Friday, 31 May 2013

Race for Life - I Did It!





On Sunday I took part in Race for Life in Guildford with my little family supporting me. The night before Isla was very excited at the prospect of seeing Mummy running, she kept running up and down the living room and hurling herself on the sofa, supposedly showing me how to do it! She also planned what she was going to wear for the big day (!) and then subsequently didn't seem able to get to sleep either she was that excited!!

Anyway, we arrived at the race and it was beautiful sunshine and everyone was adorned in pink and there were feathers and sequins aplenty! I collected my race T-shirt from the cute little Brioche Pasquier van (who were giving out lots of yummy Brioche!) and I got going. I'm very pleased to say that I did the run in 33 minutes, which for me is normal for 5km - I haven't got any slower, so that's a relief! I was quite emotional on the start line and then when I finished the race I felt so much relief. I'm pleased to say that apart from the generous starting donation of £250 from Brioche Pasquier I managed to match that with donations from friends, work colleagues and family and I've made over £500 for Cancer Research UK. I'm so pleased. It's still not too late for you to take part in Race for Life and Brioche Pasquier are also running a promotion, ‘Raise Some Dough’, throughout June and July which gives customers the opportunity to win donations of up to £100 to send to friends or family taking part in a Race for Life event through their JustGiving page - or alternatively they can simply donate to the Brioche Pasquier Race for Life team. 


At over 200 Race for Life events this summer, Brioche Pasquier UK will also be rewarding every participant crossing the finish line with a sample from PITCH, its filled brioche range. In addition, Brioche Pasquier will be hosting a variety of exciting experiential activities across 10 events, enhancing the overall race day experience for participants and their families.

If you fancy entering Race for Life, e
nter now at www.raceforlife.org or via the hotline on 0845 600 6050. The entry fee is £14.99 for adults and £10 for girls 16 and under. This covers the costs of staging the event series and means that money raised in sponsorship can go to help beat cancer. Events take place across the UK from May until the end of September

Thursday, 30 May 2013

My Aero 'Perfect Pairing' Three Course Menu

I love cooking but find it difficult to make time for anything different or time consuming, so I generally stick to recipes I know or things that I know will be quick so when I was challenged by Aero to come up with my ultimate flavour combination, I knew that this would be a good excuse to get in the kitchen and cook something a bit different. The challenge was in honour of Aero Bubbles being given a makeover so that the two toned taste is now reflected on the inside and outside!



I was sent a fab cooking cookery kit which included a book that I've coveted for a while - The Flavour Thesaurus - a mine of information about combing flavours - what works, what doesn't, with all manor of crazy suggestions. 

As I don't get a lot of time to cook I decided to go with a Flavour Pairing Menu rather than one dish as I thought I would treat me and the OH to a night of feasting! First up:

Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon with a Mixed Nut Dressing

8 Asparagus Stems
4 rashers of streaky bacon




For the Dressing, combine the following:
Big Handful of Mixed Nuts (Roasted Almonds, Blanched Hazelnuts, Cashews and Pistachio) - crushed with pestle and mortar
3 tbspn Lemon
2 tbspn Soy Sauce
Seasoning

Method: 
Take 2 asparagus stems, wrap in bacon, season and drizzle with olive oil. Repeat another 3 times for 2 each. Put in the oven at 200C for 12 minutes 
Drizzle over enough dressing to taste


The flavour pairing here being the Asparagus and Nuts (not so much the bacon as that's a pretty standard coupling!). I very rarely make home made dressings - very lazy I know as they are so quick to whizz up - but this was delicious. I wouldn't have thought to put Asparagus and Nut together before but they really did complement one another, it brought out the woodiness of the asparagus and the saltiness of the bacon and soy sauce was lovely.

Next Up:

Chicken Stuffed with Banana, Wrapped in Bacon in a Butter bean, Sweetcorn, White Wine, Chili & Cream Sauce. 

