Friday, 31 May 2013

Search for the nation’s best biscuit recipe

Border Biscuits have launched a great new competition, I know from the entries into the Amoy recipe challenge I have running now and comments on my recipes, there are a few of you out there who could snatch the prize! 
Your biscuit made by Border Biscuits, on sale in Tesco, £2000 and a place on a baking course!

Read below for details.

Border Biscuits sent me some of their range to try, I love the packaging,each one has a plastic lid,the boxes protect the biscuit well, no first and last biscuit crush here.

I cannot fault a single biscuit,the crunch of each variety is amazing,the soft crumbly melt in your mouth texture is just perfect with a fresh cup of tea. No dunking for me,the biscuits are just too good to do that to.

The strawberry and cream shortbread taste home baked, they melt on the tongue and are so buttery,creamy, happily I found them not too sweet,the pieces of strawberry gave the sweet I needed, these would be perfect for a picnic or summer high tea, if we ever get one!

The Dark Chocolate Ginger biscuits were a real surprise, the ginger is hot and a real spicy taste, the crunch is perfect and I was glad to find these biscuits are not hard like a lot of ginger biscuits, they are light and melt in the mouth,almost syrupy. The dark chocolate cracks as well,it has a smooth rich taste and complements the fire of the ginger! 

The Raspberry, White Chocolate and Pistachio are again light, really packed with the taste of fruit, creamy chocolate and pistachios. They did not last long here.

Finally a lovely selection of favourite biscuits,not keen on the title...'Made For Sharing!!' it sort of gives the family ideas that they can have some!! 
Seriously this is a lovely box of biscuits the aroma of toffee apple is fantastic, they taste even better. The Butterscotch crunch are lovely and my favourite biscuit ever Viennese Whirls,more Strawberry and Cream shortbread make this a perfect box for me sharing!


Search for the nation’s best biscuit recipe

Lanark based Border Biscuits has joined forces with Great British Bake Off finalist James Morton and leading supermarket Tesco, to launch a nationwide search for the best biscuit recipe in Britain.
The Big Baking Bonanza is open to amateur bakers and the winning recipe will be created by the skilled team at Border Biscuits and turned into a limited edition new product, which will go on sale in Tesco. The winner will also get £2,000 and a place on a fantastic baking course.*

According to research, forty-one million Brits or 79 per cent of adults say they enjoy baking at home, and 22 per cent of home bakers claim to be baking more now compared to a year ago.**  Due to this huge popularity in home baking, Border Biscuits is hoping to find a talented new biscuit maker with a creative recipe to join the award winning range.

Baking expert, James Morton said: “If you’re a lover of home baking and like to experiment with delicious ingredients, textures and tastes, then this could be your chance to show off your skills.  We’re searching for the best innovative, creative and delicious biscuit recipe to join the Border Biscuits family.”

Well known for wearing his favourite Fair Isle tank tops, James’ love of baking started at an early age, when he was growing up in Shetland and he was inspired by his gran.  He said: “I used to go round to her house every night after school and we’d get baking.  She taught me all of the classics from Victoria sponges to apple pies and lemon meringue pies and that’s where my love of baking really started.”

Budding bakers can enter the Big Baking Bonanza by submitting their recipe online at from today until 21st July 2013.   The entries will be whittled down by James Morton and an expert judging panel including: Ashley Connolly, local buying manager at Tesco, Scotland and the Border Biscuits baking team.

Ashley Connolly, local buying manager at Tesco, Scotland said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for us to find an innovative new recipe to go on sale in Tesco. We’re looking forward to judging and tasting the winning recipe and hope to find something delicious that our customers will love.”

Border Biscuits is renowned for using high quality ingredients, delicious flavour combinations and baking the nation’s favourite Dark Chocolate Gingers.
Louise Creevy, national account manager at Border Biscuits said: “Perfecting our recipes is something that we take very seriously at Border Biscuits and we only put ourbiscuits on the shelves when we genuinely think that we can’t improve on them.  There are some extremely talented home bakers out there and we’re hoping to find the next delicious and creative recipe to join our 32 other varieties.”

For more information visit or join Border Biscuits on Facebook, Twitter @BorderBiscuits, Pinterest or You Tube for regular Big Baking Bonanza updates.

