Month: December 2016

Give The Gift of Film For HER This Christmas- Plus a Giveaway!

Christmas shopping can be a nightmare! I’m just about finished but trying to get those last few bits for everyone can be a huge stress- especially for the women!

Are you still looking for that perfect Christmas gift for the lovely ladies in your life? I don’t think I’ve ever met a female who doesn’t like to curl up and watch a good film. So why not give the gift of film? With just two weeks to go, have a look at these fantastic DVD’s from Warner Bros; (Oh, there’s a giveaway at the end too!)

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Me Before You

Ahhh, I’ve read the book but haven’t actually seen the film yet. If it’s anything like the book you’ll totally need the tissues out for this one! I wouldn’t mind receiving this for Christmas!

“Thea Sharrock directs this adaptation of the novel by Jojo Moyes. Emilia Clarke stars as Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark, a quirky, cheerful waitress who suffers a crisis when she loses her job. Struggling to find a position in her area of expertise, Lou reluctantly applies for a job as a carer for a wheelchair-bound man called Will (Sam Claflin). After a motorbike accident left him paralysed, Will has found daily tasks difficut and often wonders why he tries to carry on, but when Lou enters his life, both lost souls find common ground and help each other see the light at the end of the tunnel. The cast also includes Jenna-Louise Coleman, Charles Dance, Matthew Lewis and Janet McTeer.”

The Intern

I went to the Cinema with my sister to see this one and absolutely LOVED it! I love all films with Anne Hathaway and with the help of Robert DeNiro this film will make you laugh out loud and quite possibly make you shed a tear- but just a little one! I would happily add this one to my DVD collection to watch again and again.

“When Ben Whittaker (De Niro), a 70-year-old widower, becomes bored with retired life he decides to return to work, seeking an internship at an online fashion company, owned by Jules Ostin (Hathaway), that runs a senior intern programme. Ben gets the position and as he adjusts to his new surroundings he makes a good impression on his new boss with whom he forms an unlikely friendship.” 

In The Heart Of The Sea

This isn’t one I’ve seen or read the book for but OMG I want to watch it so badly! So many people have recommended it to me- I’d love to receive this one!

“Ron Howard directs this action adventure based on a true story which is recounted in Nathaniel Philbrick’s book and was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’. In 1820 Captain George Pollard, Jr. (Benjamin Walker) leads a crew, including First Mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), Second Mate Matthew Joy (Cillian Murphy) and cabin boy Thomas Nickerson (Tom Holland), on a whaling voyage aboard the Essex. While hunting the men are attacked by a huge male sperm whale and find themselves shipwrecked and stranded at sea. They attempt to make it to dry land but will any of them survive? The film also stars Brendan Gleeson, Michelle Fairley, Charlotte Riley and Ben Whishaw as Herman Melville.”

Wizard of Oz

Now this is a classic everyone will love- you can’t go wrong! I don’t have this in my DVD collection and I do love a musical so I wouldn’t complain if I received this for Christmas!

“Classic musical adaptation of the L. Frank Baum novel starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley. A tornado whisks Dorothy (Garland) and her house from Kansas to Munchkin City, squashing the Wicked Witch of the East upon landing. The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) vows revenge, while Dorothy sets off on the yellow brick road to see the Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan), hoping he can tell her how to get home. On the way she makes friends with a scarecrow (Bolger), a tin man (Haley) and a cowardly lion (Lahr) – all of whom have specific reasons for wanting to meet the magical Wizard. With the Wicked Witch out to get her, will Dorothy ever get home again?”

How To Be Single

Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie and Leslie Mann- with that line up you just know that this is going to be one hilarious film! My sister went to see this without me, which I’m not at all bitter about. Okay, maybe a little. She should probably buy this for me to make it up to me, yeah?

“Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson star in this romantic comedy based on the novel by Liz Tuccillo. The film follows a group of singletons, including Alice (Johnson) and Robin (Wilson), in New York City as they each learn how to make the most of their status.”

Hopefully that’s provided you with some inspiration- what woman wouldn’t want all of these films to have a DVD binge night?! I know I certainly would!

If you’d like to take a look at these DVD’s along with many other titles you can find them on HMV.

