Category Archives: competitions

Learning Success plus giveaway

Son1 has had memory and concentration issues and is very slow with his schoolwork since undergoing chemotherapy, but is very bright at maths. He also has to attend an extra handwriting lesson weekly, plus use an ergonomic pen and occasionally has one-to-one sessions with the special needs teacher. Meanwhile son2 seems to take everything absolutely literally and have some social difficulties. So I was quite interested to find out more when Learning Success approached me to test out their Learning System for free.

Learning Success System

When I read their blog, I found out that the Learning Success System is a simple method parents can use to help children overcome learning difficulties. It simplifies the process and enables a parent to work at home with their child.

They say that the Learning Success System is:
• Convenient for both children and parents
• Minimizes high costs of learning centres
• Uses cutting edge neuroscience research

Their learning strategy is divided into three parts.

Strategy 1 – Calm the emotions
Strategy 2 – Incorporate the Body
Strategy 3 – Build up the Fundamental Skills of Learning

Statistics show that at least 20% of children suffer with some sort of learning difficulty. This could be with reading, writing or maths. Learning Success offer analysis of what symptoms your child exhibits.

Once I signed up, I received daily emails with exercise suggestions. I also had access to the Learning Success System portal where I can find the full range of exercises and can sort by type. There are member forums where I can seek expert advice or interact with other parents. It also focusses on what you need to do as a parent, such as praising your child for effort.

The boys were quite engrossed in some of the on-screen exercises like tapping where each smiley appeared or shouting out what a picture would be when it starts as a dotted outline and gradually more appears. Some of the other exercises do additionally require you to source the materials, so I adapted a letters memory game to be based on numbers and used playing cards. You start with 2 pairs face down and see how many turns it takes to find the matching pairs. Then you gradually add an extra pair every round. The boys loved taking turns at this and we went upto 13 pairs.

Memory number game

Memory number game

It is too early for me to identify any difference in my sons but I shall continue doing some of the exercises with them. I haven’t managed to get into a routine with this yet.

The Learning System is currently available for either a one-off payment of $297 or 12 monthly payments of $49 with a 90 day money back guarantee. The monthly payment option can be cancelled at any time. I’ve checked the exchange rate and these figures equate to about £230 or £38 at present, so quite expensive in my opinion. But for some, it may be a well worth while investment and really make a difference to a member of your family.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway access to the Learning Success System portal to one lucky winner. Open worldwide.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your top learning tips.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

On Saturday I was very excited to be attending my first ever blogger event, namely the annual Board Games Championship Bloggers Event, held at The Owl and The Pussycat micropub in West London and hosted by Pork Farms. This event was scheduled to tie in with National Board Games Week 2017 which is this week, from 8th – 14th May.

Pork Farms Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

So train into London, then a couple of tube rides to Northfields. A short walk later and I found the venue. My first visit to a micropub and it certainly lived up to its name. The smallest pub I have ever visited and very cosy, with plenty of Owl and PussyCat decor. Book shelves lined the walls, very fitting as the premises was previously a childrens’ book shop. They even brew their own beer out back, so definitely no room for a kitchen. But not a problem, as naturally the Pork Farms team had brought along plenty of pork pies. A selection of brand new Hasbro games were laid out ready to play.

Pork Farms pork pies

So first up was Trivial Pursuits. This was the 2000s edition and I was rubbish, earning no points in the first round. My knowledge was abysmal. Think I’m too old for this and should stick to the original edition.

Next was monopoly. I bought plenty of property, but no full sets, so no building houses for me. Bad mistake. I should have looked at the score sheet, like winner Lea had obviously done, with her hotels on Whitechapel and the Old Kent Road. You only scored for houses, hotels and the most cash. So my property portfolio was worthless. A second big fat zero, but at least I was having fun with a lovely friendly bunch of bloggers.

Pork Farms Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

We were so into the games, we didn’t break for lunch, but kept snacking on the pork pies as we played. Boggle was next and I was really looking forward to this. It was the game I chose to review with my family. And finally I had something to write on my score sheet. A respectable second place with 26 points.

Then onto Jenga which I’m usually useless at, but by some fluke, I didn’t knock the very precarious tower over on either round.