*Ts&Cs apply visit  
 ** Mintel survey results, BBC Food (November 2012)

Friday, 24 May 2013

Win Gigaset SL910A Home Phone

I am very pleased to be able to make one lucky follower as happy as I am with the Gigaset home phone I recently reviewed. You can read what I thought here

The phone is just what a phone of today should look like,Paige thought I had an iphone at first glance its sleek, stylish, has a touch screen and sits in a base that does not have wires and does not need to be near the phone socket. 

It sits elegantly in my  living room and looks good, mine is currently on a clock display. 

But don’t be fooled, this phone is much more than just appealing to the eye. The choice of three home screens, including: dial centre, ECO DECT technology, text message centre and customisable information screen, as well as picture ID function and Bluetooth capabilities, mean this phone delivers on every aspect of home telephony - sound, reliability and performance.

I recently tried out the  room-monitoring function which for parents makes the Gigaset SL910A a good baby monitor not that I need that but will also be a security alert for those who like to feel safe. It will remind you of appointments too, you can bluetooth photos for the display,  use them for friends and family calls, you can even download music to assign personalised ringtones.

Prices start from: £139.99
Handset size: 5.5 x 13.5 x 1.5 cm
Handset options: Single and additional handset

The SL910A is available to buy from from £139.99 John Lewis, Dixons, Amazon and Ligo.

For full details of all phone models available from Gigaset, please visit

To win your own Gigaset just fill in the easy peasy rafflecopter, remember I do check all the winning entries so please make sure you do not forget to do enter correctly.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Bonds Confectionery New Website

I am pretty happy as I have been asked to feature Bonds Confectionery's new website. They sent me a sample of some of their goodies and as you can imagine, the family were conveniently hovering happy to help with the review, hmm funny how they're not around for the cleaning product reviews!

I used to love visiting the sweet shop as a child and sadly most are now only found in seaside towns and popular tourist villages. I stock up when in Cornwall, its a great treat to gaze at the jars, talk about childhood memories of lemon bonbons, bonfire toffee and lemon sherbet.
Grab some bars of Highland toffee and munch them all, usually before we journey back home.

But now I don't have to wait for holidays to stock up as  Bonds are now selling online, not only that but delivery is free when you spend  a very low £5, not hard to do at all when you start to browse the wares! Prices are amazing, the aforementioned Highland toffee 20p a bar, you have to buy a minimum of 5, think I can cope with that hardship! 

Then there are  jars of sweets, from baby sized jars to giant sweet shop size. I could start my own mini shop. 

Plus all manner of bagged faves! Here is a selection of the ones I received. I was happy with the fudge, Chris dashed off with the chocolate coated peanuts, Paige just wanted all of them. 

I decided to get the message across loud and clear, I used the only available props I
had to hand.

A national survey of 2,000 UK consumers, commissioned by Bonds Confectionery, has revealed that over a third of people admit to having a sweet tooth and to buying sweets every day, with another 37 per cent claiming that their favourite sweet treats are guaranteed to cheer them up when they’re feeling down. Forty per cent of confectionery lovers buy their sugary snacks to share on a cosy night in with their partner or family and when they are planning trips to the cinema or theatre.

The research also found that over 70 per cent of people now buy some of their sweets in the supermarket, as part of their weekly shop, with less than 25 per cent choosing to visit their local convenience store or newsagent. Another 18 per cent buy their sweet treats from discount retailers whilst 14 per cent pick up their confectionery at the same time as filling up with petrol. Even when budgets are tight most people don’t give up their sweet snacks. Whilst 20 per cent of people give up takeaways to reduce spending and another 15 per cent cut out trips to the cinema, only six per cent are prepared to give up their favourite sweets.

Commenting on the research findings, Philip Courtenay-Luck, managing director of Bonds Confectionery, said: “The survey results confirm what we have known for some time and that is that in Britain we love our sweets, but that the way that we buy them has definitely changed.

“The days when a visit to our local sweet shop, to stock up on our family favourites, was part of our normal routine have all but disappeared with most of us now choosing to do this as part of the weekly shop. This has reduced the range of sweets that we have to choose from, as supermarket aisles are largely dominated by big confectionery brands, but at Bonds we know UK sweet buyers still want their traditional favourites as well as household name brands. It was this knowledge, coupled with the phenomenal growth of online retail, that prompted us to launch the new consumer website.”

