Thursday, 27 September 2012

Stardust PVC Wellington Boots puddle jumping review!


We all have an inner child and with the fun and stylish Stardust range of footwear from Briers we truly have the opportunity to unleash this and become a rising star in the fashion scene.
Twinkle and stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re at a festival, party or walking the dog, the design is perfect for ladies of all ages; men with a daring streak; and children with an eye for sparkle, especially those wanting to have a bit of fun.
These products are 100% splash proof and 100% fun proof, providing you with dry feet but festive, standout footwear.
The sparkly stardust range includes Stardust Ankle Boots, Stardust Clogs and Stardust Wellington Boots sure to get you noticed.
Stardust Ankle Boots
The Stardust Ankle Boots are made from durable lined PVC and add style to your outdoor activities. They are ideal for those who don't want a full boot.
RRP £14.99
Available in sizes 4-8
Stardust Clogs
The Stardust Clogs are ideal back door shoes, also made from durable lined PVC. These are a great addition to your footwear that you can easily slip on and off, they are very comfortable to wear as they are lightweight and slip resistant.
RRP £14.99
Available in sizes 4-8
Stardust Boots
These Stardust Sparkly PVC Wellington Boots are a star in the fashionable Briers range. Made from PVC with rubber soles for extra comfort, they are sure to make you twinkle and shine all year round, even in the rain and snow!
RRP £19.99
Available in Sizes 4-8


Sparkly PVC Wellington boots perfect for puddle jumping!




The Stardust range is manufactured by Briers, one of the leading Gardening Gloves and Footwear suppliers in the UK. Combining quality and style with outstanding value for money, their range is available from Garden Centres and retailers.
To see more of the exciting Briers range, visit www.briersltd.co.uk

Kids have funy wellies so why can't us adults? As I work in Reception I have to un leash my inner child on a daily basis I can't look all dull myself  as I join them splashing around in the puddles ! 

(Disclosure I was sent these Wellingtons for review , the puddle however is my own )

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Weight Watchers Sage and Onion toad in the hole #wwback2best

Who knew that I could cook Toad in the Hole ? Amazing my late Nan would be ever so proud! I always thought making  Toad in the hole was some mystical art that had to be bestowed upon you as a cooking right of passage.  However as my Nan didn't bestow this mystical  art upon my mother who in turn couldn't bestow it to me. So I was lost in the frozen wilderness of The frozen Toad in the hole : The shame I know ...

But all was not lost until one day I stumbled upon this recipe in My Weight Watchers recipe book. I was saved and duly resurrected as a cook!


Weight Watchers :Sage and Onion toad in the hole

38 ProPoints value per recipe

30 minutes preparation
30 minutes cooking
serves 4


Ingredients:

Calorie controlled cooking spray
8 weight watchers premium Pork Sausages, snipped in half
2 Red onions,sliced
125g ( 41/2) ounces plain flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried
2 eggs
300 ml (1-fl oz ) milk
2 teaspoons sunflower oil
1 x Goes with everything gravy recipe

100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) vegetable stock

1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 7/200 c. Spray a solid roasting tin, measuring approximately 22 x 30 (8 1/2 x 12 inches ), with the cooking spray.

2. Squeeze the sausages out of their skins and roll into a ball. Place in the roasting tin and scatter half the sliced onion around. Spray again with the cooking spray and roast in the oven for 7 minutes.

3. Meanwhile make the batter. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and stir in the sage and onion and season. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Start to beat the eggs and flour together using a wire whisk , adding the milk gradually until you have a smooth batter.

4. When the 7 minutes is up, remove the roasting tin from the oven and stir the sausage balls and onions around to make sure nothing is sticking to the tin. Add the oil to the roasting tin and heat on the hob for 30 seconds. Pour in the batter, then replace the tin in the centre of the oven and cook for 30 minutes until risen and crisp.

