A Strong Coffee

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Foodie Gifts from Museum Selection and Giveaway!

My top 5 foodie Gifts

Stuck on what to buy someone who has everything for Christmas? I figure you can't really go wrong with a foodie gift. I have been having a look through Museum Selection at their products and thought I would put together my top 5 for you. They do lots of other lovely gifts too from gardening to jewellery so it is well worth taking a look.

1. 6 Honey Selection Box. Honey is one of those things, I often forget I like, until I have it. This contains Orange, Exmoor and Essex Blosson and English Borage honey and I am sure they would taste delicious.

2. Boozy Fudge Treats. This caught my eye when it mentioned Irish cream fudge!

3. Elephant Afternoon Tea Caddy. It was the tin on this gift that I really liked, and you know us English with our tea.

4. Marzipan Fruits. Marzipan fruits mean Christmas to me, and these look much more professional than the ones I have a go at making.

5. 6 Jam Selection Tin. A selection of jam and marmalade to have on some nice warm toast in the morning.

Museum Selection have kindly offered a 6 Honey Selection Box to giveaway to one of my readers. Just complete the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Mr Peabody and Sherman Review and Rocky Road Popcorn Recipe


This week we have been sent Mr Peabody and Sherman to review thanks to Cash Generator. I have to say it is a great film for all the family as even I enjoyed this children's movie. Mr Peabody is an intellectual talking dog who adopts an orphan called Sherman. He teaches him History by travelling back in time in his own time machine. Sherman has a hard time at school with a girl called Penny so a meeting between the parents is arranged at Mr Peabody's house. This is where things start to go wrong as Penny and Sherman end up using the time machine without Mr Peabody.

I really enjoyed the film and even though middle man didn't understand all of it, he now wants to visit "Ancient Egypt." Big man loves the historical aspects of the film. I would certainly recommend the film to anyone with children aged 6 and above.

When we watch DVD's at home we like to make it a movie night, and I thought I would share this rather yummy Popcorn recipe with you, if you are planning a movie night soon.


For this you will need some corn kernals, mini marshmallows, raisins, chocolate and grease proofed paper.

Start by popping your corn. We have a popcorn maker, but if you don't just put some in a saucepan with a lid.


Spread your popcorn on some grease proofed paper and melt the chocolate in the microwave. Pour the chocolate over the popcorn.


Add the mini marshmallows and raisins. Then pop it in the fridge to set.


Then to the best part - eating it!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Kids' Ski Wardrobe Essentials

This was fashionable on the slopes 15 years ago - honest!
It has been a long time since I have been skiing. Now the boys are getting older I would love to take them soon. I think the key to enjoying a skiing holiday is to be dressed appropriately. Skiing is such fun, but it is important to be warm! The latest Blogger Challenge from Mark Warner is to hand pick a kids ski wardrobe from the rather lovely clothing company Polarn O.Pyret. We are already Polarn O.Pyret fans. I like their colourful designs and the clothes that we have are great quality meaning that they can be handed down. They also have the bonus of a large amount of unisex designs. This isn't an issue for us with three boys, but worth knowing if you have a pigeon pair.

So here is my kids wardrobe wishlist:

Kids Ski wardrobe from Polarn O. Pyret

Firstly I have chosen these kids winter padded trousers which look perfect for the cold weather. I particularly like the fact that they have re-inforced fabric on the knees and bottom. Let's face it, along with learning to ski comes a lots of falling! The leg cuffs have velcro on them which is good because it means that they can easily be adjusted for going over bulky ski boots.

The matching ski jacket has been made with a lot of thought. It comes with a detachable snow shirt that can be attached to the snow trousers. Once again this is a feature that is very handy if you fall as it stops snow going down the back of your trousers!

You can see by the photo of me skiing that I wear mittens instead of gloves, so I would also chose these zip up mittens for my boys. I have had both ski gloves and mittens and I believe the mittens are a better choice. Firstly they are a lot easier to put on. Ski gloves are really bulky and well padded so they are hard to get on and then it isn't that easy to bend your fingers. I was advised by an instructor that mittens are easier and have never looked back.

I really like these colourful base layers. I like that the striped top is longer at the back, meaning that your little ones back will still be warm and cozy when you bend over. These would also be good in a variety of sports, not just skiing. I would have to pair it with these funky long johns.

On the basis that scarves can get caught on things, unravel and can also be bulky, I really like this neckwarmer as an alternative. It is made from merino wool too so it would be lovely and soft.

The fur trimmed hats are also on my wishlist as if it is really cold the long ear flaps will keep your little ones ears warm.

Last but not least, I had to add this curious clouds t-shirt to my wishlist as I just love the design. Who says that boys clothes have to be plain and boring!

So that is my kids ski wish list. Have I missed anything? What are your must haves to go skiing?

This may explain why I like the snow shirt and re-inforced seat!

Steffi Love Doll Giveaway!

Steffi Love is the popular fashion doll and now girls can make their pop star dreams come true with the new Superstar fashion doll range.

To celebrate the launch of the range, Steffi Love has,for the first time,become a real life popstar, in the form of former X-Factor contestant, pop singer, fashionista and lead vocalist of hit girl band The Dolly Rockers Sophie King. Steffi released her first single Real Good Time on iTunes this summer and will be releasing more in the run up to Christmas.

The Steffi Love Superstar toy range, available now from all good retailers and includes:

Singing SuperstarSteffi Love's music career started with a bang, with the release of 'Real Good Time', and this Steffi fashion doll comes wearing Steffi's dance outfit from the actual music video. If you press Steffi's necklace she even sings the chorus. There is also a echo microphone so you can sing along too. 

