All Bran Cereals Real Mums 5 day Challenge

All Bran from Kelloggs have set a Real Mums 5 day challenge to make a difference to your digestive system simply by eating one of the new tasty All Bran varieties each morning for 5 days.

The new flavours that we were sent to try are Golden Crunch, Red Berry Crunch and Chocolate Wheats.  The children immediately had their eye on the chocolate wheats so I was keen to see whether they enjoyed the cereals too and if it had any effect on their well being at the same time.

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The cereals really don’t taste like traditional All Bran even though they are full of healthy bran.  I really enjoyed the Red Berry Crunch, full of bran, mixed cereal pieces and freeze dried fruit.

The Golden Crunch was tasty too, full of multi grain clusters although I did find this a bit sweeter to taste, but great for a suppertime snack.

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The Chocolate Wheats were really tasty, everyone in the family enjoyed these and the children joined in with the 5 day challenge.

Eating healthily is something we always try and do, although we do have treats and  sweet things.  For me, I do try to have a healthy breakfast although it can sometimes be difficult when in a rush on busy mornings getting the children ready for school.  I ensured for my 5 day challenge I had a bowl of All Bran cereal every day and it definitely gives you a good start to the mornings.

I do slip up with my eating from time to time and my body does immediately feel sluggish and my digestive system feels the effects with bloating etc. so anything to help me keep on track is good.

I do feel a lot better when eating healthily throughout the day and I found that I tended to have more nutrious meals after starting my day with All Bran.  Therefore I can say I definitely felt good over the 5 days I ate All Bran.  I think starting the day well tends to lead you to carry on the day well.   I’m sure my digestive system benefited from eating All Bran based cereal each day and will continue eating it to hopefully build up a healthier digestive flow through my body.

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This post is an entry for the Real Mums of All Bran Linky Challenge, sponsored by Kelloggs

 

 

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Dove and Radox

With Father’s Day looming, it’s time to get shopping for a gift to give the Dad in your life.  With two young children, we only look to buy small value items that they can give to daddy.  With a daddy who has most things he needs, I try to avoid anything gimmicky or things that would end up as clutter so I try to search out for useful gifts for the children to give to daddy.  Things such as chocolate are always a winner and something that will be eaten up quickly.

Another useful idea is toiletries, something a dad will always use, not too expensive and a great idea for him to try out something new.  Dove have produced a range of gift sets, perfect to give your dad this Father’s Day.

WP_007279We were sent the Daily Care Duo to try out, a set containing a bottle of Body and Face Wash and a can of 48hour anti-perspirant deodorant.  Interestly the can is one of the new compressed can’s and looks quite small, but should last the same length of time. Handy for travel or for the gym bag!  This set is aimed at the Active and Playful Dad, well our’s does cycle to and from work each day so this will be great to use in the shower after his cycle.  These smell manly and fresh and my husband was pleased with them and would definitely use them again.  He also agreed he’d be happy to receive a gift set like this on Fathers Day.

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We also tried the Radox Muscle Therapy bath soak.  This contains a stimulated blend including black pepper and ginseng to really help you relax.  As you run the bath, the fragrance fills the bathroom, making it the perfect environment to relax in.  Our daddy prefers showers to baths, but admitted that this is definitely relaxing and enjoyed laying down in the bath for a while – a great little treat!

 

If you are still looking for a Father’s Day gift or want to get a little extra, then why not check out one of this gift ideas from Dove or Radox.  These are great for someone that is hard to buy for, has everything he wants or if you aren’t looking to spend too much.  We’d recommend them and our daddy says he’d be more than happy to receive them on Father’s Day!

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

Having fun with a Chocolate Easter Egg Kit

Thanks to Stay in Devon, we were sent a Make Your Own Chocolate Egg kit to play with.  Having two young children who love baking and getting messy in the kitchen this was ideal and they couldn’t wait to get started.

stay in chocolate eggsThe kit came with two bags of chocolate buttons, a bag of sweeties and four half egg moulds.  I cut the moulds in half so they each had two halves for their egg.  I then melted the chocolate buttons in the microwave before we spooned a small amount into each mould and swirled it around to cover all of the sides. We then left it to set for ten minutes before adding another layer.  In total we put three layers in each mould.

stay in chocolate eggs 2We left the chocolate egg moulds in the fridge overnight to thoroughly set, before turning them out in the next day.  I was surprised at how easy they slipped out of the moulds, which I guess is partly due to the thin layer of oil that we wiped over each egg mould before starting as suggested in the instructions.

stay in chocolate eggs 3Miss M and Mister B were both keen to put the sweeties inside the egg so after dividing them up they filled an egg half with the sweets whilst I placed the other half of the egg on a hot baking tray to gently melt the edge.  I then carefully placed the two halves together to form a whole chocolate egg.

stay in chocolate egg 5Miss M then insisted we decorate the outside too, so we found a tube of Smarties in the cupboard which she proceeded to make face designs with to stick on to the eggs.  We used a small amount of melted chocolate to stick them on.