Finally Taboo, a team game in which your team has to guess the word you’re trying to describe without saying it or any of the 5 other taboo words within the allotted time. This certainly had us all in stitches, plus quite a few oops moments when someone accidentally uttered a forbidden word. Think I’ll be buying Taboo for Christmas as I’m sure my boys would love it. And hurrah I was on the winning team.

Pork Farms Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

And then to reveal the winners. I knew I wasn’t in with a chance after my bad start, even though my scoring had started to pick up. So in reverse order, in third place was Lea from Food Steam Ahead then second was Chynna from The Invisible Child and the grand prize winner of a huge pork pie was Laura from What’s Hot.

Of course we all got pork pies to take home too. My favourite variety were the Branston pickle topped pies. What a clever innovation as who doesn’t like pickle with a pie?

Pork Farms pork pies

And a huge thank you to Charlotte, Lotte and team from Pork Farms who kept us entertained and topped up with pie and drinks throughout the event. I won’t forget the story about the Christmas Day pork pie breakfast.

Lastly I must wish good luck to all those who have made it through the heats of the National Board Games Championships. The semis and grand final will be held at BeerheadZ Grantham, next Saturday, May 13th. They will be battling it out at Boggle, Taboo, Monopoly, Jenga and Trivial Pursuit 2000s, just like we did. Hope they have as great a time as us bloggers.

I’d love to hear about your favourite board games.

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Disclosure.  This post mentions an event I attended and products I tried all for free.  All opinions are my own.

Sapphire Pavilion by David Grogan plus giveaway

I have received a free e-copy of the book Sapphire Pavilion by David Grogan to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Sapphire Pavilion by David Grogan

Here is the book blurb.

Steve Stilwell’s former Navy JAG Corps buddy Ric Stokes has been jailed for possession of heroin in Vietnam. He was found in the same room with his traveling companion Ryan Eversall, dead of an overdose and in the company of a prostitute. Steve knows his friend is a straight arrow. Was he set up? If so, for what reason? Steve travels to Ho Chi Minh City in search of the truth.

In no time Steve is targeted by the people who framed his friend. A beautiful young American businesswoman insinuates her way into the case. Can she really help, or is she just a dangerous distraction? Ric and Ryan came to Vietnam in search of an Air Force transport plane that disappeared in 1968. The pilot was Ryan’s father. Before the heroin bust, they had located the wreckage. Ryan’s notebook, which Steve manages to obtain, spells out the exact location. Ryan’s widow has given Steve’s associate Casey another piece of valuable evidence, a file labeled “Sapphire Pavilion.” Someone is willing to go to any lengths to steal both the notebook and the file.

From Virginia and Texas to DC and Vietnam, powerful, all-seeing forces with unlimited resources are determined to bury the truth about Sapphire Pavilion. But they have grossly underestimated Steve Stilwell and his associate Casey, a former Army pilot who lost her leg in a helo accident. And the ability to inspire loyalty wherever you go can come in handy when danger lurks behind every corner.

Book 2 of the Steve Stilwell Thriller series, which began with The Siegel Dispositions.

The story starts in 1968 with a US air force plane taking off from an airbase in Thailand on a top secret mission. But it crashes after being hit by a missile from another unidentified plane. We then fast forward to Vietnam in 2000 where Ric Stokes has been mugged. Things get even worse when he gets back to the hotel and finds his room mate Ryan dead. A prostitute runs from the room. When the police arrive, they discover heroin in Ric’s suitcase and arrest him.

Back in the US, Ric’s wife Noriko comes to ask their lawyer friend Steve Stilwell and his new recruit Casey to help get Ric released. She says he has been set up. Steve travels to Vietnam whilst Casey pays a visit to Ryan’s widow, Angela in Texas. After a very brief meeting with Ric in the prison, Steve retrieves Ryan’s notebook from the hotel safe. And Angela lends Casey a file labelled “Sapphire Pavilion”, containing Ryan’s research into the disappearance of his father’s plane.

But both Steve and Casey are being watched. Steve is soon approached by Wendy Gallagher, and he realises she is pumping him for information. Things start getting dangerous and that’s all I’m going to say.

I did have to look up what JAG refers to and it is a Navy Advocate Judge, the role that Tom Cruise played in A Few Good Men. The author also had a lengthy career in this job before writing, so a familiar subject for him to base his story on. And he even visited Vietnam, a country he had never been to previously, for the purposes of research for his novel.

