Oat Crisp® are available now at Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Waitrose for £2.49 RRP. Visit CheeriosUK on Facebook for the latest news from Cheerios.

cereal


Cadbury's Dairy Milk Medley

There is a new luxury Cadbury bar on the market, which combines Cadbury's chocolate, a medley of quality ingredients and a melt in the mouth soft, chocolaty centre. The Dairy Milk Medley comes in two varieties: the first with dark chocolate chips, crunchy biscuit and soft fudge pieces, and the second with dark chocolate chips, caramelised hazelnuts and raspberry pieces.

Cadbury's Dairy Milk Medley


The added ingredients sit on top of the soft centre, adding a variety of tastes and textures to every bite. The 93g bar is moulded with larger squares, so that a couple of pieces make the perfect amount for an indulgent treat (that comes in at just over 100 calories). The flavour combinations work really well and the visual effect is quite exciting.

Each bar is £1.49 RRP but look out for promotional offers in supermarkets where you can pick up a bar for just £1. You can follow @CadburyUK on Twitter - look out for the #FreeTheJoy hashtag.

Cadbury's Dairy Milk Medley


*I received samples of these products for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Life is a Rollercoaster - a birthday trip to Alton Towers

This weekend it was my 47th birthday and I was delighted to have my girls come down from Manchester to spend a few days at home to help me celebrate. We took a trip to Alton Towers on the Sunday, which was enjoyed by us all. The girls went on Galactica, the new ride for this year, and loved the fusion of a rollercoaster ride with space age virtual reality. Oblivion, The Smiler, Duel and Thirteen were all revisited on our first Alton Towers trip of the year.

CBeebies land


Freddy had his first big coaster experience on Thirteen, as he has now exceeded 1.2m tall. He was so brave and proudly announced that he only screamed twice! Although he is growing up fast, he still loves the rides and shows for little ones in CBeebies Land too. He's at that perfect age where everything is wonderful and exciting and there is so much to discover and learn. I love sharing all of this with him.

The weather wasn't great, but we had a lovely day together. Who needs sunshine when you've got family and love? A box of freshly made donuts doubled up as the perfect birthday cake to accompany an impromptu chorus of "Happy Birthday to You", while we warmed ourselves up in the Corner Cafe.

CBeebies land


We had a lovely weekend and for a short while we were able to put our worries to one side and just enjoy living in the moment. Sadly though, life has a way of knocking you back down to reality with a bump, and on Monday it did just that.

Despite our attempt at being optimistic, some bad news was confirmed. But as usual, I scraped myself off the floor and popped my brave face back on. As a mum, you need to stay strong for everyone and that is exactly what I intend to do. I will protect my family with every breath in my body. But with the bad news, also came knowledge. Knowledge is empowering and gives us an opportunity to name our demons and face them full on. Knowing what you are up against helps you to fight back. So we are now forearmed and along with the strength and love we have as a family, plus the support of dear friends and loved ones, we are ready to ride this rollercoaster of life together. Powering through the ups and downs, taking pleasure from the thrills and taking comfort in the knowledge that the lows are always temporary.



Monday, 25 April 2016

Geronimo Festival - food for vegetarian families

We're really excited to be attending Geronimo Festival at Tatton Park on May 29th! As a family of vegetarians, attending events can sometimes pose a problem when it comes to eating. All too often vegetarians and vegans aren't catered for, but I'm pleased to say Geronimo has got it covered.

Returning to Tatton Park over the weekend of 29th – 30th May and debuting at Harewood House from 1st – 2nd May, the Geronimo Festival features a great range of food sellers to suit every taste.

Duke’s Pizzas are made on site straight out of a 1972 Dodge Tradesman – and cooked to perfection in a traditional wood fired oven in under 2 minutes.

