Santa Maria Fab Fajita challenge #TASTEsantamaria

Mexican is one of my favourite meal choices and something we eat regularly at home.  With the range of Mexican inspired store cupboard ingredients available from Santa Maria, you really can make up your meals simply and easily just be adding a few fresh ingredients.

Santa Maria

Being vegetarian I always serve vegetarian fajita’s.  For tonights meal I am adding Quorn along side various fresh vegetables with my special ingredient being courgette which really helps fill out the meal and gives you a nice addition to the peppers, onions and tomatos.

I’m also using Santa Maria wraps, Fajita seasoning and salsa which make it really easy to get that spicy Mexican flavour.

santa maria 2

After lightly frying the onion, I add the Quorn to brown off, then the other vegetables and sprinkle with seasoning, continuing to cook to until my kitchen is wafting in Mexican fragrances.

I like to serve my fajitas with a side salad to make the perfect meal, ideal for all the family on a Saturday night!

Once served add a light sprinkling of cheese and some ground black pepper.  Tasty!!

santa maria 3

 

We were provided with Santa Maria products for the  #TASTEsantamaria Fab Fajita challenge.

Back to School Round Up Guide

With the new school term starting in September we all need to start thinking about back to school essentials.  With my son Mister B starting school for the first time he is rather nervous and unsure as to things ahead so I think it’s nice to do things to make him feel more comfortable and a bit more grown up now that he will be a school boy.

He’s a bit superhero fan so I think these Batman accessories will be great to give him encouragement to try his best at school.

batman

batman 2The Batman duvet cover is the perfect accessory for his bedroom to encourage him to have an early night before school.  Hopefully he’ll want to go to bed rather than try to stay up!  This is a fabulous duvet cover with a full size batman on one side, with the Batman’s head being on the pillow.  This means that when Mister B is in bed it’ll look like he’s got Batman’s body.  I love that this cover is double sized with the reverse having lots of smaller flying Batman’s as per the one on the bottom right of the picture .

batman 3

The notepad and pencil case are both great quality. The pencil is ideal for putting just a couple of pens or pencils in to take to school in his book bag.  The note pad is hardback and spiral bound.  I like these pads for young children as they don’t need anything else to lean on, and the spirals mean the pages stay open.  This will be great for Mister B to practise his writing in.

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Scentos are an exciting new range of kids stationery in which every item is scented!  Miss M who is 7 fell in love with this instantly.  She couldn’t wait to get stuck in writing a letter for mummy and making Nanny a birthday card with these.

scentosThe set is comprehensive and contains over 75 scented pieces all flavoured with fruity scents including blueberry, watermelon, grape, apple, orange and strawberry.  With the set consisting of pens, pencils, erasers, markers, paints etc there really is a great choice.  The highlight for Miss M was the two large size chunky markers that really captured her attention and the first she chose to use.  I also like this set because it contains 18 pieces of fruity designed paper and stickers which really add to the set and mean a child can use it all right away!

I envisage this set coming out when we have homework to do that involves drawing and craft and also other craft activities at home.  It certainly helps a child to be creative and I’m sure Miss M will pick a few pieces to add to her school pencil case and love showing her friends the different scents of the pencils and erasers!

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Everyone needs a water bottle be it at school or at work and I have to say that this new Fill and Go Filter Water Bottle from Brita is perfect.  Although initially I was going to let Miss M try this in preparation for back to school, although after seeing it, I decided it is just the thing for my desk at work.  I’m not keen on tap water so prefer either bottled or filtered and this is perfect for on the go.  It is a refillable water bottle in which you insert a mini filter, and this filters the water as you drink it.

brita 2The bottle is slimline and stylish, I like the clear outer to the bottle.  It holds a total of 600ml and has been designed to fit into cup holders. There is an included straw which can be removed if you wish to use as a tip up bottle.

britaThe filters are recommended to be changed weekly and refills can be purchased although four are included with the purchase of the bottle.  I’m really loving this bottle and think its a great idea, and will appeal to people whether at school, college, work, gym or just out and about for the day.

