#ShareTheLove of baking this Christmas

I love to #ShareTheLove of baking at Christmas with friends and family. Sometimes this is with a simple baked cookie, or gingerbread. I have made jam and cakes and even my own mincemeat. This year I wanted to get the boy involved and #ShareTheLove of baking and decided that I would dig out our old family favourite Christmas cake recipe.

Our family recipe for Christmas cake is from our neighbour from when I was very small. Aunty Ursula was the lady in the road that all the kids used to go to for cake and sweet treats. My mum made friends with Ursula not long after we moved to Sussex, and was a source of much of my mum’s baking knowledge. A few years ago I was given the piece of paper with Ursula’s Xmas cake recipe. The paper almost as memorable as the cake itself and since then I have vowed to recreate the cake of my family Christmases.

#sharethelove

Ursula’s cake is a lighter fruit cake, which can be baked right up until before Christmas as there is no need to feed the cake, unless you wanted too! I have also slightly altered the ingredients as me and the family don’t like mixed peel so I like to add chopped stem ginger into the mix. The recipe is also in pounds and oz. This is no problem weighing ingredients with digital scales but makes it interesting when trying to buy my ingredients.

I love the boy helping me in the kitchen as I remember helping my Nan who was the real baker of the family. It’s great to #ShareTheLove at Christmas even if the most I can get the boy doing is weighing the ingredients and having a wishing stir. Ok so he also enjoyed licking the spoon and declared the mix a success.

Whitworths are encouraging family’s to #ShareTheLove with the best ingredients and a beautiful story book of family and the true meaning of Christmas. Visit the website  and download this sweet tale, and their cake recipe from the story. Sometimes its good to have time to spend making and baking gifts that you can share with family and friends. I love traditions and maybe one day the boy will #ShareTheLove with his family and have a slice of cake that will remind him of his childhood Christmases too.

Disclaimer we were sent a selection or Whitworths ingredients so that we could bake our cake and share our story with you.

Keeping warm this winter with Didriksons

The boy will be keeping warm this winter with Didriksons, and their 2016 winter range of kids clothing. We certainly don’t have the extreme conditions that they have in Sweden where Didriksons clothing is designed. This hasn’t stopped the boy from putting Didriksons to the test.

The Boy was sent Theo Boys Jacket in wheat, and I was pleased to see that he hasn’t outgrown the Didriksons range as they have a great selection of coats for older children. He was also very excited to own a beanie hat and chose Mason Youth Beanie in Dark Lilac.

To say the boy is thrilled with the mason beanie is a slight understatement! I think it must be cool to own one, and he has been so happy that I have a problem getting him to remove it. I think if he could sleep in it he would. The quality of the beanie is lovely and you can tell it has good thermal qualities as he tells me how cosy the beanie is. The  colour says dark lilac, I would say its more of a burgundy colour but this suits the boy and he loves it.

Keeping warm this winter will not be a problem for the boy with the Didriksons Theo coat, I love the thermal qualities and the quality of the coat. The boy now cycles to school each day and the longer length means even in the rain he stays mostly dry. The boy loves that there are plenty of pockets including a good size inside pocket which he can pop his beanie in. He also likes the thumb hole cuffs which stop the arms from riding up while he cycles.

Didriksons have a great range of coats, something for everyone. I love the quality and fit of their products and know that they will last and wear well. You can see exactly how waterproof or warm each product is from the useful website features tab. I love that 100% waterproof means that the boy wont come home soggy, and he is just super happy because he has a beanie, so it is win, win!

 

Disclaimer: we were sent these items in return for an honest review the words are our own and have not been altered.

Family Games at Christmas

Family games nights are set to increase this year according to recent research from Drumond Park and I couldn’t agree more with their findings.

A predicted 51% increase over last year in the purchase of  table-top games (which include traditional board games and action games) among parents of 4-9 year-olds may well be on the way.

