2nd Anniversary Giveaway

I’ve been writing this here blog for 2 whole years now. It’s gone so quick, I’ve loved and hated blogging in equal measure over the course of this year but ultimately I do enjoy it and when I do actually get 5 to myself I do have great fun writing it.

I have enjoyed talking to other bloggers and have laughed and cried reading so many talented writers posts. Here are some of my favourite bloggers and their posts.

• This tearjerker about adoption called Why did you leave me? from Alan at OMG it’s a girl

• This one from proud Dad Martyn at Inside Martyn’s Thoughts after his little man remembered how to contact 999 when his Dad had a fall.

• I love Northern Dad Julian’s entire blog just because he’s slightly bonkers but always make me laugh out loud. I particularly like this one because it reminds me of myself!

• This hilarious take on Alanis Morrisette’s Ironic from Gemma at Life is Knutts 

Looking forward to more from these guys to whom I also want to say a massive thankyou for always being supportive!!

This year has brought around lots of opportunities for me and some genuinely lovely items to review. My favourites have been these Star Wars Itty Bittys just the cutest little dudes ever! This BABY Born Interactive Doll that my daughter absolutely fell in love with and still plays with on a daily basis and last but not least this review I did for Lucas Frank Clothing  the tops we were sent turned out to be 2 that my son is wearing to death as his favourite colour is green.

So onto the giveaway is it! This year I’m giving away a lovely little treat bundle which includes:

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• A set of Remington Big Style Air Rollers

• A box of Marks & Spencer Swiss Chocolates

• A set of Skippy Peanut Butters – 1 Smooth, 1 Crunchy plus a spreader.

To be in with a chance of winning just enter via the Rafflecopter below.

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1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only.
2. There is no cash alternative offered.
3. To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget above.
4. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries.
5. The giveaway will run until Midnight 11/12/16 
6. Once the giveaway is over the winner will be contacted for their details to arrange postage of their prize 🙂

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Sympathy Empathy Wimpathy

Driving to work I ran over a squirrel, he was already dead mind you but I felt really bad for him. He would have no idea about of course but still I felt terribly guilty. How would I feel in his situation? Well dead, probably.

Sometimes though I think I empathise and ‘put myself in another person’s shoes’ a little too much. I’m the type of person who overthinks absolutely everything to a ridiculous degree. The Other Half and I argue all the time over discipline of the teen. He thinks if he’s stupidly late home he should be locked out end of. I however would panic that something would happen, what if he freezes to death, what if aliens, what if clowns, what if some idiot decided to hurt him just for fun ? I just can’t follow it through. Is it a maternal thing or just my nature? He says I’m just a soft touch, a wimp. I need to put my foot down and be tougher.

Sometimes I take it way too far like with poor old Sammy Squirrel. I’ve also found myself feeling sorry for a lone bean left in the tin. I mean come on! I still have to fish the poor sod out, even though I’m sending him to a certain death by boiling him in tomato sauce anyway. Not sure which is worse but I wouldn’t want him to be all lonely and stuff.

Other things I feel sorry for include:

• Dolls my daughter has stripped down naked. Have to redress them at night, OMG what if they got cold? Poor buggers, I’d never forgive myself.

• The last cake left. How on earth people work in Greggs is beyond me. I’d never be able to let that last doughnut be alone. I’d retire looking like Violet Beauregarde.

• The poor Malteser that rolled under the sofa. Can’t bring myself to eat that one though. Can I?

• Older people who look really shocked when you smile at them. I carry on walking whilst worrying to myself whether I should have invited them home for a cuppa, what if they haven’t spoken to anyone in weeks? More likely they just think I’m a right weirdo and hope I won’t nick their handbag.

• This sweet that someone left in the dish at work, who in their right mind leaves a sweet all alone in the world. What kind of monsters am I working with?

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• Other peoples kids that cry in town. Now that kid could be crying because their Mum said no to them taking the plastic owl home from outside Greggs that’s there to scare the pigeons – not that the pigeons care they stick up 2 claws behind it’s back and spark up a fag- but hey that kid thought it was the cutest thing ever despite it having barely any paint on it and looking like it had a rough night at the Billy’s Bird Bar. Still makes me feel all ‘aww love him’.

