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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Day out at Castle Combe!

James is a huge fan of motorbikes, hugely spurred on I am sure by the fact his Grandad owns one and he is forever helping Grandad wash the bike and sit on it, he always says when he is older he wants a motorbike (I however am not so sure lol).

So when we heard there was a Grand National Motorcycle race meeting being held at Castle Combe racetrack just a short car journey away from us we knew James would love it! 

Saturday morning the sun was shining and of we headed to the Castle Combe circuit. Prices were really reasonable at £10 per adult for 1 day admission (or £15 if you visit on the Sunday), under 16's were free and parking was also free! 


There were lots of different types of motorbikes racing much to James delight including the classic bikes, F2 sidecars, solo classes and also parades of some of the bikes! We found a great place to sit right on a bend so the bikes were slowing down so that James could get a good look. Did you know Castle Combe is the only race track where you can walk the entire way around and still watch the race the entire time!? 


Food and drink was available on site but we took our own blanket and picnic to keep costs down and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here are some more pictures from our day at Castle Combe - 







The Castle Combe Grand national motorcycle race meeting is spread over 2 days with each day packed with at least 20 races so it really is an action packed day out for all the family to enjoy, especially if you have a little motorbike fan like we do! 

You can find out more about the event and all of the other events held at Castle Combe rack track via their website here - www.castlecombecircuit.co.uk.

xXx


Friday, 26 June 2015

May Degustabox **REVIEW**

If receiving a monthly box packed full of delicious food and drink delivered straight to your door for a bargain price sounds like your kind of thing then you need to check out Degustabox!

Degustabox is a monthly subscription box that is delivered straight to your door for the monthly price of £12.99. Each box will contain between 10-15 products and the RRP of the products will always far outweigh the price you pay for the box, giving you the chance to try some fantastic new products for next to nothing! 

This month we were informed our box was coming early and we were all very excited for its arrival! 

The May box had a slight BBQ theme to coincide with all the nice weather we have been having so we were even more intrigued what was going to be inside, are you intrigued too? Well here is what was inside our May Degustabox. 

Sweet baby Ray's 

My husband is a huge BBQ sauce fan and so was delighted to find another brand in our box this month. This month it was Sweet baby Ray's straight from the USA. Sweet baby Ray's honey BBQ sauce has a sweet yet smokey flavour and is really versatile, it can be used for marinating, cooking with or just for dipping to name a few uses. We really enjoyed it especially on chicken. 

Schwartz marinade

Schwartz have made marinating easy with their new marinade in a bag kits. You simply add your meat, fish or veg into the bag which already contains your marinade, seal it up and cook for 30 minutes. We tried the honey and soy marinade with chicken and can honestly say it was so simple to use and the chicken was packed full or flavour and was so tender, really delicious!

Maggi noodle's

We have received several Maggi products in previous boxes but its always nice to try new things from the range. These noodles are quick and easy to make and pack a whole lot of flavour. Just add the seasoning sachet to the noodles, cook and add meat, fish or veg to create a tasty quick meal. 

9 Bar

9 Bar is a healthy snack that is stacked with nutritious seeds including sunflower, sesame and pumpkin which are combined with dried apricots and dates and then topped with carob to make this healthy snack bar. I was a little apprehensive about trying these but they were actually quite tasty! As I have been making a real effort with my diet recently these have been perfect for keeping in my bag in case I get peckish. 

Daelmans Stroopwafels

These authentic dutch stroopwafels taste amazing!! They offer a crunchy outside with a creamy caramel centre. Stroopwafels are actually designed to be placed on top of a cup of tea/coffee and warmed slightly before consuming, however im not a fan of hot drinks but they tasted just as delicious eaten straight from the pack!

Sarsons balsamic vinegar

With summer well and truely on its way I have been enjoying more salads for lunch recently and I am always looking for ways to make them more interesting. This full bodied balsamic vinegar from Sarsons has definitely done that! It turns any boring salad into a tangy delight with a really punch of flavour. 

