Sunday, 21 September 2014

weekend

We've had a lovely weekend. Both children were home. On Saturday we did the usual swim/ gym/ shopping things. Then went to my aunt's. One of her dogs had puppies  in August. I can't believe how they have grown!



There are 6 of them altogether. Cute little terrors! The one at the top loved Dylan's trainers he is called chunk as he is the biggest. The one Stephanie has sat with her, and is also in the lower picture is Pippa.

Today Stephanie and I went to buy a suitcase, she is going on Brownie camp and our handy sized one has a broken zip. So we popped to Matalan and got a new one. It was meant to cost £22 but they had a 30% off for members day so I only paid £15.40! That was a happy surprise. We then went to  a local country park where they were having a countryside day.

decorating a frisbee






We watched the man making this owl. It was fascinating to watch.


Decorating a butterfly.
 
We had a fabulous time.
 
When we got home I sent Stephanie out to the garden to collect some carrots for dinner.
 

I love how home grown carrots grow!
 



Saturday, 13 September 2014

Colman's English mustard

I was contacted a few weeks ago to see if I would like to review some Colman's English mustard. This year is the Colman's 200 year anniversary! As part of their anniversary celebrations they have released some jars of Mustard with celebratory pictures of the brand. I was sent 3 jars of mustard to trial.The information I was sent from the brand;

This year, celebrate the 200th anniversary of one of Britain’s best loved brands, Colman’s, with its three limited edition mustard jars.
 
The new jars have been inspired by a stunning collection of vintage adverts used by Colman’s throughout the past two centuries and highlight the proud history and rich heritage of the brand.
The unique designs include slogans and images from Colman’s iconic advertising campaigns. The polar bear image signifies the medicinal properties that were traditionally associated with mustard, from relieving tooth-ache to curing colds, whilst the ‘Meat needs Mustard’ and butchers image communicate the historic link between Colman’s and meat.
 
Colman’s was created by Jeremiah Colman at his Norwich factory in 1814.  Subsequently granted the Royal seal of approval in 1866 - when Jeremiah was appointed mustard maker to Queen Victoria, it’s no surprise the iconic English mustard has earned pride of place on the great British dinner table.
 
Lola Danlos, Brand Manager of Colman’s comments:
“We are delighted to be launching these celebratory jars and embrace the opportunity to delve into the rich history of our brand to mark such a special milestone. These images vividly showcase the heritage of Colman’s and exude the personality so unique to this long standing family favourite.
 
Enjoyed for so many years, we hope the vintage labels rekindle the charming history of Colman’s and remind us all why it remains one of Britain’s most famous and loved brands today, and for many more years to come.”
 
The unique jars filled with Colman’s Original English Mustard will be a perfect collector’s item and a charming addition to any family meal table. Colman’s has been at the heart of British meals for two centuries, providing taste and quality that families know they can rely on.
 
Whether you put a fiery helping on your roast, stir generously into your gravy or lash onto your sandwich, mealtimes just wouldn’t be the same without Colman’s mustard.
 
The jars are available in all retailers with RRPs of £0.99 (100g) and £1.59 (170g).

I love the polar bear picture- it is my favourite picture of the 3!

I have to hold my hands up- I always thought that I do not like mustard. I have had it on hot dogs/ burgers etc and have not liked it at all. However, I know that my taste buds are changing and so I agreed to the review. It's good to try things we think we won't like sometimes. I have used the mustard in three recipes so far. And I am surprised to report- I have loved all of them! See changing taste buds. I actually thnnk that the mustard really improved my tried and trusted meals of cheesy pasta and fish pie, the first 2 recipes I tried. So tonight I decided to try an unkown meal- honey and mustard chicken. Again I loved it. I think it is official I now like MUSTARD! The children have both enjoyed the meals as well. Stephanie has on ly had the fish pie and cheesy pasta as she is at her Dad's tonight. But Dylan has also eaten all 3 meals and enjoyed them.

I used my tried and trusted cheese sauce recipe for the pasta, it's my fall too recipe for a simple sauce.

Cheesy pasta
cook pasta as per instructions. Whilst it cooks make the cheese sauce. I don't measure to make this sauce so I have given approx. amounts

ingredients for the sauce:
milk up to a pint
plain flour- large spoonful
margarine/ butter- dessert spoonful
Colman's English mustard.- 2 tablespoons
grated cheese

melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour. Slowly add a little milk at a time as the sauce thickens. I like to stir with a balloon whisk for this as it reduces lumps. When the sauce is the required thickness add the mustard and cheese. Cook for 3-4 minutes more.
Drain the cooked pasta and stir into the sauce.
Serve and enjoy. We had ours with left over roast gammon and steamed vegetables. Delicious.
This is making the sauce- I forgot to take a picture of the finished meal.


