Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Charcoal Challenge…

 Who doesn’t love a barbecue in summer? I have been lucky enough to participate in the MoneySupermaket Charcoal challenge, and being given £50 to spend on enjoying a barbecue was quite exciting! 

The worst part of a barbecue in my opinion is waiting for the food to cook, as you can smell it all cooking and often there are no nibbles to keep you going! So, we laid on a spread of fresh bread, mini pizza, olives, dips and salad to keep everyone going while the food cooks! I also supplied a good variety of drinks, and found that James Bond style Martini was popular, as was orange juice and lemonade!

 We barbecued plenty of luxury organic sausages and fresh corn on the cob, we had intended to serve turkey skewer kebabs and pitta bread, but I’d gone a bit overboard with the starter and we were all feeling full!

These corns are a bit well.. charcoaled!

We ended our barbecue with an impromptu water fight using the water pistols I supplied in little party bags (it was amazing how the adults enjoyed the water pistols!) resulting in everyone being drenched!The party bags contained bubbles, a water pistol and a lolly, including the cellophane bags and it cost under £10 to create them all.

So, that’s how we spent our £50 on hosting a barbecue for our family, how would you spend £50 on hosting a barbecue?

Thanks to Money Saving Expert for allowing us to participate in the Charcoal Challenge!

Sexy, Comfortable Lingerie!

I recently tried out Berlei’s Heaven Lace Non Wire bra, it arrived and instantly made me smile, it’s a bra which is soft to touch and looks fabulous. Fit wise, I was impressed with just how supportive the bra, the entire design carefully supports your bust and when it’s on you have the support of a wired bra with the comfort of a non-wired style. Does it look good on? Yes! I feel spectacular wearing it, in truth I’ve chosen to wear it several times this week just as it makes me feel fabulous even when I’m lounging about at home. Is it comfortable? Exceptionally, the lace is super soft and it barely feels there, it’s a style which proves you don’t have to forego style for comfort even with D+ cup!

The Heaven Lace Tummy Control brief, if you want a pair of pants which will make you feel fantastic on a day when all you want to do is open the biscuit tin, can I suggest you try these? My curves are flattered and my tummy seems to shrink, Mr G remarked that we ought to buy lots of these as they look fantastic on me – a compliment indeed. These give you the sexy effect of a glimpse of a skin behind lace, they are superb:

I love them! I probably wouldn’t wear them everyday, but I would certainly wear them whenever I needed to be comfortable but wanted to feel a bit sexy and confident too!

Also in the range is the Heaven Lace Boxer, this has lace detail which is in a thick band all the way around! Again the style is focused on comfort but looks superb, and I found these boxers very comfortable to wear! They’re a more subtle style, and I think I’d wear this style on most days! 

Disclaimer: I received this set for the purposes of an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

The chocolate game and Chocolate shells!

With the start of the summer holidays I’m keen to think of fun games we can play as a family. As a child I remember fondly playing “the chocolate” game and decided that really it was time for my children to play it! We hunted around for a hat, scarf and gloves, but with the temperature at 27c we decided to use more summery props.. a wig, glasses, cap and a scarf!

The aim of the game is to roll a 6 with the dice, dress up and eat the chocolate with the aid of the knife and fork – no cheating by using fingers! You keep cutting and eating the chocolate until the next person rolls a six when you have to take the outfit off for them to put on and they continue! As you can see I’m a bit competitive and when I rolled the dice and got a 6 I wasted no time in setting to work indulging in the chocolate!

E took a more delicate approach to the game, he looked so cute dressed up, but it was a struggle at first to get him to understand that when someone else rolled a 6 it was their turn and he initially refused to take the outfit off!

After some careful negotiation and several explanations as to why he needed to let everyone take a turn he gleefully started to wait and roll the dice waiting for his next turn “Is that a six Mummy?”(while pointing at the dice showing a 2!) I was delighted with how well the game worked with the boys, they were both really very good natured and by the end both of them took their turn to roll the dice carefully! The chocolate cut up really easily too, it’s not the conventional squares in this Cadbury Marvellous Creation bar which I think aided the cutting!

The boys loved playing, and have asked if they can play again one day which is lovely! They did both need a good bath afterwards as the chocolate had melted in the heat, but that was a lovely excuse for settling them into pyjamas with story or two before bed.