Giveaway

I have a set of the above DVD’s to giveaway to one lucky reader! That means you could win a copy of Me Before You, The Intern, In The Heart Of The Sea, The Wizard of Oz and How To Be Single! All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and retweet the post at the top of my profile using #WBChristmas (pinned post) to be in with a chance of winning! You’ll have to be quick though as this competition ends at midnight on 19th December- Good Luck!

Mother Hermit xx

 

 

Lapland Mailroom Letter From Santa Review

Christmas is coming! I still can’t believe how quickly and as I’ve mentioned previously, this year is fast becoming even more magical for us as our daughter is nearly 3. She now knows who Santa Claus is and gets the general idea, so the excitement is fast building. So when the guys at Lapland Mailroom offered to send Violet a letter from Santa, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

Each letter from Lapland Mailroom is completely personalised and there are four different basic templates to choose from, including Baby’s First Christmas. The options for personalisation are fantastic, you can even add your child’s siblings name or their friends names so they will be included. This makes it that little bit more special I think as they will recognise things within the letter. I even got to add a ‘P.S’ at the end of Violet’s letter to remind her to put all of her dummies under the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve. We’re trying our best to get rid of them altogether and this seems like the perfect opportunity to do so! You can also choose if you’d like to have extras such as an activity pack or ‘Nice Child List’ certificate. Each step of the personalisation process is very easy to follow and you will quickly have your letter ready to preview.

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When you receive the letter it will be addressed to your child, which is another nice touch and makes it really special. Violet was so excited when she realised that the letter was for her. We also received the activity pack which includes;

  • Elf Yourself! Activity sheet

  • Christmas Eve door hanger

  • Cut out and keep

    Christmas decoration

  • Colouring in Christmas card

  • Colouring in ‘Santa Stop Here!’ poster

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I absolutely love Violet’s letter and was so surprised at how fantastic the quality is. This is something I’ll happily keep within her memory box along with the ‘Nice Child List’ certificate which is also great. The activity pack has already kept her entertained for hours as she’s enjoyed colouring everything in. The only one she has left to do is the ‘Santa Stop Here’ sign for the window which I have put inside her Christmas Eve box.

Prices start from only £7.95 and they currently have an offer on which means that you will receive a ‘Nice Child List’ certificate FREE with every order of a personalised letter.

If you’re in the UK you have until the 20th December to order. You can find international shipping dates and all other information on their website.

Merry Christmas!

Mother Hermit xx

 

 

I was very kindly sent these products from Lapland Mailroom in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Snack Smart with Go Ahead! Snacks- A Review

As a part time worker I’m pretty busy. Add being a Mam to two children under 3, the ‘keeper’ of a (rather handsome) bloke and two crazy dogs, I’m on the go constantly, I literally never stop!

Breakfast is something I always make sure my kids have at the start of every single day. The bloke not so much, he’s old enough to know when he wants to eat! (All of the time). When it comes to myself, it’s something I just never seem to have time for. Even though I’m already making breakfast for the little ones, when they’re sat down eating I tend to make the most of that time attempting to slurp a hot coffee or sticking some washing in before they’re finished and chaos beings for the day. So when the guys at Go Ahead! asked if I’d like to try out some of their new products I thought I’d take advantage and try to use them to get me kick started into breakfasts!

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I received a huge selection of Go Ahead! products and couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Unfortunately for me, the kids were around when I was opening the box and having a rummage through. You can guess where this is going. Violet spotted the cookies! So she was the very first taste tester of the White Chocolate & Raspberry Cookie Bites. These one’s are new to the range and even though they’re cookies, like the rest of the Go Ahead products they’re individually packaged and these ones are only 99 kcal! I managed to have a bag myself when the kids had gone to bed and they’re amazing! You can also get them in Chocolate & Orange flavour but the White Chocolate & Raspberry are definitely my favourite- and Violet’s too!

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Next up we tried the Yoghurt Breaks. These are my absolute favourite in the Go Ahead! range. You can’t get much better than a crunchy fruit filled biscuit topped with smooth yoghurt and there’s now five different flavours to choose from; Forest Fruit, Raspberry, Red Cherry, Tropical and Strawberry. I love all of them and the only flavour I haven’t tried yet is the Red Cherry so I need to find them on my next shop! What makes them even better is every single flavour, each slice is only 73kcal.

