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Review: No Tray High Chair

If you have ever eaten out with your toddler then you will surely have come across the No Tray High Chair somewhere along your travels – I know I have.  Fancy restaurants, boutique cafes, even the old family travel favourite – Little Chef!

The No-Tray High Chair Dimensions

The No Tray High Chair is an ingenious invention because it allows your toddler to eat as part of the family instead of being pushed to the side because of the monster of a high chair that they are strapped into with a big feeding tray to boot.

I think the first time I came across the No Tray High Chair whilst out was a lovely little Tea Room in Peterborough called Harriet’s.  At the time I thought there was no way that Little Bean would sit nicely and eat, I just envisaged all her food going straight down her front.  But how wrong could I be?  Little Bean revelled in the opportunity to be a big girl and sit “at” the table with Mummy, Cafebebe and Little Miss.  The two girls sat so nicely, they almost looked like “ladies who lunch” only much smaller!

I remember asking the Manager where they had purchased the chairs from and if they were available on the high street, “erm no I don’t think so” was his reply.  Oh well, that put an end to that idea then. 

Little Bean has always been a “tricky” eater (putting it very mildly) but the day that she was promoted to being a “big girl” she ate beautifully and I really thought this could be an answer for her. 

Since we were unable to buy the No Tray High Chair we have had to make do with a booster seat strapped to one of chairs at the dining table but that hasn’t been perfect because there isn’t actually enough clearance under the table to fit her legs so she sticks out a bit from the table and inevitably ends up with most of it in her lap.

CharleySimon Wedding 6810 088

So last week when I was offered the opportunity to review the No Tray High Chair at home for the Scandinavian Selection I couldn’t reply fast enough.  The chair arrived the next day in a very slimline box and was extremely easy to put together.  The instructions which came with the chair were very easy to understand and the result (less than half an hour later) was a very sturdy, stackable easy to clean chair.  Little Bean quickly declared that the chair was “my chair – new one” and so the test began.  She didn’t hesitate to get in and sit herself at the table.  Only this time her legs actually went under the table with ease and I was able to push her right up with no gaps for food to fall through.

image Scandinavian Selection market the chair as “No Tray High Chair – helping families come closer together” because the chair is based on the philosophy that family meals should include the whole family.  I couldn’t agree more with this, as a child I always remember sitting around the dining table sharing stories of the day with my family and this is something which I want to continue with my family.

The chairs are manufactured in the EU from solid birchwood and conforms to current safety standard BS EN 14988:2006 parts 1 & 2.

The chair which we received is natural birch which fits beautifully with our dining furniture but for the fashion conscious amongst you, they are also available in stained brown and eye-catching blue, green, pink, black and white.

CharleySimon Wedding 6810 102

The seat height is 52cm, footprint 49x47cm and the chair comes with a seat belt and big wooden balls which helped to keep toddler entertained whilst in their chair.

The RRP is £75 delivered (UK) – bargain!

If your child is past the “high chair” stage, have no fear as Scandinavian Selection has covered that aspect of the market too with “My Chair” which is aimed at children aged 2-10 years.  It is easy to climb in and out of and stacks on top of the No Tray High Chair for space saving storage.

For more information please contact:

Scandinavian Selection, Westway House, Transport Avenue, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 9HF.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8566 1680 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +44 (0)20 8566 1680      end_of_the_skype_highlighting  Fax: +44 (0)20 8231 0981

Info@scandinavian-selection.co.uk

www.scandinavian-selection.co.uk

Weetabix Chocolate

Its a household name, its been around for years – my Mum said all she could get me to eat when I was little was Weetabix and Cucumber (though obviously not together – at least I don’t think so?).

Now the clever people at Weetabix have come up with all new Weetabix Chocolate.  I must admit to begin with I really wasn’t sure about the concept, but I have two children (about to become three) and so when Weetabix asked me if I would like to do a review for them I thought it was definitely worth a try.

Weetabix Chocolate box image

My daughter Little Bean is 2 years old and NOT an eater by any stretch of the imagination.  She didn’t start eating mushy solids until she was 10 months and has only really been eating proper solids for 6 months or so now and that is very intermittently.  The first “mushy solids” that I was able to get her to eat was Weetabix and I’m pleased to say that lasted for a good 9-12 months until she got bored of eating it everyday.  I tried her with lots of different cereals but Weetabix was her breakfast of choice.  Then one day she caught sight of big brother’s chocolate cereal and I’ve never been able to get her back to Weetabix since.  That is, until NOW! 

With great thanks to whichever person sat around the table at Weetabix and said, “I think we should make Weetabix Chocolate” I have now been able to convert her back to Weetabix.

Little Bean has never been much a drinker either, so as you can imagine constipation is a bit of a problem for her, which is why I like her to start the day on Weetabix.  It is high in fibre and low in salt, fortified with vitamins and iron and so its great for her little tummy.  New Weetabix Chocolate still contains all the wholegrain goodness but contains half the sugar of the average chocolate flavoured breakfast cereal and has no artificial colours – surely a winner for every parent!

And then we have Curly, Little Bean’s big brother.  He was the first of our brood to try out the new cereal and the results spoke for themselves – no sooner had the bowl been placed in front of him, it was gone.  I hardly had to time to ask him if it tasted good.  He is nearly 9 years old and suddenly has an appetite to rival his Dad so he’s already eating the 3 biscuits per bowl to match.  He said that he particularly likes the chocolate chips as they give the cereal a real chocolate boost.

I thought I would give them a try, just once and then leave the rest of them for the children but actually, I haven’t been able to.  I really liked it!!  Its slightly crumblier than usual Weetabix but this doesn’t detract from its great flavour.