After the boys had settled for bed, Mr G and I decided to make the most of the first day of our “staycation” and have a romantic dinner outside. So we enjoyed a simple supper and then I  decided to impress Mr G with my desert skills! I have always wanted to have a go at chocolate bowls, and decided to try them out – they’d look great with ice-cream in! Except, I hadn’t really thought about how hot the weather was, or quite how I was going to make the bowls, and I’m really not great in the kitchen..So forget chocolate bowls and see chocolate shells instead..are you ready?

To make them I melted the Cadbury chocolate, and dipped an inflated balloon into the melted chocolate then popped it onto a piece of greaseproof paper to set. Once the chocolate was set, I burst the balloon and.. voila! I think I need more chocolate and a deeper bowl next time! However, they did look fabulous once served full of ice-cream (even if the ice-cream was melting faster than I could photograph it!).

It tasted fairly heavenly, and the Cadbury Fabulous Fingers worked really well to decorate the desert – I think I’ll be using them as an alternative to a flake in future!

Ms G xx

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Book Review – Total Fertility by Emma Cannon

I was keen to review Emma Cannon’s new book Total Fertility, firstly I know several people who are struggling to get pregnant, and secondly as I have recently suffered an ectopic pregnancy and want to ensure I am doing everything right to preserve my fertility as best I can.

I have to say, I am very impressed with the book, it refers you to different relevant sections of the book so you can flick backwards and forwards to read up on the different things which may help you, I love being able to dip in and out of books like this it’s really helpful! There are sections on not being able to get pregnant, secondary infertility (that’s you have had one child and can’t get pregnant again) and also a really interesting, informative section about IVF.

There is also a section dedicated to thyroid problems, and as I have hypothyroidism this was very relevant to me, I read this section and nodded my head in agreement to many things and have already implemented some of the suggested tips. I’m finding the tips on dealing with stress especially helpful.

I think the most impressive part for me was the fertility kitchen, with a variety of recipes which aim to balance your body and help it recover from daily strains and hormonal changes. I can’t say that this book will increase my fertility, but what I can say is already after just a few days following simple changes I feel better in my self than I have for quite a while. It addresses physical and mental issues and gives practical advice and tips on how to deal with things. 

Whether you are already a Mum or don’t want children until later in life, I’d recommend this book as it is full of tips – some which are fairly straight forward and some which I wish I’d known earlier! It’s available at all good book stores now – Emma Cannon, Total Fertility.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of the book for the purposes of a review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Can’t sleep won’t sleep aged 2..

It’s 1.30am and I am sat in the company of E who is reluctant to sleep. I’ve not been this tired for a while, but I’m sat keeping him company on the sofa, and he is doing what 2 year olds do best, finding mundane things highly entertaining, so my quest to get him calm enough to sleep by sitting in silence is clearly failing. He is sat chuckling as a fly buzzes around the room and I am sat wondering where I put the fly spray (do we even own any?!).  

I had tried pretending to be asleep, but that just resulted in him climbing on top of me and talking very loudly in my ear…”are you awake Mummy? I am..” and when I failed to respond (I may have been actually dozing at this point…) he kindly decided to perform some form of non-surgical anti-ageing treatment on me by pulling my eye lids up until they virtually met my forehead. 

I’ve tried reading him a story, but that just made things worse as he then wanted it read again, and again, Julia Donaldson your books are just too much fun and I am unable to read them in a soothing go to sleep sort of way. 
I have now resorted to “camping” in the sitting room, I am intent on getting at least a little sleep tonight, even if it is underneath the canopy of a sheet hung over two dining chairs..

Silver Spoon Local Little Hero Award

Today is your very last chance to nominate a Local Little Hero for a Silver Spoon award! Do you know someone under 18 who has done something amazing? Whether they’ve been fundraising, helped to look after a relative who is unwell or done something amazing why not fill in the form and nominate them? You need to describe them in under 100 words before midnight tonight – 16th July 2013! There is a main prize of a day baking with Eric Lanlard and ten runners up will win a baking goody bag, so if you know of an amazing young person (under 18) why not nominate them?

