Tag Archives: competition

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.

Realise your dream

Regular readers of my blog will know that son1 finished chemotherapy in the summer. He is now trying hard to build his stamina up by participating in parkrun and he has even got me running. Both of us are right at the very back of the field. I think I’m actually running slower than I walk but I never imagined that I would ever run. And I’m even going out for short 10 minute runs alone, so the bug must have bitten.

parkrun wristbands

Son1 is really proud of the two wrist bands that he has earned so far from junior 2k parkrun in which he has now cumulatively run more than the equivalent of a marathon. But he has a dream to get a milestone t-shirt for running 50 of the 5k parkruns. He has run 13 of them so far and should have already got a 10 parkruns milestone t-shirt but it seems to be permanently out of stock in his size.

But we both need plenty of energy for all this running. And as I’ve just received 12 free jars of Sun-Pat peanut butter to review, I was going to come up with an energy boosting breakfast bar recipe. However that will have to wait for a later post, because I have a time-critical competition to tell you about but no time for cooking this weekend whilst I’m working night shifts.

Sun-Pat peanut butter

Do you have a dream you’d love to make a reality? Perhaps abseiling down Big Ben, swimming in Loch Ness, afternoon tea at the Ritz.

Sun-Pat is offering you the chance to realise your ultimate ambition and make your dreams come true for a day. They are running a Fuel Your Dreams competition to help two people experience their dream for a day alongside Olympic hero Adam Peaty and TV presenter Helen Skelton! But be quick. it closes on November 16th.

See http://www.sunpat.co.uk/fuelyourdreams for full details.

Sun-Pat peanut butter

Sun-Pat peanut butter is a natural source of protein, naturally high in fibre, made using 95% peanuts and suitable for vegans. Meanwhile since it is marketed as being great for maintaining energy, I’ve experimented making a peanut butter hot chocolate drink to keep my energy up whilst working night shift.

Peanut butter hot chocolate

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

Ingredients (serves 1)

3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp Smooth Sun-Pat peanut butter
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips


Fill a large cup, three quarters full of milk.
Place in microwave for 90 seconds, (based on a 900W microwave).
Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate.
Mix well.
Top up with additional milk if desired.
Place in microwave for further 60 seconds, in 30 second bursts, stirring well at halfway point.
Stir well, checking that peanut butter and chocolate are fully dissolved.
Serve and enjoy.

Absolutely delicious. And of course I had a tasty slice of peanut butter on toast too.

Peanut butter hot chocolate

Sun-Pat peanut butter is available in Smooth or Crunchy varieties at most major supermarkets, currently retailing at around £2.79 for a 454g jar. Well worth a buy in my opinion either for cooking or just as a tasty spread.

I’d love to hear your ideas for a recipe using peanut butter? Or your dreams?

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Family Fever

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

A trio of Italian starters

To Tuscany Villas have challenged bloggers to come up with a Tuscan-inspired recipe, using typical flavours and influences from Italy. Regular readers of my blog will know that I love a recipe challenge and Facebook memories have just reminded me this week that it is a year since I was at the Dorchester receiving my award for British Turkey 2015 best blogger recipe.

Although I’ve never visited Tuscany yet, I’ve enjoyed plenty of tasty Tuscan food at Italian restaurants. Some of its food and drink are irresistible. Just imagine a delicious Tuscan bean soup, followed by wild boar sausages and then gelato. Of course, served with a bottle of Chianti. Yummy.

However I only got invited to participate in this challenge yesterday, just one day before the closing date, with not a lot of time to come up with my recipe or to source my ingredients. So I’ve passed on pasta, beans, Chianti, olives and ice cream. Instead I’ve opted for a trio of Italian starters using tomatoes, peppers, olive oil, mozzarella, basil and ciabatta.

Italian starters

My first dish is an Italian Tomato and Bread Salad. Although I have blogged my Chinese variant on this previously, I hadn’t shared my Italian version. This recipe is my competition entry, but keep reading for two more recipes to compliment the theme.

Tomato and Bread Salad

Tomato and Bread Salad

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

600g mixed tomatoes
200g ciabatta bread, preferably stale
6 tbsp olive oil
5g fresh basil


Cut the ciabatta into pieces and put aside to dry out. If necessary, toast slightly in the oven.
Chop the tomatoes into pieces and put in a large serving bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the bread and mix together.
Stir in the olive oil. Add extra if necessary.
Shred the basil and stir in.
Serve and enjoy.

