Friday, 30 May 2014

Climbing - #WotW


I have spent a lot of time on our stairs this week.  They are baby girl's new favourite place to be.  Climb up, slide down.  Climb up, slide down.  Climb up, slide down.

She is getting strong, and with all this practice will be even stronger when she decides to let go of my hands and walk on her own.

Linking up with Jocelyn at The Reading Residence for this post.

The Reading Residence


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Even easier slow cooker chicken curry? Schwartz recipe mix review

I've had a sachet of Schwartz chicken curry recipe mix in my spice rack for a while, and with a few bits and bobs of chicken and vegetables to use up today, I thought I'd give it a go.

The description on the packet says it's 'a recipe mix with coriander seed and cumin for a mild and aromatic slow-cooked curry.'  Sounds tasty so far!

I altered the packet recipe slightly to fit what I had in the cupboard, so my recipe was:

Slow cooker chicken and vegetable curry, using Schwartz chicken curry recipe mix
Serves two-four people

Ingredients
One bag pre-prepared vegetables (400g)
One onion, sliced (I'm using frozen)
Two chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
One 400g tin chopped tomatoes
One sachet Schwartz slow cooker chicken curry recipe mix

I should say that even I don't usually use pre-prepared vegetables, but it was in the end of day reduced section, and at 40p, I couldn't pass them by!



Put everything in your slow cooker, making sure you add the recipe mix onto the chopped tomatoes last.  This is just to help it mix evenly around the ingredients.


Give it all a good stir.  Cook on low for six-eight hours, or high for four-six hours.  Give it a stir every now and then if you can.



After being out for most of the day, my husband came home and said:

"Wow, that curry smells delicious!"

It did too!



Once ready, serve with rice and naan bread.


This gave us a nice, mild curry.  It had a good depth of flavour with the blend of spices - enough for my husband to go back for seconds!  For us, it gave three portions and the vegetables helped to pad it out a bit.  The spices went nicely with the chicken and vegetables, despite me not following the recipe on the packet.

"Mmm, that was nice" Husband, aged 37.

This is a good, quick, easy and tasty weekday slow cooker tea, and I will definitely be buying another pack. 

For those reader with allergens, this packet contains barley, mustard and wheat, therefore it's not suitable for a gluten free diet.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

We have loved being Chicco Happiness Testers

I can't believe it's been nearly a year since I blogged about finding out that baby girl and I were lucky enough to be chosen to be Chicco Happiness Testers. 

We have both absolutely loved working with the Chicco team, and of course testing out all of the wonderful Chicco products.  We are even a little bit famous - pictures of baby girl were on the Chicco stand at The Baby Show, NEC.  Can you see them?


We have loved all of the Chicco products we have been lucky enough to test and review.  You can read all our reviews on the Chicco Tested for Happiness website.

Although we don't have any more reviews to write for the Chicco site, I'll be reviewing a few more Chicco products on this blog. 

One of the best things for me about being part of the Chicco Tested for Happiness campaign was photographing, recording and watching baby girl grow every month.

Thank you Chicco and the team.  #ChiccoHappiness

Monday, 26 May 2014

FIsher-Price Jumperoo - things we loved at The Baby Show

Baby girl loved the Fisher Price First Steps Jumperoo at The Baby Show, NEC a week or two ago.  We received a demo on the stand, and she was lucky enough to have a go. 

I couldn't get her out of it, she loved it so much!


This is a brand new Jumperoo that was launching at the show.  Older versions of the Jumperoo used to have the seat area suspended from a higher frame, a bit like a swing.  Not this one - the whole thing sits in a sturdy steel frame which sits like rails at the side of the seat.

 
This latest version of the First Steps Jumperoo is suitable from when baby can hold their head up to 23lbs.  Baby girl loved that the seat turned round, and she really enjoyed playing with all the toys within easy reach.  She particularly loved the roller ball frog at the front in red, and the crocodile to her right.


She also very happily bounced and moved along in there.  She's so close to taking her first steps, and the frame and seat support allowed her to move herself forward freely.  It has three different height adjustments too, so it will last a young baby for ages.

