24/03/2017

#ThankGoodness for Dolmio!

Too busy to cook? Rather the kids eat their cooked meal at school or the family have a takeaway? I think all of the those apply to most of us from time to time! The added problem we have in this household is that, most night's either I'm at work or Hubby is. The monkey's therefore, often eat before we do. It's only once or twice a week we can all sit down to eat together as a family.

Mid week, last week was one of those days. I therefore decided to cook one of our favourite meals! Lasagna. Made my way (and according to hubby, THE BEST way!)

From the ingredients below I used the food that was kindly supplied by Dolmio to cook up a huge lasagna. Making my own cheese sauce (instead of a bechamel sauce) and using two jars of Original Dolmio, containing no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweeteners. Thank Goodness! 
I started by softening onion in a saucepan, adding some garlic and then browning the mince and some chopped pancetta - an extra ingredient to add a bit of flavour. Next I added diced mushrooms.
Then I added two jars of Original Dolmio sauce. 
Here's what is in one Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g Jar! 100% natural. "At least 10 juicy diced tomatoes, a dollop of tomato puree, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs including basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water and nothing more. In fact, a jar provides a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each and that’s before you add any further veg to the meal!"
I stirred the sauce into the meat, adding some more herbs, worcester sauce, brown fruity sauce, salt and pepper, then left it all to simmer.

Meanwhile I made the cheese sauce! Making a roux with the melted butter and some of the flour, I added milk and the remaining flour to the pan. Slowly bringing the sauce to the boil, whilst stirring and then simmering to thicken, I added lots of grated cheddar.
Once the sauce was ready and the meat had cooked, then cooled, I made the Lasagna up to pop into the oven. Layering the meat, sauce and lasagna sheets, ending up with a top layer of cheese sauce and more grated cheddar! Mmm.....Looking good, even though I say so myself! 
Whilst the lasagna baked in the oven for 45 minutes, I prepared a side salad and cooked up some garlic bread. Here's the finished dish ready to be devoured by the family!
Sitting at the table together we tucked into the delicious healthy mid week dish, grateful for Dolmio and the opportunity to enjoy a family meal together. Dolmio Thank Goodness!
The males even feature in a video clip we did, letting us know their thoughts on the meal! 

Please excuse the recorded Essex accent! I hate my voice....
Thanks to Dolmio (and my Lasagna making skills) we had a delicious meal! With the ingredients we were supplied I could have made another favourite...Spaghetti Bolognese or another meal I love.....Moussaka! The meals you can make using Dolmio sauces are endless.

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness


For more information visit Dolmio or if you’re looking for mid-week meal inspiration check out the label on Dolmio jars.


Bellissimo!







 

21/03/2017

Smurfs from Schleich - Smurf House Playset with Papa Smurf, Gargamel and Azrael - Review

Who remembers the Smurfs from their childhoods? They more recently featured in new Smurf movies and have another out this month - Smurfs: The Lost Village. We've been investigating the Smurf House Playset with Papa Smurf, Gargamel and Azrael from Schleich! 
Everyone's favourite blue characters are embarking on a whole new adventure this year in Smurfs: The Lost Village. Schleich's cute collectable range is the perfect way to recreate the blockbuster movie!

The Playset needs putting together upon opening the box. Aimed at 3-8 year olds, this does need doing by an adult. There are instructions in the box but I was able to fathom out how to put the set together without them. It was all pretty straightforward.
Each 'section' is bagged up and inside the mushroom roof of the house and the main body of it. Once 'constructed' it looks just like it does on the box. 
The pieces are plyable and largley slotted easily into place. The windows open and close and have shutters on. The roof lifts off. The shutters open and close too as does the front door! That also has a key in it which does 'lock' the door. 
The quality of the playset is very robust with great attention to detail. Each of the three charachters that come in the set are realistic. There's Papa Smurf, Gargamel and Azrael. Little monkey has been able to use his imagination to play with the characters and the house. He is 6. There are no lights or sounds, so therefore no batteries required, this playset is all about making your own fun with the characters and house. How cool does Papa Smurf look!
The playset is £29.99, which, considering the detail and quality of the toy, I believe is reasonable. Children can play with this set on it's own or add the other Schleich Smurf toys to recreate scenes from the film! 