5 While the toad in the hole is cooking, make the goes with everything Gravy.

6 place the rest of the onion in a lidded non stick saucepan with the stock and cook gently, covered for 10 minutes until softened. Remove the lid , sprinkle in the sugar and increase the heat under the pan. Cook stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until the onions are caramelised and stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until the onions are caramelised and sticky> Add the balsamic vinegar then stir the onions into the gravy.

7 Serve the caramelised onion gravy with the toad in the hole.


Weight Watchers Toad in the hole.

(Disclosure this recipe is published with the full permission of Weigh watchers the recipe book is available from here . I have not to told to do this by Weight Watchers I just wanted to share my experience of being on the Weight Watchers on line )

I adapted the recipe to suit my family mainly my teenager but in theory it was still the same.

Power of the written word

The power of the written word is undeniable it there's either in plain side or hidden..

The effect is in the here and now and when the moment has long gone its memories rekindled. But to be denied a voice is a crime and one that will eat at your very soul . So a blog is your written word , your muse, your legacy your release in essence your what ever.

It doesn't matter if your words are written as anonymous or in your own name your words are there for all to see unless its totally private. It is so important to write things down so much more influential that just whispering on the wind.

Often I have written about the power of the written word and here my thoughts on how perhaps social media can if you are not careful dilute the written word. But above all please do treasure every little note your child gives you  .. after all words are love are what are we without words

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Honey & Pesto Gammon Recipe

Ingredients: 2-4kg/4lb 8oz-9lb unsmoked boneless gammon joint, tied
1. Place the gammon joint in a large bowl, cover it with cold water and soak it overnight or, if time is short, for a minimum of 3-4 hours.

2.  After soaking, wash the joint well in cold water and place it in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover the joint. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for 80 minutes (20 minutes per pound plus 20 minutes). 


Recipe for the glaze:
  • 4 Tbs honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 4 Tbs Green Pesto
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
Mix all of the above in a small pot and heat until it comes together in a thick glaze.


Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 .


  1. . Roast in the centre of the oven for ten minutes, then take the joint out and brush the top and remaining side with the rest of the glaze. Return the gammon to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, rotating the roasting tin so that the opposite side of the gammon faces the back of the oven.
  2. The gammon is ready when the fat on top is glossy and golden brown. Cover loosely with foil if the top begins to look too brown. Remove the gammon from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  3. Pour any juices that have collected in the aluminium foil into a small pan, and warm through gently.
  4. Carve the gammon, serve on a large platter and spoon over the warmed juices .


Honey & Pesto Gammon.
Sliced Honey & Pesto Gammon.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Operation "Moo Milk" #EpicStraws




Epic Straws originate from the makers of Cravendale milk and come in three different packs. All containing a variety of straws and connectors so you can invent your own way to drink milk. You know the people the ones who feature the evil thumb cat Bertrum ...

I hasten to add that I don't see my evil thumb cat during the day so either he is Bertrum or he has an evil twin.
Is it "Rollie" or is it "Bertrum " the thumb cat ?

Rollie "thumbcat' not giving the Cravendale up for anyone!

We did eventually manage to wrestle the Cravendale off Rollie though Mr T is sporting a very nice plaster now. You can't blame Rollie now can you would you want to give up your Cravendale?.

And as Mr T is an engineer by trade he wanted to inflict  show his knowledge of capillary action to myself and J as it would be a useful and informative lesson in both engineering and science.


A Cow says "Moo" An Epic Straw creation!
Milking the moment !!

"Moo"



 These new Cravendale #EpicStraws are brilliant family fun, to use when drinking milk. It teaches us that cows say "Moo" and also teaches usmilk comes from cows ( did you know that ? "
Ready for action .. ?

Operation "Moo Milk" is a go go go!
video


And J's reward for helping with Mr T's science lesson a nice cold glass of Cravendale milk.
You can get more info on these Epic Straws here from 24th September: Epic Straws


(Disclosure I received some vouchers and the straws I wasn't told what to write and all ideas and words are my own)

Silent Sunday 23/09/2012


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Splishy Splashy things kids say !

