Birds Eye Afterschool Challenge

Cooking for the children after school when they are tired and hungry and I’ve been at work all day, often needs to be something that’s quick and easy.  They don’t want to wait around and I don’t have much time to prepare so Birds Eye is perfect.  You can also keep your freezer stocked with a selection of Birds Eye products ready for that day that you need a helping hand and simply pop in the oven to cook within no more than 20 minutes!

birdseye 2We bought a selection of Birds Eye products to fill the freezer and then use them whenever we needed a quick meal.  I love the frozen vegetable mixes that incorporate four different vegetables in each variety, Select Mixed Veg and Country Mixed Veg.  They also come in really convenient zip lock bags to stop those runaway vegetables in your freezer compartments!

The children enjoy the Crispy Chicken Breasts along with chicken nuggets and fish fingers, not forgetting their favourite potato accompaniment Potato Waffles!

birds eyeMiss M likes to help prepare and lay the frozen items on the baking tray ready for the oven.  We also sometimes swap the veg for baked beans as a treat which are also quick and simple, just heat and serve.

birdseye 3Birds Eye are great for my family, I always keep a few products in the freezer as you never know when they might be handy and you know you’ll always get a quick after school meal if required!

This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook Page

Brown Sugared Vanilla Shortbread

Baking Mad is a recipe database website with endless pages of scrumptious looking things to make, all alongside mouthwatering pictures to tempt you into a spot of baking.  It really is the place to go if you are looking for something to bake and I do like the way you can search with just a few key ingredients in mind.  There is also a “How to” section which is really handy for getting to grips with methods, hints and tips as well as video demonstrations.

baking madWith an array of baking goodies sent to me including flour, sugars and Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract, I wanted to make something that included most of them so searched with the words, “brown sugar, vanilla, flour” and I was faced with a delicious array of sweet treats wondering what to make.

I decided on the Brown Sugared Vanilla Shortbread, we all love shortbread and this one looked really tasty with the crunchy brown sugar and it’s deep golden colour.  And it was so simple to make, all the ingredients put together in the food processor which does the hard work for you then bake in the oven.

baking mad 2I let all the family have a taste and the verdict was a resounding “delicious”.  They all wanted more and now are eager for me to bake it again.  It has a really soft crumbly yet crunchy texture that just melts in the mouth, perfect with a hot drink to dip it in.

baking mad 4I’m really pleased with the outcome of the Brown sugared vanilla shortbread and now want to try some other recipes from the site, with so many tempting options I’ll have to be careful but I’m sure my family will enjoy tasting them with me.

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

Doc McStuffins Carry-Along Clinic Playset Review

Doc McStuffins Carry-Along Clinic Playset from Flair is a large fold out playset that easily folds away into a carry along box with a handle.  It is very eye catching in bold pink and purple colours with a very glittery pink lid!  Aimed at children aged 3+ and a toy that is suited to both boys and girls I knew my children would love this as they are keen on any kind of doctor related role play toys.  Although the Doc McStuffins Clinic is predominantly feminine colours, 3yr old Mister B wasn’t fazed by this at all and got has had endless play with this.

doc mcstuffins playset 1The case unfolds to reveal a clinic set up with a table to put patients on to the left, a Lambie figure to examine which comes sitting on here and to the right is a sink with a turnable tap that clicks around.

In the centre are are the doctors equipment, a syringe, a thermometer, otoscope and a stethoscope.  The first three instruments handily clip on to the back wall and the stehoscope fits into a slide out drawer underneath.

You do have to balance the doors not too wide apart otherwise the unit tends to tip backwards, alternatively I just propped it up against a cupboard to save any frustrations that the children had with it.

doc mcstuffins playset 2Also on the inside of the is an interactive panel with four different character panels that slide in.  The panel can be used as it sits on the lid or taken off and held in the child’s hands or on the floor.  There are buttons to press and the panels light up showing the characters ailment and suggests which medical instrument to use to help them get better.