Drumond Park surveyed over 1,000 families over the Summer and autumn and found more families are planning to buy games this year, an increase on last year. We love family games nights, and where I thought as the boy got older he would grow out of wanting to sit down and play with us I have found the opposite. OK, so there is still the pull of wanting to play computer games, but some nights he will ask to play a board or card game.

pickin-chickens-fox-appears-lr

Traditional board games are a way of bringing different generations together and help communication between generations. The parents of children aged 4 -9 were surveyed and the findings showed a change of thinking. Parents are wanting to spend more quality time with their kids and surprisingly kids are loving playing games too.

But the main reason parents want more table-top games than ever before is because their children just love them. In previous independent research, undertaken by Drumond Park in May of this year, 86% of 4-9-year-old boys and girls said playing table-top games is one of their favourite forms of play. For girls only, the figure is 87%, while almost 90% of 6-year-olds of both sexes rate table-top games over other forms of play.

For us as a family its time to chat about our day or week, to learn new games and strategy’s and generally just have fun. There is nothing better than ganging up on Dad Dragon with a game of Dig In, or just silly fun with games like Crazy Claw, or Pickin Chickens.

family games

For your chance to win the Family Game Pickin Chickens from Drumond Park enter with my Gleam app below.
Pickin Chickens

Picking Chickens is available in store and online now, 2-4 players for ages 4+ RRP £19.99

 

Terms & Conditions:

The giveaway is open to the UK only

  • It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post comment section answering the question specified. Other tasks completed will gain additional entries. The winner will be checked to make sure they have both left a comment and completed the task for the winning entry.
  • Winner will be drawn randomly after the competition closes at 23:59 on Friday 9th December 2016
  • The winner will be sent an  e-mail to the e-mail address left at time of entry. The winner will need to reply to the e-mail within 7 days of the notification. Every effort will be made to contact the winner, but if no response is made within the 7 days a new winner will be chosen.(Note a prompt reply will be needed to ensure delivery of the prize before Christmas)
  • The prize details are stated at the top of the giveaway, and may be subject to change if they become unavailable.
  • The prize will be posted by the promoter, unfortunately I cannot be held responsible or replace missing parcels. Please contact me if there is a problem.
  • Please allow 28 days from notification for your prize to be sent out.
  • This competition is listed at: Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com and SuperLucky
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Research method

Research was carried out on behalf of Drumond Park Games by Censuswide in May and October 2016. Two sets of 1,000 and 1,004 parents with children aged 4-9 years answered online questionnaires.

Didriksons #ForEveryRainyDay – Review

Didriksons have a great range of coats #ForEveryRainyDay, not just for kids. Now that the Autumn is quickly changing into winter I am putting the Didrikson Hana Multi Jacket to the test.

The Hana Multi Jacket comes in three colour combinations, Black, Dark Lilac, and Midnight Blue. In sizes 36-42 these translate to UK size 10-20. I have always bought one size up from my normal sizing so chose a size 38 which is a perfect fit and still allows me to wear a thick jumper underneath. The bonus of the Didriksons Hana jacket is that it is two coats in one, with a waterproof outer and insulated inner jacket.

didriksons

I love this style of jacket for the British winters which can be unpredictable with wet warm weather or dry cold. Being able to unzip and remove the inner coat means I have great value for money by not having to buy two winter coats. I have been impressed with the quality of the Didriksons coat range and love the styling and detail on each of their coats. The Hana has a good range of features with the adjustable elastic at the hips and also on the hood which can be dethatched.

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I love that Didriksons coats always have plenty of pockets, the Hana has a great outer pocket which is perfect for your mobile phone. The side pockets are both deep and have zips to keep valuable safe like keys. There are also inner pockets for those bits you might want to keep dry. Didriksons coats all come with STORMsystem fabric which offers 100% true waterproofness, something that has been invaluable on the walk to school. I can guarantee that it will rain between 3:15 and 3:30 when I collect the boy. Staying dry has been better than having to dash home to change clothes. Yes a Didriksons coat will keep all it covers dry, unlike some high street fashion brands that I have tried.

Didriksons have great styling and one thing that drew me to the Hana styling was the contrast coloured zips. I think this is a nice touch making the Hana Jacket stand out. Didriksons have a great range of all weather coats and Jackets for all the family to find your local stockist visit http://www.didriksons.com and be prepared #ForEveryRainyDay

Disclaimer I was sent this jacket to review, the words are my own and have not been altered.