Tomato and Bread Salad

Secondly, I decided to do a twist on the stuffed olives you see in every supermarket deli. Instead I have made my own stuffed peppers. I grilled the peppers to bring out the best flavour, but alternatively you could make this using raw mini peppers.
Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

Ingredients (serves 3 – 4)

250g mini sweet peppers
150g cream cheese


Cut the ends off the peppers and remove the seeds.
Place on grill pan rack and cook under a pre-heated moderate grill for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Turn and grill on other side, again for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Allow to cool.
Using a teaspoon, fill peppers with cream cheese.
Serve and enjoy.

Cheese Stuffed Peppers

And lastly, although I had half an unused ciabatta loaf left, I thought one bread dish would be sufficient, but if you’re keen to know how to make bruschetta, you may see my recipe here. However you can never have too many tomatoes in Italian cooking, so I made a Tomato and Mozzarella Salad.
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients (serves 2 – 3)

125g mozzarella
100g tomatoes
fresh basil leaves to garnish


Cut the mozzarella into slices.
Slice the tomato.
Arrange mozzarella and tomato on a plate in an alternating pattern.
Garnish with basil leaves.
Serve and enjoy.

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

It was just too Autumnal to eat al fresco today, but I am imagining enjoying these dishes along with a glass of Chianti outside one of the gorgeous villas in Tuscany, a region I would love to visit.

I’d love to hear your favourite Italian recipes.

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Disclosure: This is my entry for the To Tuscany Blogger Recipe Competition and I want to win a week in one of your Tuscany villas! Participants will have a one in ten chance of winning. Other entrants will receive a hamper of Chianti goodies.

The Hundred Mile An Hour Dog Master of Disguise – book review and giveaway

Jeremy Strong is a very popular author in our household for both the boys, with My Brother’s Famous Bottom series being their favourites, so they were very pleased when we received a free copy of The Hundred Mile An Hour Dog Master of Disguise to review.

The 100 Mile An Hour Dog

This is what it says on the back cover.

Streaker, the fastest dog in the world, is on the run again!
There’s a mysterious pet-napper at large, Dad wants to send Streaker to behaviour boot camp and Trevor and Tina think they can save her with hair extensions and dye! No wonder Streaker’s desperate to escape.

Son2 read this book first and we’re passing it over to son1 next. He really enjoyed this book and is hoping to find some more from the series in our local library, as both boys are participating in the library’s Summer Reading Challenge. He was also really pleased to spot an overlap with the characters from My Brother’s Famous Bottom series.

The Hundred Mile An Hour Dog

The Hundred Mile An Hour Dog: Master of Disguise is currently retailing on Amazon at the RRP of £5.99 and is also available in Kindle format. Written by Jeremy Strong and published by Puffin. Targeted at children aged 6-11. We highly recommend this book.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a copy of The Hundred Mile An Hour Dog Master of Disguise to one lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.
E:21/9 Win books (various titles for 16 prizewinners) – open worldwide
E:14/9 Win membership to HomeExchange.com worth £100 for a year’s worth of free holidays – open worldwide
E:26/8 Win a case of 12 jelly pots and a lunchbox

Plus there is a fun creative competition on Jeremy Strong’s website to design a disguise for Streaker. Here is son2’s disguise, but we’re not entering it into the competition.

The Hundred Mile An Hour Dog

I’d love to hear about your child’s favourite book.

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Family Fever

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

Draw With Me – Favourite Books

My boys are very pleased to see that Draw With Me is back on “This Mummy Loves” blog after over a year’s gap. Draw With Me is a monthly linky for children and this month the theme is favourite books.

Both the boys love drawing. They tend to mostly draw characters from their favourite games, books, movies and tv programmes and then cut them out and role play with them. So favourite books is right up their street. And surprise, surprise, they both chose Minecraft books this time.

So Son1 has drawn Steve, complete with a diamond sword, which he tells me is the best. His favourite Minecraft books are the handbooks. He has Beginners, Combat and Redstone.

Steve from minecraft

Meanwhile son2 has drawn a Minecraft Bear. His favourite book is Stampy’s Lovely Book.

minecraft bear

All ready for him to cut out and join the rest of his Minecraft gang for some fun.

minecraft characters

I’d love to hear what your children love drawing or their favourite books.

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This Mummy Loves...

This post is an entry to Draw With Me.

Guest post: Win a Daisy Table and 4 OneLeg Stools with our Nursery School Competition

Win a Daisy Table & 4 OneLeg Stools with our Nursery School Competition

What makes children happy? This is a question Gopak ask themselves every day. They strive for innovative and creative new furniture designed to make little people both happy and healthy. Schools and nurseries across the country continue to use and utilise their products within schools to effectively engage and attract pupils. As education specialists and proud members of the British Educational Suppliers Association the Gopak team know what makes a valuable addition to any learning establishment. They are experts at knowing what makes a happy and safe environment for classrooms and play areas.

