A Strong Coffee

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Double Chocolate Bites #evenbetterbaking

homemade double chocolate bites

When it comes to Christmas or end of the school term, I see lots of posts about lovely homemade gifts. So when Dr. Oetker provided me with a rather lovely selection of their chocolate, I decided to try making their double chocolate bites as I thought these would make a great gift in the future. The recipe was really simple and you can find the full recipe here.

ingredients for double chocolate bites

I started by crushing a packet of shortbread, mixing it with butter and then adding this mixture to melted chocolate. I used the white, milk and 56% dark chocolate.

crushed shortbread

melted Dr oetkers chocolate

I then put the mixtures into the freezer to cool down so that they were hard enough to roll into balls.

double chocolate balls

Lastly I drizzled melted chocolate over the top.

drizzled chocolate

double chocolate bites

So they were pretty easy to make, but what did they taste like? As these were a test batch, I let my boys try them. Let's just say they didn't last a day! I will certainly be making them again as gifts.

If you head over to the Dr. Oetkers website there are lots of lovely chocolate recipes for you to try. They are also running a competition on twitter. To enter just tweet @DrOetkerbakes a photo of a chocolate bake  you've made with #evenbetterbakes and tell them who you'll be sharing it with, for the chance to win a deluxe hamper of chocolate products. The full terms and conditions can be found here. Now what will you bake?

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

100 Family Adventures Book Review and Giveaway

100 family adventures book

100 Family Adventures is written by the Meek Family and is all about swopping screen time for green time. My boys are far too happy infront of the TV so this book appealed to me as a way of inspiring us to get out more. It contains a range of activities for the less adventerous (like myself) to those exploring types who would relish sub zero camping. (I'm afraid that is a step to far for me!)

I particularly liked the bushcraft survival section at the beginning of the book as I think I could take elements of that to use with my boys. I am not sure how any of us would cope with project 39: going without electricity for a day, but this might be a fun thing to have a go at in the summer holidays.

bushcraft survival

If you are looking for inspiration to get out and about more with the kids then this book has plenty of ideas which I am sure they would love. The book retails at £14.99 and can be purchased from Amazon. I am lucky enough to have a copy to giveaway to one of my readers. just complete the Rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Hot Wheels Track Builder Spiral Stack-Up Review

Hot Wheels track builder

My boys were very pleased when they recieved the Hot Wheels Spiral Stack Up to review. They have lots of Hot Wheels track and the good thing about this set is that it can be joined to existing sets. Here is an example from the back of the pacakging.

back of track builder pack

I have to admit that I got quite frustrated with the instructions as I found them confusing. I then realised that I didn't need them. The whole point of this set is to use you imagination and build it as you like. I am including a close up here to show you how the tracks attach to the side. It took me far too long to work this one out!
hot wheels track builder

The boys really enjoy playing with the set and like that you can set off other cars and use with existing track. Here is big man with a short clip showing the set in action.

The RRP for the set is £20.99 and can be purchased from Amazon.

Hot Wheels are currently running a fantastic promotion: buy five Hot Wheels cars to get your hands on a free. limited edition Black Car! For more details visit http://www.hotwheelspromotions.co.uk

Monday, 2 March 2015

At The Top, Burj Khalifa

At the top Burj Khalifa

Whilst staying in Dubai we decided to take the boys up the tallest building in the world. Well up to floor 124 with a brief lift change at 125. We had pre booked tickets on their website before our stay. This needs doing as there are times slots for viewing and just turning up costs more if there is availability. Children under 4 are free so we didn't need to pay for little man. You are allowed through 10 mins before your time a slot. You then walk through screens talking through the building of the structure. There is then a video where Tom Cruise is doing some amazing stunts off the building. Next you go into a dark lift that whizzes you up the 124 floors.

lift at the burj khalifa

There were two things that hit me about the view from the top. Firstly, you couldn't see as far as I expected. I was expecting to see The Palm. You couldn't. Infact you could only just see the Burj Al Arab in the distance.

