Armed Forces Day – Plymouth Hoe

Yesterday we attended our local Armed Forces Day on Plymouth Hoe, and we certainly got glorious weather for it.  The skies were blue and the sun was shining so we packed a picnic and set off for a day of fun and excitement to show our support for the all the Armed Forces past and present.

Armed forces1Miss M was eager to sit in all the emergency and armed vehicles that she could, from police motorbikes, to ambulances, fire engines and tanks.  And Mister B proudly tried on the coastguard’s helmet!

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The queue for the tanks was rather long but we eagerly waited and both Miss M and Mister B had lots of fun climbing about inside and Miss M even climbed up for a view out of the top!

Armed forces2There were lots of other fun things to do while we were there – Miss M had her face painted into a butterfly, there was a children’s play area with lots of activities from junk modelling, hula hoops, trikes & scooters, a big bouncy slide and much more.  We could have spent all day there but we made our way around the various stalls to learn more about what the different services do and it gave Miss M a great insight into the world of emergency services and armed forces.  The police took Miss M’s fingerprint and framed it into a keyring for her which she added to her bag of stickers, pen’s, hats and flags that she had collected throughout the day.  At lunch time we made our way to the grass overlooking the sea for a picnic followed by an ice cream.  Just as we were enjoying our ice cream we were treated to an air display with a couple of flyovers then a stunt plane which was amazing but scary to watch with it’s multiple acrobats in the air.

Armed Forces4Overall we had a briliantly fun day out enjoyed by the whole family.  The great weather helped and the children loved having a picnic.  We were all exhausted when we got home with Mister B and daddy falling asleep on the sofa – men!!  It made a fantastic free family day and we are already looking forward to going to next years event.

 

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Shelby’s Snack Shack Game – Review

We love playing games as a family, and with 5yr old Miss M being the queen of games in our house, she was really excited when Shelby’s Snack Shack game arrived from Learning Resources.

Shelby's Snack Shack Game

The first thing you notice about Shelby’s Snack Shack game is the unique shaped box.  It definitely catches your eye with it’s bright, fun pictures and shaped design.  The game is aged at ages 4+, so Miss M is the ideal age to play.  The idea is to collect as many bones as you can and the winner is the one with the most in their bowl at the end of the game.   The box is incorporated into the game and used to place the bones.

A double spinner determines what you do on your turn whether it’s collect some bones, steal bones from other players or miss a turn.  If you do need to collect or return bones there is a second spinner to let you know how many bones you gain or lose.  This provides excellent number and counting skills for little ones as well as them getting used to gameplay and being competitive.  The expression on Miss M’s face when she lands on miss a turn is a picture although she is learning that this is part of the game and she has to accept that she doesn’t always collect lots of bones and be the winner!

Shelby Snack Shack game

The cutest thing about this game has to be Shelby a cute dog shaped pair of tweezers that are used to pick the bones up in this game.  This is an added feature that gives the game a unique aspect, but at the same time lots of fun and extra excitement for little ones.  It also helps aid coordination and fine motor skills so lots of added value with Shelby as part of the game.

Shelby's Snack Shack 2

We have thoroughly enjoyed playing this game,  it is well made and has lots of unique aspects.  It is fun, exciting and competitive to see who can collect the most bones.  It encourages learning in numbers, counting and general game playing skills.  An attractive, high quality game that young children will love and great for families to enjoy together.  We certainly have and if you’d like to try the game for yourself, check out the opportunity to win below.

For your chance to win 1 of 5 copies that Learning Resources are giving away, please click HERE to enter their competition.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

McCain Home Chips – Review

One thing my two young children always ask is – When can we have chips for tea mummy?   I have to be honest I don’t buy them anywhere near as much as they’d like, partly due to limited freezer space but also as they have chips at every opportunity when we are out and about.  But I do like to treat them once in a while and when I do I always turn to McCain for a tasty, reliable home cooked chip.

So when we sent a pack of McCain Home Chips to try, I knew my two would be thrilled.  The chips are so easy to cook, just put them on a baking tray in the oven and turn half way.  I love the size of these chips, not too thick but with plently of golden crispness on the outside (I’m not one for soggy chipshop chips!!).  Once cooked they were light and fluffy inside with a crunchy outsite – an absolute pleasure to eat.

