Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Lunch at Boston Tea Party, Stratford upon Avon

We were recently lucky enough to win a meal for four at the Boston Tea Party restaurant.  BTP has restaurants around the UK, and our nearest is Stratford upon Avon.  We love Stratford and regularly go, so this was a lovely prize for us.


The restaurant is quite centrally located in the shopping area of Stratford, very close to Shakespeare's house.  It doesn't look very big from the outside, although the two floors inside are really spacious with lots of relaxed seating.  The ground floor is light and airy, and the top floor very much quieter.

The bar area where you order food is spacious too, and we were served quickly and very politely.


We went for lunch, and had a really good sized meals.  Husband went for the ultimate burger, and I had a veggie burger.  Both were served with fresh hot fries and coleslaw.


Our kids went for macaroni cheese and a sausage bap with chips.  They always share half each because they always want each others' meal!


All the food was fresh and served really quickly.  It was a really lovely pitstop lunch, and the BTP cafe had a very relaxed vibe, despite being quite busy.  I love the Boston Tea Party's ethos too - to be a modern indendent cafe serving good things in great spaces.  Our visit definitely mirrored this vision!

You cand find out more about Boston Tea Party on its website, or you can follow them on Twitter.

Let me know if you visit a Boston Tea Party cafe, I'd love to hear about the other restaurants.



Thursday, 18 August 2016

Holiday hamper for teacher gift

At the end of the summer term, a few parents got together and contributed some money to put towards a gift for our son's teacher.  The idea was to create a holiday hamper from all of us which we thought would be better than lots of boxes of chocolates.

I love doing things like this and was happy to volunteer to pull it all together.  I wrapped it all in celophane with a nice ribbon too, but typically I forgot to take a picture of it finished!


The contents of the holiday hamper, all themed white and blue where:
  • Blue beach towel with red detail, Wilko.  This is underneath the contents propping it all up.
  • Blue with white polka dot beach bag, White Stuff
  • Blue detail sarong, Accessorize
  • Blue detail flip flops, Accessorize
  • Nivea sun cream and after sun, Wilkos
  • Travel guide (we had sneakily found out where she was holidaying this summer!), WHSmith 
  • Plastic basket weave type stationery storage box, Wilkos

The whole thing cost about £40, but I think looks really effective.  What do you think?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Beansprout and cashew salad with HECK Super Greens veggie meatballs

Fresh zingy salads really hit the spot on warm summer evenings, and this beansprout and cashew nut salad with nutty fresh dressing is no exception. It goes perfectly with HECK's veggie Super Greens meatballs made with Quinoa, spinach, kale and ginger.

The salad is easy to make, and can be done in the 25 minutes or so the HECK Super Greens meatballs take to cook.  My salad 'recipe' makes loads, easily enough for two nights for two or three people with a lunch box thrown in for good measure too.


Ingredients

HECK Super Greens veggie meatballs, available from Waitrose


Salad

Two carrots, washed and cut into finger length strips
Half a cucumber, washed, middle scooped out and cut into finger length strips
One red pepper, washed, de-seeded and cut into thin strips
Pack of babycorn, washed and cut into two or four strips lengthways
Half a red cabbage, shredded and washed
One red chilli, de-seed if you like it mild
Good handful of coriander
Medium sized bag of fresh beansprouts

Small bag of cashew nuts

Salad dressing (I have used this combination for ages, and think it originates from Jamie Oliver)

Two tablespoons sesame oil
Two tablespoons soy sauce
One tablespoon runny honey
One lemon

Method

Heat the oven to 190 degrees C, and put the HECK Super Greens veggie meatballs in to cook for about 25 mins.  Don't forget to turn them over half way through cooking.


Prep all the salad as above, and put into a large bowl.  The cashews can go in raw, but I like to dry toast them in a frying pan for a few minutes on each side.  Watch them closely as they can catch.


Once the salad is in the bowl and nicely mixed, make the dressing simply by mixing the sesame oil, soy sauce, honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Give it a really good mix or shake if it's in a sealable container.  Put everything in bowls ready for everyone to help themselves. 


Fill your plate and drizzle the dressing over everything - yum.




