Monday 30 September 2013

Ella's Kitchen My Little BIG Meals - Review

Alfie is a bit of a piggy. He eats so much and generally seems to like anything we give him. The last thing I wanted was a fussy child so when we weaned him we were very keen to make sure we gave him lots of variety and not very often would we give pre-prepared food, obviously if we were out and about pre-prepared food is fantastic and so handy but at home the emphasis was on him getting used to trying all sorts of flavours and textures with plenty of home cooked food. 

When I did buy pre-packaged food it was really important that all the ingredients were natural, not processed and full of goodness. When I was asked if Alfie would like to try the new range of Ella's Kitchen, 'My little BIG meals' I jumped at the chance. We have previously used Ella's Kitchen and what I love is that what you see in the ingredients list is all you are getting. There is no added salt or sugar, no additives, nothing artificial and no concentrates or similar. as it states on the Ella's packaging they are 'good in every sense'. 

The 'my little BIG meals' is a new range from Ella's Kitchen which is specifically designed for little ones 12 months onwards and is packed full of chunky veggies and comes in 7 different yummy varieties. I've always liked the playful, childlike design that Ella's Kitchen have, they always catch my eye and these pots are just as nice, even down to the cellophane covering the top!

Alfie was sent two varieties, bolognese bake and full of beans pork stew. He absolutely loved them both, even I was hungry at the smell of them and I admit I did have a little taste and they were in fact very nice! They really did go down a storm! See the pictures below :-) 

Nom nom!

So looking at everything and taking everything into account do Ella's Kitchen little BIG meals have the 'X Factor'???? Yes they do, I love the ethos behind the brand, the ingredients, the packaging and the sizing of the portions. My one and only issue (if I had to pick something) is I think the RRP is maybe slightly high at £2.19, however they are a premium brand and if they were on offer I wouldn't hesitate to buy them. I'd be quite keen for Alfie to try out the others flavours for sure!

Recently launched the Little BIG Meals will be available in major retailers very soon.

Will you be giving these Ella's Kitchen meals a try?
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* Please note I was kindly sent the meals as a PR sample for review purposes but the views and writing are my own. 

Saturday 28 September 2013

NOTD - L'oreal Colour Riche So Chic Pink

So today I have another gorgeous nail of the day to share. This is a really nice coral, pink shade from the L'oreal Colour Riche collection. I know you're probably seeing a bit of a trend with my choice colours at the moment but I just seem to keep been drawn to similar shades. 

Surprisingly, this is the first time that I've used these L'oreal nail polishes and I like them (apart from the silly 5ml bottles that they're sold in!).  They apply really nicely, dry quite quickly and have vivid colours. Lasting power is not so good I've found with chipping and peeling off after about 24 hours, which isn't a great factor! However I'm willing to overlook that on this occasion as it's a nice colour :-) 

This particular shade is So Chic Pink. You can buy L'oreal Color Riche from various leading retailers for £4.99. Boots have a buy one get one half price offer on at the moment. 
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Thursday 26 September 2013

Baking Mad!!

So as I'm sure you can all guess I love baking, I always have from when I was very little, the trouble is many of my puds have a million calories in them so I can't bake too often. I'm also a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off  and for those who don't know this is a program where novice bakers compete each week to create technical bakes, a signature bake and a show stopper, each one trying to get the title of 'star baker'. I would love to apply for the next series but there is no way I'm creative enough or good enough to even be considered!

When I bake one thing that I love is using decent equipment, I don't know why (pretty sure it's just in my head) but when I use good quality equipment I'm sure the results are better! I've been thinking I could do with some new baking stuff and I'm always on the look out for some quirky and retro baking items. Most accessories in my kitchen tend to be pastel colours and have a vintage feel about them so if I can find things similar to that I'm happy! I've been looking at some great retro baking bits at Handy Household and some I even recognise from my Gran & my Mum's baking equipment. Check out what I found below.  

This cooks dry measure is great and I'm sure my Mum still has hers!
Also loving these retro inspired cake tins and even more so the pink one hehe! Surprisingly I haven't actually got any cake tins (probably because cake doesn't last very long in this house!). I'm very tempted to purchase these!
I already own a blow torch but thought I'd feature this as I absolutely love mine. It's perfect for creme brulee's and getting the perfect crunchy top, not only that but they're really handy to have in the kitchen generally as you never know when you need a blow torch to finish off a dessert.

How absolutely adorable is this icing set, it almost looks like a retro first aid kit with a big syringe, I think it's great and what baker doesn't need an icing set.
There is loads more on the website and you'll be spoiled for choice! So go and check it out and be baking mad (and maybe a little barking mad too!).

Are you a vintage/retro fan or are you a lover of all things modern when it comes to bake ware? 
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* Please note this is a sponsored post but the views and thoughts are my own and it was written by me :-)

Wednesday 25 September 2013

NOTD - OPI Tickle my Francey

Here is a nice nude colour from OPI. I do seem to have a tendency to pick very similar nude colours recently, but hey you can't go wrong with a nice nude. As with most nude colours I find that 3 coats is often needed to get good coverage. The one thing I love about OPI polishes is that they're really nice to apply and once on they have a nice shine to them.