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Suckies fromt The Collective Dairy are a gourmet yoghurt brand that as well as selling tubs of yoghurt, have produced a range of live yoghurt pouches for children.  The fresh yoghurt contains no nasties, no colours, no artificial flavourings, no preservatives or pips and bits!  It comes in a choice of four flavours, Sassy Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Peach & Apricot.

suckiesThey come in 100g pouches and are designed for children of all ages, which means they are ideal for pack lunches and days out.  A top tip is to put these into the freezer so that by lunchtime at school the children have a cold yoghurt to eat rather than one that has gone a bit warm.  They have a screw top which I like as I know my children struggle with the tear across pouches, and it also means if they don’t want it all they can save a bit for later and replace the lid.

collectiveSo what did my children think of them?  Well they loved them!  In fact Miss M’s first words after drinking one was, “that was amazing, can I have another one please?”.  They particularly love the strawberry flavour as that has always been their favourite yoghurt flavour, but equally they loved the others and would be happy to drink any flavour again.

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One thing I dread when the children are due back at school is the slip of paper that comes home on a regular basis warning me that a case of head lice has been found in the class and to be extra vigilant in checking my child’s hair.  This Protect & Go spray from Hedrin is the perfect solution.

WP_20150823_14_37_18_ProThis spray is great for my children as they hate the traditional head lice lotions and don’t enjoy me combing through their hair looking for lice.  With this spray you can use on either wet or dry hair at least twice a week to help prevent head lice.  The spray will disrupt the life cycle of lice and prevent infestations.  It has an orange and mango scent which although quite strong is pleasant and giving the kids a spray after shampooing is easy to do.  I’ll be using this week from the start of term in hope that we don’t see the dreaded lice this year.  I think for such an easy to use preventative it’s worth doing and saves any hassle in the long run.

 

 

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the items in order to write the review.

Scholl Foot Products Review and Giveaway

I never used to pay too much attention to foot care when I was younger and easily managed to wear ridiculously high heels, strappy sandals etc, but now I notice the aches and pain more now along with dry skin on feet especially around the heels.  A range that you can always rely on for great quality footcare is Scholl and I was please to try out some of their products below.

SchollScholl Fresh Step Spray is a simple to use spray that you use in your shoes to eliminate odour.  You can use the spray before or after wear, just let the spray dry first before wearing and it should keep them odour free for 24 hours.  I find this great to spray in shoes at the end of the day to freshen them up ready for the next time you wear them.  I tend to use this more in trainers, especially after a trip to the gym!

Scholl Dry Skin Instant Recovery Cream is just what I need for my feet.  It pushes moisture deep into the skin to really hydrate them and leave them soft and smoother.  I find that although it’s rich it really sinks into the skin and used daily, you soon notice much softer skin all over.  It also has a pleasant gentle fragrance which leaves the feet fresh.

Scholl Party Feet are a girls best friend for high heels.  Even though I don’t wear high heels as often as I used to, I do have some heeled boots which these are perfect in as the balls of my feet tend to get a bit sore by the end of the day.  I also find these usefull for weddings and functions where you can be standing around chatting.  These are a new slimmer version but still do the job.  I find it useful to have several pairs and keep them in the shoes you wear most often.

If you’d like to win a set of the three Scholl products above then just fill in the Gleam form below:

Scholl

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the items in order to write the review.

ijustloveit.co.uk Online Gift Store – Review

I Just Love It is a wonderful online gift store, with a wide variety of gifts, many of them personalised giving them added meaning to the recipient.  They also have things that are a little bit different from the high street, meaning you can find something unique and special for birthday’s, anniversaries and Christmas etc.

I chose a selection of gifts, all for me to try out and I have to say I haven’t been disappointed!

giftsI should save the best till last but I just have to show you this amazing personalised cake tin.  I absolutely adore it, both in style and quality and it will take pride of place in my kitchen.  It is a little pricey at £42.99, but when you see it with its personalisation and feel it’s strong sturdy quality, you’ll know it’s worth having!

gifts 4The metal is really thick and strong, this tin really is made to last.  It has a handle on top of the lid to aid in opening.  What makes this tin different to others I’ve seen is the airtight seal, meaning that your cakes will stay really fresh and biscuits will stay crisp.  I love the grey colour, neutral but stylish.  The personalisation really makes this tin special though, and makes it the perfect tin to keep on show as well as the perfect storage for all my lovely baked treats.  I can’t wait to serve visitors with a treat from my tin when they come round for tea!

