Baker Days cakes are a great idea. Loads of designs which can be personalised with words or pictures, and just the right size to fit through your letterbox which is really handy!
I have tried their cakes in the past. We got one for our anniversary (although I somehow managed to forget how long we had been married and ordered it with the wrong years on! silly me!) I love the concept and taste of Baker Days cakes so was really happy to have the chance to review one in time for Mr Z’s birthday.
As my children love chocolate cakes I decided to go for the chocolate flavour. With every cake you can choose between sponge cake, fruit cake, chocolate or gluten and wheat free. I decided to go for this rocket design and personalise it with his name and age.
The cakes come in a handy tin and are wrapped in a plastic bag to keep them fresh. This is really easy to remove and the cake arrived in perfect condition and looks great! The colours are very bright and appealing and Mr Z was very happy to have a cake with his name and age written on it.
He didn’t eat the whole cake by himself! But he wanted to pose with it, and it also gives you an idea of the size. The Letter Box cakes are quite small, but I found it ideal just to have a slice each for all the family. It says serves 3-4 portions but when some of the family are very young I would say it serves more. It was plenty for the 5 of us.
The chocolate flavour was lovely, enjoyed very much by Mr Z and by all of us. I find the taste of Baker Days cakes really nice! You might wonder whether coming by post, will it be as tasty and fresh as other cakes – but they are! I find them really delicious. One of the things I like is that the icing on top is quite thin so you don’t get that sickly effect that some cakes have where its just too much. They are really well made in both looks and taste.
I would recommend Baker Days cakes, they are such a good idea. They would make a nice gift too for any occasion, as cake through your letter box is sure to brighten up your day!
It is time for our 2nd Twitter party – #CookWithPyrex. Together with my 3 co-hosts we are focusing on several areas, and I have chosen to do my feature here on entertaining. A good topic for me – with Ramadan not too far off, I always start to think about calling family round for iftars, and what to serve. Of course Eid comes shortly after, and again we think of what dishes to prepare! Cooking when you’re entertaining – What do you do differently? Would you serve in the same dish you cooked with?
The main thing when entertaining is probably the amount and variety of dishes I would make. When we host dinners there tends to be a lot of people because even just with family it all adds up! So I rather make a variety so people can take whichever they like. This would normally be something like
Lamb Chops or a Lamb Curry (or both)
Vegetable dishes like Chickpeas and spinach, Spicy potatoes (Batata Harra), or a Sri Lankan mushroom curry taught to me by my mother in law
Salads, and some yoghurt things like cucumber and mint raita or one with fried aubergine
Extras like samosas, pakoras, kebab rolls (sheekh kebab)
Mango lassi and smoothies
A few deserts
This all takes time, especially if I have to try and deal with the children at the same time! So anything to make life easier is always a good thing. With Pyrex the dishes look great so you can even serve the dishes in the same cookware you used to make it – That’s one less job to do! I love the stoneware items, they are really appealing and do look great as a serving dish on the table.
I also normally try to make deserts that I can do in a pyrex dish, rather than baking a cake in a cake tin and then having to take it out and serve on a plate. It is just easier for me and I know that they look nice in the Pyrex and will be ready to serve like that. I tend to go for anything like these which can be made in Pyrex Glassware
Cookie desert. This is my husbands favourite and very very easy! I will put this recipe up one day when I next make it because it is so easy, its handy to know when you are short of time. Be aware though – very unhealthy!
Fruit flans or Triffle
What do you make when you are entertaining? Hope to see you at our #CookWithPyrex Party to share ideas! 10.30 This morning! It’s almost time!
Munchkin have recently launched a new Disney collection as part of their feeding range. This includes products featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh or Monsters Inc.
I have been using Munchkin Click Lock™ feeding cups with my 3 year old for a while now and found them very well made, so I know I can trust the good quality products from Munchkin and I was really happy to get the chance to try out the new Disney range. All of my boys love it when they have characters on their plates and bowls, to add a bit of fun to meal times! I chose a Mickey Click Lock™ Flip Straw Cup and a Winnie the Pooh Blue Toddler Dining Set for my youngest (22 months) to try out.
