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I have owned this book for many years and it is looking rather well worn!
What is it
This is a cook book bought out by the Good food magazine and has 101 Vegetarian dishes in it.
The book is seperated into soups,salads &snacks, light meals,pasta, rice and noodles, main courses, dairy-free dishes and deserts.
I am also veryimpressed by the variety of dishes on offer and how they are a lot more interesting than many vegetarian reciepes I have come across:
My favourites are
Cheddar and tomato rice which is creamy and filling and delicious but is really simple and very cheap! A favourite meal in our house and uses tin tomatoes long grain rice and cheese so is a really great standby meal too.
Spicy Nasi Goireng and whilst the children will eat this it is a little more grown up but still easy to make and cheaper than a takeaway.
Thai satay noodles
This is the dish I get asked for at work all the time and is the nicest peanut sauce I have had and again once you have made this once you will be amazed at how easy it is.
I also love the Redonion,feta and olive tart and the cappuccino mouse is a great Dinner party desert.
The book also has
Blue cheese vegetable gratin, roasted vegetable couscous, celery and white bean salad, minty broad bean pate and peach melba brulee to name but a few.
Cost and stockist
I paid £3.99 for mine from my local garden centre but you can buy from Amazon www.amazon.co.uk for £3.74.
I think this has simple but interesting meals in and for variety I give this book ten out of ten and all the reciepes I have made are easy to follow and simple I think for cooks scared of vegetarian food this is an excellant book and also for vegetarians who want inspiration and at under £4 it is a bargain.
on a recent trip to Oxford we popped into Aldi as following all the adverts and indeed news reports we decieded to get our basics here and see what the products were like.
Ok whilst I know that Chocolate is not a basic essential we decieded to share a bar but what to try as their selection is very impressive and very reasonably priced. The options available were
Smooth White, creamy milk, and fruit and nut at 99p for 200g
Dark Hazlenut, Rum and raisin, Almond Chocolate at £1.15 for 200g and a hazlenut heavon 59p for 100g
They also have Chocolate and Hazlenut wafers at £1.49 for 10
With all the selection we were finding it rather hard to agree when my daughter spotted a pack of mini bars priced at £1.39 giving us a selection containing smooth white, hazlenut crunch, praline, white crisp and creamy milk covering all bases and at 40g a perfect size.
I have to be honest I wasnt expecting much as I am a cadbury fruit and nut girl and I really do not deviate from cadbury and I really do not like cheap chocolate however I was very surprised the chocolate was smooth and creamy with a rich taste I loved the hazlenut crunch a perfect combination of hazlenuts to chocolate.
My Husband and daughter both loved the white chocolate and whilst I am not a fan it was again smooth and creamy.
I do not have an aldi locally the nearest is 12 miles which isnt worth making a special trip for but if you have one locally then head there and give this chocolate a try as it really is sublime and you would expect to pay a lot more from top named chocolate makers.
luckily I do not live near enough otherwise my waistband would suffer!
Pound shops seem to be the newest trend in the high street a sign of the times I feel.
I have to say that they have amazing bargains amongst the rubbish and I have picked up top brand shampoo, peanut butter and marmiteamongst others.
The concept is simple all products cost £1.00 and stock changes all the time as they just buy large amounts of surplus or as in the case with my marmite was jubillee special so no longer stocked in main stores.
I recomend poundland for certain products but you do need to be aware of store offers and sometimes product sizes are smaller than in main stores.
For my daughter she loves hair scrunchies and clips and happily saves her pocket money and can get lots here for her money recently picking up Mr men dvds.
I personally think getting toothpaste and toothbrushes for less is good sense and so while this isnt a high end store many of the goods are and to me that makes perfect sense as personally I would rather have a little extra for the finer things in life! So in summary for bargains you will be shocked dont walk past pop in and be perpared to be amazed at what Alladins cave this is.
Oh the joy of potty training and those little accidents when the little darling forgets or gets caught short and you have to strip the car seat which for any parent who has ever had to do this is akin to the krypton factor! Then wash everything and reassemble which is even harder!
I came across the piddle pad after a fellow parents child had a "wee accident" and calm and collected she cleaned child and removed the piddle pad and nice dry car seat.