The Bonds Confectionery website offers over 450 sweet ranges from bagged chocolates such as the indulgent Honeycomb, Caramel Barrels and Chocolate Mix to the ever popular sweet shop range which offers traditional lines like Sherbet Lemons, Fruit Jellies and Chocolate Limes. Also on offer is the hugely popular Retro Classics bag and an extensive range of kid’s sweets such as Fizzy Cola Bottles, Teeth & Lips and Dolly Mixtures.

Sweet lovers also admitted that chocolate is by far their favourite sweet indulgence, with over 40 per cent of people naming it as their top choice of treat with jellies and gums in second place at 10 per cent and old fashioned boiled sweets coming in third with eight per cent of the vote. The lowly marshmallow came last on the list with only one per cent of people choosing it as their favourite.

Philip added: “The survey also found that six per cent of people already buy their sweets online and with the rate of growth of online retail almost 10 times that of the overall retail market coupled with the fact that in Britain we love our sweets there is a real opportunity to recreate the traditional sweet shop experience online.”

For more information about the Bonds Confectionery range of products visit:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Win a Healthy Back Bag

As promised I am hosting a giveaway for this gorgeous Healthy Back Bag in a lovely coral shade, perfect for summer and perfect for your back.

I recently reviewed a  Heathy Back Bag  ,the Mojave Jute bag, I took it out for a day walking, shopping and I since have used it every day. I am finding it great for the odd bits of shopping, the bag actually takes the weight off my shoulder and back and goods in it feel really light,I put several tins and packets in mine just this week and it was heavy as I held it in my hand, on my back the weight was gone, born by the bag. 

Makes it a great accessory for students with heavy books, good for travelling and great for walking in the country.

I adore bags with lots of sections, this meets my needs, four exterior pockets, five inside and two pen compartments. Heaven for a hoarder.

All the bags have non slip straps, you can wear it on the shoulder or across your back.

The bag you will win  is made from the microfibre range, an amazing material; it is easily cleaned and water-repellent, incredibly lightweight yet strong, soft, luxuriant.and above all looks amazing, an ideal addition to any wardrobe.

There I have raved about my new bag long enough, can you tell I love it? I am so pleased to be able to offer one to you thanks to this brilliant company.

As always you need to fill in the easy peasy rafflecopter,  your email details will be on there, lots of opportunities to gain bonus entries, I do check that you have done them.

Tracker White Chocolate Chip Bar Review

Did you know that Tracker bars were the first cereal bars created back in 1986. Mars have just launched a new flavour,White Chocolate Chip and sent me some to try. Luckily they arrived before my  21 day healthy snacking challenge,however,at 125 calories a bar I am not going to worry.Chris pounced on the bars he was addicted to Tracker bars as a teen he said and  was opening and chomping immediately.

He commented that they were still as chewy and gooey as he'd hoped, he said they were smaller than he remembered, but then he is a bit bigger than the skinny teen I met!!

I took a little more time over mine,the bar is jam packed with chocolate and crunchy roasted peanuts, it has an oaty flavour and it is very soft, chewy but with a good crunch. The bar is very filling,so if you are watching your weight and still need a sweet bite,this is a good choice. Trackers are free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.

All in all a nice addition to the range.

With nearly 4000 Tracker bars eaten every hour in the UK, Tracker continues to be one of the nation’s favourite snacks, and it’s no surprise - packed with quality ingredients in every bar, Tracker not only tastes incredible – it’s also the ideal outdoor treat, whether it be to keep energy levels high on a family bike ride, as a quick boost before footie practice, or as a tasty reward after a day stomping through the mud in wellies; this is the must have rucksack snack. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Pelia Olive Oil Review

I have loved reviewing olive oils, last year, I took part in a blind taste test and was happy to say I passed and guessed correctly the one that was not heavily blended. So I was happy to try another mini bottle of olive oil, this time from Greece,

I can identify easily a good olive oil now and it really makes a difference to foods, I added the Pelia Olive oil to my salad tonight, feta to keep in with the Greek theme, extra olives.The Pelia is fresh, smells summery, almost grassy and really made a difference to the taste. 

