Thursday, 29 October 2015
Jucee juice drinks, Jucee squash and Jucee 100% pure fruit juices all contain no added sugar. They make up a great tasting, great value range of drinks, made extra fun because of the cute, fruity characters on each bottle or carton. The individual juice boxes and sports top bottles are perfect for when on the go with the kids. They contain no artificial flavourings or colours, and like the rest of the range, are 100% sugar free.
The fruity characters that make up the Jucee Crew are a super cute way of introducing fruits to young children, making drinking juice drinks even more appealing. My crew of Freddy along with his cousins Addy and Dyl were very excited about getting creative to make their own Jucee Crew fruity friends.
Armed with a selection of fruits, some googly eyes, Sharpie markers, glue and other arts and crafts bits and bobs, they made some lovely characters. (they also enjoyed eating the fruits afterwards so nothing went to waste!)
According to the kids, Ozzie Orange is a fruitastic character who loves playing football with his little kicking legs. Archie Apple loves Kung-Fu and Lizzie Lemon wears a pretty blue hat and always smiles. Peggy Pineapple is a crazy character who looks after the little ones! I loved the kids' imagination when it came to making the characters and playing with them, giving them their own personalities and voices.
Find out more about the range and meet the Jucee Crew at www.jucee.co.uk.
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
I've included the prices for the ingredients bought from Aldi (prices correct as of 28/10/2015).
|Watching scary movies Inside the Wendy House - by George Fairbairn|
Here are my top picks:
Scream - the series
The Scream movie franchise is one of the big horror hits of the late 90s, featuring the horror obsessed killer in a Scream mask. The new Netflix series is a TV adaptation of the slasher genre featuring teens living in Lakewood, a small town with a horrific crime spree in its past.
After a cyber-bullying incident, a popular high school student Nina is brutally murdered, beginning a new wave of violence in Lakewood. A group of teens is drawn into the killer's game, and they use their wits to try and stay alive, unmask the perpetrator and stop him for good.
The cast is full of upcoming young actors with the role of Nina being played by Bella Thorne. It's a great teen drama, fast paced, very modern and infused with iconic slasher horror.
This movie is not your typical action packed horror film, instead it is shot in real time with just one setting for the majority of the action. Fifty people find themselves in a room standing in a circle around a central glowing device that fires out a bolt of energy every two minutes that kills whoever it hits. The people soon realise they can control who is killed and so enter into a fraught dialogue trying to decide who deserves to live or die. Alliances are made and tempers rage as the group battles to survive, knowing only one person can leave with their life. Who will walk out of the circle? The pregnant lady? The child? The cancer survivor? The soldier? Or someone else?
Circle is a bold film that doesn't rely on conventional thinking to shock and surprise its audience. It is quite slow paced, but very compelling. It doesn't give you any back story nor does it explain why they are in their predicament, instead it is what it is, and you go along with the confusion, frustration and fear of the people in the circle.
American Horror Story
AHS has mastered the art of mashing up horror genres and creating visually stunning, utterly shocking and beautifully crafted masterpieces with incredible storytelling and great acting. The series has been groundbreaking with each season taking the actors into a whole new world of horror. Murder House, Asylum, Coven and Freak Show are all available on Netflix. Each series is completely different and exquisitely enjoyable. I can't praise this series enough and I absolutely adore Evan Peters who stars in all the seasons in various roles.
|Ella as Twisty the Clown from AHS Freakshow|
For the kids, Netflix has the excellent spooky show Goosebumps to provide the Halloween thrills. My older children used to watch the TV show and read the books when they were younger. Now thanks to Netflix, my younger kids can enjoy the creepy stories too. Other picks for children include Wallace and Gromit - the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Monsters University, Tweeny Witches and Monster vs Aliens.
Netflix has a huge range of great horror films available to view on Netflix this Halloween including Carrie, World War Z, Saw, Zombieland, The Omen, My Bloody Valentine, Friday the 13th and Babadook which are all worth a watch.
It is easy to find horror films on Netflix by clicking through the genre selection. There are loads to choose from that will let you enjoy a scary movie marathon over Halloween. Have fun and enjoy!!