Slim pasta

I was really intrigued to find Slim pasta in my box as it isn't a brand or product I had seen before. Slim pasta is made from all natural konjac flour and oat fibre meaning slim pasta is a low calorie alternative for regular pasta. We were sent the Lasagne sheets to try and whilst the uncooked texture was a little strange once cooked they were actually not to bad. These are carb free and only 21 calories per 100g serving so if you are watching your weight or cutting our carbs these are definitely worth a try.

Green coco juice

This kids coco juice has a twist with the added flavour of banana! It comes in a handy 200ml carton with straw and offers a low acidity drink for kids. Unfortunutly none of us in our family are a fan of the coconut flavour and so this drink wasn't for us and neither of the kids wanted to drink it. I can see it being popular though if your child likes the coconut flavour as the cartons are handy lunch box/ picnic size. 

Fuel 10k protibrick

Fuel 10k is the first ever protein boosted wheat biscuit and has been designed to help increase protein in to our diets and to keep you feeling fuller for longer. These are made from 100% wholegrain, they are high in fibre and low in sugar and fat. 

Overall this month we were a little disappointed with this box, aside from a few marinades there wasn't really a clear bbq theme as suggested more of a health kick or get fit theme. However as always all of the products got used up some way or another and therefore ultimately saved us money and gave us the opportunity to try products we wouldn't have tried before, for me that's the whole point of Degustabox! 

If you want to check out Degustabox for yourself check them out via one of these links -


If you want to try Degustabox yourself them use the code XP1PP to receive £3 off your first box making it just £9.99! 

xXx

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Moving into Year 1!

It only seems like yesterday that I headed through the school gates with James for his first day at school with the nerves whirling in my stomach and the grin on James face so wide he couldn't contain his excitement!

(James on his first day at school in Reception class) 

However yesterday James moved into Year 1! Due to James' school rolling out a new plan where existing pupils move into their new year groups 1 month early James moved from his reception class into his new year 1 class on Wednesday.

I was a little undecided how I felt about it at first but seeing the excitement on James face sold it for me, he couldn't wait to explore his new class room and meet his new teacher. I am hoping that this early move will mean he will have chance to get used to the change and avoid any unnecessary worry over the summer holidays about the change. Of course Tuesday was a bit of an emotional day saying goodbye to his reception class teacher who has taught him so much and both myself and James had formed a bond with over the past year. James took in leaving gifts and had a photo with his teacher which he now has on his wall and we both said goodbye.

(James with his teacher on his last day in Reception!)

I still can't believe its been a year since he started school but he has learnt so much in that time, not just on the education side but he has grown so much as a person! James is so much more confident now and has a much better understanding of rules and boundaries that school has really helped him with. James started school last September not being able to read and after almost a year at school sat down with me yesterday and read The Gruffalo to be unaided! I really cannot thank the teachers enough for all the time and effort they have put in to giving James the best start to school.

So as we wave goodbye to the past year and James reception class we are saying hello to a new class, a new teacher and a new school year ahead of us. James is excited to learn and loves being in school which can only be a good thing and we can only hope the next year will be as successful as the last!

xXx


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Picnic week with Primula Cheese

As the weather heats up and summer promptly on its way what better way to enjoy lunch that outside with a Picnic! This week (13th - 21st June) is National picnic week so dust of your picnic blankets, check out the picnic week hub from Primula cheese for some great picnic ideas and head out in to the great outdoors.

As a family we are huge fan of picnic's and we regularly pack up our picnic basket and head outside for lunch sometimes the beach, sometimes the woods and sometimes just our garden.

Primula recently sent us a range of their products to enjoy alongside a picnic and so headed of to the shop to purchase some more picnic food to accompany the delicious primula flavours we had received. We purchased a french stick, crackers, grapes, strawberries, we also cooked up some mini sausage rolls, boiled eggs and quiche at home.
Remember when thinking picnic food think easy to eat and low fuss. Food that can be eaten easily with your hands and create minimum mess especially if there are children enjoying the picnic too! Thats why Primula is perfect for the picnic, it comes in handy tubes with a lid that can be easily transported in a picnic basket with no mess.


