Monday 31 August 2015

Soda Bread

Mark and Luke had a go at making soda bread today after seeing it on The Great British Bake Off a couple of weeks ago. It was really easy to make using these ingredients;

500g strong flour
1 tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
400ml buttermilk

Luke used his fingers to mix it all together and it made a very sticky dough. He tipped it out, made it into a ball and dusted it with flour. He cut a cross in the top and placed it in the oven for 30 minutes.

They found it much easier to make than bread that needs yeast and it tasted delicious. I made some carrot and coriander soup and we had them both for tea.

Nothing But.

I am always on the look-out for healthy snacks so when I was asked if I would like to try some Nothing But. snacks I didn't need to think twice.

Nothing But is a healthy range of freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snacks with nothing added, just the water taken away. Each bag provides one of your five a day and these delicious snacks are great on the go, in lunchboxes or at your desk to keep the snack cravings at bay.

We received the following flavours to try:

Sliced Beetroot & Parsnip Snack
Mange Tout & Red Pepper Snack

Pineapple & Grape Snack
Apple & Fig Snack

The fruit and vegetable snacks are lovely and crispy and full of flavour. The combinations work really well together and we especially liked the apple and fig snack.

We took some on a bike ride as they are light enough to fit in the pocket of our cycling tops and were a nice change and much more healthy than the sweets that Luke usually tries to take! 

It can be tricky sometimes to make sure the boys get their 5 a day but they both love these snacks so I can include these in their lunch box instead of crisps and know they will eat them! I have also been taking them to work to eat mid morning, my favourite is the pineapple and grape snack and it is much easier to eat at my desk than real pineapple is!

Disclaimer - Nothing But Snack sent a sample of their snacks for the purpose of this review. All words, photos and opinions are my own.

Friday 28 August 2015

Crème Brûlée

This week the contestants on The Great British Bake Off made Crème Brûlée. As William is still off school and has more time he decided he would have a go at making them. Despite having a cupboard full to bursting of pots, we didn't have any small glass dishes but fortunately Grandma came to the rescue with some that William could use.

William stuck to a traditional Crème Brûlée rather than some of the unusual flavours that were made on TV. It also gave him the opportunity to use his blowtorch that he got off Auntie Fiona. It caramalised the top beautifully and William was sensible enough to use it on the cooker, so it was good to see he has learnt from past experience!!

They tasted delicious and William said they were easy to make so hopefully we will be having these again soon.

Bike Ride to Bashall Eaves

Last Saturday we had a ride to Bashall Eaves, it was quite hilly and as we were going up one hill the chain on the tandem came off which was a bit of a pain. Mark & Luke had to walk up the rest of the hill and once we found a gateway we had to get the chain back on. It's not quite so easy with a tandem as it is with a normal bike, fortunately Mark managed it and we could carry on with our ride.

It was a lovely evening and when we reached Cromwell's bridge Luke went to have a look! 


As we are planning to climb Snowdon in September we thought we had better get some practice in so last weekend we went up to the Lake District to walk up Catbells. We've never been up it before but it is a popular walk so we thought we would give it a go.

We had an early start as we knew parking would be tricky so once we had packed up a picnic we set off. We arrived just after 9.30 and found a nice shady parking space and then set off on our walk. It was a really hot day so we had packed plenty of water to keep us hydrated.

At the start of the walk there were a lot of ferns so Luke tried to hide from us!

Not long after we started we spotted a helicopter circling, it looked like it was looking for a place to land and then we realised it was going to land just in front of us. After a reasonably steep start it was a welcome rest as we waited for it to land. 

The next bit of the walk was quite a climb, I hadn't realised that Catbells was so steep. In parts we were scrambling up rock which Luke loved. I actually found those bits easier than just walking up a path.

Once we reached the top we could admire the fantastic views of Derwent Water and the Lakeland hills.

The way down was very steep and we were glad we had done the walk the way we had as it would have been a very long climb doing it in reverse especially with it being so hot. As we had set off early we were down by lunchtime but we had drunk all our water in the time we were out. I thought this might happen so I had packed more and left it in the car for when we got back.

Once we had got back to the car we left our bags and took our picnic down to the lake and sat in the sun to eat. Luke decided to cool off in the lake!

On the way home we stopped off for a well deserved ice cream.

We had a lovely day out and the climb wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be when I first saw Catbells!