I think its fair to say that Weetabix Chocolate is a tasty revamp of an old family favourite!  For my family it is definitely a winner and will be on my shopping list.

At the moment it is only available in Sainsbury’s but from August it will be available at all major retailers with a suggested retail price of £2.59 for a pack of 24.  Don’t just read what I’ve got to say, go and try it for yourself – you won’t be disappointed!

Hyundai IX35 – Yummy Mummy’s Dream!!

Well there you go, the title of this post says it all!  Cooks Hyundai in Peterborough recently offered me the opportunity of reviewing a brand new Hyundai IX35 2.0 CRDi 5dr 4WD for a day trip to London.  This is a car I have coveted since it was released but I promise you I will give it a fair, unbiased review!  I LOVED IT!!!

Hyundai market the IX35 as follows:-

When choosing a new car, which do you listen to – your heart or your mind?  The new Hyundai IX35.  Beauty and efficiency. Together.

ix35

Whoever came up with that tag line was a genius as I do believe that they have hit the nail on the head with this one.

I have always been an avid lover of all cars German, I worked for two German Manufacturers from 2001 until I went on maternity leave in 2008 but my interest in cars has not waned in the slightest.  I was always a fan of the small sporty coupes until I became a mother and realised that baby’s, despite being small come with a lot of not-so-small baggage.  Oh no, imagine my dismay at feeling the MPV’s calling me.  But no, you can still be sporty AND practical with a car like this.

i10 1.2 Style

If I was married to a footballer, then I would probably go for a Land Rover Sport HSE but I’m not (sorry honey, you’re still golden balls to me!).  This is where the Hyundai IX35 ticks another box – as I stated I drove the top of the range model with all the toys and gadgets included (see below) and the on the road price for this little beauty?  Only £20,745!!  That is just ludicrous (in a good way) for a vehicle of this size and quality.  To add to this terrific value, as with all Hyundai’s it is covered by 5 Year Triple Care which includes 5 year warranty, 5 year RAC Roadside Assistance and 5 years of Annual Vehicle Health Checks.

When I went to collect the car, I had Little Bean in tow – I explained to her that we were going to get a different car.  When we walked around the corner to see a lovely shiny metallic red car staring back at us, I was pleasantly surprised as I was expecting the usual black, silver or grey which many dealers opt for to be “safe” but this car was a sight to behold.  Even Little Bean said, “ooh red one”.  I secured her seat into the car and strapped her in.  She sat quietly for a few moments surveying her surroundings before declaring “new car, red one, like it . . . . keep it”.  In the words of the shrimp from Shark Tale “TRUE STORY”.  A girlie after my own heart!!

So here’s my overview of the Hyundai IX35 from a mother’s point of view!

From the outside, it has great body styling, really smooth lines, very sporty and sleek, quite a “space-age” look about it.

i20 Interior

When you step inside the IX35, the first thing you will notice is the space.  The cabin is light and airy with plenty of room for comfort. 

ix35

The model which I borrowed also had a double panoramic sun-roof which was lovely – especially on the sunny day which we had.  The steering wheel was covered in a lovely soft leather and sported the “X” design centre console.  The dashboard has individually cowled instrument dials which were backlit with a soothing blue light, very gentle on the eyes.  It has a trip computer to give you all the important information about your vehicle/journey.  And what car these days wouldn’t be complete without cruise control.  This made the journey very comfortable and easy.

The new “technology” for me, was the “keyless entry/drive”.  I’ve heard of it before, I’ve seen it before but I’ve never actually experienced it.  The salesman who gave me a guided tour of the car was a little worried that I might forget the key and leave it somewhere.  Here’s how it works:-

ix35

  • Providing the key is with you, as you approach the car there are little black buttons on the front door handles, you press either of these buttons and the car is unlocked. 
  • Get into the car, keeping the key in your pocket or handbag OR you can place it in key charger which is housed in the centre arm rest.  On the dashboard there is an Engine Start/Stop button.  Simply depress the clutch and press the button – hey presto the engine will start.  This is where the salesman got a little worried, he’d had a customer get out of the car with the engine running, gone back into the house and left the key behind.  Gone on his journey and then realised at the other end when he turned the engine off that he had no means of re-starting the engine or locking the car.  This is something to bear in mind but for me it wasn’t a problem as I never took the key out of my handbag, and it goes everywhere with me.
  • To stop the engine, simply press the stop button.
  • Get out of the car and press the small black button on the door handle again to lock the car.
    Other plusses for the car were the front and rear heated seats, a super efficient air conditioning system which could be dual or individual, front and rear window demisters, central locking button within  the car to keep the monsters in!

Technology-wise, Hyundai have thought of everything.  Not only was there an auxiliary port to plug in the Ipod, there was also an mini-SD card slot and a USB port – great for charging your laptop, Ipod or phone.  On our journey we used it to charge up the Mi-Fi which we had been loaned from ThreeMobileBuzz to keep us in touch with the world (my passenger not me).

Then we moved around to the boot which comfortably housed not one, but two pushchairs – a Petite Star Zia and a Stokke Xplory.  This still left plenty of room for changing bags and *cough cough* a spot of shopping!

ix35

Fuel-wise I think for a car of its size we did really well.  I put £35 fuel into an empty tank, drove approximately 244miles and still had fuel left over.

I did find one, rather large, downside to this car though – when I asked if I could keep it they said I would need to ask my husband.  I asked him and he said “only if you get a job” – bearing in mind that i am a stay at home Mum with a baby due in 2 months’ time, I don’t think this is a possibility!