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Next up, the Crispy Slices. These are my son’s favourite- probably because you get 3 in each individual packet so he can eat more! These ones come in seven, that’s right SEVEN different flavours- how do you choose?! I was sent the apple and orange which are both gorgeous and extremely moreish so it’s a good job there are 3 in each pack. Each slice is 57kcals too. So I’ve still got the Forest Fruit, Raspberry, Red Cherry, Blueberry and Strawberry ones to try out.

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Last but not least, the Fruity Bakes. Golden baked soft bars jam packed with delicious fruit; either apple or strawberry. I received the strawberry ones and I love them- the only problem is they’re 133kcals per bar and so moreish I’m not sure I could have just one!

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I’m now a huge fan of this Go Ahead! range. Not only have they been helping me eat breakfast (on occasion), they’ve also meant I’ve had something to grab to eat on the way to work or whilst out and about which is usually when I’d look for an unhealthy bag of crisps or a pastie! I’m in the North East, we love Greggs! I’ve also used them to throw in the changing bag when I take the kids out somewhere as they both love all of them, they’re great to give the kids on the go, especially as they’re healthy.

Give them a go, I think you’ll like them!

Mother Hermit xx

I was very kindly sent these Go Ahead! products for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

 

Disney Moana Happy Tin and Book Review

We were recently very lucky enough to be sent a Disney Moana Happy Tin for Violet. She’s seen the trailers for the film all over the television recently and each time it’s been on she’s become more and more interested in it.

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So when the tin arrived and she’d swiftly removed the gorgeous wrapping paper, she was rather excited as she knew exactly who the characters were on the front.

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Inside the tin there is a Moana Storybook, an Activity Book, a Colouring Book, 4 Felt Tip Pens, Stickers and a double sided Poster. Violet made quick work of taking all of the stickers, decorating the poster and then using the colouring pens with the activity book. Once she’d tired herself out, she was ready for a story and we snuggled up together to have a read.

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We haven’t seen the film Moana yet so we were pretty clueless as to what the story was about, so here’s the blurb if you haven’t seen it yet either;

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The book itself is really good quality and we absolutely love it. It’s Violet’s new favourite bedtime story as she loves following Moana’s journey!

The tin is aimed at age 3-6 years however with Violet being 2, I think we’ve had pretty good use out of the entire contents. Obviously the activities she struggled with but this just made it that bit more special as we also got to complete those together as well as reading the book together.

The RRP for the Moana Happy Tin is £16.99 which I think is on the expensive side, even though the contents are great.. However, I’ve recently seen this in Morrisons Supermarkets and Amazon for £5.00 which is a much more reasonable price. It would make the perfect gift, whether your little one has seen the film yet or not 🙂

Have you seen the film Moana yet? What did you think of it?

Mother Hermit xx

We were very kindly sent this product to review as part of the Parragon Book Buddies. All views and opinions are that of my own.

 

 

Christmas Bazaar at Preston Park Museum

We visited Preston Park Museum in the Summer this year for their Great British Summer event and absolutely loved it. So when I noticed that they were having a Christmas Bazaar last weekend I knew we’d be missing out if we didn’t go for another visit! Whilst talking to my friend on Saturday evening I mentioned that we were going and invited Sarah and her family along- everyone loves a Christmassy day out!

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On Sunday morning we jumped in the car ready for the forty minute drive to Preston Park. Obviously the weather this time was totally different to the last time we visited so this time we were all wrapped up, ready for the day ahead.

When we arrived we headed straight through the gift shop, (which was super Christmassy!) and into another room which was filled with stalls selling allsorts of Christmas gifts and decorations. I had my eye on a few things but decided to hang on and see what else was on show as we didn’t really know what to expect.

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From this room we then exited into the replica 1895 Victorian Street which, exactly like last time, was abuzz with people, some dressed the part in Victorian wear. There were also a lot more stalls selling anything and everything from illuminating candles to cheese! The street itself was decorated beautifully and we could hear a brass band playing as we walked further along. Most of the shops were still open as normal so you could still pop in to have a look and all of the volunteers were more than happy to stop and chat and explain things for you.

We had a slot booked to visit Santa, aka Father Christmas, in his grotto so we pretty much headed straight there with our rather excited kids. Violet’s never visited Santa before so she was a little nervous! Mrs Claus was already there at the door to chat with us and keep the little ones entertained whilst we waited our turn. We didn’t have to wait long though, within five minutes he was ready for us and the kids were straight in. Violet was rather shy and nervous but seeing that look of sheer delight on her face was priceless!