McCain chipsAlthough the ultimate taste testers would be my children who gave them a huge thumbs up!!  We’d definitely recommend McCain Home chips, all of the family enjoyed them and I feel they give one of the best taste combinations of fluffy insides and crunchy outsides!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Porridge on Tuesday – A new online Diet & Healthy Eating Plan

For me, food is always something that I struggle to balance, although it was when I was pregnant for the second time that I really started to overeat.  I am now living with the consequences, finding it harder to stick to a diet, with two children to look after and with the husband working shifts, our mealtimes are never routine so I often find myself snacking to keep to going.

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So as you can imagine I was delighted to be chosen as one of the Ambassadors for a new online meal planning site Porridge on Tuesday which gives you a full meal plan and exercise videos for the week ahead based on calories relative to your weight/height and how much you want to lose.  Or if you are not particularly overweight and just want help to maintain healthy eating with lots of recipe ideas then that is an option too.

Being vegetarian I am always sceptical of meal plans and whether the meals will be easy to cook but I have to say I’m really pleased with the Porridge on Tuesday meal plans so far as there are some really tasty dishes that are easy to cook.  Some of my favourites so far are Mexican rice and beans with avocado salsaRefried bean quesadilla and a very simple Spaghetti and courgettes.  I have made some simple changes to basic foods such as switching pasta and rice to wholemeal varieties and having cooked breakfasts – something that was very rare beforehand!  I can only manage this on days I’m at home although scrabbled eggs on toast has become a firm favourite.

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What I love about the meal plan is that you can change, swap or delete a meal if you don’t like it, want something different or just don’t fancy it on the day.  You can then choose an alternative lunch/meal/snack to put in it’s place.  For me this has been a very useful tool and something that encourages me to keep checking my plan and customising it to suit me.

Being two weeks into the plan I have already lost 5lb – yay!!  Although I’ve still got a way to go to shift the couple of extra stone I need to.   I’m hoping that by writing about my weight loss and following a structured meal plan I will stay motivated enough to get back to my pre pregnancy size or perhaps a bit lower!

I’ll keep you posted about both how well I am doing and what I think about the Porridge on Tuesday website – so far all is good!!

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Gardening for children – #KidsGrowWild Challenge

There’s nothing more that my two children like than being outdoors.  As much as I adore my Edwardian terrace house, I do long for a larger garden amongst other things.  Having removed the grass from the back pre children and created a patio garden I do adore my flower bed down the side of the garden and the many pots that line the edge.

My children would be outdoors everyday if they could and if I’m ever doing a spot of gardening they are eager to help in any way they can being it digging, watering or clearing up the cuttings.  So when we were sent a children’s gardening kit, both their eyes lit up in awe and bickering started as to who was going to wear the gloves first, who wanted the green watering can etc etc.

Kids gardening kit

The children’s gardening kit we received from Little Pals was of excellent quality including a metal watering can, gloves, wooden/metal tools, seed and a lovely carry bag full of pockets.  This was great for storing everything in and carrying it around the garden.

As we had recently planted a lot in our back garden we decided to fill a couple of empty pots we had out the front of the house with the pansies seeds.  Miss M couldn’t wait to get stuck in with the gloves and digging in the soil.  Mister B took a keen interest and wanted to copy everything his big sister did.

Kids gardening 2

Once we had filled the pots in the front we put a couple of sunflower seeds in small pots in the back garden.  Mister B then eager to take control of the watering can, walked around the entire patio watering everything in sight.  Water! – he loves it and the watering can is the perfect size for little ones to carry around.  Saves me having to water on the hot sunny days that’s for sure so I can’t complain.

Watering can

We loved the children’s gardening kit and loved spending time in the garden seeing how things grow.  We are eagerly awaiting the next couple of weeks to see how our seeds grow so that we can report back.  Let’s hope for some more sunny days to help our flowers grow.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #KidsGrowWild Challenge

Baker Day’s Letterbox Celebration Cake – Review

An important part of celebrating any occasion is always the cake.  So when Baker Days offered me a cake to review – how could I refuse?  When I checked out their website I was surprised to see the vast choice of cake designs to choose from along with the size of cake and the sponge flavour.

