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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Midweek Meals with Dolmio #ThankGoodness

When it comes to feeding my family, I like to make sure they have a wholesome diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. I enjoy using natural ingredients, but still appreciate the convenience of using jar sauces, especially when it comes to midweek meals. Dolmio sauces are made using 100% natural ingredients so are a real asset when I need to make a quick and easy meal. The Dolmio Bolognese Sauce contains the same ingredients as I would use at home, so using Dolmio saves me time and effort when it comes to preparation, without compromising on the goodness.

thank goodness, dolmio


Dolmio sent me a delicious delivery of ingredients including their bolognese sauce, so I could create a meal for my family. We love Italian food so were very happy to get creative in the kitchen using some lovely fresh produce and a jar of Dolmio sauce. 


natural ingredients


I made a super colourful, chunky tomato, vegetable and vegetarian chicken pasta sauce and served it with spiralised carrot and courgette as a healthier, lighter alternative to spaghetti. It's comforting, hearty and tasty and packed full of goodness.

It was quick and easy to make using the Dolmio sauce as a base to the recipe, and it was super healthy too. This is exactly what I need when making a midweek family meal.


Recipe, vegetarian



Chunky Tomato, Vegetable and Veggie 'Chicken' Pasta Sauce 

(serves 4)

1 onion sliced
3 small carrots chopped
1 half red pepper chopped
1 half yellow pepper chopped
1 courgette diced
5 blocks frozen spinach
6 - 8 mushrooms sliced
1 jar Dolmio Bolognese Sauce
1 packet veggie chicken style pieces

Fry the onion and carrot gently in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped peppers, courgette and mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Pour in the jar of Dolmio and a third of the jar of water.
Add spinach and veggie chicken style pieces.
Simmer for about 15 minutes until the carrot feels softened.
Serve with wholewheat spaghetti or spriralised vegetables (spiralise carrots and courgettes and quickly fry in a little coconut oil for about 4 minutes to heat through) for a healthy, delicious meal.


spiralised veg, courgetti, zoodles


Everyone enjoyed their midweek meal thanks to Dolmio. My teenager said it was "delish" (high praise indeed) and my husband was delighted that we were getting so many veggies in one meal and that all the flavours worked together so well with the herbs and spices in the Dolmio sauce. Our dinner was packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and it tasted absolutely delicious. Just what I want when feeding my family.

Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g sauce is 100% natural. In each jar, you’ll find at least 10 juicy diced tomatoes, a dollop of tomato puree, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs including basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water and nothing more. In fact, a jar provides a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each and that’s before you add any further veg to the meal! 


tomato sauce, pasta sauce



“This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness.”

Monday, 20 March 2017

Nothing says Easter like Cadbury

Easter will soon be upon us. I love Easter because it means we have yet another excuse to do some fun things together as a family. Every year I plan an elaborate Easter Egg Hunt for the kids (I say kids but most of them are now officially adults - but they still love my hunts with cryptic clues, physical challenges and puzzles to solve!) We have a big vegetarian roast dinner and eat lots of chocolate. Perfect!

I like to stock up on plenty of chocolate treats in the run up to Easter. This year, Cadbury have a great range of  chocolatey goodies, which the Easter Bunny will be proud to deliver. From favourites such as Mini Eggs to the eggscellent Egg Hunt Pack to popping candy chocolate bunnies, there is something for everyone. Large individual Easter Eggs are available in lots of different varieties from Cadbury Buttons to Creme Egg. I love the mini filled eggs that come in a range of flavours including my favourites Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo and Daim. The Cadbury Dairy Milk Spring Edition is a lovely seasonal twist on the classic bar. With prices to suit all budgets and varieties to suit most tastes, Cadbury have Easter covered. 

You can come up with some lovely activities for the family such as a simple Easter Egg hunt for younger children, where you hide the eggs around the garden for them to find and pop in a basket. Or use them as prizes in an Easter quiz or rewards for completing a more complicated challenge! However you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a lot of fun and enjoy indulging in some yummy treats!