Ta da – Miss M with the finished eggs!!  Both children really enjoyed making these and can’t wait to crack them open on Easter Sunday.

stay in chocolate eggWe received the chocolate egg making kit from Stay in Devon as part of their #stayinhappybunnies campaign

Win a Case of Bahlsen Pick Up! Biscuits

Pick Up! are an exciting new biscuit from Bahlsen, consisting of a slab of chocolate sandwiched between two crisp biscuits.  I know my two children would be eager to get their hands on these and they come in handy individually wrapped packets – perfect for snacks on the go!

pick upWith a pack containing 5 wrapped biscuits and a case containing 14 packs, that means I’m offering you the chance to win 70 of these rather scrummy looking biscuits, great for pack lunches, days out, morning snack at work or simply a treat whilst at home.

Why not check out the Ninja Chihuahua TV advert for Pick Up! biscuits:

So if you’d like a chance to win, just fill in the rafflecopter form below:

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UK only
Winner will be contacted within 24 hours of giveaway end

I have received some packs of Pick Up! biscuits in return for running this giveaway.

Pastry Canapé Ideas using Pidy – Review

Pidy are a supplier of a wide range of ready to fill pastry products, with many small canapé size shapes ideal for parties and gatherings.  We were sent some mini round vol-au-vent shaped pastry cases – Zakouski’s and some Spoonettes.

Pidy2For the Zakouski’s, it is suggested to heat them in the oven prior to filling to give a delicious, light puff pastry.  I did this before letting them cool slightly then adding my filling.  I decided to make a Feta cheese, Wild Rocket Pesto and Tomato filling by mashing 80g of Feta cheese with 3 teaspoons of the pesto and spooned this into each pastry case.  I then added a quarter of a baby plum tomato to the top.

Pidy1Personally I found these absolutely delicious as they included some of my favourite flavours.  I made these when I had some visitors to get their opinions too, and they loved them and we all agreed that the pastry was really light and crisp.  So quick to make as well, perfect for when you are short on time or have lots to make or just purely for convenience!

I then decided to try the Pidy Spoonettes, in which I thought I’d put a sweet filling into.  As I’m trying to eat healthily at the moment, I used a pre-made chilled low fat chocolate and hazelnut dessert that I simply spooned into the pastry spoonettes.  I then added a quarter of a strawberry on top to finish off!  A very quick, simple and heavenly sweet canapé!

Pidy3I’ve really enjoyed trying the Pidy pastry range, it’s really opened my eyes up to the sort of products available to make your life easier.  With a busy family the idea of making pastry canapés often puts me off due to time but with these Pidy pastry shells, it literally takes minutes.  I would definitely use these for a family celebration where we have a few people round and a few drinks or New Year’s Eve would be a good time to use them as well.

Thanks to food PR agency CLIP Creative and PR for the samples

 

 

Sweet Snacks and Treats – Reviews

Following on from the fantastic bloggers night in at the end of last year, I did a round up of all our savoury snacks and here is a look at the great selection of sweet treats we had the opportunity to try out.

Bloggers night SoreenSoreen very kindly sent us each a goody bag packed full of the Soreen range to try.  I took this home to my family who couldn’t wait to get stuck in.  The Chocolate Soreen stood our for us and is a firm favourite with all of us – it didn’t last long, with a husband and two children devouring it at every opportunity!  The fruity Soreen was perfect for the husbands pack lunch box and the sliced loaf made perfect snacks for the children at home.  The banana lunchbox loaves are a favourite of three year old Mister B, being individually wrapped I keep them for out of the house or in his nursery lunch box.  Overall I have to say as a family we are very impressed with Soreen and think they have made some wonderful additions to their range recently.  We are definitely fans and Soreen is always on our shopping list!

