Friday, 28 February 2014

Celebrate National Pie Week with M&S





National Pie week runs from 3rd – 9th March this year and is celebrating 60 years. I love making and eating pies, Chris as a Yorkshire man of course likes a pie, his favourite being Steak and Ale. 


M+S sent him his own pie to try, their Steak and Ale is made with Old Peculiar, I did jokingly say the name suits him too. Its a really meaty pie, with lashings of gravy, perfect with mash and vegetables.

All the M+S pies are deep-filled, handcrafted in Yorkshire – topped with a crisp all butter short crust pastry. The Chicken, Leek and Wholegrain Mustard above is gorgeous, I bought this a few days ago for Granny's tea and she left her favourite mash so she could eat all the pie!

Other mouth watering pies on sale next week are 

Meat and Potato Filled £3.49 with hand selected cuts of British beef and dry-cure smoked bacon,  this pie is slowly cooked in rich flavoured gravy with slices of roasted potato surrounded by crisp all butter pastry.


Slow Roasted Ham, Onion and Mature Cheddar Pie £3.49, 250g. Tuck into a classic combination of juicy slow roasted ham and mature cheddar, in a caramelised white onion sauce.

Pork, Cider and Smoked Bacon Pie £3.49, 250g. A mouth-watering all butter pastry pie filled to the brim with British pork slowly cooked in cider and onions.


If you fancy a pie but watching the calories you can still indulge with the Count On Us Puff Pastry topped pies.

Try Minced Beef and vegetable in a red wine gravy, with carrots, onions and leeks 302 calories, or Chicken in a white wine and mushroom sauce with carrots and potatoes, both topped with puff pastry, 322 calories
£3.49

At the moment at my M+S store the pies are on offer at 3 for £10

I was provided with one of the pies, I was offered no other incentive, my opinions are my own.




Thursday, 27 February 2014

Freebie Friday 28/02


Hello again, some nice freebies this week, I am loving adding these each week. Its fun to find them, have gained a pizza and some Finish tablets in the last two weeks. Londoners can nab free pancakes next week.


The blog giveaways have been lovely to see, bloggers don't forget to add your giveaways any free offers or deals. Please add closing dates to avoid disappointment when its already closed.




Freebies





LYLE’S GOLDEN SYRUP® GREAT PANCAKE GIVEAWAY

To ensure you have a flipping good Pancake Day this Shrove Tuesday (March 4th) Lyle’s Golden Syrup® will be treating Londoners to a free pancake festival on Phipp Street in East London.
The pancake festival will feature a number of food stalls and trucks serving up hundreds of complimentary pancakes drizzled with a variety of tasty toppings, including the much loved Lyle’s Golden Syrup®! Festival goers will also be treated to expert cookery demonstrations and other delicious goodies to take away.

The Lyle’s Golden Syrup® Pancake Day Festival is located a short walk from Old Street Station and will be open from 11.00am to 3.00pm. For more details about the Lyle’s Golden Syrup® pancake festival visit www.facebook.com/welovebaking or www.lylesgoldensyrup.com.

Free Sample of Urban Retreat Skincare Products ends 07/03

http://urbanretreat.emeraldstreet.com/

Free ToucanBox Petite Kids Craft Box 
(O2 Priority Members) check out your app for online deals.

1000 Colgate Max One Full Size tubes 
(Random Draw Noon March 7th)
http://your.asda.com/news-and-blogs/try-colgate-max-white-one-active-we-ve-got-1000-samples-to-give-away

Free Eye Test
http://www.opticalexpress.co.uk/landingpage/lp/eye-test/7/?WT.mc_id=email-uk-15267

 Free hand cream from Crabtree and Evelyn.
Take a used bottle of hand cream (any brand) to your nearest store.
They’ll then give you 25g of their cream for free
5 fragrances to choose from. 

100,000 free Dr Oetker Panabello pizzas, if you have not won yet have a go!

Teamonger Teas
 Sign up below and get your choice of 3 teabags sent right to your door, free of charge.

Free Pregnacare Trial pack 
http://www.gofolic.co.uk/pregnacare.aspx

Free Weaning spoon

http://www.bebivita.co.uk/register.html?