gifts 3This Personalised My Family Keyring is so cute with a silver charm for each child that is engraved with their name and a heart for wording of your choice, of which I chose my name.  The charms are made from a zinc alloy making them sturdy and strong.  At £12.99 I think this would make a lovely gift, I certainly would be more than happy receiving this from my children at birthdays or Christmas (obviously with another adult helping them to buy and order it).  This will be home to my house keys from now and live in my handbag,  I’m very pleased with this item.

gifts 6A girl can never be without too many make up bags, you know what it’s like, some get a bit old and need replacing, you need one for make up, one for hair bits, one for other toiletries etc.. I really like the simple but elegant style of this Beauty Parlour Wash Bag and with its neutral colours and pvc coated cotton outer, it’s practical and also a good size.  This one does seem really well made and at £14.99 is a good price for the quality and has room to hold quite a few items.  It’s sitting proudly in my bathroom at the moment, full of little bits and bobs to make it look at bit tidier but I’m also looking forward to using it when I go away.

gifts 2A small but cute gift is this Grow Me Say It With Flowers Seed Kit and priced at £3.99 is a bargain.  I love roses and hope this successfully grows and is something I can plant in the garden.  An ideal stocking filler or smaller gift if you are doing a bag of presents, then this is the perfect extra.

gifts 5I’ve been really pleased with the selection of gifts from I Just Love It and would happily shop there again.  The items are certainly different from what you’d find elsewhere and the personalisation on the some of the items is unique and makes them stand out a bit.  If you are stuck for gift ideas, then I’d definitely give here a look, the range is vast and you’re sure to find something for person you are gifting.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the items in order to write the review.

iWhite Instant Teeth Whitening 2 – Review

iWhite 2 Instant Teeth Whitening 2 is a simple to use home kit that gently whitens your teeth over five days.  With ten prefilled trays included, that need to be worn for 20 minutes each day, you can’t go wrong, but you can really make a difference to your teeth.

WP_20150722_13_35_12_ProIt’s key features are:

  • Clinically proven INSTANT whitening results
  • Up to 8 shades whiter
  • 100% safe and hydrogen peroxide free
  • Active stain remover
  • Strengthens the teeth
  • Restores the enamel
  • Easy: one step system, prefilled, no mixing
  • Comfortable: soft transparent trays for a custom fit teeth whitening, one-size-fits-all
  • Whitens the front and back of the teeth

WP_20150722_13_35_46_ProTo use, you simply peel open the foil cover which reveals two filled trays, simply put one on your top row of teeth and one on the bottom.  Then wait 20 minutes, you can’t talk during this time so I found it best to do in the evening when the kids were in bed.  Once the time is up simply remove and discard the trays, and rinse your teeth around to remove any excess residue.

Then check out the results to see if there’s a difference.  I think it’s quite hard to tell the difference between the pictures below as they were taken in different lights a week apart, but I can confirm they are definitely whiter, they look a lot clearer and brighter and I’m very happy with the results.  It’s really is a very simple to use and the results are effective so it is something that I’d use again if my teeth needed it.

My husband noticed the difference in my teeth straightaway so that I believe is a sure sign that it worked!

iwhitenAll reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and I received the iWhiten set in order to write the review.

 

 

Marsh Mills Beefeater Restaurant – Review

Beefeater restaurants are somewhere I remember fondly from childhood.  It was often somewhere we went for a family meal when I was a child and over the years even though I now live on the opposite side of the country, my local Beefeater Marsh Mills is somewhere we go to from time to time with my own children.

With a newly refurbished restaurant and revised menu in place, I was offered the chance to review the Marsh Mills branch of the popular restaurant chain, which I was eager to do and knew my children would be keen as they love eating out.

We headed off for a 5pm booking, quite early as my children prefer to eat earlier and it tends to be less crowded at that time of day.  We were greeted with a modern looking reception area and a nicely styled restaurant.

beefeater 1We were handed menus and given a few minutes to decide our drinks order.  I loved the kids new look brightly coloured Mr Men menus.  My two children both enjoy the Mr Men characters and this certainly engaged them in looking through and picking their choices.  I was disappointed though that there was no kids activities provided as usually with Beefeater and similar style restaurants the kids look forward to doing some colouring in or puzzles but nothing was given to us which did leave the children a bit fidgety whilst waiting for food.

