Thank Goodness for Dolmio

We’re a busy family. Shaun and I work through the day, H is at school of course and most evenings we have activities. It can get hectic. BritMums and Dolmio sent ingredients to make a midweek meal. So how did it go?

Dolmio is a name which needs no introductions in this house. We tend to use Passata in meals. I felt that Dolmio didn’t offer as much flavour wise, what with the one type of sauce.

How wrong could we be? Dolmio have LOADS of different types of sauce these days. We received some Bolognese sauce and fresh vegetables to make some tasty food.

Dolmio cooking

We received the Dolmio Bolognese sauce, so our first stop was a nice, tasty spaghetti bolognese of course. H turns her nose up at certain vegetables, so I was quite pleased we could get some onions into the sauce at the same time and she scoffed the lot. Now she’s seven, if she’s hungry she eats without thinking. If she knows what’s in there she’ll pick at the food instead.

I quite liked that the Dolmio sauce was quite sweet. Shaun wasn’t as keen so we popped a bit of soy sauce in for him – but that also helped H eat without any bother.

Dolmio chilli baked potato

The following night we went for some chilli with baked potatoes, a nice easy one. After all, baked potatoes are easy to make, you need time.

Other dishes we tried included a mix of vegetables with cous cous. That worked well with the Bolognese sauce and the sweetness. Yum!

I like that once the jar is open you can keep it in the fridge for a few days.

So I was in the supermarket the other day, and it appears Dolmio do at least six different types of sauce these days. They’re not ‘bolognese sauce with extra garlic’ type affairs. With one jar lasting for two meals for us, and needing to make food quickly it’s an ideal solution.

Dolmio spaghetti bolognese

Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g sauce is 100% natural. Each jar contains at least 10 juicy diced tomatoes. As well as this there’s a dollop of tomato puree, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs and more.

A jar provides a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each and that’s before you add any further veg to the meal! For more information visit or if you’re looking for mid-week meal inspiration check out the label on the jars.

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. Thank you!

FrubesMoves with Frubes

Frubes have partnered with the Angry Birds Movie. They have created a squawksome dance off between the Angry Birds and the pigs. We received some vouchers for H to show off her FrubesMoves too.

FrubesMoves – a simple verb which you won’t find in the dictionary is something H has been doing a spot of lately.

Frubes Frubesmoves collage

H used to do Street Dance at her last school and still shows off her moves from time to time. I encouraged her to grab some Frubes and do a few poses. This is the result…

H’s FrubesMoves came to her straight away, what with her having had some Street Dance lessons. She hasn’t done them for a couple of terms now. I always wondered with her extra long legs if she would make a better ballerina! With the poses involved, Street Dance and FrubesMoves come together well.

Frubes Frubesmoves collage

I like that she’s doing her dancing to all my old eighties classics! Even if I have no idea of the names of her moves…

I like Frubes. They’re the UK’s largest portable yoghurt brand. They’re available in Strawberry, Red Berry, Peach and Banana flavour. They also contain Vitamin D and calcium for strong bones.

I like to keep them nice and cold (as they’re perfect for a packed lunch) by freezing them. Then just pop them in the packed lunch the night before. By lunchtime they’re still nice and chilly and ready to eat.


Frubes is running an on-pack promotion until 31st October. You can win a chance to go to the Bahamas for six nights on holiday which is pretty excellent. You can also win Angry Birds Movie merchandise every week. H likes that each Frube is a different Angry Birds character.

What better excuse to try and win some prizes, get some delicious Frubes yoghurt snacks AND practice some dance moves at the same time?

We were sent vouchers to buy three packs of Frubes to take part in this challenge. This post is an entry for BritMums’ #FrubesMoves Linky Challenge, sponsored by Frubes.

A Bright Future With Unilever

“How can we create a bright future for our children?” is the question. To be honest, it scares me. I figure every little bit helps and my little bit is proving to H you can put clothes out to dry all year round.

