Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Chicken Pox.... Here we go again!

I heard a rumor last week that Chicken Pox was going round Millie's Nursery. I will admit that this did fill me with dread. We are not immune to Chicken Pox you see. I have had it 4 times! Yes you read that right FOUR times! The last time I had it I was 22 and it was awful! Chester has had it twice and Millie the once. Until now.

On Monday morning a friend mentioned to me on the School run that her Daughter (who is Millie's friend at Nursery) had got the dreaded Chicken Pox. So when I got home I just had a little niggle and decided to check Millie. What did I find? 4 very obvious Chicken pox on her back! How I did not notice this when getting her ready that morning I will never know! My only excuse it that I am not a morning person!



So for the second time Millie has Chicken Pox!

Arghhhhhh perfect timing Millie! Not!

We are just about to start the Easter Holidays and we go on our family holiday soon! Poor Chester has got his Easter Service today, he has been practicing his line so much, and is now gutted that I can not come and watch him. I feel awful for letting him down, but I simply can not take Millie!

The spots have really sprung up overnight, they are literally everywhere, she is complaining of pain today and I feel so sorry for her. She is currently covered from head to toe in Calamine lotion and Sudocrem! Even her head is covered in spots!


My happy little girl is no longer happy. I really hope that it passes quickly and that no one else manages to catch it again!

Anyone else had Chicken Pox more than once?!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Millie's home made Easter egg!

Millie came home with a note in her Nursery bag last week. Telling me that they were holding an Egg decorating competition this week. Basically the children had to decorate a hard boiled egg, there would then be three winners.

I discussed with Millie what she would like to put on her egg and she said 'baby chicks please'. To be honest I was very surprised, and relieved, that she didn't say 'baby Panda please'!

Anyway, a few days passed, I woke up on Tuesday morning and realised we hadn't decorated the egg! So very early on Tuesday morning Millie was busy painting her egg white, then after I dried it with the hairdryer she put her thumb in yellow paint and pressed it all over the egg. She loved that part! Then we got a felt tip pen and she drew on legs, which are really meant to be feet but I think she did very well for a 3 year old!

This is the finished egg....


She was very excited to be taking it into Nursery, but was not very happy when she realised that it had to stay there until the end of the week!

We popped in today to collect it and she was thrilled to be told that she had been picked as one of the three winners, and even more thrilled to get her beloved egg back! Funny child!



Did your little ones take part in any Easter themed activities at Nursery this week?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Eds Easy Diner have some good news for Coeliacs!

The last few months have been pretty tough for my Sister, she has recently been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. We were already familiar with the Disease as my cousin also has it. Plus my Sister is a Nurse, so I am sure she knew more of the medical problems that come with it than we did.

If you are unaware, Coeliac Disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease which is caused by an intolerance to Gluten. It is actually more common than you think as statistics show that 1 in 100 people have it.

Being in her 20's, changing a diet that you are already used to. and cutting out food that you love is very hard. I truly sympathise with her, not only is it hard to cut out food that she loves it is also hard finding food that she can now eat! This is especially the case when out and about. She has to plan her meals nowadays and take food with her incase she is unable to find somewhere to eat!

She was getting very down about it, when an email pinged into her inbox. It was from Eds Easy Diner, who were shouting about a new Gluten Free Menu. Not just 1 or 2 items slipped onto their main menu, oh no, a whole menu specifically Gluten Free. They have managed to make over 80% of their main menu into a Gluten Free alternative! The menu is available from Breakfast right through to dinner and includes malt free milk shakes AND even 3 desserts!  What fills us with even more happiness is that they are the first burger chain to have been accredited by Coeliac UK!



So, of course, we simply had to try this menu! Yesterday evening we visited to the Bluewater branch, but they have lots of other locations, which you can find on their website here.