It's a quirky toy with it's signature red mushroom roof, Papa Smurf, Gargamel and his cat Azrael. Personally I wasn't sure at first but I like it! Little monkey seems to too.

I think it will last a good while and be played with over and over. I'm hoping my niece will love it when she gets older too. You can see more Smurf toys available from Schleich by clicking the link above.

We were sent this set for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
 

 



17/03/2017

Happy Birthday Sam! NEW DVD RELEASE - Sam's Birthday - DVD Giveaway!

With Easter fast approaching, I've a new giveaway for you! It will keep the kids entertained for a while or make a great Easter gift.

Everybody’s favourite fireman is back with a new DVD collection of tales and rescue in “Fireman Sam – Sam’s Birthday”, released by Abbey Home Media on Monday 3rd April 2017.
Join the ultimate hero next door and his crew for new, exciting adventures. Fireman Sam lives in the accident-prone town of Pontypandy, where he helps with fighting fires, manning the lifeboat, helping the mountain rescue, or joining up with the emergency medical services. With his colourful cast of helpers, he is always there to lend a hand!

In this new DVD release it’s Fireman Sam’s birthday and Charlie has asked Joe to make Sam a remote control model of Jupiter as a surprise present. At the Fire Station, Station Officer Steele has told Sam, as it’s his birthday, he should relax for the day. However, will the birthday party go ahead as planned for everyone’s favourite hero next door?

Episodes featured in this charming collection are:- Sam’s Birthday; Pontypandy in the Park; Paddle On; The Great Party Panic and Pizza Pandemonium


The monkeys used to love watching Fireman Sam (and still do from time to time). 

GIVEAWAY
Enter the rafflecopter form below to try and win a copy of this new DVD RELEASE - Sam's Birthday! Just complete the form by the closing date (Midnight Sunday 2nd April 2017). T&C's apply. Open to UK residents only. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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14/03/2017

The Lion Guard Soft Plush Talking Toy

One of my all time favourite Disney films is The Lion King. Big monkey has watched it but cried. He was very upset. I'm hoping the spin off The Lion Guard, is less upsetting for the monkeys! We've not seen it at all yet but little monkey has taken a real shine to Kion. His new super plush talking toy.

The Lion Guard Talking Plush characters available from Just Play Flair are Kion and Bunga. The 30cm plush characters feature a light up 'Mark of the Guard' arm badge and four phrases that are unique to each character. 
Kion, the youngest child of Simba and Nala gathers a team of animals to protect the Pride Lands. His 'fearsome' open mouth pose makes him ready to roar and take on every Pride Land adventure.
Kion, the son and youngest child of Simba and Nala. Follow him as he tries to assemble a team of animals to protect the Pride lands - See more at: http://www.flairplc.co.uk/brands/Lion_Guard/#sthash.VUMXTxOU.dpuf
Kion, the son and youngest child of Simba and Nala. Follow him as he tries to assemble a team of animals to protect the Pride lands - See more at: http://www.flairplc.co.uk/brands/Lion_Guard/#sthash.VUMXTxOU.dpuf
Kion, the son and youngest child of Simba and Nala. Follow him as he tries to assemble a team of animals to protect the Pride lands -

He roars, laughs and recites two phases from The Lion Guard and also lights up on his 'Mark of the Guard' arm badge which you press to make him talk!
Kion is well made, super soft and very lovable. Suitable from age 3+ he is the perfect companion for any animal loving and Lion Guard loving little person.
He has an on/off switch under his tummy and must not be washed, just sponge clean only. Just £24.99, I think he is worth every penny! We love him! 

We were sent Kion for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.





08/03/2017

Dressing For Lunch or Afternoon Tea With the Girls!