All in, we loved this, and I think the RRP of £124.99 is a pretty fair price for a toy that will give baby lots of play and independence, and give parents a few minutes 'hands free' to get other things done.  The footprint of it is pretty big, so I'd check it fits in your space before buying.


Disclaimer: this is an unsponsored post that gives our honest opinion of the new First Steps Jumperoo.  Thanks to Fisher-Price for giving us a demo of the product at The Baby Show NEC.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Ppphhhhfffffff #WotW




Word of the week: ppphhhhfffffff

The noise you make when something you're really nervous about at work, goes ok.  Collective quiet sigh of relief from me after an important meeting.

Linking up with Jocelyn at The Reading Residence for this post.


The Reading Residence


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Things I loved at The Baby Show - Cheeky Wipes

We are all such a MASSIVE fan of Cheeky Wipes.  They're brilliant washable`cloth wipes for bottoms, faces and anywhere else you can think of!

I foolishly walked past them at The Baby Show in 2008 when I was expecting our son, wondering why on earth people would want to wash wipes.  How wrong I was!

Baby girl has much more sensitive skin than our son, and disposable wipes irritate her so much.  I switched to Cheeky Wipes when she was just a week or two old, and have only bought one packet of emergency disposable wipes in all that time - they were so slimey and yuck I will never use them again!  We have a set for nappy cleaning, a set for nursery and a set for faces.  I love them!

So it was great to see the lovely Cheeky Wipes people at The Baby Show, NEC last weekend.  I always tell them just how much I love them!  Cheeky Wipes do a MUCH better job than disposable wipes, are much kinder to skin and the environment and save money in the long run.  What's not to love?



You can find out more at www.cheekywipes.com.

This is an unsponsored post, but I promise you won't regret buying Cheeky Wipes!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Nearly walking - #MySundayPhoto



Baby girl is so nearly walking, it's lovely to see.  She can crawl, get up on her knees, get up on all fours, and even walk with her walker.  Somehow though, she can't yet manage transitions between them, and hasn't quite got the confidence to let go.

It won't be long, I'm sure.

Linking up with One Dad 3 Girls for #MySundayPhoto


OneDad3Girls



Thursday, 15 May 2014

Bed time stalling from a five year old

Our son is a master of bedtime stalling.  I have no idea why - he loves his bed and always falls asleep in minutes!  The poem below contains some of the gems he comes out with, just to get out of getting ready for bed after his bath.  Exacerbated - much!

Time to get out of the bath now boy
But Mum, I haven't finished playing with this toy!
Your day is very nearly done, it's bedtime soon
But Mum, look, these bath letters spell the 'moon'!

Pull the plug son, it's over there
But Mum, look up, is that a spider, or some of your hair?
Get out of the bath son, it's called the ceiling
But Mum I can't get out, I can't stop kneeling

Why ever not?  Don't be in a tizz
But Mum, my legs really are frozen like this,
They're not frozen, get out or I might...
But Mum, bedtime's simply not possible tonight

Get out of the bath son, it's drying time
Forget it Mum, this place is divine
Get out of the bath before I call Dad
Yes Mum, call him, these frozen legs are bad.

I won't tell you again, get out of the bath, now
But Mum, I can't, I don't want to be dry
Mum's tired and my patience is thin, come on!
But Mum, this is important, err, hang on.

Not now son, I'm pulling you out
AAAaaaahhhhH! Mum, that makes me shout
Stay in there longer and you'll turn wrinkly like that
But Mum, I can't see the bath mat!

Now you're out get your pyjamas on
Oh but Mum, all my energy's gone
Put them on, I won't tell you again
I simply can't Mum, it's such a pain

Now.  I mean it, this is making me cross
But Mum, let me tell you about today's class
That's nice son, but really, not now
But Mum, word of the day in school was 'how'

I don't want to talk about how, get yourself dressed
But Mum, lunch was a wrap, followed by Eton Mess
Put them on son, PUT THEM ON THIS SECOND
But Mum, why do I have so many school lessons?

