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Showing posts from October, 2011

Spooky Fishcakes - Fish is the Dish!

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The other week I went off up to Scotland to meet up with some Bloggers (Mum in the Mad House, Transatlantic Blonde, Frugal FamilyOff the Eaten Track, Mediocre Mum and Susan K Mann) and the good people who are part of Seafish. It was a great time and I learnt a lot about the fish industry, the history of fishing in the UK, a lot about fish packaging for supermarkets (which was actually very interesting), I ate more fish in two days than I think I had done in the entire month previously and I also found out that there is a small chance that Transatlantic Blonde's in laws and my Mum know each other after growing up in the same Scottish village. To give you some idea of the fun we had, take a look at this little video because I think it rocks and also I think that the tune should be my new theme tune that you all hum when you see me...

(Video can be seen at http://youtu.be/UMuDL322IB0)
So why did I go to meet these Bloggers and Seafish? Well, it was the start of the new campaign to …

Sainsbury's Puff Pastry Review

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We were sent a Sainsbury's giftcard to buy Puff Pastry and Sausages with. I had enough change to buy some Vampire teeth.
One of the things I love about Sainsbury's is how they have helped families see that they can feed their families nice and healthy food on a relatively small budget, the Live Well For Less name is an accurate description of what they are doing! The latest 5 Evening Meals for £20 has just been revealed too and there are a few meals there that I will add to the A Mothers Ramblings menu in the next few weeks. Some of our old favourites still haven't made it on to the Sainsbury's meal plans though, which is a shame because some of the by Sainsbury's products are absolutely perfect for them and so when we were asked if we would like to try out some of the range we thought we could try to persuade Sainsbury's to add Sausage Pie to a future meal plan by making that with two of the products.

I have talked about how easy it is to make Sausage Pie befo…

Amy's Kitchen Frozen Foods Review

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We were sent some vouchers to buy some of the Amy's Kitchen Range.

Since finding out that Daddy is coeliac there have been a few meals which he has missed because they can't be made without wheat (or at least I can't make them and you can't buy wheat free versions) and so he has had to put up with seeing adverts or new products that he would really like to try but he knows he can't eat. Then the lovely team at Amy's Kitchen approached me to let me know that they have wheat and gluten free products and sent me some vouchers to buy some of the range.

Daddy went to Sainsburys (they are also stocked in Asda and Waitrose, but Sainsburys was closest!) and brought the Vegetable Lasagne, the Mac and Cheese and two Burritos as they were all gluten free. The products are found in the frozen foods aisle, but have a home cooked taste about them. It was the home cooked taste that the founders of the company were looking for when they created the products when their own daug…

Splasha Towelling Wraps

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We were sent two Splasha Towelling wraps to review.

When we were at the Lego Duplo event the other week we went swimming with Jen and Maxi and Mini. It was great fun and both Big Boy and Top Ender were exhausted after having swam and splashed around for so long. When we got out the pool Daddy and I wrapped them up in new Splasha Towelling Wraps that we had been sent by Morrck and went back to our hotel room with two very cuddly children!

The Splasha Towelling Wraps are really soft and very absorbent but as they are more like dressing gowns they are really easy to wear. There are two patterns for the towels and Top Enders favourite was the spotty pattern in shades of pink and Big Boy loved the stripey shades of blue which was lucky really seeing as how the sizes we were sent gave them each their favourite option! The handy pocket at the front is perfect for putting hair bands and combs in and they were perfect for holding googles in on our way back from the swimming pool to the Hotel r…

The A to Z of me Meme.

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I was in the toilet earlier today (stick with me, it gets less disgusting in a minute) when I thought it had been a while since I had been tagged in a meme. Obviously my toilet is magic because a few hours later and the lovely Susan tags me in a meme. So here is the A to X of me! Just in case you didn't already know enough about me...