Poffertjesking is an authentic Dutch company who bake Dutch mini pancakes, Belgian waffles and crazy milkshakes. With toppings including Oreo, Cadbury fudge, Nutella and the classic lemon and sugar, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Nourish aims to provide both adults and children with a nutritious alternative to traditional fast food. With meals made fresh every day from locally sourced ingredients, Nourish’s menu lists every ingredient included in each dish, and no salt or sugar is added to any of their food. Nourish will be serving food from their brand new children’s menu at Geronimo, including  sweet potato mash with homemade chipotle beans and mozzarella, wholewheat flatbreads, fresh fruit smoothies and more.

Mezani Grill will be offering something a little different – bringing a taste of Kenyan street food to Geronimo.  This includes a lentil curry with biryani rice.

Castaway Kitchen will be serving the best in Mediterranean street food – with flatbreads filled with a range of vegetarian and vegan delights combined with a salad of tomatoes, red onion, lettuce and Tzatziki, all locally sourced.

Sno Fro is the home of authentic Hawaiian shave ice – perfect for sunny afternoons. Unlike a slushie, Sno Fro is made of finely shaved ice with an exotic choice of flavours and collected in a pretty flower cup.

Smoothie Mania will be offering a wide range of juices and smoothies with no added sugar, no syrups and 100% fruit.  Gluten free and diary free, all smoothies are made in front of you, great for your five a day.

 Not having to worry about what we're going to eat, means we'll have more time for quality family fun as we share in the exciting activities that Geronimo has on offer.


Geronimo is aimed at families with children aged between 2 and 12 years old.  Tickets are priced at £25.00 p.p. for a one-day ticket with under 2’s going free. Visit www.geronimofest.com for more information.


Friday, 22 April 2016

Dark clouds, sunshine and birthday wishes

The past few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions with some of the most heart crushing lows I have ever experienced. I have felt tested to my limits, but know that going through these tough times is only making us stronger and closer as a family. When life is this hard, it opens your eyes to the people who really care about you. The people who have rallied round providing emotional and physical support have been amazing. The people who have shown a genuine concern in our situation have made me appreciate the kindness of fellow humans. The love that has been extended has made a world of difference to us as a family and I shall be forever thankful. The past few months have changed me as a person and as a mother.

Through all our recent trials, one thing has been a constant. The love of my children and my absolutely unconditional, neverending love for them. My children really are everything to me. Being their mother defines me. Their pain is my pain. When they hurt, I hurt. I know this for a fact. They bring so much love, pride and joy into my life. They give me strength and give me reason. Five rocks in the sea of my life, anchoring me when I fear being swept away.

But life carries on even when you feel that reality is crashing down around you. There are still special days that beg and deserve to be celebrated. We have so much to look forward to. Wonderful times lie just ahead on the horizon like beacons of hope. I know we are getting closer, just a little bit farther to go and we'll be there. Smiling. Happy. We just need to stay strong.

This weekend we will be celebrating my daughter Ella's and my birthdays. Ella is turning twenty but she is still my baby girl. It's unbelievable to think that my tiny, beautiful little girl is getting so grown up. She is an incredible young woman. She is thriving at university and is using her natural empathy and desire to make a difference to help people, through volunteering and mentoring. I am so proud of her achievements and the direction her life is going in. She is so kind, loving and thoughtful. She gives me so many reasons to feel proud.

So today, I say Happy Birthday to my gorgeous girl. You are a shining light. You give me so many reasons to smile and I adore you for it. You've also wept with me, and I adore you for that too. You care so much about your family and give so much love and joy to us all, even in our darkest hours. I love you to the moon and back.


birthday


For my birthday this year, I am wishing that we get through these crazy times to a place where we can look back and laugh. I know that as a family, we can get through anything. We've got each others' backs and we will power through together. Because together we are stronger.

Things will get better and I know we will get closure on this dark chapter in our lives. But I shall be taking all the lessons learned with me, making me a better person, mum, wife, nana and daughter. I won't forget the way I have felt. I won't forget the people who have cared. I won't ever take my family for granted. I promise that I will appreciate every single day that I am blessed with these wonderful people who I love so much.

