A Strong Coffee

Friday, 30 September 2016

Win Howard Lovecraft And The Frozen Kingdom On DVD

Howard Lovecraft And The Frozen Kingdom On DVD

As soon as the school term starts, my boys are asking how long it is until Halloween. They love getting dressed up in cute outfits and watching some fun spooky films.

Lionsgate have a new film to enjoy this Halloween. Howard Lovecraft and the frozen kingdom is rated PG and now out on digital download, with the DVD release on Monday 3rd October.

Frightened little boy Howard Lovecraft receives warning from his father about a legendary book, said to open a portal to another world. Ignoring all talk of doom, he accidentally uses the book to travel to a mysterious land inhabited by strange creatures and where danger lurks around every corner. There he befriends a great and monstrous creature whom he calls Spot and together they embark on an adventure into the Frozen Kingdom. So join Howard and Spot in this fantastical tale and discover that there is nothing to fear when there’s a friend at your side.

Based upon the popular graphic novels by H.P. Lovecraft, Howard Lovecraft and the frozen kingdom can be preordered on DVD from Amazon.

I also have the chance for one of my readers to win a copy of the DVD. Just complete the Gleam entry below. Good Luck! 

Howard Lovecraft And The Frozen Kingdom On DVD

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Making Time For Me (And Some New Glasses.)

Cath Kidston Glasses from Speacavers

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about what to say to a Mum whose youngest is starting school. As a result, last week, I tried to make some time for myself inbetween running around after the children. I even found myself at Go Ape, hanging with my thigh stuck through a metal hoop. Just call be Bridget Jones the second.

I also we went shopping for the first time in I don't know how long. When you look back at pictures of you taken 8 years ago and you are still wearing the same jumper it can say one of two things. 1. That is a very high quality jumper and a timeless piece if fashion. 2. You need a new wardrobe. In my case it was the latter!

I was therefore delighted when Specsavers asked me if I would like to review a pair of their new Cath Kidston glasses. Just like clothes, glasses are a major part of your appearance and there is no reason why you shouldn't have a few pairs to go with your outfit. I love Cath Kidston prints. I have even been on a Cath Kidston inspired cake decorating course! I was therefore interested to see what the new range of glasses would look like. Most of the Cath Kidston detailing is on the arms of the glasses. Subtle and not over powering.

arm of Cath Kidston Glasses

I had a quick eye test to check that my prescription hadn't changed and then tried on a few pairs. My decision was pretty easy and I went for these beauties. You can see the shapes of the Cath Kidston glasses on the Specsavers website, but I would suggest going into store to have a proper look as it is the arms that have the patterns on. They come in the buy one get one free offer as well so you can get a spare. If you chose a big pair like mine, I would recommend upgrading your lenses to have the anti glare coating. They will explain in store how this makes a difference but it will help with the glare from lights at night as well as there being less of a reflection when people look at you.

They come in a lovely case with a beautiful cleaning cloth. Who knows it might even tempt me to clean mine as it is so pretty! (Ssshhhh I don't usually use my jumper and scratch my lens' - honest!)
I also received a 15% off voucher when spending £35 at Cath Kidston and a Specsavers golden ticket, entitling me or a friend to a discount on Specsavers glasses within the next 6 months. Bargain!

I am really pleased with my new glasses and also pleased that I have started to make some time for me. Of course having a job that you love helps with the me time too, so I will be baking more in the coming weeks and have decided that I will be looking into some healthy recipes too. Afterall, if I have just bought a whole new wardrobe, I don't want to ruin it by baking too many cakes resulting in an expanding waistline. Maybe my next task should be how to take a good selfie?


How do you spend your me time?

I received the eye test and a voucher to purchase the basic set of glasses for the purpose of this post. I paid a small amount to upgrade my lenses.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Mother's Day DVD: Win 1 of 3 Copies!

