Thursday, 26 January 2017


The ultimate in children’s festivals in back for its third successive year and 2017’s Geronimo Festival promises a weekend of great family entertainment with amazing acts and activities. New for this year, Geronimo is offering camping and glamping for guests to make a full weekend of it.  Bring your own tent, caravan or motor home or take the hassle out of camping by hiring one of the range of themed tents that are available for families.

Taking place from 27th - 29th May 2017, Geronimo will be held in the stunning, expansive grounds at Arley Hall in Northwich, Cheshire giving  guests access to a whole host of new and exciting attractions set over a larger scale. The event will be now held over three days so that more people can take advantage of everything the show has to offer.

The family festival which has been billed as ‘Glastonbury for Kids!’ by the Daily Mirror, will play host to a huge array of TV stars who will take centre stage throughout the day. The theme of this year’s event is Princesses, Knights and Dragons families are welcome to dress up and join in the fun. Stars of CBeebies, CBBC, YouTube and ITV will be performing to keep their young fans entertained.
Children’s TV Megastar, Justin Fletcher returns to Geronimo this year and will headline the Main Stage on Saturday 27th May.  On Sunday, children are in for another treat as Mr. Bloom takes to the stage introducing his brand new 40minute show which features his amazing four-piece band. The hilarious duo Swashbuckle will also be hosting their brilliant slapstick Pirate Show and Art Attack’s Lloyd Warbey will also be on hand to inspire creative kids. YouTube favourites Amazing Arabella and Mini Matt Smith will meet and greet fans and there will be more exciting YouTubers announced soon.

This year children can visit the Digital Zone where they can meet their favourite YouTubers and Gamers as well as try their hand at all the latest tech. Geronimo guests will also be treated to two full Circuses, a Theatre Tent and a Show Ground Arena with lots of displays including motorcycles, jousting and fencing. For the active kid, there’s so much to cram in including mobile climbing walls, cardboard harp workshops and a Bear Grylls Assault Course. In fact there are literally hundreds of activities to enjoy and something for kids of all ages (and big kids too!).

Families are urged to take advantage of the unique Early Bird offer which is available until the end of January with Tier 1 family tickets available from just £16.50 per person. As an added incentive, early birds who purchase Tier 1 tickets will receive a free wristband for the Victorian Fun Fair. So be quick!

For further information about the Geronimo Festival and to book tickets, please visit

Geronimo Festival

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Forest Feast - naturally sweet and ready to eat dried fruit snacks

I am a big advocate of trying to eat as healthily as possible for the majority of the time, but I also love food and want to enjoy lots of wonderful tastes and textures and not deprive myself of delicious things!

When it comes to sugar, there is a lot of research that highlights direct links between excessive consumption and health concerns. The government released a medical report that recommends that no more than 5% of our calorie intake should come from 'free sugars'. However, many low sugar or sugar-free products are made using artificial chemical sweeteners that I try to avoid. Where possible, I try to choose natural products that provide nutritional benefits to mine and my family's diets.

I was delighted to receive a delivery from Forest Feast, a company that produces a range of ten traditional and exotic dried fruits. Each product is carefully selected to contain no added sugars, syrups or juices. The range allows for smart and hearty snacking containing nothing but dried natural fruits and contain naturally occurring fibre, vitamins and minerals.

no added sugar snacks, dried fruit

The range includes apricots, bananas, cherries, dates, figs, goji berries, golden berries, mango, pineapple and plums, each in a foil backed bag for freshness. The fruits are perfectly sized for snacking, but can be used as an ingredient in many recipes from curries to cakes.

I am very impressed to see the ingredient list on each of the varieties of the Forest Feast range containing nothing more than the fruit itself. No preservatives, no added sugar or sweeteners, no added oils - just natural fruit that has been dried. They provide a delicious sweet treat, sweetened only as nature intended. No need for sugarcoating!