Fish pie.

Mashed potato
your favourite fish, this time we had salmon and haddock.
white sauce.

Steam your fish. Whilst it steams make your white sauce. It is the same sauce as above- without the cheese.

Once the fish, potatoes and sauce are all ready you are good to cook. Place the fish in the bottom of an oven proof dish. Stir in the sauce. Top with potato. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until golden. Serve with your favourite vegetables.

Ready for the oven. Again we got stuck in so quickly I didn't get a picture of the finished meal!



Honey and mustard chicken.

Chicken pieces.(I had drums and thighs in the freezer so I defrosted these for use, you could use breast fillets if that is what you have, or even wings.)
2 teaspoon of honey
2 teaspoons of mustard
2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.

Mix the honey, mustard and balsamic vinegar in an oven proof dish big enough to fit your chicken pieces in. When thoroughly mixed roll the chicken pieces in the sauce until well coated. I then left mine for a couple of hours, to marinade further. Although you could cook it at this point. When you are ready to cook place in a warm oven until cooked through. Checking several times to baste the chicken in the sauce.

 
This was a delicious dinner, that I will definitely be repeating.
 
 
Do you have any tried and tested mustard recipes that we might like to try? We have the taste for it now, and want to see what else we can make.
 
 
 
I did not receive any payment for this review, I did receive the 3 jars of mustard for free. As always this review contains my honest opinions.








Monday, 1 September 2014

School prep

This morning I had a
quiet start to the day- both children stayed at their dad's last night. I woke up around 6 read for a little while- a luxury that stops tomorrow! Then put the washing out before making breakfast and heading back to bed with it!!
Once I had eaten I stayed there just long enough to sew in all the name labels ready for the start of term. Thank goodness I only have to do one child's now- Dylan refuses to let me name label his clothes anymore ;-)

Didn't seem so much of  a chore laying in bed. It was soon finished then I had the lot to iron and put away. I got dressed and it was soon time for Stephanie to come home

We had some snuggles and  a catch up about how her weekend has been before she decided that as her last treat day of the holiday with me we would go swimming!

Stephanie has an extra couple of days of school than me and Dylan so she is off to spend a couple of days at her dad's house so she doesn't have to get up too early. Also it means that her Dad can take her to school for her first day of year 4- what happened to my little baby girl??!!




Saturday, 30 August 2014

Cooking evening

I have had a slow start to the day here. I got up Stephanie went off to her dad's for a couple of nights. Once she had gone I decided to do some paperwork ready for back t oschool next week. My aunt popped round and we had a good gossip and catch up. Once she left I got dressed. Dylan and I decided to try some new recipes for dinner tonight. We needed a few key ingredients (these will be used in our cooking all month for those that weren't all used today) so popped to the shop then got cooking. Here is what we had;

Starter; curry samosas
 
 
 
Main; piri piri chicken, potatoes and salad
 








dessert; lemon sponge
 
It was really nice to cook side by side. And the meal was delicious, we will definitely try it again. We haven't yet had any of the cake as we were so full after eating the rest. I'm sure we will have some soon though.
 
And the best bit is there is enough left to have it all over again another day. I love 'dinner revisited' especially when we enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed this.
 
What are your favourite meals to have as leftovers?
 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Daioni flavoured organic milks

I was recently contacted on behalf of the Daioni organic milk company to offer us a chance to sample some of their individual portions of milk drinks.

Stephanie and Dylan eagerly awaited their arrival, consumption time was delayed due to our being holiday.

So what are Daioni organic milk drinks? Well from their information that I was sent;

With the announcement that milk time is due back in schools from next year, Daioni, the Welsh organic milk brand is encouraging parents to give their child a head start when they go back to school in September, by putting milk cartons in their lunch boxes.
These handy 200ml cartons of dairy goodness are low in fat, sugar and free from all artificial colouring and come in 3 delicious flavours, chocolate, strawberry and banana meaning kids (Children) are certain to love it!
Produced on the family farm in Pembrokeshire, Wales, each chilled glass is full of Welsh goodness. A tasty alternative to standard milk, the small cartons are the perfect size for children's lunch boxes and offer them a much needed daily calcium fix.
Daioni flavoured organic milk drinks are available in Chocolate, strawberry and banana on Ocado, independent delis and cafes nationwide with an RRP of 0.79p for 200ml.

