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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Schleich Wildlife and Farm Animals

Learning about animals opens up a fascinating world for children and with Schleich’s vast collection of farm and wild life animals, little ones can learn as they play. With an extensive range of beautiful animal figures, Schleich puts the world in children's hands, allowing them to play, explore and discover.

Schleich animals are perfect for collecting and collections can be added to to create an entire play world for children to enjoy. Ready-to-play sets and accessories add extra elements to the play value and with new animals and accessories being added year after year, children's collections can grow alongside their imaginations.

I love the Schleich animal figures. The attention to detail is enhanced by the high quality paintwork that brings each animal to life. Children can learn so much about the animal kingdom through their Schleich collection and engage in imaginative games. We've collected Schleich animals for many years and they have been played with by each of my children. They are so well made they last for years so are a great investment that I can see being played with for many more years to come by the next generation of our family.

Lion


We were delighted to receive an Indian Rhino, a Lion, a Black Bull and a Fresian Cow to add to our collection. As expected, each figure is beautifully made with realistic detailing and quality paintwork. The Schleich animals are solid with a good weight, making them sturdy and robust and able to withstand being played with, even by younger children aged 3 and over, making them perfect for pre-schoolers, introducing them to the animal kingdom.

cows


The Indian Rhino has wonderfully realistic, textured skin, while the Lion has a very detailed mane and whiskered face. The Cow and Bull are a lovely pair with their hooved feet, gentle eyes and long tails. The anatomical realism is very well observed in each animal figure.

rhino


The Lion has an RRP of £5.99 and the Rhino, Cow and Bull are £7.99 available from
www.schleich-s.co.uk.


Saturday, 27 January 2018

A Vegan Recipe for Chocolate Cake Day with Num Noms

January 27th is Chocolate Cake Day and who doesn't love chocolate cake! Especially when it's a delicious vegan chocolate cake, perfect to celebrate the end of Veganuary.

Num Noms are celebrating Chocolate Cake Day by challenging us to create Num Noms inspired chocolate cakes with some Num Noms Series 4 flair! We were sent a Series 4 Sweets Sampler, which includes the cute little Hottie Chocolate. Scented with delicious chocolate fragrance, Hottie joins other Nums such as Confetti Crunch, Tia Tea-Time and Madelyn Macaron. Perfect inspiration for baking delicious treats at home.

Num Noms Series 4


Each colourful, scented Num is cute and quirky and bursting with personality. The Series 4 Sweets Sampler contains ten Nums including a surprise Mystery Num along with two Noms. The Glitter Lip Gloss Noms come in a variety of flavours such as Mint Swirl Gloss-Up and Lemon Drop Gloss-Up. They also come in individual blind pots, making collecting fun! Inside, there is a Nom lipgloss or nail polish and a sweet foodie flavoured Num. You can find limited special edition characters and there are 120 characters to collect.

Our chocolate cake recipe is made with 100% plant based ingredients and is rich, chocolatey and delicious. It has a rich chocolatey frosting and filling and is decorated with chopped nuts. The method is very simple, so that means it is great to get the kids involved with the baking. And because it is vegan, there is no danger when it comes to licking the bowl!

Vegan Baking with Kids


Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

10oz SR wholemeal flour
2oz cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
9oz caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
135ml rice bran oil
1 1/2 cups water

Frosting

2oz vegan marg
3 tblspns water
9oz icing sugar
2 tblspns cocoa powder

Vegan Chocolate Cake


Method

Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
Stir in sugar and vanilla extract.
Beat in oil and water.
Pour the batter into two prepared 7" cake tins and cook for 30 mins at 180 degrees centigrade until springy to the touch.
Allow to cool completely before turning the cakes out.

Meanwhile put the marg and sugar in a pan and heat until the marg is fully melted.
Remove from heat and beat in sifted icing sugar and cocoa.
Use to fill and top the cake.
Decorate with chopped walnuts.


Vegan Chocolate Cake



Enjoy a big slice of Vegan Chocolate Cake to celebrate Chocolate Cake Day on January 27th! Delicious!