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The grotto itself was amazing! It was all decorated and set up perfectly with a nice and toasty fire, a proper (real) Christmas tree and traditional decorations. I was pretty impressed with Santa too. He was really good with the kids, asking them lots of questions, answering any questions they had and they both received an early present from him too. We didn’t feel rushed at all and he offered to have some pictures taken with the kids which I thought was a lovely touch! Violet loves telling everyone she had her photo taken with Santa now- even though she doesn’t look too impressed on the photo!

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Next we headed over the courtyard to another room where you could make your own Magic Reindeer Food! I loved this one! It was set up with a line of tables and on each table was a different item so by the end of the line you had your very own finished bag of the food. Then on Christmas Eve the little ones can sprinkle this all over their garden, so the glitter will shine bright and guide the reindeer to their house- perfect little item for Christmas Eve boxes!

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The staff were really helpful with this activity and didn’t hesitate to help Violet whilst I took some photos of her.

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Next up, the donkeys. Now the donkeys made an appearance the last time we visited as they fit with the Summer and beach theme perfectly. Well, they actually fit with the Christmas theme too- if you stick some antlers on them! They looked super cute bless them! Both of the kids had a turn each and enjoyed it as they got to have a ride around the orchard. 
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After the donkey rides were done we were all feeling a bit peckish so headed off to see where the amazing smells were coming from. We found a couple of food vans selling hot food and luckily there wasn’t a queue so I headed straight for Blackwells of Norton for pie, peas and gravy! I have absolutely no idea why there wasn’t a queue as it was perfect comfort food for a cold day and at £3.50, an absolute bargain- I was expecting to pay a lot more!

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The blokes had burgers and hotdogs from another stand which were also pretty cheap at £3.00. They said they were good but as they’re men, no photo’s could be taken before they were inhaled! Typical 🙂

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After our lunch stop we then headed on to have a peruse of some more market stalls, passing some rather colourful entertainers on the way!

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There was another marquee full of stalls with all sorts of different items available to purchase for Christmas presents. I bought a gorgeous hot chocolate spoon for Violet’s Christmas Eve box, another hot chocolate mix for two, a brownie in a jar baking kit and a cupcake for Violet- this didn’t even come to £10 so again I was surprised with how reasonable the prices were.

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After another walk around and a few small purchases made by both families, we headed on out of the museum so the kids could have a good hour on the park to burn off some energy!

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All in all we had an absolutely fantastic day yet again at Preston Park Museum. The Bazaar was on for last weekend only, however they have lots more festive activities planned in the run up to Christmas and you can visit Santa every Saturday and Sunday until the 18th of December. A family ticket into the museum costs just £5.00 (2 Adults and up to 4 Children) and lasts the whole year, so you can visit as many times as you like! You can find their website here.

Have you visited before?

Mother Hermit xx

Christmas Gift Guide for the New Years Resolutions

New Year. 2017 is nearly here! We probably all know at least one person who set themselves New Years Resolutions- probably the same ones every single year too. Whether it’s to lose weight, join a gym, be more organised, quit smoking; it always happens and a lot of people probably don’t even last until the end of January. I can say this because I’m totally one of them.

So what better way to help someone on their resolution journey than gifting them something which will help them get one step closer to achieving their goal?

Fitbit Flex

This is the perfect gift for those who want to try and lose weight, start a healthier lifestyle or just be a little bit more active each day. I’ve had my eye on these for a long time and have just received one as a gift from my other half for our anniversary- never mind him, I’m totally in love with this!

It’s probably the most basic and cheapest of the Fitbit range but it’s perfect for what I want. It tracks and counts your daily steps, your calories burned and even tracks your sleep, all to an app. You can set it to track your sleep before bed each night and when you wake up in the morning it will show you how well you slept; how many times you were restless, how many times you woke up and how long you were actually asleep. Pretty cool huh?

You can also input your daily exercise, water intake and set your own daily goals- totally personalise it for you.

You can find them in Argos and they’re currently £59.99.*

ECigs and Shisha Pens

Giving up smoking. This is probably still the most popular resolution of all and with all of this change happening with horrible packaging and higher prices, I think this is a certain for a lot of people this year!