ANORAK…Do you have a sad side? Yes, of course I do. I like to make lists and I have to eat peas in multiples of two and... actually better not tell you about that particular habit.
BODY…What physical attribute would you most like to change? My weight. I'm working on it, but wish it was easier.
CELEBRITY…Which one would you most like to date and why? David Tennant and Alan Rickman. I can't choose and you can't make me.
DEBUT …Tell us about your first ever blog post. What made you start blogging? The first ever ever ever? Okay I'm not telling you where it is though. It was about my life when I was in my late teens. I am pretty sure it w…

Faces - The Gallery

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I was glad that we had extra time for The Gallery this week. I really wanted to take part because I loved the theme (and I rather like the idea of the Kodak Pulse but that is another story) and I wanted to find the right photograph or take the right photograph that would show just what I see when I look at the faces of those around me.

Take my Grans face for example.

That face and smile says so much to me. Her skin was always so smooth and soft, I mean really soft. You know your favourite soft blanket or jumper? Softer than that. I think she must have bathed in milk or something to get her skin so soft. She didn't have wrinkles or spots or dry patches just a great complexion, which I like to think I have inherited. Her eyes always had a twinkle that showed her true spirit, she loved a joke and even when she was pretending to be disgusted with a rude joke we had told her, you could see her eyes laughing along with you. She was a wise woman that even now I imagine myself talking to …

Jacket Potato Mice - Wordless Wednesday

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Turns out it isn't just fun to turn Sandwiches into works of art...

Privacy, Playground Gossip and Me

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Twice today I've been asked about Privacy in blogging. It's not something that I really think twice about I mean I choose to blog, that means I am putting my life out there for someone else to read about. It could be my neighbour (Hello Neighbours), my family (hello Sister of mine), someone from my past (Hello Tor), someone from my husbands work (Hello K!) or someone from the School Playground. I'm not ashamed of my blog, and will tell everyone I meet about it if it is appropriate! I mean I'm on Three Counties Radio every Saturday morning talking about what we have done this week and I was in one of my local papers after I won the MAD Award for Family Fun so it's not like I'm quiet about it.
Then there are things that I am quiet about. I don't discuss my husbands job or work for example (He develops entertainment systems for the hospitality industry. Which is boring compared to what I was told in the playground his job was!). I don't talk about my sex l…

Top Ender Giggles - Love is Blind

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When we were watching the last Doctor Who of the series Top Ender was a little confused over how Amy saw Rory as so muscular and strong jawed in her mind when Rory is a little more scrawny in real life, well real TV life.

I looked at her and explained

"When you are in love with someone you see them as the most handsome or beautiful person in the world and other people might look at them and not see them as handsome or beautiful but it doesn't matter because you do. Just like when I look at your Daddy I see the most handsome man I have ever seen."

Top Ender paused for a second thinking over what I had said then she slowly looked her Daddy up and down and started laughing.

Guess she doesn't see it then.

Caption It Monday! #8

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I'd be lying if I said that last weeks was the best Caption It Monday so far. I'd also be lying if I didn't put the blame at my own feet as I kind of forgot to pimp it during the week to get people to spot it for commenting on. Still onwards and upwards and this weeks picture keeps making me giggle with stupid comments that seem to caption the picture.

And now for last week!

And the winner from last week was;

Winner

TopEnder was delighted to have discovered the "Baby's Guide to the Internet Site" from Ramblings of a Suburban Mummy

Don't forget the winner and the runners up will get a link in next Monday's post!

Silent Sunday

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Toy Review Round up

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All the toys mentioned had been sent to us to review and I've been naughty and not done them... until now.

Over the last few weeks Top Ender and Big Boy have been playing together with some great new toys. It has been great seeing them develop the bond of brother and sister more fully and also to see just how clever they are as they work out how to play with the toys together. I haven't got a look in with these toys, (it's been quite a disappointment with some of them) and so I have had to sneak a play when the children have gone to bed, which has earned me some funny looks from Daddy!

