A Strong Coffee

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Meal Planning Monday

I have gone out of sync with meal planning at the moment and need to get back in the swing of things. Life is even busier at the moment with various school activities. Meal planning really helps take away a little of the stress. Monday’s are karate day so it’s always a simple meal. My boys love a roast so I am going to try and do these more often as they take little effort.

Monday: Frittata

Tuesday: Garlic pork

Wednesday: Roast chicken

Thursday: Fajitas

Saturday: Butternut squash and halloumi salad

Sunday: Roast beef and Yorkshire puddings

What have you got planned this week?


Sunday, 2 June 2019

[AD] Nostalgic About The Nineties

Maybe it is because it is my birthday today, reaching the grand old age of "I have stopped counting" that I have got all nostalgic about the nineties. Isn’t it strange how a song can transport you back in time? The smells, the sounds, the emotions of what was happening years ago. Sent back to exactly what you were doing for a moment in time. Infact, I can actually remember the first time that I saw the Spice Girls. Now how weird is that? 

Let me paint the picture for you. I was in my second year at Swansea University. It wasn't the best of years for me as I had to have time off due to glandular fever and my Nan passed away. We had a student rented house that was cold and pretty dingy. We brightened it up with an array of beer bottles from our nights out. One Saturday morning I distinctly remember watching kids TV on an old brown sofa under a blanket and the Spice Girls appearing. They oozed confidence (or should I say Girl Power?) I was confused as I had no idea who they were. However, I felt I should as they were coming across as people that were famous not a group who were trying to make it.

Mel C took part in some challenge where she was running around with a plate. She was wearing a tracksuit and doing jump kicks at every opportunity. Then the group formed and sang Wannab
e. Little did I know that I would soon be singing it at the student union bar. Nights where drink was too cheap and it was acceptable to serve a flaming sambuca in a plastic cup. But who cared if you got on the stage and got to sing zigazig ah!

Those were the good old days. There was no one to worry about except myself. Sleeping in until whenever I wanted. Lectures on campus followed by nights at the union. Finding who I was as a person and realising that I loved singing along to the Spice Girls.

So why am I telling you this? Well Walkers have teamed up with the Spice Girls to offer one lucky superfan]

If you missed the advert in the BGT ad break then 1. What were you doing and 2.watch it now.

So are you a superfan? You could still have a chance to win four VIP tickets s to the Spice Girls concert on Wednesday 15th June; an exclusive meet and greet with the girls, plus 5* accommodation and travel – it’s the ultimate prize for the best ever fan. Could that be you?

Post a Spice Girls related snapshot from back in the day, or to create something new and share on your social channels, tagging @Walkers_Crisps and hashtagging #BestEverFan. Check out Walkers website for the full details.

Do you love the Spice Girls enough that you would share your Walkers with them?

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Couch To 5K Week One

To anyone that knows me, the fact that I am doing couch to 5K may come as a bit of a shock. I am not a runner. I don't like running. I do not have the body of a runner. I have no aspirations to do a half marathon or anything like that. I may be convinced to do some kind of colour run if I make it further than a few weeks through the course.

The main reason I am doing couch to 5k is to try and get middle man more into the idea of fitness. The school have now decided to do fitness tests with the children. It is meant to be some kind of fun thing. I am not convinced at all. It is a measure of how fit the kids at the age of 5 onwards. Lets just say that middle man didn't do great in his first "test." He wasn't bothered by it, thankfully. I was. I was never any good at sport. I played netball at primary and then got to secondary school and was always one of the last kids to be picked in PE. We decided that we would give running a go to see if middle man and myself could up our fitness levels a bit.He liked cross country so I hope this will help. I am not sure how long it will last but a week in and I am still positive. If we can join the others on a park run in the summer I would be pretty happy.

I downloaded the app and have Michael Jordan egging me on as we run. To be honest the start is pretty easy. 60 mins of running followed by 90 mins of walking a number of times. After me tripping on the grass, we decided that it would be best to stick to paths where we can.

Middle man has enjoyed our first week, so hopefully we can get through week 2. To help us get through we are taking a photo at the end of each run.

Have you done couch to 5K? How did you find it?

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Ooze Labs Review And Giveaway

As a science teacher, I get as excited (sometimes more so) when the boys are sent STEM toys to review. Our latest items are The Ooze Lab Chemistry Station from Thames and Kosmos as well as some of their smaller single use slime sets.

The Ooze Lab Chemistry Station

The Ooze Lab Chemistry Station

I have to say that the ooze lab chemistry station is certainly one of the best science sets we have seen. The boys liked that it was set up as station and had syringes, test tubes and pipettes to name just a few. Infact there are 52 pieces in total.

We loved that some of the experiments are on recipe cards that can be placed on the station so you can read what you are doing easily. The set is aimed at ages 8+ and the explanations on the cards as to what happens in the experiment are full of information. I really liked this and would make the set great to any child in KS3 or 4 that likes science.

recipe card sunshine slime

We started by making the sunshine slime. This was so cool. The slime did take a lot of shaking to work, but was worth the effort. White indoors. Pink in UV. The slime lasted a couple of days before it went runny again and needed to be thrown away.

We also fancied trying some of the other experiments. Generally, as with most science kits, you need to have some other household ingredients like indigenisation tables, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar etc.

We decided to do the oozing bubbles experiment. Here you place some coloured dye (you get tablets in the set) and water in a test tube and top with oil. Then add a piece of indigestion tablet and watch a lava lamp style display. It was so cool.

