A Whole Lotta Soreen Going On

We are a house of Soreen lovers. The cupboard is never without a loaf and it has become the staple (alongside fruit) of snacks for the short gap after school and heading out to football classes or swimming lessons; one of those snacks that keep you feeling full and also has a medium GI.

Soreen goodies

Soreen isn’t a new brand of course – I was eating them when I was a little girl. Malt loaf, buttered and eaten just like that as a snack probably before I went swimming or had my ballet lessons. Soreen is in fact over 75 years old – so chances are maybe your parents ate it too.

These days there’s a much bigger variety of Soreen snacks on offer – and we were sent a selection. The Lunchbox Loaves are ideal for packed lunches – while H has school dinners at school, at Holiday Club she’ll often take a packed lunch, so we always make sure she has some Soreen in there. We went to Legoland Windsor on Good Friday, stocking up with the same loaves as they’re just the right size – for parents and kids. There are also Kids Go Free vouchers on several varieties if you were planning a trip – there was even a stand with free samples on our way out!

The Cinnamon and Raisin fruit loaf is my favourite – I’m a sucker for cinnamon, and within our box of goodies is a recipe for a Summer Pudding which of course we will be trying soon….

The Soreen Toastie Loaf is pretty much as described – a loaf, pre-sliced and ‘perfect for toasting’ – I can vouch for this. For me, the chopping of Soreen is something I have problems with – same as bread really, I can never quite get it straight. Having it sliced for me, therefore, is a good thing.

I love the Snack Malt Loaf too – two buttered slices of Soreen packaged in a foil fresh packet, perfect for eating on the go – ours will keep fresh until late May which gives a month of freshness in there, possibly more.

Soreen on the Go!

But I’m saving the very best one till last – Soreen Chocolate is back! “A chocolatey malt loaf with indulgent chocolate chips” – now I may say I’m chocolate-d out at the moment, but this is lovely – a subtle chocolate to the malt loaf and packaged up with a Mega Offer of being only £1 at the moment, so keep an eye out. I swear, every time I touch the package I get a chocolate aroma all around me – it’s divine. Oh, and squidgy of course, as all Soreen products are!

We’ll try some of the recipes and report back - H doesn’t know where to start!

Soreen’s official website is here and you can follow on Facebook and Twitter too

We were sent a selection of Soreen products to try – all opinions are our own

A Waitrose Easter Tea Party

It’s nearly Easter, and where better to stock up on essentials than the Waitrose Easter selection in stores now? We were sent a voucher to try some out, and invite friends over for a tea party, which happened yesterday.

Waitrose Easter

The Waitrose Easter selection is available now and covers many different things. While I do love my chocolate, there are also other things on offer – with not having the time to do craft at the moment, ready-made Happy Easter bunting was one of the first things I spotted. Also, Easter Crackers? Brilliant! That went down well with H and her friends J and M who all had a couple of goes each.

Waitrose Easter Egg Hunt

In addition to this, Waitrose have an Easter Egg hunt kit – different coloured eggs with pop-out signs. Shaun didn’t have enough time through the day to do maps, but had enough time to hide some eggs out in the yard for the kids to find – which kept them occupied for a while, especially as they had to eat them afterwards, and quick before they melted!

Heston ALWAYS has something interesting in the Waitrose Easter range, and this year was no different – Acacia Honey and Ginger Hot Cross buns, a really generous size and delicious toasted or plain – I may have had more than one… yum!

Waitrose Easter
We also bought a selection of regular Waitrose Hot Cross Buns which we’re saving for the weekend for when my sister comes to stay.

There was a good cupcake choice too, so we chose a selection, as well as a variety of Cadbury’s ones – all beautifully arranged on our cupcake stand for the kids to get their hands on!

Waitrose Easter Cakes

The most delicious one for me was the Simnel Cake – we chose a small one from the deli counter which tasted mighty fine, not too heavy or sugary, with the marzipan just right. I had no idea the eleven balls on top are meant to represent the twelve apostles minus Judas, and if you didn’t either you do now! It made a nice centre of the table.

I would have loved to have baked some of these, but time wasn’t on our side. With so little holiday this year and working through the Easter holidays we had to rely on shop-bought options, but with ones as delicious as these and with the options on offer I think we’ve done well!

Waitrose Easter

To keep the kids occupied I bought an Easter mask making kit – had I realised three of the masks are quite girly I might have held back, but us mums had fun putting them together!

Finally, as a going-home treat H and her friends were all given a Waitrose Easter lolly, and a Lindt Chocolate Carrot – which were devoured before they left the house!

Still to eat we have a fabulous Easter Egg from Waitrose, a chocolate and lemon variety which looks fabulous and is £7.00. We skipped on the Heston one (though were tempted, there’s still time) and tried to be sensible (currently reduced to £15!). The words Waitrose Easter and Sensible are difficult though!