Secondly, it really hit me how much your perspective was distorted. There were numerous small buildings which were actually large skyscrapers. They just weren't as tall as the one we were in. 

skyscrapers dubai

Burj Khalifa
It was interesting to see and a one off experience. Apparently one where you then need to go and buy a variety of snow globes in the gift shop! Unfortunately middle men's camel in a baseball cap snow globe didn't make it a full week without him smashing it. Hey ho, we will just need to go back again. Oh and as it is number 3 on the list of place to take selfies, I took my fair share - it is probably up to number 2 now!

selfie at burj khalifa

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Aquaadventure at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. Top Tips

Atlantis, The Palm

From the moment you walk into Atlantis, you get the feeling that you have entered one of the massive themed hotels of Vegas. You walk past a variety of high End shops to the entrance of Aquaadventure. We had pre purchased tickets (as it is cheaper than buying on the day) but so had a lot of other guests and queued for a good half an hour to forty five minutes to get in. So make sure you get there early - they open at 10am. You can hire towels, lockers, cameras and even pre pay for meals. If you go for the family sized locker, be aware that there aren't family changing rooms - this caused quite a bit of confusion when we got our clothes mixed up in the bags!  It is worth noting that at 1.2 m you have to purchase an adult ticket as this is the height you need to be to ride the bigger waterflumes.

I have to say it was really confusing entering the park. You are expected to know how it all works and we hadn't got a clue. We weren't given a map and I believe that you can only get one at reception. There is a large child's water park similar to drench towers at Legoland. We headed here first. There were no free sunbeds so we stood at the side and watched the children.
Childs pool at Atlantis Dubai

Big man and his Dad went and rode one of the larger flumes and we finally worked out that we could take the younger children on the numerous Rapids rides if we each got a double dingy with a child seat. This was easier said than done! Unfortunately people grab hold of them like sunbeds and keep them for themselves. We finally managed to find 2 so could enjoy the rides. The Rapids went on for a good hour but there were numerous places you could stop in between, if you wanted to get out/needed to.

rapids at Atlantis the Palm
There was also a shorter wave pool that we enjoyed.

I rode the shark attack with big man which is a flume in the dark that then takes you slowly through a pool of Sharks and rays. I have to admit to being really frightened as I was worried he had got us on the wrong ride, which is a shear drop into the tanks. I should have trusted him more!

Big man went with Daddy to ride some other flumes whilst I relaxed on the beach with the younger two. We had a nice view of Burj Al Arab and due to its location on the Palm the sea was calm with no waves due to the location. It is a lovely place to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the waterpark.

view from Atlantis the palm
At around 5 we got changed and headed to the lost chambers before leaving at around 6. Here we found out the main problem with visiting Aquaadventure. There were no taxis and a HUGE queue. Talking to people it was about a 2 1/2hr wait. We chose to ride the monorail back to the Gateway in a hope of getting a taxi there. Whilst there were fewer people there were still no taxis. If we went again and the children were older, I would recommend staying later in Atlantis and eating there. Finally we did get a taxi but the traffic was mayhem accounting for the no taxi situation.

We had a lovely time in the park even with the niggles I had. Hopefully if you have read this and go you will be more clued up and find it easier. When it is warm there is nothing better than splashing around in the water or laying in the shade of a palm tree. There are many other things you can do there such as swim with dolphins, feed rays and use high wires all at an extra cost. We had a great day and I would recommend it to anyone with children over the age of 3 who are confident in the water.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Homemade Houmous

Homemade houmous

This is the first time I have ever made houmous and it was so easy I will definately be making it again.


houmous ingredients

1 can of chickpeas
1 clove of garlic
3tsps of tahini
1tbsp of oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp of water

All you do is put the above ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.

boss blender

Serve with pitta bread, carrots and cucumber for dipping.

serving houmous

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Giveaway: Safetots Bed Rail

When big man was 2 we decided to move him straight into a single bed. The main reason for this was that we needed the cotbed for his soon to be brother. Going from cot to single bed is a huge jump and we were worried about him falling out of bed. We decided to invest in a bed rail to put our mind at rest and it was a great investment. We used it with all three children and even took it on holiday with us. 

Safetots are a family business who specialise in child safety products. They sell, stair gates, fire guards, plug sockets. Pretty much all you can think you need to toddler proof your home.
Safetots stock a range of bed guards and have kindly offered one of their own bed guards as a prize to giveaway to one of my readers. They come in white, brown or blue and can be folded for easy storage and travel. If you have a little one that is soon to move into a bigger bed then this giveaway is for you. Just complete the Rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

safetots bed rail in natural

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky
- See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/safetots-bed-guard-0#sthash.aTi4qlVN.dpuf