These are the three drinks we were sent. I shared them out between the children and the cousin who was visiting whilst we were sampling. Each child had a different favourite! Although the all said they liked all three. I had a little taste, I preferred the strawberry and least liked the chocolate. That is in line with my usual preferences to be fair- I don't like chocolate flavoured products as  a rule but tried. I didn't tell the children when I gave them the first drink. I just poured them out into clear glasses. As these drinks don't contain artificial colourings the strawberry and banana looked incredibly similar in the glass. All 3 children tasted and correctly identified it as banana flavour. They were surprised as they thought I had handed them plain milk! Strawberry much the same. Chocolate had a chocolate colouring to it. So they passed the taste test with flying colours.

Would I use them in lunches? I am always dubious of putting milk products in the children's lunches as I worry about them getting warm sitting on the classroom side each day. Now you could put in an ice block or pack to help keep them cool ion the insulated lunch bags which we use. So I would try this. The biggest problem for me to purchase these is the limited stockists local to me. as listed on the information I was given with the samples the current list of complete stockists;

Ocado
Waitrose (Wales only)
Able and Cole
Tesco Extra (Wales only)
Spar convenience stores (Blakemore owned)
Wholesalers
Castell Howell (Wales)
Harlech (Wales
Costwold Fayre
Creed food service
Brakes- supply Debenhams cafe's nationwide
KFF (Kent Frozen Foods)
Infinity Foods
Suma wholefoods
Essential trading


As yet I don't have these local to me except the Spar. Our local one doesn't have any in stock yet. But I will keep looking out for them. I love that their are no artificial colours in the drinks, and as the children could tell the flavours without them I think that speaks for itself as how tasty the drinks are!

A BIG THUMBS up from us for these tasty milk drinks.


I was not paid for this review, I was provided with a sample of the products for us to try. As always with reviews the opinions expressed in this post are my own (and my children's).


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Back to normality- almost!!

We had a horrendous journey home from Cornwall. There was a lot of traffic. According to Sat Nav it should have taken me around 5 hours to get home. It took 11 and a half! Tiring and dull indeed. even Stephanie asked if we could 'just stop at a Travelodge please'. We have never stopped off at a hotel before during a journey, however I have to admit to being tempted. We had regular stops to break up the boredom and finally got home.

We stopped at Eeter service to get a main meal once it became clear we were not getting home early enough for me to cook a meal. We ate at the EDC (Eat drink company). The staff were fantastic, they made a 'real' meal for Stephanie when she didn't want the children's options off the menu. She had a smaller piece of the fish, mashed potato and beans. Instead of the chicken nugget/fish finger/ burger chips options for children at these kind of places. As the traffic was heaving you could see that many customers were not remembering their manners when speaking to the staff. So much so that I was thanked for smiling at a staff member and being polite when told me meals would take 8 minutes to cook. I would rather my meals were being cooked for me and were hot when we received them. Stephanie loved that they let her have a small version of the adult menu and went over to thank the staff and tell them how delicious it has been once she had finished. You can tell what kind of a day it had been by how taken aback the staff member was by her kind words.

Stephanie learnt something about passing on smiles and brightening other peoples days during this journey not just to staff in the food court, but also when we found several lost items in the toilets and handed them in. At one services we went into a cubicle and there was someone's purse and car keys on top of the toilet roll holder. We had a good look around the bathroom and not seeing anyone actively looking we handed them into a staff member. Would you believe it a couple of services later we go into a toilet and find an ipad on the toilet roll holder! Again looked around couldn't see anyone frantically looking so took it to a staff member. Whilst washing our hands I saw a lady rush into the cubicle where we had found it gasp and look close to tears. I said I think I know what you are looking for, I found it I have given it to a staff member and told her where. When we came out of the toilets I saw her again with it in her hands saying to her companions I can't believe they handed it in. As I passed she thanked us again.

That's several smiles in one hellish journey. Sometimes it is easy to let your frustrations out on someone else. I challenge you to take a step back and instead of being frustrated see if you can make someone else smile instead- it certainly helps you to feel brighter. It doesn't need to be finding owners to lost (expensive! in our case) property. It could be as simple as singing and dancing in a stationary car in traffic. The reactions it causes on others stuck in their cars is amusing too. Try a little bit of grease lightning, frozen, meatloaf anything popular- you may even get another car joining in!! LMAO

Spread a smile- it's free!!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

lands end

I have a somewhat erratic signal here in Cornwall making it difficult to post, but easy to relax :-)

We went to landsend the other day. Once I had got over the £6 parking charge we had a fairly nice day. We wandered over the cliffs in all directions, found our way to another beach and gazed at some more stunning views. Cornwall really is a beautiful place!!