Some Fun Easter Facts from Cadbury

  • 255,000 Cadbury Easter Eggs are made at the Bournville factory every day
  • That is 10,625 Cadbury Easter Eggs made per hour or 177 per minute!
  • If you stacked every Cadbury Easter Egg made at Bournville every day on top of each other you’d have a tower of Cadbury Eggs as high as 305 Big Bens!
  • Over 83 million Easter Eggs are sold in the UK over the Easter season, with the Cadbury Creme Egg being the most popular.
  • Over 300 million Cadbury Creme Eggs are made every year, with about two thirds of that number being enjoyed in the UK – that is 3.5 Cadbury Creme Eggs for every man, woman and child in the country to enjoy!


Cadbury, Easter


This year, the Cadbury Easter Bunny is inviting families to come together and take part in some eggsciting egg hunts across the country.  Cadbury is teaming up with the National Trust to offer families the ultimate day out with more than 300 Cadbury Easter Egg hunts being activated across various sites in the lead up to Easter. With over 300 egg hunts to choose from across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, Cadbury will be sure to help families have a fun-filled Easter. 

To find out more and discover a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at a National Trust property near you, visit: www.cadbury.co.uk/easter


Friday, 17 March 2017

Celebrating 50 Yearz of Beanz Meanz Heinz

The iconic "Beanz Meanz Heinz" slogan was first used back in 1967 and even today 50 years later, it remains one of the more recognisable and memorable advertising slogans of our times. With a can being sold every 17 seconds, Heinz Beanz are a big part of family life here in the UK.

To celebrate, Heinz is launching over 6000 limited edition cans, commemorating this momentous half century milestone. They feature some modern twists on the original slogan that reflect what Heinz Beanz mean to us today, such as "Beanz Meanz  Yummz" and "Beanz Meanz Spudz". These will go on sale exclusively at Selfridges foodhalls in London, Birmingham and Manchester priced at £2 each.

Heinz Beanz


In addition to this, 50 super collectable numbered cans signed by Maurice Drake, the man who penned the "Beanz Meanz Heinz" slogan, will go on sale in the London store and online  on April 5th for £10 a can. Monies raised will be donated to The Ideas Foundation, a charity for nurturing creatively gifted young people that also works towards increasing diversity in creative industries.

slogan


Baked bean fans can also go to a pop-up bar in Selfridges London, where they can enjoy dishes such as Beanz with scrambled egg for £3. A real breakfast classic! This will be running from March 27th to April 23rd, no need to book.

On the success of his advertising slogan for Heinz, Maurice Drake says "...I still find it incredible that, over  50 years later, the seemingly timeless ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ slogan continues to have relevance and brand power, still appealing to different generations in an ever-changing world. This is in part due to a great product which is still as loved as it was then, but also due to the enduring love of content which places food and meal times at the heart of the home.”

Friday, 10 March 2017

Nixplay Seed Wi-Fi Cloud Frame Review - Perfect Mother's Day gift idea

The future of the humble photo frame is changing. With the advancements in internet technology, no longer are photo frames limited to displaying a single hard copy of a favourite photograph. Instead we can enjoy a digital Cloud frame that displays a continuous slide show of images accessed from any device or platform with instant sharing capabilities. Photographs can be shared with family and friends around the world and displayed in high resolution with clear and vivid colour reproduction. A perfect way of sharing precious memories with loved ones, bringing new life to your photographs.

Nixplay


Nixplay is the leading brand in Digital Photo Frames globally with seven years experience in the field. They offer a complete photo management and display solution, allowing you to access images and create playlists of photos that can instantly be viewed on a frame anywhere in the world. We were sent a 10" Nixplay Seed frame in black to try out.

cloud photo frame


The frame has a simple set up process. Simply connect to the wi-fi, create a Nixplay account and follow the instructions to activate the frame. You can access pictures wirelessly from social media platforms and create playlists of  favourite shots. The frame comes with 10GB of free Cloud storage, keeping all your images safely and securely in one place.