Truffle Therapy Serum for wrinkles (Worldwide)
Monday March 3rd 10am for 24 hours 


Too Good a Deal Not to Mention

Free Now or Look magazine with Diet Coke purchase, bottle or can 
https://www.cokezone.com/uk/en/diet-coke/free-magazine



Money Off Coupons
Burger King Vouchers 
2 for 1's and other offers


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Power of Soft



This poem is lovely and written by a very creative lady at the Fairy Non Bio offices!

Cuddling our babies is fundamental and in my opinion you cannot give enough of them!

Its nice that Fairy have asked me to  remember when my twins were born , how there was nothing better than the super soft cuddle with my gorgeous pair!

Do you also remember the power that those cuddles could have over you? All those sleepless nights, baby sick stains and moments when you thought baby would never EVER stop crying… then a cuddle with your new born would make it all worthwhile.

Fairy Non Bio is proud to have seen millions of mums through every gurgle, crawl and then, all too quickly, step of their journey as parents of new borns and as they move onto the next chapter in parenting. They understand how precious those fleeting new born cuddles are and how quickly time passes, with baby soon outgrowing those new born clothes. 

In fact, 70% of parents with babies 9 months+ recently told them that the one thing they would have done differently as new parents was spending even more time cuddling their baby.
That’s why they want to encourage new mums to embrace every moment. That means taking the pressure off, sitting on the sofa all day if you want to and savouring every super soft new born cuddle.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Devil's Food Chocolate Cupcakes (Cupcakes and Cocktails)


I was asked if I would like to review one of the new collection of books from Bonnie Marcus.  ‘Cupcakes and Cocktails’, ‘Guilt-Free Girl Deserts’ and ‘Food Journal’ 

Bonnie Marcus, a busy mother of three and former high-end New York events planner, turned her skills to designing and has created a range of practical yet fashionable cook books, food journals and notebooks, which have taken the US by storm. Her stylish stationery has found her a host of celebrity fans including Cindy Crawford, Brooke Shields, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross and many others.

In the US, Bonnie has been recognised as a pioneer for women in business. She won the prestigious American Express “Make Mine a $Million Business” contest for women entrepreneurs and serves as the small business spokesperson for Bank of America as well. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of all her products are donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and other organizations promoting breast cancer awareness.
 ‘Recipe from Cupcakes and Cocktails, part of 'The Bonnie Marcus Collection' from Parragon Books. Full collection available at Amazon.’

For more information visit http://bonniemarcus.com/



I chose Cocktails and Cupcakes purely as I have been in a baking mood recently and I love a cocktail or two, not so much out at a bar, but with friends or on a romantic dinner for two.

Cupcakes and Cocktails cookbook is a fabulous collection of the latest cupcake recipes and essential cocktails, as well as a useful guide to hints and tips, and sure-fire recipe combinations to impress  guests or just myself! With cake recipes such as Limoncello Cupcakes, Watermelon Cupcakes, teamed with Rum Cooler, Mai Tai and Purple Passion amongst many more. Its a fab book.
Indulgent cakes and cocktails are aplenty, but some are designed for those watching their waistlines too.


The photos will make you want to start baking.


I have been browsing the book and getting hungrier and hungrier, I decided to try Devil's Food Chocolate Cupcakes first. I needed something simple to make with a chocolate hit.
I liked the sound of sour cream in the sponge and in the icing. 

Mine turned out very close in appearance to the ones pictured, always a bonus. I just could not do the pretty chocolate slivers, however I don't think it was noticed as the family tucked in and devoured last night.

The recipe in the book states for 18 cupcakes and would be perfect for a group of girlfriends, I made mine in larger cases (me greedy...never) so made 12 in average size cupcake cases. 


Ingredients

55g/2 oz soft margarine
100g/3 and 1/2 oz soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs
100g/3 and 1/2 oz plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 oz cocoa powder
125 ml/5 fl oz sour cream


Icing

115g/4 oz dark plain chocolate broken into pieces
2 tbsp caster sugar
Shaved chocolate curls to decorate

Method

Preheat the oven to 180/350 F Gas Mark 4 and put cupcake cases into tin

Put the margarine, brown sugar, eggs, flour, bicarb and cocoa into a large bowl and using an electric mixer, whisk until smooth. Using a metal spoon, fold in the sour cream. Divide the mixture between the paper cases and smooth the tops.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until well risen and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cool slightly, then whisk in the sugar and the soured cream. Spread the icing over each cake and leave to set in the refrigerator. 

Serve decorated with chocolate curls or in my case whatever shape you can manage!! 


