Tag Archives: britmums

Britmums #ACEforSchool Challenge ad

So the boys are back at school and as usual the washing pile has grown exponentially. There is all the school uniform and sports kit. I just groan thinking about the sports kit. Why is there so much of it? There are different types of tops for each sport they play, so at least two get worn each week. The boys take it to school in trolley bags, as it would be too heavy to carry.

Britmums #ACEforSchool Challenge

Luckily neither of the boys are that sporty, so tend to be in either the C or D team. This does generally tend to mean less matches against other schools than for the A or B teams. But even so, my washing machine always seems to be on. And of course, most of it can’t go in the tumble drier. I’m just glad it is still mostly sunny and mild, as once we head into November, I have just one word to say to you – mud!

Mud is the bane of my life when it comes to washing. Even if they haven’t slipped over and sports kit isn’t looking too bad, they need to take their muddy boots off before getting the bus home. And do they remember to put those in their boot bags? Sadly usually not. Instead the boots go loose into their trolley bags right on top of their school uniform. Oh dear!

This all adds to the washing nightmare. All I can say is thank goodness that the blazers are washable. The ones for their last school were dry-clean only. So I immediately signed up, when Britmums challenged bloggers to take part in the #ACEforSchool Challenge. I received a free bottle of ACE for Colours and a free ACE Stain Remover Spray to help tackle the stains.

Britmums #ACEforSchool Challenge

But even without the mud, I still needed to put these products to the test straightaway, on the dried-on lunch remnants on son2’s tie. A squirt of the spray in advance of washing, followed by a capful of the bottle in the washing drum did the trick on cleaning it up.

Britmums #ACEforSchool Challenge

Britmums #ACEforSchool Challenge

Britmums #ACEforSchool Challenge

Next test will be when the school jumpers go back on after half-term. I know that there are several paint stains on one of them that defeated me week after week last winter. Why do schools use permanent paint these days rather than water paint like they did in my schooldays? Will Ace be up to the challenge?

Britmums #ACEforSchool Challenge

About ACE

  • ACE keeps garments bright, robust and clean meaning clothes last for longer
  • Keep those colours bright and fresh with ACE for Colours
  • Tackle germs, grease and stubborn stains with ACE Stain Remover

I’d love to hear about your washing tips or nightmares.

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEforSchool Challenge, sponsored by ACE. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper or to buy head to your local Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Waitrose or Sainsbury’s.
This post mentions products I received for free. All opinions are my own. This post is classed as an advert because of the requirement to include the #AceforSchool hashtag.

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FrubesMoves Challenge

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take part in the #FrubesMoves Challenge. I received 3 free Yoplait vouchers to purchase Frubes. These are already a firm favourite in our household and it is great how they contain vitamin D and calcium for strong bones.

Yoplait Frubes

So I chose to buy two standard packs of 9 40g Frubes (3x strawberry, 3x red berries & 3x peach) and a pack of 6 70g Frubes pouches (3x strawberry & 3x raspberry). They also come in banana flavour and are great for a snack on the go, as no spoon needed.

Yoplait Frubes

To celebrate Frubes’ partnership with the must-see family film of the year, The Angry Birds Movie, Frubes has created a squawksome dance-off between the Angry Birds and mischievous Pigs. Staunch enemies in the film, the dance off between the Birds and Pigs means you and your family can settle the feud for good – pick a side and find out who is the ultimate dancer! Will your family shake their tail feathers with the Birds, or dance their bacon off with the Pigs? Visit angrybirds.frubes.co.uk, where you can egg on your favourite character.

Both the boys love Angry Birds. Son2 chose that as his party theme last year and they thoroughly enjoyed seeing the movie. So they were very keen to try out the Dance Off. They watched every single groove before trying out their #FrubesMoves.

Angry Birds #FrubesMoves

Son1’s favourite was The Mighty Eagle whilst son2 liked Bomb best.

Here is a short clip of them both strutting their favourite FrubesMoves. They said it was the best bit of fun all day!

Did you know that as part of The Angry Birds Movie partnership, Frubes is running an egg-citing on-pack promotion until 31 October, offering families the chance to flock to the Bahamas for a fun-filled island holiday to spot exotic birds and swim with pigs? The competition includes a weekly draw to win a whole host of Angry Birds Movie merchandise, with a grand prize of a family holiday for four to spend six nights in the Bahamas!