If you don't put your pyjamas on, I'll do it myself
Good idea Mum, but I can't move again, please help.
I'm grabbing you now, lie down there still
But Mum I'm not a baby, I'll do it myself, I will!

Right clean teeth time, where's your brush?
But Mum, tell me how do toilets flush?
Not now son, clean those teeth
But Mum, what happened to my old car seat?

It doesn't matter now, just brush your pegs
But Mum, oh no, my frozen legs!
You don't need your legs, use your arms
Oh no Mum, they're frozen too - argh!

I mean it son, I'm getting very mad
Mum why is telling lies bad?
Not now son, BRUSH YOUR TEETH
OK Mum, I will - eek!

I'm doing it now son, I can't wait any longer
But Mum, I was doing it, please brush softer
Right.  Now, rinse your mouth
It's impossible Mum, I'm stuck here in this house.

Will you hurry up, it's taken 20 minutes
Yes Mum, by the way, what did your lunch box have in it?
What does it matter? Now RINSE YOUR MOUTH
Yes Mum, yes, there's no need to shout

Right then, in your bed
Hmm, what story will fill my head?
Shall I have a look son, something quick so I can go
I know, I know, Mum, how about Mr Slow?

Goodnight son, I love you so
Goodnight Mum, can I have a drink please?


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Dark Sunglasses - #TuesdayTune

It's been a busy week, but I've been listening to Radio 2 a lot.  This song seems to be on repeat right now, and I've been singing it all week.





Chrissy Hynde
Dark Sunglasses

"A kind of glamour, you can live yourself.
Like dark sunglasses.
You'll remember, how good it tasted, the ruling classes.
Wasted, behind your dark sunglasses"

Seriously grown up and breathlessly cool.  I was never a big The Pretenders fan, but I love this.  It really captures a grown up moment, full of drunken confidence.

I'd love to know what you're listening to this week - is there a song you can't get enough of?

Monday, 12 May 2014

Planning a visit to The Baby Show, Birmingham

Baby girl and I are heading to The Baby Show at the NEC this weekend.  I've been before and love to look round.  We always make a beeline for a few stands and this year will be the same:

Cheeky Wipes - I love, love, love our fantastic Cheeky Wipes (they are brilliant washable baby wipes) and always go and say hello to the lovely people on the stand

Chicco - baby girl and I love being Chicco Happiness Testers, and I can't wait to visit the Chicco stand to see what's new.  I think there may be a picture of two of us on there too!

Halos 'N' Horns - this fabulous kids' wash and shampoo company always has a small stand with brilliant offers on their products.  I love the kids' orange wash because it contains no sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate which tends to irritate our son's skin, and I always stock up.

There's also usually some good freebies and competitions that I also enjoy entering!



This year, The Baby Show organisers got in touch, and they've kindly given me a discount for anyone who is buying tickets.  You can pay a discounted price of £11.95 instead of the standard 'on the door' £20 price. Just enter code SPR here: http://babyshownec.seetickets.com/?offercode=SPR

I'll be blogging about my favourite products after the show and I'd love to know if you're planning to attend, and if so, which stands you'll be visiting.  Get in touch.


Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post.




Sunday, 11 May 2014

Oooh new shoes #MySundayPhoto


I love baby girl's new shoes; she loves them too and was grabbing them in this pic!  Baby girl is getting so much more confident on her feet, I feel sure she'll be walking in a month or two.  I can't believe just how quickly she is growing up...

Linking up with One Dad 3 Girls, for #MySundayPhoto.

OneDad3Girls


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Serenata Chocolates handmade English chocolate review and giveaway

Isn't it lovely when something really exciting comes through the post?  I always get a thrill when I see our postman holding a box.  So imagine just how excited I was when this box from Serenata Chocolates arrived....


I couldn't wait to open it.  A gorgeous box of premium hand made Serenata Chocolates - a 420g selection of English milk, white and dark chocolate.