You know what its like when it rains there is puddles, oodles of puddles and children are drawn to them they compel them to jump into them. This situation is fine during class time when they can go to the welly shed in small numbers and put on their wellies,

It however is not so practical at lunchtime with 120 four & five year olds ....

One small girl was splishy splashing in a puddle ideal  if you are wearing wellies and not the latest Mary Jane style shoes with white socks.... So I approached the little girl..


"Hello can you not splash  in the puddles please" I said kindly.

"Wh...............y?" shrilled the little one.

"Its So much fun " She piped splishy splashing away.

" Because you'll shrink !" I said with a cunning smile.

The girl with this information twirling through her mind...



"Really ?" she enquired...

"Really" I said most honestly.

"And you are quite small already so I wouldn't want you to disappear " I added.


"Oooo Ooooh Ok " she stuttered and skipped off avoiding the puddles but slyly eyeing up someone who was small to gently push into a puddle to see if they would shrink.


Awwh C'est la vie!

Playing in the puddles.






(Disclosure this is a copyright free image form Clare Bloomfield)


Caption Saturday 22/09/2012


Friday, 21 September 2012

Home Alone: What age can you leave your kids ?

I remember being sent to my local corner shop it was around 5o yards from my terraced Victorian house for a bottle of washing liquid or what ever item my mother deemed necessary. All I know that it invariably included a packet of cheese snaps  and then there was the rainbow drops they still do those rights ?

But before I start on a retro time travel I will get back to the task in hand,  would I let my son go to the shop now before the age of 13 , would I leave him on his own :No. There is the fear if you leave them you are going to walk back into some sort of post-Apocalyptic nightmare.

We live in a world where we are consumed by parental paranoia, the nagging the fear that you are going to find your youngest locked in the washing machine all be it on the delicates cycle. So you can't leave your children on their own can you ? Well it seems that you can. It transpires there is no law that states at what age you're legally allowed to leave your children home alone. The only stipulation is that you don't leave them in a position that puts them at risk.

"Home Alone"


It seems that there are around 2.6 million accidents in British households each year ( 1.6 million seem to happen in this household) so every time I leave my son  he is in great peril.

We started leaving J around around 13 when my hand was forced by work in work past 3.30 gutting as I would be sitting there knitting as he walked through the door usually. I have to confess I haven't knitted since I was 7 and my teddy bear is still very much traumatised by my knitting faux paux. No for me it was the sadness of not communicating about his school day.

"What did you learn at school today " I asked longingly.

"Dunno" he replied as he fuddled around in the snack cupboard.

"Surely you must have learnt something ?" I despaired.

"Stuff, I learned stuff " retrieving a packet of cheese and onion crisps from a packet of 22 cheese onion crisps ( choice of flavour not an issue in this household) and retreating to his bat cave.

So there we have it , when I come home now I don't find the charred remains of the cat smoking in the corner of the room, my son cowering in the cupboard under the stairs Harry Potter style. I find him in his batcave doing his homework .

The trouble is whiles it's right to show parental concern , we do as parents I amfraid sometimes  underestimate just how responsible kids can be when they're given the opportunity. So little by little I have started giving him more freedom and even this summer he went out on his own. He went out on his own to go fetch some lunch from the local supermarket ( Oh what does that say about the state of my cupboards * taps weevils out of bread*

My son is revelling in his new found freedom and by the time is 14 1/2 I reckon he'll have his own flat, child befit will no longer exist and he'll have more than served his purpose anyway ...