2 Chicken breasts
4 rashers of streaky bacon (I know, I know more bacon - but we love it!)
1 banana
1 tin Butter Beans
Half a tin of Sweetcorn
1 small glass of white Wine
300 ml Double Cream
Large Nob of butter
1 teaspoon of lazy chili

Method:

Slice down the side of the chicken and insert half a banana
Wrap around with bacon to secure banana inside
Season and place in the oven at 200C (fan) for 40 minutes




For the sauce:
Put the butter beans, sweetcorn, butter and white wine in a pan on the hob and cook off for about 5 minutes.
Add the double cream and simmer for a further 10 minutes and then stir in the chili - we only used a teaspoon but I would perhaps go for a bit more next time.

I served it with mash, slicing the chicken, with the sauce around it.




The flavour pairing was the chicken and banana. I wasn't totally sure about this one but my OH liked it. I feel like it needed a bit of greenery with it. Bananas aren't my favourite fruit but I was so interested to see how it would go with a savoury meal that I wanted to try it. I would say that chicken, bacon and bananas do go together but I found it so filling! The chili with it gave it a nice kick though.

And finally:




Raspberry, Lemon Thyme and Goats Cheese Fool

1 punnet of Raspberries
Half a Teaspoon of fresh Lemon Thyme
200ml Whipped up Double Cream
125g Goats Cheese
1 tablespoon of Icing Sugar

Method:




Blitz up raspberries with hand blender
Whisk Double Cream until there are soft peaks
Mash up goats cheese and combine with raspberries and double cream
Add teaspoon of lemon thyme and tablespoon of lemon thyme
Decorate with loose raspberries and thyme

This was delicious. I thought that the goats cheese would be over powering but it wasn't - it was all creamy and smooth. The thyme gave it a little bit of zing. It was rather like eating cheese cake topping and I think that's what I would do with it next time. I might also serve it with meringue if I do it again. 

So that was our flavour pairing meal and we were significantly full and fat after all that I can tell you. Most of it was enjoyable - just the chicken and banana that I wasn't totally sold on, but not inedible!  

What flavour pairing would you like to try?

I received a cookery kit, a heap of chocolate and a fabulous book in order to complete this challenge. If I win the challenge I will have a whole load of chocolate to give away to you lovely people!


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Tasty Thai Turkey Burger Recipe


I cooked these tasty Thai turkey burgers tonight and they were a winner! It had been a drizzly rainy day but these burgers brought a little bit of sunshine into our house at dinner time as they were packed with flavour. Here's how you make them and they take no time at all - bonus!

Ingredients (makes 5 burgers)

500g turkey mince
1 red chili chopped finely
1 handful of chopped coriander
1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
4 spring onions, chopped finely
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper
olive oil

To serve:
Ciabatta
Lime and Chilli Mayonnaise (mix a couple of tablespoons of Mayo with a couple of teaspoons of lime juice and a tiny bit of lazy chili)
Salad Leaf

Method

- Mix all ingredients together and make into 5 patties


- Heat olive oil in a frying pan
- Fry burgers - approx 5 - 6 minutes each side 


- Place in your ciabatta with some delicious lime and chili mayonnaise and a bit of salad

I love Thai food, so these are a bit of a western take on typical Thai flavours. The ginger and the chili make the turkey taste more robust. I think if I were to do them again I would probably do them accompanied with a satay mayo. They would also be brilliant on the barbecue, so when summer decides to pop back to Surrey then I'll be ready to unleash these!

I'd love to know if you try this recipe and what you think of it and if you want any other ideas on what to do with turkey then try the Lean on Turkey site! Turkey is a really versatile and easily affordable meaty option, try it and see what you think. If you fancy trying another of my turkey recipes look at my Turkey Enchiladas.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ Summer Turkey Recipe Challenge.