Now Ed's Easy Diner has always been a favourite of mine, we love it not only for the food but also for the friendliness of the staff and how patient and good they are with my children. So it goes without saying that last night was no exception, the staff were fantastic, very attentive and happy to have a laugh and a joke with us. So for the purpose of this review I will now focus solely on the food...

We ordered an Eds Special Nutella shake between the two of us, all the shakes on the Gluten Free menu are malt free. The shakes are one of our favourite things at Eds and I love that they are so big that you can have 1 between 2 people! This one was delicious, it was VERY hard not to drink it all before our mains arrived!



Choosing our mains was harder for me than for my Sister! Since coming back from traveling she has become a vegetarian so the choices for her are always more limited. They have 1 vegetarian burger on the Gluten Free menu so she went for that. The Chickpea and Quinoa Burger with a side of Eds Famous Cheesy Fries. Sarah said that she was pleasantly surprised when her meal turned up. She was expecting a white roll, but the brown roll with seeds that turned up was lovely and soft (hard to find in a gluten free roll apparently) and it complimented the burger really well.



I had so much trouble choosing as there is so much choice for us non vegetarians! In the end I went for the All day breakfast burger with sweet potato fries and a pot of that yummy Cheese Sauce! I asked to omit the mushroom from mine. As someone who can normally eat gluten I was very intrigued to so how this tasted as a whole compared to what I eat when I normally dine at Eds. I have to say that it was delicious, I don't really know what I was expecting, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to be on par with what I am used to! The egg was cooked just as I like it, slightly soft yolk, the burger was cooked to perfection and juicy, in fact it was such a big burger I had to eat most of it with a knife and fork!




I think the Cheese Sauce deserves its own cheeky mention.... The reason my family fell in love with Eds in the first place was the cheese sauce, as you all know we have a Disney obsession and the Cheese sauce just takes us back to Florida, where you can find it on every menu! The cheese sauce in Eds is the only cheese sauce I have tasted in this country that actually tastes exactly like the American Cheese sauce we know and love!  

By the time we had finished our mains, we were pretty full up, but we made sure we had just a little bit of room left for dessert! We were so full up that we actually ended up SHARING the Brownie Points dessert! The staff were really good and even split our 1 portion onto 2 plates! Oh my gosh. It was AMAZING! Such a yummy chocolatey, gooey dessert, we actually forced ourselves to eat it all even though we were full because it was just too yummy to leave!



We left Eds Easy Diner practically rolling out from being so full!

We had a great time dining at Eds, Sarah said it was so nice to have a meal out without having to explain to the chef what she can and can't eat. She simply picked straight from the menu and relaxed, knowing that what she was going to be served was going to be ok for her to eat. The fact she can now arrange to meet friends or family for a meal with no hassle is great, that part of her social life will no longer be a worry, it will be a stress free and relaxing time!

We both loved the fact that the prices on the Gluten Free menu were exactly the same as on the main menu as were the portion sizes. All too often, you find that Gluten Free means more expense and less food, but that is certainly not the case here. They have done a great job of making everyone feel welcome. We only had 1 gripe and that was the fact there was only 1 vegetarian burger on the Gluten Free menu. However, looking at it another angle they only have 2 vegetarian burgers on their main menu so that is still 50% of their vegetarian menu added to the Gluten Free menu.

I can see that this is now going to be our go to place when enjoying a cheeky shopping trip, its yummy, good value and hassle free!

Do you follow a gluten free diet, how do you find eating out?

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Chester's first Taekwondo Tyger Combat Competition

On Saturday Chester took part in his very first Tyger Combat Competition. He still really enjoys his Taekwondo so we really encourage him to take part in as many of the extras as he wants too. So when the opportunity came up for a couple of training sessions for this Taekwondo extra, which would then lead to taking part in a Competition, we were only too happy to let him participate.

Having never been to a Competition before, none of us really knew what to expect. Chester was a little nervous, I could tell. But seemed to really enjoy himself and it was really great fun to watch.