I am really impressed with the set. The instructions are clear and experiments appealing. The boys have enjoyed it to and I expect it will be used more over the holidays. 

Ooze Labs Single Slime Tubes

ooze lab slime tubes

We were also give some smaller sets of slime. These are great as you are given everything to make the slime in a plastic test tube (which you can the keep it in.) Again a lot of shaking is required!

Middle man made up the glitter slime. The cardboard in the packaging enables the test tube to stand up when you are mixing your slime.

Warning: you will get glitter all over your hands!

These are a perfect stocking/party bag filler prices reasonably at £4 each. Other slimes in this range include the sunshine slime, glow in the dark slime and hypercolour slime.

I am excited to say that one of my readers has the chance to win 2 slime tubes. All you need to do is complete the Gleam entry below. Good Luck!

Ooze Labs Slime

Monday, 20 May 2019

3 Delicious Desserts And #Cookblogshare #21

These delicious desserts would be perfect to impress at a dinner party. 

#CookBlogShare has long been one of my favourite weekly cooking linkies. If you love cooking then it is a great place to share recipes and ideas as well as commenting on each others tasty posts.
There are three lovely regular hosts Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie, Jacqui at Recipes Made Easy and Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes There are also some guest hosts and this week sees my turn.
If you are new to this link party please take a moment to read the guidelines below.  Joining in is simple and you are welcome to share your old and new recipes.

Last weeks link up was over at Everyday Healthy Recipes. There were lots of lovelt recipes shared and I will have to try out this creamy chorizo pasta recipe soon. However, it was these 3 delicious desserts that really caught my eye.

Biscoff Cheesecake

Kat at The Baking Explorer shared the most amazing looking Biscoff cheesecake. Best of all is that it is no bake! The cheesecake itself is silky smooth with extra biscoff spread drizzled over it.

Red Wine Poached Pears.

Sylvie from The Foodie Journey shared these delicious red wine poached pears. After a big meal, a lighter desert is often a good option and these pears would be perfect. Poached in red wine with spices and brown sugar, your guests would have just enough room to fit these in.

Torta Caprese - The Italian Flourless Chocolate Cake

Balvinder from Simply Gluten Free Kitchen shared this moist looking Italian flourless chocolate cake.  The recipe uses blanched almond flour as well as good quality dark chocolate.I think it would be a real treat for everyone.

Thanks for sharing your recipes at #cookblogshare

#Cookblogshare Week 21

Want to join in with Cook Blog Share this week? Here is how:
Link up your recipe, sweet or savoury, or any foodie post to the #CookBlogShare link party.  Just click the blue Add your link button below and follow the instructions.

Cook Blog Share

Include this party’s link in your post (so everyone else can find it).
Add the #CookBlogShare badge to your post (see the NEW code below).
Please comment on at least two other recipes.

You can also post your recipes on the Cook Blog Share Facebook Page. I’ll visit all the blogs participating in the link party and share your recipes across all the major social media channels.

If you tweet a link to your recipe to me, @astrongcoffee1 using #CookBlogShare I will retweet it. Please use #cookblogshare when sharing your recipes on Instagram.

Next week's Cookblogshare will be over at Easy Peasy Foodie.

For GDPR purposes, please make note that by joining in you are giving the #CookBlogShare hosts permission to use your pictures in a round up and on social media, if your recipe is selected to be featured! Thank you for sharing your recipes with #CookBlogShare! 

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Sunday, 19 May 2019

Meal Planning Monday

Well we continue to speed through the year, Last week big and little man had their SATs which I am glad are out of the way. This week my day off will be spent going into school to help out. I amnot sure why I torture myself like this! Food this week will has a few old favourites in, and I am going to try and eat more fruit rather than snacking on unhealthy cakes and biscuits.

Sunday: Cheats Sweet and sour chicken. I have been craving this since Friday.

Monday: Cheesy egg and bacon muffins

Tuesday: Sausage and mash

Wednesday: S
crambled egg and chorizo

Thursday: Chicken Kiev

Friday: Sausage pasta

What have you got on this weeks meal plan?


SAT's Are Over

This blog post is for my biggest boy. He has been sitting his KS2 SATS this week. As a secondary teacher, I believe that they are pointless. Just another way to judge a school and judge the teachers. Put a number on a child as to whether they are capable of learning how to answer an exam in the way that is required. I know that secondary schools will do their own tests and make their own judgements. But on Sunday night I failed and got really annoyed with my son. Despite me whining on about spellings for the last 6 months he hasn’t really bothered to learn them. Let’s face it, a few hours before an exam is never the best time to start learning the vast numbers of words that a 10/11 year old is supposed to know.

I got angry. Made out his life depended on it. I was very very wrong.

His work ethic is somewhat slap dash, but he is an 11 year old boy. Maturity is a huge thing when it comes to exams. As children go he is pretty mature. Just not when it comes to learning spellings. His reading and comprehension is above that of his age and surely a love of reading is more important at this time.

In short I was wrong. I got caught up on whether he is “better” than other children of his age group when that’s not important. What is important is that he is inquisitive, polite and kind. Qualities that aren’t tested but mean more to me than being able to spell the word controversy. I can also tell you one thing for sure. If there were SATs for solving Rubik’s cubes then he would most definitely hit exceeding expectations.

Has you child sat their SATs this week?