The HECK vegetarian Super Greens veggie meatballs really set this salad off, and provide a filling and healthy protein source.  I love that they're Vegetarian Society approved and taste great.  The kale flavour comes through in a really good way and the chickpea base with quinoa keeps them really moist.  It's a great contrast to the crunchy zingy salad.






Let me know if you make this recipe or try HECK Super Green meatballs.  What did you think?

Disclaimer: I was gifted the HECK Super Greens veggie meatballs to try, but all words and thoughts are my own.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Family first aid kit challenge with Vidisan and giveaway

Bausch and Lomb, the eyecare experts are running a family first aid kit challenge at the moment.  The challenge has been created to highlight how families are often not fully prepared for those daily healthcare family emergencies.

To take part in the challenge, I sent off a picture of our first aid kit and Bausch and Lomb provided analysis of the contents with suggestions for improvements.  As part of the challenge, Bausch and Lomb has also provided two top notch St. John Ambulance first aid kits stocke with Bausch and Lomb's Vidisan natural eye drop to relieve sore and irritated eyes.  Enter at the end of this post!

Our current first aid kit looks something like this:


Before I even sent this picture off, I realised that our first aid kit was old... very very old.  The Centimde minor antiseptic cream expired in 2009.  Eek!  Bausch and Lomb's experts gave some feedback too:

“It looks like you have a child or children in the house so try and keep a thermometer. Knowing your child’s temperature can be so useful if for example you need to call a doctor. And the plaster tape is so useful for keeping dressings in place, although if your skin is sensitive you might be better off having one the skin sensitive white light-weight tapes (e.g. Micropore). Some more plasters and dressings would be great too –for all the family.  Maybe you keep painkillers somewhere else? Hopefully not in the bathroom cabinet! However, a paediatric and adult painkillers could be useful. And remember to check the dates on all your medicines and replace them when they go out of date. Think about your eyes too. An eye pad could be useful if you were to scratch your eye in the garden. Eyes are often troubled by dryness, soreness and irritation so consider an eye drop like Vidisan which you can keep handy in your first aid kit as it’s proven to calm and soothe irritated eyes from daily causes of irritations.”


I think it's time for a bit of a first aid kit overhaul!  And we definitely need some eye drops, both husband and toddler girl suffer from hayfever at this time of year, and chlorine from swimming every weeks seems to irritate their eyes too.  Both of them can often be seen rubbing away at their eyes - often making it much worse!


Vidisan is a natural eye drop to relieve sore and irritated eyes for the whole family.  These eye drops ingredients to calm and soothe irritated eyes from the every day causes of irritation that happen to us all, young or old - wind, dust, pollution, cigarette smoke (blurgh), chlorine from swimming pools and pollen.

It's great that Vidisan can be used at any age, and it's suitable for both toddler girl and husband. We'll definitely be taking it on our next holiday, it's a great size for taking out and about and protecting from eye irritation in the pool and on the beach and will hopefully stop some of that eye rubbing.

Win your own St John Ambulance first aid kit

Here's your chance to win one of two brand new and top notch first aid kit from St John Ambulance and stocked with a bottle of Vidisan each.  The first aid kit comes in a great strong portable carrier with reflective strip and contains the essentials for any household.  It would be great to take on holiday or keep one in a house and one in a caravan.  These are brand new, but don't forget (like me) to check use by dates regularly!  You can read more about this ace first aid kit here.



a Rafflecopter giveaway
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be sent to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 15 August 2016 until 23:59 on 10th September 2016.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There are two prizes and two winners will be chosen. Each prize is a St John Ambulance first aid kit with Vidisan bottle as pictured. There is no cash alternative. In the unlikely event that the prize becomes unavailable an alternative may be offered.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 17th September 2016 and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • Winner's details will be handled by Me add three for the sole purpose of sending the prize.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Me add three’s decision is final.
Competitions at ThePrizeFinder

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Echinacea white swan is My Sunday Photo


My favourite flower in the garden at the moment is this lovely echinacea 'White Swan'.  The flowers evolve over the course of a few weeks to go from looking a bit like a large daisy, to the beautiful upright dart like flowers that are standing to attention.