First off they had to do a Hi Kick competition. They had to kick a tennis ball which was suspended from the ceiling. It was all to do with their height, for instance the first round height was measured to their nose. Chester did really well in rounds 1 and 2, but he didn't quite manage to kick the ball in round 3, so he was out. After a while it was down to just 2 children, it was really nail biting to watch, they were both really good!


Then it was onto the Combat competition, it was split into 3 groups, and they were split in height order. Chester was in the lowest height group. His first match he did really well, he managed to remember to block and attack at the same time, and he won 6-1.


His second match he started off really well, and he was winning 3-0, but I think he let the lead go to his head, and he soon lost concentration and forgot to block! Needless to say he lost that match and he was out!

But he was happy to have taken part and I was really proud of him and the fact that he remembered what I had said that morning. Its not the winning its the taking part that counts. He came out of his first competition raring to go and asking me when the next one would be! He had such a great time, I am really happy for him!

Tesco Hygro Towels Review

I was recently asked if I would like to try out some new towels. But they were no ordinary towels, oh no, they were Hygro towels. Now I will be honest and admit that I didn't have a clue about what Hygro meant, but now I do, so I shall explain....

Oh my gosh. Its not often I get excited over simple things such as towels. But these towels are different!

These 100% cotton Hygro towels are designed to get better and better the more you use them. Now what I mean by this is that even though they are soft and fluffy to start with, the more you use them, wash them, and tumble dry them, the more they fluff up! Apparently it's all thanks to the unique Hygro technology, a spinning technique that creates a hollow fibre that traps air to give a thicker pile.

Now I would be lying if I said I believed that the first time I read it. I mean, it does sound a bit impossible doesn't it? Towels that actually get better with use?! BUT I am happy to say that I am now 100% a believer! Having used and washed these towels several times I can honestly say WOW! Getting out of the shower or bath has never felt so good!


The Hygro towels are available at Tesco's both instore and online they start at a price of £1 for the face cloth then up to £9 for the Bath Sheet. We have got a hand towel, 2 bath towels and 2 bath sheets. That is a total cost of £36 for our family of 4, for good quality, generous sized towels such as these, I am really impressed with that price. They come in a wide range of colours so you are bound to find a colour that goes with your colour scheme.


I have actually surprised myself by having nothing but good things to say about these towels. The quality is amazing, no loose threads at all and they are super soft. I can honestly say that I am really impressed with these towels and the fact that they only get better with use!

Until this review we only ever had mismatched towels and I have to say, it is nice to have a matching set. Do you like your towels to match or do you like to mix it up a little?



Outwell Kids Sleeping Bag Review

We were recently sent a childrens sleeping bag to review, the Children both get excited by the thought of a sleeping bag. To them it means excitement and adventure. It means that they are having a sleepover, or better still camping in a tent (albeit in our garden!).

The sleeping bag we were sent is the Outwell Kids Batboy its from Sleeping Bag Outlet, they have so many lovely sleeping bags to choose from. This one has a multi coloured pattern with a black bat print.


Its perfect for keeping little campers warm, with its 'Mummy' shape and extra insulation around the shoulders. It is designed to retained heat. It even comes in a carry bag in the matching design! It can be machine washed at 30 degrees which is a big plus from my point of view.

But, I have saved the best spec information until last... This sleeping bag also happens to have a torch in the zip puller and a front pocket for storing stuff. I say stuff because thats exactly how Chester put it in his excitement when he found it!



As you can imagine, Chester has used every excuse possible to use this sleeping bag on a daily basis!


He absolutely loves it, the fact that it has got a torch is extremely cool, and the pocket which he uses to store the most random of things is a big plus for him too. The inside is black with white stars and Chester is convinced they are glow in the dark (although I have no evidence to prove this!). It has kept him warm but not warm enough that he will sweat, and it is apparently very comfortable.