Vapelux of London

So the alternative is an Ecig or Shisha Pen. I know a lot of people who have successfully given up cigarettes by using these but I never realised the options available in the Shisha Pen Liquid! From cookies, doughnuts, all sorts of fruit flavours to menthol and tobacco flavoured- the selection is unreal. You can also get each liquid in different strengths of nicotine which I’m guessing depends on how addicted the user is, how much they smoked per day and how long they’ve kicked the habit; starting on the highest strength first and working your way down to nicotine free.

Sounds like the perfect gift for those wanting to kick the habit for good!

Organiser for 2017

I’m obsessed with Busy B stationery and have a planner for everything as I’m a serial list-writer! Even to the point where I’ll write something I’ve already done on a list, just so I can mark it off as done! Sad, I know.

This beauty is Busy B’s Family Diary for 2017 which I have in already and I have to say it’s amazing! If you can’t get yourself and your family organised using this then I don’t know what can help you. It has room for every family member so you can keep track of who’s doing what and when every single day of the year- absolutely perfect for us being a family of two adults, two young children and two dogs.

Busy B don’t just have family diaries though, they have planners to suit absolutely everyone, travel planners, one-page-a-day diaries, calendars; anything you can think of they have it. And who doesn’t love stationery right? Have a look for yourself here.

Alcohol Free

This isn’t one I would probably consider because I’ve got two kids under 3 and hardly get a chance to have any alcohol, but there’s no chance I’d give up the few chances I do get. Nope. Not an option.

However, if you know someone trying to cut back a bit or even kick it all together, what about a recipe book on Mocktails? Maybe you know someone who’s pregnant and craving the taste of their favourite cocktail? This looks like the perfect gift…

When I was pregnant with my second, for the first few weeks after me finding out I was craving the taste of Becks. No idea why because it’s not something I ever drink! Maybe they’d prefer this alcohol free Becks…

Yeah, me either, I’m just here trying to provide some ideas!

Are you a serial New Years Resolutioner? What’s yours for this year?

Mother Hermit xx

 

This is a collaborative post with Vapelux

 

*Prices correct at time of writing this post on 5th December 2016.

 

 

 

Mr Tumble Has Come To Play!

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, most recently in my Mr Tumble’s Christmas Party post, both of my kids absolutely love Something Special and Mr Tumble. I think most kids do- he’s clearly a very likeable character and I have to admit, sometimes I even find myself having a chuckle at him! So when I  was asked if I’d like some new Mr Tumble toys to try out from Golden Bear toys, I couldn’t really say no, knowing how much everyone loves him.

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I’ve never come across any Mr Tumble toys before so didn’t really know what to expect. We received a Fun Sounds Musical Car and Felt Set. Both of these are aimed at children 3+. That means nothing to my two as they’ll have a go at playing with them regardless- I think that probably goes for any child too. The musical car was a huge hit as it makes many different noises, sings the Something Special theme tune and each character features with different phrases. There’s also a Mr Tumble figurine and he fits into the car. Violet loves this one but it’s definitely more of a hit with Billy, who even at only 9 months, is becoming a huge fan of cars, especially those that make a ‘broom, broom’ noise like this one does! It even has a flashing nose on the front which he finds fascinating! It also comes with four makaton word cards which slot into the back of the vehicle. He plays with this one everyday and it’s usually the first toy he crawls to.

MrTumble7Violet’s favourite is the Felt Set. When this arrived she spent the full afternoon playing with it. It comes with Mr Tumble and other characters from Something Special and absolutely loads, over 60, different pieces so you can dress them up in numerous different outfits and give them different accessories. I remember having a felt set like this when I was little but she wasn’t up for letting me play so I just got to watch. Can’t complain about that though as there truly is something magical about watching your child use their imagination like this! It’s provided hours and hours of fun for Violet. She’s constantly playing with it and creating different scenarios- when it’s time for bed, she’ll put Mr Tumbles jarmies on for him, when the sun is shining, he needs his sunglasses on!

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There are lots of toys to choose from in the new Something Special Mr Tumble range from Golden Bear Toys and you can find out all about them here.

Do your little ones like Mr Tumble?

Mother Hermit xx

I was very kindly sent both of these toys in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Brush-Baby for Teething- A Review

Teething. As a parent I can honestly say that having a teething baby is absolute hell. Watching your child scream in pain and not being able to do anything for them is horrible! And the awful things which come with teething like the runs, snotty noses, nappy rash- my two had all of these things.