I also use extra virgin olive oil to cook with, this came from my Slimming World allowances and now I am at my target weight nearly two years later, I still do. 

I used to think you could not cook with it, but it is used for cooking in many of the countries it is produced. It just needs to be heated gradually and obviously not for deep frying at high temperatures.
Pelia brings Greek olive oil in its purest form, with the launch of their UK web shop  

Olive oil has become a firm favourite in the British kitchen, used in everyday cooking, from drizzling over salads to roasting meat and vegetables.  Pelia has a light golden colour and delicate taste that makes it ideal for use in both its raw form and for cooking.

Pelia cold pressed extra virgin olive oil owes its unique flavour to the relatively unknown Manaki variety of olive. The olives are hand-picked from small family owned groves in the northern Peloponnese where the olive oil is extracted on the same day at the local olive press. The olive oil is then packaged and sealed on site, ensuring that the customer receives it in its very purest form allowing them to enjoy it in the same way as locals that have produced it for over a thousand years.   
Co-founder of Pelia, Phillip Tsatsos says ‘Pelia has a really original taste, very different from what we are used to. It’s always exciting for me to see people try the oil for the first time, it is also very surprising how quickly they recognise the difference in quality and flavour. We are really looking forward to seeing more people sampling and cooking with the oil and are confident it can help transform the most ordinary meal in to something extraordinary’.
What a lot of us don’t know is that most extra virgin olive oil on the market is mass produced, involving heavy blending and resulting in loss of flavour not to mention highly reduced nutritional and health benefits.  Good olive oil should not only enhance the taste of food but should also contribute towards a healthy lifestyle.
Pelia olive oil is available online at and is sold in 3lt bag-in-box form.

Win BBC Good Food Show Summer Tickets

Its that time of year where I start to get excited as the BBC Good Food Show and Gardeners World Show are nearly here.

I have regularly gone over the past 6 years and for the last two I have attended with my blogging hat on as well as just a keen visitor.

The event is so jam packed with things to look at or take part in, food tastings, bags of samples, competitions to enter,advice for the kitchen, home and garden. 

Demonstrations galore and celebrity chefs and gardeners to spot, loads for the children to get involved in, gardening, watching food demos, learning about the countryside, plus they come home with freebie that are given away too. I always love looking for new gadgets to buy,seeing new plants to take home and foods to cook with.

My tips for a great day out, you can pack a picnic and sit on the hill while you watch gardening demos, the picnic may not get eaten as you will find you are handed so many different foods to try before lunch ,my two always make a beeline for the Carte D'Or stand, while I make a beeline to the wine tasting ...hic!

Invest in one of the wheeled carts for sale, not only handy to lug all the goodies you will collect and buy, but makes a fabulous picnic trolley and is so sturdy, making it over deep sand on the beach. Chris has made a lid for ours and it acts as a table for prepping food for the picnic.

Oh if you do buy or take a trolley please don't forget its behind you and 
bash peoples heels, will save lots of angry exchanges!

Stay until the end of the day, they give out a carrier bag full of samples, money of coupons and competition leaflets.

Keep your eyes peeled, some rather tasty chefs are often wandering around looking at the stalls.

Finally if you go by car, make sure you check and note very carefully where you park, we spent the first year wandering in the wrong car park as Chris had looked at the sign for a different area, (they are reached by buses,to give you an idea of the volume of cars) we were not the only ones and each year we see scores of lost tired people looking for their ride home!

The BBC Good Food Show Summer is running from 12–16 June at the NEC in Birmingham and to celebrate they have teamed up with the Given To Distracting Others to offer you this fantastic prize! 

Win 1 of 5 pairs of general admission tickets to enjoy a day at the Show. The Show is packed full of celebrity chefs including Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, James Martin, John Torode and Gregg Wallace demonstrating live on the Supertheatre sponsored by Tesco Real Food. Plus see your favourite TV programmes brought to life including The Great British Bake Off, MasterChef and Saturday Kitchen. Shop till you drop from over 200 food stands. Visit the Producers’ Village and the Good Food Champions area to find small and artisan produce that you won’t see on the high street and Don’t forget your ticket also gets you free entry to BBC Gardeners’ World Live where you can learn how to grow your own from some of the nation’s top gardening experts!