The kids menu is £4.49 for a main course and drink of squash, with an added course making it £5.49 or 3 courses for £5.99.  Usually I just make the children have the included squash but as we haven’t been out for a while and having spotted a rather yummy looking milkshake on their menu, I let them order the “handmade to order” chocolate milkshake with Beechdean icecream.  This was an additional £1.99 each on top of their meals, I have to say I was rather disappointed when a small carton arrived at the table for each of them as below!!  I had been tempted to order the adult milkshake for myself as I am a bit of milkshake fan but got swayed into having a glass of vino instead.  I do wonder if at £3.99 for the larger adult milkshake, would I have been presented with two cartons instead of one??

beefeater 2Starters soon arrived, of which we’d all chosen nachos, a family favourite.  The kids enjoyed theirs with a small dish of salsa to dip their tortilla chips in, but the adults version just didn’t do it for me.  I often have nachos when out and about and I have to say this was one of the poorest versions I’ve encountered.  Large lumps of raw spring onion scattered across with a sparse sprinkling of cheese and a rather unappetising looking dip in the middle.  It tasted ok, the tortillas were crisp and tasty but not a starter I’d come back for which is not normally something I say about nachos.

beefeater 3With the restaurant fairly quite and my husband sitting facing the kitchen, he did notice a couple of meals which looked suspiciously like our main course order sitting on the hotplate while we were still enjoying our starters.  Needless to say as our starter plates were taken away, the waiter came immediately back to the table with our main courses from the hotplate meaning the fries were only lukewarm rather than piping hot and we didn’t even get a few minutes break between courses.

For main course I had a Quorn burger which came with fries and a pot of coleslaw, which tasted fine and was what of the standard I’d expect and the kids also enjoyed their chicken, fries and baked bean dinners too.

beefeater 4Desserts were also fine, I had the chocolate brownie which was served with icecream and the children had the mini chocolate challenge which they loved as all the bits came in separate bowls for them to build up themeselves.

beefeater 5So it came to the end of the meal and we paid, I did have a quick scan through the bill and it didn’t seem quite right but we paid anyway.  On returning home I checked it out and it seems the kids meals aren’t charged quite as the menu suggests.  The mains were £4.49 each but the other courses were an additional 99p each which brings each childs meal to £6.47, not the £5.99 for 3 courses that we saw on the menu.  Normally I’d expect to see a discount at the bottom of the receipt as we ordered 3 courses but not in this case.

After we paid the bill, the kids were offered a balloon and a small plastic Mr Men toy which was nice, although maybe if the toy was handed out once we arrived it would have given them something to play with rather than the cutlery.

Our overall experience of the Marsh Mills Beefeater was slightly disappointing, especially as we had all been looking forward to going.  It hasn’t left us with a feeling of rushing back there next time we are going out to a restaurant, although it’s a shame as I think it could so easily be improved and isn’t like the standard of Beefeater I’ve come to know over the years.  I do hope the points I’ve raised are taken on board and make it somewhere I’d want to visit again.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received some vouchers towards the cost of our bill (and we paid the rest) in order to write the review.

 

Back to School Checklist

With the start of the school term looming in a few weeks, it’s time to start making sure you have everything ready that your child needs.  I’m always making various lists to ensure I’m ready but below is really handy checklist that you can print out and mark off as and when you have each item.  You can even get your child to help by ticking things off, and reminding you of things you need to get.

Click here to print the Back to school checklist

Back to school checklist PrintThis checklist has been created by http://www.myvouchercodes.com

Ozeri Green Earth Wok – Review

The Green Earth 12″ Wok from Ozeri is a stylish piece of kitchen equipment that looks high quality when you see it.  If feels well built, strong and has a smooth ceramic non stick coating on the inside.  I love the rich lime green colour on the outside, it certainly brightens up the kitchen a bit.

ozeriIt’s key features are:

  • Utilizes an ultra-safe ceramic coating derived from nature which is 100% PTFE and PFOA free.
  • Delivers unprecedented non-stick performance without releasing harmful fumes or toxins at high temperatures.
  • Features a scratch-resistant 100% ceramic coating as found in nature (no heavy metals or chemicals) that is super easy to clean.
  • Made out of durable heavy-gauge pure aluminum with no heavy metals or harmful chemicals.
  • Boasts a comfortable heat resistant Bakelight handle, and a magnetized induction stove safe base for rapid heat transfer.

