Monday, 30 April 2012

Heinz New Barbecue Sauces Chicken Wing Marinade

Not sure I am going to see BBQ weather this year, judging by the rain, so heavy it would have had Noah speeding up his Ark building!  It won't stop me making lots of marinades, dips and all the yummy goodies we love, we will dine indoors instead.
Heinz have helped this along by creating two new barbecue sauces and they asked me to try them out in some recipes. A pizza, luxury beans on toast and a marinated chicken wings below.
 Heinz Classic Barbecue Sauce and Heinz Sticky Barbecue Sauce are made thick enough to  still top your burger, but light enough to use as a marinade especially for chicken. Its a classic flavour for chicken and so I started with the marinated chicken recipe as soon as the ingredients arrived.

I wanted to let the flavours really get into the chicken so I left mine in the fridge overnight. It all went into a bag and was very simple.

The next day I added them onto my grill rack and popped over a baking tray, using foil meant it was a doddle to clean up after.

The chicken smelt fantastic while cooking and I recommend the last brushing with marinade for the sticky texture.

The dish was well received by the family, I liked the smoky taste, not so keen on the sweet honey but that's really a personal taste as I am not so keen on sweet with savoury, but it was well covered by the chilli kick. Everybody else raved about it, Paige has requested I make it with chicken breast portions next, Chris said he wants ribs, so its a definite make again, for me because it was just so simple!

Chicken Wing Marinade

For the marinade:
10 chicken wings, tips removed and cut in half

A sprinkle of hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp runny honey
5 tbsp Heinz Classic Barbecue sauce, and extra to serve

To serve:
400g potato wedges, cooked
75g mixed salad leaves
Parsley or red chilli, chopped

Place the chicken wings into a large food bag with the remaining ingredients apart from 2 tablespoons of the Heinz Classic Barbecue sauce and toss together.
Seal the bag and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Place on a rack over a baking tray and cook in a pre heated 200C, fan 180C, gas 6 oven for 30 minutes, turning half way.
Turn the oven up to 240C, fan 220C, gas 9. Brush the wings with the remaining sauce on both sides and bake for a further 10 minutes until sticky.
Serve with a pot of Heinz Classic Barbecue sauce to
dip the wings into, jacket wedges and leaf salad and
garnish the wings with chopped parsley or chopped red
chilli for extra spice.

Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil Review

I am rather pleased with myself. I correctly identified the single blend extra virgin olive oil as being the bottle marked A in the taste test I took part in here

The tasting note shows I was on the right track using the appearance, smell of the oil and finally the taste.

At first glance you notice the oil is bright with a green colour. In the mouth you will notice green and ripe olive flavours, with hints of other ripe fruit. There is a broad grassy note which balances perfectly with spicy nuances. On the finish, a subtle sweetness.

It was even more interesting to review it this way as I had no idea of the brand and was interested to learn its a new product in the UK, its calles Hojiblanca and a fabulous priced oil also.

After my taste test I ceratinly will be purchasing

New Spanish oil offers premium quality at affordable price

If you only ever crack out the extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over the odd salad or dress a dinner party dish, you might be surprised to learn that people across the Mediterranean use extra virgin oil for all their everyday cooking needs – from marinades and casseroles to shallow frying, and everything else in between.

And now British food lovers can also use extra virgin oil in their everyday cooking, thanks to the launch of Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil – a premium, single variety extra virgin oil coming soon to a Tesco store near you, offering great value for money compared to other extra virgin oils on the market.

Unlike blended extra virgin olive oils, which are created from a mix of different olive varieties, new Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Andalusia in Spain is created using only the eponymous olive variety Hojiblanca – meaning ‘white leaf’ – so that it has a smooth, distinctive, high-quality taste and an extremely low acidity, guaranteed to be less than 0.3% (against a maximum of 0.8% for all extra virgin olive oils).

We are buying more and more extra virgin olive oil, but we still tend to keep it for special occasions because of its high price tag. However, at just £3.49 for 500ml, Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil is affordable enough to be an everyday product – and what’s more, it’s better for you, better for your cooking and offers a superior taste to refined olive oils.