The In-Depth Stuff

Below is the specification of the car which I trialled:-

  • 18” Alloy Wheels
  • Active Front Head Restraints
  • Air Con
  • Automatic Headlights
  • Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution
  • Bluetooth Connectivity with Voice Recognition
  • Chrome Door Handles
  • Chrome Effect Fascia Inserts
  • Cruise Control
  • Downhill Brake Control
  • Dual Zone Climate Control with Humidity Sensor and Ioniser
  • Eco Drive Indicator
  • Electric Front and Rear Windows
  • Electric Folding Door Mirrors with heating and integral indicators
  • Electronic Stability Programme (ESP)
  • Front Fog Lights
  • Front, Front Side and Full Length Curtain Airbags
  • Front Windscreen Wiper De-Icer
  • Glove Compartment with Cooling Function
  • Heated Front and Rear Seats (outer rear seat bases only)
  • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Keyless Entry with Engine Start/Stop Button
  • Leather Steering Wheel and Gear Knob
  • Leather and Cloth Seat Trim (seat facings only)
  • Panoramic Sunroof (electric tilt and slide front/fixed rear)
  • Privacy Glass (rear side and tailgate)
  • Rain Sensing Front Windscreen Wipers
  • Rear ISOfix Child Seat Anchorage Points (outer seats only)
  • Rear Spoiler with Integral Brake Light
  • Remote Central Locking with Alarm
  • Reversing Sensors
  • Roof Rails
  • Steering Wheel Audio Controls
  • Stereo RDS Radio/CD Player with MP3/WMA Compatibility
  • Torque on Demand 4WD System
  • Trip Computer
  • USB and Aux Connections
  • 10 Years’ Anti-perforation Warranty
    I think you will agree, that is a lot of car for your money!

For more information nationally about Hyundai and their range please click here.

However, if you live in the Cambridgeshire/Lincolnshire area then please pay Cooks Hyundai a visit in Peterborough.  They’re a really friendly bunch offering great customer service and a great Service/Parts Centre.  They also have an extensive range of new and used cars.  For more information visit their website.

Cooks Hyundai

Cooks Hyundai

Cooks Hyundai Storeys Bar Road
Eastern Industry
Peterborough
Cambridgeshire
PE1 5YS

Sales

01733 294021

01733 294021

Parts & Service

01733 294021

01733 294021

REVIEW: Brio Pounding Bench

July 9, 2010

tags: , , ,
by mummymatters

When our children are little, all they want to do is copy and be a “big girl” or “big boy” – well that is what I have found with our two anyway.  They want to hinder help you as much as they can.  This is fine when it comes to sorting out the washing, or pairing up socks but when the necessity arises for DIY to be done around the house, things can become a little tricky.

I will never forget the time that we were decorating our lounge when Curly was about 3 years old.  He was so determined he wanted to have a go with the paint roller that he waited until Hubby had to take a trip to the little boy’s room, took his chance and grabbed the roller.  But of course, why would he want to paint the walls, that was just boring!  No, Curly decided it would be more fun to roller himself from head to toe and then sit on the sofa to admire his work.  But he hadn’t just painted the front of his clothes, he was able to reach the backs of his legs too, so the paint went everywhere!  Thankfully it was emulsion, so it did wash off.  But what happens when the power tools come out or the dreaded hammer!  There is so much damage they can do with a hammer.

Little Bean is very much at the hindering helping age and wants to be just like Mummy and Daddy.  So when I was contacted by the online nursery shop Hello Baby to see if I would like to test and review the Brio Classic Pounding Bench, I thought anything to save my furniture!

Brio Pounding Bench Preview

The design of the pounding bench is very modern and unisex in a black, white and red plastic.  It comes with a rubber mallet which is perfectly weighted for smashing the pegs through the block.  It is a classic hand-eye coordination toy which has been around since 1957 and teaches children how to direct their strength and firmly grasp a tool.  At only £11.99 I think this would make a superb present for your little one, the age recommendation is 24 months plus.

When I opened the box, Little Bean declarations of “ooooh” sounded promising.  She quickly ran off with it into the lounge and needed no explanation as to what to do with it, she started pounding away at the pegs shouting “bash, bash, bash”.   

Being the neat freak good housewife that I am, I like to keep my house tidy so at the end of every day, when the kids have gone to bed, the toys get put back in their toy boxes to make way for grown-up space.  This morning, upon returning from Curly’s school assembly, Little Bean ran into the lounge shouting “bash, bash” and quickly reclaiming her pounding bench from the toy box.  I think that is a pretty fair indication that she likes it, and I just know that it will come in handy when we move house again in a few weeks and Hubby needs to hang pictures, mirrors and the like as his little “helper” will be able to do a bit of hammering herself!

REVIEW: Wilko suncare lotion

July 8, 2010

tags: , , ,
by mummymatters

I was contacted recently to test and review items from the new range of Suncare Lotion which has been relaunched by Wilkos.  My garden is south facing – I know, lucky me! – so I jumped at the chance to try this out, especially as two of the bottles were from the “for kids” range with SPF 50.

The bottles are a nice size, not too big to fit in your hand bag and not so small that you’ll run out of it in less than a week.  The new suncare range has been awarded an incredible 5 stars for its UVA formulation which in my book means its very good. 

I have always been blessed with pretty easily tanning skin, something which my husband hates as he always gets asked at the end of our holidays if I locked him in the room for the week or if he went on a different holiday to me.  But over the past few years since becoming pregnant/a mother I have taken my skincare a little more seriously and never go out in the sunshine in anything less than SPF30 in the UK and SPF50 abroad.  I still get a nice deep golden tan but I’m now happy in the knowledge that I’m taking better care of myself and hopefully won’t end up looking like a leathery, wrinkly old prune at the age of 40! 