What is it?
Essentially the piddle pad is like a rather large sanitary pad basically the same principal it is a waterproof vinyl pad with a quilted terry top, the pad is placed into the car seat or buggy and then child on top and any accidents will be absorbed.
Cost and stockist:
I immediately headed home after seeing this and purchased from Amazon www.amazon.co.uk for £8.00 it is still available for £9.00.
I have to recommend this it saved so much hassle and washing it is easy to slip into different car seats or the buggy and worked really well even when my daughter was asleep and had a complete wee in her car seat and the pad took it all!
I like the fact that this is removable but it does mean that you need to ensure it is in the correct place and of course it can move a little so do have to make sure is in correct place once child is in the car I got round this by lifting child onto the seat rather than into so she was placed on top and as the cover is big enough if does move a little is still in the correct place, and of course this is far more reliable than a carrier bag and less noisy too!
In summary a great little product that saves a lot of time and effort of wa
As mentioned twice a week I look after my Godson which normally includes the handover of the gigantic changing bag however on occasion my friend forgets! So over the weeks I have my own emergency kit.
We were looking for a changing mat when we came across the travel one which would be so much better as easy to store and when baby bag doesn't arrive can still go out and about!
What is it?
Essentially a travel changing mat, it is a wipe able foldable mat it folds up and will fit neatly into a changing bag or in my case I pop it into a zip lock bag with a couple of nappies and a small pack of wipes.
The mat is wipe clean making it easy to clean and hygienic it is slightly padded so baby seems comfortable and has a durable black back
It weighs a mere 0.200kg, it is 28cm wide and 15cm high and 6cm in depth so it will not be a problem for luggage allowance!!
Cost and stockist:
I purchased this from Mothercare www.mothercare.com and it cost £3.99 if ordering online you will incur postage.
I purchased this for the days when my friend has baby brain and forgets the change bag or forgets half the stuff! But it is an excellent product I was more than happy to purchase this as I also had one for my children and it lasted well. The mat is so light and small that it takes up little room and I personally prefer putting my baby down on a mat I know is clean.
We also had the emergency change basket at both Grans house and Aunties house it took up little space in their house but always meant we were covered in an emergency of which there are always many when you are a parent!
We initially purchased this for our own daughter 8 years ago so we didn't have to take a full size mat on Holiday and found it had many uses and indeed had a couple at family homes . I was more than happy to buy another to have a change station at my house for my Godson which makes life a lot easier for both myself and my friend she knows when running to baby time and not work time she can just arrive with baby and everything else is here .
Twice a week I look after my Godson which is a joy but does involve having to collect older children from School which is on average a half an hour hanging around in the cold and windy weather and while he has a coat on he was still getting chilly and as he is a fidget was losing his blankets, I spotted the buggy snuggle on another mums pushchair and she raved about it.
What is it?
A Buggy snuggle is essentially a foot muff but unlike other foot muffs it is made from soft fleecy material and is more like a blanket , I think this is very soft , but also very warm as well and best of all doesn't matter how fidgety it stays in place . The buggysnuffle is designed to fit most pushchairs see website for full information wwwbuggysnuggle.com.
Cost and stockist
The buggysnuggle is available direct www.buggysnuggle.com as well as from Amazon www.amazon.co.uk and John Lewis www.johnlewis.com I have also seen it available in independent baby stores you can find full details of stockist on the website .
Cost varies depending on style but starts from £40.00 for stripes but patterned ones can go up to £59.95 but they really are awesome a particular favourite was the Russian dolls however we opted for a more unisex design of stripes.
I though these were rather expensive at first but having had a cosy toes for mine which always slipped down and wasn't really that great at keeping my daughter completely warm with the second child I just used lots of blankets which was not too bad as long as she didn't wiggle!
Having a third (borrowed) child and going into the cold and this one is a constant wiggler well as both myself and his mother are outdoor types keeping him warm was a problem now he is snug as a bug in a rug previously he would mither when doing the school run and miss his nap since having the buggysnuggle he sleeps and remains nice and cosy. It also washes well and is easy to remove and doesn't move when he is in it unlike the old cosy toes. You can really tell that it was designed by mums to fufill a need for their own children .