So-called pure and refined oils have undergone harsh chemical extraction and refining processes. High heat and strong chemicals are used to extract, de-gum, neutralise, deodorise and bleach the oil. The resulting denatured oil has virtually no smell or taste, and so a small amount of standard extra virgin is added to provide some minimal olive oil character. These ‘refined’ oils are sold in the UK at virtually the same price as extra virgin.
Spain is the world’s largest olive oil-producing country and Hojiblanca is Spain’s No.1 producer. The Hojiblanca Co-operative produces more extra virgin olive oil than the entire production of France and Portugal combined, and its output amounts to more than half of the real Italian production. Olive trees are tended by family growers in Andalusia and Castilla-La-Mancha and in many cases, traditional hand-collecting methods are still employed. Unlike brands which buy in and blend oils, Hojiblanca has complete control across growing, pressing and packing.

Hojiblanca is packaged in a unique award-winning glass bottle with an eye-catching design and a built-in pourer.

Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil is now available in the UK in selected Tesco stores nationwide, with an RRP of £3.49 for 500ml.

Disclosure: My post is based upon material provided free of charge (A bottle of Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil) for review purposes. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated to promote the topic, product or service reviewed in this post.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Beef Goulash Slow Cooker

Yuck the weather is atrocious and this is when a slow cooker brings me cheer, not just the meal itself, but the whole aroma gently caught throught the house all day long.

This recipe has been added for Slow Cooker Sunday, it was made to add to the blog later, but I love this idea of sharing.

. Pop on over to Mediocre Mum's blog to check out the #scsunday recipes this week and even dip into the previous recipes, some fab ideas!

Goulash  can be cooked in the oven as well as slow cooker, its nice served with mash , jackets, rice or as I did savoy cabbage and lovely shaped pasta. I love finding slimming world beef recipes or adapting ones I google, this is a goulash from my old school recipe book

 I use 4 teaspoons of paprika as I like heat, if you just want a paprika flavour stick with two teaspoons. The sweet paprika does give it a lift too.

I recently dropped to a size 8 after pushing at size 14 on Slimming World where food is not controlled by portion size, so a Slimming World  beef goulash is ideal. So if the below looks a little different for a goulash, the extra veg were added to speed weight loss.

1 tbs oil or spray of choice.‎
500g lean braising steak diced
2 onions, roughly chopped
400g mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
2-4 tsp Paprika
1 tsp sweet paprika (optional)
1 red pepper, 1 green pepper (optional)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 Knorr beef stock cubes
250 ml boiling water
Salt and Pepper
Spray a frying pan with Fry Light if on Slimming World, I used 1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil as my Healthy Extra B

When hot add the beef and fry to seal and brown, leave on a plate if using a slow cooker.

Fry the onions for a few minutes to soften, adding the crushed garlic for last 1-2 minutes. Add to the slow cooker with all the other ingredients, meat last Add the boiling water to the stock cube. Season.

Cook on low for 6 -7 hours, high for at least 2-4 or Gas mark 3 170c for 2 1/2 hours

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Frankie & Benny’s Review

Cygnet Park Peterborough

Frankie and Benny's has some fond memories for us. In case you have not been or heard of them, they are a chain of Italian-American diners with a 1950's vibe. I was invited to try out the new menu and decided to combine it for the weekend of Paige and Conors 17th birthday partly because Paige dropped her lip when I said Chris and I were going alone. Conor has a passion for big burgers and Paige loves Italian food.

We had a Little Frankie's in town, sadly now gone. There has been a Frankie and Benny's near our multiplex cinema for a few years. Just recently a new one joined the city as we have a massive new house building program on the outskirts and there was a need for more eating venues.

Chris and I used to pop in for lunch years ago mainly for the great service, good range and I have them to thank for introducing me to my first ever Peroni the ideal Italian premium beer to have with a pizza. My first ever Calzone was first eaten at Frankie's, I love the idea of all the pizza toppings inside the base.

So you want to hear about the food and I also want to mention the service, as a mystery shopper I have an inbuilt search for great service, I am on autopilot whenever I eat out and shop now.