Sapphire Pavilion, published by Camel Press is available on Amazon, currently priced at £12.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A gripping story that had me on the edge of my seat. I shall certainly be adding David’s first book “The Siegel Dispositions” to my wishlist.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of Sapphire Pavilion to 1 lucky winner. Open worldwide.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Boggle – National Board Games Week

Did you know that 8th-14th May is National Board Games Week 2017? For the second year running, Pork Farms have been hosting National Board Games Championships in micropubs across Britain with the grand final to be held at BeerheadZ Grantham on May 13th. Contestants have been battling it out at Boggle, Taboo, Monopoly, Jenga and Trivial Pursuit 2000s.

And families can get involved from home by downloading a free printable pack from Pork Farms website to help them plan a board games activity night, and then share a photo of their evening on social media for the chance to win a stack of board games and a year’s supply of Pork Farms pork pies.

We love playing games as a family, so we were very pleased to be offered the chance to choose one of the five Hasbro games for free. We opted for Boggle.

Boggle
We had great fun playing this. We adapted the rules slightly so that the boys could score for all their words, whilst the adults had to stick to the proper rule of only scoring for those words that nobody else spotted.

Playing Boggle

The boys loved shaking the letters too.

Such a quick fun game. You can opt for a set number of rounds or first to a pre-specified number of points.

Playing Boggle

A dictionary was required to verify some of the more dubious word suggestions.

Playing Boggle

I’ve always loved the taking part element and remember fun time spent one lunchtime every week at my first job playing board games. One of my colleagues owned enough games to fill a whole wardrobe sized cupboard and would bring a different selection into the office each time. I think that was my first introduction to Taboo, one of the games mentioned above.

Both boys belong to Chess Club at school and son1 has qualified for the county Megafinal again.

Is there a game you would like to play? I’ve got Ticket To Ride on my games wishlist after trying it out at a café last year.

And I’m looking forward to attending the Board Games Championship Bloggers Event on May 6th. Watch out for my post on that afterwards.

I’d love to hear your favourite board games or your best memories of playing games. Son1 likes the Harry Potter version of Cluedo best whilst the Doctor Who board game is son2’s favourite.

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Disclosure.  This post mentions a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Turning tears into smiles

Britmums have challenged bloggers to participate in the #TearsIntoSmiles Campaign. I received two free packets of Elastoplast plasters and a garden ring toss set. We already have a quoits set and the boys have come up with the idea that they can both play simultaneously now.

Elastoplast challenge

Regular readers of my blog will know that son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia back in 2013 and was on chemotherapy for over 3 years which he completed last summer. During that period he had a weekly blood test for which we tried to numb the pain sensation by applying Emla cream an hour in advance. We then had to talk soothingly to him whilst he removed the large sticky dressing holding it in place. He would never let anyone else take it off. So by the time the blood test was completed, he had had enough of anything adhesive and my brave boy would always refuse a plaster.

But at least now son1 has finished chemotherapy and had his portacath removed, we can enjoy outdoor play so much more, without the worry of bumps and tumbles. So he now can join in with his classmates playing rugby and he has done his Bikeability. He’s slowly building his stamina back up again.

Playing Quoits

Meanwhile son2 is usually distracted by a picture on a plaster whenever there is a scrape or a cut. Luckily we didn’t need any first aid on this occasion, but he likes the look of the Star Wars pack. Both my boys are keen Star Wars fans. However he has declared that we can give the Frozen pack to my niece. I wish there had been pictures on plasters when I was a child. What a clever innovative step forwards.

Elastoplast challenge

So my top tip for happy outdoor play in the event of tears, besides remembering to pack the plasters and rest of my mini first aid kit in my bag before we head out for some fun is distraction. This could be pointing out nice things nearby, telling a fun tale, singing a song, promising a treat or finding something your child will want from your bag like a biscuit or toy. Don’t forget to follow through if you make a promise. Hugs and cuddles used to be good too, but sadly the boys are now getting to the stage of rebuffing me, if I try to give them a hug.

I’d love to hear how you turn tears into smiles?