Is it a bad thing that I feel so much sympathy/empathy/wimpathy should I ‘man up’ so to speak or is it good that I’m one of lifes carers? Do you ever find yourself feeling sorry for something completely random?

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Our Halloween In Review

We enjoy Halloween, we don’t go crazy like some of my friends who really do go all out and decorate their whole house but we do enjoy seeing the trick or treaters and having a bit of Halloween fun. We tend to stay home and have fun there, this year was no different.

What We Ate

The lovely people at Lékué sent us some great cake moulds to use. Any excuse to make cake hey? They sent us a fantastic Pumpkin 3D cake mould and a Halloween mould to make the cakes with.

The moulds are made from easy to use and easy to clean silicone, they of course were bright orange and just perfect for Halloween. Now I’m no top baker so I must admit I was really nervous about totally naffing it up however they were so easy to use you couldn’t really get anything wrong. A suggested recipe was included with the Pumpkin mould and this was the one we used to make our cake. The cake mould comes apart in two halves and has a well in the middle so that when you remove the cake from the mould you can actually fill the hole with sweets. What’s not to like? We mixed up all the ingredients poured the mixture into the hole at the top of the mould with a jug and put it into the oven (as it was with no tray required underneath).

The cake came away easily from the mould – we used a little oil brushed over it which was suggested for the first few uses and none of the cake was stuck on removal once the cake had cooled for a while. We then cut out some eyes,nose and mouth and filled the holes with melted chocolate to make it look more like a cut out pumpkin. You can see below how it came out along with a pumpkin my daughter made with the Halloween mould again filled in with melted chocolate.

We were very pleased with the way the cakes came out and stuffed our faces silly with them. I hadn’t actually heard of Lékué  prior to my review, they are an innovative Spanish cookware brand from Barcelona and on checking our their site they have lots of brilliant ideas for cooking, baking and even recipes. You can find them on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

What We Drank

We were sent some really gorgeous Crystal Head Vodka from the fab people at 31Dover which really was beautiful. The pictures really don’t do it justice. In ‘real life’ it really is so pretty not sure that’s the right word for a skull but I’m sticking with it! Plus vodka. Win. Canadian Vodka filtered through crystals no less.

Crystal Head is the creation of actor Dan Aykroyd and artist John Alexander who both shared an avid interest in the legend of the 13 crystal heads.  These crystal heads were found in regions around the world and according to urban legend are thought to possess spiritual powers. That’s just wet your pants exciting stuff. And that couldn’t be more ideal for Halloween if it tried could it!!

The vodka itself is 40% vol and has a lovely flavour none of your cheap burny stuff it’s really clean and no nasty aftertaste. My one and only complaint is that I wanted more😀 I was sent the  50 ml version, I think they’ve heard what a loud and silly drunk I am and wanted to protect my poor neighbours😉

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They have a whole host of drink choices for your parties or just you know because it’s a day with y in it. You can find them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.


I was also very excited to be sent some Coldpress Pumpkin Power juice. No Halloween is complete without pumpkin and this is a healthy drinkable version! It’s made from pumpkin puree, apple juice, carrot puree, apple puree, pineapple juice and lemon juice with a little bit of ginger puree and cinnamon.

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We were sent both 250 and 500 ml bottles to try and we thought they were yummy. I found the taste very much reminded me of carrot cake so if you’re a lover of that you won’t go far wrong with this! It’s a bright orange (naturally) easy to drink smooth juice. You can also feel all smug about drinking it as it has no added sugar and a 150ml serving counts as one of your 5 a day. They’re suitable for vegans.

Coldpress juices are cold pressed and not heated so they have more taste, vitamins and nutrients than conventional pasteurised juices.

The juices are available to purchase:

  • 500ml – £2.79 Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Whole Foods, Ocado, Budgens.
  • 250ml – £1.49 Waitrose, Ocado, Whole Foods.

Coldpress can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

What Amused Us

Last but not least were the ever so sweet Limited Edition Wizard of Oz Itty Bitty’s we were sent from Hallmark UK. We received the Wicked Witch and Good Witch. Now she might be called the Wicked Witch but the Itty Bitty version of her couldn’t be cuter if it tried! She has her trademark hat, corset style dress and cape. Glinda the good witch has a pink dress and silver crown and both are made from a super soft plush material which went down a storm with the kids. They have sewn in detailing to the facial features and clothing and are well made. They are around 13cm tall just right for small hands as you can see from the picture of my son.