The Lechuza planters come in three finishes: hi gloss premium, matte and wicker-style cottage and in a variety of colours and designs. They are made in Germany using 100% recyclable plastic and are UV safe, frost proof and shatterproof. The sub-irrigation system is very clever and means that even the least green-fingered gardeners can grow beautiful plants and flowers. There is no need to water every day - in fact, once the plant is established, you only need to water every 12 weeks. You can't over water either, even in plants kept outdoors, a drainage system allows excess water to drain away without depleting the reservoir. A water level indicator allows you to keep a close eye on water levels.
We were sent a Lechuza Balconera 50 planter in Caribbean Blue so we could have a go at planting some flowers ourselves. Growing plants is such a lovely activity to do with the family. Children learn so much through getting their hands dirty, planting seedlings and nurturing flowers. And now, with the Lechuza planter, we don't even have to worry about forgetting to water our plants in the long term. It makes gardening a much lower maintenance activity and gives better results.
The colouful, balcony planter is such a fun and appealing design. Children will absolutely love growing plants in it and they will get good results thanks to the ingenious self-watering system. Achieving success helps build a child's confidence and encourages them to try new things, so knowing that the watering is taken care of, means there is a good chance of them growing a plant to be proud of and developing green fingers along the way.
The planter comes with a removable inner section that is easily removed using the retractable handles. The water level indicator pushes together and slots into position easily. A bag of substrate is included, which goes into the planter before the soil, to help control the water supply. For outdoor use, you remove the screw-in drainage plug, which is simple to do. It is all very straightforward to assemble ready for planting.
We were sent an amaryllis bulb for our planter. Personally, I would have preferred to plant one in a more upright, deeper pot for indoors, but it will be happy in the balcony planter and it is a good flower to grow for the season. To plant it up, I enlisted my little helpers and their green fingered grandad!
Once planted, you conventionally water the bulb for 3 weeks to help establish the growth of the roots. After the growing in phase you fill the reservoir via the shaft until the water level indicator reads max. The plant will then get its water through the irrigation system allowing it to achieve optimum growth.
I hope the milder weather continues, giving our amaryllis the best chance to grow into a beautiful flower. The Balconera planter is perfect for balconies but can also be used on a windowsill for growing herbs. You can get brackets to mount the planter on railings or walls to create a lovely colourful display. The Balconera comes in a range of colours to suit your style. They cost £29.99 and come complete with the plant liner, substrate and sub-irrigation system.
Find out more and see the whole range at www.lechuza.co.uk.
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Dylon sent us some of their products so we could have a go at making our own fiendish fancy dress, putting our own spin on things.
This year, the colour palette identified by Dylon for Halloween 2015 includes Emerald Green, Velvet Black and Intense Violet for creating wickedly wonderful witchy coloured fabrics. Tropical Green is the perfect shade for Halloween, reminiscent of rotting zombies or Frankenstein's monster himself. Tulip Red brings to mind blood splatter or devils while Goldfish Orange is the colour of Jack O'Lantern pumpkins. And any little ones looking to step out as their favourite Minions this year, will look fabulous in Sunflower Yellow and Ocean Blue coloured costumes. The palette is really inspiring when it comes to planning Halloween outfits. I love the violet colour, which is a great hue for the season and the inspiration for Kezia's fancy dress outfit this year.
Kezia, at 13, is looking for a more grown up and subtle look for Halloween this year. Using Intense Violet fabric dye for hand dying, you can make a funky, soft grunge tie-dyed effect outfit, perfect for a pastel witch or zombie when combined with face paints and accessories. Searching charity shops is a good way to find old clothing that can be made into something new. Transforming an old white summer dress or oversized t-shirt is easy using Dylon products.
Tie-dying is simple to do using the hand use fabric dye made up according to the instructions. You simply tie knots in the garment and secure with string before plunging into the dye. Once the garment has taken on the colour, take it out of the dye and untie. It creates a lovely effect.
For a solid colour, the Dylon Machine Dyes now contain added salt so are all ready to use in the washing machine. You just run a wash programme with the product in the machine, then run a second wash programme afterwards. It's easy to transform garments, giving them a new colourful lease of life for Halloween and beyond.