I’m therefore very excited to announce the new Gopak spring competition, currently running for both nurseries and schools across the UK. Up for grabs are two of their most loved and popular products, the Daisy table and four One leg ergonomic stools. The competition will be running from the beginning of February right through to late April. If a winner, you can look forward to receiving and introducing these specialists designed pieces of furniture into your school, as well as seeing the work your pupils create up in lights on the Gopak website and across their social media platforms. Celebrating the weird and wonderful imaginations of our children. It’s simple, all you have to do is use your imagination and get creating!

gopak nursery competition

Both products continue to be well received in nurseries and schools across the country. The Daisy table is a fun and attractive design, striking the perfect balance between playtime and school time. Their One Leg is a fantastic and ergonomic stool which provides dynamic and active sitting. Being able to rock and turn as you sit improves your posture and body awareness while developing core strength.

How to Enter

In order to be in the running for a chance to win one of these prizes, simply ask your pupils/child to create and visually document how their ideal nursery or classroom would look, including everything they consider important factors to their learning environment. This can include anything from furniture, decorations and new off the wall additions. Once all the submissions have been received, the Gopak team will pick out their favorite entries.

Simply include the pupil’s name, their entry design and the name of the nursery or school then upload and post your submissions to our Facebook page! We’ll soon be in touch with the results!

We’d like to wish the very best of luck to all entrants and look forward to your submissions. For more details, get in touch with Gopak at Gopakinfo@Gopak.co.uk.

Guest post by Will Chivers of ThoughtShift.

Footnote by Yet Another Blogging Mummy.
Primarily this is a competition for Nursery Schools and Schools to win the furniture, but Gopak will be willing to accept submissions from parents and for home use.

Winner of 2015 British Turkey Awards Best Blogger Recipe

British Turkey awards best blogger recipe 2015

Wow. Amazing news to share on the blog today. My Flotilla of Pirate Ships was judged the winning entry in the Turkey Blogger Challenge sponsored by Red Tractor. And I was asked to attend the British Turkey Awards to collect my certificate and trophy. I invited my very proud mum along as my +1, because I have my mum to thank for sparking my interest in cooking from an early age when I would help her in the kitchen.

British turkey awards menu

It was a very posh black tie event held at The Dorchester in London. And as expected, turkey was on the menu, but not just for the main course. The starter was a Thai turkey salad, followed by turkey wellington for main. These dishes followed the pirate theme and were also both prize winners for Student Chef of the Year Award. And then a flaming crème brûlée for dessert.

British turkey awards 2015

We were entertained by comedian Mark Watson who also presented the awards and by former snooker player Willie Thorne who hosted the charity auction and raffle. I should have bought one more raffle ticket, as I was one number short of winning a holiday too.

British turkey awards 2015

Captain Jack Sparrow lookalike was also in attendance.

with jack sparrow

Here are some photos of my winning entry. See my original post for the recipes.

Pirate food

Turkey, Broccoli and Apricot Pirate Ship Pies

Stuffed Pepper Pirate Ships

Pirate food

The pirate flags and sails are designs from Cottage Industrialist and Paging SuperMom, used with permission.

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Disclosure: I was reimbursed for the cost of the turkey and Red Tractor products for my entry for the British Turkey Blogger Recipe Competition. 

Cooking up a flotilla of pirate ships

Avast Me Hearties! Shiver Me Timbers!

British Turkey and Red Tractor have invited bloggers to take part in a competition to find the British Turkey blogger of the year 2015. They have challenged us to cook up a “Pirate” themed dish. I was pleased to be invited as I enjoyed cooking Turkey Pasta Special for this challenge back in 2013.

British Turkey Awards 2015

I Love British Turkey Red Tractor Assured

You can find the Red Tractor on a wide range of seasonal British ingredients. It’s an independent sign to show you that your food has been produced to responsible standards and is traceable back to independently inspected assured farms in the UK. You can see a list of Red Tractor approved ingredients here.

Red Tractor products

British Turkey and other Red Tractor products used in these recipes

So in line with the theme, I decided to make a fleet of pirate ships to sail the seas. And the largest two ships also have a hold full of treasure – gold apricots and turkey pearls hidden amongst the broccoli seaweed.