These are all very well made and look great. The character designs are lovely and bright. The dining set includes a plate with 3 sections on it, a small sized toddler bowl and a set of toddler sized spoon and fork. It’s really good value as you get so much! The plate and bowl have some grip on them to make them non slip, which is ideal if you have a slightly clumsy toddler. I do end up with food all over my kitchen floor from time to time but I have not so far with these. Because he likes the characters, my little one is also less likely to chuck them on the floor on purpose – which he has been known to do with his dinner on a couple of occasions! In fact he was a bit cross when I had to take his plate away once he had finished, because he was quite attached to it!
As you can see the plate with sections is ideal for separating the different foods, make it easy for your child to see what is there and easily tackle the meal. In the pic you can see my son’s lunch with a keema pastry, some cucumbers and a bit of roti. There is plenty of space on the plate for everything, and it is a nice size.
The different sections come in even more handy if they have any “wet” foods on the plate, as you can see here my son had some pasta with sauce for his lunch, along with a babybel and a few more pieces of cucumber. He won’t like it if the pasta sauce goes on the other foods, so this is ideal to keep everything in its place.
The bowl is on the smaller side. For a slightly younger toddler it will be ideal for their lunch if they are having a small portion and it is also an okay size for a small portion of porridge or cereal. I found it a great size for a portion of chopped fruit as a snack or after lunch.(Note: If you like his bib it is from Cornish Daisy and you can have a look at our review here)
The fork and spoon are a great size, very comfy for his little hands to grip and hold. He had no problems using these.
Here’s the Mickey Click Lock™ Flip Straw Cup. I was actually thinking of giving this to my 3 year old, as he loves Mickey, but then the little one wanted it and as he hasn’t tried the Flip Straw Cups before I decided to give it a go and see how he gets on with it. He knows well how to drink from a straw as he likes drinking juice boxes, and these cups are recommended from 12 months+ so they are fine for him. He managed to drink easily from it and was happy to use this cup. This is 9oz which is a fraction smaller than the other Click Lock™ Flip Straw Cups we have. This seems better for my little one as it is a more manageable size for him. It is spill proof which is a big plus for me as I don’t have to worry about him spilling his drinks all over the house. The Click Lock™ is pretty handy as it lets you hear when it has properly closed, just to give you that extra reassurance. I have had with other cups or bottles that you think you have put the lid on, but it’s a bit skew so it ends up leaking – very annoying! Luckily that won’t happen with these.
All of these products are BPA free and are fine to go in the top shelf of the dishwasher.
Now onto the giveaway!
One of you lucky people will have the chance to win a Toddler Dining Set in any character of your choice, and one of the cups in any character of your choice. That is, either Mickey, Minnie, Winnie the Pooh or Monsters inc. Have a look on the Munchkin website to browse the full range and then just enter via the rafflecopter below.
Like a lot of busy mums, I tend not to get enough sleep. There’s not enough hours in the day for me, and I always end up doing my housework and ironing late at night (not to mention the 2am blogging! 😉 ) and this ends up taking its toll on my general health and energy levels!
I do try to eat a healthy diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables, but I still always notice quite a big difference in my energy levels in the times when I am taking vitamins and the times when I get out of the habit.
myvitamins offered me the chance to try out some of their range of vitamins and have sent me some complete daily vitamins, some ‘true woman’ vitamins for hair, skin & nails and some total CLA which is a fatty acid used to help with weight management.
The Complete Daily Vitamin
This is a great all rounder basic multivitamin, which will help me to feel like I have more energy and not get so run down. I have started taking it recently to test it out and I have noticed myself having more energy and feeling a bit brighter and healthier after just a few days. I must make sure I stay in the habit every day from now on!
Comes in a pack of 30
Suitable for Vegetarians
Convenient one a day tablet
Very small and easy to swallow tablet
Contains Vitamins A, C, D3 and E
True Woman: Hair, Skin & Nails
This is definitely a good one for me. I do notice that when I don’t make time to eat and sleep properly my skin and hair can be looking quite dull, so anything to keep these more healthy and better cared for is definitely a good thing. I don’t know why I didn’t think of taking something like this before, after all I do deserve to take good care of myself too as well as the children! I’m looking forward to seeing the results after I have been taking it for a longer period of time.