Link up your recipe of the week

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Virgin Money and WWF in Partnership with Young Savers Account


On a recent trip to London Zoo the kids got to see some amazing animals up close and it got me thinking about how many species won't actually exist in the wild when they are my age. It makes me feel really sad that some of these beautiful creatures will no longer be roaming the planet and that is largely down to the human race. I'm always trying to encourage the children to be interested in animals and now Virgin Money are also helping to encourage childrens' interest in conservation and the protection of endangered animals by partnering with the WWF. With every Virgin Money Young Savers Account opened from the end of April this year a 12 month WWF animal adoption pack will be given to the child. There are 11,000 packs available and they will be given away on a first come first served basis.

Isla already has a Virgin Money Young Savers Account, so we would have missed out of this fabulous adoption pack which includes: a cuddly toy, a certificate of adoption, stickers, bookmarks and a fact book and a quarterly update. Luckily we are being sent one, so now we need to think about which animal we want to support! Which would you choose from the Tiger, Hawksbill turtle, Adelie Penguin, Mountain Gorilla, Borneo Orang-utan, Bottlenose Dolphin, Amur Leopard, Giant Panda, Snow Leopard, Polar Bear, Black Rhino, Asian Elephant? I'm not sure which animal the kids will choose, I have a sneaky suspicion it might be the Giant Panda, in view of their love of King Fu Panda! Sadly official figures say that there are less than 1600 Giant Pandas in the wild, now that really is heartbreaking.

I'm as keen for Isla and Noah to learn about money and looking after it for their futures as I am for them to learn about looking after the world around them, it's never too early to be educated on these kinds of things. I want her to grow up in a world where all these animals still exist, not one where the only place we can see them is in the zoo. 

This is a sponsored post.

Friday, 24 May 2013

How to Make a Quick Model Rocket for Children



One recent Saturday morning we were a bit stumped for things to do as it was peeing down with rain outside, so I noticed we had two juice bottles in our recycling and I thought surely we could make something out of these? We’d been watching an episode of Ben and Holly when they go into space so I thought why not make model rockets from them? It seemed like a fairly easy idea in my head and actually in practice it was too. The kids had a lot of fun helping with this as it really is very simple. So here’s our crafty instructions on how to make a rocket…..


Materials:

1 Bottle – we made a small rocket from a small lunchbox drink bottle
Silver Foil 
1 toilet roll 
Black card squares 
Stickers to decorate your rocket 
Bright orange/ yellow/ red tissue paper to make the flames 
Sticky tape 


1 – Take your bottle and cover the entire thing in silver foil – ensure you make a point at the top for a real aerodynamic look

2 – Take your toilet roll and cut in to 3 pieces and also cover them in tin foil

3 – Stick the 3 covered toilet roll pieces to the bottom of your covered bottle using sticky tape– these are your rocket exhausts! 


With the obligatory tongue out....

4 – Stick some black squares on the side of your rocket for windows and then stick lots of shiny stickers all over your rocket to make it look really state of the art

5 – Finally tear some strips of bright orange/ yellow/ red tissue paper and stick to the rocket exhausts for flames - there you have a a really speedy to make rocket!


Making the rockets was a lot of fun and then playing with the rockets after was also a big hit!



See Vanessa Craft

Thursday, 23 May 2013

We ♥ Christopher Nibble by Charlotte Middleton


I can't remember how this book turned up in our house for the life of me - I think it may have been given to Isla by someone at nursery, but it's proving quite popular at the moment as it's feeding into her current love of dandelion clocks. She loved the dandelions when they had bright yellow flowers and she loves them even more now they are big fluffy seed heads that she can blow or wave around!



Christopher Nibble is a guinea pig and he lives in Dandeville with all the other dandelion loving guinea pigs, unfortunately they love the dandelion leaves rather too much and they disappear from the town. It's down to Christopher Nibble to solve the dandelion crisis. We love this book, the illustrations are really cute, it has a bit of a Charlie and Lola feel to it with lots of patterns used. I have been encouraging the children to do lots of planting and looking after flowers recently so this story really fits in with that too as Christopher Nibble goes about growing the towns favourite food! I love the quirky feel and the unusual story. It sends out a gentle message about conservation too.