Mother's Day DVD

Coming to digital download and DVD this October is the film Mother's Day. With a star studied cast including Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson it is sure to be a treat. Mother's day is a romantic comedy which is a sweet and moving tale of family life. This clip of giving their Mum the present for their Step Mother did make me chuckle! 

In the film there are only a few days left before Mother’s Day and several families have to come to terms with how they’ll be spending the big day. Whether it’s dealing with a new love, a lost love, or no love at all, this Mother’s Day will prove to be unforgettable! It also contains one of my favourite comedians Jack Whitehall.

Mother's Day clip

Mother's Day is available to download on digital, DVD and Blueray on Monday 3rd October. You can pre-order your copy from Amazon now.

I am also excited to be able to offer three of my readers the chance to win the DVD. Just complete the Gleam entry below. Good Luck!

Mother's Day DVD (3 winners!)

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

My 5 Top Lunchbox Tips And A Halloween Bento Box

Halloween bento box

When it comes to making a packed lunchbox it is easy to get stuck in a rut. Not really  knowing  what to put in your little one's lunchbox that they will enjoy and that is healthy. My boys can be fussy and there are limitations on what the school will allow due to allergies within the school. Packing a healthy lunchbox isn't as easy as you would think and a Flora commissioned survey reveals that only 1.6% of primary school children's packed lunches in England are meeting nutritional standards for school food.  I am as guilty as others of putting in too many  "junk" items. Yes my children would eat them and enjoy them, but it wasn't healthy for them. Thanks to the healthy lunch planner from Flora I am now full of ideas, as it simply shows you what types of food to put in a packed lunchbox. 

Flora lunchbox planner

Mix things up by using bagels instead of bread. Or why not try some vegetable pasta for a change?
With the help of the Flora lunchbox builder, I decided to create a healthy Halloween themed bento box. You can watch my video on this below.

So if like me, you are a busy parent that wants to make a healthy and nutritional lunchbox for your children, here are my top 5 tips.

1. Try new things. Don't stick with unhealthy choices that you know your child will eat. If there is a variety of things for your little one to choose from they will like some of it. If they are hungry they are sure to try more of it. Visit the Flora site for some healthy lunchbox recipes.

2. If you are short of time in the mornings, make the lunchbox the night before. You are more likely to grab unhealthy choices if you are in a rush.

3. Make sure that you are making a nutritionally balanced lunchbox by using the Flora lunchbox builder,

4. Small pots or silicon cake cases are great for dividing up small portions of food and can be re-used. 

5. Make it as easy as possible for them to eat the fruit. If there is an orange, peel it. If there are grapes cut them up (length-ways to avoid choking.)

Have you got any good ideas for healthy lunchboxes that you would like to share?

Pin it for later:
Healthy lunchbox tips and a halloween bento

This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Danish Pastries: Pecan & Maple and Marzipan & Apricot

danish pastries

For pastry week on the GBBO I decided to have a go at Danish Pastries. I opted for two different fillings: pecan and maple syrup and marzipan with apricot jam.

For the pastry recipe itself I opted for Paul Hollywood's recipe. It takes a long time as you need to leave it overnight and it makes loads. I decided to freeze half the dough after I made it, or we would be eating danish pastries for breakfast, lunch and dinner! They are, however, delicious.

For the pastry you will need:

500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
80g caster sugar
10g insrant yeast
2 eggs
90ml cool water
125g tepid milk
250g unsalted butter

Start by adding all the above ingredients, expect the butter to a mixing bowl. I got to test out my new food mixer, by using the dough hook and mixing on low for 2 minutes and medium for a further 6.

Leave to rise in the fridge for 1 hour.

The roll out into a rectangle approximately 1cm thick. Thin the butter out and put on the first 2/3 of the dough. Fold it over three times. Leave for an hour in the fridge and repeat this process a further 2 times.

Now leave overnight in the fridge.

Pecan and Maple Danish Pastries

For the filling you will need

60g Pecan nuts
1tbsp maple syrup
1tbsp soft brown sugar

Icing sugar and a little water to make the drizzle.