Using the Nixplay Seed frame is incredibly easy and user friendly. The online Nixplay app is a really great way of accessing all your photos and managing them. You can make 1000 image playlists and these can be edited easily to get them just right. You can add other frames to your account, which can then be used to also show your images. Friends can send pictures to you via the frame too. It is a very social way of sharing photographs within the home.

digital photo frame


The Seed comes with a remote control to navigate and control the frame, pausing or skipping images. It also comes with Hu-Motion sensors to turn the frame on and off when you enter or leave the room for power saving. The Nixplay smartphone app allows you to snap, manage and share pictures directly and instantly to any frame. It's a great way to stay connected in real time.

         


The frames come in a variety of colours and designs and can be displayed in portrait or landscape, with the power cable doubling up as a stand. It looks stylish and will be a real talking point in any home.

I think that a Nixplay Cloud frame would make a wonderful gift for grandparents, giving them an ever changing and continuously updated display of pictures of the grandchildren. This can keep loved ones connected even if they are miles away. They would be a lovely choice for a Mother's Day present for the children's Nana. I showed my mum the Nixplay Seed and she absolutely loved it and thought it was an incredible way of viewing photos and said it was "better than watching the TV!"

cloud frame, wifi frame


We are very impressed with the Cloud frame from Nixplay. It is user friendly, it looks good and it displays images in high resolution with great clarity. It unleashes photographs from your social media  and other devices directly into the home to be enjoyed by all.

For a limited time, Nixplay are offering a 20% discount with an exclusive voucher code to use at the checkout. Perfect timing for a special Mother's Day gift your your mum!

Find out more and order your own Nixplay Seed frame with an exclusive 20% discount here.


Global Science Challenge with Wild! Science #win

The Wild! Science Global Science Challenge is an exciting opportunity for one budding young scientist to win an amazing family holiday to Orlando! The prize includes a 7 day stay at a 5-star resort with car hire and entry to Disney World and to the Kennedy Space Centre to meet a real astronaut. The prize also includes a full set of Wild! Science products for the lucky winner.

To enter, all you need to do is buy any Wild! Science Kit and send a copy of the receipt along with your online application.

This is the fun bit! Applicants are being asked to design an awesome new Wild! Science Kit and to write and illustrate a basic instruction book to demonstrate how to use it. You can be as creative as you like, using drawings to make your entry stand out from the crowd. There is a printable 'My Idea' form online to help you present your original idea to the judges.

win, competition
Click through for more details


Wild! Science Kits give kids aged 8 and over everything they need to create some wonderful things and do some exciting experiments, showcasing the power of science in a fun and educational way. The instruction books contain plenty of fascinating scientific facts alongside comprehensive illustrated instructions and safety information. It's great to see products that make the STEM subjects so exciting and accessible to children.

We received a Lava Lamp and Glitter Tube Factory to try out. Kids can create dazzling, optical effects by reflecting light from glitter and bubbling water. The glitter tube suspends glitter in glycerine, each tiny piece acting as a mirror, reflecting and scattering the light emitted from a colourful LED. The lava lamp uses a fizzy chemical reaction between an acid and a base to produce carbon dioxide gas that bubbles between two layers of liquids (water and oil) which have different densities. Children are learning about physical and chemical properties through creative and fun experiments and producing lovely end products.

Kezia, aided by little brother and budding scientist Freddy, enjoyed making the lava lamp and glitter tube. The instructions are very clear and they learned lots of scientific facts in a hands on and engaging way.

STEM


At £14.99 they are great value sets and with the added incentive of the global challenge, there has never been a better time to buy one.

You can find Wild! Science kits at Smyths.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Helping children to #DreamBig with Primula and the NSPCC

Primula believes that every child should have the freedom to Dream Big about their future, so they will be donating 20% of the profits from their new, limited edition green tubes directly to the NSPCC.

Buying a limited edition tube of Primula Cheese will help support the NSPCC to help children across the UK grow up free from abuse, fear, anxiety or loneliness.  Every child should have the chance to dream about their future with confidence, positivity and optimism. The NSPCC is helping children to do this, replacing their fears with hopes and dreams.

Look out for the new green coloured Primula tube design in stores and join in the fight for every childhood by raising funds to help some of the most vulnerable children in the UK. 

