A Strong Coffee

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Summer Pudding and Degustabox June Review

Summer Pudding

Summer pudding was one of my favourite desserts when I was little so when I received the Pitch chocolate chip brioche in this month's Degustabox I thought I would give it a try. I have to say that all the boys loved it and asked for more! This is something that doesn't happen often!

All you need is:

A small pudding bowl
4 chocolate chip brioche
Butter
cling film
A packet of frozen summer fuits
2 tbsp caster sugar


slice-brioche

Start by lining your pudding bowl with cling film. Next rub a small amount of butter around this. Slice the brioche and place them around the bowl. (If you want your summer pudding to come out really pink, you should dip the outside of the brioche in the summer fruits juice first.)

broiche in pudding bowl

Take a mixed bag of frozen summer fruits and heat it up with the caster sugar.


Add the fruit to the pudding bowl.

summer-pudding

Place broiche slices on top and add any remaining juice.

Wrap up and leave overnight in the fridge.

Making summer pudding

Serve with some vanilla ice cream.



So what else did we get in this month's Degustabox? It was a bit of a strange month for me so here with lots of products I wouldn't normal buy but here is what I thought of this month's surprise treats.

degustabox June

Icycl: A grown up ice pop. It could be a slippery slope if I started buying these. I did enjoy it though.

Zeo: These low calorie drinks tasted really nice as they weren't packed full of sugar.

Coconom: This took me by surprise. I was expecting to dislike it but actually it tastes really nice. It can be used as a 1:1 replacement for sugar.

Vybe Juice: I am not a fan of coconut water by itself but I do use them in smoothies which is what I did with this.

Melba: I have been pleased that Melba have been included in the box (this time the multigrain) as it has reminded me that I enjoy them as a snack.

Brioche Pasquier: My boys were very pleased to see that these were included in this months box. They didn't last long. I like the individual packets for taking on picnics.

Rekorderlig: This Strawberry and lime cider is lovely and refreshing on a summers evening.

Kallo: We all enjoyed these rice cakes. The boys particular liked the one with chocolate on.

Love Chin Chin:I turned my nose up at these when I saw them but they were actually pretty tasty and nice for a change.

So whilst there were a few items that I wouldn't normally buy, overall we enjoyed the box.

If you would like to try Degustabox, then I have a discount code:CWKSI which will give you a £3 discount on your first box.

What would you like to try most from the box?



Sunday, 5 July 2015

5 Tell Tale Signs That You Have Been To The School Fete

5 Tell Tale signs that you have been to the school fete




The school fete: A time for the community to gather together, celebrate all that is great about their school and part with a ludicrous amount of money in order for their child to win a packet of sweets that can be purchased from the local newsagents for 10p. 


Schools fetes are happening up and down the country at the moment raising money for the schools PTA's. Here are my 5 tell tale signs that you have been to a school fete. 


1. You have spent your weeks wages trying to win a coconut on the coconut shy.  This would make some kind of sense if anyone in your family actually liked coconut. It makes even less sense when you already have one which has been sitting in your fridge for over a week as no one has worked out how the hell you are going to open it. 


2. After having spent the last 6 months decluttering all the plastic tat from your home, your kids go and bypass anything half decent on the second hand toy stall and opt for the most useless pieces of small plastic tat possible.  


3. Your three year old has a full on arms and legs kicking tantrum as they don't understand the concept that you don't win sweets every time on the sweet tombola. 


4. Even though it is hard to find your child at night in amongst the millions of soft toys they own, you supply them money to enter the "name the teddy bear" stall and hope to God that they don't win.  


5. Tempted by the numerous bottles of wine on the tombola, you try your luck. 

Your luck is in! 

You have a winning ticket!  

You find yourself heading home with a tin of Heinz soup. 


Have you had the school fete this weekend? Did you manage to win the wine?



Friday, 3 July 2015

Sundried Tomato and Basil Rolls And A Dettol Giveaway

Sundried tomato and basil rolls

As a Mum of three boys, one thing I think is important for me to teach them is how to cook. Luckily my boys love cooking. The problem? Let's just say that sometimes cooking with the kids can get a little bit messy so it is always useful to have some Dettol wipes on hand to clean up the spillages and kill the germs too.

As all little viewers of "I can cook!" will know, you start by washing your hands. The Dettol kitchen no touch hand wash really is great when your hands are covered in dough mix as it senses your hands are there and dispenses the soap. Very clever!

washing hands with dettol handwash

Middle man and I decided we would make some sundried tomato and basil rolls for our tea.