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When it comes to my stepson and daughter I obviously want what is best for them and so they never go out in the sunshine without (a) a hat and (b) sun cream on.  I’m very happy to say that my daughter actually asks for her hat if she goes out in the sunshine so I always oblige, even on the not-so-sunny days!  And she even asks for the ‘low-sian’ when she sees me applying it to myself – she sounds very Jamaican when she asks for it, does make me giggle!

But back to the moisturising sun lotion, it has broadspectrum UVA/UVB protection, is water resistant and dermatologically approved.  The children’s range, to add to the fun for the kids, is purple upon application but dries normal.  This also helps parents to be sure that they have covered every possible area of their child’s skin so that they don’t end up with nasty areas of sunburn to contend with.  It has a very mild summery smell which I would associate with lying on a hot sunny beach, its not the usual over powering chemicals mixed with coconut fragrance.  It absorbs into the skin without feeling greasy and does what it says on the bottle, it moisturises so you don’t feel all dried out in the sunshine.  The lotion contains Vitamin E which is an antioxidant which helps protect against sun-induced skin damage and helps to retain the skins natural moisture balance.

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Yesterday we gave it a really good run for its money with a day at the seaside – it was applied in the morning before we left and just to be sure we gave them an extra application when we arrived at the seaside and changed into their swimmers.  We started off the day at the paddling pool for an hour, then went to the beach to play in the sand and finished our sunshine fun at the local park.  We reapplied about once an hour and had two very happy, un-burnt, sleepy children at the end of the day!  What are you waiting for?  The summers here and you need to get out and enjoy it – now where did I put that lotion?

Skegness June 2010 184 Skegness June 2010 185

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: Bornfree Trainer Cup

April 26, 2010 — mummymatters | Edit

For those of you not already in the know, Bornfree lead the way in the campaign for BPA-free feeding bottles. They have created a range of feeding bottles and training cups which are BPA-free and contain anti-colic vents. The training cups have a low vacuum valve which provide a free flow of liquid to aid the child’s comfort and create fewer problems with inner ear infections from sucking too hard.

I was really pleased to be asked to review the Bornfree Training Cup as this is an area which I seem to be having problems with. My daughter is 22 months old and still doesn’t drink anything other than milk (still from a bottle). I have tried numerous different cups with her but so far to no success. My first reaction to the cup was that it still looked like a bottle, something which seemed to make my daughter more comfortable. Ours was the orange cup which made a nice change from the choice of pink or blue! The spout is classed as a soft spout but it is a bit harder than many of the silicon spouts available on the high street. This pleased me as many of my daughters friends have chewed through them in a matter of days.

The cup is easy to take apart and re-assemble for cleaning. It can be used with or without the handles which makes it better for storage, also if you have a lazy child like me then you can hold the cup for them without the handles getting in the way. If you want to keep an eye on how much your children are drinking the bottle has a measuring guide down the side just like a normal bottle.

From my point of view the cup was a winner before I’d even given it to my daughter but the real test would be would she drink from it or not? And the answer was, she drank a whole bottle of water! This has never happened before and I have a cupboard of 9 different cup styles to show for it. She seemed really happy with the spout, although it did show signs of wear within two weeks of use thanks to her constantly chewing on it. This did not affect its use at all, it still did not leak but you can buy replacement spouts if necessary. I can firmly say that Bornfree Training Cup has become a firm favourite in our house and is used everyday, I can’t believe the difference in my daughter – finally she drinks something other than milk.

Thank you Bornfree!

 

REVIEW: How to train your Dragon (Wii)

March 29, 2010 — mummymatters | Edit

I have been asked to provide a review on the newly released game How to Train Your Dragon (Wii format).  The game follows the release of the Dreamworks film and comes courtesy of Activision.

We join the game on the first annual Thors’day Thursday Dragon Celebration Tournament.  With the defeat of the Red Death, dragons and Vikings have teamed up to compete against each other in varying tournaments leading to one Viking being crowned the ultimate Dragon Master.

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Hiccup is a young Viking who doesn’t quite “fit the mould” so he tries to fit in by capturing a dragon and training it ready for battle.  Things don’t turn out as he expected because he and the dragon become friends and so then he is forced to show the tribe that dragons really aren’t bad afterall.

You can play the part of Hiccup or Astrid in Story Mode or you can try your hand at fierce battle action in Arcade Mode and fight, fly and fire your way to the top!!

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In story mode, we chose to play the role of Hiccup where you find yourself in the local village on the Island of Berk.  You go around the village collecting vegetables and other items or killing the chickens and sheep in order to feed your dragon.  You can gather information from the locals and find your dragons den where you can then create your own dragon.  Also on the Island of Berk you will find the docks, the training area, the challenges cave and the tournament arena.

You really get to go to town on your dragon and make it look as fierce as you like by customizing the horns, tail, wings, head and build.  You can add markings, change the colour of its skin and scales.  The further you progress through the game, more customizable options will be unlocked for you. 

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As with many games of this nature, you also unlock “mini-games” as you progress which all help to hone your skills on dragon training.  Once you have mastered your dragon you are then ready to fight!!! This will unlock the tournament arena where you can pit your wits against other Vikings and their dragons in a bid to become the best of the best.

The graphics are amazing and the game is definitely one which draws you in.  Curly played (quite ashamedly on our part) for two hours on Saturday and again on Sunday, with lots of “yeah I’ll stop in a minute” before we actually managed to turn the Wii off.  When I asked him what he liked about it he commented that he loved the dragon fighting but he also loved getting to kill the chickens and sheep as “you don’t get to kill animals often in games”.  Well he is only 8!!