Striped shirts on a line bright future

A bright future is passing on what I know to be a good thing to as many people as possible. Being someone who knows I don’t get listened to very often, I need to make sure it’s something that doesn’t involve effort and is obvious. My really obvious, easy, little thing is putting your washing outside all year round.

Next door thinks I’m a bit bonkers. Although if she sees washing out on our line she’ll copy me, as I always check the weather before pinning my things on the line so I’m fairly reliable.

If it’s raining, I don’t put it out there, mind. Only if I know the next day is going to be a fine day.

We don’t have a tumble dryer. We don’t need one. We have a heated clothes airer which is handy when it gets rainy. Often clothes go on it, and we don’t switch it on.

Clothes go on the line – all year round. I think this is a pretty important message to pass on to H.

Sunlight is a natural bleaching agent. When H’s school shirts are looking a little grey, hanging them on the line on a sunny day helps a lot. I did this with her baby clothes a lot too – plus they smell much nicer.

I saw the Rotaire Airer on Dragon’s Den, and they laughed at it. Their reason was that people use tumble driers these days. Well we don’t. A Rotaire Airer is better for the environment too, you’re not wasting energy either.

We received some Persil Non-Bio liquid which I rate. H and I are both sensitive souls, and need to use Non-Bio washing liquid. I like that it smells good too – and get it on the line and you cannot beat the smell of fresh clothes. Persil Non-Bio also has a little Stain Eraser Ball included in its design. This is handy, as all you need to do is pop, pour and rub – there’s more info over here. Yet again, it’s about working with the simplest things to get the best results.

H has been helping me when I put washing out. Just simple things like sorting the pants from the socks so I can pin the right things together. Once she has helped me do that, she tends to stay out and play. Another good reason to keep your clothes outside.

So this is my thing that I’m doing to make a difference and create a bright future for H. She will know no different when she grows up, and next door will copy me if they see I have clothes out. I think that’s pretty good.

This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever.

Enjoy More Water with Robinsons

Robinsons Squash’d have just launched two new flavours: Orange & Peach and Lemon & Pink Grapefruit which are also available as limited edition Wimbledon themed bottles! We were sent those and one of each of the other flavours to encourage H to drink more water – something I’m forever nagging her to do!

Robinsons Squashd Swingball

Robinsons have just launched two new flavours of their juice – also available as a Squash’d bottle. I don’t know about you, but every single day H comes home from school with a water bottle which is almost always STILL full. It’s quite frustrating. We’ve had incidents recently where her daily water consumption needs to be upped, yet she gets too distracted at school to actually drink it – I should be grateful she’s playing and doing stuff, but I do wish that something would give her an incentive to drink water.

Then along came Robinsons. Their Squash’d range of drinks arrived thanks to BritMums, and it has helped a lot. Every afternoon from school I can fill a pint glass with some water and a squirt of whichever flavour I choose, and you can guarantee within half an hour she has drunk the lot (and tried to guess which it is). Each Squash’d capsule makes 20 drinks – and it’s small enough to take around with you when you’re out and about.

Drinking Robinsons Squashd after Rainbows

We were provided with a sticker chart to track how much she has been drinking. Being a six and three quarter year old, H now thinks she’s too old for such a thing (I thought this too, but then realised being a motivated 40-something Trip Advisor contributor who gets virtual badges when I submit a certain number of reviews is pretty much the same) but stick the water and juice in a fancy cup and that’s it, she drinks the lot.

Annoyingly, school won’t allow the children to take in juice with their water as I know she’d drink a lot more if that was the case.

Robinsons Squash’d contains real fruit in every drop, and is definitely working in getting H to drink more water. It contains no added sugar, is free from artificial colours and preservatives too.

What I like the most about the Robinsons Squash’d we received was getting H to work out which flavour her drink is. I’m growing to love the “ooh, I taste a hint of apple in this one” and “I bet this is the Summer Fruits flavour”.  It’s really good for After School Snacks too!