Yoplait Frubes

I’d love to hear your favourite dance move.

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for BritMums’ #FrubesMoves Linky Challenge, sponsored by Frubes.  This post is a review of products I received for free. All opinions are my own.

A Bright Future for the Next Generation

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take part in the #brightFuture Challenge. I received a free Unilever bag including a bottle of Persil Non-Bio Small & Mighty Liquid, Dove DermaSpa body lotion and a body wash and a bottle of Domestos Bleach, all brands that I know well and trust.

Unilever products

I certainly want my children to have a bright future, so I try to teach them a mantra I learnt from my parents to reduce, reuse, recycle. Some of it falls on deaf ears, particularly with regards to the huge number of toys we possess.

However they do like to join in with planting seeds, although unfortunately none of us seem to have green fingers, so we certainly couldn’t become self-sufficient, but we did have plenty of raspberries this summer plus some tomatoes and I just picked the last few alpine strawberries of the season. Alongside our gardening efforts, of course we have a compost bin.

growing strawberries

We sometimes enjoy a crafting session together, for which I’ve added lots of bits and pieces to my crafting stash via reuse. So magazines, wrapping paper, ribbon, bubble wrap, boxes all end up there.

And we’ve been using cloth shopping bags for years, long before the plastic bag tariff was introduced. My favourites are personalised with the boys’ artwork. And with shoulder straps, it makes it easier for the boys to help carry shopping home when we walk 10 minutes to our local small supermarket rather jumping in the car.

Unilever bag for life

Talking of bags, I rarely need to buy bin bags, as there always seems to be a constant supply of plastic bags arriving in the house, either from food or packaging on review products. Okay the bags may be a lot smaller, so I’m taking them out to the wheelie bin much more frequently.

And of course we try to follow all the easy energy saving tips like washing clothes at a lower temperature and on a short cycle, turning lights off in unoccupied rooms, closing the curtains, turning the tap off whilst brushing teeth.

Right now, I’m wearing a jumper to avoid putting the heat on for a few more weeks.

Fact File:
Unilever’s brightFuture initiative focuses on small changes that can make big differences and how we can build a world where everyone lives well and lives sustainably. Since the launch of the Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever has helped 482 million people to improve their health and hygiene, including through hand washing, improving self-esteem and oral hygiene.
This is exemplified in the work undertaken by Domestos that has committed to helping 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. Access to clean sanitation can protect people from preventable diseases, reduce mortality rates, help reduce school dropout rates and improve quality of life.
Furthermore, Persil has backed a global initiative ‘Learning for Tomorrow’ partnering with UNICEF to help give children in some of the world’s toughest areas the opportunity of a quality education.
Building on the aim to improve lives through small steps, the Dove Self-Esteem Project has worked closely with leading psychologists, academics and experts to create materials and resources that help young people develop a positive relationship with their appearance. The project has now reached over 19 million young lives.

Some interesting figures:
Six out of ten parents saying that they have started to live in a ‘greener’ way at home at the suggestion of their children.
83% of children continue to feel optimistic about their own future and 59% feel optimistic about the future of the environment.
Most parents (between 70-80%) believe that, compared with themselves, their children will live longer, have a better education and better job prospects, and will enjoy life more, even if they will have to work harder to reap the rewards of the greater benefits ahead.

I’d love to hear what you do towards achieving a better future for the next generation.

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever. This post mentions products I received for free. All opinions are my own.

Flora Lunchbox Challenge

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take part in the #FloraLunchbox Challenge. I received a free £5 Tesco voucher to purchase Flora along with a Flora lunch box. However I was surprised when a second voucher and lunch box arrived, although the second voucher didn’t work. But at least this means the boys have a lunch box each.

Flora Lunchbox Challenge

Flora Lunchbox Challenge

So I chose to purchase Flora Buttery, which is a blend with buttermilk for a rich buttery taste. However Flora Buttery is 70% lower in saturated fat than butter.