I cannot recommend this highly enough it is superb and while at first I thought was highly priced as it lasts until child is a toddler it is very little to pay I also like the fact that you can unzip the bottom to allow a space for dirty boots! For all of us this product is brilliant.
My Daughter loves singing and dancing and for her recent birthday received her 2nd CD oh the excitement!
What is it?
This is a compilation CD containing 22 songs featuring many of today's top pop songs but to add to the excitement it also has a DVD enabling you to learn the dance routines what great fun was had learning these dance routines.
Cost and stockist
This CD is available from Amazon at £8.00 www.amazon.co.uk I have also seen it Tesco.
This is an excellent CD for budding pop stars my daughter and friends love learning the dance moves and also get to enjoy singing to the CD.
The Album includes amongst others Emeli Sande next to me, psy :Gangman Style , and of course One Direction which my daughter has played constantly put on the whole it isn't a albulm to drive you insane which is a plus point in my book!
1. #thatPOWER - will.i.am, Justin Bieber
2. Kiss You - One Direction
3. Heart Attack - Demi Lovato
4. What About Us - The Saturdays
5. Slip - Stooshe
6. Tonight I'm Getting Over You - Carly Rae Jepsen
7. Gentleman - Psy
8. Dumb - Tich
9. Let's Get Ready To Rhumble - PJ & Duncan
10. How Do We Party - Rita Ora
11. Ready or Not - Bridgit Mendler
12. Troublemaker - Olly Murs, Flo Rida
13. Call My Name - Cheryl
14. DNA - Little Mix
15. Who's Laughing Now - Jessie J
16. Only Girl (In The World) - Rihanna
17. The Way - Ariana Grande, Mac Miller
18. All Around The World - Justin Bieber, Ludacris
19. Next To Me - Emeli Sandé
20. Starships - Nicki Minaj
21. I Found You - The Wanted
22. Gangnam Style (?????) - Psy
I read to my children every day and for us the story has to entertain both children age 6 and 8 as well as me, this is no mean feat but one Nicholas Allen achieves quite easily.
What is the story about?
This is a child's picture book basically as the name says about the Queens Knickers all the different types she has for all occasions such as horse riding, garden parties and state visits.
The Queen also has special knickers for travel which contain a built in parachute or if travelling by ship an inflatable dinghy!
The story is all about all the knickers for all the occasions but it becomes apparent that the Queen doesn't have a pair for visiting a school and how a little girl puts the Queen at ease!
The Author has written over 30 books and won many awards, some of his other books are the Hefty Fairy, Jesus Christmas party and Father Christmas needs a wee! All favourites in our house. Nicholas Allen does all his own illustrations having studies art at the Slade Art School it stands to reason that his illustrations are as good as the writing.
Cost and stockist
The book is available in all good bookshops and the RRP is £5.99, you can also get this from www.amazon.co.uk at £4.00.
We love this book in our house as it is very funny indeed, my youngest daughter has discovered she can read this alone which means "I can read it every day" and if that isn't recommendation enough I do not know what is!
I have to say as an adult this is a pleasure to read and a book that is a must have in all children's bookshelves a real children's classic, but if you have no children its worth a read anyway .
I have an addiction and luckily it's legal! Basically I love good quality strong black coffee; unfortunately I am married to a gold blend man! So to counter act his common coffee habit and my snobby one he purchased me my own coffee maker.
What is it?
This is a traditional coffee maker which is slower than a machine but makes the proper espresso that any good coffee shop in the Mediterranean would serve. This machine also makes coffee for your taste basically this is a traditional Italian coffee pot which has a water chamber pot which drips through onto the coffee.
Cost and stockist
There are a variety of traditional coffee pots on the market mine is available for £13.50 from Amazon, www.amazon.co.uk .
