A Strong Coffee

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Pampered Chef Products You Will Use

pampered chef batter bowl

I never thought I would sit around a friends house talking about the issues of cooking for the kids, once you have a child it is not long until you are invited around to one of the many home selling parties. I have to admit that I do like Pampered Chef parties. Mainly for new ideas, and it gets me out of the house for a few hours. I have been a host at one and been to several others, and have most of the catalogue. All of it is nice stuff, but do I use it all often? No. When you are sat there watching the demonstrations, you wonder how on earth you ever lived without a food chopper. You then part with the £35 and sit it in your cupboard never to be used again. So what should you buy?

Here I think the best thing is to find people that use it, and they will tell you. So I thought it might be useful to tell you my best buys. The products that I use on a daily basis (unlike the mini tart pan and dobber. When do I even make nibbles for dinner parties? That was clearly a wishful thinking purchase.)

The Classic Batter Bowl.


This is a really nice sturdy bowl that is good for pouring. I use this a lot and also have the smaller one as it came in a bundle I once bought. The large one is better. It comes with a lid but I find these warp in the dishwasher. I have just seen that there is a new improved version that they sell.

The Large Micro-Cooker


This was recommended by a friend of a friend at a show as one of her most used items. It is great for cooking veg in the microwave in minutes and has drain holes. Fine to go in the dishwasher too. Another really useful buy.

Kitchen Spritzer


Yes this is expensive at first glance but I love it. I have never been keen on using frylight, so with this I can use normal olive oil but use hardly any. You just pump it and spray.



I do like my stoneware. Once seasoned it is non stick. I think the key here is buying the right size for your family. I bought the large rectangular baker and it was the right choice. Unless you have a large kitchen you don't want to buy loads of these. The only other thing if they do take longer to cook the food, so no good if you are in a rush last minute. I do love cooking "fried" eggs in them with no oil.

The citrus press


Ok once again this is an expensive item, but I figure it is a buy once and it will last forever. All my other squeezers used to be hard work and I would end up with pips falling through. Not an essential buy, but if you are frantically looking for something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg to purchase then this could be a good option.

So there you are, there are my must haves. What are yours? Do you have a cupboard full of items that you have bought and never used? Have you any recommendations on what I should but at the next party I go too?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Postman Pat The Movie Review and Giveaway!


Ok I have to admit that I have sometimes had mixed feelings about Postman Pat. When the film came out this year though I did see the trailer and think it looked quite good. We never made it to the cinema but have been lucky enough to recieve a copy to review. I have to say I was pleasantly suprised with how good it is. All the boys loved it. I thought that big man at nearly 7, would be too old for it, but he thought the Pat-bots were really funny.

Let me give you a quick summary of the story. Pat is still living in Greendale being a Postman. He never took his wife on Honeymoon and is planning to take her to Italy when he recieves his bonus. Unfortunately cuts are being made and no bonus' are going to happen, the new manager is also planning to cut as many people as he can from the workforce and replace them with machines. Even Pat! However, an X-factor Style show is coming to Greendale with one of the prizes being a trip to Italy. The host Simon Cowbell, is fed up of watching talentless people and then Pat comes on stage.Pat is thrown into stardom whilst he is replaced by a team of robots. Will Greendale notice the difference?

I enjoyed the film as much as the children. I particularly liked Simon Cowbell who is nearly as harsh as the real X-factor judge.

I am pleased to say that I have been offered a copy of the DVD to give to 2 of my readers. Just complete the rafflecopter below. If you can't wait, then the DVD is on sale now.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/2-x-postman-patthe-movie-dvd#sthash.cWc3orR0.dpuf
We were given the DVD for the purpose of this review, but the opinions here are my own.

Octonauts Gup S Polar Exploration Vehicle Review


As I have mentioned before, we are big Octonauts fans. My boys were more than excited to be offered the Gup S Polar Exploration Vechile to review. As a mother I particularly like the Gup's as they can be used in and out of the water. As this has batteries, and therefore can only be used out of the water, I wasn't sure if I would like it as much. Once I had unboxed it infront of big and middle man, however, my initial concerns were put aside as their excitement took hold. Here is a short video of them playing with it and demonstrating some of it's features.

So what do we like about the Gup S Polar Exploration vehicle? Pretty much everything! The boys were really taken with the warming tank and like that it came with a creature that they could put on it. I liked the way it lit up and played the Octonauts sounds.

Middle man checking on his sea creature in the warming station.
As you connect and disconnect the Octo-sled on the front it recognises this and tells you. Big man liked the fact that you could turn the ice drill on the front of the Octo-Sled.


The two smaller mini ski vechiles are great for resucing the sea creature from the ice block.


The only downside with the Gup S is that it only comes with Captain Barnacles. Having said this I am sure than most Octonauts fans will already have some (if not multiple)  members of the crew.