 

Bloggers night Green and blacksGreen & Blacks, a name we all know well in the world chocolate,  kindly gave us a bar of their organic dark chocolate to taste.  Personally I’m not a fan of dark chocolate but the husband is, so I let him try it for his opinion.  He said it was “rich and smooth”, a taste he could savour and enjoy and only needing a few squares at a time meaning it lasting him several nights.  A great quality chocolate he enjoyed.

 

 

Choc Shot by Sweet Freedom is a Bloggers night choc shot revolutionary 100% natural liquid chocolate with only 14 calories per teaspoon. It can be used in multiple ways from hot chocolate, milkshakes to toppings for ice cream, porridge or fruit.  Choose your own way of using this multi functioning product.  When my children saw it they immediately wanted to make hot chocolate and it couldn’t be easier, no more powdery lumps, just stir into warm milk and there you have a cup of creamy hot chocolate.  My children loved it and it was great that they could make it themselves.  We also tried it on ice cream for dessert and this was a hit too.  The only thing that could be improved is perhaps an easier to squeeze bottle as once we were half way through the rest of the chocolate was a little difficult to get out – apart from that, what a fantastic product.  Being suitable for vegetarians, vegans, diabetic and GM, dairy and gluten free this really is a product that anyone can try – why not give it a go?

 

Bloggers night OrgranAnother brand we tried that caters for special dietary needs is Orgran, a top brand in the gluten free food market.  All Orgran products are Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Egg free, Yeast Free, GMO Free and Vegan.  We were sent a selection of sweet treats to try including shortbread hearts, Amaretti biscotti and chocolate biscotti.  We did find the shortbread hearts a little hard and not quite the crumbly shortbread texture that we are used to but they did look pretty on the plate.  The biscotti were nice and I did like both of the flavours.  I took some samples home and found that they make the perfect accompaniment to Sweet Freedom’s Choc Shot.  I think for someone limited to certain dietary requirements, then these Orgran biscuits are the perfect treat.  They all look good and are perfect paired with a hot drink to dip in.  If you are following a gluten free diet then I’d definitely recommend checking out the Orgran website as they have a wide variety of food choices and even a great range aimed at children following a gluten free diet.

 

Bloggers night popcorn darling

 

Darling Spuds have brought out a sweet and salty popcorn.   They come in handy size snack packs and I left the pack I had for my children to try.  I did intend on trying one or two pieces myself but by the time I came back into the room they were gone!  I think that speaks for itself – they obviously taste good and were a hit with my two.  These are great as a snack and another that is gluten free along with being suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs.  But the best feature has to be there are just 39 calories per bag!!

 

 

 

Bloggers night swizzels matlowWhen I opened my bag and showed my children the Swizzels-Matlow goodies, their eyes popped out in excitement!  Can we have one now they asked?  With traditional favourites such as Love Hearts, Drumsticks and Fruity lollies my children were in sweetie heaven – oh but I did keep the  Parma Violets for my handbag though!

 

Last but not least I have saved you the best till last.  When I was offered my favourite ever chocolates to review how could I refuse.  Guylian, the Belgian chocolate seashells are made from 100% pure cocoa butter with a unique hazelnut praline filling that is utterly divine.

Bloggers night GuylianThe distinctive, glossy seashells and seahorse shapes are a sign of quality, a box of these is perfect as a gift for someone being affordable but luxury chocolates at the same time.  I highly recommend these!!

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

Win a Thorntons Christmas Chocolate Bundle

It’s the season for chocolate, well it is all year in my book, but hey at least you can enjoy it at this time of year without worrying about your waistline.  There are a vast array of special designs and moulded figures available for the festive season that look almost too good to eat.

Thorntons have come up with a wonderful range suitable for children designed around The Snowman and The Snowdog, with much of it made of white chocolate.  There are beautifully crafted models, chocolate lollipops and selection packs.  Why don’t you check out the lovely range of Christmas gifts here at Thorntons.

ThorntonsIf you’d like to win The Snowman & The Snowdog Christmas Bundle from Thorntons, then I have one to giveaway to a lucky reader, just fill in the form below to enter:

 

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Terms and conditions
Prize draw open to customers and non-customers aged 18 or over who are UK residents. Draw is not open to employees of Thorntons, their families or anyone associated with this draw. Proof of eligibility must be provided on request.
Winners will be drawn at random at the end of the promotion.
The promoter reserves the right (a) to add to or waive any rules on reasonable notice (b) cancel or postpone the promotion at any stage in the event of circumstances beyond its reasonable control; or (c) in its reasonable discretion to substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

Mister B is 3 and Dinosaur Birthday Cake!!