Even when bad times cast a shadow over us, I know we will be stepping out into the sunlight again soon.


A birthday cake fit for the Queen

To celebrate Her Majesty the Queen turning 90, Stork has re-imagined Britain’s best loved birthday treat: the iconic caterpillar cake, to honour one of the Queen’s much loved pet dogs. The Candy the Corgi cake has been created by baking brand Stork and the Great British Bake Off’s Edd Kimber using ingredients the Queen is rumoured to love such as vanilla bean, whipped cream, apple compote, and honey frosting. The quirky design features the corgi's face, tail and paws on a cream coated Swiss roll. 

You can find the recipe and instructions at http://www.bakewithstork.com/recipes/corgi-cake/

Stork, birthday cake


Stork challenged me to have a go at making my own cake based on the Candy the Corgi design for Her Majesty’s birthday. It seemed like a fun idea for me to try out!

Now, I don't think I could ever match up to Edd Kimber when it comes to cake baking, so I have made my own cake design featuring Candy the Corgi.  I chose a chocolate tray bake made using Stork, topped with a chocolate frosting and a chocolate plaque featuring Candy himself! (I did my best attempt at chocolate work...it ended up looking more like a weird looking rabbit than a corgi, but I managed to impress 6 year old Freddy so I was happy!)

Stork, birthday cake


Chocolate Traybake Recipe

8 oz Stork margarine
8 oz sugar
4 free range eggs
8 oz self raising flour
4 tablspns of milk
3 tblspns cocoa powder

Cream the Stork marg and sugar together.
Beat in eggs.
Sieve in flour and cocoa and fold together with milk.
Pour into a traybake tin. (I use disposable foil traybake tins.)
Cook in oven pre-heated to 180 degrees for about 30 minutes.


Stork, birthday cake


Once the cake is cool, top with a chocolate buttercream and decorate with a chocolate plaque (I made mine using the Chocolate Picture Maker from ZimpliKids) and chocolate hearts. Traybakes are a really simple way to make a great cake for any occasion - even for a Royal birthday party!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Gelli Baff and Slime Baff Review

For a fun bath time, an exciting paddling pool activity or for some wonderfully tactile sensory play, kids will love Gelli Baff or Slime Baff. 

Gelli Baff turns water into a colourful, thick gelatinous goo for some gooey adventures. Slime Baff makes water into an oozy slime for some squishy, slimy play. Freddy received some to try out and had a great time in the garden playing with it. 

Gelli Baff, Slime Baff


Gelli Baff and Slime Bath come as sachets of powder that dissolve into warm water. Once mixed into a bath, bowl or paddling pool, the water takes on the new gooey properties of the product. Gelli Baff has the texture similar to wallpaper paste whereas the Slime Baff is more like slime. There are a variety of colours to choose from. 

Gelli Baff  comes with a dissolver sachet to reverse the gel effect. Slime Baff can be thinned down using more water to dilute it. Both end up as coloured water that can be safely disposed of down the plug hole or into a drain.

You can let it run through your fingers, swish your hands around and experiment with the textures of the gooey solutions. Most kids love messy play, and the beauty of this is that it is a 'clean mess' that won't stain skin or clothing and can be easily washed away afterwards.

Gelli Baff, Slime Baff


With a bit of imagination, children can pretend they are in a prehistoric swamp, under the ocean or in a land of slimy monsters. Freddy pretended the green Slime Baff was giant's snot! 

Although it is perfect for playing with in the bath, I love Gelli Baff and Slime Baff for playing with in the garden. It adds an extra dimension to water play during the warmer weather. Whether you are playing with a bucketful of goo or jumping into a paddling pool filled with coloured slime, it is a great way for children to play outdoors.

Gelli Baff, Slime Baff


Both products are 100% safe on skin, non-staining, non-toxic and environmentally friendly. They can be drained away and disposed of safely and easily. They are manufactured in the UK.

Prices start at just £4.99 for a one use pack. 

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