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for the Britmums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast http://campaigns.elastoplast.net/plastermoments/uk. This post mentions products I received for free. All opinions are my own.

HelloSkin skincare plus giveaway

I was very pleased to be offered the chance to choose a selection of 3 products from HelloSkin free to review. The lady at HelloSkin had seen that I have previously blogged about Flexitol footcare products which is a line they stock.

HelloSkin products

HelloSkin is an online store selling skincare products suitable for those people with psoriasis, eczema, acne and dry skin conditions. The site has been designed so that you can easily shop by need, type or ingredient. Alternatively there is a product finder which is refinable by age group, body part, symptom, need and when to use.

I initially chose the following three products
DermaTherapy Fitted Sheet
Moisturising Cotton Sleep Socks
Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner

But as my first choice of socks were out of stock at the time, I swapped to
Jasmine 100% Silk Moisturising Socks for dry and cracked skin

The products were dispatched on a next day service and arrived well-packed. I spotted that they also offer a free standard delivery service, which I always appreciate.

DermaTherapy fitted sheet

So I’ll start with the DermaTherapy Fitted Sheet which is billed as being the first clinically proven Therapeutic Bedding. I chose this in a king size which currently retails for £84.95 but it is also available in single and double sizes. The fabric feels amazingly smooth compared to standard sheets, but to really understand this, you should look at the zoomed in image of the weave. The HelloSkin website focusses on the benefits for those with sensitive skin conditions, but the packaging also indicates that it is ideal for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Pity I hadn’t heard about it a few years earlier, as when son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia, I thought I was making the right choice to buy best quality pure Egyptian cotton bedsheets for him.

They also stock duvet covers, pillow case, flat sheets and sleep sacs. I tend to often wake up sweaty in the middle of the night and I found that this sheet is very effective at wicking away heat and moisture. Now I just need the rest of the range, as my ordinary duvet meant I was still sweaty above, although much more comfortable underneath. Significantly more expensive than standard bedding, but definitely worth the investment for those that it helps to a much better night’s sleep in my opinion. It is 50% polyester and 50% polyamide and is so easy to fit on your mattress compared to most sheets. I actually had to double check the packet to make sure I hadn’t accidentally got super-king rather than king size. I washed it on a 60 degree cycle and tumble-dried it on low. It came out almost crease-free, so I didn’t even need to iron. And the packaging indicates that it will withstand washing upto 90 degrees.

Jasmine Silk Socks

Next the socks, which fit size 3-7. I’ve been planning to get a pair of moisturising socks for ages, but had never got round to it. The idea behind moisturising socks is to apply your usual footcare product and then the socks will help the absorption whilst you sleep. I’m loving these. I can definitely say they work. I’ve blogged before about how dry and cracked my feet are, as per image on left. Well I’ve seen a marked improvement in the mornings since I started wearing the socks, as per image on right. At £7.99 for a pair, they are great value in my opinion. Wish I’d got some sooner. Although the socks are silk, they can still be machine washed on a low 30 degree setting, but I chose to hand-wash them.

Neutrogena T/Gel Dandruff Shampoo

And finally the shampoo. I frequently get a flare up of flaky scalp and have tried many different brands of anti-dandruff shampoo, but this is the first time, I’ve tried this brand. At the time of testing, I only had a very mild case of dandruff (as per top left image), which I’m happy to say it treated. I do prefer using combined shampoo and conditioner like this rather than two separate products. This shampoo lathered up well and also had a nice fragrance and my hair felt soft and tangle-free afterwards. This was the 125ml size which currently retails for £3.99 and it is also available in a 250ml size. More expensive than most shampoo at the supermarket but competitive with salon brands.

So in summary, I was very happy with all three products and will certainly be using this site in the future.

Also I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your next purchase at HelloSkin with discount code: “HELLOCLAIRE”. This offer is valid once per customer.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway HelloSkin products to three lucky winners. The first winner drawn will win a DermaTherapy fitted sheet in their preferred choice of size. The second winner drawn will win a pair of Jasmine Silk Moisturising Socks. And the third winner drawn will win a bottle of  Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your top skincare tips.

You can find HelloSkin on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Chewy Moon snack box review and giveaway

I have received a free sample Chewy Moon healthy snack box via Talk To Mums. The box size is designed to fit through your letterbox.