Vegan Chocolate Cake


Find Series 4 Num Noms at Amazon, Smyth's Toys and Claire's. The Sweets Sampler is £16.99 and the mystery packs are £3.99. Find out more at numnoms.mgae.com.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Wholefoods, Healthy Eating and Veganuary Inspiration from Aldi

It's easy to believe that adopting a healthier diet is going to cost a lot of money, which for some people is enough to put them off making a healthy change. Many of the wholefood products can be very pricey when bought from specialist retailers. However, Aldi have introduced some excellent products into their stores, which enables us to eat healthier for less and makes niche products far more accessible to all. This means that there are now a few less excuses against adopting a wholefood, vegan diet in 2018!

vegan, wholefood, Aldi


Aldi have a range of Organic Bean Spaghetti (£1.99, 200g), available in Organic Edamame Spaghetti, Black Bean Spaghetti or Organic Soybean Spaghetti. Rich in plant based nutrition, naturally gluten free and vegan, this pasta is made solely from beans and provides the perfect base for a nourishing meal that’s quick, easy, naturally colourful and delicious.

Sriracha Mayonnaise (£1.65, 200ml) is a spicy, vegan mayonnaise made with water, chilli, soybean, sugar and distilled vinegar. It's a great topping for a delicious vegan falafel and houmous wrap. Aldi's The Deli chilled falafel is £1.29 for 200g and the houmous is just 69p for a pot. Both great Veganuary lunchtime staples.

Bounce Energy Balls are a sweet treat packed with nutrient dense ingredients, which are a perfect energy boosting snack (£1.29, 40g). There are two delicious flavours: Almond Spirulina and
Cashew Peanut. They are high in veggie protein with their combination of nuts and seeds.

Aldi’s Funktional Foods Powders are perfect for adding to juices and smoothie bowls, sprinkling on porridge and salads, or even mixing into soups. They are a fraction of the price of other food powders on the market and add a wonderful boost of extra vitamins and minerals.


  • Green Superblend (£2.49) – a perfect combination of Wheatgrass, Pea Protein, Barley Grass, Spinach, Ginger and Spirulina, which is high in protein to support muscle growth.
  • Spirulina Powder (£2.49) – packed with protein and vitamin B12 to help support the immune system.
  • Wheatgrass Powder (£2.49) – high in iron to help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
  • Maca Powder (£2.49) – a rich source of vitamin B2.
  • Cacao Powder (£1.99) – full of Iron, Potassium, Copper and Magnesium to help boost the immune system.

Aldi has its own range of non-dairy milks including their fortified Actif Leaf Almond Milk priced at just 99p. This is really good value, making the transition to a dairy free diet much cheaper.

vegan


Aldi also have a great selection of excellent value dried fruits, nuts and seeds including the superfood black Chia Seeds for just £1.15. Chia seeds are great for sprinkling on cereals or adding to smoothies and can also be used to make a super healthy pudding. Nuts and seeds are so versatile and play a huge part in a vegan diet as both a snack, a nutritional boost or an ingredient in both sweet and savoury recipes.

The paleo wholefood bars and raw snack bars are incredibly good value at £1.99 for five. They are gluten free, high in fibre and ideal for guilt free snacking. I love the Cashew Crush and Pecan Pie bars, made from nothing more than nuts and dates.  They are just so good! Equivalent products can cost many times more.

snacks, vegan


Other exciting finds include the Tricolour and White Quinoa at £1.29 a pack, rice noodles at 59p, brown rice at 99p and the red and green Thai Curry Kits at £1.39. The Coconut Flour and Coconut Sugar at just £1.69 each are also excellent buys for healthier baking.

You can fill your cupboards with these great wholefood products to kickstart 2018 while developing some beneficial healthy eating habits for the years to come. Wholefoods don't need to cost the earth!

The in store fruit and veg range is extensive and offers exceptional value for money. Aldi also has its Super Six fruit and vegetables on special offer in store every fortnight. I picked up spring onions, celery, tomatoes, Iceberg lettuce and beetroot for just 39p each! Who said healthy living was expensive?!