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Apple & Ginger loaf recipe


Ingredients

  1. 150g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
  2. 150g soft dark brown sugar
  3. 150g golden syrup
  4. 250ml milk
  5. 250g plain flour
  6. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. 1 tsp ground ginger
  8. 1½ tsp baking powder
  9. 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
  10. 3 pieces of stem ginger, chopped
  11. 2 crisp eating apples or cooking apples ,  peeled, cored and grated


Method


  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease and line a 2 litre loaf tin. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a small saucepan. Once melted, stir through the milk and set aside to cool.
  2. 2. Sift the flour with the dry spices and baking powder into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the cooled sugar mixture. With a wooden spoon, slowly incorporate the flour mixture using a circular motion. Fold through the beaten eggs,stem ginger and apples.
  3. 3. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes away clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove to a wire rack. 

Apple & Ginger loaf.



The Apple & Ginger loaf fell into the custard!

"I don't want to go to bed!" by Julie Sykes

"I don't want to go to bed" by Julie Sykes how familiar is that phrase to us parents ! 


This is  the story of a baby tiger who doesn't want to go to sleep. So mummy tiger loses her cool calm exterior ! one night at bed time and says,"  fine stay up all night - see if I care". So baby tiger goes off to play in the dark forest, finding on his way that all his friends have gone to bed... Then he goes home and falls asleep.
"I don't want to go to Bed by Julie Sykes"

This book is incredibly and full of repetition which some parents may find frustrating but really I don't see a problem in this at all. As for young one it helps them with structure and can easily be adapted in activities that they might do at school or even at home.

One such activity that my son did at school can easily be done at home with a little patience and the most basic of drawing skills ! Honest ! Such activities as this will work in harmony with what they are doing at school, What I going to show you is typical of what a year one child might do.  This activity helps children with their writing skills and how to order a story.


"I don't want to go to bed" Writing activity incorporating ordering skills.


When my son did this he was in the lowest ability group I did this work all the time with him at Infant School and Junior school and he is now int the top set in year 9 and predicted an A *. So never despair with the right love, support and understanding anyone can make it.

You could also make your own story sack around this book :


  • I Don't Want To Go To Bed Story and CD
  • Jungle Animal Puppets
  • Materials to Sew Own Pillows - material and stuffing (Use sewing machine)
  • Pillowcases, fabric paint and stampers for decorating
  • Felt jungle animals for sewing onto pillow
  • Lullaby CD
  • Plastic Jungle Animals
  • Paper bags, scissors, construction paper, glue, wool, googly eyes, and pompoms to create paper bag jungle puppets
  • Paper and animal stamps.
  • For the daytime why not use a potato with the animal carved into it ( obviously do this for the child )
Extended Activities:
You can turn it into pyjama party.

You can make your own little play up!

Transport you and your children to Africa in this beautifully simple idea here 

I was inspired by the story sack ideas from here when don't you try some of the others out.
There are so many possibilities to what activities you can do with this story and what you can  put in your story sack you are only limited by your imagination.At the moment this book is super cheap on Amazon at only £3.74 !.


(Disclosure I haven't been ask to write about this as I work in a school I though it would be nice to share my ideas and experiences !)

Leaves #snaphappybritmums


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Tots100 score a plain understanding

It happens once a month to most its welcome yes its the Tits100 Tots100 ranking which each month throws up the same questions ! And these most commonly are :

1. Are the scores chosen by Yoda? (Sadly no but you should be compliant in the ways of the force )

Who works at Tots100 ?


2. Tots100 hates me doesn't it ? ( no Tots100 doesn't hate anyone with cake)

3. What does an evil  Overlord do to  relax ? ( I am not  sure on this one though  I think it involves cake )

4. Are cats really really evil? ( both me and the overlord know this to be true )

5. What can I do about my Tots100 ranking ?


The first bit of advice I can give is to watch the video and follow each step.




 Also make sure you have filled out your profile within Tots100 correctly I of course never got this wrong ( I put a @ in my profile where there shouldn't have been one).

Secondly smoooze ( talk to people not in a false way as people will see through that but in a genuine way). Comment on blogs but only comment if its relevant to you.

Work your way either up on down on the Tots100 ranking and try to comment on 10 blogs a day.And I cannot not believe more people don't comment on public sites such as newspaper and magazine all things that can lead people back to your blog.