Comes in a pack of 30
Suitable for Vegetarians
Specifically designed for the health of hair, skin and nails
Convenient one a day tablet
Slightly bigger tablet (long and thin) but still very easy to swallow
Contains key Vitamins & Minerals
I must admit, I had no idea what Total CLA was until I had a look at the details on the website. It stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid and is a fatty acid found in meat and dairy products. It is used for weight management because it encourages the body to transform stores of fat into useable energy. This sounds like a brilliant concept to me! The only problem I had with this is that the capsules do have gelatine in them so are not suitable for vegetarians.
Premium quality Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Easy to consume softgel
Provides 1800mg per serving
Reduces body fat levels
Supports weight management
Improves body composition
Effective anti-cellulite treatment
All of the myvitamins products here come in handy resealable foil packages which are much less bulky than traditional tablet bottles, which makes it easier for you to keep a few different varieties in the cupboard. I love the packaging too, it is so fresh and modern and really appealing. Of course like with all vitamins or medicines, it needs to be kept well out of the way of children. My vitamins also sell pill boxes if you prefer to keep your vitamins in those.
If you would like to try some vitamins out yourself, myvitamins are offering one person the chance to win a prize of 3 packets of Complete Daily Vitamin (3×30 tablets) and one pill box. Enter via the Rafflecopter below! Good luck 🙂
My children love having the chance to get involved in making rotis. It is almost like playing with play dough for them, but with the added benefit of getting to eat the bread at the end of the roti making activity.
The rotis don’t come out perfectly, but I view it more as having fun and a learning experience. They feel so proud of the rotis they make and are really keen to eat it up!
It is really easy to make, you just mix chapati flour and water (if you are not sure how much, go with a guideline of 3 parts flour to 1 part water, but adjust if necessary)
Then knead it until it turns into a soft dough. If you want to you can add some oil which will make it softer, and you can also add some salt as optional if you want to. If you don’t have chapati flour in your house, you can try it with any flour – it will still be fun for the kids and still makes a similar kind of bread!
Put some flour onto the table so that the dough won’t stick while the children make their shapes. I let them have their fun using cookie cutters to choose whichever shapes they like
As you can see I let them keep the dough a bit thicker, it just makes it easier for them to make the shapes and enjoy the activity but your rotis will come out a bit thicker than a normal one!
Taking out the shapes from the dough without tearing them can be a bit tricky for the younger ones, but good for the fine motor skills!
You can just cook it in a non stick frying pan, doesn’t matter if you don’t have a proper tava. I do them in a pan from Ikea.
It won’t take long, just a couple of minutes each side. I sometimes just start doing some while the kids are finishing making the other shapes from the rest of their dough. For children that are slightly older, you could let them do this part too but I feel mine are too young.
They always love eating the ones they made! Especially my 4 year old he always asks for more! As you can see its quite a thick roti because I don’t roll it thinly for them – but taste is fine!
The children can make any shape they like! The small star shaped ones are good for my youngest who’s not yet two.
If your children like play dough then they will probably like this activity, and you end up with half of their dinner made too so it is a handy multi tasking activity 😀
Recently we were sent a selection of tea from teapigs who are a green and ethical company, with a massive range of good quality teas. All their teas are real whole leaf teas and come in special “tea temples” which give you the same convenience a tea bag would, but allow enough room for the whole tea leaves to infuse.
We made some delicious iced tea with these, and I will share with you the easy method how to make iced tea.
The people at teapigs wanted us to explore how their teas could be used in different ways, especially as ingredients for iced teas and cocktails. In the Summer when we get sunny days, iced tea is so refreshing. I love iced tea but for some reason it had never occurred to me to have a go at making it myself! It’s a great alternative to drinking juice or lemonade on hot days, as it’s all natural and less than 3 calories per cup! It has been really handy to just make a jug and keep it available in the fridge, and that also works out a lot cheaper than buying ready made bottles of iced tea from the newsagents.
As you can see above, the method of making iced tea is pretty simple:
How to make iced tea
Place your tea temples / tea bags into a jug or glass, one per person
Cover with hot water
Leave to brew for 3 minutes
Top with cold water and ice
Sweeten if you like, with elderflower cordial or honey
Garnish with fresh fruit
Have a look here to see all the teas which are recommended for iced tea. My favourite is the super fruits.