Picnics are a great way to get all of the family together and so we invited the children's nanny and grampy (my mum and dad) along to enjoy the picnic with us. Its great how something as simple as a picnic can bring together 3 generations of family! We had a lovely afternoon full of laughter and delicious food all whilst enjoying the sunshine and family time.


Another top tip is that if you have children who are perhaps reluctant to try new foods I have found that brignging them along to a picnic means they are much more inclined to try them! I have no idea why but it has certainly worked for us and both children have tried foods during a picnic they would perhaps have not wanted to try at home. On our picnic both children tried watermelon and loved it! Something they would have been reluctant to try at home.

So this weekend if the sun is shining why not pack up your picnic basket, grab some outdoor games and head off for the afternoon for some family time and a delicious picnic, its free, fun and delicious!

Make sure you check out the Primula picnic hub before you head out too!

What is your favourite picnic food?

xXx

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Party Bags & Supplies Party Pack **REVIEW**

With Evelyn's birthday fast approaching we were very excited to be approached by the lovely people at Party Bags & Supplies and given the opportunity to review one of their party packs!

As Evelyn had a Gruffalo themed party we of course chose the Gruffalo Party pack which has an RRP of £28.40. 
The Gruffalo party pack contains 8 Cups, 8 Plates, 20 Napkins & 1 Tablecover plus 8 The Gruffalo filled party bags. 

All of the items in the party pack where great! The party pack arrived well packaged and all items arrived in perfect condition, the party bags are pre filled which saves you a job!
I loved how bright and vibrant the colours were in the Gruffalo party pack and all of the items seemed of high quality, the cups and plates especially although disposable were strong and sturdy and of good quality. 



Inside of the party bags contained a bird glider, a sneaky snake, a frog clapper, a finger fright puppet and a Cadburys caramel freddo bar. 




These were most definitely a bit hit with the slightly older children and it was great to see the party bags filled with a few fun toys rather than just sweets! 



The gruffalo items went down great at Evelyn's party and everyone complimented us on the items. I did find I needed to purchase more plates and cups and found it a little strange to receive 20 napkins but only 8 plates as most parties will have more than 8 guests. However the website makes it easy to purchase any extra you may need and at fairly reasonable prices. 



If you would like to purchase other items to compliment the products inside the party pack you can also purchase items such as Gruffalo candles and Gruffalo invites on the Party Bags & Supplies website, all at really reasonable prices.

xXx

Also thank you to Viccy for taking some of the photos shown above at Evelyn's birthday party! 

** I received this product free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. ** 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Wickey Sandpit **REVIEW**

As the weather has begun to warm up my attention has turned to sorting out the garden and making it child friendly for summer.

We don't have a massive garden and space is quite limited but I still want it to be a place where both children can play safely when they please and so I started looking for garden toys! We already have a wave slide and some miniature football goals for James but I wanted something both James and Evelyn could play with together.

That's when I found Wickey, they have some very impressive wooden climbing frames that look like so much fun however they are much to large for our garden and Evelyn especially is still a little to young for a climbing frame. However Wickey also sell these beautifully made solid wood sandpits perfect for what we needed!


Wickey very kindly sent us one of their 'Flip' sandpits to try out and I have to say we are all really impressed. The 'Flip' sandpit comes in two sizes either 110cmx125cm or 120cmx125cm, we received the smaller version which fit in with our garden well, as well as this we received the safe sand foil to ensure no bugs or roots got in to our sandpit from underneath. We would later realise this is essential as the sandpit itself has no bottom!

One of the great features of the 'Flip' sandpit is that not only is it made from strong, sturdy and treated wood the lid of the sandpit also folds up to create 2 small benches, one either side of the sandpit perfect for little bums to perch whilst playing.


The 'Flip' sandpit comes flat packed and needs to be assembled from almost from scratch. This does require at least two people to built, the instructions are pretty clear and easy to follow although I would always suggest a quick read through before starting anything as some of the instructions and measurements are quite precise. The sandpit took around 2 hours to build with 2 people building it. You will require a drill to construct the sandpit as you need to drill pilot holes yourself which we were a little surprised at and it did mean it took a little longer to build the sandpit.