Robinsons Squashd After School Snacks

H’s friends came over for a playdate after school and tried out a few of the flavours. One of the mums always keeps a bottle of Squash’d in the cupboard – it doesn’t take up a lot of space and is great for making a quick cup after school – especially when you get caught out and don’t have much in! Our biggest problem is making sure that Shaun doesn’t drink it all….

Of course, fruity water is fun but it isn’t the only way to guarantee your child drinks enough every day. We have our handy Lego moulds which I’ve been playing around with a bit as well as colouring in the ice tray in the freezer in pretty pinks, yellows and oranges as I spill them everywhere! So what I’ve done, I fill the bottom of the mould in one flavour. Once that has set it looks something like this, which is utterly pointless when it comes to having your lolly as the stick is barely joined to the main body.

Robinsons Squashd Ice Lollies Stage 1

So you add another Robinsons Squash’d flavour! Voila. Stripy lolly. If I had the patience I’d make one with all six flavours we received – so keep an eye on my Instagram feed, you never know.

Robinsons Squashd Lego Ice Lolly

Two of the three lollies weren’t right so I’ve added a third layer in a different flavour, so that’ll be interesting to see after school tomorrow. See, that’s another thing – our school seems to permanently have an ice cream van outside at home time and I always make sure not to take any money with me. Now we’ve got better ones at home!

In conclusion, the Robinsons Squash’d bottles are already doing the trick – H will demand a drink when she gets home from school every night. She’s drinking loads more water, and I reckon that’s a RESULT!

This post is an entry for BritMums #EnjoyMoreWater Challenge, sponsored by Robinsons – you can find them over here.

We were sent six flavours to try out as part of this challenge.

BML16 – My Thoughts About BritMumsLive 2016

Yesterday was BML16 – BritMums Live – except these days there’s less of the mums and more of the dads (two of which were highlights for me with their keynotes) so it’s better known as BML. I was going for the third time, so knew what to expect… though really you don’t know exactly what to expect until you’re there.
BML16 start and end

So without going into a long ramble, let’s try summarise BML16 in bullet points….

• Meeting bloggers – I finally got to meet Paula from Mummy vs Work there. Years ago BritMums did a ‘Big Sis’ type thing, where they got experienced bloggers to help out newbies. I was paired up with three bloggers, two of whom I’m still in touch with, so it was lovely to finally meet Paula and her husband Phill after all this time! I hung out for most of the day with Mary from Over 40 and Mum to One, talking wine, politics, 80s pop music and all kinds of things, and it was a fabulous day. Plans will be made to meet again and have H hang out with her boy, Monkey wherever we meet!

BML with mary drinking fizz

• The brands. I never go specifically for them, so I like being surprised by what is there. I was really impressed with the following ones…

BML16 Diary Doll pants
Diary Doll – It took me about five minutes to realise I was buying some pants from Carol Smillie. Someone (maybe a BML16 person) took a photo of me holding some pants up when I was working out which size I was (14-16 which Carol estimated when we were trying to work out my size) – and they’re SO pretty too.

BML16 Carol Smillie Diary Doll
– Bollox. I’d read up about them beforehand, and they’re a brand I want to support. Basically they have men’s undies which contribute towards male cancer charities. I bought a pair for Shaun who says they’re very comfortable – I suspect they’ll be his new running undies…
Touchnote. I really like what they offer. Basically, you download their app and are able to send postcards from wherever you are from your phone. So, say for example we’re in Disneyland Paris and H has a fabulous picture taken with Mickey Mouse. I take a photo on my phone, I can create a postcard via the app, and get it sent to Shaun’s mum in Australia. Because they have a printing facility in Australia, it gets processed there! It isn’t cheap, but I love that postage is included in the price and that they have several centres around the world. They’ve also got a new service where you can get your photos printed which isn’t cheap – BUT – they have your whole photo on there, not cropped like some services do. So I’m looking forward to using Touchnote.