Now that Spring is finally here and the weather is getting better I can feel Afternoon Tea with the girls getting more appealing again. It's a 'little' treat where we can have a natter, catch up with what each of us has been up to and eat delicious finger sandwiches, sip tea and enjoy cake. What's not to love! 
Ultimately I think the lure of the occasional Afternoon Tea date with the girls, keeps me grounded and at the gym regularly, so that I can enjoy some guilty pleasures of the food and drink variety from time to time! 
The other thing about having Afternoon Tea with girlfriends or Lunch even, is what to wear! I do like to make an effort when going out but what to wear?
Dresses are always a good bet. No tight waistband around your middle, stylish and comfortable, they are a welcome change from the usual jeggings or jeans I tend to wear when being Mum or at work! 
I love this pink summer dress from the dress sale. It's from Gap at Zalando and under £35.
Photo credit: Zalando
This style suits my size and shape. It feels flattering and feminine. I also love this Jack Wills dress! Ideal for an outing with the girls.
Photo Credit: Jack Wills
Perhaps a little too short for me though! Definitely not for wearing around the monkeys! They would soon catch the lace with something. This one is also under £35! 
Of course no dress would look right without the perfect shoes or bag. Two more things that make this Mumma happy. 
I'm not a fan of heels. Largely because I can't actually walk in them! I quite like the pumps look with dresses.
These Navy converse are lovely. Of course they wouldn't go with the black dress but you get the idea! Perhaps they could be worn with navy chino's and a striped top.
Photo Credit: Zalando
Super comfy, they are much more my style. If something more dressy is required I like to wear wedge sandals. A versatile bag is of course a must! Something that holds the essentials and that goes with many different outfits.
Ultimately my friends just happy we can all get together now and again, and what we wear is just personal preference but if you can't make an effort for lunch or Afternoon Tea with the girls, then when can you! 

Via Love the Sales





03/03/2017

Petit-fernand Personalised labels - Review & Giveaway!

During half term we had a School Uniform check list to search though - obviously some children were not complying to the list 100%. The only thing I needed to put right were the navy jogging bottoms for big monkeys PE. He had to wear black ones instead. Of course with any new school supplies (little monkey needed more white polo shirts and new school shoes), naming them is a must! We've had a few things left at school but they are labelled so are always found. Phew! Anyway, I'd almost run out of labels but Petit-fernand came to the rescue! 

A Paris-based company that offers original, fun and easy-to-use products. All of their products are 100% customisable, so that they can match your children's personalities. Specialising in personalised name labels, they cater for all the labelling needs a school child parent requires! 
I was asked if I would like to place an order for stick-on clothing labels. The order process was super easy! I headed for the value packs and designed our labels very quickly. You select the text font and icon (if you want one to personalise the label). Complete the text box, background colour and font colour, chose the type of label and then quantity. Of course you get to preview your design to check for mistakes or to make changes. 
I chose some labels for both monkeys and themed them in their favourite football team colours! Both have football icons on too! Along with stick on clothing labels for them both and school supply labels I ordered adhesive shoe labels for little monkeys new school shoes.
The labels arrived in a cute booklet which I think is a great idea! Not lost label sheets, all the labels together in one handy booklet which you can even carry in your handbag! I mean, even the most organised of us forgets to name vital items don't we! 
The mixture of labels for both monkeys are safely stapled together in the booklet with bonus stickers to add a bit of fun to school items, such as little monkeys new PE bag.
Delivery was quick, despite coming from overseas and I encountered no issues whatsoever. 
I shall certainly be recommending Petit-fernand to any of my friends looking to order name labels. They are wash and tumble dry resistant and delivery is free. With dispatch within 48hrs of ordering. Easy to peel off their paper sheets and quick to stick onto the items. 

GIVEAWAY
We teamed up with Petit-fernand to offer one reader £20 credit to use on the website. Please complete the rafflecopter form below. One winner will be drawn randomly after the closing date (Midnight Sunday 19th March 2017). T&C's apply. Open to UK residents only. Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
We were sent credit to order labels for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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