Firstly I decided to book and the phone was answered really fast, the staff member was cheerful, announced the store and her name. I did not mention the review as I just wanted to have a lovely meal and not put staff under pressure.
I did mention that it was my twins birthday and could we bring a cake. She said "Of course if you can sneak it in, I will hide it and bring it out when you are ready!"

I loved this idea.
We arrived at the restaurant which for a Sunday early evening was full of happy looking diners.  Paige's boyfriend Ricky came too to join in the celebration! The music was good, 50's and 60's and added to the diner feel.

We were taken to our table and I was thrilled to see balloons in celebration of Paige and Con, it was a lovely touch.

While we looked at the menus we were brought our ordered drinks. Kia our waitress was really lovely chatting and making sure we were all happy.

We decided we needed starters as they sounded so good.

Ricky and I chose  flat mushrooms filled with mozzarella, garlic and breadcrumbs, oven baked and served with fresh rocket, Grana Padano and balsamic glaze. These were really lovely, cooked perfectly and a lovely light start to my meal.

Chris and Conor chose the  chicken wings tossed in Louisiana hot sauce. Served with a blue cheese dip and crunchy celery sticks. Sorry about the dark pictures, the balloons kept casting a shadow as they swayed!

Chris adored the fiery heat of the wings and love the cool dip, Conor struggled with the heat, he is a lightweight when it comes to hot spice, I had to help him out and I adored the taste.

Paige was impressed with the Dough Sticks and Pepper Jack Cheese she had decided on. She said "Wow look at these Mum, take a picture" I was ordered to take pictures of everything anyway, she loves to keep a record of family days out!

Our table was cleared in good time once we were all finished and we were offered more drinks.

Our mains arrived in just the right time, we were able to chat and the pace of the meal was enabled by great staff.

For my main course I had to have the Calzone, it sounded lovely on the menu. Cajun Chicken Calzone, it had really tender chicken that had bee seasoned with Cajun spice, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese sauce, it was covered with a herby Neapolitan sauce. It was wrapped in the pizza dough and cooked perfectly. It was quite large and Chris had to rescue me with eating some of it.

The guys all opted for New Yorker Burgers, what is it about men and burgers?
Must admit they looked fabulous and the way they all tucked in and ate every bite and murmured they were good too.

Paige loves pasta and creamy sauces, so her main was the New Yorker Pasta, a pepper cheese sauce coated pasta with chicken breast and bacon. I tried a little and it was delicious.

Kia our waitress checked on us to make sure we were all OK and enjoying the meals, topped up drinks and was really courteous.

We all were finished and could not manage a dessert, despite me wanting to try the Yankee Doodle Sundae.

As our plates were taken Kia winked at me and I nodded, Chris had smuggled the cake in. A few moments later the music stopped and a Happy Birthday track started.

As they blew out the candles Congratulations by Cliff Richards started up, it was the perfect end to the meal.

Thanks to Frankie and Benny's for yet another good dining experience and actually going out of there way to make our evening great.
Thanks to Kia who was superb and a credit to the company.

If you are considering visiting pop onto the website, there are some great offers to celebrate the new menu, including £10 off two courses. A £10.95 two course specials menu, Monday Madness and more.


Disclosure: My post is based upon material provided free of charge (A Food gift voucher) for review purposes. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated to promote the topic, product or service reviewed in this post.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Olive Oil Tasting Test

I have always fancied my palate to be discerning, I can tell Coke is the real thing, I can believe its not butter, so when I was asked to do a mystery taste test for olive oil one would be a premium single blend extra virgin and the other would be a refined olive oil, this means an oil mixed with several different olive varieties and having undergone a harsh chemical extraction and refining process, yuck sounds horrible already.

 I was up for the challenge.
I do use Olive Oil a lot, always try to buy a good one and as some of you know I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil it as part of my Slimming World diet. Its classed as a healthy Extra.

I set up the test as above, no blindfold for me, thank goodness really as I would have taken a terrible photograph.

I had a tasting guide to run through using my senses.