 

REVIEW: Very Lazy Garlic

March 25, 2010 — mummymatters | Edit

Recently I was provided with a sample jar of Very Lazy Garlic to review for LetsGabba.com.  Now anyone who knows me will know that I’m not a fan of spending time in the kitchen.  I’m kind of “Can Cook, Won’t Cook” – I just don’t enjoy it.  But I decided that I would give this a try and see how it went.  So I waited until I had the opportunity to have a few friends around for dinner and gave Hubby the night off whilst I prepared a feast.

lazygarlic

I didn’t want to just go for the easiest meal I could so I searched on the World Wide Web for Garlic Recipes and decided on not one, but two courses in which to try out my Very Lazy Garlic.  The Recipes I used are to be found at the end of my post.  There were going to be no vampires anywhere near me or my guests that night, it was guaranteed!

So for a starter I prepared a Garlic Dip to accompany the warm Ciabatta Bread and sliced carrots and cucumber fingers (they probably have a posh name, but I’m definitely not POSH!).  I have to say I was very impressed with this even if I do say so myself and I think my guests were in a state of shock.

Then for the main course we had Chicken Breasts stuffed with Garlic Mushrooms.  I chose this recipe because it was described as such:-

If you love both garlic mushrooms and garlic chicken then this recipe’s for you, its a great tasting recipe that is a lot easier to prepare than it looks!

Yes it was the “easy to prepare” bit which sold it! 

This was a gorgeous dish which went down really well and just as the recipe said, it was really easy to prepare.

The Very Lazy Garlic was a dream to use, no messing around with garlic presses which basically just end up with a big mushy mess, no stinky hands from peeling and preparing fresh garlic.  Just a simple teaspoon into a jar and hey presto the garlic was added.  According to the instructions on the Very Lazy Garlic jar, 1 teaspoon is the equivalent of 1 clove of garlic so you just add it according to your taste buds!  The garlic has been pre-crushed and stored in white wine vinegar which evaporates in the cooking process.  The aroma is just as you would expect of fresh garlic but obviously much more hassle free.  I wouldn’t say that I have been converted to cooking but when I do decide to give Hubby a night off or want to impress the cynics who think I can’t cook, I would definitely keep a jar of this in the cupboard to aid my meal.  If you haven’t tried it yet and you’re a garlic lover then really you should.  Its inexpensive with prices ranging around £1.50 to £2.50 price tag and the jar will last you a while.

Recipes

Garlic Dip

2 teaspoons Very Lazy Garlic

1/2 cup of butter, softened

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

Snipped parsley

Place the Garlic, Butter and Olive Oil into a blender and blend until smooth.  Garnish with the parsley and serve.

Chicken Breasts stuffed with Garlic Mushrooms (Serves 2)

2 large chicken breasts

4oz (120gm) mushrooms

1/2 oz (15gm) butter

2 teaspoons Very Lazy Garlic (or less according to personal taste)

1/2 oz (15gm) breadcrumbs

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Salt & pepper

Preparation

Wash the mushrooms then chop small. It’ll look as if you’ve got enough to feed an army but don’t worry, they’ll reduce down.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the garlic and cook gently for a few seconds, then add the mushrooms and stir well. Cook over a medium heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

At first the mushrooms will release a lot of liquid, most of this will evaporate away in the latter half of the cooking.

Whilst the mushrooms are cooking, pre-heat the oven to 200C (400F).

Stir the herbs into the garlic mushrooms and season with a little salt and a generous helping of freshly ground black pepper. Add the breadcrumbs to soak up the remaining liquid. Mix together to form a paste – the stuffing. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Cut a deep slit in each chicken breast and insert half the garlic mushroom stuffing into each one. Use a couple of cocktail sticks to close the chicken up, fold the ends over the top and use another cocktail stick or two to close the parcel up.

Transfer the garlic mushroom stuffed chicken parcels to an ovenproof dish, the slit side uppermost. Cook for about 25 mins or until the chicken is properly done.

Serve the garlic mushroom chicken either with traditional potatoes and vegetables or on a bed of lightly spiced rice. Remember to remove the cocktail sticks before serving!

REVIEW: Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate

March 8, 2010 — mummymatters | Edit

Lucky old me recently received a request to take part in the Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate taste test.  As you can imagine it took me all of one tenth of a second to say “yes pleeeeease!”.  So I must say when I received a parcel yesterday containing 10 full size bars of Green & Black’s chocolate I nearly fell over as I was only expecting to receive the trial size bars.  My husband also got very excited as he is a big chocolate fan, especially dark chocolate (I’m more the white and milk variety) but I told him that I would neeeeed to taste test all of the chocolate myself to fully appreciate it.  I let him stew on it for a few minutes until I relented and said that he could help me with the tasting.

The Beginning

A little bit of education on Green & Black’s for you now.  If you are a connoisseur of this fine chocolate then you are probably already aware that Green & Black’s use organically grown Cocoa beans and ingredients which are ethically sourced.   The Green & Black’s story began in London in 1991 when Craig Sams (founder of the pioneering food company, Whole Earth) received a sample of dark 70% chocolate made from organic cocoa beans.  His wife, Josephine Fairley, discovered the half eaten bar of chocolate on his and tried some herself.  Josephine was so taken by the intense flavour that she was convinced other chocolate lovers would share in the appreciation and so they set about making the world’s first organic chocolate – a high quality bittersweet dark chocolate packed with 70% cocoa solids.

In 1994 Maya Gold was added to the range when Craig and Jo visited Belize on holiday.  They met a group of Mayan smallholder farmers.  The farmers had planted cocoa trees at the request of a large chocolate company who had then withdrawn their interest leaving the farmers with a field of unwanted stock.  Craig and Jo offered to buy the cocoa from the farmers at a fair price.  They used the beans to create the new Maya Gold which was based on the flavour of a traditional Mayan chocolate drink.  Maya Gold earned them the UK’s first Fairtrade mark.

