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

 

 

School lunchbox Tips with #HartleysYourLunchbox

Its time to start thinking about the school lunch boxes, and I have been thinking about trying something new for the boys lunches. I am lucky that he like a big variety of different foods, but over the last few weeks of term decided that he didn’t like having sandwiches any more. This made lunches a little tricky as I find I get stuck in the rut of the same things each day.

Our school have a no nut policy which is fine, but the boy does love peanut butter so that is ruled out. So I decided over the holidays to try out a few easy school lunch ideas. My first thought is to try lots of easy to eat foods, cucumber and tomatoes always go down well. I also found chopped peppers and gherkins with cubes of cheese went down well.

Wraps have been a great compromise as they are less bready than a sandwich but I can still sneak in a few bits of lettuce with plenty of chicken. I found wraps are great for picnics and I could make them the night before so there would be no mad panic in the mornings before school. I like to add in some dairy and have found a frozen tube yoghurt keep the rest of the food cool, and is defrosted before lunchtime.

school lunch

I always add fruit, and this makes a great colourful lunch. Adding a pot of Hartley’s Jelly is a little treat. With the no added sugar option you don’t have to worry about too much sugar. This summer Hartley’s are offering you the chance to collect 12 of the special edition green lids from their jelly pots. In return you will receive a free Hartley’s Lunchbox and stickers, perfect to personalise your back to school lunches.

My final back to school lunchbox tip would be to make your lunches personal to your child. Mine loves sushi, so loves a pot of rice and fish. Sometimes I even send in a small amount of tortilla chips and a pot of salsa. I have found the boys taste has changed over the years at school, so don’t be afraid to try something new!

This post is an entry for BritMums #HartleysYourLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Hartley’s Jelly

Dear Bed… Wish you were here!

Dear Bed…

Are you like us? with six out of ten families in Britain that miss their beds while away on holiday. This is according to a survey by leading bedding company Silentnight, which looked into what made a dream holiday for UK consumers.

Peace and home comforts are top of the list, with 52% of British holidaymakers just wanting rest and relaxation above everything else. 41% of respondents listed a good night’s sleep as a key criteria for a dream holiday, with 75% of respondents saying that fluffy pillows and duvets were more important than a balcony or mini bar in the hotel room.

Yes that is me, I’m such a light sleeper that I very rarely get a full nights sleep away from home. Added to the fact that I have a memory foam mattress at home and I’m just not used to a conventional mattress anymore. This all equals a pretty crabby Mum Dragon who is always pleased to be back in her own bed.

beds on holiday

This doesn’t mean I don’t like holidays, I love to go away. I have been luck enough to have visited some pretty dreamy destinations. Florida is a favourite and I would love to go back. We might have to start saving as the boy has his sights set on a Caribbean cruise. I have also been entering competitions to win holidays, like the one being offered by Silent Night in their “Win the holiday of your dreams competition”.

florida bed 

Sadly only 11% of Brits are confident that they will get to visit all their dream holiday destinations. So I guess I am an exception that I have managed to visit several of my dream destinations. Silentnight want you to have the chance to visit your dream destination with their holiday of your dreams competition, you can find details of how to enter here. They have also given one of my readers the chance to win a prize of a double duvet and pillows, by entering via the gleam app below.
PB0987__spring_into_summer_pillows (3)

Silent Night bedding

The Silentnight Dream Holiday survey was carried out with a database of 1000 UK adults to launch its Dream Holiday promotion which offers consumers the chance to win a Dream Holiday, as well as lots of other prizes. OnePoll carried out the research.
Disclaimer I was asked to help promote the Silentniight Giveaway by running this competition.

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 Sunday 4th September 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

 

Wyke Farms Cheesy scones

Wyke Farms are celebrating a whole host of awards including being the first dairy in the UK to be awarded a triple Carbon Trust Standard for carbon, water and waste. Knowing that Wyke Farms are doing their bit for our planet somehow makes their cheese and butter even tastier (if that is possible).

Wyke Farms have 150 years of family farming experience. Wyke Farms’ cheese and butter is made with the milk from their cows grazing the lush pastures of the Mendip Hills in the centre of the Cheddar making region in Somerset.