Well these two certainly look different A is a dark green yellow, B is almost colourless. I was already making my mind up, the richness of colour pointed to A being a good single squeezing of olives.


A was a rich fruity aroma, quite intense and reminded me of leafy vegetables, good ones. It definitely had an olive fragrance.
B well it smelt of absolutely nothing, I think I am on the right track here.


 I was instructed to use bread to dunk into the oil.
A again I could taste an olive flavour, rich, fruity and sweet. I do prefer it drizzled over food than tasting this way, but it was not unpleasant.
B well it tasted of absolutely zilch, it was bland, I had cleaned my palate with water and a little bread, so it was not trying the other first.

So A is the single variety, premium extra virgin olive oil in my opinion and B is the refined oil.
Hope I'm right and I get to find out once I have handed in my results, I will let you know.

As they say so irritatingly on X Factor, you can find out the results after the break......

Disclosure: My post is based upon material provided free of charge for taste test purposes. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated to promote the topic, product or service reviewed in this post.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

New Brabantia designs bring a touch of glamour to household chores

Brabantia, recently sent me the fabulous Retro Union Jack Bin to review, it still is cheering me up with its style and ease of use. They don't just make bins, there is a whole range of home ware and gorgeous looks for your home. I love the ironing board covers seen here especially the Cherry Blossom design, its another style that would brighten up the kitchen.

 It may even encourage me to take over the chore from Chris who does all our ironing. Yes he does and no you can't have him.

Brabantia, well known for fusing beautiful design with innovative functionality, is introducing two unusual and elegant new designs to its stylish range of ironing table covers - Cherry Blossom and Gecko.

And, with research showing that the average person in the UK spends almost six years[1] cleaning the house and dealing with household chores, it seems only right to bring a touch of glamour to the ironing!

Hitting the production lines this month is Dutch stylist’s Gerda Elzenaar’s striking yet feminine ‘Cherry Blossom’ design. Crowned the international winner of Brabantia’s 2011 Iron in Style competition for her floral design Gerda said: “The delightful scent of clean linen inspired me to a fresh painting with spring blossoms. Iron your laundry springtime fresh!”

The second new design ‘Gecko’ offers a sharp, contemporary look, in subtle blue, grey and black. Its creator Liz Roques has used a stylised gecko motif to symbolise the coming of summer. It’s available on both the ironing table covers and rotary dryer covers.
David Slater, Sales Director at Brabantia, said: “At Brabantia we wanted to make ironing a more enjoyable experience. Animal prints and florals are a big hit in the fashion and interiors worlds this year - so why not accessorise your home with the latest trends too?”

Both covers are 100% cotton. The Cherry Blossom ironing table is 124 x 38 cm, with a solid steam iron rest and ivory frame. 
The Gecko ironing table is available with a solid steam iron rest or a solid steam unit rest; in the dimensions 124 x 38 cm and features the new metallic grey frame.
The ironing tables are covered by a 10 year guarantee. Brabantia products are available from leading retailers, including high street department stores, superstores, quality independent housewares and kitchen product specialists.
For details, please contact the Brabantia sales department on 0845 602 4877 or visit Brabantia’s website

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

CLOSED Win The Barnardo's Big Toddle Kits ends May 3rd.

I recently featured a lovely charity event partnering Little Dish and Banardo's you can read more about it here.

The Barnardo’s Big Toddle is the UK’s biggest fundraising event for under 5’s.  It is a ‘mini’ sponsored walk for children, it can be as short or long as you like, but the emphasis is on having fun, getting together with your friends and raising money for a really worthwhile cause.  The Toddle attracts more than half a million children every year and all the money raised goes towards helping some of the UK’s most vulnerable children under 5. 

The theme is Superheroes so I think the toddlers will be very excited to take part, there are some great activities and a kit to help get ideas for the event.

For more information on the Big Toddle visit here

Little Dish have kindly offered my followers five of the kits so your toddlers and you can be involved.
These kits are running out fast so I am quite pleased to have been offered these handy packs, containing recipes, activities, balloons and stickers.

Please enter using the Easy Rafflecopter form, if its not appearing try refreshing the page.