What’s In A Name?

The name symbolizes the true origins of the product – Green for the strict organic principles and Black for the intensity of the chocolate.

The Range

There are many flavours (15 if I counted correctly) for you to choose from so there really is something for everyone:-

White 30%, Milk, Creamy Milk, Espresso, Caramel, Almond, Maya Gold, Ginger, Hazelnut & Current, Raisin & Hazelnut, Cherry, Butterscotch, Mint, Dark 70%, Dark 85%.

Of course the range doesn’t end there, they do cooking chocolate, ice cream & biscuits.

From the moment you open the wrapper, you are hit by the tantalizing smell of the cocoa beans, the richness – you just know that you’re in for a treat.  As it melts on your tongue you are hit by the creamy sensation and the tastes are sweet yet bitter, in a word delicious!

Personally I loved the white, the creamy milk, ginger and dark 70% the best but its all down to personal preference.  Are you still sitting reading this?  There are shops open all over the place, get out there and get some Green & Black’s – go on, you deserve it!

One Response to “REVIEW: Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate”

  1. supersinglemum Says:
    March 8, 2010 at 6:23 pm   editRemind me when lent ends but yes the 70% is very nice!!!!

 

Close Baby Sling

I bought the Close Baby Carrier when Baby Girl was about 6 weeks old as we were going away on holiday and I didn’t fancy dragging the huge travel system everywhere with me.  This really was a godsend and quickly became part of my everyday routine.  It was fantastic for a day at the beach watching Daddy and Big Brother flying their kites, or a day trip to museums where pushchairs just got in the way.

The carrier is easy to put on and take off, you don’t need anyone to help you with putting baby into it and what’s more it all folds up into itself, rather like a “pack-a-mac”.

Baby feels really “close” and snug – Baby Girl used to fall asleep within minutes of being in the carrier.  It was so comfortable I could use it around the house whilst doing “chores” to keep baby close to me.

I don’t know about other parents out there but I quickly got fed up of trying to push a trolley around the supermarket and carry at basket at the same time!  Hubby thought it was great because I didn’t spend as much money, half way round and I would give up before my arm snapped under duress!  Once I had my Close Baby Carrier I began keeping it in the boot of the car and pop it on when I wanted to nip into the shops, saved all the hassles with the putting the travel system up and down and meant that I had two hands free to push a trolley – SOOO much easier!  Finally, I could spend again!!! Yippee!!!

The Close Baby Carrier comes with a DVD and a picture booklet to explain the different ways in which you can use the carrier.  Baby Girl is now 13 months old and although she mostly wants to walk I do still use the Carrier when out and about.

The Close Baby Carrier comes in lots of different colours so you can get one to match your mood or your outfit!  And they’re machine washable which is even better, especially where baby sick is involved!

Graco Tour Deluxe Travel System

When it came to making one of the most important purchases for our baby we decided to go with a Travel System.  We really felt that it would cover all our needs.  This however, was the second travel system that we bought.  Originally we had the Graco Quattro Tour Travel System which didn’t come with the carrycot and was in a different fabric.  It was a bit like when you’re choosing a dress for a special occasion, you finally buy one that you think you like and then a couple of weeks later see one that you like better.  Although I was happy with the first travel system, it didn’t compare when I saw the Chocolate Lime fabric which had just been released.  So I trotted on back to the Baby Superstore and they were very friendly and exchanged the Travel System (obviously I hadn’t used it!) – I just blamed it on baby brain and hormones!!  You really can get away with so much at that stage!!

I really loved the carrycot version of the travel system, Baby Bean always looked very comfortable in it and she seemed to love the windows in the hood as she could see the changes in light which used to catch her attention.  Baby Bean weighed 7lb 5oz when she was born and has never been a “big” girl so we were able to use the carrycot until she was about 3 months old.  Since she was a summer baby we never needed to use the zip-over cover on the carrycot – which in actual fact was good because if you did attach the cover Baby Bean disappeared out of sight as she would wriggle down underneath it.  We also used the carrycot as a moses basket at home and bought a moses basket stand for it to go on.  Baby Bean had all her daytime naps in there and it we had been out for a walk it was handy in that I didn’t need to wake her up to move her, I just lifted the carrycot out and placed it on the stand.

After using the carrycot system we then moved on to using the car seat on the top of the pushchair so that Baby Bean was facing me and we had lots of interraction which she loved.  I often felt that she was a little cramped in it but I liked that she was easily sheltered by the hood on the car seat and could also pull the hood over from the pushchair too.  Again this was great if she fell asleep whilst out and about as I could pull both hoods together and she was “cocooned”.

We stopped using the car seat on top of the pushchair when Baby Bean was a little over six months old and that was the only time that I felt disappointed with the travel system as I didn’t like that she was forward facing (didn’t think about this when we bought it!).  Although it was great for her to be able to see the big wide world I just felt sad that our walks and talks had disappeared and walks suddenly felt quite lonely. I would keep tripping myself up trying to look around at Baby Bean.  One of the really positive things about the travel system in this format was the hood, I’ve never had to use a clip on parasol because the hood pivots backwards and forwards fully so on a sunny day (yes we do get them!) if the sun is in Baby Beans eyes I would just pull the hood forwards and she could still see out but didn’t have to squint.

The travel system did take up a lot of room in the boot of my car – intially I had a VW Polo but the Travel System when folded had to stand on its side and then the parcel shelf would stick up, then I had a VW Golf which fitted much better.  This is definitely NOT a pushchair for transporting in small cars!  Although I would say that my friend had a Silver Cross and I couldn’t believe how much room that needed, it actually made mine look compact and bijou!  When it actually came to folding it I found this really easy as you can do it with one hand, it took a couple of practices to get it right but once I’d got the hang of it I was fine.