Easy Pasta Bake – Schwartz 2in1 Mix

 As a busy family, we sometimes struggle to find new inspiration for dinner and to avoid the “oh not that again” I’m always on the look out for easy ways to create a tasty easy dinner! I managed to grab the opportunity to try Schwartz 2in1 recipe mixes out and tonight we indulged in a Mediterranean chicken pasta bake. 

Now, the first thing you need to remember is that 2in1 mixes are only supplying the flavouring, so you need to check the packet for the ingredients you need to make the dish before you begin! 

Once the pasta, chicken and sauce (a tin of tomatoes combined with the top sachet of flavouring) is cooked, you pop it into a dish shake on the second sachet and add cheese then pop it under the grill for approx. 5 minutes.

 The finished dish ready to serve looks like this:

 It was easy to make, and looked impressive when we came to serve it. However, I have to be honest and say I don’t think we’d buy the mix, simply because we found the crumbly topping garlic flavouring too over powering and the flavouring for the sauce wasn’t strong enough to stand alone. I think the mixes are ideal for people who do not have a cupboard full of spices and want to produce a simple tasty dish, but unfortunately we’ve not been won over by this mix.

This post is an entry for BritMums ‘What’s for Dinner Tonight?’ sponsored by Schwartz. Find out more about the new 2in1 mixes here

Protect your skin and help the Marine Conservation Society

Are you sweltering in the heat wave or planning a holiday somewhere sunny? Either way you are probably thinking about sun lotion, we all know the benefits of slapping on a good SPF and protecting our skin but have you ever considered why an Organic, natural sun lotion might be better for both you and the environment?

It came as a bit of a surprise to me that around 25% of ingredients from sun lotions applied to skin are released into the water over the course of 20minutes swimming. Chemicals which are often used to create the UV filters to protect our skin from the suns rays are the vary same chemicals which researchers have found to be causing havoc in marine life causing such effects as viral infection in coral reefs. Green People are donating 30pence from the sale of each Organic Scent-Free SPF 25 sun lotion to The Marine Conservation Society and continues to avoid the use of chemicals which are found to cause harm to marine environments even at low levels.

A new favourite story: Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou!

If you have young children you are probably very familiar with the author of our new favourite bedtime story! With such firm family favourites as the Gruffalo and Room on the Broom it’s unsurprising that we met the arrival of Julia Donaldson’s new book with great excitement and we were not disappointed!

Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou! Follows a familiar repetitive rhyming pattern adding in sounds to add to the rhyme as the story goes on. The book follows a ghost attempting to wake up sleeping Lydia Lou in an attempt to frighten her, but his attempts fail and the book ends with lots of laughter.

E is two and a half and has already had me read him this book multiple times since it arrived, he loves the pictures and tries to join in making the different sounds as we read it. It’s a great book for reading during the day or at bedtime and is definitely one of our current favourites! 

Disclaimer: We were sent the book for the purposes of the review.

Frizzy Hair No More!

I really struggle to control my frizz especially in the summer when the humidity plays havoc with my curls! I need a helping hand to give me the sleek locks I desire, whether I’m wearing my hair straight or in its naturally curly state! This is where John Frieda comes in, they have a great selection of products to help me get the look I want minus the frizz and I was sent a great selection to try out!

The serum works really well applied to wet hair to give a great shine and easily contains my frizzy locks, my hair is quite thick so I found I had to apply it in layers to ensure I got an even coverage. You really don’t need much serum though, so apply it sparingly to avoid the wet look! It works well to contain frizz in curls or straight styles!

I have to confess my absolute favourite product is the Secret Agent, it smells fabulous and is easy to apply to dry hair to give the perfect finish to either curls or straight styles. Secret Agent has frequently been my hair style saviour, and it’s a product I really couldn’t live without! It contains UV filters so is ideal to protect your hair – especially in summer!

Last but not least, Straight Fixation makes light work of keeping frizz at bay when I straighten my hair, a small amount applied to my hair when damp before blow drying protects against heat damage and avoids the risk that my sleek straight style turns frizzy at the first sign of moisture in the air! 

You can check out how easy it is to transform curls into a sleek straight style here:

Disclaimer: I was sent the products for the purposes for the review, however I am already a John Frieda customer and have been using the Secret Agent for a while so all thoughts and comments are my own.