Pirate food

Stuffed Pepper Pirate Ships

Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter or side or serves 2 as a main)

100g diced British turkey breast
125g bag of fresh spinach (red tractor assured)
100g greek yoghurt (red tractor assured)
50g parmesan cheese
75g wholegrain rice
2 peppers
salt and pepper


Chop the turkey into small pieces.
Boil the kettle.
Spray a wok with oil and heat on hob.
Add the turkey to the wok and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
(You may cook 500g turkey for both recipes at the same time if you wish).
Meanwhile add the rice to a saucepan.
Cover with boiling water and bring back to the boil.
Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding extra boiling water if needed.
Meanwhile pierce the bag of spinach and cook in microwave according to packet instructions.
Grate the parmesan.
Add the spinach and rice to the turkey and mix together.
Mix in the natural yoghurt and parmesan.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds.
Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture.
Place on a baking sheet and cook in preheated oven.
Decorate with flags and sails.
Serve and enjoy.

Stuffed Pepper Pirate Ships

Turkey, Broccoli and Apricot Pirate Ship Pies

Ingredients (serves 6 – 8)

400g diced British turkey breast
200g broccoli (red tractor assured)
200g apricots
50g margarine
50g plain flour
600ml milk (red tractor assured)
100g mature cheddar cheese (red tractor assured)
salt and pepper
olive oil spray
500g shortcrust pastry


Chop the turkey into small pieces.
Chop the broccoli into florets.
Cut the apricots in halves, removing the stones.
Grate the cheese.
Spray a wok with oil and heat on hob.
Add the turkey to the wok and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile melt the margarine in a jug in the microwave.
Mix in the flour.
Gradually mix in the milk, reserving a little for brushing the pastry.
Microwave for about 5 minutes, stirring at 1 minute intervals until the sauce has thickened.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the grated cheese.
Arrange the broccoli, apricots and turkey in the bottom of two oval pie dishes.
Cover with cheese sauce.
Roll out the pastry to make lids for both pies.
Cover the pie dishes with the pastry lids, pressing the edges down and trimming off any spare pastry.
Use the spare pastry to make 2 sets of skull and cross bones.
Brush the underside of pastry decorations with milk and stick onto the pie lids.
Make a few holes in the lids to allow steam to escape.
Then brush all of the pastry lids with milk.
Cook in preheated oven.
Decorate with flags and sails.
Serve and enjoy.

Turkey, broccoli and apricot pirate ship pies

Turkey, Broccoli and Apricot Pirate Ship Pies

Stuffed Pepper Pirate Ships

Pirate food

Pirate food

I had some pastry and quite a lot of pepper filling left over, so I combined the two for a couple of extra ships for the fleet. I gave these “X marks the spot” lids for where the treasure is buried. My peppers were quite small, so for small peppers, I recommend that you use 3 rather than 2 to avoid having leftover filling.

Pirate food

And I hope you like the pirate flags and sails. I have used designs from Cottage Industrialist and Paging SuperMom with permission.

Pirate flags and sails

I’d love to hear your ideas for pirate food, especially if they use turkey.

Update on 25/9/15
Fantastic news. I’m really pleased to have won. See details of the awards here.

British Turkey awards best blogger recipe 2015

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Disclosure: This is my entry for the British Turkey Blogger Recipe Competition. I will be reimbursed for the cost of the turkey and Red Tractor products.

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.

Chicken & broccoli pasta

I usually make a cheese sauce for most of my pasta dishes, but sometimes I want something a little healthier. And after all the mince pies and chocolates, now is one of those times. This is when I reach for a tub of Lightest Philadelphia, rather than a block of cheddar. And another bonus is it makes the meal even quicker to prepare. Also it includes plenty of healthy green vegetables and lean chicken. I have used white pasta as the children prefer that, but you could swap for wholewheat pasta to make the dish even healthier.

chicken & broccoli pasta

Ingredients (serves 2 adults and 2 children)

100g cooked chicken breast
200g broccoli
50g leeks
360g Lightest Philadelphia (2x 180g tubs)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
250g penne pasta or similar (75g per adult and 50g per child)


Chop the broccoli and leeks.
Chop the chicken.
Bring two large saucepans of water to the boil.
Add a tablespoonful of olive oil to one of the pans.
Add the pasta to this pan of boiling water and cook for 10-12 minutes.
Add the broccoli to the other pan and cook for 5 minutes.
Then heat a tablespoonful of olive oil in a wok and gently cook the leek.
Drain the broccoli and add to the wok.
Add the chicken.
Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta and add to the wok.
Stir in the philadelphia.
Continue to cook for 2 minutes, to allow the sauce to heat through.
Serve and enjoy.

chicken & broccoli pasta


Disclosure: This is my entry for the Big Health Recipe Challenge.