Pink Onions with Sarsons

I have wanted to make my own pickles and have had a go at chutney’s, and regularly use vinegar for cooking and cleaning. I had plans to pickle lots of produce from the garden. Sarsons sent me some products so that I could have a go at pickling and it was much easier than I thought it would be!

sarsons

The Sarsons website has lots of pickling ideas and I thought pink onions would be a great choice to add to my Boxing day table. The recipe is easy and the ingredients are:

  • 1 medium red onion, very finely sliced
  • 250ml Sarson’s Speciality Pickling Blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small clove of garlic, halved
  • 3 small sprigs thyme
  • 1 small dried chilli

I didn’t have the dried chilli’s so added a small amount of chilli flakes to the mix. You could customize the mix to your taste. Once you have sliced your onions you will need to par blanche them. Place the onion slices in a sieve and pour boiling water slowly over them. I separated the rings and this made it easier to make sure they were all blanched. Meanwhile gently heat the other ingredients in a pan with the Sarsons pickling vinegar. Place the warmed vinegar mixture and onions in a storage jar of your choice and then leave to cool.

pink-pickled-onions-sarsons

 

The onions will store in the refrigerator for a few weeks so you could bottle them now in plenty of time for the boxing day table. I love having different pickles for the cold buffet on boxing day and pink onions are a great addition. Sarsons pink onions look so pretty as they change colour in the jar to a sweet pink, and would make a great gift.

sarsons-pickles

Have a look at the Sarsons website for more inspiration on how to use their range of vinegars to make homemade store cupboard pickles of your own.

Disclaimer I was sent a range of Sarsons products in return for this post, the words remain my own and have not been altered.

The Book Of Everyone – Review

The Book Of Everyone is a fantastic personalised gift that is suitable for just about anyone and everyone. Available to order online from the book of everyone website. Prices from £7.95 for a digital copy up to £49.95 for the deluxe ribboned edition.

I was offered a hardback book to customize as a gift and decided Dragon Dad would be the perfect recipient. Dragon Dad can be tricky to buy for as he doesn’t really have any hobby’s. The Book Of Everyone has turned out to be the best gift for him. I started with the online book builder and decided to customize the book of Dad. There are plenty of other options including the Book of Everyone Christmas edition which looks fun.

everyone

The website was easy to use, once I had changed my region to the UK. You add in the recipient’s name and date of birth, choosing the ages to be displayed on the pages of the book. You can add in your details so the recipient knows who the book is from and the colours of the cover. Then comes the part that I enjoyed the most, customizing the pages.

The pages of the book of everyone include set pages with fun facts of the day the recipient was born. Other pages can be changed either with different pictures of colours. Some pages you can change the wording, add in your own jokes and quotes and things personal to the recipient. I took a while to complete the book of everyone as I wanted to add in a few personal quotes for Dad Dragon.

book-of-everyone-pages

There are a great mix of pages with retro pictures and a quirky feel. The book of everyone is packed with facts and it was hard not to want to read every page as I was putting the book together. Adding in a few personal family jokes in reference to his love of Jaffa cakes adds a personal touch to the book of everyone. Finally you place the order and sit back to wait for your book of everyone to be delivered.

I was very impressed with delivery too. The book of everyone arrived quickly and beautifully packaged. The quality of the book is great and the book has a lovely hardback cover with a matt and expensive feel to it. I love the lion on the cover and the contrast print. The pages are good quality and the print quality is great. I loved having a look through the finished book of everyone and cant wait to see what Dad Dragon thinks of this unique gift.

book-of-everyone-gift

Each book of everyone comes with a link for family and friends to have a look at your personalised book online so sharing the fun facts of the recipient. If you would like to win a personalised book of everyone then enter my giveaway below, or visit the website for a truly unique gift.