Not a winner? To book tickets and for more information on the BBC Good Food Show Summer please visit or call 0844 581 1341

To enter please fillin the easy peasy rafflecopter

Please note I will need your details to send to Haymarket straight away as the tickets need to get to you. I will be contacting the winners on Saturday the 1st of June, I will allow 48 hours before a redraw.

Terms and conditions for tickets and giveaways for BBC Haymarket Exhibitions

All tickets are general admission excluding Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are non refundable and non-exchangeable. Ticket terms and conditions apply.

Tickets will be mailed out directly to the competition holder by BBC Haymarket Exhibitions. It is the responsibility of the competition holder to forward tickets to the winners. Competition holder to confirm receipt of tickets and subsequent delivery to winners to BBC Haymarket Exhibitions.
Tickets do not include a seat in the supertheatre.

Monday, 20 May 2013


It’s no secret that Brits are partial to a brew – in fact we drink a massive 165 million cups of tea every day in the UK and it’s been a big part of our everyday lives for over two hundred years.

What you may not know is that Kenya is one of the world’s biggest producers of black tea. It’s widely used by tea blenders to give that delicious briskness and flavour, as it’s got more ‘oomph’ than Ceylon or Indian tea – It’s what gives the great taste and quality to our everyday favourite teas.

To celebrate our national love of tea, The Tea Board of Kenya have launched a ‘Tea Moments’ competition, asking Facebook fans to share their favourite tea occasions or memories, whether it's the first cuppa to get you going in the morning, taking a break with friends (or cake!) or if you've enjoyed a brew in an unusual location.

Enter your favourite everyday or unusual tea moments here, with a picture if you have one, and you could win afternoon tea for two at Brown’s Hotel and a Kenyan tea goody bag including five delicious Kenyan teas, an infuser, and a gorgeous tea set so you can host afternoon tea for two at home.

Prize for Given to Distracting Others:

Kenyan Teas have kindly offered a prize to my readers.
You can win three delicious Kenyan teas including selected blends from Waitrose and Marks and Spencer, as well as Tetley’s new Estate Selection tea from Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. You’ll also win one of these cute cup and saucer sets, perfect for having guests round for tea!

Just fill in the easy peasy rafflecopter form, it collects your contact email privately and the only thing to remember is to leave your name in the Rafflecopter comment if you post here anonymously, just so I can match up the entry.

Sunday, 12 May 2013


I posted last year on Madeleine McCann's 9th birthday its so sad  to be posting again, I feel I cannot utter the words Happy Birthday, instead I will offer my prayers,thoughts,tears and a birthday wish that she will be reunited with her Mum,dad and family!

2013 today is Madeleine McCanns 10th birthday, it should be a day of laughter,celebration, family and friends. Instead its a day when all those feelings of loss will be most keen, the unanswered questions,the prayers that she is alive,more importantly happy and safe. 

So to try and mark this day, bloggers are again raising awareness that Madeleine McCann is still missing and to spread the word worldwide in order to help find her and bring her home.
Madeleline went missing on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal on Thursday 3rd May 2007, I cannot quite believe its six years. 


  • Contact information to report any sightings or information

  • Your local police force immediately, AND

  • +44 845 838 4699 or

  • OR Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111 or

The Find Madeleine official website

The recent case of the three girls kidnapped in Cleveland,Ohio and being free after 10 years gives hope to parents of missing children and families around the UK and sadly there are many missing people, including children like Ben Needham, in fact a staggering 140,000 children go missing in the UK every year. There is something I can do to help though, and you can too,its a small moment of your time, just a tweet!

You will be in the company of millions,businesses,celebrities and people all over the UK will be taking part in the Big Tweet!

On International Missing Children’s Day (Saturday 25 May) Missing People Patron Stephen Fry will once again join the charity Missing People in harnessing the power of Twitter to help find missing children via The Big Tweet for Missing Children. You can take part too, by retweeting the appeals for missing children that the charity will tweet every 30 minutes. 
On this day, the charity will also be holding its flagship annual run Miles for Missing People on Clapham Common. So, please visit to enter, or simply come along to the beautiful Clapham 

Thursday, 9 May 2013




It’s a daily dilemma for every parent: getting the kids up and out of the house on time for school. But new research out today - which involved a combination of 2,000 mums[1], 54,000 Facebook fans[2] and focus groups up and down Britain - has uncovered the ultimate routine for a stress-free morning.