Pick up your limited edition tube in Asda, Morrison’s, Tesco and Sainsbury’s now.

We can all help spread the word by sharing our own childhood dreams, big or small, with Primula on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #DreamBig. So whether you dreamed of becoming a rock star, an astronaut, a scientist or a footballer share those dreams and join in the conversation to help raise awareness of the Primula campaign to support the NSPCC.

Primula NSPCC #DreamBig campaign

The Amazing Alphabet from Tinyme

The Amazing Alphabet, is an amazing new picture book now available from Tinyme.  Each unique book is fully personalised, custom made and makes a wonderful keepsake for any child.
Not only is it a colourful, educational book, it also features the exciting addition of Augmented Reality. Simply download the free AR app (iOs or Android) to unlock the fun. By hovering over the pages with the app, the characters jump out of the page, coming to life with music and sound effects, allowing children to engage with the printed page in a whole new way. The app also has a 'read to me' function so even non-readers can immerse themselves in the story.

The Amazing Alphabet from Tinyme


In the story of The Amazing Alphabet your child sets off on an adventure to help 'Little z' find his perfect friend. Along the way they will meet all the colorful characters of the alphabet. Children can learn the alphabet and discover words beginning with each of the letters. It's fun for kids who will enjoy the old school pleasures of a picture book combined with the cool addition of modern tech.

The Amazing Alphabet from Tinyme


The book is lovely and the AR is impressive and engaging. Your child's name is used throughout the book making them a big part of the story of 'Little z' on his quest too find his perfect friend. It's fun and really quite unique. Below is a screenshot of the app in action so you can see just how cute it is.

The Amazing Alphabet from Tinyme


This is a great gift idea for young children (and a great alternative to chocolate for an Easter gift for a special child) and costs £20.  Find out more at:  www.tinyme.com/the-amazing-alphabet-book.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

New from Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo - Peanut Butter and Mint

If you love Cadbury Dairy Milk and you love Peanut Butter or Mint flavour Oreos, than you are in for some serious confectionery pleasure. 

Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo have two new options, Peanut Butter and Mint, to add to the range. Each bar contains a creamy flavoursome filling studded with chunks of crunchy Oreo biscuit, and covered with creamy Dairy Milk chocolate.

Dairy Milk Oreo


I received some to try out and they are really delicious and extremely, dangerously moreish! The bars are brand new to supermarkets this month and are £1.49 RRP for a 120g bar.

Dairy Milk Oreo

With Mother's Day and Easter fast approaching, these new Dairy Milk Oreo bars will definitely be featuring in my shopping lists, to treat the family. I love the classic combination of mint and chocolate, and peanut butter flavoured chocolate bars are a personal favourite of mine.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Space Wars Aerovane Target Blaster Review

The Space Wars Aerovane Target Blaster from Maps Toys is a really cool toy that turns kids into real space cowboys! Using the chunky space-inspired foam dart gun, children can take aim and shoot at the magnetised aliens that move around the motorised rotation target. (The motor hub takes 2 AA batteries.)

Space Wars Aerovane Target Blaster


The set includes a lightweight, air pistol gun that you prime by pulling back the top, then use the trigger to fire the foam darts. It is surprisingly powerful! There is a belt clip for storing the twelve darts in. The aerovane is easy to assemble and comes with magnetic attachments to secure the targets to. You need to stick the alien stickers to the target plates to complete the set-up.

Space Wars Aerovane Target Blaster


Once assembled, the game is ready to play. Attach the magnets and switch on the motorised Aerovane target and use the gun to shoot at the aliens. It moves smoothly, quietly and slowly, making it good for target practice. It's not as easy to get the aliens as it looks - you really need to practice your alien sharp-shooting skills to knock them all off.

Space Wars Aerovane Target Blaster


It really is a lot of fun. 7 year old Freddy is really enjoying playing with it. He is working on his aim and enjoys blasting the aliens. He loves that they are moving targets, which makes it much more challenging. It is easy to disassemble the toy to pack away into its box, but until now we've been unable to do so, because Freddy loves playing with it too much!