I decided that I would try out a simple Cheese scone recipe with my Wyke farm cheese and butter. For this recipe you will need: 225g self raising flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 25g butter, 150ml milk, 30g Wyke Farms strong cheese.

wyke farm

Preheat the oven to 220 c, and sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Next lightly rub the butter into the flour to form breadcrumbs. mix in the Wykes Farm cheese, and then combine with the milk to make a dough. the less you tough the mixture the lighter your scones will be so I mix in with a knife, and try not to handle the dough too much. Then its time to press out the mixture, and cut out your shapes. Place on a baking sheet, and either glaze with milk of beaten egg.

wyke farm scones

Cook at the top of the oven for 15/18 minutes until risen and lightly coloured. Cool on a wire rack. We enjoyed ours warm from the oven with lashings of Wyke farm butter, and some carrot chutney. Wyke farm cheese and butter is available from the dairy section of your supermarket. We love Wyke farm cheese, and hope that the farm continue their success in the coming year.

wyke farm cheese

Disclaimer, we were sent a range of Wyke farm products to try, the words remain our own and have not been altered.

Confessions of a Summer Parent

Confessions of a summer parent, yes we have all been there! The moment when a game of hide and seek turns into Mum sneaking off for hidden bar of chocolate, or is that just me?

I start off in week one of the summer holidays fresh, ready to tackle the world. With my weekly planner, a mixture of days booked, and exciting activities planned. Baking, working together, meeting friends. You know the kind of things.

Week two we have started to get into the bad habits of late nights, irregular meal times and too much screen time. The boy wants to spend his days on the computer, yes its minecraft. Things not quite going to plan, and lack of summer sunshine never helps.

confessions

By week three, and you can throw the planner out of the window. Mornings are spent with long lazy lie ins, and afternoons gardening, cleaning and catching up around the house. While the boy spends too much time on computers and tv, I try to tempt him away.

Week four and its time for a change. We like to go away, and Dad dragon has booked a week off. I however have a confession and haven’t managed to find anywhere reasonable priced to stay! Whoops. Resulting in a grumpy husband and a staycation. I quickly get my thinking cap on and prey for good weather, the odd ice cream and trip to the beach, I manage to save the week.

confessions pictures

Entering week five and already the panic has set in. Do the shoes fit? Wjat happened to your PE kit? Is it still at school? Where can we get those bits of uniform? Ah yes I had forgotten all your school trousers have holes! So its time to get the iron out and the name labels on order.

By week six we are on the home straight, and this is where my confessions of hidden chocolate come in. The boy however has sussed out my hiding places and can hear the crinkly sound of an opening wrapper. Like lightning he can intercept me, with a well placed “where’s mine?” and before we blink its the new school year.

confessions summer

I love the summer holidays, the best days are the ones that are unplanned. The days where we get on our bikes and see where the wind takes us. As a family doing silly things and often free activities are the ones, which have the fondest place in our memories. I am lucky, I get to spent the whole summer with my boy, there are good and bad days, but when he goes back to the school routine, there is a big gap. He is already going into his last year of primary school, so my summers are running out. I had best get the planner out and hiding the chocolate ready for summer 2016.

This post is an entry for BritMums Confessions of a Summer Parent Challenge, sponsored by Anchor

Enjoy Water Challenge

We have been challenged by Robinsons and BritMums to find ways to keep hydrated as a family and enjoy water. With two out of three parents saying they don’t know how much water their children should be drinking each day. I don’t feel alone in saying that this challenge needed to start with me!

The boy drinks lots of water when he does sports. Getting him to enjoy water on other days it is like asking him to chop a leg off. I bought him a large one litre sports bottle which he takes to school and day trips. Its huge and takes up so much room in his bag. It’s great for his fencing competitions, when he needs to keep hydrated, not so good on a day out.

enjoy water

Robinsons have launched the “Enjoy Drinking More Water” campaign to help families like ours enjoy water. With a range of Squash’d flavours they hope to encourage families to fruit up their water. This idea has proved a hit with the boy who loves these little squeezy bottles.They have great fruity flavours too with Orange and peach, summer fruit and my favourite pink grapefruit. The best part is they have no added sugar, and we adults rather like them too!