If you have time there are some great Easter recipes over here and if you’re looking for activities to do with kids (including some recipes), then try heading over here!

We were sent a voucher to buy the Waitrose food, and loved every minute! Everything is available in-store, prices are current ones and can be subject to change.

Can You Pledge One Hour?

A typical working week in this house involves me leaving around 7.20 and Shaun arriving home around 6.40. This isn’t a unique situation we’re in, and is the norm for most people living in London. Add your commute of up to an hour each way and being at work eats into your day. Andy Stephenson from Weekend Box commissioned a survey recently, and based on the results created Pledge One Hour.

pledge one hour

Pledge One Hour works on the idea that you make sure for one hour a day you spend some quality family time together – and with that is a website with suggestions for activities you can do together.

This all came about as after a survey by Fly Research asked 1,100 parents how much time they spent with their children.

* 40% of parents get less than 1 hour per day of quality time with their children

* 83% want to spend more time with their children and 95% felt that doing activities together made them feel closer as a family.

* 73% cited not having easy access to activities and resources as the biggest barrier to spending more time with their children.

Which is where Pledge One Hour comes in. We’ve reviewed Weekend Box earlier this year and found them great fun. Using everyday objects it did a lot of the thinking for us, and everything is still being played with now. We’re also working through the 50 Things National Trust activity suggestions when we can, so imagine something that covers both?

There are three sections on the website – Explore the Great Outdoors, Indoor Arts & Crafts and Child-Friendly Recipes. They’re all based around things which you should already have – be it sitting outside listening to birds, baking some Popcorn Cupcakes (oh yes!) or just making a miniature kite from an old plastic bag (a Weekend Box activity we’re still getting a lot of play from!) – there’s a lot of choice and it doesn’t cost a lot of money to do it.

As Andy says, “I don’t want to live in a world where parents and children face greater detachment due to the pressures of daily life, where children are left to entertain themselves with solitary screen time or mindless toys that fall short of adding any sensory value to their development. We can’t change the world overnight, but lots of little steps will help to break down those barriers.”

David Bond, Film-maker of Project Wild Thing said: “Our kids are spending almost a third of their waking hours staring at screens and the evidence is clear that this has a serious impact on their health and wellbeing.”

So can you do it? Can you Pledge One Hour? Come and join in – use the hashtag #pledgeonehour and share what you’re doing – with this beautiful weather right now it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and do something fun!

Quick Update

Welcome to the sickly household. Shaun had it first and it slowed everything down, and now I’ve got it so have had most of this weekend in bed.

I have a gazillion things to write about, and so many things coming up. Oh, and two giveaways with some fabulous prizes which are massively delayed thanks to the illness.

H hasn’t had it yet, so who can say what will happen next?

I might even have time to have a rant about shinpads in there too… Easter is coming next weekend too, so don’t forget about the always-excellent National Trust ones in conjunction with Cadburys – we’ve been to the ones at Claremont Landscape Gardens and Polesden Lacey and both have been brilliant. We might keep it local this year and head to Morden Hall Park – head over to here for more information and to find your nearest one.

This week we’re going to have an Easter tea party with some friends popping over to try the latest Easter range from Waitrose – can’t wait for that one! We’re doing the shopping tomorrow night.

Our stereo has been filling the room with the sounds of the Magic Belles this last week too – yep, there’s an album on the way! We’ll tell you more about it really soon – and also I’ve been tricking H with some Tiny Me wall stickers I got in a Facebook deal. I’ve been putting random stars on her bedroom wall and convincing her that Star Belle from the Magic Belles had paid her a visit. Of course, I forgot for a few nights, and H now informs me she’d told Star Belle to go away as she wanted some of the others to come and visit… that’ll teach me!!

So yes, a few things planned, plus a big trip to somewhere we’ve always fancied this Friday – lots more to follow once we’re all feeling normal again!

Thanks for reading, and back soon!

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure

Top-selling children’s stage show producers Fiery Light today announce a brand new full-length theatre adventure for children, Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure. Based on the popular CBeebies’ TV show, Octonauts, this exciting new production opens at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford, on Thursday 16 October and tours into 2015.

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure

In Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure the entire crew of the Octonauts, led by intrepid explorer Captain Barnacles, Lieutenant Kwazii and Medic Peso, embark on an exciting new underwater quest and visit amazing underwater worlds full of adventure, with surprises around every corner. This action-packed interactive show features new music (from BAFTA-award winning composer Mani Svavarsson) and all the Octonauts live on stage for the very first time.