With Christmas coming up, I would certainly recommend this to anyone who has an Octonauts crazy child. In my personal opinion it is far better than the Octolab and even the Octopod which are the other two electronic Octonaurts toys that we own. It is aimed at ages 3 and up. My boys have a long list of other Octonauts products that they would like for Christmas and on the basis that they are imaginative and eductaional (trust me, they know more about marine biology than I do) I am happy to put them on Santa's list.

Do you have an Octonauts fan? If so which is there favourite Octonauts toy?

We were sent the Gup S for the purpose of this review but all the opinions here are my own.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Ready Brek Review and Giveaway


Ok Summer is officially over. With winter drawing in, I love to start my day with porridge and was happy to review Ready Brek sachets. Yes we have gone all Goldilocks and the three bears - quite literally. Middle man has has named us all with him taking the lead role as he has blonde hair!

We received 3 varieties of the easy sachets: original, chocolate and gingerbread. Luckily there is no fighting as we all have a different favourite.

Unsurprisingly the boys loved the chocolate. Big man loves the fact he can make it himself. He just opens the packet, pours milk to the line and mixes it with the porridge. Then it only takes 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave. Quick and simple!
My other half likes the original as he likes it with golden syrup.

For me it's the gingerbread. It isn't overly sweet and I love the wintery flavour with Christmas just around the corner.

I find that porridge really fills me up and I really like that the sachets make it so simple to make.

Ready Brek have kindly offered one of my readers a chance to win a case of each flavour! Just complete the rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/3-cases-bready-brek-easy-sachets#sthash.XAxltinr.dpuf

Alpha and Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave Giveaway


I don't know about you, but my boys enjoy dressing up at Halloween and carving pumpkins. If you are looking for something to keep your little terrors happy this Howl-loween then Alpha and Omega:The Legend of the Saw Toothed Cave might be just the thing. My boys had not watched Alpha and Omega films before, but it didn't stop them enjoying this. The DVD is about some wolves and the pack elders gather the young cubs around to tell them about the saw toothed cave being inhabited by a terrifying creature. Some say it is a wolf ghost.

Of course the young cubs Stinky, Claudette and Runt, have to find out more and go to the cave themselves and solve the mystery. 

My boys enjoyed the DVD and although middle man was a little scared at first when the wolf ghost appeared, big man explained that everything would be OK.

The DVD goes on sale on 6th October, but Lionsgate have kindly given one of my readers the chance to win the DVD for themselves. Just complete the Rafflecopter below.

Good Luck!

I received a preview disk of the film but the opinions are my own.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/alpha-and-omegathe-legend-saw-toothed-cave-dvd#sthash.zHs5B8yn.dpuf

Monday, 29 September 2014

Weekday Dinners #Afterschoolchefs

Now the boys have returned to school it's time for me to get organised. One thing I find hard is dinner time. I don't know about you, but making meals from scratch after school is hard work. There I am peeling a carrot and world war three erupts in the living room over some Duplo. I need to start meal planning and bulk cooking, rather than getting to 5 o'clock and thinking about what we are going to eat.

With winter coming up, I think casseroles and pulled pork will be on the menu. These take little preparation and can be left to cook, combined with some Birds Eye vegetables they make a lovely comforting meal.


I am also intending on buying larger joints on offer in the supermarket and using it in a couple of meals. Last week I cooked a ham. First night we had this as ham, egg and chips and then the rest went into a chicken and ham pie. I also made a large cottage pie which we ate and then froze so two meals there.


I think every household needs to have some staples in for last minute cooking too. I am hoping that I'm not the only disorganised Mum in the world? For me, I like to have eggs, jacket potatoes, baked beans, Birds Eye frozen vegetables and some Birds Eye fish fingers and nuggets. Sometimes meals need to be quick and easy so it's good to have them covered.

Birds Eye Products

How do you plan your after school dinners? Are you as organised as I long to be? Have you any tips you can share?

This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Linky Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook page.

The Tooth Fairy

I was starting to wonder if it was going to happen. At 6 3/4 big man has finally lost a tooth last week. He was beaming from ear to ear when he presented me with this on finishing school.

I then had a very intricate story of how it fell out and how surprised his entire class were. Apparently one of the girls had informed him that the tooth fairy leaves a whopping £2 on her first visit. Queue moans of the rate of inflation from me and my husband. You could see big man planning his trip to the sweet shop.

At night he put his tooth in a special cushion and stuffed it to the side of his pillow. We didn't want the tooth fairy having a tough time finding it.

The next morning excitement was high. His friend had been right and he also received a note.

 photo toothfairycard.jpg

It read:

Wow Big Man! You have taken such good care of your teeth. Well done! I noticed on my way in that you have a keepsake book on your wardrobe. On this occasion please put your tooth in there. Don't worry though you are still rewarded. Please don't spend all of it on sweets. They are bad for teeth. 

Regards Lara (Your tooth fairy) 

After a discussion that I had forgotten all about that book, we went to the top of his wardrobe and found the pouch for his tooth. We then agreed that he should probably wait until a new tooth fell out before he wrote a reply. With that he set to trying to find a new tooth to wobble.