They got a bit cheeky though and tried to get in on the cake action😉 we have had some Itty Bitty’s before and we were really pleased that these were just as huggable as the others. There are lots of different types you can get at Hallmark UK stores or Amazon.

You can find Hallmark UK on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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*All products featured were gifted for the purpose of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*

 

Shall we naff off then?

My Mum and I went to a restaurant today. I use the term ‘went’ loosely because by ‘went’ i mean we attended said establishment however after we were shown to our table in a corner in the busiest, noisiest place I have ever set foot in and my Mum had to wait to sit down because the girl at the table 6 inches away from us decided to take her time removing her coat with elbows all over the shop like a dancing toddler, my Mum started doing her signature ‘getting her hair off face’. Not a good start. We picked up a menu and shouted “what do you fancy” like literally shouted. She looked at me. I looked at her. “This isn’t for us is it?” I said. “Not quite what I was expecting no” she said. “Shall we naff off then?” I said. The relief literally jumped out of her and did a jig. Only we had to get out of there.

Now a few years ago I would have run out, phone clamped to my ear shouting “what do you mean she’s vomiting so much it’s like a Nanny Plum jelly flood? I’ll be right there” grimace at the dude on the door and run.

Not this time however. I am finally one of them there adults. I didn’t rush. I didn’t lie. I looked him straight in the eye and said “mate it’s too busy in here and the noise is doing my head in.” And left. He just looked on flabberghasted. Did I feel bad? Nope. It wasn’t like we were the only people in a bar full of tumbleweed, they were busy. Did I feel all smug that I’d done it rather than being all British and smiling and telling them how great it was despite dying slightly inside? Too bloody right. This of course wasn’t their fault. They want the place to be busy that’s the whole point, this was my personal opinion.

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It reminds me of the time back when I met my partner. He painted my house, a mutual friend of ours that worked with him kept telling me how “his butty was single” (if you’re not Welsh I’m NOT talking about his sandwich here) and how I should go out with him. I sniggered but eventually handed over my number. Which I found out years later he’d promptly chucked in the bin thinking his mate was joking.

We did eventually go on a date though to a local pub. It was lovely. For our 2nd date I got to choose where we went and I picked a local hotel that had a nice restaurant. I got dressed up and we went. Only the look on his face said it all as the guy at the door looked him up and down took my coat.

“This is a bit f**king fancy isn’t it?” he said as he eyed up the cutlery set up on the table. The tinkly piano music in the background. My brain started screaming ‘Oh God, I HAVE MADE A HUGE MISTAKE’.

‘How can I get out of this?’I started panicking. He hates it. It’s too posh. The b**tard is common as muck. Egg on his chips kind of guy. What the hell was I thinking?

“Right lets go” spills out of my mouth without meaning to. He nods. We get up. Half walk, half run to the door. I grab my coat. We shout “sorry gotta go” over our shoulders and leg it to the car.

Then drove to a Harvester instead. And we laughed and laughed. That’s how we knew we were meant to be.

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Bratz Instapets Cloe Review

Bratz Instapets  made by MGA Entertainment, Inc. are a cute little doll/Kawaii spirit animal combo, we got to review Cloe who comes with her perfect pig bobble head.

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She is clad in sweet pink clothing with a piggy face on her t-shirt, naturally and has lots of accessories as well as the trademark ‘Bratz lips’.

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  1. Heart shaped sunglasses
  2. Piggie Bobble head
  3. Bratz lips shaped hairbrush
  4. Pig ear headband
  5. Mobile phone
  6. Pig mobile phone cover
  7. Pig earrings

Obviously all the accessories are piggie themed to go with the pig being Cloe’s spirit animal.  The mobile phone fits inside the cover and will sit in her hand if you place it at the right angle. The Bobble head has a little stand and my daughter found this very amusing to wobble around.The earrings come with posts like real earrings and can be pushed into holes that are present in the dolls ear’s. I had to do this carefully as I felt I might bend it too much and snap it so might be something you want to do yourself if your child is particularly heavy handed. The sunglasses and headband fit the doll.