Chewy Moon snacks

These boxes are aimed at children from age 3 upwards and son2 was really excited when he saw the pug on the outside of the box. Even though he is fairly dog-phobic, he has recently started asking if we can get a pug. Whilst son1 who is equally wary round dogs wants a labrador. But no need for them to argue over breeds, as a puppy is not on the agenda since I work full-time.

These boxes contain 5 individual snack portions along with some fun activities and a page of nutrition facts. Our activitites were a pop-out frog, a short comic story and facts about ants.

Chewy Moon snacks

The 5 snacks we received were:-
Snacko Italiano (Tuscany cashews and baked cheese)
Happy BBQ (smokey almonds and coconut chips)
Crazy Crunch (smoothie bites)
Cherry Cola (cola raisins, cherry, cranberry)
Freaky Fruits (blackcurrant drops, apricot sticks, cherry cubes, peach cubes, raspberry strips)

Chewy Moon snacks

Son1 chose the Snacko Italiano first whilst son2 opted for the Cherry Cola. He did insist that son1 give him the empty Snacko Italiano pug box afterwards though. Son1 loved the pieces of toasted cheese, but only liked the Italian herby cashews. He let me try a couple of the cashews and I thought they were delicious. Meanwhile son2 quickly scoffed the Cherry Cola.

Chewy Moon snacks

The next time son2 selected Freaky Fruits whilst son1 went for Crazy Crunch. Once again son2’s snack vanished very quickly and he gave both a resounding thumbs up. Although son1 is a huge smoothie fan, he wasn’t convinced by the Crazy Crunch flavour, so offered them to the rest of us. We all enjoyed them but none of us guessed the flavour correctly which was blueberry and red beet.

Chewy Moon snacks

And to avoid arguments, I got the fifth pack, the Happy BBQ, which was right up my street, as I love almonds and coconut. Very yummy indeed.

Chewy Moon snacks

These packs are ideal for an after school snack. But if your children attend a school that has a nut-free policy like my boys’ school, then you wouldn’t be able to send either Snacko Italiano or Happy BBQ in as a playground snack. However there is a “no nuts” option when ordering.

You get to rate the snacks, to build up a profile of which your child does and doesn’t like for future boxes. Each box currently costs £4.93 including 98p P&P, but you can get your first box free. You select between fruit box, variety box or savoury box and you can order for multiple children. The boxes are delivered weekly and you may cancel your subscription at any time. A competitive price in my opinion.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a month’s Chewy Moon subscription of 4 boxes to one lucky winner. What a tasty prize.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear about your favourite snack ideas.

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Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

#ThankGoodness for two quick tasty Bolognaise recipes

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take the Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge to create a nutritious mid-week family meal. And as one of the first 100 to sign upto the challenge, I received a bundle of groceries from Tesco.

Tesco Dolmio hamper

When it comes to cooking on a school night, a jar of sauce like Dolmio, is a great bonus for a speedy meal. And son2 prefers the flavour of it, compared to when I do make a tomato sauce from scratch.

What Is In A Jar of Dolmio

A jar of Dolmio Bolognese sauce contains no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweeteners. Always a plus point as far as I’m concerned. And a jar provides 1 of your 5 a day portions of fruit and veg for a family of 4.

What a lot of food in the delivery. Certainly more than enough for two meals, which is what I’m going to share with you now. The first night I decided to make a Chicken Bolognaise with Char-grilled vegetables.

Chicken Bolognaise with Char-grilled vegetables

Chicken Bolognaise with Char-grilled vegetables

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 chicken fillets
1 500g jar of Dolmio Bolognaise Sauce
1 aubergine
1 green pepper
1 courgette
1 large carrot
1 medium onion
2-4 tbsp olive oil

Method

Peel the onion and carrot.
Deseed the pepper.
Prepare the vegetables, chopping the aubergine and onions into discs and the other vegetables lengthways.
Cover the wire rack in your grill pan with foil.
Preheat grill to a moderate heat, using combined grill / fan setting if you have that functionality.
Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil to a wok and heat gently.
Add chicken to wok and cook for about 25-30 minutes, turning regularly.
Meanwhile place carrots on the foil and drizzle with olive oil, brushing the oil over them.
Place under the grill.
After about 5 minutes, add the aubergine, again drizzling and brushing with oil.
After about another 5 minutes, add the onion, again drizzling and brushing with oil.
After about another 5 minutes, add the courgette, again drizzling and brushing with oil.
After about another 5 minutes, add the pepper, again drizzling and brushing with oil.
Throughout this, keep turning vegetables as required to avoid burning.
If necessary, cover those vegetables that are more well cooked with those that are less cooked.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, pour jar of Dolmio Bolognaise Sauce over the chicken.
Allow sauce to heat fully.
Serve and enjoy.