Flora Lunchbox Challenge

The boys usually have school lunches, but I do need to send a packed lunch whenever they go on school trips. I always discuss with them what to include, before I start making the packed lunch. At least that way, I can make them something healthy and have a good chance of them eating it. And I am considering swapping them from school lunches to packed lunch, as although I attempt to discuss the varied menu choices with them in advance, son2 usually opts for pasta,and baked beans on 4 out of 5 days. Son1 isn’t much better.

I find on these occasions they want their meal to be sandwich-based, but I do try to vary the bread type. This time, I have made a cheese and tuna baguette for son1, of course spread with Flora, accompanied by tomatoes and cucumber, followed by a clementine and yoghurt. This all fitted nicely in the Flora lunch box and the band held it secure, as the yoghurt pot was just slightly high.

Flora Lunchbox Challenge

Flora Lunchbox Challenge

Flora Lunchbox Challenge

The #FloraLunchbox Challenge, sponsored by Flora, is all about packing delicious and healthy lunchboxes. Flora has created a meal planner to help you put together tasty and nutritious lunchbox combinations, and they want to hear about your lunchbox ideas and challenges! A Flora-commissioned University of Leeds study recently revealed that only 1.6% of children in England receive a packed lunch that meets the nutritional standards set for school meals, with just 17% of lunches containing any kind of vegetables or salad. Flora wants to change that!

Staggeringly low figures indeed! But some great recipes on the meal planner. I love the sound of the vegetable frittata best.

I’d love to hear what you put in a lunchbox.

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here. This post is a review of products I received for free. All opinions are my own.

Britmums Book Club review – The Silent Hours by Cesca Major

It has all been very quiet for months from the Britmums Book Club but they recently sent me a free copy of “The Silent Hours” by Cesca Major. It is set in France and switches between 1952 and the second world war periods.

The Silent Hours by Cesca Major

This is what it says on the back cover.

An epic, sweeping tale set in wartime France and spanning generations, The Silent Hours follows three people whose lives are bound together, before war tears them apart:

Adeline, a mute who takes refuge in a convent, haunted by memories of her past;

Sebastien, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically;

Tristan, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war.

Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a shocking true story at its core, The Silent Hours is an unforgettable portrayal of love and loss.

I had difficulty getting into this book initially but with hindsight I was trying to start a book in the wrong setting, with the distraction of one of the children. So several days later I tried again alone. This time I was sold and read the whole book that day.

I really enjoyed this book. The story is woven around the main characters and moves seamlessly back and forth between wartime and 1952. And I like how it is left to the reader to interpret why Adeline is mute and why she won’t go into the chapel. But on the other hand at the end, I really wanted them to realise who Tristan’s brother is.

After I had finished reading the book, I was struck by how familar the events at Oradour-sur-Glane sounded. Yes it is based on the true events of 10th June 1944 when 642 villagers were massacred by Nazi soldiers, but where would I have come across that. I’m wondering if it was from when I read Citadel by Kate Mosse, but I’m a bit hazy as it is a couple of years since I read that. Perhaps she had based part of her book on the same event.

The Silent Hours” is due to be published next month and will retail at £12.99 for a paperback version. It will also be available as an eBook.

The Silent Hours” is Cesca Major’s first novel although she has won several short story competitions. I’m certainly looking forward to her next book.

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

A visit to Bekonscot Model Village

Whilst visiting my parents during the Easter break, 10 of us took a family trip to Bekonscot Model Village. I last went there with 3 of my school friends for my 13th birthday treat. How times have changed. Although very popular, I didn’t see any teenagers there now, so not a cool young persons destination any more, but great for family fun.

Bekonscot model village

The history indicated that the village was opened back in 1929 and that the Queen visited it as a child. Exhibits are are still being added and replaced today. It also mentioned that there used to be over 50 model villages in the UK, but sadly very few left now. When Ramsgate model village closed down, some of their houses were relocated to Bekonscot.

Bekonscot Model Village and Model Railway at Beaconsfield

Bekonscot Model Village and Model Railway at Beaconsfield

We spent about 4 hours there and walked round the village several times over. Each time I spotted things I had missed before. The adults had a good giggle at the puns on a lot of the names, like Dan D Lyon Florists and the school with headmaster I Cane and caretaker B Tidy. And it was fun to peer inside the properties to see the characters like a child with a saucepan stuck on his head in the hospital. There was even a zoo, a maze (Hanton Court Maze), a circus, a funfair, a thatched cottage on fire and music playing from the bandstand. The boys both liked watching the trains travelling round the village best. There was also a slightly larger model railway for them to ride on and a playground.