Ends May 3rd at midnight

Closed Win Transformulas Diamond Lift Review and Giveaway Ends 15th May

This has to be in my top skincare products, its a longish list, but when a product gives an instant effect, it has me hooked. Then as time goes by if its still performing well, its one to keep. I have been using it for nearly two weeks and the effect on my complexion is good.

I have one to give away to a blog follower thanks to Transformulas, just keep reading!

I'm thrilled by the idea of diamond powder in the serum, makes it feel that extra bit more luxurious. On first application I could see the shimmer, it just instantly lifts the look of my face, I looked more radiant and dare I say younger.  Over the days it has lifted my skin, I look more even toned and my skin is smoother.

It can be used in various ways. Great for a quick natural shimmer on the cheekbones, I think this will be ideal in the sunshine, if we ever get any.

Packaging is always a bonus for me if its good, I love the gold bottle, it reflects the product within itself, luxury, lavish and posh!
The lid opens like a puzzle, its a little twist and the dispenser pops up. It closes down with a slight twist.

It became a best seller in its first week of launch and has already been hailed
the anti-ageing ‘must use’ by all that use it. The Transformulas Diamond Lift Brightening Complex £41.95 harnesses the instant radiance boosting
properties of real diamond powder and active toning, lifting, anti-ageing
ingredients which offer continual results that become more noticeable every
This amazing, light refracting, lifting serum, will instantly illuminate the skin
with a veil of radiant diamond shimmer and is enriched with essential
vitamins and minerals to tone and boost the skins collagen fibres.
The ingredient Gaultine® Expression will help to tighten, lift and tone the skin with short and long term results.
Gaultine® Expression is extracted from the upper parts of the Acmella oleracea plant belonging to the Composit√¶ family (Composit√¶-Helianthe√¶) from South America, Africa and Asia. In vitro tests, Gaultine® Expression immediately limited microcontractions in the skin which aggravates/deepens facial muscles.

Skin smoothing was assessed by topometric analysis and 75% of volunteers saw a significant smoothing effect the day after application. 83% saw a significant decrease in wrinkles after 28 days.

An ‘everyday luxury for the skin’ the key benefits of this energising, anti-ageing treatment includes :-
Hydrates the epidermis and the derma of the facial skin
Creates luminosity and radiance to the skin
Immediate and continual luminance and hydration
Nourishes and promotes cell stimulation
Promotes the toning of collagen fibres
Illuminates the skin with diamond powder

The Transformulas Diamond Lift Brightening Complex is available from Boots stores nationwide and

See Transformulas on Facebook for news and beaty giveaways.
Transformulas on Facebook

Now if that all sounds just what your skin needs why not try and win one, just fill in the Rafflecopter below, if you don't see it, try refreshing the page!
Ends 15th May

Disclosure: My post is based upon material provided free of charge for review purposes. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated to promote the topic, product or service reviewed in this post.

Good heavens! Drinking Yogurts Review- The New Indulgent Salted Caramel

Good heavens! is the perfect name for these tasty yogurt drinks.
The bottles are so attractive, I adore the labelling, the bright almost vintage look added a ray of sunshine to a cold and rainy day.
I was sent a selection of the flavours and my eye spotted two I was really keen to try, plus hide away as Conor was hanging around and said, "Please let me trial them for you, or at least open them when I'm back from college!"

Good Heavens was not the reply I wanted to give, but I was kind!   I promised I would let him try some, I did say they were for grown ups only, but as he towers above me, I felt I was losing the argument!

I had spotted the Fine Sicilian Lemon and Poppy Seed and the new Indulgent Salted Caramel flavour,  the new treat from the Good heavens dairy.

Now yogurt drinks can be a bit hit and miss, sometimes a little too thin, a bit too sour. I would rather have a bowl of yogurt,  so I just poured a little into a glass, I love salted caramel flavours, was not sure as a drink though.

I have to say the Salted Caramel is absolutely divine, its thick and creamy, the caramel taste is perfect, the slight hint of salt is balanced well by the sweetness.