Backstage Superstar: Here’s an opportunity to collect Steffi's backstage wardrobe from the "Real Good Time" shoot. Backstage Steffi also comes with loads of accessories and two exclusive outfits that aren’t available anywhere else.

Dress-up SuperstarHere's your chance to be just like Steffi with your own iconic pink dress from the 'Real Good Time' music video. Just like the one Steffi wears, plus it also includes Steffi's gold necklace and white shoes - as well as an echo microphone to sing along – so you can dress up just like her! All with a matching Steffi Love fashion doll wearing the same Superstar outfit. 

Each of these dolls comes with an invite to Steffi's online VIP club with access to exclusive games and videos at www.steffilove.co.uk.

There are over 40 Steffi Love dolls to collect in total including Animal Doctor, Fashion Princess (Cinderella), Riding Tour, Bike and Tour, Wedding and Night Ride - so something to please any little girl.

I have been offered one of the latest Steffi Love dolls to giveaway to one of my readers. Just complete the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Matt Hatter Action Figure Giveaway!


Matt Hatter Chronicles fans will be excited to hear that a new toy range has launched in the UK. The CITV hit, Matt Hatter Chronicles, is a pulse-pounding CG-animated comedy adventure designed to thrill boys aged 4-9.

Kids can bring their favourite Matt Hatter scenes to life with the brand new range of toys. True to the popular CITV show, the must-have toy collection allows kids to re-enact Matt and his friends’ quest to rid the Multiverse of Lord Tenoroc’s fearsome Super Villains! Who will become the ultimate Hatter Hero as kids re-live the awesome adventures of the Matt Hatter Chronicles?

Matt Hatter Chronicles follows schoolboy Matt Hatter as he moves from New York to London, living in Notting Hill’s famous Coronet Movie Theatre. It’s here that he discovers a huge family secret – the Hatters are guardians of a secret dimension known as the Multiverse, the gateway to which is accessed through one of the Coronet movie screens. Famous villains from adventure flicks screened at the Coronet have escaped into the Multiverse and under the direction of the fiendish Lord Tenoroc are wreaking havoc. As the next Hatter Hero it’s up to Matt to clean up the mess and recapture all the Super Villains. He’s got to catch them all!

There are an array of toys in the Matt Hatter range, from action vehicles to role play toys. The good news is that one of my readers has the chance to win a Matt Hatter Action Figure in my latest giveaway! Fantastic if you are starting to think about Christmas presents. Just complete the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/matt-hatter-action-figure#sthash.hKPMGzWV.dpuf

Monday, 13 October 2014

Homework: A Parent and Teachers Perspective

There has been a lot in the meda recently about homework. Claims that it is damaging to young children and taking away their right of family time. I have my own views on homework, as a parent of young children and as having been a secondary school teacher for a number of years.

Big man is 6. He loves playing in the park, making leaf soup and collecting sticks. After spending most of the day at school, I believe that he should be doing these things. He should be playing with his brothers and using his imagination. By the time he's got home from school, had a snack, dinner and a bath, there is very little time left for him to do this and even less when you factor in homework.

Each week, big man has a maths sheet, spellings and a literacy exercise. This is on top of the reading he should be doing every night. It is a organisational nightmare at the best of times trying to get 3 children to bed, but trying to encourage big man to do his homework on top of this makes it even harder. Whilst I do accept that it is beneficial to his learning, I feel that it is excessive. He is being forced to grow up too quickly and he finds it hard coming home from school and being expected to do additional work.

As a teacher at secondary school, I also had issues with homework. In the lower school (years 7-9) I believed that very little homework was necessary if (and the keyword here is, if) the children concentrated in lessons. Parents seemed to want their children to be set homework and would complain if there wasn't enough. As a teacher, however, collecting it in was a soul destroying task. Kids "forgot" or "Didn't understand it." They never seeked help before the due date. The general quality was poor. More time was spent chasing students and issuing detentions than marking it. In my personal opinion if children worked hard in the first place and then just read over their work every couple of weeks then it would be enough. At GCSE practice exam questions would be a better alternative to homework. I suppose it all goes down to the attitude of the student. A high achieving student would look over their notes whether a teacher asked them to or not. In turn most parents with a child at primary would do reading and learning games with their children. However, on the basis my child went to school and I was given a sheet on how to read books with my children, maybe I am wrong. Just because my children have been exposed to reading from the day they were born, others will not be as lucky. That makes me sad. That is probably the reason that everyone is set homework, although I question whether it makes any difference if there is a lack of parental support there in the first place.

I know that people will have mixed views on this subject. Whilst I agree that some work is required I do resent so much at such a young age. I will, however, ALWAYS support the teachers of my sons and would never allow them to not do their homework. More than anything, I believe that teachers and parents need to work together. I don't like homework hanging over a weekend and try to get big man to complete it on a Friday so he really can have a break. At least then he can have 2 days of just being a 6 year old. What do you think?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Don't Rock The Boat Review and Giveaway


This week we have been sent Don't Rock The Boat to review. One of the problems I find with games is that there are very few that all three of the children can play together. Although this game is aimed at children 5+ with a little help, my three were able to enjoy it together. The idea is simple. Firstly you assemble your pirate ship and balance it on the high sea. Then you take it in turns to place a pirate penguin on the boat. Without the boat falling over.


The idea is simple but it is actually lots of fun. The penguins can be placed anywhere on the boat. All the boys enjoyed playing it several times in a row. Although there was some frustration when they rocked it!


As a parent, I liked the fact that it was easy to disassemble and fit neatly back in the box. With Christmas coming up I would certainly recommend this game for children of similar ages to mine.

The makers of the game University Games have kindly offered me another game to giveaway to one of my readers. Just complete the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to enter my other giveaways here!

Listed on Superlucky

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/dont-rock-boat-game#sthash.7TMLvEK7.dpuf