The Book Of Everyone

Terms & Conditions:

The giveaway is open to the UK only

  • It is mandatory to leave a comment in the post comment section answering the question specified. Other tasks completed will gain additional entries. The winner will be checked to make sure they have both left a comment and completed the task for the winning entry.
  • Winner will be drawn randomly after the competition closes at 23:59 on Wednesday 7th December 2016
  • The winner will be sent an  e-mail to the e-mail address left at time of entry. The winner will need to reply to the e-mail within 7 days of the notification. Every effort will be made to contact the winner, but if no response is made within the 7 days a new winner will be chosen.
  • The prize details are stated at the top of the giveaway, and may be subject to change if they become unavailable.
  • The prize will be posted by the promoter, unfortunately I cannot be held responsible or replace missing parcels. Please contact me if there is a problem.
  • Please allow 28 days from notification for your prize to be sent out.
  • This competition is listed at: Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com and SuperLucky
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

BooHoo.com Kids Clothing – Review

BooHoo.com is a well-known online fashion retailer and have recently added Kids clothing to their range. They asked us to have a look, the boy wanted some new clothes so we thought we would give them a try. I ordered a selection of items from the Boys section which has clothing from ages 5-12 (although I was able to find some sized age 13) I chose some skinny jeans, High top trainers and 4 t-shirts in sizes 11-12 and 13.

boohoo

The BooHoo.com website has plenty of offers, discounts, one day sales and free delivery. I was able to use a code for free next day delivery which was perfect for my impatient boy. The boy is starting to get more conscious of what he wears out of school, and has enjoyed trying out some of the BooHoo.com fashions. He particularly likes the cobweb print Tee. This came in handy for the Halloween party at cubs. The boy is not keen on dressing up so felt in the spirit with his spooky top, without feeling left out .

The boy was also impressed with the high top trainers. He said they were very trendy but took a bit of getting used to in the feel. I have been impressed with the selection and the price with Tee’s from £3 to £5. The high top trainers were £8, perfect for a fashion item that he will grow out of before he can wear them out.

boohoo-kids

The BooHoo.com jeans were a good quality the only problem we had was they don’t have an adjustable waist. You could use the online sizing guide (which I didn’t) as a guide to the correct size. I don’t usually shop online so this has been a lesson for me to take note next time. The boy tends to take a smaller sized trouser so there is some growing room in these size 11 jeans. The sizing for the rest of the clothing was good and I like that the website tells you the make up of the fabric so you have an idea of feel before ordering.

boohoo-clothing

Overall the boy is thrilled with his new wardrobe additions. The trainers have seen good use, and the cobweb tee is a firm favourite. BooHoo.com have a fun constantly changing range of clothes perfect for my mini fashionista!

Disclaimer we were asked to try out BooHoo.com clothing in return for an honest review. The words remain my own and have not been altered.

Secret Garden Adventures

We spent the weekend having a secret garden adventure with Energizer and the Secret Life of Pets. Energizer have teamed up with the film Secret Life of Pets which comes out on DVD in December, with your chance to win your very own soft toy. Duke from the film came with us on our outdoor adventure, and here is what we got up too.

We started in our own secret garden popping on our Energizer head torches, we set out into the dark to hunt for some of our prickly residents. The boy loves hedgehogs, so we decided to see if we could find evidence of any night-time visitors. We have a hedgehog house cited at the back of the garden under the trampoline. We couldn’t find any evidence of our secret garden friend, so we left his home alone in the hope he would return soon.

secret-garden-adventure

There are lots of other smaller creatures in the garden that like to come out at night. We saw spiders, some moths and a few daddy-long-legs who were attracted by the lights. Energizer has a great range of torches. We took our Energizer Impact rubber torch, perfect for those night-time adventures. We listened out for the sounds of nocturnal animals. The only activity we heard was the rustle of bushes as our cat Magic ran out to find out what we were up too.