If you are new to trying salted Caramel and maybe a bit hesitant about salt and sweet, then please take a risk, I do not like sweet and sour foods combinations, so took longer than most to try it. As Nigella Lawson describes much more passionately than me

“Not since the first infant suckled at its mother’s breast had a food had so much instant impact. If I’d been in a cartoon, my eyes would have bulged, stars would have emanated from my head and I would have been licking my saliva-spurting lips wolfishly.”

It does indeed have an amazing effect on your tastebuds, its confusing at first, but its a flavour that is just so right!

I could not save a single drop for Conor, it was just too tasty to leave. I greedily drank the rest from the bottle, the glass abandoned, this is not how I usually trial products, forgive me but it was so good.

I was quite sad when I had finished it as I wanted more, I can imagine it poured over ice cream, used with maybe cream cheese as a cake filling, even in cupcakes.

Conor needs to read this from Good heavens as an explanation as to why I did not save him any!

Good heavens! drinking yogurts, are sophisticated adult treats packed with all-natural ingredients – and which also happen to be probiotic and (mostly) low-fat.
Made by a small boutique dairy with over 20 year’s yogurt-making experience, the drinks are based on a traditional eastern Mediterranean recipe - a unique style of natural yogurt with a distinct ‘zingy’ tang. This is then gently blended with the finest of ingredients to create tasty drinking yogurts that also contain over 25% of an adult’s recommended calcium RDA.  
I did actually share the other flavours, the Sicilian lemon drinking yogurt was as I expected, zesty sweet and again I did not want to share, this is a favourite flavour in any food or drink for me.I controlled my urges and the rest of the family got to try the rest of the range, boy was it tough. I don't think I could ever share the Indulgent Salted Caramel though!

There are 6 non-organic and 4 organic flavours in all, with RRPs of £1.69/£2.10 respectively. For fruit lovers, there’s Luscious Strawberry (organic & non-organic variants), Succulent Blackcurrant, Refreshing Apple and Pear, Mellow Banana (organic) and the exotic Alphonso Mango and Passionfruit (organic). For those looking for different taste sensations, try Intense Tiramisu, Indulgent Salted Caramel, or the unique Fine Sicilian Lemon and Poppy Seed. For a simple, sweet, creamy flavour, there’s also Smooth Vanilla (organic).

 Indulgent Salted Caramel is a delicious drink and great care has been taken to ensure the quality of the ingredients that make it into each of the company’s drinking yogurts! For instance, the best pears are sourced from Italy, the finest blue English poppy seeds are used, while the Alphonso mango is considered to be the ultimate variety in its richness and flavour.

Each Good heavens! drinking yogurt is full of natural goodness and is satisfyingly filling. They’re ideal for anyone looking for an alternative mid-morning drink or afternoon treat - but who doesn’t want to reach for chocolate, a salty snack or fizzy drink.

 The drinks are now available in 230 Tesco Express and Metros – but other stockists include Selfridges; Harrods; Sourced Market (St. Pancras); Whole Foods Market; the Camden Food Company (8 London train stations, plus Birmingham and Leeds) and As Nature Intended.

Check out the Good heavens! Facebook page for news and giveaways too!/pages/Good-Heavens-Boutique-Dairy/137184629695742

Disclosure: My post is based upon material provided free of charge for review purposes. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated to promote the topic, product or service reviewed in this post.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Brabantia Retro Union Jack 30 Litre Bin Review

I actually squealed with delight when my new Brabantia Retro Union Jack bin arrived. Sad I know, but for weeks I have been cursing my current bin, bought for its retro style and touch open lid, its been the bane of my life.
The touch feature packed up after just over a month, the bin is no longer sold and has a 28 day guarantee only. What looks nice on the outside, when opened to empty and clean has been a pain. The inside pail and bin itself has lots of nooks and crannies, why, I don't know, but I have had to try and clean with a toothbrush, tipping the bin upside down to try and get crumbs out and avoid the shower.
Out with the old and impractical, in with the new and very well made Brabantia bin.

Firstly its a Union Jack design, I feel very patriotic with my bin in the corner, I did feel a tad uncomfortable emptying teabags into a royal looking bin, but soon overcame this as needs must!