The Forest Feast snack sized dried fruit is a great addition to lunchboxes. Just pop some into a little pot and it provides a tasty, sweet treat that is all natural. They are also great for sprinkling over yogurt or cereals, adding to porridge or combining with nuts for a quick power snack!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Vegan Thai Vegetable Red Curry Recipe #veganuary

This fragrant vegan Thai vegetable red curry is easy to make but really delivers on flavour. It is a versatile recipe that can be adapted if required, allowing you to use up any veggies from the fridge along with chickpeas, tofu or vegan Quorn pieces to suit your taste. It uses Flora Freedom, the new dairy free spread from Flora that is 'powered by plants' making it better for you and for the environment.

vegan food, vegan recipe, Thai curry


25 g Flora Freedom
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (be sure to use a vegan one)
410 g coconut milk
500 g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
220 g green beans, trimmed and halved
400 g tinned chickpeas, drained
1 lime, juiced
1 pack basil (for garnish)


Heat Flora and oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until soft.
Add crushed garlic and half the chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the Thai red curry paste, coconut milk and 250ml water and bring to the boil.
Add sweet potatoes, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
Add green beans and chickpeas and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the sweet potatoes and beans are just tender.
Stir through the lime juice and garnish the curry with remaining sliced chilli and basil leaves.

Serve with rice.

Find more recipes for vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free dishes at

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Motivation for Veganuary with Flora Freedom

There is no denying that a plant based diet brings huge benefits to both your health and to the environment. However, many people are put off of plant based meals believing that vegans suffer from a restricted diet, forced to consume nothing more exciting than a salad. That said, interest in veganism surged in 2016, bringing the number of vegans in the UK to over half a million. Many brands, supermarkets and restaurants have upped their game and are introducing more vegetarian, vegan and free-from options to meet the rising demand.

So there has never been a better time to give a plant based diet a try, even if you do it on a flexitarian basis, eating vegan friendly food once or twice a week. Dabbling in animal-free alternatives by making a few swaps or by doing Meat-Free Mondays can really have an impact on our environment and can provide many health benefits, as well as giving us an opportunity to shake things up in the kitchen by adding some new healthy ideas to meal planning. As veganism becomes more mainstream, hopefully the stigma of being considered sanctimonious, preachy, self-righteous or just plain weird will disappear, and people will see those who choose to eat vegan food, either full or part time, as making a good choice.

My family are all vegetarian, but we tend to eat plant based meals about 4 or 5 times a week and we use a lot of alternatives to dairy products in our day to day diet. Since making the change, we have never looked back and we enjoy an incredibly varied and delicious array of food. There is literally nothing that we miss nor do we feel deprived because we don't eat meat. In fact, there are vegan alternatives to nearly every food I can think of. We can have mock 'duck', veggie 'bacon', burgers and sausages, even vegan 'fish' fingers. And they are all tasty too! They might replicate the taste and texture of animal products, but they are made using 100% plant based ingredients and no animal suffered for us to eat them, so it's all good. Some of the kids' favourite treats such as Original Hula Hoops, Oreos, BBQ Pringles and Party Rings happen to be vegan, so the little ones don't even have to miss out on their goodies. It is easier than ever to give it a try.

January provides a great opportunity for people around the world to give veganism a try as it is the month given over to Veganuary. This year over 50,000 people have signed up, pledging to give up meat and animal products for 31 days. It is a great start to the year, especially after the excesses of Christmas and participants have noted weight loss, better sleep habits and improved energy levels as positive effects from taking part. Flora have teamed up with Veganuary this year. With their 'Powered by Plants' campaign and their Flora Freedom dairy-free spread, they are a brand that is well placed to help families eat more plant based alternatives.

Here are some helpful tips from dietician and TV presenter Lucy Jones to demonstrate just how easy it can be to make the change towards a plant based diet, which incorporate switching to Flora Freedom.

7 Simple Tips to try this Veganuary

  • Swap the milk in your tea, coffee and cereal to a plant-based alternatives such as soya, almond, cashew, coconut, oat and hemp. Many come fortified with key nutrients like calcium and B12.
  • Tinned pulses are convenient and ready to use straight from the tin. They are a source of protein and fibre and are very filling. Add to soups, salads and veggie chilli.
  • Make a delicious cottage pie using soya, quorn or lentils. Combine with chopped veggies, tinned tomatoes, herbs and spices and top with mashed root veg made using Flora Freedom. Perfect comfort food.
  • Use the slow cooker to make a warming stew.  Use tinned tomatoes, chopped vegetables, lentils, chickpeas or beans and add some barley or potato for a warm filling dinner. Serve in a bowl with crusty fresh bread spread with Flora Freedom.
  • Try some vegan pancakes. Make your pancake mix using flour, a plant based alternative to milk, nut butter and mashed banana. Top with sugar and lemon, maple syrup or chopped fruits.
  • Don’t miss out on dessert! You can make a delicious crumble topping using flour, oats, sugar and Flora Freedom to top some seasonal fruits. Serve with a soya or oat based custard or cream or some coconut or soya ice-cream.
  • Nuts make a fantastic healthy vegan snack. Combine 30g of your favourite with some small chunks of rich 80% dark chocolate for an indulgent afternoon treat.
You can find some dairy-free and vegan recipes on the Flora website including one for some rather delicious vegan chocolate brownies! Being vegan does not have to be dull!  