I love my coffee maker it is simple to use simply place coffee in damp it down slightly and add water into the chamber place on stove on a gently heat and hey presto superb coffee and best of all unlike my posh coffee machine the capsules don't cost 25p each. I recommend this coffee pot its traditional looks are stylish it is simple to use and will last and last mine is two years old and gets better with use a must for all coffee lovers
6pm and my simple Dinner party soup is ready and needs blending and my blender is on strike having tried every plug socket in the place nothing! Panic set in and my knight in shining armour told me to calm down, put the children to bed and he would sort it and off he dashed on his white horse (rather battered Picasso!) to Sainsbury. !
He returned 30 minutes later with a basics hand blender well I wasn't very impressed being rather snobby where my kitchen appliances are concerned but at £4.99 it was a definite bargain and on this occasion my leek and potato soup was beautifully smooth and creamy as I wanted.
I have since used this and whilst having one speed does mean that it is slower to blend than my previous model for me the cost outweighs this negative. I do find that I need to chop my veg for soup smaller so the blender doesn't struggle as much but this also means that the soup cooks quicker so uses less electricity which is also a good thing as they say every cloud has a silver lining !
Cost and stockist
This is from Sainsbury's and is available in store (not local ones) and on line at www.sainsburys.co.uk and currently costs £4.99.
For the price this is great for making soups and smoothies and at the price is excellent particularly for those starting out. I am very happy with the blender for basic blending this is fine which really all I do .
This blender is great for blending, it isn't going to win awards for beauty and so you will want to hide in a cupboard but that's fine! I am happy that I can make a puree for my godson, make soup for the family and really at £4.99 Hubby really was the Knight with the prize!!
My Daughter has suddenly devolved a passion for sylvanian families all started off by the canal boat.
What is it?
The Canal boat is part of sylvanian friends which is a Japanese idea which first started life in 1985 and is based on a village called Sylvania which is in turn based on the idea of a 70;s English village!
The Canal Boat
The Boat is a replica canal boat which comes complete with galley kitchen, bunks, little table and all the accessories as well as this it also have hanging baskets to ensure the outside is as attractive.
Cost and stockist
The sylvanian range is expensive but does offer excellent play value and is available online at www.amazon.co.uk and also at most major toy stores the rrp is £49.99 however currently in Argos it is on offer at £33.29.
Since we have owned this my daughters have set sail and amazingly the sound of squabbling has abated instead of the screeches of get out of my room we hear quick catch the rope lets go through the lock! So it does offer lots of play fun and encourages imagative play which can only be a good thing.
I do recommend the sylvanian range as it offers excellent imaginative play but I still think it is expensive although my sister-in-law still has her childhood sylvanian families so it is built to last as long as the small pieces are put away before the Hoover comes out!
Summary from the daughters: The Narrow boat is good fun to play with we like the little shower and toilet and we have lots of fun playing canals.
Toms are the latest fashion craze essentially a canvas marina style shoe something that has been around for a long time, so why Toms I asked myself and my Brother-in-law advised me they are really comfortable, my nephews love them because they are stylish, my niece says she can be on her feet at work all day and her feet do not hurt. I was impressed that each person had a different answer but still not convinced the price tag was justified I went on the website www.toms.co.uk and looked at the company ethos and then I was impressed.
While a pair of Toms will cost you around £35.00 to £40.00 each pair of Toms that is purchased another is donated to children in the third world I like the good Karma.
I decided to purchase a pair for my husband who needed comfortable footwear as he recently tore his Achilles and so having spent 10 weeks in plaster needed good quality comfortable shoes. And once these arrived he hasn't worn anything else he says these are the most comfortable shoe he has ever worn.
Cost and stockist
As mentioned these are available direct from Toms www.toms.co.uk you can also purchase from schuh www.schuh.co.uk and I have seen on Amazon too www.amazon.co.uk and I m sure there are many other stockists expect to pay between £35.00 and £40.00 per pair
Not only are they comfortable and stylish but they also are an ethical business too you get to give something back without doing anything which is even better . I am also impressed at the comfort and support these give and so I am just about to order myself a pair of floral ones from schuh !
Summertime and BBQ season which in our household is the best type of cuisine whether large family parties or small gatherings we just love the whole ethos of camping.
On a recent trip on my In-laws Narrow boat we packed a couple of these Wilko Disposable BBQ and found them easy to use.
What are they?