This particular shade is called 'Tickle my Francey' (I love the names OPI come up with for their polishes), I picked this up from Fragrance Direct for a bargain price of £3.99, how could I resist at that price!! They have loads of shades available for £3.99 at the moment.........I can feel a haul coming on!
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Tuesday 24 September 2013

Strawberry Mousse Pots

Here is a lovely little recipe that is easy to make and yummy to eat using some beautiful Jubilee Strawberries. These particular strawberries are an English variety and are much sweeter and more flavoursome than other varieties. They are very juicy and and have a beautiful fresh aroma. I love cooking with strawberries and I think they are such a lovely fruit to look at (without meaning to sound complete bizarre!).

Recipe - Serves 6


500g strawberries washed & hulled
150g digestive biscuits
40g melted butter
50g icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp. rosewater
600ml double cream
1 large egg white


1. Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin to  fine crumbs and combine with melted butter. Divide between 6 glasses or ramekins and place in fridge to set. 

2. Place the egg white and icing sugar into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk for 5 minutes or until the mixture reaches medium peaks. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

3. Place the strawberries into a large pan with the rose water and 3 tablespoons of water. Over a medium heat cook the strawberries until they begin to soften. Remove from the heat and mash the strawberries using a fork or similar. Sieve to remove the seeds and set aside to cool completely (it smells amazing at this point!). 

4. In a separate bowl whip the cream until smooth and thickened. Gently fold the cream into the egg white and add the cooled strawberry puree and continue with gentle folding actions (it resembles a pink fluffy marshmallow at this point!). 

5. Spoon into the 6 bowl or ramekins and chill for at least 2 hours or until set. Decorate with some strawberries or other fruit (I used blueberries).

6. Finally enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, strawberries are such a refreshing fruit and make delicious puds. 

If you'd like to find out more about Jubilee Strawberries you can click the link for more information. You can also find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter: @Jubilee_Strawbs. You can also purchase Jubilee Strawberries from all leading supermarkets. 
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* Please note that this is a sponsored post. 

Monday 23 September 2013

My Top 5 Baby Essentials

I've been thinking back to when Alfie was a little bambino and the items I found really useful. I won't waffle on too much but just a little insight into my top 5 baby essentials.  

First up is a cot and a travel cot. Both are extremely useful and we actually moved Alfie into his own cot and room from when he was 10 weeks old and it was the best thing we did, it resulted in a much more relaxed Mummy & Daddy and a baby that slept (and still does) really well! We have also found having a travel cot invaluable for when we are visiting family and friends. You can view a great variety of both by visiting Bambino Direct

Next up is a baby carrier. We bought a Baby Bjorn carrier and found it really useful, especially when we took Alfie abroad when he was only 4 months old. Walking around museums with a pram can be difficult so this carrier was great, also at this age Alfie was becoming a bit of a limpet so it was perfect for keeping him close!

Next up and this is probably one of the baby items I couldn't live without (we still use it now for peace of mind!) is a baby monitor. We have this exact one and it's brilliant as we have a 3 storey town house it's particularly useful when we're in the kitchen and Alfie is in bed (his nursery is on the top floor).  You can purchase this one from Bambino Direct for £100.
One of my other top buys has to be a changing unit, although this isn't the exact one we've got it's similar. I suffer from a bad back at times and this saved me from constantly bending down to change Alfie and it makes life so much easier without putting my back out. It's also a great storage unit, on mine I keep nappies, wipes, blankets, baby towels, toiletries and books. You can see a great range of changing units by clicking the link.

Lastly a baby bouncer chair. Ahhh how I loved Alfie's little chair and so did he!! I could pop him in it while I did the odd bit of housework and he would happily sit there, listen to the music and fall asleep while it gently vibrated. It really was a god send!

Click on the link to view a wide range of baby bouncers, I can't recommend them enough! They look so comfy, what a shame they don't make adult sized ones!

So there you have it my top 5 baby essentials, I had to limit it to 5 as I could have gone on and on about more that I loved but these are the items that when we have another little one I'll definitely be using again. For more information about the items featured you can visit Bambino Direct.

What couldn't you live without when it comes to baby essentials?
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PR - Please note this was a sponsored post but the opinions and choices of the top 5 essentials are my own :-) 

Sunday 22 September 2013

What did I get up to on my holiday......week 2

So after our first week in the Eurocamp tent we were headed towards a tiny little place called La Bazoque to a nice warm and cosy gite with a toilet and running water and.......wifi (can you tell I was super excited by all this!).  On the way to La Bazoque (we had to be out from Eurocamp by 10am and couldn't arrive at the gite until 3pm) we stopped off at Caen. Not a massive amount to say about Caen, as far as French towns go it was nice, full of chocolate shops, patisseries and these weird models in windows....(see below). We had a nice lunch while we were there but we won't be returning to the restaurant due to Alfie having the mother of all tantrums ......not even a breadstick or silly faces could stop it *hangs head in shame!*

Macarons, yum!