ozeri 3Although sturdy, I didn’t find this too heavy to use.  The non stick interior is the selling point of this wok and it certainly didn’t disappoint.  I was actually surprised at how well it worked and absolutely nothing remotely stuck to it at all.  I cooked a stir fry which just slid around the base of the wok with complete ease, making it a joy to cook with.  The wok holds a lot of heat, so you don’t need to have the temperature too high, you can turn it down a bit with this and it still cooks fast and efficiently.

ozeri 2The wok also comes with a protective layer that you can put inside when storing to ensure the non stick interior doesn’t get damaged when stacking up several pots and pans at once.  I can honesly say this is the best quality wok I’ve used, it really does have non stick power and best of all, it requires little effort washing up as everything just slides off.

ozeri 4Happy to say I will using this wok regularly to cook evening dinners with, when something is simple to use and clean, then it makes it something you want to get out and use more often.  The Ozeri Green Earth products all have the same high quality, see the Green Earth frying pan that we reviewed a couple of years ago, and it’s still going strong!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the wok in order to write the review.

Nothing But Freeze Dried Snacks – Review

Nothing But are a unique range of snacks in that they are completely natural and each bag contains one of your five a day.  With a variety of fruit and vegetable combinations available, we received a selection to try out.

nothing butAvailable in the following flavour combinations:

  • Sliced Beetroot and Parsnip
  • Pea and Sweetcorn
  • Mange Tout and Red Pepper
  • Strawberry and Banana
  • Pineapple and Grape
  • Apple and Fig

They are called Nothing But for a reason, there is literally nothing but the vegetables or fruits mentioned inside the bag.  The fresh products are freeze dried which removes the water content and leaving most of the colour and all of the nutrients contained within the food.  The bags have cleverly been portioned to ensure they contain the required amount of fruit or veg to give you one of your five a day.

nothing but 3I have tried a few flavours of these before and the colours are more vibrant than I expected with the pieces being easily recognisable.  They do taste like the vegetable they are but obviously a dry, crisp version.  As this is nothing else added, there is no other flavours so no strong tastes to put you off.  Being purely fruit and vegetables does mean that they are exceptionally low calorie, therefore I see these as being a great snack to use for healthy eating.  Easy to take out and about as they come in individually portioned packs, or eaten at home, these are handy to have when you fancy a nibble, but want something healthy.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the snacks in order to write the review.

 

Surania Customisable Swimwear – Review

Surania, a Spanish online company offers a unique service in buying your swimwear, it can be made to custom measurements, and you can choose your own fabric for each part of the swimsuit from the selection they have on offer on their website.

suraniaI let my children help choose from the array of patterned fabrics available to ensure it was something they liked.  For Mister B, we chose classic style swim shorts with an elasticated waist and pocket on the back.  We chose a blue palm tree design all over, although you could have a different design on the waistband and on the pocket.  These fit him well and he was very pleased with them, they appear to be a good cut and something he looks forward to wearing.

surania 2For girls there is a much wider choice with a choice of swimsuits or bikinis.  Miss M chose a swimsuit, of which there are six designs, each with different straps, bows and frills etc.  The design she chose has a bow in the centre which you could select a different fabric  for.  We chose a pink paisley style pattern for the main body and plain pink for the bow.

surania 3Miss M liked her swimsuit although we did find it fitted quite snug and she does prefer a more looser fit in clothes, but you could get that by ordering a slightly larger size.  You have two options for buying the right size.  You can either enter in your child’s height and age for a simple fit (which we did) or for a more accurate fit, you can take more detailed measurements to include waist, hips etc.surania 4The children are happy with their swimsuit designs and I’m happy with the quality, the swimsuit is double layered and all the stitching seems strong.  Obviously being custom designed, this swimwear does cost more than your regular high street purchases, but I bet you won’t bump into anyone else in the same design as you wearing one of these.  If you want something a little bit different, then Surania is worth trying.  Just bear in mind though, that the clothing is made in Spain, and it does take a few weeks for your swimwear to be made up and delivered.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the swimwear in order to write the review.