BML16 touchnote laminated dress up doll
Fellowes Brands. I never thought I would want a laminator as much as I did, especially once I was making my way home. We laminated a Snow White style doll and two dresses which are now H’s latest thing, a dress up doll. We’re talking about drawing some more dresses so she can decorate them, or in H’s words “just find someone with a laminator so we can make more!” (if only it was that easy!)
I was impressed with their air purifier too – what a difference something like that would have made when we had our carbon monoxide leak.
DC Thomson. The magazine people. H now has a Jacqueline Wilson magazine and I think we may be heading in that direction with her reading… she loves watching Hetty Feather on CBBC, so this was a good match for us. Add a goodie bag with lots of things perfect for an almost seven year old, and I hope we’ll be doing more with DC Thomson over the coming months.
– The Big Little Tent Festival sounds like a great idea, though unfortunately we have a back yard – but there are still ways to join in. It runs from the 16th July until 19th September and we’re going to look into this – plus we are staying in a yurt for some of that, so then may be a good chance to dip our toes into the water! They had a lovely room at BML16 with plenty of fizz and food on offer – their tiramisu was FAB!

BML16 Merci Maman Pass the Parcel Duchess Necklace
Merci Maman. I was one of the lucky ones – at the very start we played Pass the Parcel, with one of their necklaces at the end. I’ve worn it for two days now and it’s so pretty! It was also the most expensive thing I was wearing, worth almost £80 (it’s the Duchess Necklace). I wasn’t sure if it included nickel in it, but was reliably informed it’s an EU regulation that jewellery can’t contain it any more so I should be okay. They do some very pretty jewellery too!

BML16 Clangers
The Clangers. There was a Clangers Kindness Tree where I added a kind thing I’d done (I’ve given up my seat on the bus or train several times this last couple of weeks – pregnant ladies, people on crutches, when people seem to live in their phone bubble or behind a newspaper ignoring what’s around them) and gushed a bit about how I love The Clangers and have a toy somewhere I’m refusing to let H have. Having said that, when I got home with a magazine and a whistle she’s laid claim to them immediately, so I’m hoping she’ll stay interested for a couple more years!! I grew up with The Clangers and it makes me happy that the new version keeps the spirit going so well.
• Then there’s the speakers. Anne-Marie Cockburn did the BML16 Keynote talking about her book 5,742 Days which deals with her life after her daughter died, up to her 16th birthday. She was selling copies of her book afterwards and I picked one up. I can relate to writing when grieving, I did it a lot when my dad died and found it helped me a lot although it has remained private, and while it feels wrong to say I’m looking forward to reading the book, I’m going to be reading it soon. She was amazing and inspirational.

BML16 Fat Girls Guide to Running
• Julie Creffield was a proper kick up the backside inspiration. She has the blog Too Fat to Run – the Fat Girl’s Guide to Running, which started because people told her she wouldn’t be able to do something, couldn’t do this, and so on. So she decided she would, and now runs marathons, and has a fabulous motto in life – set Big Fat Stupid Goals, as well as encouraging fat girls to run. She forgot to mention a new campaign which is encouraging more women to run – Julie’s target is to get 1 million women running by 2020, and this one is to get 10,000 women running on the 31st July. We’re on holiday then so while running might be out of the question, I know we’ll be doing a lot of walking so I’m going to try and make this work for me!

charly dove bml16 summary
• Charly Dove had a brill BML16 photography session. I love her photos, and know I’m more the take the snap and make it better kind of person – whereas she thinks a lot more about the picture. So I had some handy hints in this session.

bml16 cherry healey
• Cherry Healey was funny. I bought her book today.
• The BML16 Bloggers Keynote – big shout outs to the two dad bloggers who made me laugh and smile – Tim Liew’s Pretty in Pink was FABULOUS and Al from The Dad Network’s video was so funny too.