We arrived at our gite and I have never been so pleased to see 4 brick walls and a sink (Ok slightly dramatic I know!), we were greeted by the owner Stephen and he was lovely. To view information about the gite click on the link Les Moulin des Essards

From the front the gite looks absolutely tiny but it was actually over 3 floors so there was ample room for the four of us and Alfie (my parents joined us late on the Sunday). It was also really well equipped with everything needed for it to be a home away from home.

So this particular week turned out to be full on apart from Sunday when the three of us chilled waiting for my parents to arrive. This particular gite is smack bang in prime location for exploring and was within easy driving access of all the D-Day landing beaches and war cemeteries (perfect for my Dad who is a complete military nut/fanatic).  

So what did we get up to this week? Where do I start more to the point?! Instead of boring you with masses and masses of writing I'll only write a few sentences of things we did and I'll of course put plenty of pictures up! I'll also link up my Trip Advisor reviews again so you can access more information should you want to!

So we started of our week with rain which wasn't great but I was just thankful we weren't in the tent! We decided to pop along to Chateau Balleroy which was a few miles down the road. It was a really interesting way to spend a couple of hours, I do love looking around a Chateau!! The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent playing with Alfie, drinking wine and playing card games, perfect!

On Tuesday we decided to visit the British War CemeteryBayeux (but not the tapestry!) and then Arromanches and 'Muberry Harbour'. Firstly I have to say just how moving visiting the cemetery was, I read the visitor book and some of things people had written had me close to tears, it was the same when we visited the American War Cemetery. It's just so moving seeing rows and rows of graves and realising just what these men and women had gone through, it's hard not to feel emotional.

I could keep adding photos but I'm just featuring these three as they are, in my opinion, extremely poignant. I would definitely visit again as a mark of respect if I'm ever in this area again. We didn't visit the D-Day memorial museum that is just over the road as we decided to head into Bayeux, plus going around museums with a hyperactive toddler is difficult! We then went on to Bayeux and the centre. I had visited Bayeux years and years ago on a school trip (who hasn't!) I don't remember much about Bayeux itself though, we opted just to have a walk through the town and have a look in the Cathedral, it's a really lovely place to have a stroll through and again full of Chocolatiers and Patisseries (ahhh yummy!!).

After visiting Bayeux we popped along to Arromanches as we were only about 5 minutes away. For those who don't know Arromanches (or Gold beach) formed part of the D-Day landings and featured Mulberry Harbour (an artificial harbour made for unloading equipment and troops onto the beach).  It's a beautiful and very peaceful beach and we spent about an hour there with Alfie reflecting and taking in the remnants of the war and harbour that can be seen in the sea.

Wednesday came and we went out on another military filled day, I know you must be thinking how much military stuff can a girly, girl take?! Well I don't really mind, I've been brought up with it and actually find it alot more interesting now I'm older and am not a stroppy teenager being dragged around exhibits! This particular day involved visiting the American War Cemetery and Memorial and Omaha Beach, again this was another moving and poignant visit, even more so as it was 9/11 and the security seemed to be very high on entry to the museum (which for free is an excellent museum , however Alfie decided to have another massive tantrum so I spent about 45 minutes outside being stared at while my son took to screaming and crying and nothing would console him, nightmare! I nearly had a Mummy melt down at this point!

On Thursday we did yet more war related visits (mainly on my Dads & Adi's requests!). We started of going to Overlord Museum which is full of tanks and military vehicles, after about half an hour though I have to admit they all seemed to merge into one another, my Dad however was in his element! There is only a certain amount of militaria I can take and after this particular day I think I'd had enough and definitely wanted Friday to be less hectic! After this we then went on to St Mere Eglise which is famous for the American Paratroopers landing and some getting caught on the church. There is also an excellent museum called Airborne Museum which I particularly enjoyed as it was the only museum we visited with a massive selection of medical supplies and some nurses uniforms on display, they also have a Waco glider on show which is so bizarre to see that Soldiers actually landed in them!!

After all this military exertion we decided to take full advantage of the Grandparents and have a meal out. We ate out at the beautiful Manoir de la Drome a Michelin starred restaurant. With it being a Thursday we were the only ones dining, it was like having our own personal Chef! The food was sublime as was the wine and the service!

On Friday we decided to go to Port en Bessin for a relaxed day and some seafood, it was a really nice little port and a perfect way to round off our holiday. We collected some shells and watched the tide come in before having a nice lunch in Fleur de Sel, it was all very relaxed after the manic few days we'd had!

So that sums up our 2nd week of our holidays! I'm exhausted after writing all of that, I can't believe how much we managed to cram in AND we still didn't visit half the places we could or eat enough Camembert or visit a Calvados farm!! We obviously need to go back to the area :-) I think Normandy has alot to offer and I would definitely recommend it, it was nice that the weather wasn't overly hot as it meant we could see alot of things and not sweat our asses off! 

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my holiday and if you want anymore information on the restaurants and things we did you can click on the links provided but also access my Trip Advisor where are there more of my reviews in more detail. 

Thanks so much for reading!

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