Freddy has chosen an Evil Doctor fancy dress outfit this year, which has been created using Dylon Fabric Paint in red. Using an old toothbrush to flick the paint onto an old two piece white doctor's fancy dress outfit, creates a great blood spatter effect. Smearing the paint and using it to make a bloody hand print on the fabric, adds to the look. (Just be sure to wash it off the skin immediately!) Ironing sets the paint onto the garment. This is also great to do to an old white sheet to create a spooky backdrop or a tablecover for Halloween decorating.
With their Halloween outfits ready for the big night of Halloween parties and Trick or Treating, both Kezia and Freddy are going to look fantastic. It is fun to make your own Halloween costumes and the Dylon products are great for the job. Find out more about the range at www.dylon.co.uk.
Thursday, 22 October 2015
The book is really well written with an astute message on empowerment and overcoming difficulties that children can face when growing up, such as loss, moving home, making friends and anxiety. The characters and the settings are beautifully conjured up through the rich descriptions in this fast paced narrative filled with unexpected twists. It's a new way for children to enjoy traditional fairy stories, made a little darker and cooler with the addition of zombies. It is filled with humour, is engaging, exciting and fun, combining high school drama with zombie action.
Written by Billy Phillips, the Once Upon A Zombie Book One; The Colour of Fear is available now priced at £10.99 on Amazon for readers aged 9 - 12 and the YA market.
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Slumbersac sleeping bags are perfect for babies and toddlers, but they are also great for older children up to the age of ten. Freddy, who is six years old, has been sent one to try out.
He received a camouflage print 3.5 Tog winter Slumbersac complete with long sleeves. It has a full length zip-up front and bottom and is warmly padded. There are some great design features on the slumbersac such as the double zip that runs up and down the front of the bag with the fabric protector at the top to stop the child's neck from being irritated. The separate zip up bottom is a great idea if the child wants to walk somewhere while inside the bag, or give their feet an airing! The elasticated cuffs on the long sleeves stop them from riding up. The Slumbersac is spacious without swamping the child and has plenty of growing room, being 150cm long from the shoulder to the bottom of the bag. I love the fabric with the grown-up camo design, which is perfect for older kids. Freddy loves it!
The Slumbersac allows children to sleep comfortably through the night. Freddy is a night time wriggler and often kicks off a conventional duvet, then wakes up later on when he gets chilly. The sleeping bag keeps him cosy all night through and is ideal for room temperatures of below eighteen degrees. The Slumbersac is perfect for travelling, staying at a grandparents' house or for sleepovers with friends, providing familiarity and comfort at nighttime. It is also brilliant for snuggling up on the sofa to watch a movie on a chilly day or for watching TV before bedtime. This Slumbersac would be an excellent investment for the winter months.
It is great that the Slumbersac is fully machine washable and can also be tumble dried. This will keep it looking good for years of use.
The winter 3.5 tog camouflage Slumbersac is £32.99 and is available in sizes 3-6 and 6-10 years.
Find the full range of Slumbersac sleeping bags, available from birth to 10 years, online at
The Cars section features state of the art, custom animatronics for some high octane, freewheeling excitement. Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater and the crew twist, turn and spin on the frozen freeway of Radiator Springs.
Anna and Elsa are the stars of the frosty kingdom of Arendelle, as they bring to life the wonderful award winning animation Frozen. Anna, helped by Kristoff and Olaf, embarks on an epic journey to find Elsa whose icy powers have trapped Arendelle in an eternal winter in this heartfelt, emotional story of true love.
Buzz, Woody and Jessie will be going to Infinity and Beyond, bringing the world of Toy Story to life and The Little Mermaid will welcome us to her undersea world to meet her friends.
The worlds of water, ice, wheels and toys come together to create an unforgettable experience for young and old Disney fans alike.
The characters, the costumes, the humour and the music add magic to the show while the incredibly talented cast skate with sheer perfection in perfectly choreographed routines. It is thrilling, enchanting and emotionally charged.