A disposable BBQ that is all ready to go essentially looks like a large rectangle roasting tin with a metal grid on top
Cost and stockist Disposable BBQs are available from all major supermarkets, diy stores and garages however the ones we bought were from Wilkinson's as they were only £2.50 each or two for £4.00 a bargain.
If like us you love BBQs then these are brilliant for allowing you to have a BBQ on the move whilst apart from matches everything is here that you need and all sealed up so no mess we do tend to add a little paper to speed things up but have found that these work very well indeed even with a bit of breeze and for a simple BBQ for the four of us one is plenty big enough allowing four Burgers with plenty of space.
The BBQ takes twenty minutes to be ready to cook so we allow 30 minutes to light it and be ready to go we tend to BBQ our starter then add burgers and finally marshmallows with the residue heat .
I thoroughly recommend the disposable BBQ for our family this is an important part of our Holiday kit and some our must fun days out have ended with a BBQ well worth the money.
I am very hot on sun care and I always use a good quality high factor sun tan lotion one that protects against UVA and UVB Rays. I also want my lotion to moisturise my skin and I also have very sensitive skin. I have tried many different lotions but have found that Nivea products are very good and so I opted for their sun Tan Lotion.
I always go for a High factor of either factor 30 or 50 and the spray bottle as I find this gives a more even coverage and is much easier to use on a beach than the traditional poring lotion which always gets bits of sand in!
Cost and stockist
Nivea suntan Lotion is one of the market leaders and is available from chemists and supermarkets as well as directly www.nivea.co.uk . I purchased mine whilst doing the weekly shop and paid just £5.00 which is on half price offer.
Aside from the obvious that you should protect your skin from the sun, I recommend this as my skin also feels very moisturised and not dry like other products have made me feel. using a spray means you can get good all over coverage and it is more visible than the lotion which runs off I also reapply frequently and find that the bottle does last. I also like the design of the bottle which makes it easy to hold and direct.
I really recommend the Nivea brand not only for the excellent sun care it offers but also for the moisturising factor as well and it really pays to be sun safe.
Unable to have a holiday this year, some very good friends invited us to holiday in North Devon. Whilst a extremely kind offer I was not as enthusiastic as I could have been as to me a holiday is only a holiday if you take a passport I was to be proved very wrong and all because of Appledore.
Appledore is a little fishing village located on the west bank of the River Torridge about 4 miles downstream from Bideford. We visited on a Monday evening to listen to the Brass Band on the Quay and truly a perfect summer evening happy families listening to the band we sat and let the atmosphere wash over us with a rather nice Chenin Blanc in the Seagate a 17th century inn.
So inspired by my first visit that later on we meandered the 1.5 miles from where we were staying and spent a lovely day exploring and that day has sealed my love affair and I am signed up to visit next year for me as a history buff the Elizabethan and Georgian properties were a delight as were the cobbled streets one house to look out for is the Dolls house a tiny little house set back between two cottages all houses painted in lovely seaside colours and Red phone boxes , I truly loved the timeless quality and the tranquillity of Appledore.
On our Adventure exploring Appledore we visited the Maritime Museum which both my 5 and 7 year old girls really enjoyed the youngest loved ringing the bell and the oldest thought the Victorian loo and school were awesome I was impressed with everything in the museum but found the part this area played in WW11 was very interesting.
Following a long trek and having walked about 8 miles we headed back along the Quay to The Quay Bistro& Cafe for some lunch what followed was a feast homemade fish finger sandwiches with fresh caught fish a true delight and Appledore mussels with fresh fennel bread and for the youngest butchers ham and chips whilst no children's portions they did a small portion which was massive and very cheap at £3.85! This set us up for the walk back via the local Hockings Ice cream truly lovely ice cream.
We meandered back via the play park and along the coastal path a truly magnificent day only marred by my inability to paint or take good photos!
We visited Appledore on two more occasions once to go crabbing and our final visit was to have Dinner at the Seagate and listen to the Band again and I can heartedly recommend the Seagate.
Appledore is a wonderful place to visit with so much more to do than we managed see website for more information such as parking opening times for muesum and directions www.appledore.org