Space Wars Aerovane Target Blaster


You can find the Space Wars Aerovane Target Blaster on Amazon. It is suitable for ages 4 and up. Follow Maps Toys on Facebook for more product news, fun and giveaways.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Electric Jukebox - a user friendly plug and play music streaming service

Independent research shows that only 8% of the UK subscribe to a music service, like Spotify or Apple Music. The reasons given for not subscribing include overly complicated technology, apps that are too much hassle and monthly credit card charges.

Music streaming services are great as they give us access to all the music in the world - but until now, no one has created something that the mass market, including the older, non-millenial generation can enjoy. So, Electric Jukebox was created, to provide a simple, easy-to-use service for everybody. 

Electric Jukebox


Electric Jukebox is an easy-to-use device that turns your TV into a jukebox - the ultimate music machine. With Electric Jukebox, you get an HDMI TV stick, and a 'point and click' controller with voice search. There is an easy 2-minute set-up - just plug in, connect to wifi, and play.

Electric Jukebox


You can search for music from the 30 million track catalogue including 'new and trending' music alongside old classics. There are no ads to interrupt the music and listening is unlimited.

In addition to searching for particular songs, albums or artists, Electric Jukebox has hundreds of curated mixtapes to suit every mood or activity so you can discover new artists and songs to suit how you are feeling or what you are doing. Electric Jukebox is suitable for the whole family - there is a parental lock feature, which blocks explicit content from being played if young children are present.

Electric Jukebox


Electric Jukebox costs £169 upfront, which includes a 1 year annual music pass. After the first year has passed, you can continue to listen to Electric Jukebox for free, with ads, or pay a further annual fee of £52 to continue using the unlimited premium music pass. (This ongoing annual cost is less than half the price of Spotify or Apple music - which both cost £120 for an annual music subscription.)

We have been very impressed with the Electric Jukebox. It is great for families who enjoy listening to music together and creates a party atmosphere in your living room. We have searched for all sorts of artists from current bands to eighties stars to classic rockers and so far we've found tracks from everyone we've looked for. The format is fun and easy to use. Paying for the Electric Jukebox upfront means that there are no monthly bills to worry about and the fact it plays on your TV means you don't need headphones or external speakers to enjoy the music. 

       


Find out more at www.electricjukebox.com.

Supersized Bubble Fun with Gazillion Giant Power Wand

Blowing bubbles is so much fun. I've yet to find a child who doesn't love running around to chase and pop bubbles. It's such a crowd pleaser at parties, and really quite magical and mesmerising.  I love the colours that shimmer off the surface, so pretty.

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Power Wand


We received the Gazillion Giant Bubble Power Wand to try out. It is a motorised, circular wand with a fan that blows air at the push of a button to create bubbles using the Gazillion Big Bubble solution. The wand needs 2 x AA batteries to operate, which fit into the handle.

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Power Wand


The Gazillion Giant Power Wand comes with a flat dish for the solution and an 8oz bottle of the big bubble mix so once the batteries are inserted it is ready to go!

Gazillion Bubble solution is a top quality formula, shown to create bigger, more plentiful bubbles. It is the perfect solution to use with the latest gadgets from Gazillion, which take bubble blowing to a whole new level.

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble


The wand creates huge bubbles with ease. Simply dip the wand into the solution and press the button. The air blows through the solution creating a stream of giant bubbles. We are so impressed to see the huge bubbles float off into the air. It was so much better than trying to blow them yourselves, as the air is blown gently, continuously and evenly across the film of solution, maximising the size and quantity of bubbles from each dip.

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble


Gazillion Bubbles are a premium bubble blowing brand. The solutions come in 8oz, 2l and 4l bottles in original and big bubble formulas for lots of bubbly fun.

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble


Gazillion Giant Power Wand is the perfect outdoor big bubble blowing toy, ideal for kids' parties. As the weather improves, I'll be outside making giant bubbles to impress my younger kids and grandkids! To be fair, I think I'll even impress the adults with the size of these giant bubbles!

Gazillion Bubbles Giant Bubble


The Gazillion Giant Power Wand costs £12.99 and can be found online at Argos. It's great fun for all ages but recommended for kids age 3 to 7.

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