The “convenience” tray on the handles is fantastic, there are two large cup holders, one for you – one for baby or as I liked it (because Baby Bean doesn’t do drinks still!) one for a drink and one for sweets!  The centre section is great for storing mobile phone and car keys whilst out shopping and there is also a pull down section at the back of it which could be used to store your purse or sunglasses, or in my case emergency plasters for those retched blisters!!!!  And of course on the top of the centre tray was a digital clock/thermometer which is a nice touch.

Baby Beans’ tray at the front is great because you can release it with one hand, just watch out when you’re putting baby in or taking them out as Baby Bean has a tendency to want to pull it back down onto my hands or smacking it into the side of the car!  Can also be a hazard for trapping her own fingers!

The shopping basket is the best thing ever, it’s easy access if Baby Bean is asleep and is also one of the biggest baskets I have seen on a pushchair.  I could easily fit 2-3 carrier bags of groceries in it.

Baby Bean is now 13 months old and I’m still using the travel system – I do have a smaller pop up stroller for popping to the shops but on the whole I still use my Graco.

In short the Pros and Cons:

Pros

  • Adaptable
  • Stylish
  • Easy manoeuvrability
  • Carrycot
  • Large shopping basket
  • Pivoting hood
  • Convenience tray
  • One hand release child tray
  • Changeable inserts for car seat (great for a growing baby)
  • Fully reclining pushchair
  • One hand fold system
  • Free standing when folded
  • All covers are removable for washing

Cons

  • Not the lightest
  • Large when folded
  • No rear facing option

Maclaren Beginning Protecting Nappy Balm

Maclaren have got together with an internationally respected aromatherapy expert to create an organic based and holistic personal care range, with the aim of promoting well-being for mum and baby with purity, nurturing and connection from the Beginning!

I had the pleasure of trialling the Protecting Nappy Balm and I love it!  This is a really light cream which smells lovely and absorbs very quickly.  It makes babies bum feel silky smooth.  I have been using it for nearly two weeks now, during which time Baby Bean has cut 4 new teeth (poor thing!) and was starting to get nappy rash.  I’m happy to say that since I have used the Protecting Nappy Balm we have had a “rash free” bottom.

At £15.00 per tube I initially thought this was a little on the expensive side but you really don’t use very much at all so bearing in mind the size of the tube it will last ages – and it’s well worth the money if Baby Bean doesn’t have a sore bottom!  Happy Baby =  Happy Mummy!!

Other products in the range are:-

For Mum – Purifying Bath and Shower Elixir, Nurturing Bath Milk, Alleviating Leg Lotion, Balancing Facial Mist, Connecting Massage Oil, Supporting Belly Balm and Vials of Essential Oil.

For Baby – Calming Bath Milk, Absorbing Dusting Powder, Soothing Delicate Soap, Cocooning Massage Oil, Comforting Room Mist and Celebration Candle.

Citroen C3 Picasso

Having worked for car dealerships for the last 7 or so years and being very much a “car girl” I jumped at the chance to test drive a mini MPV family car.  Well ok I didn’t quite jump at the chance, I would have much preferred to drive an Aston Martin DB9 but anyway . . . .

Last week myself, a good friend and our daughters had a day trip to London Zoo so I asked if could borrow a car to get us there in comfort.  We were given the Citroen C3 Picasso.  Looks wise I couldn’t make up my mind if I thought this was “cool” car or not and decided its actually quite “funky”.

The car was really comfortable to drive and gave you a very “upright” driving position with good visibility of the road.  It felt very sturdy and handled very well because of its low centre of gravity.  Thanks to its outwardly compact nature I was able to manoeuvre it well when I took a wrong turning and needed to double back on myself!!  You can’t see very well on this picture but the windscreen kind of wrapped around the front of the car so it was almost like being in a fish bowl there was so much glass.  The car felt very light and airy.  The back seats were spacious enough for the two child seats and they sat up nice and high so the girl’s could have a view out of the window instead of staring at the inside of the door.

The boot comfortably carried 2 pushchairs (a Britax Verve and a City Mini Jogger) with plenty of space left for changing bags, coats, toys and shopping!  Storage-wise there are lots of handy compartments for storing your personal belongings and the boot has two floor levels to increase capacity if necessary.

The biggy for me was an interior pull down rear view mirror which enabled me to clearly see both girls in the back seat

The Citroen C3 Picasso comes in two petrol and two diesel engines.  I drove the 1.6HDi which was more than capable for motorway driving.

You’ll be pleased to know that the Citroen C3 Picasso is one of the safest cars in its class with up to 6 airbags, ABS, optional Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and a 4 star Euro NCAP rating.

Prices start from £11,795 OTR.

For more information go to http://www.borocarspeterborough.citroen.co.uk/ or http://www.citroen.co.uk/new-cars/citroen-c3-picasso/overview/introduction/

 

 

 

PlayMais – naturally brillant!

Posted by MummyMatters 06:55 PM on October 27, 2009  

I was recently asked to review PlayMais, a children’s natural craft material which is 100% biodegradable. It is made from non GM-grown maize, semolina and water, then dyed using natural food colouring. It is manufactured in Germany using biofuel so it is totally environmentally friendly.

PlayMais promotes creativity, motor functions, colour recognition and can also be used for therapeutic purposes.

I sat down with my 8 year old step-son and set to work – the instructions are very clear, even a child could understand them as they are both written and picture based. You simply dampen the cloth that comes with the pack, cut, tear, press or leave the pieces as they are, roll them lightly on the damp cloth which activates the starch in the maize making them sticky. You can then stick them together or to pieces of card, glass or paper to make whatever your heart desires.