flora freedom

I'll be trying out one of the recipes using Flora Freedom for my blog soon, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Warm up this Winter with Heinz Soup

Fight the freeze with some warming soup

As winter sets in, commuters across the UK are being given a warming surprise after ‘Break In Case Of Emergency’ cases, containing a free can of the nation’s favourite Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup, were placed across cities. Throughout soup season, Heinz will be popping up in the coldest cities and towns across the UK, so keep your eyes peeled for one of the cases to get yourself a can of soup. Who said there was no such thing as a free lunch?!

soup, Heinz

The emergency soup boxes have been created following research that found that 75% of Brits agree that nothing beats a winter chill like a hot bowl of soup. According to figures, the north is the biggest soup 'hot spot' during the winter months, with Londoners' love of soup making the city come a close second. It is estimated that Heinz will sell over 20 million cans of soup this January, keeping the nation warm, comforted and cosy in the cold weather. 

Soup consumption increases by 65% from summer to the winter months, with demand increasing with every degree the temperature drops.  Soup is definitely the ultimate comfort food to keep us going when the weather is miserable and Heinz canned soups are so convenient to keep in the cupboard for a quick and easy bowl of warming soup to keep the cold at bay.

Top 5 facts about the nation’s favourite soup:

  • Approximately 1,600 cans of Heinz soup are made every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year
  • Heinz sells more than 65 million cans of Cream of Tomato soup a year, equating to 124 cans per minute
  • More UK households buy Heinz soup than lightbulbs
  • Heinz tasters take samples of soup from the end of the lines every hour to ensure it looks and tastes exactly right
  • Heinz uses specially selected ingredients to make its soup – every tomato is sun-ripened and grown in open fields
  • A can of Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup counts as 1 of your 5 a day

Monday, 16 January 2017

Make Learning Fun with Education Quizzes

The new year has well and truly begun and my children are back at school getting used to the routine of early mornings, school runs, homework and spelling tests after a wonderful Christmas holiday.

With Freddy now in Year 3, his workload is getting progressively more difficult (much to his dismay!) He is not a fan of handwriting, hates learning times tables and he doesn't really enjoy reading for pleasure. However, he gets really motivated about learning when it involves the use of a laptop or iPad. I am always on the look out for websites that will let him play while he learns. He is pretty competitive and enjoys the challenge - as long as it's online.

One website that we've been having fun with is Education Quizzes. With educational quizzes relevant to KS1, KS2, 11+, KS3 and GCSE, Education Quizzes covers all ages from reception through to teens. Quizzes are divided into subjects including maths, English, geography, history, PSHE and science, and each subject has a selection of quizzes to choose from. With multiple choice answers and helpful tips to help children consolidate their learning, these quizzes are pitched at the right level to make them both challenging and enjoyable. They make great revision aids and are written by teachers in accordance with the school curriculum. Quiz based learning is a less formal and more appealing way for children to learn and they are happy to do it as they are having fun.

Education Quizzes has a no-strings attached rolling subscription charge of £9.95 a month for families, giving full access to all the quizzes across all the age groups. This offers great value for my family as both 7 year old Freddy and his 14 year old sister can both benefit from the quizzes.

The site is a great learning resource for the home, which perfectly supports each stage of a child's education. As a parent, I think it is important to keep up with what the kids do at school and this site is a great way to do this and polish up my own skills at the same time. (Although some of the GCSE stuff is a bit beyond me now!)  Sharing the quizzes together as a family is an excellent way to support children and help boost their confidence.

Schools can also subscribe to Education Quizzes, providing all their pupils with access to the site. The school's annual subscriptions can cost as little as £2 per student and is a great way to support the home /school partnership. The school's first year subscription is currently being offered for free, so be sure to let your child's school know about Education Quizzes!

There are some free quizzes online so you can have a look around the site and try them out to see if Education Quizzes is right for your family. Find out more at

educational quizzes


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