10 Things To Do/See/Buy at BBC Good Food Show Winter

The months are flying by so quickly this year and I can’t quite believe it’s the Winter BBC Good Food Show this week but I’m so excited!

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I’m a BBC Good Food Show blogger which means that as well as sharing discount codes and ticket competitions with you lot that I get to go to the show and get up close and personal with the traders and sometimes the celebrity chefs! At the last show we met Paul Hollywood and this time we are catching up with The Hungry Bikers which I’m massively excited about.

Here are 10 things I think you should eat/do/visit/see at the show this year:

1. Do your Christmas gift Shopping:

Presents for everyone sorted under one roof. Fancy something a bit different as a stocking filler? Why not visit stand F56 and get some mug brownies from BakedIn – take it from me you won’t regret it!image

2. Plan your festive menu:

Struggling to keep your dairy/gluten free guests happy with home baked goods this Christmas? Why not try these delicious mixes from Delicious Alchemy over on stand G134 … I love their oaty biscuits.image

3. Time to fill up your drinks cabinet:

With a selection of whisky and wine, Gin and Rum.. Even kits to make your own cider simply by adding water. Something for everyone and lots of beer too!

4. Check out the Supertheatre. Catch demos from chefs such as: John Torode, James Martin, Paul Hollywood & Mary Berry, Lorraine Pascale and Hairy Bikers.

5. The Good Food Show is all about the EATS. As in: Eat. All. The. Samples :

There are zillions of free samples at the show and it’s just plain rude to say no so definitely try before you buy.

6. Have lunch at The BBC Good Food Kitchen – reservations are recommended. The menu looks incredible…. Fancy lunch on the go instead? Try popping over to stand B74 and trying some of the gorgeous bakes from Swift’s bakery – some of the best breads I’ve tasted.

7. Is an afternoon tea more your thing? You could check out the Cakes and Bakes tea garden which is a bit of a bargain at £21.95 for two people and includes some great treats including carrot cake by Marcus Bean.

7. Bonkers about beer? You could visit The Great British Beer Experience Sponsored by CAMRA.

8. How about some live demos at the Hotpoint Kitchen from chefs such as Valentine Warner and Lisa Faulkner? Hotpoint will also have some great show deals on offer.

9. Get your favourite cookbooks signed by top chefs .. You could even indulge a cookbook obsession by buying one or two while you are there. I recommend Marcus Bean, Chicken: The New Classics – ooh and he is there signing away on Saturday.

10. Pretend you are part of The Great British Bake off by attending a show at The Cakes and Bakes stage, enjoy Masterclass, chef demos and live cookalongs!

If you are thinking of attending the show but you haven’t yet got tickets then you need to buy them and use discount code BL15 to get an awesome 15% off. Say hello if you see me at the show. :-)

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Castles For Christmas – Duplo Review

Duplo and Lego are gifts which probably feature heavily on most Christmas wish lists for both boys and girls.

I know that Izzy has loved building and creating various towers with her Duplo for at least the past year.

We were recently sent the Duplo Treasure Attack set for Izzy to try out before Christmas and she had a ball putting it all together, then pulling it apart and doing it all over again.

Treasure Attack includes:

*3 knight Lego Duplo figures
*Features a horse-drawn carriage, castle tower and an apple tree
*Castle tower features an opening window
*Accessories include catapult, flag, 2 swords, axe, apples and treasure element
*Decorated bricks with a spider and coins act as excellent story starters

It’s a little more complex than her last set and it definitely challenged her, both she and her Dad ( of course ) loved it.

One very well trained bloggers child:

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Izzy has a bit of a passion for both horses and castles at the moment so this was right up her street.

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This has an RRP of £24.99 which I think is a reasonable price for what it contains and is suitable for age 2+.

As with all Lego/Duplo products the material is of an excellent quality and it’s bright and attractive.

One to add to your Christmas Gift Lists for sure.

* We were sent this Duplo set for the purpose of a review.

Easy Peasy Mincemeat Recipe

You can buy perfectly amazing jars of readymade mincemeat these days and fairly cheaply too. I use a jar from Aldi quite a lot and it’s delicious!

There is however something special about making your own, I normally use quite a fancy, shmancy recipe to make mine but this year I tried something super simple and it just works.