Did I enjoy BML16? Absolutely. The one day format works for me, even though I was shattered by the end of it all. If BritMums Live were ever to go back to two days again, please give the option of buying a one-day ticket.
I forgot my business cards! Typical.
I managed to catch up with everyone I wanted to, and met lots of new bloggers too, and put a lot of names to faces.
I even stayed for the BiBs – I don’t normally stick around for awards, but I was having too much fun.

Will I go next year? Well it depends on the format and price. I felt like I got my money’s worth. Thank you Susanna and Jen and the BritMums team for organising such a fab event!


After School Chefs with Birds Eye

Year 1 has kicked in properly now, which brings afternoons rushing home from school then heading out to various activities – and also that mad rush between finishing school, having a snack, going to an activity then having no more than twenty minutes to get the evening meal ready. We’ve always made a point of eating together as a family in the evening, so when Birds Eye started an After School Chefs challenge, I knew it was right up our street.

We’re lucky that H isn’t a fussy eater – she will generally eat whatever is put in front of her. I have a fairly set routine of food I cook which could do with a tweak. Fortunately Birds Eye are here to help. I was having a browse around the After School Chefs recipes and came across this one for Waffle Nachos – so simple and the perfect food when you’re in a rush. Even better, we have everything in our food cupboard. Here’s the recipe :

birds eye after school chefs waffle nachos

So how did we get back into our routine? It helps doing activities every night – the earliest one starts is 4.15, the latest 5pm. School dinners are on a three week rotation, so I need to make sure our evening meal is properly planned – I have three ‘meals not to cook’ lists so I can stay on top of things as last year I’d often put the food on the table only to find H had it during the day as well.

Towards the end of the week I have more time, so cook things which take a bit longer, for example, a risotto. The start of the week is quicker foods like stir fry, soup or spaghetti bolognese. I’ll often mix vegetables that cook quickly (like courgette) with frozen vegetables when I’m pushed for time.

We were given £20 in vouchers to try some Birds Eye foods to take part in the After School Chefs challenge – and from that I chose both types of potato waffles (large and small) – they’re low in saturated fat which is good for me with my cholesterol issues, plus they cook quickly. I chose some soya beans, petits pois and sweetcorn, as well as some field fresh vegetables which all come in resealable bags – handy as our freezer drawer often has stray vegetables tucked in the bottom thanks to badly fastened bags!

Birds Eye After School Chefs

Shaun chose some chicken and fish dishes from the Inspirations range for him and H to share. Being vegetarian I was disappointed that Sainsbury’s Cheam didn’t have any of the Birds Eye vegetable options in-store, considering what a huge store it is. The chicken cooked quickly and both Shaun and H ate it all, and confirmed it tasted delicious!

My top tips for quick meals after school –
– if you don’t have long to cook and get your meal to the table, don’t rule out frozen food. Frozen vegetables cook quickly – you could probably knock up a quick pasta dish in less than ten minutes. Even better, get your child to become one of the After School chefs and help! (supervised, of course)
– pre-bought food to prepare is always a quick option – pad it out with fresh vegetables if you feel like you need to add more. I often do that with my stir fry kits.
– If you have a few vegetable leftovers in the fridge, make a chilli – I always have some Taco Shells in the cupboard for chilli leftover emergencies!
– trying to fit in reading for school as well as making the meal, after getting in from some activity? Get your child to read at the table, where you can hear them – we have a hatch from our kitchen to the main room and will often do our daily read there. See also : practising recorder… that’s always handy when the dishwasher is on 😉

This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook Page.

Summer Is Ready When You Are

42 days of Summer, to be precise. That’s forty-two-whole-days!

So what do you do? Most of the clubs have finished for the term and you’re left with a bit of time – so here’s our top family Summer tips.