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She also has oversized boots that all the dolls wear in a fab turquoise colour. This girl is all about style! She is poseable and bends at the elbows, wrists, hips and knees and her head can be turned.

The Instapets collection is all about showing off your adorable pet by snapping cute pics and posting it on Instagram, or dressing head to toe in an outfit inspired by your kawaii cute spirit animal.

Our spirit animals are super adorbs. We’re totally obsessed! Our pet-inspired #OOTD’s are going to make a fierce squad selfie!

Says the blurb on the back of the box. Along with a picture of all the other dolls in the series.

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You can also download the Bratz App as shown on the box from the Apple Store or Google Play and follow Bratz on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

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As you can see she’s been a big hit with my daughter who had added her to her ever growing prized collection of dolls!

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*We received the doll free of charge for the purposes of this review however all opinions remain honest and our own*

Baby Annabell Learns To Walk Review

Baby Annabell Learns To Walk  from Zapf Creation is a gorgeous baby doll who can sit, walk, crawl and babble as well as having a little tantrum!

She comes in a box with pictures showing the different things she can do with the distinctive Zapf Creation Baby Annabell Branding – including the little sheep!

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She’s a 16″ doll, clad in a cute sleepsuit and hat combo, a sweet little face and is just the right size for cuddling. She has moveable joints in her arms, legs and head to allow her to move around. You do need a screwdriver to open the battery compartment and add 4 xAA batteries (which are not included). To switch her on slide the button on her side and away you go.

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The position you put her in determines how she reacts so for example if you bend her knees and elbows and pop her face down she will crawl and babble which is ever so sweet! She will carry on crawling for 60 seconds before going to sleep which is great for saving battery life.

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Or if you straighten her legs stand her with her feet flat on the floor and hold her arms upwards she will walk. Again for 60 seconds or if you press her tummy button she’ll carry on.

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As with lots of children she also gets frustrated and has a little tantrum to do this you need to sit her up, straighten her legs and put her arms straight down by her sides. Her bottom needs to be flat on the floor to work. She also wiggles her arms and legs while she has her little tantrum. I actually it was cute rather than annoying though! This continues for 25 seconds and then she’ll sleep.

Since my daughter is obsessed with anything to do with dolls and babies naturally she loved her. I’m sure Baby Annabell is now able to walk and crawl like a pro – she’s had plenty of practice!

She does has a bit of a mechanical sound as she moves however my daughter didn’t notice or mention it so I don’t think it takes anything away from the fun. She would make a lovely Christmas present for a little one who has expressed an interest in a doll as she just has that something extra special for hours of play.

Baby Annabell is suitable for children aged 3 years and upwards and has an RRP of  £49.99. You can also find Zapf Creation on Twitter and Facebook.

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*We received the doll free for the purpose of this review however all opinions are honest and our own*

Shopkins: Chef Club Movie Review

If you have little ones I’d be very surprised if you haven’t heard of Shopkins. Shopkins are grocery store themed collectables that kids go mad for (mine definitely do). Now they have their very own movie coming out on Thursday 27th October called  Shopkins: Chef Club from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment which we got to see early to review.

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Once the kids got their plushies ready to watch with them they settled down for the fun. The movie starts with the recognisable Shopkins theme which got the kids very excited, it also introduced all the ‘actors’ like any other movie which I thought was a cute touch. The characters in the film are a mixture of Shoppies and Shopkins with old favourites and new characters.

Shopkins

  • Cheeky Chocolate
  • Lippy Lips
  • Kooky Cookie
  • Apple Blossom
  • Buncho Bananas
  • Nina Noodles
  • Bessie Bowl
  • Miss Sprinkles

Shoppies

  • Bubbleisha
  • Jessicake
  • Donatina
  • Peppa-Mint

Peppa-Mint tells us all in a song ‘Tell Me What’s Cooking’ what Chef Club is all about. The Shoppies/Shopkins split into groups and are told they need to cook 4 dishes well in order to get into the Chef Club, all are up for it. They are sent off to get their ingredients at the supermarket where chaos ensues, a bit like shopping on a Saturday afternoon with the kids😉

I don’t want to spoil too much of the movie as you’ll obviously want to see it for yourselves but there’s lots of mess (think your kitchen when you have the bright idea of letting the kids help with the cooking) and funny moments as they compete against each other to be the best team. With Donatina counting strands of spaghetti to Nina Noodles sounding like my grumpy teenager and Bubbleisha going all out to ensure she wins with a few ideas up her sleeve. The theme running through the movie seems to be Bubbleisha feeling under appreciated, craving praise and wanting to be the best. You’ll have to watch to find out if she manages to win everyone round though!