Bekonscot Model Village and Model Railway at Beaconsfield

So much thought has gone into it. I definitely recommend a visit. A great day out. And it was nice to see that all profits are donated to charity.

Although there was a cafe, we took a picnic lunch with us, including Mr Kipling Bakewell Slices for afters, as a day out is always better with cake. Son1 even had two slices!

Bekonscot Model Village and Model Railway at Beaconsfield

So have you ever visited a model village. And if so, which one?

This post is an entry for #betterwithcake Linky Challenge, sponsored by Mr Kipling. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/mrkiplingcakes. I missed out on getting the free cake, but bought a pack to take part in the challenge.

Angel Delight Challenge – A blast from the past

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take part in the Angel Delight Challenge. Wow what a blast from the past. My mum frequently dished up Angel Delight for dessert when I was a kid. I loved it but I probably haven’t tasted it for well over 30 years. In fact I didn’t even realise it still existed. I was too late to get the free products, but I couldn’t miss an opportunity to introduce my kids to Angel Delight, to see what they thought of it. So I added it to my shopping list.

Angel Delight

My branch of Tesco didn’t stock the new bubblegum flavour, but they were selling other varieties on a 3 for £1.20 promotion, usually 50p each, so I bought 2 packets of chocolate and 1 of butterscotch. If my memory serves me correctly these were the 2 preferred flavours of my childhood. I seem to remember I wasn’t so keen on anything pink or yellow.

Angel Delight

I don’t think I’d ever made it myself back as a child, so a quick read of the instructions. I just needed to measure out 300ml milk, add the Angel Delight, give it a quick whisk and ready to serve when it had thickened 5 minutes later. It was so simple and I only used a fork, no need for a mixer.

Angel Delight

It lived up to my expectations. And the boys gave it the seal of approval so I’ll certainly be purchasing Angel Delight again in the future. And what great value for money. A 50p packet serves 4 people.

Angel Delight

The packet also indicates that Angel Delight contains natural colours. Plus it gives you recipe tips with more online at www.greatlittleideas.com, where you just need to select the brand in the search box.

This post is an entry for #AngelDelightMoments Linky Challenge.

Disclosure.  I didn’t receive any free products.  All opinions are my own.

Fish pie

Britmums have challenged bloggers in partnership with the Potato Council to share their Maris Piper potato recipes. Potatoes are naturally fat free as well as a source of fibre and potassium and perfect for family-friendly meals. And Maris Piper is a great all-rounder for chips, roast potatoes or mash

Fish pie is always a favourite in our household. I vary which fish to include. Here is my recipe for a fish pie using salmon and Maris Piper potatoes, which has a lovely fluffy mash topping. A great meal for a healthy smile especially as salmon is a good source of vitamin D, which is critical to your oral health.

fish pie

Fish Pie

Ingredients (serves 2 adults and 2 children)

1kg Maris Piper potatoes
270g salmon
50g frozen sweetcorn
50g frozen peas
25g margarine
25g wholemeal flour
300ml milk
6 peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground bayleaf
1 shallot
knob of butter
1 tbsp milk
2 tsp pesto
30g grated cheddar

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree.
Peel and chop the potatoes.
Peel shallot.
Put potatoes in a large saucepan of water and bring to the boil.
Cook until potatoes are soft enough to mash.
Drain the potatoes.
Add knob of butter and tbsp of milk and then mash the potatoes.
Meanwhile add salmon, 300ml milk, peppercorns, bayleaf and shallot to another saucepan and gently heat for about 10 minutes.
Once salmon is cooked, lift out with a slotted spoon.
Remove skin and flake the fish.
Strain and reserve the liquor, discarding the peppercorns. (I usually save the shallot to eat with my portion).
Meanwhile melt the margarine in a jug in the microwave.
Stir in the flour.
Gradually stir in the liquor.
Return to the microwave and cook on high power.
Stir at 1 minute intervals until the sauce has thickened.
Stir in the pesto.
Meanwhile put peas and sweetcorn in an ovenproof dish.
Add the flaked salmon.
Stir in the sauce.
Cover with the mashed potato.
Sprinkle grated cheddar on the top.
Cook for about 20 minutes in pre-heated oven (180 degree for fan oven)
Serve and enjoy.