1. Don’t wear a watch.
Why keep an eye on the time? If you’ve spent the day at work and have time afterwards, why not have a walk to the park and have some fun. Go with how tired you feel rather than having to head home because it’s tea time. Enjoy the outdoors while the weather is good like this.

2. Buy a paddling pool.
It has been so warm here – one night on Facebook I commented about how I’d have loved a paddling pool, just for Shaun to reply he had actually gone and bought one. Argos had a 50% sale, and he bought a Chad Valley giant great big thing (I believe they’re called something like Family Swim Centres). There is room for all three of us in there, although it’s a devil to empty! Sitting in the paddling pool relaxing has been great – it isn’t just for kids, it’s for everyone! (although I wouldn’t want to scare anyone while dressed in my swimming cossie)

3. Make ice lollies.
When we went to Legoland back in April I bought some ice lolly moulds, so we’re eating and making them again daily – they’re currently our yoghurt ones, but anything works. The only downside is having to wait overnight for them to set, but all good things come to those who wait, apparently.

4. Make ice cream.
Home made ice cream is a winner – our drum lives in the freezer so we can make it whenever we need to (as it needs to be frozen for 24 hours beforehand) – handy as we’re not very good at planning, but much better at doing things when the fancy takes us.

5. Holiday clubs.

We’re working for a lot of the summer holidays, so H has to go to Holiday Club. We’re lucky though as she gets to go on trips to the cinema, park, our local Ecology Centre, as well as two visits to Build A Bear – she has been to Holiday Club for most of the breaks from school this year; it has been great for having a play and just chilling out a bit. This does mean I can work shorter days all week, so we have a couple of hours to do fun stuff – just because you’re working doesn’t mean you get to miss the fun (even if you do get envious of everyone’s seaside pictures!). Our holiday club costs less than £20 a day and is paid for with Childcare Vouchers – a really good price.

6. Picnics!
A trip isn’t complete without a picnic – and we’re well stocked up with fun things to take out. We’ve always got Bear Yo Yo snacks and Soreen at the ready, and being sent some BN biscuits from BritMums is a welcome addition – at H’s last day of term we sat in the park and shared them with her classmates who all enjoyed them. I hid the chocolate ones, saving them for when we all fancy a biscuit – H just loves having a smily face! We’ve been sent the Raspberry and Chocolate varieties. We weren’t able to take them to Australia with us, so had to eat the lot.

7. Soft Play!
This one is actually a lot easier if you were to be in Australia right now, as all the kids are back at school, while H is on holiday. So I went shopping with my mother-in-law and H went to Soft Play with Shaun (and had the whole place to herself). She managed to tire herself out and we managed to get some birthday shopping done. Added bonus – no screaming kids at Soft Play, and they had a vintage Pacman table!

8. A bit of Family Time.
It has been hard this year to send H to holiday clubs, but having three weeks of time together is fantastic. H’s behaviour has been great, no angry shouting and just enjoying quality family time. Add to that she’s meeting her Australian relatives and it is a wonderful summer, with a whole side of the family she’s getting to know.

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at

I’m Going to BritMums 2014

jo-and-hedwig-300x225Hello, I’ll be at BritMums 2014 on Friday and Saturday this coming weekend, my second one. What is there to say? I’ll do a few bullet points.

• I am the blogger who is very excited about having cassette shaped business cards.
• I am going to make loads of notes, as ever. They will probably go unread but I’ll remember everything.
• I will try not to drink too much wine.
• I will be on a search for savoury treats as sugar and me aren’t the best of friends at the moment.
• I might have a Powerpuff Girls/Star Wars t-shirt on if I’m feeling brave.
• I will almost certainly have a Uniqlo t-shirt on.

Things I learned last year.