Little Man says: “It was awesome, my favourite character is Kooky Cookie”

Little Lady says: “It’s really good, my favourite character is Bubbleisha”

My kids loved the Shopkins: Chef Club movie and I thought at just under 45 minutes it’s long enough to keep their attention without them getting fed up or fidgety.


FIRST EVER SHOPKINS™ FILM, SHOPKINS™: CHEF CLUB MARKED WITH THE UK’S LARGEST HOME SCREENING PREMIERE

Shopkins™ fans around the UK will, at 4pm on Thursday 27th October, be hosting their own Shopkins™: Chef Club screenings – and you’re invited.

To celebrate the launch of the film to DVD and digital download fans up and down the country are eagerly getting their hands on the coveted film, which launches on 24th October.

Fun premiere packs which include downloadable invites, Shopkins™: Chef Club hats, Poppy Corn popcorn cones, a premiere check list, and a personalisable welcome sign will be also available at http://www.shopkinsworld.com – just don’t forget your besties and the popcorn!

The film will see new Shoppie in town Peppa-Mint attempt to win over the friendship of the other Shoppies Bubbleisha, Jessicake and Donatina with the help of their Shopkin friends. It also boasts a host of catchy new songs and quirky costumes that have never been seen before!

Shopkins™ fans can buy or download the film from 27th October.

What: Shopkins™ fans all over the UK will be watching Shopkins™: Chef Club simultaneously – get your copy and join the fun!
Where: Your living room
When: 4pm, Thursday 27th October
How: Buy or download the film here – then just grab your besties, print out your #ShopkinsChefClub hats and enjoy. Don’t forget to share your favourite bits using #ShopkinsChefClub.

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*We got to watch the movie free for the purpose of this review however all opinions remain honest and our own*

Candyland Halloween Sweet Champions Review

This has to be one of my favourite review posts of all time! Opening the bags I’m transported back to my childhood – a time before I had a dodgy perm and braces. The days when your Mum said you could have a 10p mix up and you got Black Jacks and Fruit Salads. The times whilst at comp we’d have an actual ice cream van on the school grounds at lunchtime and we’d have a naughty Wham bar and Astro belt after the ham roll hastily shoved in our gobs!


We got to try out a Candyland 200g Sweet Champions Halloween assorted mix and a 300g Sweet Champions Halloween lollies pouch. This time there’s a bit of a twist some of those well loved favourites are now in lolly form. Exciting stuff. The kids looked on incredulous as their Dad & I reminisced about turning our tongues black and how they still taste exactly the same. I can’t believe I’d forgotten that cola Frosties were absolutely my favourite sweets and somehow they managed to find their way into my handbag😉

They both contain Black Jack, Fruit Salad, Dip Dab & Refreshers lollies and the Halloween mix bag also has Original, Brew and Strawberry Wham bars which can confirm are just as yummy as they always were!

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The kids of course had a try, I the Refreshers and Fruit Salad lollies seemed to be the firm favourites for them. These would make a great choice for your trick or treaters, without breaking the bank.  We do tend to get a lot of callers so it makes sense to stock up on inexpensive treats. I love it though, so lovely to see little ones in their costumes. Since we munched our way through most of them I’ll have to buy some more before Halloween😉

Sweet Champions Halloween 200g Assorted Bag MRRSP £1 available from Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys.

Sweet Champions Halloween 300g Lolly Pouch MRRSP £2 from Asda

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*We were sent the sweets free for the purposes of this review however all opinions remain honest and our own*

Getting A Teen Out Of Bed

Right now you may have little ones and be experiencing  5.30a.m morning wake ups and sit there wishing they ‘would just stay in bed and give you a lie in’. STOP. Karma will come around and kick you right up the bum when they turn into a teenager and you can’t get the sod out of bed for love nor money. Here are the stages of getting said teenager up that happen in our house. Insert Spongebob style ’10 minutes later’ between each one.