If you fancy making some iced tea of your own, I am happy to say teapigs have given me a code to treat my readers to 15% off* at www.teapigs.co.uk using the code BLOGGERS12
(*enter code at checkout. discount does not apply to 80g matcha tins or gifts and cheeky deals as these are already discounted)
#CookWithPyrex Twitter Party 10 June 10.30 – 11.30am
Pyrex is a trademark of Corning Inc, used by permission
We have some exciting news to share! After Our first party with SA Fruit, we are getting ready to host our 2nd Twitter party! This time, sponsored by Pyrex.
On Monday 10th June from 10.30-11.30am, we will be getting together on Twitter to chat about cooking convenient but healthy family meals, sharing tips and ideas, and of course giving the opportunity to win plenty of prizes!
We would love to see you all at the Twitter party! June 10th, 10.30-11.30am – Don’t forget! 😉
Competition Terms & Conditions:
1. Open to UK residents only.
2. There are four prizes to be won, each consisting of £25 worth of the Summer Pyrex collection.
3. Each of the four prizes will be won by someone participating in the #cookwithPyrex Twitter party and tweeting using the hashtag between 10:30 and 11:30 am on Monday 10th June.
4. Winners will be chosen at random from all qualifying tweets.
5. Winners will be chosen by @etspeaksfrom, @redrosemummy,@TheBrickCastle and @theplayroomblog.
7. The Pyrex prizes will be sent direct from the PR company, winner’s details will be passed on to them for prize fulfillment.
8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
9. Winners will be notified via Twitter DM, you must be following one of the following Twitter accounts to be notified – @etspeaksfrom, @redrosemummy,@TheBrickCastle and @theplayroomblog.
10. Please kindly follow our sponsor @PyrexUK too. Thank you.
Pyrex is a brand name I have always known and trusted. I still have some of their glass cookware which I bought when I was newly married (which is 8 years now – time flies!) and that is still going strong but I was really excited when they sent us some of their other products to try out, and I hope you will be excited to hear about them too.
Pyrex kindly sent us the following Pyrex Cookware items to try out:
We were sent this in deep red and it looks great! It is something that you can easily cook in and then bring it out to serve at the table as it looks so appealing. It is a natural stoneware item and it feels such good quality, strong and well made with a nice solid feel to it.
This is from the Impressions range which is based on a vintage feel. As well as white and red, it comes in an ocean blue which sounds lovely. I really like the brightly coloured stoneware, to give a cheerful look in the kitchen.
I first tried out this roaster with a marinated baby chicken. It just fitted inside perfectly and came out delicious. Due to the high quality stoneware, the roaster keeps it heat for longer so its good for slow cooking. I left the chicken in the oven for quite long on a low gas mark, and it came out with much better results than with my normal method of roasting it on a baking tray using foil.
This stoneware could also be used for cooking so many different things like stuffed roast peppers, a big lasagne, or even for deserts a big apple crumble.
It was really easy to clean too, none of the food stuck to it or got burnt on in the oven.
The next item I tried out was the from the Pyrex Classic Glassware – Iconic Kitchen Essentials range. This is the most similar one to the Pyrex I already had, and I would agree it is a real classic as it can be used for so many things and has been loved through the generations! I remember my mum and grandma also baking in glassware like this.
This Pyrex range is made of Borosilicate Glass whereas cheaper brands may be made of Soda Lime Glass. The Borosilicate can withstand temperatures from -40°C upto 300°C and is able to safely go from the fridge to the oven, without any risks. This higher level of safety is obviously reassuring with young children around! Being able to withstand such a range of temperatures means that you are fine to cook food in advance, freeze it, then defrost it and bake in the oven. You can also marinade something in the fridge in advance, then put it straight into the oven when you are ready, without any concerns. I often do use mine straight from the fridge to the oven as that’s handy when you want to get most of the preparation work done earlier in the day.
Yesterday I cooked macaroni cheese in this glass Pyrex, as a quick and easy dinner for the children. I find these classic Pyrex really handy for any type of oven baked dinners. They are ideal for anything like shepherds pie, fish pie, or moussaka. I’ve also used these for desserts in the past, and I even serve salads in them sometimes as its such a versatile item it can be used to serve pretty much anything! These come with a lid which is really handy too.