So over the last couple of weeks we have been keeping a chart of our water intake. The boy has loved adding fruity stickers to his chart and trying to increase how much he drinks each day. Robinson’s Squash’d bottles have been taken to Dad dragons work, for him to try. I have been drinking more at home, and the boy loves watching the water change colour as he adds a dash of Squash’d. This has helped us to enjoy water and drink twice as much as we did before.

enjoy water more

I think the important part of drinking more is to get involved as a family. Don’t nag! that never goes down well. So having a bottle of water on a desk or next to a chair means it’s always to hand. Pop a bottle or Robinsons Squash’d in your bag to liven up the dull bottles of water, and finally get outside and have fun.

This post is an entry for BritMums #EnjoyMoreWater Challenge, sponsored by Robinsons

Love the Sales

Love the sales is a website for people who love a bargain, or like me who don’t buy clothes unless they are on sale! I never seem to have the time to spend money on my clothes so tend to pick up bits and pieces as I see them. I was interested to find out more about the Love the Sales website, and see if I could find something in the Vera Moda Sale.

Using the website is easy, you don’t need an account and it isn’t a shop, you simply register an email, then fill in as much information or as little as you like. You can add your favourite labels and stores, with not just clothes but home and garden and pretty much everything in between. I thought about getting the boy something new, but he has more clothes than he wears, so instead thought I would treat myself.

love the sales

Love the Sales was easy to use, and I soon found my way around, with some great bargains to be had. I live in Jeans so first stop was a new pair of dark denim skinnies. Love the Sales allows you to search for colours, sizes, labels so you only see the items that are available currently. I quickly found the right size and decided to choose some summer tops to complement my new trousers.

vera modea love the sales

I chose a tunic sleeveless top with a high neck because I liked the pattern. A floaty summer tunic, plain green top and a rather nice cotton jumper for the chilly evenings. Because each item was on sale the total value of my clothing should have been £126.00 but cost just £58.00 saving me over 50%. Love the sales are not a shop so for each item you are redirected to order from a high street store or online retailer. Postage may be extra dependant on the store or collection options, but even taking this into account saving over 50% of the retail price is enough for me to keep my eyes peeled for more Love the Sales Bargains.

Via lovethesales

 

Hotter Shoes at Chelsea

I was recently invited to a Hotter shoe party in Horsham by BakesBooksandMyBoys which got me very excited as I never treat myself to anything! This was going to be my first experience of Hotter shoes, and after a warm welcome and a few nibbles I set about browsing the store.

I decided to have my feet measured, as I can’t remember the last time I did this, and after some trying on and great advice from the staff discovered that I have strange feet. Although I am a standard six, due to a low ankle bone and narrow heels a five and a half or narrow fitting was a much better fit. I was very impressed with the patience and of the Hotter store staff as I spent an hour trying to find the right shoes. Only slightly disappointed that they didn’t have the chosen ones in stock, they offered to have the shoes ordered and delivered to my home.

hotter shoes

Leaving with an empty bag, was a little strange, but I was assured they would arrive shortly. I was excited that I would no longer be a hotter shoe virgin. Sure enough after about 10 days my shoes arrived, I had chosen Quake in Mauve Nubuck (although I think they look more of a soft pink). They fitted perfectly and had arrived just in time for me to set them the ultimate test a day out at Chelsea Flower show.

hotter shoes at chelsea

Chelsea flower show was the perfect test of all the Hotter shoe claims, comfort, style and adventure! There was no slipping about on the tube as the touch fastening kept them in place. They certainly had style and looked so much nicer than my trainers. I saw so many people as they left changing out of their shoes into something more comfy. I didn’t have too, as the Hotter shoes have millions of little bubbles in the soles to keep your feet comfy. It certainly was a long day on my feet, and with plenty of walking I made it home with happy feet, and a camera full of fantastic flower pictures.

hotter shoes london

I have been impressed with my Hotter shoes, and the fact that 80% of the shoes from Hotter are British made means that I will be back for more very soon. If you would like to try hotter shoes for yourself I have an offer to share with you, use the code PPATEN to receive £10 off plus free delivery for your first order, then you too will no longer be a Hotter shoes virgin!

Terms and conditions are £10 off plus FREE delivery is for first orders only. You are entitled to £10 off the total order value of any full priced items in the Hotter range (excluding shoe care products and accessories) plus FREE delivery. Minimum order value £25. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or on Sale or Factory Clearance items and gift vouchers. Expires 30/6/16

Disclaimer I was given a pair of hotter shoes in return for being asked to write about the event. The words remain my own and have not been altered.