You will need:

375g of mixed fruit ( with peel)
75ml of French Brandy ( I used Aldi)
150g shredded suet
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
125g Dark brown soft sugar
1tsp of ground nutmeg
1 apple, peeled and grated

This may just be the easiest mincemeat recipe you will ever try.

Simply soak your mixed fruit and lemon zest in your brandy and lemon juice for at least 1 hour so they plump up. The drain and set the juice/brandy mixture aside. Add all of the remaining ingredients in and then pour the liquid back over. Spoon into sterilised jars and cover for at least 2-3 weeks before using. Will then keep in fridge for 6 months or longer.

This recipe made two jars.

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Dear Chloe

Tomorrow you are One

This year has gone too soon

You are happy and loving

But we wish you’d sleep too

You light up a room with your

Beaming smile

You touch our hearts with your

Kisses and cuddles

You make our family complete

When we didn’t know anything was missing

You worship your sister

“Where’s Izzy” was your first question

You can say mammy and dad

And recently bye

You say Izzy, Grandpa, Nanna and

Occasionally Polly

You were walking so early

Just like your big sis

And now you are running

Into everything it seems

You bump yourself often but brush it straight off

You are strong, you are sturdy yet still

Look like a doll

Still so petite

Dainty and cute

No baby fat left but

You do have big feet!

It’s been a hard year for me

And I’m sorry

If some days I’m teary or tired

And grumpy

I try my very best for you and for Izzy

My life has certainly never been

So busy

Just one thing you should know

On your birthday eve

We love you, we love you.

We LOVE you.

NSA Travel Centre Review

It’s that time of year when everyone starts to plan how they will spend the Christmas holidays. Maybe you have to travel to stay with family or have family coming to stay with you? If you have children under 4yrs old it’s definitely worth looking at this marvellous product from NSA UK.

We received this earlier in the year and it’s been used on numerous occasions whilst camping, staying in hotels and visiting with family members. I imagine it will be back out again over the Christmas period when we want to have a drink or two and stay at the in laws.

It takes up relatively little space and is light:

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Here’s a little info about the product:

The UPF35+ sun protection tents and travel cot are extremely lightweight. Pop straight up and really simple to assemble. BS Travel Cot approved. A multi functional product; a play tent to take to the park, beach or have in the garden.

Safe & comfortable for little ones to sleep in, anywhere, any time! Comes with a quilted sleep-mat and self inflating mattress. Fast and simple to put up and take down. Available in a full range of gorgeous colours. RRP Standard£69.50/Deluxe RRP £89.50 Safetots, Boots, Amazon

It’s simple to pop up and when we used it for our eldest Izzy she found it good fun. Almost like camping inside. We have also used it for Chloe our youngest so it’s definitely a versatile products and ideal if you have children a few years apart. There is probably enough room in there for young twins too.

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You can also use it as a sun shelter which I imagine we will next summer if we take a holiday abroad or even just on trips to the park or beach – great for sleeping babies or even for older children who still need a nap.

You can find a list of stockists here.

* we were sent this travel center for the purpose of this review.

Celebrating National Teething Week

I’ve just returned from a really lovely day in London with Boiron UK and Clarion Comms to celebrate National Teething Week and learn more about Camilia a homeopathic medicine to help babies handle the pain and discomfort of teething and the issues which go alongside it.

Haven’t heard of National Teething Week? Well that’s because this year is the first one:

17-23 November 2014 is the first ever National Teething Week, sponsored by homeopathic experts in teething, Camilia® Oral Solution.

Camilia® National Teething Week aims to help new parents recognise the symptoms of teething, and advise them on ways to limit the amount of discomfort their baby or toddler may have during this formative time.
Dr Philip Wander, specialist dentist, advises; “Around 700,000 babies start teething each year in the UK and in many cases new parents can get confused by, or miss, some of the early signs of this natural developmental stage. With approximately two thirds of children suffering from problems associated with teething, it’s important that parents learn to spot these symptoms early, to help avoid any unnecessary discomfort or pain for their child and parental distress.”