Chicken Bolognaise with Char-grilled vegetables

A really tasty meal. The next night I went traditional with a Spaghetti Bolognaise with the addition of some more of the fresh vegetables for the adults. The boys prefer theirs just as it comes.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Ingredients (serves 2 adults and 2 children)

500g beef mince
1 500g jar Dolmio Bolognaise Sauce
250g spaghetti
1 onion
1 courgette
1 yellow pepper
200g mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
50g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Method

Peel the onion and deseed the pepper.
Chop the vegetables.
Add a few drops of olive oil to a pan of water and bring to the boil.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a wok and heat gently.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a frying pan and heat gently.
Add the mince to the wok, turning regularly.
Add the spaghetti to the saucepan and cook for 8 – 10 minutes.
Add the onion to the frying pan.
After a couple of minutes, add the rest of the vegetables to the onion. stirring regularly.
Grate the cheese.
Once the mince is fully cooked, pour jar of Dolmio Bolognaise Sauce over the mince.
Allow sauce to heat fully.
Drain the spaghetti.
Tip spaghetti onto dishes.
Cover two portions of spaghetti with the bolognaise.
Stir vegetables into the bolognaise before serving the other two portions.
Serve with grated cheese and black pepper.
Enjoy.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Yummy bolognaise and some leftover for me to take to work tomorrow.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Spaghetti Bolognaise

We all enjoyed both these meals. And I’ve still got plenty of the groceries left to use.

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.
This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness.

Tea and Biscuits Bingo giveaway

Did you know that this month over 100 years ago the Oreo biscuit went on sale in American shops. In the USA the Oreo is the no.1 biscuit and it is rapidly becoming more popular in the UK. Our all time UK favourites, according to biscuit studies, are the bourbon, the chocolate digestive and the custard cream. Those are 3 of the favourites in our household, so we were very pleased to receive a large free box of Family Circle Biscuits including all three, along with 4 boxes of Twinings English Breakfast tea and a Family Bingo game.

tea, biscuits and bingo

It’s always nice to take some time out for tea and biscuits in this rainy, cold British weather. And we had great fun playing bingo, with son2 being the overall winner.

tea, biscuits and bingo

tea, biscuits and bingo

I’m hosting a giveaway to win a vintage inspired prize bundle which consists of:

· A box of Traditional English Breakfast tea from Twinings
· A large box of the nation’s favourite biscuits from Family Circle
· A family game of bingo

tea, biscuits and bingo giveaway

These prizes are supplied by http://bingo.paddypower.com
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what you like to do indoors on a cold rainy day or your favourite type of biscuit?

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Disclosure.  This post mentions products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

How to relieve sleep disturbances, plus giveaway

Regular readers of my blog may have heard me mention previously that I am a shiftworker. This means that I have to adjust my body clock whenever I work nights. I usually find it okay adapting from day to night, but very hard adjusting back to days afterwards, feeling tired and irritable. So I was delighted to be given a chance to try out some sleep goodies for free.

Sleep goodies including wake-up light

I received the following products.
Lumie Bodyclock
Whittard Dreamtime Hot Chocolate
Baylis & Harding french lavender relaxing bath foam
Pack of 2 Moleskine ruled journals

First up is the Lumie Bodyclock, a wake-up light. My other half used to use something similar by another brand, but it broke about a year ago. He really misses it, so we were both very keen to try this one out. It was well packed and all I needed to do was install the light bulb, plug in, set the time and alarm.