Mister B was particularly fascinated by this especially the song from the tv show which he sings along to and now knows every word to.  He can’t help but sing with a huge grin on his face and with the accent!

doc mcstuffins playset 3All all the parts are made of plastic, they all feel strong and well made which is good as I think they will get lots of play value so they need to be durable.  I like the way that the playset folds up with all the pieces contained inside.  The carry handle is nice so that the child can carry it along to any medical emergency they come across.

doc mcstuffins playset 4My two have loved playing with this although not without a little bickering as to who is going to have which instrument, but they did learn to share and played well together.  There are endless possiblities for play whether they gave medical attention to Lambie, Miss M’s dolls or even giving each other a medical examination!

doc mcstuffins playset 5The Doc McStuffins Clinic Playset is definitely an impressive size and a good, durable build.  There’s various pieces to keep the children entertained and I’m sure this will be a must have Christmas present for some, with it’s glittery lid and bright pink and purple features, I’m sure there’s many little girls out there that would love this!

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





Beados Quick Dry Design Studio – Review

Beados Quick Dry Design Station from Flair is a fun way to make beaded pictures that stick together with water.  This is a great starter set that includes a fan dryer for your pictures along with beads, templates and more.

beados 1The set comprises of:

1 x Station Unit
500 x Beads
1 x Tweezer Pen
2 x Suction Cups
1 x Spray Bottle
2 x Design Trays
1 x Bead Storage Tray
1 x Display Stand
1 x Connector
6 x Design Templates
1 x Instruction Booklet

Miss M was very excited about trying this craft set, having seen the advert on television many times and being suitable for children 4+, she is a great age to try this.  Being 6 years old, she was able to grasp the concept quickly and work independently which is good as it saves the frustration of not being able to do something on her own and she really feels like she’s achieved something at the end of it.

There are three double sided design templates which you simply slot underneath a design tray.  The trays are transparent so that you can see through to follow the design.  Using tweezers with a special end to hold a little bead, Miss M set to work carefully placing the right coloured bead over the same colour in the pattern.

beados 2She really enjoyed doing this and was eager to show me her finished picture.  It was then time for the fun part which she really loved.  Using the little spray bottle, you need to spray water across the design which melts the beads slightly and then put it under the dryer which helps to stick them together.  Pressing the large button in the centre of the design station activates a fan which dries the Beados design.  This does require 2 AA batteries to work.

beados 3Once the Beados designs are dry, you can display them in various ways.  A couple of little holders to stand them up are included along with some suckers to put them onto windows.

beados 4

We really enjoyed the Beados set, it’s quick to make a little design and they look bright and effective.  It’s fun for children to do and a great way for them to be creative as they can make their own designs.  Refill packs of beads are available so the activity station can be used again and again making whatever their imagination lets them!

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

Butterfly Masks Craft Set – Review

Butterfly Masks from 4M is a craft kit for children where you can make and decorate three different style butterfly masks using paint and glitter glue.  Aimed at ages 5+, this is the perfect activity for Miss M to do and something that she would enjoy.

butterfly masks 1The set comes with 3 butterfly mask templates, 5 coloured paint pots, a paint brush, tube of glitter glue, 3 sticks and some sticky strips.

Miss M couldn’t wait to start painting, and carefully used the brush to paint the butterfly masks.  She really enjoyed choosing different colours for each section and happily sat painting away.

butterfly masks 2Once she had finished painting, we let the masks dry and then we could apply the glitter glue to make them sparkle.

butterfly masks 3We then turned them over, put a stick down the centre and secured it with a couple of the sticky strips.

butterfly masks 4When the masks were finished, the children happily played around the garden with them pretending to be butterflies, hiding behind trees.  It was very cute watching them and the butterfly masks looked so pretty.

butterfly masks 5I think the Butterfly Mask kit is really good, the finished masks look really effective as well as bright and sparkly.  A great craft kit of a good quality that any child will enjoy.

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


Cool Create One Direction Swap Watch Review

Cool Create One Direction Swap Watch is a great craft kit for One Direction fans but also a great little set to make your own watches and be creative.  With lots of pieces inside we couldn’t wait to get started and get making.

one directionThe set comprises of:

  • 1 x watch face
  • 5 x watch face trims
  • 5 x watch surrounds
  • 5 x watch straps
  • 3 x coloured cord
  • 1 x elasticated cord
  • 9 x square beads
  • 13 x tube beads
  • 26 x round beads
  • 8 x connector pieces
  • 1 x instruction sheet

Miss M was excited when she saw all the pieces and couldn’t wait to start making her own watches.  There is one watch face which you can make different straps for and then interchange them when you wish.