We started by making a basic bread recipe. You will need:

500g of strong white flour
7g Easy bake yeast sachet
1 1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
50g melted butter
300ml of warm water.

Mix all the ingredients above in a large bowl.

making-bread

Then came the kneading part. Cue lots of screams of delight that he had sticky hands! (You should knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes.) We sprayed down the table with the Dettol spray as it kills 99.9% of germs. Once you have finished kneading place the dough back in the mixing bowl and leave it to rise so that it doubles it's size.

sticky-hands

After the dough has risen, mix in some chopped sundried tomatoes and basil. Split the dough into round balls and bake in an oven at 180C for around 15-20 minutes.

tomato and basil rolls

There is nothing quite like freshly baked bread with some melted butter on top. Middle man was very pleased with his efforts and thanks to Dettol, cleaning up the mess was nice and straight forward too.

Dettol have kindly offered one of my readers the chance to win a bundle of goodies (similar to this one) so that cooking with the kids can be cleaned up easily! Just complete the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

dettol-giveaway
* The bundle will vary slightly from this due to new stock that is coming out, but will be similar.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show With Henri Le Worm

Henri le worm garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Yesterday I was lucky to attend the press day at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and see the Henri Le Worm community garden. Henri Le Worm is a character created by Olivier Blanc (son of chef Raymond) and Charlotte Salt. He has his own website and app which are aimed at encouraging children to engage with food and nature. The app is narrated by Simon Pegg and has a number of games as well as recipes that your little ones can help cook.

henri-le-worm-app

Creator Olivier Blanc said that he had modeled the worm on his father and he is featured on the children's menus at Brasserie Blanc. Henri and his amazing cooking adventures brings to life the journey of plot to pot.

The garden was created by former Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins. It was designed with children in mind. He advised that it is important to get little ones interested in the environment and that he often uses a dalek composter when he talks to school groups to engage them. Little man loved the garden and made himself at home by watering the flowers.

watering flowers

All the children were excited by the chickens. Little man has loved chickens ever since we stayed on a farm this Easter. Infact it is activities like this that the team are keen to encourage. Speaking to Raymond Blanc he advised how taking children to Pick Your Own farms, growing their own vegetables and exploring nature are all things we should encourage to help them understand the environment and where their food comes from.

Chicken_coop at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show

raymond Blanc with eggs

The garden had some fantastic bug houses and little man loved the wormery, Shouting "Wakey up worms!"

wormery

We were then treated to a cookery demo from Raymond Blanc. He talked about using seasonal and locally grown produce. He advised us to be careful with the amount of salt and sugar we add to our food. Instead of salt, he suggested using herbs, lemon or vinegar to add flavour instead. He prepared some wonderfully flavoursome and fresh dishes that can be easily made at home.

Raymond_Blanc_Cooking_Demo

rainbow salad

Seeing the garden and listening to the ideas behind it, really did get me thinking. As a busy Mum I am often guilty of choosing a prepared meal rather than cooking from scratch and it is the added sugar and salt in these dishes that concerns me. I shall be making an effort to involve the children in preparing meals as well as encouraging them to grow more of their own food. We have a bumper crop of potatoes thanks to big man this year so that is a start.

Raymond Blanc

If you are off to the flower show this week and want a sneaky peek at some of the fantastic show gardens you will see then here are some of my favourites.

25th anniversary at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show


show garden RHS Hampton Court Flower Show

Roses

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show

Alice in wonderland style garden

We had a lovely time at RHS Hampton Court Flower show and I will be making some of the fantastic recipes that we were shown and those from the app too. Watch this space. You can download the app on itunes and android and Henri Le Worm can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Now that is one worm who knows his social media. Thanks to the whole Henri le worm team for inviting us.

How do you encourage your children to learn about the environment and the food they eat?

My Little Pony: Putting Your Hoof Down DVD Giveaway

putting-your-hoof-down



My Little Pony fans will be excited to learn that My Little Pony:Putting Your Hoof Down is out on DVD and digital download on 6th July!

Sick of being pushed around by others, Fluttershy goes on an assertiveness class. She is thrilled with her new found confidence but when her friends Rarity and Pinkie Pie confront her about her recent behaviour she takes it the wrong way. She retaliates by insulting them and then distraught by the upset she has caused she locks herself in the cottage.

The story looks at the difference between being assertive and being a bully. The concept is tested when the course leader Iron Will pays Fluttershy a visit and demands payment for his services...