Lumie Bodyclock Wake-up light

It does both a gradual 30 minute sunrise and sunset, with an optional audible alarm. The sunrise and sunset features were great but I didn’t like the alarm sound. It was too harsh for me with no choice to change to a gentler sound. Although I’m sure some people appreciate a loud alarm in the morning. Our previous wake-up light had a range of natural sounds like bird song. However on the positive side, the Lumie Bodyclock was a lot simpler to operate than our old one.

Then the Hot Chocolate. This is a malted variant including Barley malt extract on the ingredients. You just need to add hot milk. We all found it to be a very yummy drink. Malted drinks are ideal at bedtime. For a good night’s sleep, you certainly want to avoid stimulants like caffeine. I try to only drink decaffeinated tea and coffee anyhow.

Whittard Hot Chocolate

Next the bath foam. It felt so lovely relaxing in a bath with this and smelt divine. I was very chilled and ready for bed after my bath. I’ve always known that lavender is reputed to have calming and relaxing properties. Years ago I used to make lavender bags, primarily aimed at putting in my clothes drawers, but I used to scatter them round the bedroom too.

And lastly the mini journals. At just 6.5 x 10.5cm, there is plenty of space on my bedside table for one of these to jot down any thoughts or worries I may have whilst trying to go to sleep. A great idea that I’ve never thought of previously.


One in three people suffer from poor sleep and it’s often identified by feelings of tiredness, low energy and irritability. However, worryingly, it can also lead to impaired judgement, reduced memory, and even a reduction in life expectancy.
It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can have a considerable negative impact on quality of life and a good night’s sleep is essential to allow us to feel refreshed and ready to perform at our best every day. See here for why lack of sleep is bad for your health.

Here’s a list of 10 Things to Relieve Sleep Disturbances.

Try these lifestyle changes and you might find a good night’s sleep a lot less elusive. For some people it could be enough to fully address their sleeping problems. There’s certainly quite a few that I ought to address myself, particularly the no smart phone in the bedroom.

  • Always get up at the same time – even at the weekend.
    It might seem like you need a lie in to make up for the sleep you haven’t got, but to break a cycle of sleeping problems you need to train your body into a good sleeping pattern.
  • Avoid catnaps during the day.
    It’ll only make it harder to get into good sleeping habits.
  • Replace caffeine and alcohol with hot milky drinks.
    Alcohol won’t help you sleep properly. If you are having trouble cutting out caffeine, set yourself a time in the day past which you don’t have it.
  • Unwind with a hot bath and lavender bubbles.
    Both will aid sleep by helping you feel more relaxed.
  • Exercise during the day.
    Exercising at night will actually make you more awake and you’ll find it harder to get to sleep.
  • Get to bed at the same time every night.
    It’ll help your body prepare itself for sleep.
  • Make your bedroom a shrine to sleep.
    No TV, no smart phones!
  • Alleviate your worries.
    Try writing them down before you go to bed.
  • Don’t lie there frustrated.
    If you can’t sleep, get up and do something (non-strenuous) for a while.

Kalms Night and Kalms Night One-A-Night are traditional herbal medicinal products used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances, exclusively based on long standing use as a traditional herbal remedy – Contains Valerian Root. Always read the leaflet.

To offer assurance that Kalms Night meets the Traditional Herbal registration (THR) requirements, the Certification Mark can be found on the product packaging.

Kalms Night tablets
Kalms Night tablets are available to purchase online at www.kalmsrange.com and supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.
Kalms Night RRP: £4.89 for 50 tablets, Kalms One-A-Night RRP £5.19 for 21 tablets.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a hamper of sleep goodies to one lucky winner.  The prize comprises a Lumie Bodyclock, Whittard Dreamtime Hot Chocolate, Baylis & Harding french lavender relaxing bath foam and a pack of 2 Moleskine ruled journals. What a great prize.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

The prize is one hamper as detailed above to be sent to the winner directly from the prize sponsor. Available to UK residents over 18. The winner will be chosen wthin 5 days of the competition ending and has 28 days to acknowledge their win. Please allow 28 days for delivery. Should any issues arise I will do my utmost to help resolve this. the competition will run until the 08/04/17. Please make sure to enter options carefully and fully, any incorrect entries will be void, I do check.

I’d love to hear your sleep tips.

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Disclosure. I am working in collaboration with Kalms and I was provided with the #wakeupready sleep hamper to assist with writing this post and hosting the giveaway. All opinions are my own.