This really is a lovely book and I think we'll check out a few of the other Christopher Nibble titles, they're great for pre-school children!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Toddler Talk - A Few Recent Funnies


Now that Noah is approaching 2 (yes, where has the time gone!!!??) there are some very funny conversations going on in our house and the other morning I was lucky enough to overhear the first real conversation between Noah and Isla and they didn't realise I was earwigging - well it was 6.30am - I was trying to keep a low profile and get a bit more time in bed!
 


Noah: You're being naughty
Isla: no you're being naughty!
Noah: No Daddy naughty
Noah: I'm not a monster (I've got to disagree!)

Then Noah goes through the entire family "Grandpa naughty, Nanny naughty, Aunty Kirsty naughty, Cousin M naughty etc etc"

Noah: I like Mummy best
Isla: I like Mummy best in the whole world wide 

*I like this part of the conversation!*

Noah: I like Daddy
Isla: You are a rude person
Noah: No I not rude. I'm not naughty.
Isla: I see you in the chair in the night being naughty (this is reference to the fact that Noah STILL WAKES EVERY FRIGGIN' NIGHT and I sit with him in the chair!) I'll give you a star if you stop being naughty (I love that she is going to start her own star chart system with him...!)
Noah: I want Poppy Cat and Daisy Doo
Isla: You are naughty, I'm going now and taking my sheep (at this point she comes in to me and I'm laughing my head off)

And finally a great one from yesterday: 

Me: Are you going to be a good boy today Noah?
Noah: No, I not be good boy, ever, never.

Pause.

Noah: I be silly and billy.
Me: *sigh*

Wot So Funee?

30 Choir Festival Guinness World Record Success!


As you may have read here over the Bank Holiday weekend at the start of the month of May the London Community Gospel Choir held a fabulous 30 Choir festival at the Southbank Centre in London. The weekend was a triumph as they broke the Guinness World record for the largest number of people singing in a gospel choir under concert conditions. And I am excited to say that I was part of that attempt. The sound of 'Oh Happy Day' rang through the entire of the Southbank, it was a real moment of joyousness and something I'm so happy to be part of. 


Rev Bazil Meade Accepts the Guinness World Record Certificate!

The day started off with a rehearsal and a run through of what was expected of us and ended with a stunning concert featuring some wonderful voices - voices that to my mind would give the likes of Mary J Blige and Emile Sande a run for their money! We were also lucky enough to see one of my all time favourite female Soul singers Jocelyn Brown and young talent Jahmene Douglas from the X Factor. He had the most amazing voice, something that needs to be witnessed in real life - listening on TV doesn't even come close.

My partners in crime for the day were Helen aka Actually Mummy, Liz aka Me and My Shadow and Mary, journalist from the Voice. Here we are before Helen sprayed us with the necessary gold glitter, which clearly set us up to perform to our best! 


Actually Mummy, Mary and I!
So on returning from this amazing day I hadn't realised that perhaps my constant droning of 'Oh Happy Day' had, had an effect on my son, and during lunch at my parents a week ago he started coming out with 'Oh Happy Day' and it was very cute. Perhaps I should have taken him to the record attempt too - he could have been the youngest member of the LCGC Choir! What do you think?





Photo credits: Louise Harris and Liz Burton

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Bacon and Red Pepper Risotto Recipe


This evening we were a bit stumped on what to cook for dinner so I threw a few things together that I had in the fridge and store cupboard and came up with this Bacon and Red Pepper Risotto and it was delicious! Here goes:

Serves 2 very hungry parents!

Ingredients
200g Risotto Rice
1 red onion
1 red pepper
2 cloves or garlic
2 chicken stock cubes
1 litre of boiling water for the stock cubes
Good glug of white wine
Glug of Olive Oil
Knob of butter
Black pepper to season (we didn't need salt as the bacon was lovely and salty!)


