A Strong Coffee

Monday, 15 October 2018

Eufy RoboVac 11S Review

I had never really considered a need to a robot vacuum until an e mail dropped in my inbox asking me if I would be interested in reviewing the Eufy Robovac 11s.

I was having one of those days. It was my "day off" which meant I was supposed to be keeping on top of the housework, catching up with blogging and planning my next weeks lessons. My job always comes first so at least one thing was ticked off my to do list. My house? Well that was a mess. I didn't have time to vacuum. As I read the email I thought maybe this product would work for someone like me. The thought of sticking Eufy on whilst I was working would help me multi task.

When Eufy arrived, the first thing I needed to do was to attach its sweepers and find a place where we could leave it to charge. I went for a spot in the conservatory as it needs 1m clear either side and 2m to the front. I am rubbish when it comes to instruction manuals so I pressed go and watched it clean my lounge when I got on with my work.

You do need the floor to be clear for the robovac to work well and our biggest problem is wires. We tend to have chargers in most sockets and these can get tangled up. In the box there are some cable ties to help tidy up these wires.

The 11S can collect a surprising amount of dirt and will alert you if it needs emptying. I tend to just empty it after I have done each room.

The problems I have found with Eufy:

1. He can't do the stairs, so you still need a handheld as well. However, he is rather clever and knows where the stairs are and wont fall down them!

2. He is a little slow. No really a problem as such, but you could vacuum the room much quicker than it takes for Eufy to do it.

3. Eufy finds it difficult to return home to charge. That is due to our house being large and open plan. In a smaller room this would be fine and it is no hardship putting him back in his charging unit.

Things I love about Eufy:

1. He cleans under our bed and sofa. I don't think I had ever managed to move the bed before to clean under it so this is a great way of making our bedroom dust free.

2. The boys like him. As you can see I am referring to a vacuum as though it is a pet. But that is how we see him. My boys have actually cleaned their rooms so that they can let Eufy tidy up. They also love using the remote control to pick up any bits that you can see he has missed.

3. I can multitask. I can vacuum and work, or vacuum and clean the another room all at the same time.

The best way for you to understand Eufy is to see him in action so I have made a short video.

I am not quite ready yet to leave Eufy on his own. I have been using him for a few weeks but need to know him a little better to know what he can and can't do before I program him to clean when I am out. We do have him set to come on at 6 o'clock every evening.

Eufy Robovac 11s is something I never realised I even needed, but has fitted so well into family life. As a busy working mum, vacuuming is now one less thing that I have to worry about. If you would like your own Eufy then the 11S Robovac has an RRP of 219.99 and can be purchased from the Eufy website with free shipping.

Family Fever

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Meal Planning Monday

This week is going to be a busy one where I am mainly going solo on the parenting front. Therefore, quick easy meals for a tired working mum to make is the way of the day.

I am pleased to say that we now have a new cooker so I may have to do some baking at the weekend to test it out properly. The oven has been on its way out since we bought the house over a year ago. It has been burning one side of a cake and leaving the other side uncooked. So hopefully now, if it goes wrong it is down to me! Top of my list of things to bake is this rather delicious Gin and Tonic Drizzle Cake.

This weeks meal plan:

Monday: Wraps. Maybe chicken, maybe tuna. Either way, the boys need to eat them early as they are off to karate.

Tuesday: Spaghetti Carbonara. Little mans favourite meal.

Wednesday: Sausage and mash

Thursday: Spaghetti Bolognase.

Friday: To be honest it is likely to be takeaway or pizza.

Saturday: Sweet and sour chicken

Sunday: Roast Pork


Vegan Meringue

Todays post is a prime example of why you should watch The Great British Bake Off before attempting any of the technical challenges. I have to admit that vegan baking is not something I have ever really done. Well until now!

vegan meringue
Not a showstopper but it tasted good.

I decided that I would go for a vegan meringue as I was mainly intrigued on how you could actually make meringue without eggs. I went with the BBC Good Food recipe as it looked easy. It could have, however, done with adding a few more tips.

All you need is the drained water from a can of chickpeas and some sugar.


Not really.

I beat the chickpea water for what seemed like forever, and although it slightly thickened it wasn't anything like the consistency of egg whites that I would usually use. Lets just say I wasn't going to tip it over my head! I concluded (wrongly) that it was probably fine, so slowly added the sugar.

I baked the meringue in my failing oven and it didn't rise as I would have liked. It was also slightly over cooked. I now have a new oven so no more excuses for burning things.

The meringue may not have looked like I had imagined. But what did it taste like? Meringue! The boys gobbled it up and then I enjoyed telling them that it was made out of chickpea water.

Have you tried making Vegan meringue before? How long do you actually have to whisk it for?

To see other bloggers vegan bakes, head over to Mummy Mishaps.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

My Children's Colourful School Adventures #ACEforschool

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I shared my top 5 tips for making breakfast time hassle free. My number one tip was for the boys to check their uniform the night before so I would do a quick wash if they didn't have any clean uniform. Having three young boys means that there are always mountains of washing in our house. Sometimes when I see their school polo tops I could actually cry. I mean what colourful adventures do they get up to at school? Their yellow tops are covered in stains.

Often I look at them trying to disguise my horror. "What have you been up to at school today?" I ask in astonishment that they are so dirty. 

"Um, I can't remember" is often the answer. 