Finely chop the pecan nuts and mix with the brown sugar and maple syrup.

Roll the dough into an rectangle. Cover with the nut mixture and roll up. Cut into dish and squash these down on some baking parchment. Leave to rise. (I put half of theses into the freezer at this point.)

Bake at 180C until golden brown.

Allow to cool before making up a small amount of icing and drizzling it over the danish pastries.

Marzipan And Apricot Pinwheels

For the filling you will need:

Apricot jam

Cut small squares from the rolled out dough of approximately 4cm by 4cm.

At each corner cut a diagonal line that goes 1cm before the middle.

Roll a thin piece of marzipan and place in the middle.

Add a teaspoon of apricot jam.

Fold the sides into the centre to make the pinwheel shape.

Bake at 180C until golden brown

I am pleased to report that my boys though that these were worth the wait!

Pin it for later:

Danish pastries. Pecan and maple and marzipan and apricot jam

Mummy Mishaps


First Week Of School

I can't quite believe that little man has completed his first week of school. When big and middle man started school I never had that feeling that they were ready. Little man was ready last September. I guess it's a third child thing. He see's his brothers and wants to be like them. School has been a long time coming for both him and me!

So what has the first week been like?

He has been fantastic. He asks me to come to his door to watch walk in and I get a few cuddles on the way before he bounces off with his bookbag in hand. No looking back. He seems to have been making friends but does not see the need for worrying about what their names are.

Of course with it being reception we have had more than our fair share of recycling returned to us. He actually bought home an empty innocent smoothie box one day so that he could put a soft toy in it. No decoration. Nothing! We have had a rocket ship too which has just made me feel bad about my housewife skills. I don't even iron let alone have scented ironing water! Now I have the job of trying to remove these pieces of art from the house. Easier said than done. No doubt I will blame it on Daddy getting confused and putting it in the recycling.

It was Thursday night that little man put the fear of God into me. "Travelling Piglet will be going home with someone this weekend" little man announced with a wide grin on his face. Oh my, how could I have forgotten about that grubby little pig? More importantly, how on earth is it still in one piece? Big man looked after him 5 years ago. Complete with his Estee Lauder wash bag. Clearly this piglet is well looked after! I am pleased to report that his teacher doesn't hate me as much as I feared as we haven't been asked to look after his this weekend. That black cloud will be over our heads for a bit longer I guess.

Talking of black clouds we also have Biff, Chip and Kipper back in our lives. Little man, upset my the lack of homework he has received is demanding we read the ones we have at home. (I knew I should have binned them when I had the chance. Third time round of their exploits is not a reading journey I cherish.)

So at the moment it is so far, so good. He is extremely tired and most nights there have been tears about nothing, but that will soon pass. My little man is now trying his hardest to be a big boy and he is thriving.

Bubbablue and me school days linky

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Slow Cooked Hunter's Chicken

slow cooked hunter's chicken

Slow cooked hunter's chicken is a perfect school night dinner. If you are like me, you will find cooking at 5 o'clock with ravenous children a nightmare. I never seem to get the timing's right and the boys just need to eat - immediately! As autumn has rolled in, I have got the slow cooker out and everything has become easier. I can put the slow cooker on at lunchtime and then dinner is ready to go for when their hunger overtakes them.

To serve 4 you will need:

4 chicken breasts
Streaky bacon
BBQ sauce
Grated cheese

Wrap each chicken breast in streaky bacon and place in the slow cooker on low.

chicken wrapped in bacon

After 3-4 hours remove any excess water. 

The spread BBQ sauce over each chicken breast and sprinkle with grated cheese. 

Once this is melted serve with jacket potato and steamed vegetables.

You are sure to find some more slow cooker recipes on the blog over the coming months. What is your favourite slow cooked meal?

Pin it for later:
slow cooked hunter's chicken