Method
Fry the bacon, onion and red pepper in olive oil and butter for 5 minutes

Add the garlic to the pan and gently fry for a further 5 minutes until all nicely golden and soft

Add the risotto rice to the pan and make sure it gets coated in all the oily buttery loveliness and it should hiss for a bit.

Make the stock and then start adding the stock a ladle at a time and keep stirring the risotto and keep adding stock as it gets absorbed. Splash the glug of white wine in too. If you need more liquid just add a bit more water, but I found that was enough. I can't tell you how long this process took but I could see that the rice had swollen up nicely, I tasted it and it was cooked!

Serve with a nice fresh salad and Bob's Your Uncle, a delicious quick meal! Enjoy.



Link up your recipe of the week

Didicar Review


We were recently sent a Fiery Flamboyant Red didicar to try out. I was slightly apprehensive at first as we do have the tiniest house and it isn't the smallest of vehicles. However it's given Noah so much fun and happiness since it arrived. Here is a little video of him 'driving' round (and yes Isla is scooting round the living room on her OzBozz! Not ideal...) and when I asked him if he liked his car - he did say yes but my phone stopped filming at that exact moment!



As you can see Noah is driving around using his feet to propel himself but what he hasn't worked out yet is that he could actually put his feet up on the foot rests and just by using the steering wheel the didicar moves. I only realised it myself in the last week and I've had loads of fun driving it around (yes adults can ride on it too!) and the kids have chased round after me (it can pick up quite a speed on our laminate flooring). 
We took the didicar to the park as well and it works well outside on the pavement. It got quite a few admiring glances and Noah enjoyed having a bigger space to whizz around!

Didicar is a unique self propelled ride on toy for children. Available in a bright collection of colours, didicar is safe and ideal to use indoors or outdoors on any hard, smooth and flat surface. Didicar provides exercise in any setting and promotes physical development as well as balance, co-ordination, spacial and speed awareness. Didicar provides all the above, but above all else it's just plain FUN!!

I can truly say that this is a great buy. It was so easy to assemble - there were no expletives coming from the other half, that's how I know this! It is really sturdy and feels very safe to use. The design is great, really sleek and the materials used feel like they are of excellent quality. No batteries are required so there are no extra costs involved in running the didicar

Take advantage of the offer that didicar has on at the moment, they are currently on sale for £39.95 reduced from £49.95 with half price delivery. 

Check out didicar here: http://www.didicar.co.uk/

We were sent the Didicar for free in order to write this review, all opinions and views expressed here are my own

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

PEPPA PIG’S BIG SPLASH LIVE




BRAND NEW & BIGGEST EVER SHOW ON TOUR FROM OCTOBER 2013 
including 
FOURTH WEST END CHRISTMAS SEASON 


Fresh from the huge successes of previous tours Peppa Pig’s Party and Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt comes Peppa’s brand new show, Peppa Pig’s Big Splash. Opening at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford on 24 October, this touring production will travel throughout the UK and into Ireland until summer 2014. The tour will also include a fourth consecutive Peppa West End Christmas season (details will be announced in due course) and it will be the biggest ever to date.

The nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fete to raise the money for Mr Bull to do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, as well as Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep put up bunting, run stalls and organise a great day out. There's also a Champion Puddle Jumping competition judged by Mr Potato where everyone gets wet and Peppa needs to find her Golden Boots. Another all-singing, all-dancing adventure full of songs, games and muddy puddles is guaranteed for all the family.

Peppa Pig returns live on stage with puppets and brilliant sing-a-long songs from BAFTA award-winning composer Mani Svavarsson. Richard Lewis adapts and directs this brand new show, following his previous successes with the first two Peppa Pig stage shows and the the current Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom tour.