Aldi, fruit, veg, vegan


Aldi has made healthy eating more accessible and much cheaper for the masses, giving everyone the chance to adopt a healthier, wholefood or vegan diet. Find out more at Aldi.co.uk.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Workout your Brain in 2018 with Breakout Manchester

You could give your brain a new year workout by playing an escape room with Breakout Manchester. With puzzles and clues to solve, objects to find and games to play, an escape room really gets your brain working. Team work and leadership skills are also put to the test as you attempt to escape from your chosen room in under sixty minutes. Each room is fully themed,  from the Wild West's Most Wanted to the horror themed Captured, which adds to the immersive feel of the games.

Breakout Manchester


This Christmas we played the 5* rated room Madchester at Breakout Manchester and we managed to retain our 100% breakout record by escaping the room with four minutes to spare. Go Team McD!

Madchester takes place in the bedroom of a Manchester super fan, who has an extensive range of memorabilia from sporting venues, bands, teams and locations from the Manchester area. It's a great room to play with plenty of puzzles to solve and things to discover. When you get stuck, the game operator sends you some cryptic clues, shown on a screen in the room, keeping the gameplay moving. Madchester is a tough game, so we were really proud of ourselves for cracking the codes and escaping.

What I love most about Breakout escape rooms is that they are great for all the family. Freddy is 8 years old and has successfully participated in breaking out of the four rooms that we have played as a family. He often spots things that we miss. Every member of the team has a part to play and can bring their own unique skills to the table. Whether you are good with words or numbers, can solve riddles, have keen observation skills and an eye for detail or are good at physical games, there will be something in the escape rooms that you do best.

We Broke Out - Madchester Breakout Manchester


Breakout escape rooms really are a fun activity for all the family, whatever the weather. You can find out more and book at breakoutmanchester.com.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Thomas and Friends Educational Toys for Pre-Schoolers

Here is a last minute Christmas idea for pre-schoolers who love Thomas and Friends. The Thomas Alphaphonics and Flip and Learn Phone from Trends UK, are great educational toys which will help little ones to learn while they play. Featuring Thomas and the other Really Useful Engines from Sodor, these toys are colourful, fun and perfect for little fans to enjoy.


Thomas and Friends Educational Toys


Thomas Alphaphonics - £19.99

Pre-schoolers can learn letters, sounds, and spelling with the Thomas Alphaphonics. The easy-to-handle interactive system features every letter in both upper and lower case. Each letter is represented by a character or associated word with 'T' of course being for Thomas! Children can select from seven different play modes, including musical activities and play patterns to help memory. Activities include questions on letters, sounds and words and a game for identifying sequences of  objects. It is easy for little hands to carry and would be great for keeping children entertained away from home or on car journeys.

It assists early letter and word recognition, basic communication, sensory perception, memory and concentration.  It requires 3 x AAA that are included. Suitable from 3 years+.

Thomas Alphaphonics


Thomas Flip & Learn Phone  - £10.99 rrp

This chunky classic flip-up phone in blue, has a backlit answer screen with an image of Thomas and Percy on it. Little ones can call Thomas and his Sodor friends to hear their greetings. It also includes games to help children with number and colour recognition. You can even pretend to take pictures with the camera-phone feature.

This chunky little phone helps children with colour and number recognition, simple communication skills, hand-eye coordination and encourages imaginative play. Memory, concentration and attention is developed as pre-schoolers follow instructions from Thomas and some basic vocabulary is learned through the friendly chatter.

The sturdy, solid design is ideal for younger children aged 18 months+. It might even keep toddlers off their parents iPhones!

Thomas Flip & Learn Phone


The Thomas and Friends toys will be a hit this Christmas. Find the Alphaphonics on Amazon or find the phone in Argos, currently in their 2 for £15 offer.

Monday, 18 December 2017

New Berocca Blackcurrant - feel energised this Christmas

Two out of three adults cite tiredness as their number one health concern. With Christmas speeding towards us, we really need that little bit of help to ensure that we feel energised and able to make the most of every day with a spring in our step. That's when Berocca really comes in handy!  Berocca sent me my very own personalised pack of their new Berocca Blackcurrant, which will see me through the festive period.