You put into blogging what hopefully what you will get out of it for me blogging has added new strings to my bow of which I am proud of.I suggest if their are blogs that you really love that are not within the Tots100 theres a simple way to keep track of yourself just make a list on twitter either a public or private one.

(Tots100 said I could use this video I am baking their cake as I speak...)

Weight off my mind #WWBack2Best

I can finally reveal I am going on holiday to  Florida ... no no that wasn't it oh yes  I am pleased to reveal I am of of the 20 bloggers who are taking the Britmums and Weight watchers campaign to lose weight. I am honoured to be taking part and looking forward to getting in shape for my holiday to Florida which is next year!

The problem I have is that my weight has gone up and down , I am unsure of what to cook and eat so I don't feel starving all the time. But the hardest thing is working in a school full of ladies and one thing that ladies love is cake everyday the cake is begging me and before I know it it has hopped in my mouth. Then the the cycle of guilt starts again and its one I am hoping to break as to my shame I have gone from a size 12 to a size 20 in 8 years .. shocking !


So writing this down now is as needs must a commitment to Britmums, Weight Watchers and more importantly to myself.  My progress will be tracked through various social media channels, so in helping myself I do hope I can help you and inspire you on your journey too. Working in a school I have to encourage the children to follow the rules , so I myself will have to follow the guidelines. My son at his school is given aspirational targets which are up to him to achieve that will be the same for me with the daily target that is set.


So on Twitter from 1-2pm (GMT) there is going to be  a #WWBack2Best Twitter party where there be weight-loss tips, motivation and helping you with an all important lifestyle change . 



Myself and the other bloggers involved will be tracking our  points and recording all that comes with it through the Weight Watchers app (available through ITunes and on Android phones now as well)  ideal for us on the go !


So if you fancy joining me and the others on   our  #WWBack2Best challenge through BritMums, you can do so for £1 by using this BritMums link.
For me the incentive is my holiday I want to look fabulous  for my holiday next August  after all it was a toss up before a new kitchen and a holiday. And to be honest its probably definitely the best decision I ever made as I wouldn't be taking part in this challenge if I had had the new kitchen , now I want and need to be triple FFF ( Fab, Fit,Forty!) Though I am not 40 till December so the challenge is on!

(Disclosure I have received six months membership and will be recieving a hamper soon)

Alice in Wonderland cookies recipe


If you are planning an Alice in Wonderland party then then this "Eat Me" Cookie Stamp is perfect for you.

Simply roll out the dough and use the stamp to imprint the words “Eat Me” on your delicious baked goods before they go into the oven. This is an essential item for the kitchen if you love baking such as my self.
Features:

  • High quality wooden handle, fitted with a silicone stamp
  • Includes a scrumptious cookie recipe for you to try
  • Wash in warm soapy water

Size:

  • Dimensions: 7cm wide x 10cm high (including handle)




Eat Me Cookie Stamp

Be proud of your Homemade baking use this Cookie Stamp to make your mark.

Try this recommended recipe!

Ingredients:
  • 250g butter

  • 140g caster sugar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 300g plain flour

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 2tsp vanilla extract

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 190ÂșC (gas mark 5) 2. Sift together plain flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. 3. Mix in butter and blend until mixture is crumbly. Stir in egg yolk and vanilla essence. Blend well. Chill dough for one hour for better cookies.


 Chill dough for one hour for better cookies.



 4. Regularly sprinkle work surface and stamp with flour. 5. Separate dough into golf ball sized chunks. Slightly flatten the balls and stamp. 6. Place on a greased baking sheet.

"Eat Me" cookies ready for baking.


 Bake for 6 - 8 minutes, or until lightly brown. 7. Remove from oven and leave for a couple of minutes to harden, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. 8. Enjoy your ‘Home made’ cookies.

"Eat me" Cookies.
This product is available to buy from www.suck.uk.com




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