• plan which sessions you want to go to. I missed some, and regret it.
• there is vegetarian food and it’s delicious!
• get into your ‘talking to other people’ mode as I blanked out a lot of the time and talked rubbish. It was nerves, caffeine and sugar last year!
• Everyone else will probably feel like that anyway.
• You’ll come away inspired. Even when there are things which you’re not a part of, something may set it off over the next year and take you back there. You’ll find new blogs to read.

Things I’m doing differently this year.

• I’m sharing a hotel room with Sonya and Lynn (who is a finalist on the video category of the BiBS). Wise move – going home on the Friday last year was tough, and I didn’t really sleep well. I want to get there early the next day.
• think about where you’re going and what you’re going to take. Do I really need the posh camera? No. Pens? Maybe, but they’ll be provided. Paper? Ditto.
• the brands. Talk more to the people on the stands, to the brands I’m interested in.

Anyway, I’ll be there at BritMums 2014, I’m looking forward to it, I’m less nervous and I’ll see YOU there too.

BritMums Live 2013 – The Brands

BritMums Live 2013 was a week ago, and it’s taken a week to catch up on sleep (as well as then catching a stinker of a cold which hasn’t helped). Here’s a quick summary of the brands I saw:

Panasonic Breadmaker

Panasonic had all their latest gadgets out on display – and of course I had to check out the breadmaker – and yay! – you can make jam in it now! My old Panasonic one doesn’t have that function, and while there are lots of new things you can do, it’s something I’m familiar with. There’s also a slow-yeast release section – which was interesting as that would be for when you put a loaf on the timer and don’t want the yeast and water to be mixed together. There was a combi oven which looked fantastic – a good microwave replacement for baking cookies and brownies and a lot more – which also works out energy-efficient compared to a regular oven and heats up really quickly. I may have taste-tested several of these cookies and brownies to make sure; I can report they were very good.

As well as the kitchen gadgets there were cameras on display – as mentioned on the previous post I love my Lumix camera – the zoom on it is great. The camera has progressed a lot since I bought mine in 2008.

Butlins mints

We’re currently planning a break with H’s best friend before they start school and Butlins is on the shortlist – so it was nice to chat to the people on their stand to find out more. I hadn’t realised we only have three Butlins in the UK now (the last time I went was 1980 to the one in Pwllheli which is now Hafan-y-Mor the Haven place), but I do know Butlins have amazing entertainment, especially for almost four-year olds. Oh, and they have eighties weekends too!! (I may have got a little bit excited about Madness)

Argos had a stand, where I gushed about their new system and how I’ve started to enjoy shopping there again in the last year (as it’s so quick) – there isn’t really a lot to say as everyone knows Argos – it’s just a much better shopping experience in there nowadays! I just need to remember you can redeem Nectar points in there too…

Diet coke JoI got a personalised Diet Coke bottle and learned some facts about the caffeine amount in each bottle (it’s more taste related than caffeine related) which was interesting – especially as I have had Diet Coke when I’ve felt like I need a caffeine boost – anyway, a personalised label! Can you believe no shops near us had a Jo one? Crazy. Anyway, it doesn’t matter as I have one now. It’s a brilliant idea. Coca Cola have a caffeine calculator too which is handy.

Having had about two hours sleep the night before I was on the strongest coffee I could find by this point (so already the calculator was helpful), and found myself at the Visit Orlando section where this video was made: (this is why I could never be an actress)

I would LOVE to go to Orlando, but our biggest problem is having family in another country (Australia) that would always take priority. One day, maybe. H loves Disney and I know would have an amazing time. There is so much to do in Orlando that there’s a handy planning tool over here.


I saw a Vitamix! They are SERIOUSLY impressive. If I didn’t have all the gadgets I do in the kitchen I’d be saving up for one – hummus in two minutes? Ice cream in not much more? The food tastes so good too. I made the mistake of asking if it was dishwasher-friendly and was looked at like I was crazy “you just rinse it with water, it’s self-cleaning” – like I said, impressive. That’s my kind of gadget which involves easy cleaning. There may have been margaritas too, they may also have been amazing.