The bees absolutely love the orange centre, and everytime I look at our collection of six or eight of these plants there are aways four or five bees buzzing around them collecting nectar.

I hope our plants will thicken up over the next year or two to form a proper large clump - I love them.

What's growing in your garden this week?

Photalife


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Win a back to school goodybag from Fruitypot

After my review of Fruitypot and Jellysqueeze, the nice Fruitypot family are giving one lucky reader the chance to win a back to school goody bag full of fruity prizes.


You can win a Jellysqueeze drawstring bag, water bottle, Fruitypot lunch box, pen, post it notes and a selection of Fruitypot and Jellysqueeze.


To enter, simply complete one or more of the Rafflecopter options below.  Competition ends on 27th August, so be quick.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be sent to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 10 August 2016 until 23:59 on 27 August 2016.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is a back to school pack from Fruitypot and Jelllysqueeze which consists of a drawstring bag, water bottle, lunchbox, post it notes, pen and a selection of Fruitypot and Jellysqueeze.  There is no cash alternative. In the unlikely event that the prize becomes unavailable an alternative may be offered.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 2nd September 2016 and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • Winner's details will be passed to Fruitypot's PR team, so the prize can be sent.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Me add three’s decision is final.
Competitions at ThePrizeFinder

Monday, 8 August 2016

Summer fruit fun with the Fruitypot Famiy

We've been big fans of Fruitypot for a while in our house. Our kids love the fruity goodness, and I love how easy they are and how much they love them!


In my kitchen at the moment I have mandarin oranges in jelly, and peach and pear in fruit juice.  Our son loves the mandarin, and toddler girl happily munches her way through a peach and pear pot (and slurps the juice).

All single Fruitypots come with a handy spoon, so they're great for lunchboxes and picnics.  The lids are very secure but easy enough for our seven year old to remove himself, which makes them ideal for school lunchboxes.


I love that both these pots are suitable for vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs and don't contain any added sugar, colours, flavourings or preservatives.  Winner!


The best thing about these little pots of loveliness though, is that the kids love them.  Maybe other kids consider an apple or a banana an acceptable pudding after dinner, but mine will rarely let me get away with fruit alone.  Not with Fruitypot, which they'll both happily accept as a snack or dessert - no biscuits required!


The Fruitypot family also contains the handy squeezable jelly pouch, JellySqueeze.  These pouches of jelly are made with fruit juice and again contain no artificial colours, preservatives, artificial sweeteners or added sugars.  Our kids absolutely love them, and were very happy to find JellySqueeze and ice cream as a dessert option at Center Parcs recently!


Fruitypots are available in seven different variants. In fruit juice there is: pineapple, peach and pear, apple, and mandarin.  In jelly: peach, tropical and mandarin.  Fruitypot is available to buy in Asda.
Jelly Squeeze comes in strawberry and orange flavours and is available from Amazon and Ocado.  My local Farmfoods store stocks both very regularly too, and at 3 for £1 is a bargain!

You can find out more at the Fruitypot website or follow Fruitypot family on Twitter or Facebook.

Let me know what you think of Jellysqueeze and Fruitypot - which flavour would you try?

Disclaimer: I was asked by the Fruitypot family to blog my thoughts about these products and was offered a competition prize for a lucky reader as thanks.  All words and thoughts are my own.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A quiet spot at Carfest North is #MySundayPhoto

We went to Carfest North last weekend, and were lucky enough to stay with Hotel Bell Tent.  The festival was held for the first time at the beautiful Bolesworth Castle. 

Hotel Bell Tent had a really good sized campsite in a private area, a little way away, but almost in view of the main stage and behind the VIP area.

On Saturday night I walked down to this private area and had a quiet and spacious view of the festival, and the Kaiser Chiefs (although they were a little way off). 


It was a lovely evening taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the festival on a beautiful summer evening.  I loved listening to the Kaiser Chiefs too, who totally rocked the festival. 

Even though it was noisy, my spot seemed very peaceful in comparison, and the tree looked beautiful against the festival lights and evening sky.  Definitely one to remember.