The large-scale study, led by family baker Warburtons, and set to culminate in the launch of a new breakfast handbook this month – Breakfast: From Our Family To Yours ‘Making Breakfast Easy’, reveals that HALF of mums who use music to get their kids up in the morning[3] find Pop to be the most effective genre, with Gangnam Style and One Direction topping the charts as the most popular wake up music... Although the research also uncovered that Dizzee Rascal and Rihanna kept Mums stress levels the lowest!

The research found that the key to a calm, domestic midweek morning is to start the night before and to take five minutes ‘me time’ before waking the children. This will help get your head together and reduce the chances of you starting the day feeling like you will never catch yourself up.

The ultimate routine, developed from extensive research and winning tips put forward by UK families over the last three months, is:

STEP ONE: START THE NIGHT BEFORE - Spend some time the night BEFORE packing school bags, sorting PE kits, prepping lunchboxes, laying the breakfast table and setting out clothes – 17mins is optimal, any more increases stress levels. This way you go to sleep knowing that you have already started your morning smoothly.
STEP TWO: GATHER YOUR THOUGHTS - Try to wake up before the children. Take five minutes ‘me time’ every midweek morning to grab a cup of tea and a slice of toast and gather your thoughts before waking the kids. 
STEP THREE: WAKE THE KIDS - A single, calm wakeup call to the family should be enough and, where possible, should take place between 7:00am and 7:15am. The key is not to shout.
STEP FOUR: LURE THE KIDS OUT OF BED - Lure youngsters out of bed with the smell of fresh toast and pop music. The most popular aroma to help get children out of bed is freshly toasted bread, whilst Gangnam Style and One Direction top the charts as the most popular wake up soundtrack.
STEP FIVE: GET WASHED, CLEANED & DRESSED - To avoid peak stress levels, spend between 10 and 30 minutes overseeing the kids getting washed, their teeth cleaned and dressed. The key is NOT to shout – shouting is ineffective and a horrible way to start the day.

STEP SIX: ENJOY BREAKFAST - Allow 20-25 minutes to eat breakfast together with the children – the morning is proven to be less stressful if mums physically take the time to sit down with their child or children, with no distractions. 
STEP SEVEN: OFF TO SCHOOL YOU GO - Follow the above and it should now take no more than five minutes to prepare to leave the house for school.

Child psychologist Professor Tanya Byron, who analysed the ultimate routine, said: “Mums and dads find the weekday breakfast period one of the most stressful and challenging parts of family life. But where we British parents excel is that many of us have an inspiring range of tactical strategies and clever parenting plans, such as step by step sequences like this, to make this busy start to the day run as efficiently as possible. 

“As a child psychologist and mum myself, I can completely relate to the problems parents face and that’s why I’ve been working with Warburtons to pull together their new book - it truly is a practical guide to clever and creative parenting.”

Jonathan Warburton, Chairman of Warburtons and dad of four, adds: “Our new book contains the very best hints, tips, recipes and advice from families across the nation on how to juggle breakfast. Working closely with child psychologist Tanya Byron, the tips have been combined with the results of in-depth research to create the ultimate breakfast routine which, if followed step by step, should help families across Britain get through that all important breakfast rush with as little stress as possible.”

Log onto to get your hands on copy of Warburtons new parenting guide – ‘Making Breakfast Easy’.

·         Warburtons is the UK’s leading independent baker and was established in a grocery shop in Bolton in 1876 by Thomas and Ellen Warburton.  Today the business is actively run by the fifth generation of the Warburton family – Brett, Jonathan and Ross
·         Warburtons is the number one brand within the UK Bakery sector with over 135 years of baking expertise[4]
·         Warburtons is the third biggest grocery brand in the UK[5]
·         With thirteen bakeries and thirteen depots around the UK, the company serves customers from the Scottish Islands & Highlands in the North to Southampton in the South
·         For local stockists please call the Warburtons Freephone Customer Careline on 0800 243 684.