We'll be going to see the show at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham and cannot wait to experience the wonder of the Worlds of Enchantment!
Book tickets for Birmingham and see the other venues at www.disney.co.uk/disney-on-ice/worlds-of-enchantment.
Friday, 16 October 2015
The traditional way of enjoying pumpkin is in a pie. This is a recipe by Natasha Corrett, created in collaboration with Holland and Barrett's free-from range. This healthy take on the traditional pumpkin pie is perfect for Halloween.
PUMPKIN PIE RECIPE
Meridian Organic Pumpkin Seed Butter 170g £3.29
Freed Gluten Free Crispbread with Cheddar and Pumpkin Seed 160g £2.89
Biona Organic Spiced Pumpkin Soup 680g £2.69
Neal's Yard Wholefoods Pumpkin Seeds 400g £7.99
9 Bar Pumpkin Mixed Seed 50g 99p
Rude Health The Pumpkin Bar 35g 99p
Find these in store or online at www.hollandandbarrett.com.
Holland and Barrett also stock a great range of Free From treats for children for Halloween. Perfect for vegetarian and vegan children or children with food allergies or intolerances. No one needs to miss out on Trick or Treating with goodies such as Orgran Outback Animals Chocolate Cookies Multipack £3.37, Goody Good Stuff Cola Breeze sweets £1.49 and Moo Free Bar Crunchy Banana £2.70.
Thursday, 15 October 2015
Cherry Good is the right blend of sweetness and tartness combined in a super fruity and refreshing drink for all the family
Here is a recipe for Vampire Blood Fizz that the kids will love!
1 carton of Cherry Good
1 bottle of lemonade
Halloween Jelly Sweets or fresh fruit
Put some crushed ice into a punch bowl.
Add the juice and lemonade.
Serve in glasses decorated with jelly worms or peeled grape eyeballs!
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
The game is made even spookier with the ghostly sound effects that accompany the fast paced action. There are lots of screeches and wailing, which create a creepy atmosphere when playing the game. There are three different difficulty levels making it suitable for all the family. The gun records the scores and after each go, you can check to see how many points each player has got.
The multivision glasses add a new dimension to the game allowing you to see multiple images of the bats and ghosts, making it seem like the room is being invaded by loads of creepy creatures, but you can still play without them on. Freddy prefers it without the glasses as he wears specs himself, but playong without them does not detract from the gameplay at all.
We have been trying out this game, as an idea for fun family activities in the run up to Halloween. It is a lot of fun and gets everybody up as they take turns at harnessing their inner ghostbuster and blasting the targets as they appear all around the room. It is a great game for the kids to enjoy and would go down a storm at a Halloween party, especially with the spooky sounds that are emitted as you play.
Obviously, as the targets are projected around the room, it needs to be dark and the game works best when there is clear space on the walls so the images can be clearly seen. Sometimes, the projections get broken up if something is in the way between the wall and Billy Bones, making it harder to get a clean shot. The game has to be played in turns, but extra guns can be purchased to make it suitable for multiple players at the same time. Everyone can enjoy Ghost Hunt, and it gets quite competitive as players all try to beat the high score by blasting the most targets in the time limit. It definitely offers hours of after dark gaming action for all the family.
This is definitely a great game to keep little monsters entertained over Halloween, but it can be played and enjoyed all year round. Billy Bones is a very cute little skeleton and the gameplay is like bringing a spooky shoot 'em up video game to life in your own home.
Tuesday, 13 October 2015
As well as being safer, the Sainsbury's costumes are super spooky and include outfits for all the family, including the dog! From zombies, to witches to vampires, there is a great range to choose from. Whether your little monsters want to be a spine-tingling skeleton or an enchanted witch, there is a costume that will be just the thing for parties, discos and trick or treating.
Sainsbury's sent Freddy a Mummified Monster Zombie Costume complete with top, trousers and mask. The comfortably cut, long sleeved suit has jagged cut hems and added pieces of fabric to give a spooky mummified look to the costume. A cut out section on the front of the top reveals a gruesome lenticular panel featuring a 3D image of dripping blood, ribs, bugs, eyeballs and guts and the fabric design includes oozing goo, seeping blood and bugs printed onto a bandage effect background. The hooded mask has a skeleton style face with cut out eye holes and bandage detail. The top has velcro fastenings down the back, making it easy to put on and take off. It is a really creepy and very effective design.
