Monthly Archives: November 2013

WIN a copy of Tooned 50!

Tooned 50 is set for release on DVD on the 9th December 2013, just in time for Christmas! Celebrating 50 years of Mclaren the animation takes you on a hilarious journey led by Professor M, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez through 50 years of Mclaren in Formula 1! It’d make a great gift for F1 fans of all ages!

The lovely people at Abbey Home Media are offering three copies of Tooned 50 on DVD as prizes to three lucky entrants who enter the competition below! 
All you have to do is follow the simple steps, make sure you complete the mandatory steps and please make sure you leave a name or twitter id if you comment as ANON! Please check out the t&c’s at the bottom of the rafflecopter widget! Competition closes Midnight Monday 9th December 2013.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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teapigs Earl Grey Strong tea loaf

I was recently sent some fabulous new blends of tea from teapigs, they sent me Earl Grey Strong and Darjeeling. Now, I did initially want to write a review telling you all about how I liked to relax drinking my cup of tea quietly whilst reading the latest copy of Vogue, but realistically that’s not going to happen any time soon if my sons have anything to do with it! So, I decided to make a tea loaf using the Earl Grey Strong! I have to warn you that I’m generally a bit rubbish in the kitchen, so making this tea loaf was something of a challenge to myself! 

This is what I used:

1 egg
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of Mixed Fruit
1 cup of teapigs Earl Grey Strong
2 cups Self Raising Flour
1/3 cup of margarine
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mixed spice

First things first, make a cup of tea, in fact make two! Use the first cup to add to the mixed fruit, and then go and enjoy the other cup while you wait for the mixed fruit to absorb some of the tea and go cold.Turn the oven on to 180c (ours is a fan oven so if yours isn’t please check).

Add all the ingredients into the mixer and add the mixed fruit/tea. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour in the mixture. 

 Pop it into the oven for 40-45minutes, when you lift it out just check it is cooked through!

Wait till it goes cold, don’t be impatient like me or else it won’t be easy to slice! Then enjoy, with a cuppa! I have to say I was really impressed with the flavour of the Earl Grey Strong in this tea loaf, it gives a rather sophisticated taste which was very addictive..the loaf did not survive long!

 Thanks to teapigs for the samples of their new flavours available now!  

Ms G x

A Christmas Thrifty Find..

This morning we popped to buy some extra craft bits as the boys love to get crafting on the run up to Christmas, I popped into the charity shop next door and ended up coming away with three (yes 3) large bags of Christmas decorations and tinsel. This is just a tiny amount of what we’ve come home with:

The bill came to £6, and we have now got masses of new decorations for our tree and plenty of ribbon, tinsel and even pretty boxes to make with! Amongst the decorations were some stunning Gisela Graham ones, which I adore but normally they’re a bit too pricey, so I’m delighted! I can barely contain the urge to wait for Boo before we start crafting! So remember, before you rush off to a discount store do check out your local charity shop for any Christmas bargains they might have!

Ms G x

Tired Tinsel – Super Simple Wreath!

Having unpacked some Christmas decorations ready for next week, I found quite a lot of tired tinsel, but it seemed a shame to just throw it away! So, E and I decided to have a go at giving it a new lease of life! This is a simple make as E is 2 (almost 3) but needed help from me for any bits involving cutting out!

Grab a paper plate and cut a circle out, my cutting out is messy, but you don’t notice it:

Then take the tinsel and wrap it around the plate, we used two colours as we didn’t have enough blue! E really enjoyed doing this bit and I just had to help him secure it at the end.

You end up with a basic wreath, then you need to decide how to decorate it, E is very keen on Snowmen and they’re so easy to make thankfully!

Cut two circles of felt (or paper) one a bit smaller than the other, and a strip of coloured felt to make the scarf. We used double sided tape to secure the pieces into a snowman shape.

We then stuck them onto the wreath with double sided stick tape!

Ready to stick on the boys bedroom door next week! What do you think? Have you got any great ideas for using up tired tinsel? 

Ms G & E xx

Money trouble..

A couple of days ago, a very dear friend was chatting to me and explaining that she was very concerned about her finances. Her monthly finances are a struggle, but they just about make ends meet. However, there’s no room to move in their budget, and when they suddenly discover they’re down a salary, it’s a serious problem and that’s what has just happened.

 She’s intelligent, and has thought on her feet, “Christmas is coming but Christmas doesn’t matter, keeping a roof over our head does” she said confidently – though I know well enough her confidence is just a front hiding her fear. Then she said those words which filled me with dread, “I’m thinking about taking a pay day loan..” Even though she’s intelligent enough to know that the rates on these loans are ridiculously high, and that she won’t be able to pay it off next month as next month their income will only cover the usual outgoings, the fear of being unable to pay their bills and put food on the table for her child is huge. I listened and felt my heart sinking, I want to help, but financially we’re struggling ourselves and in January we’re taking a large cut to our income ourselves, so instead I’ve tried to offer some advice.

So far, I’ve suggested she speaks to someone at the CAB and her health visitor (she has a 2yr old), makes a list of who she needs to pay and try to speak to them to explain her situation and see if she can spread payments due over the next few months. I’ve pointed her towards the Old Style thread on Money saving expert, as there are lots of helpful practical tips on how to survive on a shoestring. I’ve also reinforced that the percentage rates on payday loans would mean she’d never have the chance to catch the money she owes up, and it would effectively dig her deeper into trouble. I’ve also pointed her towards the The Money Advice Service for further help on her finances and to see if they can help. 