At the weekend there were plenty of bonfire and firework parties happening around us. We turned off Energizer Lantern and enjoyed watching the fireworks for a while before the night sky came back into view. I love looking up at the stars, and the boy was telling us all the new things he has been learning at school. His topic this term is planets and he loves to share his knowledge with us.

secret-garden-fun

Finally the boy wanted to check out the local park, we have spent lots of time there in the summer hunting virtual reality creatures, this time we were looking for the real thing. Our Energizer headlight means that we can light our way and still have our hands free. We wrapped up warm and set off to see what we could find. Duke came with us, and he certainly had enough fur to keep him warm, as it turned a bit chilly. The boy set of looking, while Dad and I brought up the rear. The park is near the sea so we could hear the sound of the water lapping on the stones, and the odd noise from a seagull. We spotted a lone jogger in the darkness complete with head torch, before setting off home. Time to warm up with a hot chocolate, and a real fire.

secret-garden-life-of-pets

The clocks may have gone back and the evenings are dark. We had fun getting out in the fresh air, which meant we all slept well. The boy wants us to make more hedgehog hotels so that we can help his favourite secret garden creatures and maybe even invest in a night vision camera so we can film our night-time visitors.

You can win your very own Secret Life of Pets character ,when you buy Energizer batteries, enter online for your chance to win Max, Duke, Gidget or Snowball. You can also go out this weekend and see if you can find any secret garden surprises in your local area.

Disclaimer Thanks to Energizer for sending us a selection of goodies to promote our secret garden adventure. All words remain our own and have not been altered.

Wentworth Minister for Jigsaws

For the last year I have been the Wentworth Puzzles Minister for jigsaw’s, and now they are on the lookout for a new minister and it could be you.

After restarting my puzzling about 2 years ago, I have been reminded how much fun it can be to spend time completing puzzles. So after spotting the call from Wentworth to become a Minister of Jigsaw’s I decided to apply. I wrote my 100 words and thought nothing more, so was pleasantly surprised to have a call to say I was shortlisted. I waited and heard nothing so again pushed it to the back of my mind, so imagine my surprise to receive a puzzle with my name in it, and letter saying I had been chosen!

wentworths-minister-for-jigsaws

So what have I been up too as the Minister for Jigsaws. Well unsurprisingly I have been completing puzzles. Some have been puzzles already available, others have been pre production puzzles. I feed back my feelings on how easy/hard a puzzle was if there were cutting issues. And even chatted design to the head of the puzzle cutting department. It has been great finding out more about Wentworth Puzzles and their unique whimsy pieces which my son loves.

My favourite puzzle has to be this one called Crazy Candy, the whole family has enjoyed this bright crazy puzzle which only has a few shapes and was satisfying to complete. While reminding us of our fun family holidays to Florida and the USA. Wentworth puzzles are all wooden and have a lovely feel and finish to them. The rope tided storage bag and beautiful boxes make them a treasure to keep or give as gifts.

wentworths-crazy-candy

My year has been fun, and even being asked to talk live on BBC radio today was not as scary as it first seemed. Today sees the launch as Wentworth look for their new Minister of Jigsaws, and also a Junior Minister, and you should give it a try. Puzzling is a great way to relax and reconnect as a family, while keeping your brain active and for me bringing back memories of puzzles I loved as a child.

For more information on how to enter for the role of minister visit the Wentworth website, or join us on Twitter today 1-2pm for jigsaw chatter, discounts, and prizes as part of #NationalJigsawDay

 

Music to move too with #FrubesMoves

The whole dragon family have always loved music. Making music has become a huge part of what our family do. Whether the boy is joining me, in playing Caribbean music on the steel pan, or playing percussion and drums. Dad dragon comes along to listen and join in the dancing, and every now and then will be seen moving to the music.

Making music requires rhythm and timing, as well as being a great physical exercise. The boy loves playing his drums, and is improving by the week. So his #frubesmooves challenge was to practice his paradiddles! (yes that is a real word). He has been playing now for about 12 weeks, and I can’t believe how much you have to keep moving as a drum player.

music

Frubes are a great source of vitamin D and Calcium which are perfect for strong bones. Children need plenty of calcium as 90% of your bone mass is set before the age of 18.  If you are going to get moving and dance to the rhythm then Frubes are the perfect fruity yoghurt snack. The boy loves them in his lunch and especially after his music lessons. I find they are great frozen and added to the lunch box to keep it cool till its time to eat..

Frubes want to see what your little ones can do, and show them your #Frubesmoves. Visit the website for how you can join in with the birds or take the side of the crazy pigs.

This post is an entry for BritMums #FrubesMoves Linky Challenge, sponsored by Frubes