Martin Ronan, Executive Producer, said, ‘Fiery Light are delighted to be presenting their third live Peppa show in 2013-2014. Following the huge success of Peppa Pig's Party and Peppa Pig's Treasure Hunt comes the biggest tour yet for Peppa. Touring the UK & Ireland for 47 weeks, Peppa Pig's Big Splash will be a fun-packed experience for all Peppa fans. To date Peppa Live has played to almost 650,000 people and as we approach the 10th anniversary of Peppa being a family favourite, we hope the new show will thrill fans up and down the country’.

Find out about Peppa Pig's Big Splash UK and Ireland Tour at www.peppapiglive.com

Dates close by in Surrey are:

SAT 2 – SUN 3 NOVEMBER FAIRFIELD HALL CONCERT HALL, CROYDON
Sat 2 at 1 & 4 pm www.fairfield.co.uk
Sun 3 at 10 am & 1 pm

TUES 5 – WED 6 NOVEMBER G LIVE, GUILDFORD
Tues 5 at 1 & 4 pm www.glive.co.uk
Wed 6 at 10 am & 1 pm



Saturday, 11 May 2013

Another fantastic National Trust Day Out - Hatchlands Park


As National Trust members we try to make as much use of our membership so that it effectively becomes pennies to enter some of these amazing properties and gardens. This weekend we went to Hatchlands Park and we loved it! We're trying to do some of the National Trust 50 Things to do before 11 and 3/4's with the kids and so over the weekend at Hatchlands they had pony rides which helped us to tick that off the list. 





If you live in the Surrey area and you've never been to Hatchlands then you should as the grounds are beautiful and at this time of year there is a bluebell wood in full swing. It's the first time I've ever seen so many bluebells in one place and it was so pretty. In order to make it appealing to the kids there were 'fairies' dotted around in the trees for them to spot. We did so much walking that day - we walked through the fields where cattle were grazing in order to get to the bluebells and on the way there was Wizard Wix Willow Warren, a natural adventure area for children, which they loved running around in. There were also dens ready made for the kids to sit and play in too. 



Here are a few more snaps of our day - it was so sunny and being outdoors all day was so good for us all. Roll on another weekend of outdoor fun!









Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

TheGallery


Spring Carnival

Friday, 10 May 2013

Should My Pre-schooler Already Be Learning To Read?

This morning I had a massive crisis of confidence about my parenting and in particular the fact that we’re not doing anything ‘phonic’ related at home in preparation for Isla starting reception in September. I was reading a few things on the train on the way to work and seemed to come across people talking about their pre-schoolers' reading alone – only small words admittedly – but words are words! Also that they were looking at phonics together at home. This had me in a bit of a panic. Are we doing enough at home? Is Isla already going to be behind the other children in terms of learning before she’s even started school?! 

Obviously she’s learning all the time, from all the things around her and as a parent I teach her but I don’t want to be her formal educator – I’m not trained to do that. I planned for her to start her formal education at school and in turn I would learn how to assist her learning by taking the lead from her teachers. But now I feel like we’re somehow behind. I don’t want to feel pressure over these things, as that will in turn lead me to pressurise her. I want learning to be fun in these early stages and I was happy with what she knew until I started making comparisons to others and I guess that is the crux of this whole thing. Making comparisons is very dangerous, our children aren’t all the same and I need to remember this. What one child finds easy another finds difficult and vice versa. So should I worry about this and am I doing her a disservice by not getting the Jolly Phonics books out now and getting her on the reading ladder before she starts school? Should I already be thinking about whether she is going to be top or bottom of the class? That last question sounds like crazy talk to me but I have a feeling that things become rather competitive once school starts.