I’ve been trying to think about all the little things we do to make savings, but when you’ve been doing things a while you assume everyone does them? Switching provider for gas/electric. Make all meals from scratch, don’t waste food! Buy second hand.. the list goes on..what have I missed? Or do you have any advice to add?

Ms G x

Meal Plan for w/c 25th November..

Linking up with Meal Planning Monday again, a little late after having had fabulous fun in London at the Britmums Xmas do! So, seven dinners and some desert ideas..

Mini Roast with vegetables.
Steak and home made chips.
Cheesy Potato Pie.
Pasta with a tomato and chorizo sauce.
Veggie Curry. (or this might turn into a curried vegetable pie..we’ll see)
Chunky Vegetable Soup.
Spaghetti Bolognese.


Toffee Apple Cake
Apple Crumble
Apple Pie
(Yes we’ve lots of apples..!)

I’m planning on doing some baking, bread, rolls, and a tea loaf! For lots more meal ideas check out the linky Meal Planning Monday!



Daxon – Long Jaquard Knit Cardigan Review

In case you’ve not noticed, it’s turned rather cold and the wardrobe has duly been rotated, or to be precise, I’ve got my winter clothes at the front – in easy reach! Winter clothing for me is all about knitwear, I love knits which I can dress up or down and are fun to wear! Versatility is a must, as is the need for knits to be easy to care for, with two young children I need things to be machine washable!
I had the opportunity to review an item from Daxon, and I instantly knew I wanted to try out their knitwear! So, after having a good look at their website I opted for the long Jaquard knit shawl collar cardigan it’s striking pattern instantly attracted me and I knew I had to have it! I’ve really enjoyed wearing it over the weekend, it’s a light weight acrylic so very soft and yet remarkably warm! There are no buttons or fasteners, it can be fastened with the knitted belt, I chose to discard the belt when wearing it with jeans as it made it feel a little more casual!

The folk inspired pattern of the cardigan is very stylish, and I love the way the red lifts the pattern and makes it quite eye catching, it’s the perfect cardigan to wear to liven up a little black jersey wrap dress!  

I confess my favourite way to wear it is with jeans and my favourite t-shirt! As you can see, although the cardigan is sold as long, I’m tall at 5ft 10 (and a half!) and as such the cardigan did come up a bit shorter on me than it’s meant to, but I think it still looks fabulous and it’s the perfect length on me for a standard cardigan! 

The shawl collar creates a very flattering neckline, drawing attention away from my tummy! The other huge benefit of this cardigan to me is being able to wrap myself into it, it’s perfect for when I’m curled up on the sofa reading a book! What do you think you, what would you wear this cardigan with?

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

WIN a Wigwam play tent from Garden Games Ltd

When I was little, one of my favourite games involved trying to build a wigwam around an upright chair, it involved wrapping a sheet around the chair and then trying to wriggle under the never worked very well as you can imagine, but I loved the idea of being all cosy in my Wigwam like in the books I had read and films I’d seen, yes I really liked Westerns! Seriously though, can you think of anything more fun for your child than having their very own Wigwam? Made from cotton canvas, and available in a variety of designs Garden Games Ltd have created a selection of fabulous Wigwams for children (and adults!) to enjoy! 
Garden Games are offering one lucky reader the chance to WIN their very own Wigwam in the Aztec design shown in the image above! The Wigwam is ideal for use in the garden as it has a waterproof coating, but in the winter months would be excellent to create a den for your child in the corner of your lounge instead!
Play tents are always great to inspire imaginative play and I know both my sons love to hide out and play games whenever they get the chance! These Wigwams look terrific fun, and I’m sure they will provide year round entertainment for all the family – yes I’m sure Mum or Dad will be sneaking in there to hide out too!

So, if you want the chance to WIN a fabulous Wigwam in time for Christmas? – What a fabulous gift for a child to wake up to!Then follow the simple steps on rafflecopter below!

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Autumnal photos

These are I think my last photos of Autumn 2013, I’m posting them for my friend Claire who is currently travelling in Asia and is missing out on the English Autumn! I guess she’s not missing the freezing winds, heavy rain and mud..but we’ll forget about that for a minute! I never cease to be amazed by natures ability to create beauty. Look at this fallen tree, it may be fallen, but it lives on as a shelter to bugs, a climbing frame and a work of art.


 I have written before about the amazing colours I’ve spotted while we’ve been out walking, the orange leaves, the brown bracken, and the green of the strong brambles hardening ready for winter.

My parents told me as a child, if there were plenty of berries on the trees, it was a sign it was going to be a hard winter. I suppose it makes sense, nature has a clever way of providing for the birds and animals, and if this holly bush is anything to go by, I think we’re in for a very cold winter..

 Ms G x

Thrifty Festive Fashion – My fab find!

I’m going to say it again, Christmas is on the way! I love to dress up for Christmas, but with invites to parties, Christmas day and New Years Eve I’d need a small fortune to have a new outfit for each event! However, I’m not keen on the idea of having just one dress for well.. everything! I was having a rummage in my local charity shop (as I do!) when I came across a skirt perfect for the festive season!

I love the colours, the deep purple is rather glamourous and there are so many colours you could wear with it! While it is really quite a dressy skirt, it could easily be dressed down with a black cardigan and my black knee high boots, so I can see myself wearing it for lunch with friends! Quite a bargain at £4 I think! 

Linking up with Liz, go and explore all the wonderful thrifty finds her linky has!