Wow - I wasn't disappointed!  This gorgeous packaging is perfectly suited for these premium chocolates.  They come with a card which can be personalised and I love the tissue paper - it's a really nice touch.

The chocolate box packaging itself is thick, luxury card, tied with ribbon and with a tag showing 'an experience in chocolate' to build the anticipation.  The reverse premium foil covered cardboard is a nice accent to the pink and purple of the box.


And now for the grand opening... 420g of English milk, white and dark chocolate buys you 30 of the most delicious looking, hand made and good sized chocolates I think I've ever seen:


These chocolates exactly fit the premium experience tag they come with.. they each come in their own case, with protective paper at the top and bottom of the box. The gorgeous flavours range from pecan and maple syrup, to pralines, with salted caramel, marzipan and passion fruit and even more gorgeous flavours thrown in for good measure.  You get two of each flavour so you can share (if you want to ;-)).

The taste of these is divine; husband and I thought they were all wonderfully balanced.  No sickly sweet sticky chocolate that needs a cup of tea to wash it down here.  These really are delicate, balanced and refined.  Two or three is enough to fully enjoy and savour the taste, if you can resist eating more... *ahem*.

"Go on, pass them over and let me try just one more.." Husband, 37

"No!" Me, 35


They are a massive cut above the high street average, and even the premium brands you get in supermarkets.  I love that they're all English and hand made too, it really makes them feel extra special.  They would make such a lovely gift for someone special as a thank you, get well soon or special occasion. 

You can order these chocolates for £29.99 from Serenata Flowers.  Delivery and a personalised message are free.  I think this is a really fair price for such a luxury hand made gift the recipient won't forget in a hurry.  You can visit the site to see these chocolates and more at http://www.serenataflowers.com/chocolate-gifts.

You could always treat yourself.... Go on, you know you deserve it.

COMPETITION

And one of you lucky readers can win the same delicious box of English milk, dark and white chocolates, delivered directly from Serenata that I tried.  I wish I could enter!  Simply complete the Rafflecopter options below, and don't forget to tweet every day for even more entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 8th May 2014 until 23:59 on 22nd May 2014.
  • 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 one 420g box of Serenata English milk, white and dark chocolates.  Serenata may substitute for product of equal or greater value in the unlikely event the prize is unavailable.  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 25th May 2014 and asked to confirm their delivery address within 48 hours.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • We'll do our utmost to get the prize to the winner within 14 days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Judge’s decision is final.

Thank you Serenata for sending me this box of chocolates to try and review, and for providing the competition prize. All thoughts and words are my own.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Starry Eyed - #TuesdayTune

One of things I miss most since having kids is music.  I used to love listening to loads of different types of music - LOUDLY!  Mostly in the car, but we also have a seriously good (and now seriously underused) music system in our house which we'd put on a CD or two in the evening.

It goes without saying that conversations, age-appropriate lyrics and quiet for sleeping children take over... and now I grab a tune or two on my iPhone when I can.
And every now and again and song comes along that you just can't get enough of.


Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed

"So we burst, into colours, colours, and carousels
Fall head first like paper planes and playground games"


A hauntingly beautiful mix of pop, dance and crystal clear vocals.  It captures care free summer days, those early heady days of love, and keeps you singing 'everybody's starry eyed' for days on end.  I love it.

I'd love to know what you're listening to this week.  Is there one that captures your mood in particular?

Saturday, 3 May 2014

April's been and gone

I can't believe that April's been and gone already.... but isn't it lovely to be well into spring and enjoying some warmth and sunshine?

Here's our highlights for April:

  • An Easter school play for our son, I loved hearing all the children sing
  • Baby girl... "ta, ta, ta"
  • A two week Easter holiday, our first to cope with since I've been back at work
  • Selling our Quinny baby gear... no more babies here
  • A chocolate egg hunt in the garden, and a GIANT Kit Kat Easter egg

  • The start of our son's last term in reception
  • A shiny exciting new iPhone for me - how did I manage without one?
  • Baby girl finding everything funny, and turbo crawling everywhere.

I'd love to hear your highlights of the month... what did you get up to?