one direction 2There are ready made straps and watch surrounds that you can interchange easily to make different design watchs, but Miss M’s favourite straps were the ones she made herself.  There three coloured lengths of cord which can be plaited to make a strap.  Also there is a bag of beads which can be threaded onto elasticated thread to make a stretchy watch strap.  Miss M loved picking the coloured beads to make a pattern on her strap.  These two straps are a great little activity that Miss M loved doing and kept her occupied.

one direction 3Children love mix and match watches and it’s great to have a different choice each morning, just pop out the watch face and put it into the strap that you want to wear.  Miss M is pleased with all her new watches and loves the fact that she made the straps herself.  Her favourite is the beaded one which I think looks lovely too.

one direction 4

A must have craft and watch set for any One Direction fan!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the One Direction watch swap set in order to write the review.

Shopkins Small Supermarket – Review

Shopkins are a collectible series of mini grocery characters along with shop playsets and accessories such as shopping bags, baskets and trolleys.  I hadn’t heard of these before but it seems these are a huge craze and sure to be a hit at Christmas.

Shopkins We received a Shopkins Small Supermarket to review and the children were immediately excited and wanted to play.  Aimed at children aged 5+, mainly due to the small pieces I imagine, it’s actually been a huge success with both my children, Miss M who is 6 and Mister B who’s almost 4.

shopkins 2The set comprises of a double sided supermarket play scene with doors that swing open. There’s shelves and a small basket that you moves up like a lift to a helter skelter slide for the food to slide down into the trolley. There is a separate check out with moveable conveyor belt.  Also included are two shopkins, a tub of butter and a bottle of moisturiser along with two shopping bags.

shopkins 3This playset is very durable, the plastic is durable with some parts being slightly rubbery.  The biggest surprise for me though was how fascinating both my children found this.  They have really enjoyed playing with it and got into role play with the little characters.  They’ve even used some of their own figures to go into the shop to buy the items.  As there are a few moveable parts, it’s had enough to keep them occupied and it is something they have gone back to each day to play with again.

shopkins 4This is definitely going to be a hit this Christmas and with the grocery items being released in series in various sized packs, it means children can buy pieces with their pocket money.  We’ve loved Shopkins and had lots of play value out of it!

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


Mumkind Pregnancy and New Mum Nutrition Giveaway

With the recent announcement of a new Royal baby for Kate and William, it’s sure to result in a bit of a baby boom and one thing all pregnant mums need to ensure is their wellbeing.  This is where Mumkind come in to play with their new pregnancy nutrition range to help mums to be as well as new mums. mumkind ‘Ginger Me Baby’ – soothing Ginger & Chamomile lozenges.
Helping mums-to-be whether its morning, noon or night!  Ginger has been
popular for generations for its well renowned properties  and the Chamomile
adds a soothing and calming sensation to proceedings. Presented in discrete
clear wrappers, pop some in your handbag or pocket. Don’t forget to reuse
the tub. It’s microwavable, freezer proof. Perfect for mums!

These sound amazing particularly if you suffer from nausea at all, with Miss M, my first pregnancy I suffered with nausea everyday for the entire 9 months which proved awkward, embarassing and made me feel really uncomfortable particularly being in full time work!  If something like this had been around I’d definitely have tried it to ease the feeling and hopefully make you recover a bit quicker after the morning episode is over!

‘Water Our Way’  Want to feel less tired?! Want to make water more exciting?!
Just add a squeeze to water for a great berry taste. Helps you drink more water,
keeps you hydrated and our blend of B vitamins helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.
With 0 Calories, 0 carbs and 0 guilt  – try it at home, at work or when out and about.
Enhances water anywhere, anytime!  Portable and convenient, this pocket sized bottle makes 10 drinks.

Water Our Way is perfect for both those pregnant and those breast feeding who need to ensure keep hydrated, but with the added B vitamins it helps with tiredness and also tastes great.

I have 2 tubs of ‘Ginger Me Baby’  and 2 bottles of ‘Water Our Way’  to giveaway to one lucky reader.  Just fill in the Gleam form below:


Back to School Hair with Bathtime Buddies

With the new school term recently having started, it’s time to think about how best to look after, maintain and style the children’s hair for school.  Bathtime Buddies kindly sent me a bundle of goodies for the children to use and get us thinking about haircare.

bathtime buddies 1My children were very excited when they saw their goodies, Miss M absolutely loved her Disney princess towel and they were both eager for bathtime that evening.  I do think one of the important things with children is that they enjoy what they are doing and are motivated so by using appealing items and products in the bath it really helps.