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It was a really informative day, we listened to Dr.Philip Wander talk to us about the signs of teething, ways to help dull the pain and also about what to look out for to ensure you aren’t confusing teething symptoms with something more serious or even life threatening such as meningitis. I wanted to share you with a little bit of advice we picked up at the event:

Signs of Teething:

1. The Need To Gnaw:

Babies tend try to relieve the pain of an emerging tooth with counter pressure so teething babies often want to chomp down on things – in our case quite often that’s my nipple. OUCH.

2. Puffy Gums:

Before a new tooth pops through it can cause a swollen, red and occasionally bruised looking area on the gums.

3. Excessive Drooling:

Increased saliva can mean a new tooth but it’s also a normal baby developmental stage so it doesn’t always mean teething.

4. Fussiness at night:

Tooth eruptions tend to come in stages with the majority of activity at nighttime so unfortunately your baby may be a lot more grumpy come nightfall.

5. Ear Pulling:

Pulling and tugging at the ear can be a symptom of teething as the pain from the jaw gets transferred or the canal BUT it’s hugely important to understand that it can also be a sign of a ear infection so please keep a watchful eye and if you are concerned boost your GP.

6. A change in eating habits:

This is one of the biggest signs in our house. Chloe goes completely off her solid foods and only really wants to feed off me if she is in a lot of pain. It totally makes sense as have you ever wanted to indulge in a meal when suffering toothache?

We also had a baby massage class with …… which was great and helped me pick up a lot of tips which I really hope will help us to relax Chloe enough for us to finally get a good nights sleep!

To finish we had a gorgeous afternoon tea and chatted about our teething issues and it was interesting to see how different all of our babies are from the way they deal with teething pain to when their first teeth appeared.

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We have actually used some Camilia recently and what I noticed almost immediately was that it helped Chloe to relax. It’s remarkably easy to give to your child with no pastes to rub on or powder to somehow try to get into your wriggly babies mouth.

Here are a few of the benefits of using Camilia:

1. Sterile single use containers.
2. No preservatives, lactose, sugar or alcohol.
3. Neutral taste.
4. Recommended for children of 1 month and up.

And one to add from me..

5. Ease of use!

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Thanks for inviting us to this lovely event Camilia!

Homemade Bread For Christmas

Is there anything better than that smell of homemade bread wafting through your home?

Fresh, crusty and warm slathered in salty butter – bliss. Perhaps not the best for my diet but it’s a treat.

I’ve just started planning our Christmas food – yes I’m that person. I’ve got ideas for Christmas Eve – Sous Vide Gammon and salad bits..Turkey for the big day and party food for the next week ;-)

We tend to eat a lot of bread based products over the festive period.. From Toasted Pannetone to slices of French baguette smothered with my gooey cranberry Camembert YUM.

I’ve decided I really want that fresh bread smell as we wake on Christmas Day so of course I’m going to need a new breadmaker for the kitchen.. My old one died last year after a LOT of use and since them I’ve been kneading by hand and baking in the oven which is very satisfying although time consuming but I do like the idea of being able to set a timer so its ready and still warm for breakfast.

One of my more rustic looking loaves:

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I’m not planning any old bread though, it’s Christmas so it needs to be a fruity, festive spiced treat and it will be spread with homemade cinnamon butter. This bread is also great to use a few days later ( if there is any left) for a special french toast or even a bread and butter pudding – would be a lovely Boxing Day dessert.

I’ll be posting my own recipe for festive bread next month but you could also try this one from BBC Good Food which I have made before and it’s really good!

What do you like to have for breakfast on Christmas morning? I’m also hoping to make these cinnamon buns from Belleau kitchen – well a girls got to have options right?

Next week look out for some special sides to accompany your Christmas Turkey and some cocktail recipes too.

*This is a collaborated post

Being Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving in America next week.. But tonight I watched Children In Need and realised I’m thankful now.

Thankful that I have my children here to hold. Thankful for their good health. Thankful that we live in a country that has such an amazing and FREE health service so that if anything did ever go wrong we would have treatment options and support.

This photo was taken this evening of our girls who are fast becoming best buddies. They light up every day of our lives and I’ve no idea what I would do if anything were to happen to either of them.

So this is me being thankful on this Children In Need Night.

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For lots of way to donate to Children In Need 2014 please click here I have.