The 'Flip' sandpit has been a huge hit with both James and Evelyn! They have thoroughly enjoyed building sandcastle's and shapes in the sand. The benches provided a comfy place for both of them to sit and dip their toys in the sand or for a bit of a rest with an ice lolly after all that building. The sandpit took approx 10 15kg bags of sand to fill to a reasonable level which provided more than enough sand to build with.



The sandpit feels like it is build to last and is composed of green KDI impregnated treated wood meaning it requires no extra coats of paint or varnish and is build to with stand even the toughest of weather conditions. I did find that the slats in the top cover of the sandpit still had small gaps in and therefore the sandpit did require a waterproof sheet on top to keep the sand completely dry. 



Over all we were thoroughly impressed with the flip sandpit. Despite some niggly issues such as the pilot holes needing to be drilled yourself and the top being a little gappy we all think the sandpit is a great addition to our garden. It definitely has already provided hours of entertainment for the children (especially as Evelyn's birthday party!) and it certainly feels built to last!

Fancy sprucing up your garden for summer? Why not check out some of the high quality garden items such as swing sets, slides and play houses as well as the items mentioned above from Wickey via their website here - www.wickey.com.

What is your child's favourite garden toy/ item?

xXx

** I received this product free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. ** 

Puddle Ducks Swimming Lessons!

You may have noticed several posts on the blog lately showing Evelyn's progress since starting at Puddle Ducks. Well she has now attended for 6 weeks and the improvement has been amazing!

When Evelyn joined Puddle Ducks she was not happy about going under the water or having water in her face, yet now thanks to all the great techniques learnt at Puddle Ducks Evelyn is more than happy to not only have water on her face but to swim under water!

Here is a little about what Puddle Ducks say about their swimming lessons and learning "Skills for Life".


"The swimming and life-saving skills your little one is taught on the Puddle Ducks programme will stay with them… for life!
Skills for Life means that at Puddle Ducks, every child is taught to swim using a tailored programme that is unique to them, and their levels of ability and confidence, within our structured framework – we keep it fun and we know that it works! 
The children in our swimming classes learn how to swim without realising it, so that swimming and water safety become as natural as breathing, and it develops into a skill set that never leaves them.
The little ones we teach can often swim over 10m before starting school, and then go on to learn style, stamina and more formal lifesaving skills in our Academy."

The Puddle Ducks classes are run in a relaxed atmosphere but with a clear lesson plan to engage each baby and child. I found the lessons not only taught Evelyn some basic skills but it also taught me some skills that made me feel so much more confident taking Evelyn in the water outside of a swimming lesson such as holding her in the water etc. 
During our time at Puddle Ducks we have met several teachers and each and everyone of them have been fantastic. It is clear just from meeting them and having the pleasure to be a part of their lessons they are passionate about teaching and about swimming and that makes attending Puddle Ducks just that little bit more special.


During the 6 weeks we have been attending lessons Evelyn is already showing a huge improvement in confidence in the water. She has began dipping her mouth in to the water to blow bubbles and knows to kick her legs when under the water, she will also instinctively reach for the bar if in reach. This has all been since attending Puddle Ducks and in just 6 weeks!
As well as the swimming lessons Puddle Ducks offer they also run "under water photo shoots" which you can attend for an additional cost. During this a trusted photographer is brought in and each child gets there own opportunity to have several photos taken under the water and these are then available to buy if you wish.

Evelyn attended one of these photo shoots and we LOVED the pictures! They were so unique and something totally different. Whilst the photo shoot is an extra cost and may seem a little pricey the photos are adorable and something totally unique. Here is Evelyn's under water photo -


So if you are looking for swimming lessons for your little ones then I can highly recommend trying Puddle Ducks and im pretty certain you will be hooked just like we were!

You can find out more about Puddle Ducks and find a class near you via their website here - www.puddleducks.com

xXx