Miss M has very thick, unruly curls that turn into matted tangles very easily.  Washing her hair is a bit of a challenge trying to tease them out by endlessly combing through using a tangle teasing brush.  Seeing the Disney Ariel shampoo and detangler that had arrived meant that she was in a good mood for hair washing that evening which is always a good start.

bathtime buddies 2The shampoos from Bathtime Buddies smell lovely and come in an easy to use squeezy bottle.  The children love squirting a blob out themselves into their hand and rubbing it into their hair.   Mister B’s hair is very short so it’s simply wash and go for him, no styling required.  When it’s a bit longer he does like to spike it up in the bath but he had it cut short a few weeks ago ready for back to school!

Miss M loves to wash her hair herself which I think is a great although I do have to do an extra condition and comb through to tease out those unruly tangles.  Due to her curls we are unable to brush her hair when dry so it’s hard to get her to style her own hair, its also a challenge trying to tie it up as hairbands don’t glide easily over her curls.

We’ve found for school the best styles are tied up, preferable in plaits.  If I’m short of time we do stick to a basic ponytail which is quick and lets her curls tumble down but becomes quite tangled at the end of the day.  Plaits are definitely the best way to keep hair tangle free and also keeps the hair a bit cleaner for longer.  We have several variations of plaits that we use from one bit chunky plait, to two separate plaits, one each side of the head.

bathtime buddies 6Miss M also likes her hair in one ponytail and then split that into two to create two plaits from one starting point but her current favourite style is fishtail plaits where you braid a smaller piece of hair across the plait each time rather than a whole section as shown below.

bathtime buddies 5My top tip for school haircare is to plait the hair when damp the night before.  You can then get away with leaving them in the morning and go straight to school or if you want a quick tidy up, they are easy to undo and quickly replait rather than having to drag the brush through and detangle again, not an easy job with Miss M’s curls!

If you want to find out more about back to school haircare and ideas then Bathtime Buddies are holding a “Back to School Haircare” twitter party on Thursday 18th September at 1pm!!  Make sure you are following them on twitter @bathtimebuddies

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received some Bathtime Buddies products in order to write the review.


Mad About Ponies Craft Party – Review

Mad About Ponies Party Box is a party kit in a box for up to six children full of activities and fun!  Aimed at lasting for approximately one and half hours, it should keep a group of children occupied and entertained, whist having fun and games.

ponies 1The set comprises of

  • 6 Resin-cast ponies
  • Double sided foam sticky tabs
  • Pots of paint (5 colours)
  • Pre-printed card jumps
  • Paint brushes
  • Dice
  • Pencils
  • Score sheets
  • Pre-printed card rosettes

All children seem to love horses and the sight of paint pots is always a winner.  They couldn’t wait to get started and you can see my children below happily painting!

ponies 2I was really surprised at how much all the children loved getting artistic with their horses, really paying attention to detail with the colours.  They were all totally engrossed in their painting and produced some wonderfully painted horses!

ponies 3We then had some food while the paint dried on the horses.  Also supplied in the Mad About Ponies set were some cardboard fences, rosettes, sticky pads and a large dice.  We folded the fences in half and set them up in a star like shape as a course for the horses to jump around.

ponies 4Included in the party set are three game ideas along with six score cards and pencils.  The children were eager to mark down the names of their horses along with the scores.  We had lots of names such as Daisy,  Patch and Spotty!

The games were fun to play with the number you roll on the die determing whether you can jump a fence or not.  The children loved moving the horses around making cute noises and saying “giddy up”.

ponies 5

I think a really nice finishing touch for the end of the games is the rosettes for first and second place.  There are some little sticky squares included which can be stuck to the back of a rosette and then placed on the horses.  The children really loved these and they added to the fun.

ponies 6

Mad about Ponies is a really great party in a box, it has everything from a fun painting activity to games suggestions to play with the horses and some little accessories with the fences and rosettes.  I think all children would enjoy this and it’s nice that each child can take a horse home after that they designed themselves.

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