From a parents point of view I am happy with the sleeping bag, it is of good quality, it stores away small, I have never seen a sleeping bag come with a 'built in' torch before and the pocket is a great idea, especially if you have slightly older children that are likely to carry phones around with them. It is currently priced at £27.99 which I feel is a fair price. I am confident that this sleeping bag will last a long time.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Getting lost in a book...

Reading is something I really enjoy. But since having the children, the closest I have been to being engrossed in a book is reading the latest childrens picture book! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love reading with my children, it's something we all look forward too. But during the past almost 7 years I had forgotten how enjoyable it is to get lost in a book, for myself I mean. 

By chance, the other week, whilst I was shopping I spotted a book that really caught my eye...



'The girl in the photograph' by Kate Riordan. The back page read as follows.... 

'When Alice Eveleigh arrives at Fiercombe Manor during the long, languid summer of 1933, she finds a house steeped in mystery and brimming with secrets. Sadness permeates its empty rooms and the isolated valley seems crowded with ghosts, none more alluring than Elizabeth Stanton whose only traces remain in a few tantalisingly blurred photographs. Why will no one speak of her? What happened a generation ago to make her vanish?

As the sun beats down relentlessly, Alice becomes ever more determined to unearth the truth about the girl in the photograph - and stop her own life from becoming an eerie echo of Elizabeth's . . .'

This is exactly the kind of book that grabs my attention. I absolutely love books about old houses and the secrets hidden within the walls. 

I started reading it that evening. Well. Let me tell you, it took me less than a week to read that book, I was engrossed from start to finish. I found myself reading a chapter or two whenever I got the opportunity! It really sparked my desire to read and reminded me how much I enjoy it. 

Since then I have been keeping an eye in the local Charity shops for books of a similar interest. Luckily I came across another Author called Kate Morton and over the last couple of weeks I have managed to find 3 of her books. 




I am currently engrossed in The Distant Hours, its a story about a girl, who by chance stumbles across some secrets from her Mother's past as well as the castle her Mother was evacuated to during the war. The writing style is similar to 'The Girl in the Photograph' as in it flits between the two times, but not in an annoying way, it simply keeps you wanting to read more! 

I am so pleased to have found my passion for reading again, its allowing me to have a bit more me time. 

Do you enjoy getting lost in a book?! Do you have any book recommendations for me?


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Turkey Tikka Masala

I am not a fan of curry. Or so I thought. But since making this really quick and easy Turkey Tikka Masala from scratch I have to say that I have changed my mind!

I think what normally puts me off is the look of it and the spice. As I am not a fan of too much spice. However, this version is creamy and mild, you could of course add more heat if you so wish.

Since I was so amazed at how quick it was to cook from scratch it has made it on to our meal plan for this week. So I thought I would share the recipe with you all! Its a Bernard Matthews recipe and I have of course got permission to share it with you all!

Turkey Tikka Masala – serves 4

Prep time 10mins

Cook time 15mins

Ingredients:-


  • 200g Roast Turkey Breast Chunks
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1⁄2 Red Pepper, sliced
  • 1⁄2 Green Pepper, sliced
  • 1⁄2 Red Chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, chopped
  • 1cm piece of Ginger, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp Curry powder
  • 400g Tinned Tomatoes, chopped
  • 100ml Natural Yoghurt
  • 15ml Coconut Cream
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1⁄2 bunch Coriander, chopped

Method

Heat a little oil in a pan and add the onion. Add garlic, chilli and ginger and stir until they start to soften

Add the curry powder. Mix together for a few minutes until all ingredients are coated. Add the peppers and continue to stir, cook until softened

Add the tin of tomatoes, reduce the heat slightly and cook for 5 minutes 

Add the yogurt, coconut cream and chopped tomatoes. Stir

Add the Roast Turkey Breast Chunks and warm through for 3 or 4 minutes.

Add chopped coriander leaves to taste.

It really is as easy as that! We served ours with rice, warm Naan breads and popadoms. It was delicious!