It brightens the corner of the kitchen and is unmissable. Conor walked in to the kitchen and on the way out nodded and said "Cool bin."  High praise indeed from a teen who nowadays takes a lot of impressing.

Paige's eyes  lit up and she said "Wow," that's the bin I want when I get a house"
Chris immediately started to open and close the bin and fiddle with it, I resisted the urge to slap his hands after all, I do get him to empty the bin.

Its a joy to use, a pedal opening which means no touching the nice shiny dome top, which I keep polishing. Bags made especially for the bucket came with it and they are strong and also feat neatly so there is no unsightly overhang.

The slow close 30 litre bin features a MotionControl Whisper lid where the lid opens with just a light pedal tap and closes smooth and quietly, so is easy on the ears and nerves if I have had one of those days!

When opened by hand the lid stays open, which is particularly handy if I am doing a lot of food prep and have waste to get rid of. Also good when changing the bucket, no more wrestling to hold bin open while needing two hands to wrestle a heavy bag out.

The bucket fits neatly inside and what is much more satisfying is the inside rim is smooth and easy to clean. There are no little ridges for food to say in so I feel its a lot more hygienic.

You may think I am a bit daft for raving about a bin, but it truly is a thing of clever design and beauty. Its really brightened the kitchen and has done away with me muttering about the other has bin!

Whats more its covered by a 10 year guarantee and here's to hoping our Queen is still about so we can celebrate her long reign and see lots more patriotic goodies!

Brabantia products are available from leading retailers, including high street department stores, superstores, quality independent housewares and kitchen product specialists. For details, please contact the Brabantia sales department on 0845 602 4877 or visit Brabantia’s website
Read Brabantia’s lifestyle blog:
Follow us on Twitter @BrabantiaLife
Like us on Facebook

Disclosure: My post is based upon material provided free of charge (A Brabantia  Retro Union Jack 30L bin and bin bags) or review purposes. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated to promote the topic, product or service reviewed in this post.

The Barnardo's Big Toddle

Little Dish are very proud to be the partner for this year’s Barnardo’s Big Toddle.They are going to be running lots of exciting activities promoting the Barnardo’s Big Toddle up and down the country to try and get as many little ones as possible taking part.

The Barnardo’s Big Toddle is an exciting ‘mini’ sponsored walk for toddlers. Now in its 16th year, it is the biggest fundraising event in the UK for under 5s and already attracts an amazing half a million children. All the money that Barnardo’s receives from this event goes towards helping some of the UK’s most vulnerable under 5s.

More importantly, it’s a fun and memorable way for young children to help those who need it. Put simply, it lets children help other children. Each year there’s a dressing up theme for the Barnardo’s Big Toddle. This year Barnardo’s are encouraging children to dress up as their favourite superhero and help save the day.

Anyone can set up their own toddle by
registering online here.

Why not set one up with your local nursery or playgroup? Taking part in the Barnardo’s Big Toddle is a fun way to educate children about why we give money to charity as well as finding out about some of the great work which Barnardo’s carries out to help vulnerable children aged 0 - 5.

You’ll be able to meet our friendly mascot Mabel at some of the events. Maybe we’ll see you there? To help with your Superhero costumes you can print out our
Super Mabel masks here, we also have a colour-in Super Mabel to print out.

We will be selling limited edition toddling shoes in special packs of our Chicken and Butternut Squash Pie for just £5. The shoes will come in three different sizes for toddlers, on sale exclusively in Sainsbury’s from the 23rd May for 10 days only.

As spring has sprung and summer is on its way, we’re preparing for a party and a picnic in the park. On Tuesday 22nd May we will be hosting our first ever Spring Party for little ones in Holland Park, London. The day will build to our very own toddle raising money for Barnardo’s, but that’s not all. There’s going to be fun stuff for all the kids (and parents too) with party games provided by the inspirational
Sharky & George. Think fun races, tug of war, face-painting, t-shirt making, music sessions and story time. And of course, no party would be complete without a picnic and a goody bag. More information will be coming soon about how to register to join us.