The other books in the collection are

GUILT-FREE GIRL DESERTS
The Bonnie Marcus Guilt- Free Girl Desserts Book is a gorgeous recipe book that will ensure you look good and eat well! With over 50 recipes of delicious, good-for-you desserts, this collection will satisfy any sweet tooth without breaking any healthy eating plans.


FOOD JOURNAL
The Bonnie Marcus Food Journal is a perfect guide to helping solve the diet dilemmas of the modern girl! With a focus on keeping you happy and healthy, recipes include comfort treats, slimming meals and delicious drinks.

I was sent a copy of Cupcakes and Cocktails in order to review, all ingredients  and opinions are my own, I received no other incentive!



Link up your recipe of the week

MAD Blog Awards


Homemade Thursday
Family Fever


Friday, 21 February 2014

#FreebieFriday 21st February



Another week of goodies from around the net and another chance to list your own free offers and giveaways.
Thanks so much to all who have been linking up your giveaways and free offers. It makes it a great place for everybody to come and dip in and out of the nice prizes and get something for free.

**Bloggers note you can add your giveaway any day of the week and readd each week while its running.

Please add a date to save disappointment for people coming to enter.


FREEBIES
Free Handwarmers for 02 priority customers
Log into Priority Rewards

Sun Perks readers Free Morrison £5 voucher (no minimum spend)
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/mobile/competitions/article5228749.ece?CMP=AFF-sun_plus-msix_affwin-2_20_2014_-238-0-0-0

Free Pizza
100, 000 Dr Oetker pizzas still up for grabs, I won one
http://www.pizzapanebello.co.uk/trymefree

FREE pouch and 50p off any Plum product
http://www.plum-baby.co.uk/try-plum-baby


Tastecard Free 1 month trial
http://www.tastecard.co.uk/trial/february


Free Lancome Visionnaire or DreamTone sample
https://lancome-meettheexperts.com/#/Voucher

Money Off

50p Off Nestle page 23
http://e-edition.metro.co.uk/2014/02/14/

50p off Shloer (Need to register)
https://www.enjoysundaylunch.co.uk/display_offer/1/


£1 off new Shreddies including the new Coco Caramel Shreddies
https://www.facebook.com/knittingnanas/app_633289973374845

50p off Tetley
http://tetley.ivchr.com/deal/view/25395/49f0f2/




Thursday, 20 February 2014

Macaroni Cheese with Chorizo




I think nothing can beat a homemade Macaroni cheese. We do not eat it that often, because Conor is not keen on cheesy dishes, a sprinkling of cheese on a lasagne he will cope with, while scraping the best bit off and leaving to one side, sacrilege. 

Knowing he was out for the night and knowing Chris, Granny and I love it. I set about making one, but I also fancied a spicy macaroni cheese. Its a great store cupboard dish for using leftovers up. 



I had some Mexicana cheese leftover  in the fridge and I had already decided to add it, but I also always have cooking chorizo  that needed eating.

I decided to experiment and I am so glad I did.

I made a basic roux sauce band then added the cheese and macaroni, I also used Red Leicester and decided near the end after tasting, to add a teaspoon of mustard. The chorizo gave a lovely deep orange to the sauce. I nearly devoured a bowl before it hit the oven. 

This spicy macaroni dish is heaven on a plate, spicy, gloriously cheesy and I share this dish, mainly so I remember to make it again and again.

This dish deserves a topping, next time I will be adding jalapenos, cheese and crushed tortilla chips to make real Mexican macaroni cheese!

This made a large portion for 4-6 and a small dish minus chorizo for my Granny!


Ingredients

For the Roux
75g flour
75g margarine
1 and 1/4 pints of milk.

For the dish.
100g Mexicana cheese 
150g Red Leicester or any leftover cheese.
300g macaroni
1 teaspoon English mustard optional
Black pepper.

Grated cheese for the topping.


Method
Preheat oven to 160C Fan. Gas 4



Cut the chorizo in half to let the lovely oils release fry for a few minutes until golden, set aside.

Boil the macaroni in a medium saucepan according to the packets instructions. 

Melt margarine in a large saucepan, add the flour and beat together well, cook on a low heat for 2 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and very carefully add the milk, a tiny amount at a time, making a large paste at first and very gradually adding more milk until you have a thick batter, at this point you can add the milk in larger quantity.

Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.




Cook on low for about 10  minutes allowing the flour to cook through.