Thursday, 12 March 2015

St Clements tray bake

I made this on a whim this morning, I pretty much just winged it hoping it would come out ok! Luckily it did, in fact it is AMAZING! So I am sharing my recipe with you! It would make a lovely Mothers Day treat and a perfect addition to your Easter afternoon tea!



Makes around 20 squares.

Ingredients:

200g butter
200g caster sugar (plus another 100g for the syrup)
200g self raising flour
4 eggs
1 orange
1 lemon
icing sugar
jelly oranges and lemons to decorate (optional)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, grease and line a deep(ish) baking tray.

Add the butter, 200g of the caster sugar and self raising flour into a large bowl. Grate the zest of the lemon and the orange and add to the bowl, also adding the 4 eggs. Using an electric whisk to combine the ingredients. Once combined gently mix in the juice of half of the orange. If it looks like your mixture is splitting just add a couple of tablespoons of flour and gently mix it in.

Pour the mix into the baking tray and spread out evenly.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Once out of the oven leave in the tray and use a skewer to poke lots of holes into the cake.


In a pan on the hob add the remaining sugar and the juices from the remainder of the orange and half of the lemon. once combined together gently pour over the cake allowing for the syrup to seep into the holes.

Transfer to a cooling rack.

Once cooled mix together some icing sugar with the remainder of the lemon juice until you get a thick pouring consistency (if i'm honest probably a bit thicker than mine!). Millie wanted to help by this point, it was an easy job for her and she was so proud to have squeezed the lemon all by herself!



Spread across the tray bake and cut into squares. The decorate with the jelly Lemon's and Orange's if you wish!



What do you think?!
Link up your recipe of the week


Care Bears! A blast from my past and the perfect Mothers day gift!

Today I received this lovely parcel in the post!


Its Funshine Bear! As a child of the 80's I used to love The Care Bears. So I think its great that they still seem to be popular today!

Born in 1983, the lovable Care Bears exploded onto greeting cards, soft toys,cartoons and everything else imaginable. Each Care Bear has a tummy symbol that represents his or her personality. Collectible, available in every colour of the rainbow, Care Bears have been going strong for almost 30 years and are back for 2015 to appeal to a new generation of Care Bear fans!

This particular plush is part of a range by Vivid Toys and Games. It is just how I remember them, even down to the plastic heart on its bottom! Millie of course is very keen to get her hands on it, she has seen the show on the Tiny Pop TV channel so instantly knew who it was. But I think I will be a meany, just this once, and keep it for myself. It is after all a present for me, which is a very rare occurance!

Grumpy Bear, Cheer Bear, Funshine Bear and Share Bear have been re-created as 8” collectable Beanies (RRP £7.99 each) with medium size soft and cuddly versions of the four bears plus Harmony Bear and Tenderheart Bear also available with accompanying  DVD featuring different episodes of the animated series (RRP £17.99 each).

Its so nice to be given a Mothers Day present that is a little bit different, it really made me smile and remember my childhood!

Did you used to watch the Care Bears? Who was your favourite?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A sunny Spring day at Scotney Castle!

What a lovely Sunny weekend we had here in Kent!

We couldn't possibly stay indoors, so we packed up a picnic and headed to Scotney Castle. I have been wanting to explore Scotney Castle for a long time, but for one reason or another it always gets put off. But not this weekend, I was determined to see if it looked as good as in the pictures!

Well, we wasn't disappointed! The grounds are made up of a large house, some beautiful gardens and then the old castle surrounded by a moat. So plenty to explore and keep the children entertained.


The house was very interesting, at the moment they have got a large WW1 display throughout, they had found a trunk in the attic containing the WW1 diaries of a soldier. It was all very interesting, and selfishly I would like to go back without the children so that I could read it all in detail rather than just skim over it.


We all loved the different rooms, the way that a lot of the upstairs rooms seemed to interconnect, bringing you back round to where you started amazed the children. I love old houses, they have so many stories to tell.

