Saturday, 20 August 2011

And the Winner of the Little Dish Favorites Cookbook is ...........

Well Done Danielle!!!

I will be in contact shortly to arrange posting the fab cookbook to you.

Keep an eye out for more giveaways coming shortly!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

GIVEAWAY! Little Dish Favourites Cookbook

I am pleased to announce my very first giveaway, one lucky person could win the Little Dish Favourites Cookbook, which has over 60 simple recipes suitable from weaning onwards.

The cookbook is fantastic, and something I wish I had a year ago when we were introducing Zane to solid food. The book has lots of tips and information, and the recipes are easy to follow, simple and suit a wide variety of tastes. Some of the recipes include home made fish fingers, chicken enchiladas, meatloaf, and burger with hidden vegetables for fussy eaters, I can guarantee that you will find something to inspire you.

All you need to do to win this fabulous cookbook is Like me on Facebook, Follow Me on Twitter and leave a comment on my blog to say that you have entered.

The giveaway will be open until 12 noon on Saturday 20th August, and the winner will be announced shortly afterwards.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Review - Little Dish Childrens Meals

I have been sent a cool bag full of Little Dish goodies for Zane to try. Little Dish meals are suitable for children from 12 months, and are made from 100% natural ingredients with no added salt or sugar. Something which I was very impressed with is the fact that the chicken and beef used in the meals are free from antibiotics and growth hormones, and the vegetables used are free from pesticides. As free range chicken owners and organic gardeners this is something very important to us, as we like to know what we are eating and that it has been produced/reared in the most natural way.

We were sent six different meals, Chicken Risotto, Pasta with Cheese, Peas & Broccoli Trees, Monty's Favorite Spaghetti & Meatballs, Salmon & Broccoli Pasta Bake, Chicken & Butternut Squash Pie and Pasta Bolognese. The meals were so simple to cook, just pierce the film and pop into the microwave for two minutes and then its ready to eat once it has cooled down to the required temperature.

As always I try the food for Zane before he eats it as I wouldn't feed him something which I wouldn't be willing to eat myself. I was most impressed, the meals were all delicious, none of them were bland and they tasted just like something that I would cook myself. Zane was very happy to eat them. I was a little worried as he was going through a fussy phase before I received these meals to review so I was hoping that it wouldn't affect the results but the change seemed to inspire him to eat. His favorite meal was Monty's Favorite Spaghetti & Meatballs, I was amazed that he cleared his plate, ate all of the meatballs when he usually isn't too keen on meat, and when he had finished he was trying to scoop the sauce off the plate with his hands, he didn't want to waste a single bit. The meal which he wasn't so keen on was Salmon & Broccoli Pasta Bake, which I was surprised at as it was my favorite, I thought it was the tastiest of all the meals and Zane usually loves salmon, the only thing I could think that he wasn't keen on was the distinct flavour.

Something which I found very novel was the picture to colour in on the inside of the cardboard sleeve. Perfect to keep little one's occupied whilst they are waiting for their dinner too cook and cool. In our case it even kept Daddy out of trouble for five minutes.

What I loved the most about Little Dish meals is that there is a whole load of goodness in such a convenient meal. I would have no worries or ingredient scanning if I hadn't been so organised throughout the day and needed to get Zane his dinner quickly. I sometimes feel guilty if I have to serve him a microwave meal but with these I know that there are no added nasties and only good quality ingredients are used. Something which didn't suit us was the portion size, it is very generous so that would be a positive for most people, but for us Zane seems to be intimidated by a plate full of food and doesn't eat it so well. This was fine once I had realised though as I could adjust the size that I served him and my taster was increased, they really are good enough for adults to eat!

You can buy Little Dish meals at Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Waitrose Deliver,, and Boots. You can find out more about Little Dish on Facebook and Twitter or on their website

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Skip Treasures

Gary is a skip rat, he loves having a look at what people have thrown away to see if there is anything which will be useful again, and save us some money. A few months ago whilst out he spotted a skip so went to have a look. He was amazed to find a Belfast sink in perfect condition. He asked permission to take it and carried it half a mile home. His arms were aching so as soon as he got back he dropped it right my the garden gate,and that is where it stayed.

We filled it with flowers and we love it, it looks great in its position.

I bought the flowers for a bargain price at our local corner shop. Next Spring we plan to plant wild flower seeds to give a real natural effect, like the sink has been dumped and beautiful flowers have sprung up.

The sink is a lovely feature in our patio and it inspired us to have more flowers in that area. Now we have a little oasis which is very calming and relaxing. Doing this area has been a god start for making our mark on the whole garden, and I am already looking forward to next spring.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Doing My Bit For The Economy.

Since the recession I have been passionate about supporting local and small businesses. This is important to me for personal purchases as well as in my job in Facilities Management. Within the procurement process at work I always research local businesses first to see what they offer, and bigger businesses second. I find that there is a massive gap between small and large business in terms of customer service and satisfaction. When I use a big business I always feel like a number or another figure on their target sheet. When I use a small business I mostly get personal service, and I feel like my custom means so much to them that they put their all into my purchase. I have worked in customer service for my whole working career and it is something which is important to me so I pay special attention to how my custom is dealt with.  I have such a sense of satisfaction when I find a new small business that is excellent at what they do, and for myself because I am supporting the local economy and doing my bit towards stabilising our country.

I want to show my passion by sharing a small business which  have had a great buying experience with and I want to champion them.

I wanted some cushions for Zane so that he has a comfy area to relax in. I came across Towards Mayhem and saw that they made cushions and had a transport design. Zane loves anything with wheels so I knew that it would be a winner. I spoke to Michelle, the owner to tell her which one I wanted and also asked her if she could get a fabric with emergency vehicles as that as the current obsession. Within minutes she found a perfect fabric and posted me a picture as a sample. I loved it so said go for one of each material. The next day she posted me another picture of them made up. I was amazed at her speed, and the efficient communication. I received them the very next day, so from start to finish the process of choosing, making, posting and receiving was less than 48 hours!

I was impressed with the cushions when they arrived. Michelle knew how old my son was so she decided to design the cushion covers so that they easily slipped off for washing. The cover fits the cushion perfectly, it isn't tight or baggy, and the cushion easily slips in and out. The quality of the sewing is fantastic, and the covers have been washed quite a few times whilst I have had them and they haven't shrunk or lost shape. I cannot fault the product, or the service that I received, so I would highly recommend Towards Mayhem.

I should add Zane's reaction too. He loves them. I put them out before he woke up and they were the first thing that he went to when he walked into the living room. He loves pointing out what each vehicle is, and he has started saying the colours too. He loves to roll around on the floor with them, or just lie cuddled up on them watching the TV. I put them in his cot to sleep on and they haven't been downstairs since. I loves looking at them before he falls to sleep, and I like to think that they send him to sleep happy.