Season the sauce with black pepper, then add the cheese and mustard stirring all the while. I keep on the lowest heat at this point to melt the cheese. 

Add in the macaroni and chorizo stir thoroughly.

At this point try to refrain from tucking in. It looks and smells great.



Add to a large ovenproof dish and add grated cheese.

I cooked for about 20 minutes, If you are really hungry and have assembled while still hot, you can grill the topping. I prefer  the baked version though. 


Link up your recipe of the week


Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Wet Brush Review and Giveaway!



I have been trying the Wet Brush recently and have to say its brilliant. My Mum was a hairdresser and drummed it into me that brushing my hair whilst wet was a no!
However if I don't deal with the tangles then it dries in a real knotty mess. I mainly used a comb and have used the Tangle Teezer but with my broken finger and all the problems I have had since, its quite wieldy to grip and brush.



I have relatively normal hair, more thin than thick, the brush has been used as a total replacement, it has a handle that sets it apart from popular wet brush products, its paddle shaped. always good for long hair as mine is.



Another feature I noticed are the bristles, these are a good length to get through my hair. I imagine this would be a really good benefit for thicker hair.

As you know I care for my Granny, I wash her hair and I think its the one thing she dislikes the most, not me doing it as much as her not being able to. 

I make it as quick and unfussed as I can. I worry about the tangles and often rely on detangling sprays as I would hate to hurt her. I remember having my hair brushed as a child, it always hurt more when somebody else did it. I have used the Wet Brush the last few occasions and it just glides through her hair so well, knots untangle without too much pull, so much so I am buying another for her to have all the time.

I love this brush, I would thoroughly recommend for long hair, fine or thick. 

The Wet Brush is £6.95 and available from Sally stores nationwide and www.sallyexpress.com

I am happy to be offering The Wet Brush to a reader, as the company kindly offered another.

So just fill in the Rafflecopter below, please remember to comment a few people forget as they go through the options, done it myself in the excitement of being in with a chance. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

New Pukka Green Teas Giveaway


New Pukka Green Teas
Come alive with the goodness and magic of herbs

Pukka Teas have launched a new range of green teas and I am delighted to be offering three readers the chance to try the set for themselves.

Pukka have lots of info below on the benefits but I would like to add some of my own that are believed to be great reasons to drink it.


Green tea is pretty good at fat burning, it boosts your metabolism and is widely used in many dietary supplements, while I was losing weight, many of the Slimming World members drank green tea to boost weight loss. 

As you maybe aware I care for my Grandma and I am always on the look out for ways to maintain her memory, so as green tea boosts brain function and also believed to protect the brain, she has a cup with me. 

It has been studied widely for protection against certain cancers and the results for prostrate, breast and colorectal cancers have shown a decrease in these developing in people who regularly drink green tea. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16311246

I have tried it in its pure form and I must say its very much an acquired taste, much nicer with a flavouring.

Three of the  Pukka teas are made with lemon, jasmine and mint, ideal for enjoying a cuppa and gaining from the benefits.

Read on and then enter the easy peasy rafflecopter to win yourself a set.



Pukka, the organic herb specialist is launching a new range of green teas, comprising of four deliciously uplifting new blends– Supreme Matcha GreenClean GreenSerene Jasmine Green and Cool Mint Green.

Packed full of powerful antioxidants, the new Pukka green teas boast the taste and health benefits of deliciously smooth whole leaf green teas with a unique twist of incredible organic herbs. Whether to detoxify, boost your energy, refresh or calm, Pukka teas are your perfect partner. These revolutionary new green teas use only the highest quality ingredients, bringing greater functional benefits and a superior taste to delight even the most discerning palates.

Green tea sales are the fastest growing in the tea sector, increasing by 20% in 2013*. Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Oprah and Madonna** have all wised up to the benefits of green tea and drink it regularly as part of a healthy diet.

Sebastian Pole, founder of Pukka and herbalist, comments: “Not all teas are the same and here at Pukka, our expertise comes from the study, ancient wisdom and traditional use of herbs in wellbeing. We’re passionate about looking after plants, our planet and people and it is this tender loving care that we feel brings out the best sensory experience in drinking our teas. We want each and every Pukka cup to create a moment of bliss in your day.”

The new Pukka green teas also mark the second year of a partnership with WWF UK. 20p from the sale of each tea will be donated to WWF’s Living Himalayas project, with the target to reach at least £50,000.