One of the favourite toys sent out was a doll from the Bratz™ All Glammed Up range which was sent for Top Ender to play with because she loves the Bratz cartoons and films (we own all the films and there are a lot). Top Ender played with it a lot, using the accessories as they were designed (to style the dollz hair) and because she wants to be a fashion designer when she is older she loves t…

Old Friends, A Playtpus, A Randy Squirrel and Me

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When I was pregnant with Top Ender I was excited and nervous in equal measure. As it was my first pregnancy I had no idea if some of the things I was experiencing were normal or if this was something I should be asking for an emergency Doctors appointment for and so I turned to the internet. In fact I joined a community on ivillage for Mums like me who were due between October and December 2003. There I met a group of women who were my support system. Women who would share jokes, the milestones in pregnancy and their lives. These strangers became friends and some eight years later I still keep in touch with them thanks to the magic of Facebook, although I hadn't actually met any of them in "real" life.

Last week whilst I was coming home from Edinburgh one of these friends (Elizabeth) contacted me via twitter to let me know that one of our other friends (Hameeda) was trying to get hold of me. Hameeda is the sort of woman that everyone needs to know, you know the one that …

#FishIsTheDish - #WordlessWednesday

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Last week I was in Edinburgh learning all about fish, when I took this picture of Ken Welch a local Fishmonger. His knife skills were amazing, and you can tell he loves what he does.

Halloween Decorating

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I love Halloween almost as much as Christmas, you get to not brush your hair and claim you are getting your hair the right level of rats nest look to compliment your costume of a witch, you get to eat chocolate that your neighbours give you after threatening them, you get to make fun lunches of bats and ghosts and cut off fingers, you don't have to dust or wipe cobwebs away (as you are going for the gothic spooky look) and of course you can do wonderful things with pumpkins.

My Mum would decorate the house on Halloween so that the children that would come to knock would have a sort of haunted house to go in. I really loved that and so every October we decorate our house too. Really we just do the driveway and the front window and I'm not sure that anyone has ever noticed the time and effort that has gone into the decorations but to us it doesn't matter. We like doing the decorating and the making of the decorations is good quality family fun time.


One of the best benefits …

Heinz Squeeze and Stir Review

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We got two packers of Heinz Squeeze and Stir Soup and a mug sent to us.
When I was at University, I lived on soup. I had a kettle in my room and about a million powdered soup packets on the top shelf of my wardrobe. I liked them because they were quick and easy, didn't need a fridge (and therefore didn't require me to walk upstairs to the spooky, cold and normally dirty kitchen) and were tasty. The problem now is that I am a little older (and possibly a little wiser, but that is debatable) and have a more refined palette and most of the powdered soups taste just like that. Powdered soup. When the new Heinz range of Squeeze and Stir soups landed on my doorstep I was hoping that a shot of concentrated soup like this might change the future of instant soup!
I made the Minestrone soup for me because the Vegetable soup was gluten free and so Daddy could try the soup too. I found it to be thicker than other types of instant soup and as it was just a case of squeeze tube into mug and…

Caption It Monday! #7

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I was watching Big Boy using the computer at the weekend and started thinking about how when I was three I had no idea what a computer was let alone how to turn it on, navigate to my favourite website, find my favourite game and then play it! I assume it was because we have always let Top Ender and Big Boy have a go on the computers in our home, we have sat them on our knee whilst we have surfed or watched videos, sent emails or even blogged and as such they have confidence in their own use of technology. It did remind me of a picture of Top Ender from when she was nearly a year old and I thought that it might be fun to caption!

And before you ask, No I don't know what website it is that she is looking at!

Last weeks picture was of me wearing a face mask, as I was preparing for The MAD's and had to look beautiful as I was going to be in a room with a lot of other women. You took this picture and added the captions I knew it deserved so bravo to you all! Here however are the Run…

Stop Sending Me Emails Or I Will Be Angry ~ :-(

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A few weeks back I was sitting at the PC working when I got an email from someone who subscribes by email to my blog. This isn't unusual, I get a couple of emails a week from a few readers asking questions about something I have written or updating me on a situation we have spoken about before and I love it. It means so much to me to get feedback or to know that the friendship isn't one sided.