Curly used the booklet that came with it to get some ideas and quickly set to work on making trees, bushes and a cow. I think he would have gone on forever but unfortunately we had a prior engagement so his project is “to be continued”. I was ‘a-maised’ at how far the box went, we were given the medium size box which contains approximately 100 pieces and I thought that we would use them up very quickly but he has hardly used any.

For more information visit http://www.playmais.com/

To see a video of PlayMais in action please click the link below

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-89349914

Wii Bonsai Barber – Review

Posted by MummyMatters at 03:24 PM on November 02, 2009  

I have recently been asked by Zoonami to review the new game from WiiWare called Bonsai Barber which was developed by Martin Hollis (development lead on GoldenEye for Nintendo 64) and the team at Zoonami.  The aptly named game requires you to use your Wii Remote as barber tools like shears and buzzcutters to groom a wide assortment of characters in the shape of fruit and veg!  It is suitable for 1-4 players and for ages 3+.

You are the new barber in town and you are presented with a character to trim by following the guidelines on their “hair”, then using the barbers tools available you can trim, pluck and shave the hair.  If you trim away too much, don’t panic, just grab the spritz bottle and give them a little spray to “re-grow” branches for further trimming.  By twisting the Wii remote you change the direction of the scissors, you can bend the branches with a comb to create a parting.  When the “styling” is finished the character will rate you on a scale of 1 to 5 on how happy they are with your work.

This is a great game for hand-eye coordination which is brilliant for young children just starting out on games, and they don’t need to worry about “losing”.  Game play is also relatively short as you can only style 5 customers per day so again this is quite good for children if you want to keep game play to a minimum.  Although the aim of the game is to create the best cut possible, you can pretty much do as you like – you can even change the hair colour.  When you have finished your work of art, take a photograph and post it on the Wii message board and deliver to your friends by Wii Connect24 or send it to the Photo Channel.  As you progress through the game some characters will present you with gifts which can unlock different games for you to try out.

Curly giggled like a good ‘un when he played this game, especially as some of the “Bonsai’s” had hair similar to him!!  He also liked spraying the little bird or cutting its tail off as it flew across the top of the screen – although I did tell him this was a bit cruel!!  Curly is quite a creative little chap so he liked using his imagination and deviating a little from what the game actually wanted him to do.

This game is available on the Wii Shopping Channel for 1000 points.

Kidsrooms.co.uk – Review

Posted by MummyMatters at 04:13 PM on November 02, 2009  

I was asked recently by Rainbow PR to review a website for them called “Kidsrooms.co.uk”.  This is an online store where you can pretty much buy whatever your heart (or your childs) desires for their bedroom/playroom.  They sell everything from beds, wardrobes, drawers, bedside cabinets, tables and chairs to toy boxes, bedding, pictures, height charts and toys.    If you have a business surrounding children and need something special for your waiting area – this is the site for you.  Setting up or redesigning a creche, there’s plenty here to fulfil your needs.

If you are not blessed with the creative skills of “Lawrence Llwellyn-Bowen” don’t fret, they give you lots of design ideas to help you out.  You can view rooms as a whole or just the individual pieces of furniture – for when you have your own style in mind and don’t want to be swayed by someone else’s designs.

The site itself is very user friendly, you can search by gender, by room or by individual product type.  The pictures are very clear and inviting with nice clear writing.  What I liked is that you don’t have to “hunt” for the price – you can see straight away how much an item is so you don’t have to fall in love with something and then decide that you can’t afford it.

Delivery is very affordable – orders over £200 are free and under £200 only £4.95, although this applies to UK Mainland only.  They use independant courier services which usually work on next working day delivery so they shouldn’t be affected by CWU industrial action.

So don’t waste any more time reading my review, click here to be taken straight to it and start shopping!!

EA FLIPS For Nintendo DS Consoles

EA Flips for DS Consoles I was recently asked to do a review by Shine Communications of the EA Flips for the DS Consoles.  We have recently bought a DS Lite for Curly and so I thought this would be a good opportunity to show him that they can be used for something other than killing the “baddies”!!!

The idea of the Flips for DS is an innovative new way to encourage our children that reading can be fun.  Classic children’s titles have been brought to life in these interactive books which contain quizzes and reference links which entice the children to get to the end of the chapter.  For Curly (8 yrs) we chose Too Ghoul For School which is a collection of 8 stories by B. Strange about St Sebastian’s School in Grimesford.  No word of a lie, from the minute that I presented him with the “book” he sat down quietly by himself and read the first of the 8 stories from start to finish.  He loved the fact that the he could click on some images where it played funny noises and he was so happy with himself as he completed each of the quizzes and only got 2 questions wrong.  Curly is a reader anyway but he said that he much preferred this method of reading as his books “did a bit more”.

So far, these are the titles which were released on 4th December 2009 with more planned:-

Enid Blyton (Egmont) – The Enchanted Wood®, The Magic Faraway Tree, The Folk of the Faraway Tree, Enchanted World – Petal and the Eternal Bloom, Enchanted World – Melody and the Enchanted Harp, Enchanted World – Silky and the Rainbow Feather

Cathy Cassidy (Penguin)– Scarlett, Angel Cake, Sundae Girl, Shine on Daizy Star, GingerSnaps, Driftwood

Eoin Colfer (Penguin) – Artemis Fowl, Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident, Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code, Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception, Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony, Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox

Too Ghoul For School (Egmont) – Silent but Deadly, The In-Spectres Call, Ghoul Dinners, The Bubonic Builders, Attack of the Zombie Nits, School Spooks Day, French Fright, Terror In Cubical Four

http://www.eagames.co.uk/game/flips-too-ghoul-for-school

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3 Comments leave one →
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    April 9, 2012 3:46 pm

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