Ali Lucas, Director of Communications and Fundraising at WWF, comments: “After an exciting and successful initial 12 months together, we’re thrilled to be renewing our partnership with Pukka Herbs. Our shared passion for conservation makes Pukka and WWF a natural fit, and we’re delighted that Pukka Herbs are supporting the Living Himalayas initiative.”

Pukka Supreme Matcha Green
The first bagged Matcha green tea, Pukka Supreme Matcha Green Tea is full of super antioxidant qualities that are ultra-energising and brilliant at neutralising free radicals. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function. Feel renewed with this pure and powerful blend of organic green tea, which contains the Fairtrade whole leaf blend of three green teas.
In recent years, Matcha has been recognised as a superfood and marrying it with tea means everyday consumption is more convenient than ever. People can take now advantage of its benefits without any fuss.


Pukka Clean Green
Enjoy this purifying green tea with a luscious lemony lift, combining Sencha Fairtrade whole leaf green tea for a deliciously smooth and full bodied taste. This unique blend is rich in free radical scavenging polyphenols, which have powerful antioxidant qualities to support the digestive system and detoxification.


Pukka Serene Jasmine Green
Indulge in this sensual organic green tea, containing a soothing blend of Mao Feng  Fairtrade whole green tea infused with some of nature’s most beautifully delicious flowers including lavender and chamomile. This mixture of delicate wild flowers inspires calmness, serenity and relaxation.


Cool Mint Green
Feel refreshed and invigorated with this smooth, organic, Fairtrade whole leaf green tea combined with rejuvenating Egyptian spearmint. The result is a sweet, smooth and delicate taste that is warming and invigorating. Like Pukka Clean GreenPukka Cool Mint is rich in free radical scavenging polyphenols to stimulate the digestive system and help the body detoxify.

All four Pukka Green teas will be available in Tesco from 10 February and online at www.pukkaherbs.com from 10 February and in all good health food stores from March.
Available in packs of 20 tea sachets with an RRSP of £2.49


Friday, 14 February 2014

Freebie Friday 14th February




#FreebieFriday is here again, slim pickings on the free samples this week. The giveways will be filling up all week though so keep popping back, and you can look at last weeks #FreebieFriday too 
Remember to add your blog deals and giveaways in the linky.



Freebies


Half Term Fun


Check out Missie Lizzies Free Barbie Swim session on the blog giveaways below 



Struggling for things to do with the kids this half-term? Head to your local Asda store on 19th February where the kids will be able to create their own Lego Minifigures and take home an exclusive to Asda  free Robo DJ Lego Minfigure. Only their superstores, supercentres and  Living stores tomorrow between 10am and 4pm,
http://your.asda.com/news-and-blogs/create-your-own-lego-minifigures-in-asda-stores-this-half-term


Still going for those who missed it last week
Free personalised razor 17/02
https://www.facebook.com/WilkinsonSwordMenUK/app_575594255869941

Free Activia Creamy or Shape Dessert at Asda (with coupon)
Sign up to the danone mailing list or if you are already go to your months coupons, choose £1 off Activia or Shape if you would like the free one, 
http://livedanone.co.uk/

FREE* 5ml Plantscription™ Powerful lifting cream worth £5! 
While stocks last, T&Cs apply. Closes 17/02
https://www.facebook.com/OriginsUK/posts/10151904408187405?stream_ref=1


BareMinerals Makeunder sample


Free Veg Box for Kent 

Free Finish Quantam Power and Pure sample

Suhana Ready To Cook Spice
To receive a free sample enter your details on our contact form here
https://www.facebook.com/Suhana.UK/app_100265896690345


Worth a shot as so many


100 Jordan's Honey and Almond Cereal Bars,
 E-mail competitions@jordansryvita.com quoting ‘Send me some Crunchy Bars’ in the subject line.

Free personalised Nuttella Jar  and 5000 gifts!!

 Nutella is delighted to be celebrating its 50th anniversary!  Share your Nutella story at our 50th anniversary website nutellastories.com. We'd love to hear all about the fun times and memorable experiences you've had with Nutella. Simply upload your photo, video or story of a time inspired by our tasty little spread (not forgetting to confirm your participation by ticking the box) and you could win 1 of over 5000 great gifts we're giving away. 


Please add the prize and close dates to the prize giveaways in the linky where it asks for name.