We took a slow walk down to the old castle after that, stopping in the nature hut for quite a while. Millie and Chester had a great time looking for worms in the wormery, doing chalk rubbings, colouring pictures, feeling the fur on different animals and feeling how heavy a deer antler was. We all learnt something new whilst in there, the life cycle of a ladybird!


The castle was so pretty, we sat down and had a picnic admiring the views. Chester and Millie kept themselves entertained by spotting fish in the moat and naming the ducks! Apparently The girl duck is now called Miranda!



Inside the castle they have a WW1 art exhibition and I have to say it is pretty poignant. Chester was very interested in the secret cupboard story, and both children were  bemused by the old style toilets!

We spent the rest of our time exploring the estate, we came across an old boat house and both children are convinced it is an elf house, the excitement in their faces when they saw it was so cute!



We even stopped by the cafe for a cheeky ice cream for the children and a cream tea for me!




Did you make the most of the sunny weather this weekend? What did you get up to?
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monday, 9 March 2015

World Book Day fun!

As I am sure you are all aware, we really love reading here! We need no encouragement to read books, any excuse and we are snuggled up and reading!

World book day was last Thursday and we talked about it a lot during the weeks leading up to it. We have got so many favourite childrens stories that it was hard to decided what Characters the children would like to dress up as. 

In the end we had a little help from George at Asda, who have a really good childrens dressing up range. When Chester was Millie's age he was obsessed with Fantastic Mr Fox. Albeit the film version, but lets be honest at the age of 3 there is now way he was going to be reading Roald Dahl's version was there! I really do hope though, that one day he really does want to read it, and all of the other fabulous Roald Dahl stories, the ones that I used to love as a child! Browsing through the George at Asda range they did indeed have a Fantastic Mr Fox costume, which Chester was so pleased about! It even had a neckerchief and a detachable tail!


When it came to Millie, she is a huge fan of traditional tales, so the Goldilocks outfit was perfect for her. She was excited to find that it came with 3 bears to fit inside the pocket of the pinafore and even 2 golden curls on clips for her hair!



They both loved their outfits and had lots of fun pretending to be their chosen characters!


Chester was given a World Book Day token at School and he decided to use it to purchase The Dinosaur who poo'ed ! Typical Chester!



Did your little ones dress up for World Book Day? 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

My little Fashionistas!

Recently I have noticed that Chester has taken a bit more of an interest in his appearance. For a 6 year old boy I find this quite remarkable! In a recent visit to the barbers, he asked for a different style all by himself, showing the barber exactly how he wanted his hair even down to asking for gel to put in it!



Then we had a shopping trip last week to find Chester some trousers. All he currently wears is jeans, and he had asked for some different coloured trousers. It turned out what he mean by that was that wanted some beige chinos! We found some, and he also spotted some black trousers he liked as well as two hats. One of which he purely wanted because Pharrell wears something similar in the Happy video!


I was amazed that he had even taken notice, but his appearance is clearly something he is now very interested in. Whilst I am cautious about this, after all, he is only 6 years old. I am happy that he wants to have a say in what he would like to wear, he has his own style and it suits him well!

Then on Friday Millie came along with me on a shopping trip, which was actually meant to be for me, as I am in desperate need of some new jeans or trousers! But when she saw a Panda dress, she simply had to try it on! I seriously believe that Millie started the Panda trend a year ago!



I'll admit that it really suits her, she was twirling round in front of the mirror telling me how gorgeous it was, so I gave in a bought it! But this meant that I didn't end up getting the jeans for me!

Whilst we were in the shop I showed her some pretty spring dresses that I had in mind for our holiday next month. But she simply said 'no Mummy they are not cool'! It really took me by surprise that she was showing so much of an interest already! She is the total opposite of me when it comes to clothes, she is the ultimate girly girl and she knows what she wants and what suits her!

Do your children like to style themselves, or are they happy to go with whatever you choose for them?!