Yesterday was a very special day for my gorgeous little boy Mister B – he turned 3!!  We had a fairly normal day with daddy and I working, big sister Miss M at school and Mister B at nursery.  As I finish at 1pm on a Wednesday, I picked him up and we went home to enjoy the rest of the day and celebrate!!

Blakes 3rd birthday cakeUnfortunately mummy was a little tired the night before and didn’t get round to making his birthday cake, so once we got home from work/nursery, an eager to help little boy put on his apron and we set about making two chocolate sponge cakes.  While they were cooling we picked Miss M up from school then came home to open his cards and presents.  While they then played, I dashed into the kitchen to cook tea and assemble the cake – arghh!!  I wanted it to be ready for after dinner but time was against me and I didn’t have much of a plan of how to construct my cake.  I whizzed up some chocolate buttercream in the food processor, chopped the sponges into random shapes, slapped it all together in the hope it would become a recognisable creature.

chocolate dinosaur cakeWell Mister B was very happy with the finished result – a dinosaur cake, something he really wanted being a bit dinosaur mad at the moment.  A success!!

Dinosaur cake2A tired little 3 year old soon went up to bed to sleep off the excitement of the day, although he eagerly awaits for the weekend when his party takes place with all his friends.

Secret Ready Brek Cookies

We love baking and I remember many years ago making Secret Cookies with Ready Brek.  I knew my children would love these so thought we’d give them a go as something to occupy Miss M during the summer on a rainy day.

Mister B wanted to assist too and insisted on wearing Miss M’s Hello Kitty apron rather than his own – but whatever makes him happy!  Miss M carefully followed my instructions to mix the ingredients herself and was very excited by the ‘secret’ part of the cookie.  A hidden square of white chocolate pushed into the centre of each cookie before it is baked.

Ready Brek1Here’s the recipe we used for Ready Brek Secret Cookies:

5oz butter
5oz caster sugar
1 egg yolk
4oz Ready Brek
3oz self raising flour
2oz cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
15 squares of white chocolate (enough for 1 per cookie)

1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
2. And in egg yolk and beat well
3. Add the Ready Brek, flour, cocoa powder and baking powder
4. Mix to form a dough then break into 15 balls, flatten each ball down pushing a square of white chocolate into the centre and covering completely within the cookie
5. Bake for approx 15 minutes on 190°C

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The best way to eat these cookies is when they are still warm, so take them out the oven, let them cool slightly then take a bite and you’ll find the white chocolate square in the center is all gooey!

Ready Brek 3These are deliciously yummy, I have to say our plateful of cookies didn’t last long although we did manage to save a few until the next day.  They are almost as delicious cold as well, although if you pop them in the microwave for a few seconds it gently warms them up and they taste just like they’ve come out the oven again.

Why don’t you have a go at making these, lots of fun for children whatever the weather?

Chocolate cupcakes with Miss M – easy recipe using drinking chocolate

Miss M loves baking so with an excess of eggs in the house I decided to let her make some cupcakes this weekend.  We were also short on cocoa powder but having loads of drinking chocolate in the house we decided to substitute that in our recipe instead of cocoa powder.

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For 12 small cupcakes we used:

4oz self raising flour
4oz castor sugar
4oz margarine or butter
1 heaped tablespoon drinking chocolate
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of milk

Icing sugar, food colouring and decorations to finish

1. Cream margarine and sugar in a bowl
2. Add eggs slowly with flour/drinking chocolate and milk until all combined
3. Put in oven at 180 degrees for approx 20-30 mins
4. For icing mix icing sugar with boiling water and add relevant colourings.
5. Decorate to your hearts content!

Miss M loves baking and got completely stuck in mixing the ingredients, cracking the eggs and pouring in the flour.  Mister B sat on the sideline eagerly awaiting the finished result!  They had barely been out of the oven for 5 minutes when Miss M wanted to ice them but we let them cool down a little more before I made her up two bowls of icing, one pink and one blue (on her request of course!).  I gave her full creative control about the designs and left her to come up with her iced masterpieces!!

As you can see Mister B remained chilled out while his sister did all the hard work.  They both couldn’t wait to pick a cake and tuck in although poor Mister B was under strict instruction from big sister as to which cake he was allowed to choose.  These cakes did have a moist hot chocolatey taste them and my two described them as “Mmmm yummy”!!

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