Berocca Blackcurrant


Packed full of 8 B vitamins including B1 and B2, which work with your body to release your natural energy, Berocca Blackcurrant reduces tiredness and helps support mental performance. It also contains vitamin C, which is a great supplement to take during the winter months.

Each effervescent tablet makes a flavoursome, fruity,  refreshing drink when added to water and is suitable for vegans. It is free from caffiene, sugar and artificial stimulants and contains just 7 calories. I really like the new blackcurrant flavour, which joins the existing range of orange, mango and mixed berry.

Berocca Blackcurrant


With 52% of UK adults admitting that they cancel social engagements due to tiredness, Berocca can help us all enjoy party season feeling energised and ready to dance the night away!

Berocca Blackcurrant is available in tablet packs of 15 from pharmacies and supermarkets for £4.85 RRP.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Vegetarian and Vegan Treats from Aldi this Christmas

Today I popped to Aldi to check out their festive offerings suitable for vegans.  There are lots of  items labelled as being suitable for vegetarians in Aldi, and with a bit of label reading you can find many of those things are accidentally vegan. From confectionery to frozen foods to alcohol to baked goods, Aldi has an extensive range. Allergens are clearly labelled in the ingredients so if it is vegetarian product made without milk or eggs, I'm happy to consider it suitable for my family.

Aldi, Christmas, vegan


For festive buffets, the Let's Party 60 piece Oriental Snack Selection is great value at just £3.69 and contains veggie wontons, money bags and spring rolls.

Aldi, vegan


I think everything just tastes so much better when it's Christmas tree shaped!  This six pack of Christmas Tree Crumpets will make a lovely festive family breakfast for just 79p. They also do a Bake and Break Seeded Roll Christmas Tree which is £1.79. I love the idea of serving it at the table with a bowl of freshly made vegetable soup.

Aldi, vegan


I loved this gift box of speciality Single Malt Whisky Jam and Marmalade. It's a great gift idea and looks very fancy. It's only £2.99, which is an excellent price. Dads and grandads would love to find this in their Christmas stocking on Christmas morning.

Aldi, Christmas


More Christmas Tree shaped goodies! These Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips and Salted Pretzels are great for snacking on over Christmas. The tortilla chips are 85p and the pretzels are £1.29 for a family size sharing bag. We'll enjoy munching through these while watching Christmas movies. There is also Turkey and Stuffing flavour Tortilla Chips which are vegetarian and dairy free.

Aldi, vegan


The Moser Roth chocolate range looks really premium, but at £1.29 does not have a premium price tag. A number of the flavours including the single origin dark chocolate bars (62%, 70% and 80% cocoa), the orange and almond, chilli and the sea salt bars are all dairy free. Also, the Choceur Mint Waves and the Mint Creme bars are dairy free. Priced at £1.29 and 89p respectively, they are perfect as stocking fillers this Christmas. Aldi also do a dark chocolate reindeer that is dairy free, but they had all sold out. This would have been a lovely stocking filler for my vegan kids.

Aldi, vegan


Another great little gift idea is the Kevin the Carrot pouch shopping bag, priced at just 99p. This reusable bag folds back into the carrot shaped case for convenience. And what can be more vegan than a carrot!

Aldi, Kevin the Carrot


Other highlights of my shop included the Deck the Halls Picks found with the flowers in store. At just £2.09 they add some festive fun to flower arrangements or can be popped in a narrow necked vase to make a pretty addition to your festive decor. Featuring baubles, pine cones and cinnamon sticks, they are really cute!

Aldi also has a great range of fruit and vegetables in store at great prices. I particularly liked the Brussel sprout stalks for just 99p. I'll definitely be getting some of them for Christmas dinner. And I love the little crates of clementines for £2.79 for healthy Christmas snacking.

With their Specialbuys also in store, it's definitely worth checking out your local Aldi for some Christmas bargains this year!

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