You can pre order the DVD from Amazon now. I also have a copy to give away to one of my lucky readers. Just complete the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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- See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/my-little-ponyputting-your-hoof-down-dvd#sthash.4VqWKvfZ.dpuf





Friday, 26 June 2015

Sweets And Treats At Warner Bros. Studio Tour

sweets and treats at Warner Bros. Studio Tour

I am a massive Harry Potter fan, so you can imagine my excitement at attending a preview event at Warner Brother Studios Tour. I really was like a kid in Honeydukes. This summer from 20th July to 6th September, visitors to the studios will be able to find out about how the prop department made the sweets and treats in the film. What do you think to these. Which do you think are real bakes and which are prop fakes? My boys found it hard to work out and I don't want to give too much away and spoil it for you if you are going this summer.

sweet bake or prop fake

icing a cake at harry potter

candy lollipops

You will also be able to purchase Butterbeer ice-cream in the Backlot cafe. We enjoyed this caramel tasting ice cream. The Butterbeer itself is a love or hate thing. Personally I liked it. To me it tasted of Coke Tab (remember that from years ago?) with caramel froth on top. Little man was not convinced by it though. Love or hate, you will get a Butterbeer moustache.

drinking butterbeer

The whole tour is a Harry Potter fans dream. I need to go back with an audioguide. There are photo opportunities galore. Some free, some you have to pay for (they start at £12 for a single photo.) The boys were so keen on riding brooms I couldn't say no. I wont lie, I was extremely pleased when little man asked if I would share his broomstick! One thing to note is that green isn't the best colour top to wear to the studios! I hadn't even thought about the green screens when I packed middle mans' clothes and he went invisible without a cloak.

flying a broomstick

Playing quidditch

Middle man had me in hysterics when he insisted on wearing a seatbelt on his broom! Which they have. Who knew!

flying on green screen

The boys had passports to stamp as they went round the tour which kept them entertained whilst I dreamed of having a science lab like this.

potions

I am pleased to say that this scene is marginally less scary than watching it!


In the Backlot there are lots more photo opportunities, including Privet Drive, the knight bus and a bridge walkway. The boys were a bit over excited by it all, and they weren't in photo posing mood.

privet drive

Finally you see some of the masks used, walk through Diagon Alley and last but not least a model of Hogwarts. As you leave the tour your walk through a room filled with wand boxes of the cast and crew.

cast and crew wands

We had a fantastic time at Warner Bros. Studio tour and it is certainly a place I would like to visit again. Ideally with my husband so I can get in some of the pictures. I had originally thought that the tour was a one time only kind of place, but my children all took different things from it and I now have the urge to rewatch all the films. If you want to go over the summer holidays don't forget that it is a pre-booked tour and you can't buy tickets at the attraction.

photos from Warner Bros Studios


Are you a Harry Potter fan? Have you been on the studio tour yet? What would you be most excited about seeing?



We were invited to a preview event at Warner Bros. but bought our own broom photos. All the opinions are my own.


Family Fever



Thursday, 25 June 2015

Timmy Failure Review and Giveaway

Timmy Failure books


Big man is nearly 8 and I am pleased to say loves reading. Writing and spelling, not so much, but he will happily spend his evenings reading and chuckling away to Tom Gates, rather than go to sleep.

When I saw the Timmy Failure series I thought that this would make a good edition to his growing library. The series is aimed at readers 8+ and tells the story of a  boy called Timmy Failure. Timmy is the founder of the "best" detective agency in town - Total Failure, Inc. He has a polar bear partner and is said to be perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser.

Big man and I read the Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made together and there were moments where he was laughing out loud. He did, however, find some of it confusing. The book is American so there are a few language differences. For example it uses Mom rather than Mum and names sweets like Hershey's. This is fine, but as big man hasn't heard of these it made for slightly harder reading. The writing style is also in short chapter that flick around and this can take a while to get used to.

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You Have Done is the second book in the series and is now availiable in paperback. It opens with Timmy breaking his leg after trying to remove a "smartest person in the world" sign. It goes on to him deciding that he will crack his biggest case. A school competition to find a stolen globe. But he misses the deadline due to a stopped watch.... He now starts to investigate this injustice with the help of his Great Aunt.

When it comes to books, big man is like me. He needs to be in the right mood to read them. Me saying read this so you can review it, doesn't cut it. At the moment he is into his Tom Gates books and that is it. I think in a few months to a year though he will enjoy reading these books. The illustrations are fantastic and add to the humour.

I am pleased to say that Walker Books have offered one of my readers a set of the Timmy Failure books for themselves. Yes that also includes the third book, Timmy Failure: We Meet Again. Just complete the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Family Fever


ThePrizeFinder - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/set-timmy-failure-books#sthash.RNjF3Kdc.dpuf


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