We were due to receive a letter box cake which is a small 5 inch cake that is packed well enough in a box that enables it to travel safely and be posted through the letterbox!  A few days later the postman arrived and a small white box was posted through my door.  I didn’t even realise it was the cake and opened the box to find a  little round tin, which inside contained the cake.  Also enclosed in the box was a gift card and a small pack of sweeties which makes it a delightful little parcel to receive.

Baker Days cake

My initial thoughts before I received the cake were, how well would it travel?  Would it all be in a one piece?  But I needn’t have worried about this at all as the tin protects the cake perfectly and the cake sits compactly inside.  I chose a cake design personalised with a photo and was very pleased with the results although would choose a photo with a lighter background if I was to order again.

The sponge inside the cake can be chosen from plain, chocolate, fruit or carrot – they even do gluten and wheat free cakes.  We received a carrot cake and I was a little sceptical as to whether my children would eat this.  It turns out that the recipe doesn’t have lots of obvious carrot pieces and in my opinion was a very moist, tasty sponge that both myself and my children thoroughly enjoyed and could easily have eaten more of.

Overall I was quite impressed with the Baker Days letterbox cakes and think they would make the perfect gift for friends or relatives who don’t live close by.  I know I’m always on the lookout for something a bit different to send to my family that’s easily postable as being 250 miles away we don’t often get to see them when they have something to celebrate.

Please see our short video of our cake arriving:

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Richmond Mini Meatballs – Quick recipe ideas

Being a working mum with two young children, there is nothing more I like than a quick simple meal to cook for the children in the evening that may not be perfect but gives them a bit of nutrition and is something that they enjoy.  We were sent some Richmond Mini Meatballs to try to come up with some quick easy meal ideas.

I wasn’t sure whether the meatballs would be a success with my two as with myself being vegetarian we normally have meat free meatballs although I do like them to experience meat flavours when they can and make their own choices about the food that they eat.  With the Richmond Mini Meatballs coming in a ready to cook bag and taking just a few minutes to heat and serve these are ideal for children.

Meatballs in Tomato Pasta (to serve 2)

Half a pack of Richmond Mini Meatballs
Half a jar of tomato and basil pasta sauce
150g pasta
2 tablespoons of frozen sweetcorn

1. Cook the pasta as per instructions
2. Add the sweetcorn just before the pasta is cooked through
3. Heat the meatballs either in the microwave or in the oven
4. Drain pasta and sweetcorn, add pasta sauce and heat through continuously stirring.
5. Serve pasta in bowl and add meatballs on top

This meal can be cooked and served within 10 minutes – ideal for those evenings when time is short.  So how did the taste test go?  Well check out my children’s bowls in the picture below – I think you can tell they throughly enjoyed this dish and the meatballs went down a treat!

Richmond meatballsThe next day they wanted meatballs again for tea and were playing nicely outside so I thought I’d do something different with the other half packet of meatballs and let them eat al fresco seeing as the weather was nice.

Tomato & Meatball Snake with Broccoli Trees and Cloud Mash

Half a pack of Richmond Mini Meatballs
2 small potatoes
8 small broccoli florets
6 cherry tomatoes
a small piece of cheese and brown sauce to decorate

1. Heat the meatballs either in the microwave or in the oven
2. Boil or steam the broccoli under tender
3. Boil and mash potato’s

To serve add mash to plate in shape of cloud, alternate meatballs and tomatoes to form a snake, place one broccoli either side of plate to represent trees, break the other broccoli pieces up under snake to form grass, finally cut a small piece of cheese to form snakes tongue and add two brown sauce dots as eyes.  This can be prepped and served within 20mins.

Richmond meatballs 2My two thoroughly enjoyed Richmond Mini Meatballs and I’ll definitely be buying them again as they are so easy to quickly incorporate into mealtimes.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ Hungry to Happy Challenge sponsored by Richmond Mini Meatballs

Richmond meatballs hungry2happy

 

 

Plum Little Foodies meals – Review

When Plum sent me some of their Little Foodies meals to try, I was really keen to see how well they would be enjoyed by Mister B.  I often find myself rushing in the door after a busy day and the first thing Mister B says is “I want my dinner”.  I want to try and keep his main meals as nutritious as I can although when time is limited and you have a hungry 2yr old it would be good to have something in the cupboard that is quick and easy to heat up and serve.