Foxs Caffe Thins

Fox’s Biscuits had a coffee lounge, including the most expensive coffee which was SO good (and strong) – and plenty of samples of their new Caffe Thins range designed to be eaten with a cup of coffee – and just the right shape to dunk too. We had a pack in our goody bag so got to try the hazelnut variety (which I wouldn’t normally have chosen, but they’re really quite yummy).

Parragon Cupcakes

Parragon Books had a stand (and delicious cupcakes) and we received two books from their range suitable for H – both are fabulous books – ‘Goodnight Little One’ and ‘Things You Never Knew About Dinosaurs’ (set for release here this August). Keep an eye out for a We Love Books for these – plus the Egmont titles we got in our goody bags (which includes a William and Kate story, much to Shaun’s anti-royal horror – I like it though, back in my day it was factual Penguin books about Charles and Diana! plus a new one from David and Carrie Grant – more on those soon too). We’ve joined Parragon’s blogger club which is really exciting.

Royal Fairytale

Warner Brothers had a room, and we got an entire series of Speedy Gonzalez which I’ve introduced H to and she’s enjoying – that’s one for the iPad and handy to have when we’re out and about. We also got to meet the owl (not literally, stand next to him) who was Hedwig in the Harry Potter films as well as hold a wand. I was a bit nervous. Warners gave us a goody bag which also included the disgustingly marvellous Bertie Botts Beans in there – I had to pick out all the bad flavours as they are truly vile (and as one friend pointed out, how do I know what grass or dirt tastes like? The flavours are way to accurate and I never knowingly have eaten any) – brilliantly done.

jo and hedwig

We got a Kattoo sample pack which we’ll be using at Lollibop on H – so a review of that to follow in due course, but I think they’re a brilliant idea! Then there were the Pilot Frixion pens we got – ones you can rub out the ink if you make a mistake? Genius. I’m won!


I think that’s everything, there was a lot to get through. I’ve come out having spent lots of money in my head for things I know we need, and things I’d really like! Thank you BritMums Live! Also, as a footnote, the wine was provided by Asda – and it was seriously good. Now if only I’d remembered to take a photo of the wine names….

BritMums Live is Coming!

FridayThis Friday it’s BritMums Live – and it will be my first time attending. I know on the Friday it’s a bit more ‘dressy’ than the following day, so have been trying to decide what to wear. I popped into my local New Look to check out their dresses – I like the Skater dresses in stock, but they’re a bit too short for me, alas – a bit of length and I’d probably have bought four of the styles!

Fortunately I bought a long ditsy print skirt from New Look a while back, so will definitely be wearing that – and have bought some clothes recently from Next – in black of course – a nice top and jumper to wear. I just have to work out which shoes now… (hence me being barefoot on the picture)

Saturday is a bit easier – I’m a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, so will be wearing that, along with my RocketDog shoes I bought from Schuh (and got cashback from Quidco!) – cashback sites are great for good deals and I almost always remember to check. T-shirt wise it’ll be something from UniQlo or my cassette t-shirt from Teefury, and of course both days I’ll have my Mia Tui Amelie bag to carry everything I could ever need. I learnt my lesson after Cybher…

SaturdayThe other thing I’m looking forward to at BritMums is chatting to the brands and companies there. Butlins will be there and I’ll be heading over for a chat, as well as Parragon the book publishers. Panasonic will be there too, so I’m sure I’ll be talking breadmakers with them and whether I can make jam in them yet. One brand which has stood out for me is Kattoo who do temporary tattoos for kids to wear when you’re at an event – which sounds brilliant (and I’m already looking ahead to Lollibop)! I’ll also probably end up gushing at Argos for their new computer system and how shopping there is so painless these days…

So yes, I apologise now for my nervous gushing that will probably happen, but I’m intending to have a brilliant time and catch up (and meet!) some of my favourite bloggers – wheeee!