fish pie

This post is an entry for the #FluffyMarisPiper Linky Challenge sponsored by Potato Council. Learn more at bit.ly/18rWnaB

And I’m also entering it into the Simply Health Healthy Smile competition. See which foods to eat and which to avoid for a healthy smile here.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Link up your recipe of the week

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Those little #MorningWin moments

I’m participating in the Britmums belVita #MorningWin Challenge.  This Challenge is in partnership with belVita Breakfast biscuits, which I received three packets free to try. I also received a surprise Costa giftcard, so I can buy a nice coffee to have with my belVita. It is the second time I have participated in a Britmums belVita challenge, having done their #MorningStories challenge earlier this year.

belVita breakfast

I have three types of early morning routine. The first is when I’m working early shift and leave home at 6:15am without time for breakfast, before the rest of the household is awake. So belVita would be great for me to take eat when I arrive at work. The second is when I have to get the boys to the bus-stop on time, otherwise they will miss their school buses. Usually we are in a big rush on these mornings, so again belVita could come in handy. And the third is at weekends when I can enjoy a nice leisurely breakfast.

So my #MorningWin moments on my early starts are finding the traffic not quite as bad as anticipated in the bottleneck parts of the journey. Perhaps arriving at the office early enough to nip into the nearby petrol station to fill up before work rather than after when I’m again in a rush for school pick-up. And then in the office finding a spare five minutes to grab breakfast, rather than suddenly realising it is lunchtime without having eaten. Or at the right time of the year, seeing some fantastic sunrises.

And my #MorningWin times on other days come when I’m back home after getting the boys on to the bus. First is not finding something that they have forgotten to take to school. And next is after getting through the chores quickly and having time to sit down and check my emails.

But my best #MorningWin moments are on days when there is no rush. The pleasure of being able to have a lie-in and maybe a long soak in the bath.

belVita

belVita are proven to slowly release carbohydrates over four hours as part of a balanced breakfast. They contain at least five wholegrains, are rich in cereals, are a source of fibre and contain a selection of vitamins. They are recommended to be eaten as part of a balanced breakfast, along with a portion of fruit, a portion of dairy and a drink. We followed this guideline, but again like last time, I felt hungry much sooner than 4 hours. But it is just me, as they do satisfy the boys.

belVita

The three flavours we received this time were apricot, choc chips and hazelnuts. They are new additions to the belVita range. We all agreed that they were very tasty. I’ll certainly be looking out for these in the supermarket.

Son1 also spotted that there are now 3 biscuits in each pack compared to 4 previously. But on checking the box, the packs are the same weight, so the biscuits must be larger.

This post is an entry for #MorningWin Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. Learn more at http://bit.ly/belVitaUK.

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

#Afterschoolchefs Challenge

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take part in the #Afterschoolchefs Challenge. This challenge is in partnership with Birds Eye, but I was too late to get the free Birds Eye vouchers.

 

Birds Eye #Afterschoolchefs Challenge

However I always keep plenty of Birds Eye products in stock in my freezer. The boys love them and they are great for quick simple teas when I’ve been at work, so haven’t prepared a meal in advance. We can get what we want from different packets, so that son1 can have chicken whilst son2 has fish fingers. Everyone is happy that way. And especially good when we arrive home later than usual due to after-school activities and son1 says he chose a baguette for school lunch rather than a hot meal. I don’t want him to just have a sandwich for tea if he hasn’t had a main lunch and I’m always conscious that tea has to be fairly speedy if we have got home late, since son1 then has to wait an hour after tea before he can have his chemotherapy.

I would like to say that the boys help out whilst I’m rushing to get tea ready, but that’s not true. Although I do try to suggest it on our way home or suggest that they do homework, but no as soon as we are in the house, they play. Then after tea, I have to clear up, chase them to do their homework and have baths. It’s all rush, rush, rush.

This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Linky Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook page.

Disclosure.  I didn’t receive any free product.  All opinions are my own.