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;

Waitrose (Wales only)
Able and Cole
Tesco Extra (Wales only)
Spar convenience stores (Blakemore owned)
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!!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


We arribed in cornwall yesterday afteRnoon. Its stunning! There is a beach/cove a picturesque 10 min walk from where we are stAying . Today we have walked a couple of milfound d found a lovely beach

Monday, 18 August 2014

all you need is...

SuI table clothing lol

At the harbour the other day Stephanie Said please can we climb on the Rocks please. I looked down at my feet. Hmmm

Not the most sensible choice of footwear. We will go a little way i said.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

hop aboard

Yesterday we went fir a ride on the ilfracombe princess. It was 2hour roundtrip to see the local ccoastline, lighthouse and seal colony.

We were very excited and ciuldnt wait to go. It was an ok day weather wise, sunny spells light winds nothing too much on land....

It was very windy once out in the Bristol channel though! I felt a little quest, let alone how my poor travel sick princess felt! Whoops.

The ride back to the harbwasn't as bad with the wind behind is rather than coming at us. It was a nice trip, the staff couldn't have been more helpful. Perhaps we will try again on a very still day inland! Lol

Saturday, 16 August 2014

exmoor pony centre

I  had booked asurprise for while we are away, a kickstart to our  holidays. we went horse riding,another item on ourbucket list in the end onlyStephanie and I rode Dylan had a funny turn while we weregrooming and so was unable to ride. Riding really US like learning to ride a bike. It has been around 17 years since I last rode, but it all came back to me quickly albeit with a few more nerves than I had as a teenager!

Excuse any errors I am posting from my phone while we are away and I can't see the post clearly.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Take 5 minutes out

Today has been a get ready for tomorrow kind of a day. We are going on holiday tomorrow, camping for a couple of weeks. Several destinations around the South of England. I will let you know where we are if I can get a signal as we go. My lovely sister is coming to housesit and to take care of our plants while we are away. So today has seen us taking Dylan to the orthodontist, filling the car, checking tyre pressure etc. ready for the long drives. And collecting a few last minute things which we should have already done, truth be told but its summer holidays we can be lazy if we want, right??! We had to pop out to get a map of the areas we are heading to, and the children have both outgrown their willies- why do they have to do this at the same time?
 So we found what we needed. While we were at the shops we found they were having a craft session. We do have a lot to do what with finishing packing etc. but we took 5 minutes out. Ok nearer 15 for Stephanie to join in :-)

It was a pirate theme craft, todays item was a parrot. I love how children immediately take something which has the potential to all be the same and make it their own. Every child started with the same basic picture, it was a print out of a parrot. They made them their own by dividing up into colours where the picture didn't 'dictate'. I love that. Hate when you see loads of children's pictures and you can't tell one from another. Stephanie loves her parrot- she named it Polly.

Here she is testing out Polly's tail feathers in the wind. Apparently they looked like they were dancing and that is just the look a pretty parrot needs!!

Monday, 11 August 2014

A little run

This morning Stephanie asked to go for a run when we got up. We had some toast first then we both pull on suitable clothes and trainers and head out. We set off at a jog which quickly becomes a walk :-)
We then decide to follow a footpath which we weren't entirely sure where it leads to, I did have a rough idea but to Stephanie we didn't know so that was exciting!

A quick pit stop every so often for sustenance
blackberries all over at the moment :-)

We didn't just run and walk though, we skipped, hopped, galloped, side stepped. you name the move we probably tried it! All the way around in the end we totalled up 3.6 miles together. Its was lots of fun and Stephanie enjoyed pausing on the bridges over the roads for breath. Well it would have been rude not to wave at the drivers heading off for work etc. as they passed. She was very pleased as she got 3 lorry drivers to sounds their horns and 5 car drivers to wave. Exciting stuff!

When we got home we made smoothies using frozen fruits. And then decided they would make nice ice lollies too. So we found a few things to use as moulds. The two tom and jerry ones are intended for this purpose, the others are a variety of Tupperware pots.

a splash of apple juice, a handful of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, banana and a dash of water.
Quick whizz in the blender then into the moulds.

Into the freezer they went while we popped to see family. Then once we got home and had eaten dinner Stephanie tried one. Apparently they are delicious.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

what's a girl to do when an ex hurricane passes by??

Today it was very wet and windy soon after we got out of bed. We had been planning to go to a castle but upon looking out the window we decided a rainy and windy day means a craft day. We watched the thunder and lightning then Stephanie disappeared up to her bedroom and came back down with her rainy day book. I think we should do this and this and this and this as the list came out. Eventually she settled on some paper plate weaving, Whilst I dug out the paper plates Stephanie went and raided my yarn stash.

"I need all of these ones" she declared as she put them on the table. Then she got started;

I decided to sit alongside her and join in .

Once Stephanie declared weaving was complete for the day I supported her to make a hospital for her soft toys with an old shoe box

The only real casualty was my foot when Stephanie dropped the Stanley knife, nothing that couldn't be fixed with a plaster though.

Then we had a message inviting us round to see my aunt's new puppies born last night;

Such cute little bundles of fluff. Seven of them in total and Mummy dog is an absolute star with them all.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Running stats


I have been busy running this week, I haven't really done very much of anything else, a little shopping, visiting family and tidying. nothing significant. I am feeling vey proud of myself. The graph above is taken from my app I use on my phone to calculate how far I have been running. These are my totals for August, the first bar on the graph (5.4 mils is Friday 1st August. As you can see I took Tuesday as a rest day, I wasn't feeling great so I relaxed.

 Below are the stats my app is showing me for August.











Now I know that the next few weeks won't be as impressive- we are going away for a couple of weeks, just me and the two children. I am hoping to get out on a couple of smaller runs. I will let you know how I get on.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

reduing the sugar

I have a terrible sweet tooth. I am setting a challenge to reduce the sugar that I eat. I am trying very hard to say no to chocolate and other sugar induced products. I also want to cut down on processed foods etc. I am trying to move towards 'clean eating'. Where you only eat natural foods. It is going to be a challenge and not one I can change over night. But slowly I am going to try.

whatever food I am eating breakfast is a problem. Mostly because I enjoy going out for morning runs. Breakfast first is a nono- makes you sick. But no fuel in the belly means that energy runs low. Which for me is around the 7-9 miles mark depending on what I have eaten the day before. I really need to work out how to get past this to crack on with the marathon training. So I decided last night that  I was going to try a recipe for banana and nut cookies I found here on The kitchen shed. I confess to be dubious after all there is no sugar/ flour in the recipe how is it a cookie?

these are the ingredients;

mashed banana, cashew nuts (recipe says mixed this is all I had), rolled oats, ground cinnamon and vanilla extract- I forgot the picture of that!

mash the banana, chop the nuts and mix it all together, is the basic idea of the recipe. I wasn't going to stand and individually chop all the nuyts so I roughly crushed them in the pestle and mortar;
once all ingredients are thoroughly mixed you can separate into cookies. I decided I wanted to make mine into a cake bar so I pressed mine into a cake tin;

Cook at gas mark 6 for around 20 minutes.
Once cooked cool on a rack, this is where I cut mine into slices. Once cool refrigerate and eat within 3 days.

Simple and they taste surprisingly good. I haven't tried their benefits whilst running yet- it's a cross training day so I will be at a fitness session this evening instead of a morning run. I will let you know how I get on once I have tried them as running fuel.

 Have you tried clean eating/ similar foods. What are your favourites?