"You can't remember? It is literally 3.15 and you have just walked out of the door." I say with a puzzled look on my face.

"Oh, I have an accident slip." 

"I gathered that from looking at your top" I say. Honestly, little man must be the clumsiest kid in the school. Barely a day goes by when he hasn't fallen over. On really bad occasions (more crying than usual) a sticker is provided. The school must know that I have become blind to all the incident slips so they pop it on just to make me aware of concussion!

Anyway, I digress, the boys aren't able to tell me where these stains come from. A trip to the park after school does enlighten me a bit. They seem to like skidding down hills on their stomachs. Digging in the dirt with their hands and dropping whatever they eat down themselves.

My laundry basket is over flowing, and the stains are everywhere. ACE have sent me some of their products to help me out. For the stubborn stains there is ACE Stain Remover and for keeping their yellow polo shirts bright, ACE Colours.

In my doubting way, I made sure I used some of the boys oldest and most stained shirts to test out the products. I was concerned they may bleach the coloured shirts, but they were fine. Some of the stains were so bad that I wouldn't have expected them to come out, but I now have the confidence to use the ACE for Colours on the new tops I have just bought. If I can keep them that bit cleaner from day one, it will just help the last longer.

Tell me I am not alone with the dirty school tops. Have your children ever eluded to how they became that way?

This post is an entry for the BritMums  #ACEforSchool Challenge, sponsored by ACE. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper or to buy head to your local Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Waitrose or Sainsbury’s.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Secret Science: The Amazing World Infront Of Your Eyes Review

I am a fan of Dara O'Briain on Mock The Week, but will his new book, Secret Science: The Amazing World Infront Of Your Eyes, capture the interest of my boys?

Secret Science: The Amazing World Infront Of Your Eyes Review

My eldest is nearly 11 and for some time I struggled to get him reading any fiction books. He was all about facts and he follows in the footsteps of his mother, with a love of science. I therefore felt that this book from Dara O'Briain would be worth a read for him.

When I received the book, I had a flick through myself. It is written as Dara talks and you can tell that he has a passion for the subject. Having studied mathematical physics at University College Dublin, I think we can safely say that Dara can make science interesting. For me as an adult, the biggest problem with this book was all the different font sizes. I know it is meant to make things interesting but I find it distracting. Luckily my boys love books like Tom Gates which have a similar style and it wasn't a problem for them.

Secret Science: The Amazing World Infront Of Your Eyes

Every week my son has to write a book review for school so here is what my 10 year old thinks so far (he is very near the end, so he must have enjoyed it!)

"This week the book has been quite interesting. I found out why your hair is all messed up in the morning and that video games are good for your eyesight and attention span. I also learned the different stages of sleep (going to sleep, light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep.)"

Thanks Dara for giving my boy a scientific argument as to why he should be playing Fortnite!

I am pleased that he is enjoying the book and it is lovely when he comes downstairs to tell me another fact. He was ipssemred taht you can raed wdors in a dfifreent oderr as lnog as the fsrit and lsat ltetres are the smae. There I am now playing with fonts too!

Secret Science by Dara O'Briain is published by Scholastic and is available now. with an rrp of £12.99.
Family Fever

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Minced Beef Pasties

This week saw pastry week on GBBO and me, once again, running out of time to actually bake. Whilst I would have loved to bake an intricate pie, I am afraid that a more simple approach was needed and I went for minced beef pasties instead.

Minced Beef Pasties

I used to loved these as a child. My mum would make them (I think using shop bought pastry which quite frankly is easier!) We would have them with gravy, baked beans and most important of all, brown sauce.

We used to call them Cornish pasties, but after googling similar recipes, I don't want to offend any Cornish people so we will just call them minced beef pasties, which are a bit like Cornish ones. They went down pretty well with the boys and big man didn't even complain about addition of swede. His littlest brother was not so happy with this unusual vegetable that he managed to pick out!

This recipe made 5 pasties.

Minced Beef Pasties

Minced Beef Pasties

  • 225g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 2tbsp water
  • A small potato
  • Half a small swede
  • 200g minced beef
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Egg wash (optional)
  1. Pre heat the oven to 180℃
  2. Rub the butter and flour. Add the water slowly to make a dough. 
  3. Peel and chop the swede and potato into thin squares.
  4. Fry this along with the garlic and mince.
  5. Roll the pastry thinly and use an individual pie dish to cut around.
  6. Place a couple of tablespoons of the miced beef mixture into the pastie and pinch the sides to enclose the mixture.
  7. Cut a couple of air holes and was with egg. Bake until golden brown

To see what other bloggers have been baking, head over to Mummy Mishaps.

Meal Planning Monday

Another busy week, with time flashing by fast. How on earth can it be half term in two weeks? Last weeks meal plan went a little off plan and ended with my husband outing me as a fake when he didn't get toad in the hole on Monday night! Good news was that my lamb dhansak recipe works well in the slow cooker, so I will try it that way again as it is so easy. This week my husband is away quite a bit so I have bought some easy meals to help out. Just hoping my cooker doesn't break as it is starting to make some really bad noises and we need it replacing ASAP.

Monday: Roast chicken.

Tuesday: Sweet and sour chicken

Wednesday: Garlic pork as we never got round to eating it last week.

Thursday: Sausage and mash

Friday: Fajitas and nachos

Saturday: Roast pork.

Sunday: Cottage pie