Freddy absolutely loved his new zombie outfit. He particularly loved the front panel with the spooky open rib effect. Gruesome but great! The attention to detail is excellent and Freddy looked like an extra from a horror film, jumping around trying to scare us. He will look fantastic at his school Halloween disco this year.
The costume is good quality made from 100% polyester fabric, which has a nice sheen finish, and it also has the plastic panel insert and additional fabric detailing. The sizing is good and the fit is comfy.
It is available in ages 3 to 12, priced from £10 and available in store or online. It is hand wash only.
Sainsbury's also suggest that to keep children extra safe this year, that we use LED tealights instead of candles for our Jack O' Lanterns and Halloween decorations.
Find the Tu Clothing Halloween Fancy Dress range online or in store at Sainsbury's.
Monday, 12 October 2015
These cupcakes are easy to make and look effective with the oozing Cottage Delight Strawberry Extra Jam centre and brain effect icing!
For the cakes:
140g softened butter
3 medium eggs
140g golden caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
For the filling
6tbsp 340g Jar of Cottage Delight Strawberry Extra Jam
For the icing:
600g icing sugar, sifted
6 tbsp. water
1 tsp. pink food colouring
Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
Arrange paper cases in the cake tin.
Add all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk for about 3 minutes until you get a smooth batter.
Divide the mixture between each cake case.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Cut out a small hole in the top of each cake and fill with 1 tsp. of Cottage Delight Strawberry Extra Jam.
Mix the icing sugar, 1 tsp. of pink food colouring and water, until stiff, to the mix. Place the icing mixture into a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes with a squiggly pattern to look like brains.
Leave to set.
These will keep for up to 2-3 days stored in a cool place, in an airtight container.
Find more seasonal recipes like this one and buy the Strawberry Extra Jam (£3.45 for 340g jar) at www.cottagedelight.co.uk. (I received a jar to try out this recipe.)
Find more seasonal recipes like this one and buy the Strawberry Extra Jam (£3.45 for 340g jar) at www.cottagedelight.co.uk. (I received a jar to try out this recipe.)
Friday, 9 October 2015
Mummy Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
Pack of 6 frozen Vegetarian Sausages
Pack of short-crust pre rolled pastry
Cottage Delight Roast Red Pepper Ketchup
Cottage Delight Spicy English Mustard Sauce
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the sheet of
Using a pastry cutter or sharp knife slice the dough into
1cm wide strips.
Wrap a strip of pastry around each sausage as you get near
the top of the sausage; leave a gap in the pastry strips to make room for the
mummy's eyes. You may need to use more than one strip for each sausage.
Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees.
Once cooked take out of the oven.
Add a little blob of ketchup for each eye.
Serve with Cottage Delight Roast Red Pepper Ketchup and
Cottage Delight Spicy English Mustard Sauce – perfect for dipping.
This is also a great idea to get fussy eaters tucking in to their dinner. Who could resist a veggie Mummy Sausage Roll with a bowl of beans? Freddy loved it.
You can buy the Cottage Delight sauces and find other seasonal recipe ideas, like this one, on their website at: www.cottagedelight.co.uk
The Red Pepper Ketchup is £3.85 and the Spicy English Mustard Sauce is £3.45. Both are vegetarian and gluten free.
*I received the condiments to try out with this recipe.
Once cooked take out of the oven.
Add a little blob of ketchup for each eye.
Thursday, 8 October 2015
I remember being 27 myself. It doesn't seem that long ago and yet now my son Joe is that age. 27? That is nearly 30. If my baby boy is nearly 30 then I must be pushing 50! Half a century! How has that come around so fast? Surely 1988 wasn't that long ago?
I remember becoming a mum to Joe like it was yesterday. A terrified teenager. A baby that changed everything for the better. We embarked on an adventure together. Just me and him. The two of us. Mother and son against the world. We did OK!