The Little Foodies range from Plum are super-nutritious meals with chunky textures aimed at 1-3 year olds and contain at least two of their daily portions of vegetables.LITTLE FOODIES RANGEThe four meals in the Little Foodies range are:
Caribbean Jerk Mango & Chicken with Wholegrain Rice
Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Apricots & Bulgur Wheat
Neapolitan Tomato & Beef Ragu with Ditalini Pasta
Vegetable Biryani with Wholegrain Rice – a vegetarian dish with 3 of a toddlers 5 vegetables a day!

The first meal that Mister B tried was the Morroccan Lamb Tagine with Apricots & Bulgur Wheat which he seemed to throughly enjoy and tucked into until his dish was empty.  One thing I was intrigued about before we tried these meals was the portion size and whether it would be enough to fill a 2.5yr old without be having to top him up after.  I’m pleased to say that I found these generously sized and more than enough to fill him up.  He polished off each meal to the end with the exception of the Vegetable Biryani which he didn’t seem quite so keen on.

Plum meals

I think these meals are great for keeping at home in the cupboard for days when time is short, or excellent to take out and about when all you need to do is heat and eat!  The nutritional value in these is really high and the variety of vegetables, spices and grains used is really good to give your toddler a good palate and keep them interested in vegetables.  We really enjoyed trying these meals and will definitely be keeping a few in the cupboard for those awkward days.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Mister Maker: Watch & Make Vol. 5 DVD – Review

Mister Maker: Watch & Make Vol. 5 DVD is the latest collection of episodes from Mister Maker released by Abbey Home Media and hasn’t failed to disappoint.  From a splattered space picture to bubble wrap pictures and crazy carnival shakers, this DVD is jam packed full of ideas and inspiration for little ones to not only to watch but to try and replicate at home themselves.

Mister Maker 2

Join in the fun with Mister Maker and his friends in his magical art studio.  Watch and make along as he transforms everyday objects into fun pieces of art!

5yr old Miss M and 2yr old Mister B are always drawn in when Mister Maker comes on the tv and can’t wait to see what he makes out of the pile of crafty objects he gets prepared on his table.  This DVD was no exception and they have watched it again and again.

The first thing that Miss M spotted to make were straw powered rockets – a very simple one minute make within one of the episodes on this new DVD.  It literally consisted of two rocket shaped pieces of paper stuck together around the edge with glue and then push a straw up between the two pieces.  The novelty with this was that if you blow through the straw, the rocket blasts off into the sky!!  Miss M kindly made Mister B a rocket too and the pair of them had much excitement blasting their rockets off around the front room keeping them occupied for the rest of the afternoon.

We really enjoyed this DVD, have watched it over and over already and even made a couple of things therefore thoroughly recommend it for pre school crafty fun!

The DVD is out now and can be purchased from all good DVD stockists.

For more information about Abbey Home Media can be found on their website or Facebook and Twitter pages.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Bizzy the Butterfly and the Creepy Crawly Co-operating Caterpillar Audiobook – Review

Bizzy the Butterfly and the Creepy Crawly Co-operating Caterpillar is the first audiobook in the Bizzy the Butterfly series.  The stories are aimed at babies and toddlers combining a mixture of spoken story along with music.

bizzy

The story contains simple words and uses questions alongside to help encourage interaction with toddlers.  This is a lovely story that delivers a message about helping and co-operating with each other, a great moral for toddlers to learn that they will encounter in everyday life whether at home, nursery or just playing with friends.

I played this to my two children, 2yr old Mister B and 5yr old Miss M.  They both sat down eager to listen and as soon as the music started Miss M was up on her feet fluttering around the room performing moves she learns at her ballet class.  Mister B was right behind, copying her every move.  As the music stopped they both ran back to their little chairs keen to hear the next part of the story.  They did this continually throughout the audiobook which I thought was very sweet.  They seemed to thoroughly enjoy it and both had smiles on their faces at the end.

The audiobooks can be purchased from Bizzy’s Shop, from as little as £1.50 for the mp3, or there are options for an audio CD and book, so why not head over there now and take a look for yourself.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.