We’ll also be launching our first ever set of online games with a Big Toddle twist. Watch this space.

You can find out more about the Barnardo’s Big Toddle and
how to register here, and find them on facebook.

If you’re too busy to Toddle but will still like to contribute, you can text TODD123 to 70070 to instantly donate £3 that will go directly towards transforming the lives of under 5s. You can read more about where the money raised goes here.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Bear Grylls, teams up with Persil to get kids back outside and learn forgotten childhood skills

Its a family story I was told often, when I about seven, I was bought a pram for my doll. It came already made up in a large cardboard box. I opened it up, was really pleased, then immediately asked if my Granny could make a Wendy house out of the box. It was duly made, then being one of those balmy summers that don't seem to happen now, I spent many weeks out in the garden with my friends.
We decorated it, made blankets over the washing lines so we could have more houses, ate Marmite fingers and passed the time away playing. The pram was not as popular as the cardboard box.  Its pretty sad to see the survey results below and read that today’s children are spending significantly less time than their parents did having adventures outside and, as a result, have missed out on learning the great outdoor skills that were once taken for granted. 

I played french skipping, two bally up a wall ( if I could ever remember how that went as I tried to teach it to Paige and failed), collected ladybirds and made dens for them, made my own dens.

Hill rolling was the best game ever, we had a local disused limestone quarry called the Hills and Holes (Hollows) that had grassed over, it was fabulous fun, going down at speed, to lay dizzy at the bottom, covered in muck and grass stains. I took Paige and Conor there but it is now a nature reserve and has rare plants growing. Still a marvellous place to run up and down, but alas hill rolling is bad for the plant life.

 The only days I remember being terribly bored were rainy Sundays as everything stopped and the best game was watching raindrops and guessing which of two drops would reach the bottom of the pane first.

How many kids miss out on these fun adventures because a lot of the play is ready made, often indoors where it is yes safer maybe less messy, but is just not as much of a childhood fun experience.

What do you remember playing as a child and how does it compare to your children's play now?

Persil has teamed up with the ultimate face of outdoor adventure and dad of three, Bear Grylls, to inspire families to shake off the constraints of modern life and remember some simple outdoor pleasures.

With that in mind, Persil and Bear have created a ‘Top Ten Things To Do Before You’re Ten’ handbook, designed to get kids playing, having fun and getting mucky!

Bear said: “It’s important to teach kids to enjoy some free and simple outdoor adventures. Soggy wellies, grassy knees and muddy hands should be part of growing up. Whether it’s using their imagination to play games outside or learning a new skill like building a den, I want more kids to enjoy outside activities and experience a bit of adventure!”
Persil are also giving 70 mud-loving kids (plus one friend each) the chance to win the ultimate day’s adventure with survival expert Bear Grylls. Building campfires, exploring nature trails, learning outdoor survival skills – the lucky winners will discover a range of action-packed activities throughout the day.
Simply buy any pack of Persil to be in with the chance of winning!

Find out more here
Bear Grylls’ Top Ten Things To Do Before You’re Ten

1. Perfect the perfect Hill Roll
2. Become a hide-and-seek champion
3. Go sledging- on sand
4. Build a den - indoors or out
5. Build a rope swing
6. Nurse that sting
7. Try and count the stars.
8. Make a mud pie
9. Make a compass
10. Pick your own pudding.

Over half of UK adults played outside everyday when they were young, compared to just 23% of kids today; a decline of almost half.
Activities such as hide and seek, hill-rolling and climbing trees should transcend the generation gap but, according to new research by Persil small and mighty, one in 10 under tens never play outside and a third stay indoors and rely on ready-made fun instead of making their own.

After school play has evolved from riding a bike (26% of parents) and playing sports (23% of parents), to playing computer games and watching TV - the most popular activities with children (31.5%). Only 14% play sports and just one in ten regularly ride a bike. Favourite characters to role-play during playtime have also changed, with almost a third of parents claiming they enjoyed acting out Cowboys and Indians, compared to a third of children who now prefer to role-play television characters such as Spiderman, Ben 10 and Dora the Explorer.