This email was different though.

I was confused for a moment after reading the email because I don't send emails out to random people (I think that is the definition of spam!), I only send them to people who sign up to receive my posts by email and even then it is automated with a nice link at the bottom stating that if you wish to unsubscribe now you can. I was also confused over the use of the "Steaming Mad" and "Punch" smilies. Are they only going to get Cartoon angry about me emailing them on a daily basis? Or were they to confirm that is what the levels of an…

Discovery Mexican Independence Day Celebration

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Discovery foods contributed to my travel and brought me and my family lunch.
A couple of weekends ago Discovery Foods invited me, Emma and Vic (and our families) down to Brighton for the day to take part in the Mexican Independence Day Celebrations as part of the Brighton Food Festival. Now I didn't know much about Mexican Independence Day, (I actually thought that was what Cinco De Mayo was about), and so I turned to my friend Google to tell me all about it. When Emma, Vic and I met up in Brighton and I started explaining about the revolution their eyes glazed over and it wasn't because of the delicious smells coming from the Discovery Foods stand. So to save you the trouble of asking Google and keeping it brief so you don't all start looking like a Zombie (Zombies have glazed eyes right?) a Priest (Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla) started the revolution and it took ages (like 11 years).

And because I know you don't really want me to talk about how lovely the food was here …

Making Chores Fun - Cleaning A Bedroom

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There were chores when I was young that I hated, unlike going shopping which was something that was over before I knew it (seriously shopping never took long when I was young) there was the what seemed like daily "TIDY YOUR ROOM" growl from my mother.
She actually gave up when I was about 14 asking me to tidy my room and it is a long running joke that when I changed religion aged 17 that I had found God in the mess that was my bedroom. I understand now what my mum went through every time she looked into my bedroom and saw the tip that was my room and I am determined that it won't be the same for me... if I can make tidying up fun!

Thanks to generous family members, Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, toys to review, one of the problems that we have is that Top Ender and Big Boy have too much stuff. Even when their bedrooms are perfectly tidy they look cluttered and messy because of the sheer amount. We will quite regularly go through clothes, toys, books and take it to Cha…

Colour - The Gallery

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It was my wedding anniversary last week, and Daddy knew that he was getting a gift of tin can candle holders and he wanted to give me something too. With the children he worked on something and presented me with a tissue wrapped photo frame with this photo inside.
When I saw the theme for this weeks Gallery, I knew I had to join in and share this picture because it means so much and has a lot of hidden memories, which I thought I would explain.

The picture of Big Boy is coloured Green because as Big Boy says "I LOVE GREEN!" It's true his favourite colour is green, with him trying to wear at least one green thing a day. I'm making him a superhero costume for Christmas and as you can guess it is going to be Green!

The picture of Top Ender is coloured Purple because Top Ender's favourite colours are purple, lilac and violet. I personally think that they are the same colour, just different shades but Top Ender assures me that I am wrong.

The picture of me is coloured…

Top Ender's Self-Portraits - Wordless Wednesday

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At the weekend we went to a Lego Duplo event at the Lego store in Westfield London, Top Ender was a little bored and so grabbed my camera and took photos of the things she wanted for Christmas. I found these self-portraits of her with a giant Lego brick in amongst her shots. I so love this girl.