Time kept creeping on. Birthdays were celebrated, years passed by.
Along the way, our lives were blessed with the arrival of our knight in shining armour, Ian who made everything complete, safe, secure and happier than we could ever have imagined, and with four further beautiful babies to add to the brood. Our little tiny family of two swelled to become a family of seven. A fabulous, loud, proud, chaotic, slightly bonkers and absolutely perfect family.
Tick tock. Time continued to pass. My babies grew up under my watchful eye, surrounded by my constant love. Little boys grow into men. They get tall, they start to shave, they get a job, they spread their wings.
Now my son has his own life. A life he has created for himself. A life that makes me so proud of him. He is a wonderful daddy to my gorgeous grandson Ted. I'm not just mum anymore - I'm Nana Wendy now too. Joe gave me that gift.
We've grown older alongside each other for 27 years. Things have changed but the love I felt for that tiny baby I delivered all those years ago has not diminished one little bit. He's always my baby boy - but my baby boy is now a man. A 27 year old man. I'm a much older woman than I was 27 years ago, but my life has been made richer every single day since becoming a mother. 27 years of unconditional love has made me who I am today. Shaped me into someone I am proud to be. And it all started with the birth of my son. My son who is 27 today.
Happy birthday son xxx
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
With Halloween approaching, I was delighted to receive a beautiful piece from the Smithers of Stamford collection - an amazing bronze effect human skull. As a fan of gothic and vintage items, and having a penchant for horror, I absolutely adore this ornament. It's really quite beautiful, in a slightly macabre way, with a high end antique feel.
Standing 15cm tall and weighing 1.4kg, it is an impressive ornamental piece. It is most definitely not a novelty item, it is stunning and beautifully crafted with great attention to detail. It has an antique style finish and will add a quirky edge to any home or office decor.
In addition to being a stunning ornamental piece, the bronze effect skull would make a fantastic centrepiece at a horror or gothic inspired dinner party and will add a touch of class to any Halloween celebration. I have mine on display in my living room and have received lots of compliments from guests on my quite unique and unusual ornament. It is definitely a great talking point.
The Smithers of Stamford website is a wonderful place to browse with so many amazing items. There are some great gift ideas that will definitely delight with their themed vintage designer styles. You can also source unusual items and bespoke pieces for the home or office, including some fantastic furniture. If you are looking for something a bit different and very special, definitely take a look at the Smithers of Stamford range.
The bronze effect skull costs £34.00. It is also available in white for a more clinical effect. And be sure to remember - skulls aren't just for Halloween!
Monday, 5 October 2015
Available in two variants, the Gluten Free Nutribix is suitable for those with Coeliac Disease or those on gluten free diets. It is made in a 100% gluten free factory so there is no compromise on safety. It is 96% wholegrain Sorghum, low in sugar and fortified with nutrients. The Gluten Free Nutribix are rectangular breakfast biscuits with a light texture, which can be served with milk and fruit. Alternatively they can be blended into a breakfast smoothie for a wholesome and filling start to the day. It is great to see such a tasty breakfast cereal available that is naturally gluten free, bringing more choice to the market.
The Gold and Grains Nutribix is a delicious combination of Sorghum, Oats, Wheat and Rye wholegrains with added rice, a touch of coconut and honey. They have a chunky, crunchy texture full of delicious grains and are fortified with vitamins and iron. I have been eating my way through the box of Gold and Grain Nutribix, served with almond milk and I can honestly say they are fantastic. They are so filling and it feels like they are doing you good. The biscuits look very rustic and natural, they aren't too sweet and are very flavoursome. Serving with colourful fruits and your choice of milk, they make a great breakfast, kick starting the day with wholegrain goodness and nutrients. Nutribix has definitely brought something new and different to the breakfast table.
Each box contains 24 of the Nutribix cereal biscuits, with two being the recommended portion size. You can find them in Tesco, Sainsbury's and Ocado. Look out for the colourful boxes - I love the branding, which makes Nutribix stand out from the other cereals.
Find out more at nutribix.co.uk or follow Nutribix on Twitter @Nutribix, on Instagram @Nutribix or on the Nutribix Facebook page.