Richard Lewis adapts and directs this new production for the stage. He also adapted and directed the hugely popular three Peppa Pig stage shows and last year’s Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom tour. Matt Lewis is lyricist, Simon Scullion is designer, Matt Haskins is lighting designer and Ian Horrocks Taylor is sound designer.

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure is produced by live children’s show supremos Fiery Light (joint venture by Fiery Angel and Limelight Productions), the team also behind the recent tours of the three successful Peppa Pig stage shows. Their most recent – Peppa Pig’s Big Splash – is currently on tour. It has broken box office records for a pre-school show and will return to the West End for fifth consecutive Christmas season at the Criterion Theatre this year. Other Fiery Light productions include the recent tour of Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, LazyTown Live! and Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

Director/adapter Richard Lewis said: ‘Octonauts is all about adventure and exploration which offers up a whole host of possibilities in a live environment. From the colourful characters and fantastic underwater setting to the amazing octopod where the Octonauts live, there’s great scope for a really unique, interactive theatre experience. We can’t wait to take fans on an adventure like never before.’

LISTINGS INFORMATION
Booking fees may apply. Please check with venue
www.octonautslive.co.uk

Age recommendation: 3 +

THURS 16 – SUN 19 OCTOBER ORCHARD THEATRE, DARTFORD
Thurs 16 at 4 pm www.orchardtheatre.co.uk
Fri 17 at 1 & 4 pm
Sat 18 at 10 am, 1 & 4 pm
Sun 19 at 10 & 1 pm

TUES 21 – WED 22 OCTOBER PRINCES HALL, ALDERSHOT
Tues 21 & Wed 22 at 1 & 4 pm www.princeshall.com

SAT 25 – SUN 26 OCTOBER WYCOMBE SWAN, HIGH WYCOMBE
Sat 25 & Sun 26 at 10 am, 1 & 4 pm www.wycombeswan.co.uk

WED 29 – THURS 30 OCTOBER FAIRFIELD HALLS, CROYDON
Wed 29 & Thurs 30 at 10 am, 1 & 4 pm www.fairfield.co.uk

SAT 1 – SUN 2 NOVEMBER NEW THEATRE, CARDIFF
Sat 1 & Sun 2 at 10 am, 1 & 4 pm www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk

WED 5 – THURS 6 NOVEMBER G LIVE, GUILDFORD
Wed 5 & Thurs 6 at 1 & 4 pm www.glive.co.uk

SAT 8 – SUN 9 NOVEMBER ALEXANDRA THEATRE, BIRMINGHAM
Sat 8 & Sun 9 at 10 am, 1 & 4 pm www.atgtickets.com

WED 12 – THURS 13 NOVEMBER GRAND OPERA HOUSE, YORK
Wed 12 & Thurs 13 at 1 & 4 pm www.atgtickets.com

SAT 15 – SUN 16 NOVEMBER CORN EXCHANGE, CAMBRIDGE
Sat 15 at 4 pm www.cornex.co.uk
Sun 16 at 10 am, 1 & 4 pm

WED 19 – THURS 20 NOVEMBER ST GEORGE’S HALL, BRADFORD
Wed 19 & Thurs 20 at 1 & 4 pm www.bradfordtheatres.co.uk

SAT 22 – SUN 23 NOVEMBER GROVE THEATRE, DUNSTABLE
Sat 22 at 1 & 4 pm www.grovetheatre.co.uk
Sun 22 at 10 am & 1 pm

Further tour dates to be announced

Book Character Week

After the Easter break comes H’s school Book Character Week. There’s a day with a parade when they’re all dressed up like their favourite character.

H’s current favourite is Milly Molly Mandy. She can’t get enough of the books and has to read two stories every night from the paperback I got her.

milly molly mandy

You’d think a Milly Molly Mandy dress would be easy, wouldn’t you? But no. It isn’t.
A pink vertical striped dress – that’s all. Nowhere has pink vertical striped dresses. John Lewis have one which may have to do. Etsy have some choice but are in the US & Australia so there’s no guarantee it would get here on time.

I’m stumped! Now the obvious thing here would be to change books, as she’s currently enjoying reading some DC Super Friends ones we’ve been sent for review, a Superman or Spiderman costume is easy to come by, but it feels like a cop out – a bit like when she went as Rapunzel (with her Tangled book) for World Book Day that time. There were also about 20 or more other Rapunzel’s, it has to be said.

There really is only one option left. I need to make it. Or pay someone to make it for me! What would you do? We will have a little bit more time, but I need to get the sewing machine (and find fabric) and somehow make it.

I can do it! I can!

Or can I?

No pressure there. Has anyone else ever made a Milly Molly Mandy dress?

Follow my Pinterest board over here, which has a few Milly Molly Mandy dresses I’ve seen, including the one I went for in the end!