I’m a bit torn. With Isla being a July baby she will be one of the younger ones in her year, so that could be a drawback and she *may* not be as ready to learn as some of her elder peers, so perhaps this is a key reason to give her a head start? Then again if she starts familiarising herself with it all now is there a risk that she will be bored of it when the time comes to do it at school? We read to the kids every day at home, and they have loads of books. I actively encourage spending time reading together as I feel it’s really important. I loved reading as a child and always had my nose in a book rather than watching TV and I’d love for them to be that way too. Isla also knows about half of the alphabet, she doesn’t know it all – is this a worry? Should I be green-housing her for the next 3 months so she knows all of it!? She can also write her own name (albeit with the S round the wrong way) and can count pretty well. This morning I’ve found myself trying to think of all the things she can do and it’s quite frankly made my head hurt and is unfair on her. I put the question out to my facebook friends who on the whole suggested that I do as much with Isla as she is comfortable with, play letter games and maybe start with a few letter sounds, and in no way make it feel like a chore, which all sounds like sensible advice.

Interestingly there is an article in the Guardian today referring to the very subject of whether summer babies are at a disadvantage and evidence is conflictual. If you look at statistics of those who get into Oxbridge or Cambridge, then a baby born in October has a 30% higher chance than a baby born in July. Now I’m obviously not saying that at this early stage in Isla’s life my eyes are on Oxford or Cambridge (that would be ridiculous – although I know some parents eyes are firmly in that direction before conception in some cases!) but it does seem to suggest that an enjoyable fumble between me and my OH in October led to us setting our kids up at a disadvantage straight away. Then again, apparently Barack Obama, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Stephen Fry are all highly intelligent summer babies so maybe the statistics shouldn't be believed.

What do you think? Do you have summer babies who are thriving at school and are ahead of their elder friends in their studies? Do I have reason to worry and should I be hot footing it down to Foyles in my lunch break to pick up all the Jolly Phonics books I can lay my hands on? I’d really love to know what you currently do/ did with your pre-schoolers.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Walkers Hoops and Crosses Review



This weekend we got a little surprise of a packet of the new Walkers 'Hoops and Crosses' and they were accompanied by a cute Monkey - this worked brilliantly as Isla immediately claimed the monkey and Noah claimed the crisps. The packet lasted all of 3 minutes. We were sent Roast Beef flavour and I already knew that Isla wouldn't like them as she's not really adventurous with flavours - she is a cheese flavour crisp fanatic. However before I knew it Noah was making his way through half the bag and I hadn't even had a go yet! We shared the rest and I really liked them and it was clear that he did too at the rate they were disappearing down his neck!
  • Each bag has 85 calories - they are a baked snack so have less fat
  • Hoops and Crosses are made from 56% wholegrains - which is great as experts agree that a healthy balanced diet should include wholegrain but around 27% of kids don't get any at all
  • They have no artificial colours or preservatives 
  • They come in three flavours – all suitable for vegetarians (prawn cocktail, roast beef, salt and vinegar) 
My thoughts on these crisps are that they are really tasty and have a good crunch and it feels like there are plenty in the packet. They would make a great lunchtime/ lunchbox snack. They are fun, the hoops and crosses appeal to kids sense of fun, the hoops work well as rings on little fingers, you could also play a game of noughts and crosses with them. Noah rather liked them as glasses....



My only comment would reflect the fact that most brands of crisps have a cheese variant and I think a cheesy flavour would be great in this range. We're looking forward to trying out the other flavours soon.


I was sent a packet of Walkers Hoops and Crosses and a cuddly monkey for the purposes of this post. This is a sponsored review and all opinions are my own.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Race for Life Training

So as I mentioned at the beginning of the week I'm running Race for Life at the end of the month. I decided that this will be my cue to get fit! So on Wednesday after finishing work at lunchtime I put on my exercise kit (it still fits after a 2 year break - good sign!) and stepped outside my front door to have a light jog and see how I got on.

Well I was pretty pleased with what I did actually considering I have done no real exercise in about a year (do a few Zumba classes count?) and I've not exactly been a healthy eater. I just did a 20 minute circuit locally to me that I calculated afterwards was about 1.6 miles. I jogged the whole way, and surprisingly I didn't have my usual mental battle going on of "I can't do this" the entire time. In fact my mind was pretty clear and I enjoyed the whole thing.