A Walk Round Ashland Lake Milton Keynes

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One of the fantastic things about Milton Keynes that I will never stop going on about is the number of parks and lakes that there is to walk around. After a trip to the Shopping Centre Daddy decided to go home a different way. Due to the grid road system it almost doesn't matter what road you take, as long as you head in the same general direction of your house you will eventually get there! We started driving towards a newish estate, that was built on land that was previously occupied by the Greyhound track. You can see this new estate from the A5 and it has a large fountain that the children take great delight in looking at, and as the houses look rather nice I like to look at the estate too. Somehow I managed to convince Daddy that parking near the park that edges this estate was a good idea and that going for a walk up to the fountain was even better. It was a bit of a grey day, but Daddy with his very clever phone took a fantastic bright and sunny picture of the view that gr…

Little Dish Chicken and Two Veg Pasta Review

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I've said before that Top Ender and Big Boy like the Little Dish range, they are the sort of prepared meals that I find to be consistently of a high standard and something which my children eat as if it was something that was home made. And that's why I really like them, they taste like something I would make, they are the right portion size for my children and they smell nice! So when Little Dish asked if we would like to try the new Chicken & Two Veg Pasta that isn't for sale until October 5th I didn't even worry if the children would want to eat it but said yes please!

The lovely courier knows me well now, and arrived before the school run. Big Boy recognised the logo on the lunch box and  sneaked a look inside at the package and excitedly headed up to School to tell Top Ender that dinner was a new Little Dish!


Daddy was working late and so Top Ender and Big Boy helped me to put the meals in the microwave so they could cook whilst we set the table. I took a quic…

Caption It Monday! #6

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Wow, what a weekend I have had. Out of the last three nights I have spent two of them in two hotels, I have been to the MAD Blog Awards, (where I won the MAD Blog Award for Family Fun for the second year running thanks to you voting for me again so Thank you!) a Lego Duplo Event where I got to see some of the new Duplo coming out in 2012 (I can't tell you what the products were, but I can say YAY! and COOL! and DUPLO ROCKS!), had dinner with friends twice, been swimming and got lost in London. Twice.

Just like the Caption photo from the MAD Blog Awards feed this is a photo of me to caption! Yes, that was me that you were captioning. I took it a few days ago when I was preparing for The MADS, you know the sort of thing we ladies do whenever we are going to be around other ladies! Anyway here is the picture to caption this week.

And the photo from last weeks Caption it Monday! was of Big Boy having had his face painted with a dinosaur...


Runner Up

"Do I have something on my face…

Top Enders Lunch

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I know that it's not a Friday, but I had to do something special for Top Ender's lunch tomorrow seeing as how we won The MADS Blog award for best blog for family fun this past weekend. Tops means so much to me (as you might have guessed from my post about her earlier today) and so I did this;

I promise to stop gloating soon. Honest.

Top Ender - The Fashionable One

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Top Ender is going to be a fashion designer when she is older. Yes, there are a hundred other things that she is going to do at the same time (Sweet Shop Owner, Author, Singer, Actress, Model) but the one thing that remains a constant is fashion designer. Tops is always sketching outfit ideas, putting together outfits on her Harumika, in games that she finds on websites and of course her own outfits. We have decided that this year we will get her a sewing machine for Christmas or her birthday (there is only a couple of weeks between them), nothing too fancy just something that she can learn to sew on and that will help whip up a few outfits a lot quicker than relying on me to hand stitch the seams.

Anyway I saw a picture on Pinterest the other week of a rather funky hairstyle. I showed it to Top Ender and the next thing I knew, she had made her hair up just like the picture. She had known how to create the hairstyle that we both had fallen in love with. I mean look at that, it's s…

Shopping for Christmas - Snacks!

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We were sent two packets of Branston Peanuts & Crackers
We love Christmas here, as anyone who has seen my Christmas Tree video can confirm! As it is such a big event in our calender I like everyone to have a good time who pops into my house and so seeing as it is the start of October, it's time for me to start thinking about Christmas snacks! As we celebrate from the last week of November (that's when we put up our tree so it is ready for the first day of December) right up to New Year I like to spread the cost of Christmas food and drink by buying a few pieces each time I go shopping. I also like to see my storage cupboard fill up with Christmas treats and know that if a Neighbour or friend were to drop by unexpectedly that I could easily pull out a few snacks to show that I was a fantastic hostess...
The one thing I do have to still work out though is a menu for the big day itself, and of course I need to work on the Drinks menu for the season too. We tend to have severa…