Monday 24 August 2015

Debenhams Back to School 2015 competition

When I was at primary school we didn't have a school uniform and could wear pretty much what we wanted for school. Girls tended to wear dresses or skirts and I certainly don't remember any of the girls wearing trousers.  My Mum was a keen knitter and this meant that many of my school clothes were knitted! I remember being envious of my friend who always had gorgeous dresses and cardigans from Marks and Spencer whereas I had knitted jumpers, cardigans and even knitted dresses in many shades of brown, green, orange and other colours that were popular in the 1970's.

We still live in the same village I grew up in so William and Luke both went to my old primary school, William left a couple of years ago and Luke is still there. They couldn't believe I didn't have to wear a uniform and Luke wishes he could wear what he wants rather than the brown and green uniform that he has to wear. As a Mum I am glad they have a school uniform, it's bad enough getting them organised in a morning without them having to decide what to wear too. It also means they are not under pressure to always have the latest and most expensive fashions. Neither of them liked the orange jumper that I am wearing in my school photo, I'm not surprised, I wasn't keen on it either and remember always making sure I wore a vest as the knitted jumpers could be quite itchy.

Yellow Days blog is co-hosting a competition with Debenhams and have asked for bloggers to recreate their school uniform with items from the Debenhams Kidswear department. As I didn't have a uniform and not surprisingly Debenhams don't have a range of schoolwear in orange, I have created a uniform that I would have liked to wear at school and there is not a knitted cardigan in sight!!

I like this grey skater pinafore dress, it looks nice and smart and can be teamed with these pretty white blouses.

This red cardigan is the nearest to orange I can get and the frill around the bottom makes it look prettier. It is very similar to the cardigans my friend used to wear that I was very envious of. 

I always had sensible shoes for school but would have loved a pretty pair like these black quilted patent bow shoes. Ankle straps were very fashionable when I was at school and I would have felt very grown up wearing these.

I was never allowed tights because if you fell you would ruin your tights whereas if you were wearing socks it was only your knees that suffered! I remember having white socks like these in my final year at primary school. I only had one pair and I could only wear them once a week as back then Mum had a twin tub washing machine and washing was such a performance that she only only washed on a Monday. She took some convincing to get an automatic washing machine but once she had she wished she'd got one sooner!

Browsing Debenham's schoolwear section I came across this orange bag which I couldn't resist adding to match my orange knitted jumper!

So there you have it, my 2015 school uniform - what do you think?

Sunday 23 August 2015

Sure Maximum Protection Sport Strength Review

Sure Maximum Protection Sport Strength Anti Perspirant has a vibrant citrusy fragrance, and is specially formulated as the ultimate preparation tool to protect against sweat and odour during exercise. With an active weekend ahead of us including cycling, a Lakeland fell climb and a mini heatwave forecast for Sunday I knew that it would be given the ultimate test. 

For maximum protection you apply to underarms before going to bed, this did seem really strange to me and I wasn't convinced that it would still work in the morning especially as it says you don't need to reapply after showering. However I followed the instructions and hoped it really did live up to the claims on the back of the box which are

- Our ultimate control of sweat during physical activity
- Maximum strength wetness protection from Sure
- Continuous odour protection that keeps you feeling fresh all day
- Long lasting fragrance

After completing a 23 mile bike ride up and down the undulating hills of the Ribble Valley I was soaked with sweat everywhere but my armpits. I have to say I was impressed, once I got home I resisted reapplying the anti perspirant and a few hours later I still smelt fresh. So far so good!

I applied the anti perspirant again before bed, apparently night time application produces optimal results as Sure Maximum Protection is best activated by your body's resting temperature. Sunday was an early start as we were off to the  Lake District to walk up Catbells. We picked a scorching hot day, temperatures were in the twenties and again I knew Sure maximum Protection would be tested to the limit. 

Despite the heat and the stiff climb Sure never let me down. It certainly lived up to all the claims and kept me fresh all weekend.

Sure Maximum Protection is available in 45ml (RRP from £4.90**) at leading retailers nationwide.

Disclaimer - I received a Sure Maximum Protection Anti Perspirant for the purpose of this review but all words, photos and opinions are my own.

Saturday 22 August 2015

Luke's Tea

Luke decided that he wanted to make tea tonight. He brushed the oil and herb mix onto the chicken and then chopped up the potatoes. He par-boiled them before we put them in the oven to roast.

The potatoes were lovely and crispy and tasted delicious. He decided to serve the chicken with peas and sweetcorn as they are his favourite vegetables. I can see we have another budding chef on our hands! 

Friday 21 August 2015

Cake Pops

Auntie Fiona recently sent a cake pop tin and William had a go at making some. He did end up with a variety of sizes but they all tasted delicious. He decided that he needs a bit more practice so that they all end up the same size!