Stage 1

This is the stage where you’re still optimistic that today will be the day that they get up without the hassle. Pahahahahaha.You knock the door whilst steeling yourself for the stench, run in and shake them awake cheerily telling them if they get up now there’s plenty of time for shower, breakfast and a cuppa.

Stage2

10 minutes later you realise there is no movement going on upstairs and stomp back up in the hope that your heavy footsteps will get them shifting. Does it heck. They’re still lying there bleary eyed saying “what?”. Keep calm, they’re bound to get up soon, they’ll be worried about being late.Right?!

Stage 3
Now you’re getting your hair off, they’re taking the mickey. So you go up and threaten them that if you have to come up again you’ll be bringing a bucket of water. They sigh and moan “for god’s sake” under their breath. Yes, because obviously I’m doing this for fun. It’s the highlight of my day don’t you know?! I really don’t have anything better to do like sticking hot pokers in my eyes, the usual.

Stage 4

Right they’re still not up. So you realise it’s time to make good on your threat to throw water. You spend a few minutes looking for the bucket you bought the kids at the beach in the summer and when you remember they’re probably at the back of the shed with the false widows and tube webs you decide ‘sod that for a laugh’ and just grab the mop bucket, chuck the mouldy smelling mop across the kitchen in annoyance and fill it up. Drag the heavy sodding thing up the stairs only to find right at the last second the teen will magically launch themselves out of bed and shout “I was up, stop stressing” You fight the urge to drench the cheeky git anyway, grit your teeth muttering about ‘lazy bloody kids’ lug the bucket back downstairs and get ready to start fighting ‘get dressed and ready wars’ where they’ll race down the stairs – steady on- to shout about the favourite t-shirt/skinny jeans/trainers they can’t find and you’ve obviously moved. Believe me mate I wouldn’t touch your stinky clodhoppers if my life depended on it!

So honestly, if you are reading this bleary eyed at the crack of a sparrow’s fart then just remember it’ll come full circle in a few years time.

Are your teens like this too? Are you one of the lucky ones who’s teens get up without a fuss?

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Fruit Bowl Mango Flakes Review

We have been trying out some Mango Flakes from Fruit Bowl. They’re described as:

Deliciously fruity flakes made by drying a blend of apple & mango purees and fruit juices

Fruit Bowl are all about helping parents get the kids eating healthier with their range of fruity snacks. We’ve tried their Fruit Peelers before which were a big hit. There are also bars, yoghurt coated flakes, shapes, little fruit bowl and picked & pressed to chose from so lots of choice and ways to get the kids eating more fruit.

They come as a multipack of 6 x 18g which is a size just right for lunchboxes, after school snacks or just when the kids decide they want a snack (32569 billion times a day with my kids!) they contain no nasties, only natural colours & flavours, are gluten & dairy free and are vegetarian society approved. They also count as 1 of your 5 a day which is great for getting the fruit & veg intake up.

The first thing you notice when you open the pack is the smell, they smell really fruity and taste just as yummy. They are naturally sweet (there’s no added sugar) and have a nice chewy texture so make a great alternative to sweets or crisps. My children really liked them, I’m lucky in that they like to eat fruit anyway but it’s always like to have different things for them to try. They only contain 58 calories per pack so if you’re also keeping an eye on what you’re eating they make a good option for adults too. Fab for taking to work instead of frequenting that cake shop;-)

The flakes can also be used in baking, there are some tasty looking recipes for you to try out on the Fruit Bowl website.

The packs we received also had some lovely National Geographic Kids stickers in and you can get  35% off a year’s subscription to National Geographic Kids magazine by going to http://www.ngkids.co.uk/subscribe and using the code NGFRB1.

They also come in Raspberry, Strawberry, Blackcurrant flavours and a multipack mixture of 12 packs. They are available to purchase from supermarkets (Asda, Tesco, Morrison’s, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Budgens) nationwide. And also available from Ocado. RRP is £2 for a pack of 6.

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