Only things I did wrong were to not take water, I know it was only a short jog but I did feel like I needed a slurp and I took the wrong key and ended up being locked out!! Durrr. Luckily my neighbour didn't mind having my sweaty personage on her property for a bit!

So there we have it. I've started training and it feels good. I plan to jog the same route again tomorrow and then next week I have an even better route in mind from my office to Victoria station which will take me past Buckingham Palace! Looking forward to that one! Will keep you posted.

If you would like to sponsor me you can do so here: https://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/sharondonnelly0/

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Race for Life 2013 - Support Me to Raise Some Dough




BRIOCHE PASQUIER UK LAUNCHES FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT CANCER RESEARCH UK’S RACE FOR LIFE 

This year Brioche Pasquier UK, French Family Bakers since 1936, are supporting Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life. The new champion sponsor of Race for Life hopes to raise £15,000 to help fund vital research to beat over 200 types of cancer, as well as offering up to £10,000 worth of free child entry vouchers in the lead-up to race days throughout the UK.

Me, back in 1999, before my first Race for Life in Cardiff!

I will be running Race for Life in Guildford at the end of May and I'm really looking forward to it. I first ran Race for Life in 1999 in Cardiff with my best friend as that's where she lived at the time. It was a great event then - I looked back in my diary to that day and my comment about it was that I was breathing like Darth Vader by the end of it - my fitness is not so great now, so they'll be no change there then this year! Since then I've taken part 6 times and I've loved it everytime. There is such a feeling of cameraderie and that everyone is in it together. I was first inspired to run as my Grandfather had passed away from a form of bone cancer and it was my way of trying to do something positive in his memory. Since then in 2009 my Dad was diagnosed with Myeloma and other family members have also suffered, most recently my wonderful Nan who is about to be treated in the next couple of weeks. So you see it affects a lot of people and it's the work of Cancer Research UK that helps to keep the likes of my Dad and Nan surviving. This year I'll be running the race with both of them first and foremost in my mind. If you fancy sponsoring me then you can do so at 


If everyone I know sponsored me a teeny tiny £1 it would be fantastic! I've been very lucky to be sponsored by the Race Sponsors at Brioche Pasquier to the tune of £250, so any more on top of that would be amazeballs.
Brioche Pasquier have got two fantastic Race for Life promotions that are worth checking out:

The first of the promotions, ‘Run with Your Mum’ packs, hit shelves recently in leading supermarkets and will be included on the filled brioche range. The initiative is to encourage up to 1,000 mums to run with their children by covering the £10 entry fee for the child.

The second promotion, ‘Raise Some Dough’, which runs throughout June and July gives customers the opportunity to win donations of up to £100 to send to friends or family taking part in a Race for Life event through their JustGiving page - or alternatively they can simply donate to the Brioche Pasquier Race for Life team.

At over 200 Race for Life events this summer, Brioche Pasquier UK will also be rewarding every participant crossing the finish line with a sample from PITCH, its filled brioche range. In addition, Brioche Pasquier will be hosting a variety of exciting experiential activities across 10 events, enhancing the overall race day experience for participants and their families.

If you fancy entering Race for Life, e
nter now at www.raceforlife.org or via the hotline on 0845 600 6050. The entry fee is £14.99 for adults and £10 for girls 16 and under. This covers the costs of staging the event series and means that money raised in sponsorship can go to help beat cancer. Events take place across the UK from May until the end of September


Facts about Race for Life

· Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is the UK’s largest women-only event series that helps raise vital funds to help beat cancer

· Since Race for Life started in 1994, an incredible six million participants have raised over £493million, more than any other UK event series raising money to fund cancer research

· Race for Life raises money that goes towards beating over 200 types of cancer affecting both men and women


Facts About Cancer Research UK

· Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
The charity’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.

· Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated

Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years

Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses

Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook