A Strong Coffee

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.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Family Film Night And Fajitas


This weekend we were lucky enough to enjoy a family film night and fajitas thanks to Santa Maria. I decided to choose Rango. It's a story about a theatrical chameleon who finds his tank dropped in the highway leaving him stranded in the dessert. Middle man got abut upset at this as he thought it was Reggie the gecko and started panicking that he would get hurt. Luckily all was fine and Rango found himself in the extremely dry dessert looking for water. It unravels that a rather mean tortoise was in control of the water and kept the villagers at his mercy with hope that water would come. This film is really suited to slightly older children as the plot is a bit difficult for younger ones to follow. There is also a fair bit of fighting and a rattlesnake with a machine gun tail! Big man enjoyed this Wild West themed movie, and as a kids movie I quite enjoyed it too.

After cuddling up on the sofa we got to enjoy some Fajitas. Just incase you were wondering Santa Maria is the new name for Discovery. My husband and boys were so keen on the nachos and onion and garlic dip that I didn't even get a chance to photo them!

We love the squeezy salsa and guacamole as it's so handy to have them in the fridge, if like us you enjoy fajitas on a regular basis.

Santa Maria have kindly offered one of my readers a selection of their products so they can see how good they taste for themselves. Just complete the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

- See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/santa-maria-fajita-selection#sthash.t75USYdV.dpuf

We were given a selection of Santa Maria products and DVD in order to write this post, but the opinions here are my own.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Hidden Vegetable Cottage Pie


When my children were toddlers they ate anything and everything. Unfortunately they then became fussy eaters. Big man will announce to others that he "doesn't eat courgette." This is partly true. He doesn't eat courgette if it is in a big chunk he can pick out. Grate it and he will not know it is there.

With the cold weather fast approaching I love comfort food and one of my favourite recipes is cottage pie. It is great to freeze too so I often cook a large one that can be half eaten then popped in the freezer.


500g of lean minced beef
1 red onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 grated carrots
1 grated courgette
1 tube of tomato puree
1 oxo cube dissolved in 500ml of boiling water
Maris Piper potatoes (enough to cover your dish)
Grated cheese

Start by browning the mince and onion and garlic. Put your potatoes on to boil.


Add the grated carrot and corgette and cook for a further 5 minutes.


Add the tomato puree stock and red wine. Simmer until the sauce reduces, Then place in the bottom of your dish.

Mash the Maris Piper potatoes with some butter and place on top of the mince. 

Add grated cheese. If you are eating straight away put it under the grill to brown. If if is for later just heat it up in the oven. I like to serve mine with peas.


Big man happily ate his cottage pie with no complaints of any courgette being present.
This post is an entry for #FluffyMarisPiper Linky Challenge sponsored by Potato Council. Learn more here.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Zip Stix Challenge


Zip Stix have challenged bloggers to show off their stunts using Zip Stix. These pocket money toys are a bit like small slap bands and the idea is that you can use a launcher to perform stunts with and knock over objects. Unfortunately, I seem to have got old and lost the ability to operate such simple things. Luckily big man found it much easier than me with a little practice. Here he is showing how to use them.

They are a simple toy that my boys seem to like. There are 72 zip stix in total to collect. Just set up your stunt, place your zip stix in the launcher and press down on it to get it to roll up and fire.


I think these would make a great stocking filler with Christmas coming up. Big man recommends getting a pack which has cones in as he likes knocking these down.

We're going on an adventure

We were given the Zip Stix pack for the purpose of this review but the opinions here are my own.