This is much shallower than the other glass ware item and is really ideal for any kind of flan or tart. I used this to make a simple trifle, which my 4 year old helped with.
As with the previous item, it is resistant to the same wide range of heat. This range is all totally dishwasher safe too, and stain resistant, which should make it really long lasting and looking good for years.
What’s different about this range is that you can even use it to cook food by steaming it in the microwave! The lid is a unique design with an air valve, which can be open to allow you to cook or reheat the food, and closed to keep the container totally leak proof and air proof.
The bottom part of the container is made of the borosilicate glass and is fine to go in the oven, of course not with the lid. This makes it much more versatile than Tupperware, but it can still be used to freeze and store food for batch cooking. It makes it easy to cook, freeze, defrost and eat so easily all with the same one container! I can see how this is really handy, and maybe it will help me to finally get organised and do some batch cooking in advance. I keep telling myself I need to do batch cooking and meal planning!
I have to say, I am really impressed with all the Pyrex ranges – although I expected no less as I know Pyrex is a very good and reliable brand. There is a reason it’s been a household name for so many years, and that is because it’s such good quality. I was never aware of how much variety they have available though! I always tended to think of Pyrex just as the classic glassware, but the stoneware and multifunctional ranges are brilliant too.
You can find loads of recipes on the Pyrex website too, to help you out if you are lacking in a bit of inspiration about what to cook. Have a look here!
A sample of the new Baked Snack from Walkers Hoops and Crosses!
The flavour were sent to try out is Roast Beef but after checking the ingredients, I was happy to see that it is suitable for Vegetarians (which is important to us as we eat Halal)
Each bag contains 85 calories and is made from wholegrains, have no artificial colours or preservatives so it is something I am happy to give to my children, either in a lunchbox or as a snack at home. I allowed my younger two to have some after their lunch. As they are only little, one bag was plenty to share out between them.
These snacks, as you could guess, all come in either hoops or cross shapes like the game of noughts and crosses:
The taste of the roast beef flavour is quite strong (in a nice way, I thought!) It actually reminds me of crisps I used to eat when I was little, a bit like monster munch. I have not come across any like this in a while! My children liked the interesting shapes of the crisps and also seemed to like the taste as they happily ate them up.
My 4 year old missed out as he was at school when we tried it! But I would happily buy these, so I am sure he will get his turn to try them. They also come in prawn cocktail or salt and vinegar flavours so I would be interested to see how those taste.
LoveTea is a new service where you can have different Gourmet teas delivered every month. They kindly sent us a pack to try out and share our thoughts. I do enjoy relaxing with a nice cup of tea, and my husband is a real tea lover so I was interested to see whether we would be able to tell much difference from our usual tea.
The tea we were sent is Jun Chiyabari tea – a Himalayan Imperial Black. The tea comes with the full information about the tea estate on which it was grown, and tells that it is from a family owned estate and is certified as Organic, which is all great to know!
The tea is loose leaf, something I don’t normally make as I always think it might take more time or be more complicated but they provided some bags together with the tea, so that you can measure out the required amount of leafs and just place them into the net teabag and brew it as normal, so there is no straining required but you still get the effect and taste of having a loose leaf tea. I found this a great solution as its really convenient.
My husband and I both really enjoyed our cup of tea and could tell a difference from our regular teas. I found this has more of a stronger and fully developed flavour, and I will definitely drink it again. I would also be interested in trying out some of the other varieties they have available, including the green teas as I love green tea and find it really refreshing.
LoveTea is run by a husband and wife team with a real passion about tea. Many of the teas are Fair trade certified but all of them are bought from source for above the minimum Fair Trade prices. They don’t include herbal teas but do include black, green, white and oolong teas. There are gift subscriptions available so it could be a good one for any tea loving relative, as a thoughtful gift. Perhaps even for Father’s Day coming up – for any tea enthusiast dads!
LoveTea have offered me a great deal to share with my readers – for anyone who is feeling tempted to give it a try, I have an amazing 40% off to share with you. Simply use the code PLAYROOM40 and you will be able to redeem 40% off your first month of a tea subscription. Monthly packages start from only 4.50 a month which is very reasonable, working out at 30p a cup. Or for the insatiable tea drinkers you can get a much larger package to make sure you are in no danger of running out!
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