Billy has been teething since he was around 4 months old and was managing with the dummy in the freezer trick until he hit 6 months. That’s when the real pain hit and I started trying everything from teething gels to teething rings- but nothing seemed to ease the pain for him longer than five minutes.

That’s when the guys at Brush-Baby spotted my pleas for help on social media and offered to send me some bits to try out. Brush-Baby was founded by Dominique Tillen who was inspired by her little girl who used to chew her toothbrush.

 

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The first one we tried out was the My FirstBrush and Teether set. The teether is very simple to put together and after Billy had given it a full inspection it wasn’t long until it was straight in his mouth and he was having a good chew. It seemed to give him a lot relief straight away due to the soft silicone bristles and we didn’t have to use any teething gels which was a first for us. The bristles are designed to help clean the teeth as baby chews which is great as babies aren’t usually that willing to have their teeth brushed! He loves this teether and tends to use it most days. He’s even managed to get four of his teeth through whilst using it and two of those are his two front ones which caused him serious agony!

The FirstBrush is designed so adults can brush little ones teeth. It has a long handle which makes it easier for you to reach the back teeth and gums and has a small head with very delicate bristles to make it comfortable for baby when brushing. We’ve been using the Applemint Teething Toothpaste when brushing which he totally loves- his sister keeps pinching it too so it must be nice! It’s also specially formulated with camomile to help soothe during teething.

We were also sent a Chewable Toothbrush Teether which is ready for him when he hits the next stage as this is suitable for 10-36 months. It’s designed for teething toddlers who refuse to brush their teeth as it cleans their teeth whilst they chew! Clever right?!

Brush-Baby have a range of products designed for three stages; Baby, Toddlers and Children. To find out more, have a look at their website here.

 

I was sent these products is exchange for this review. All views and opinions and that of my own.

 

Winter Warmer Recipes with Rachel’s Organic

Until recently I hadn’t ever tried Rachel’s Organic yoghurts. In fact, I’d never actually heard of them until I was asked if I’d like to try out some of their new recipes for Winter.

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I picked three recipes to try, a soup, a pasta dish and some cupcakes. I actually picked four originally and if you follow me on my social media you’ll have seen that my attempt at the Salted Caramel Malt Cake was an epic fail. Only because I used the wrong size cake tins though- the bits I rescued were amaaaazing! I also managed some Peanut Brittle- have a look at my Instagram.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Homemade Breadsticks

As I recently bought my very own soup maker I had to give this one a go. Whether you use a pan on the hob or a soup maker like me, you’ll find it’s super simple to follow. I’m a massive fan of Cauliflower Cheese and have it with everything, even my Sunday roasts, but I wasn’t really sure about it being a soup. Verdict? It’s honestly the tastiest soup I’ve had in a long time.

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Ingredients;

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Leek- finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove- chopped
  • 500g Cauliflower- cut into small florets
  • 1 Litre Hot Vegetable Stock
  • 100g Cheddar Cheese- grated
  • 2 tbsp Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Natural Yoghurt
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pinch of English Mustard

For the Breadsticks;

  • 450g Strong Bread Flour (extra for dusting)
  • 1 x 7g sachet of fast acting Yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Natural Low Fat Yoghurt
  • 150g Water
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil for greasing

Toppings (Just whatever you fancy!);

  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 2 tsp fresh Rosemary or Thyme
  • 2 tsp Paprika

Serves: 4 & makes 36 breadsticks Preparation & Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Method for soup:

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan or heavy bottom saucepan, add the leek and garlic clove and fry until softened

2. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked

3. Add the cheese and allow to melt, remove the pan from the heat and add the Rachel’s yogurt and seasoning; salt, pepper and a little pinch of English mustard powder

4. Allow the soup to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor and blend until smooth. Season again if necessary

5. Serve in a bowl with warm breadsticks (see recipe for homemade breadsticks below)
Method for breadsticks:

1. Preheat the oven 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7

2. Dust 2 large baking trays with flour

3. Put the flour, yeast and teaspoon of salt into a large bowl

4. Using a jug weigh out the yogurt and water, and warm slightly in a microwave until just tepid or hand hot. Alternatively, warm in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water

5. Add enough of the yogurt and water mixture to make a soft dough

6. Knead the dough well for 10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface or for five minutes using an electric mixer – the mixer must be fitted with a dough hook

7. Divide the dough into 36 equal portions and roll the portions into balls, then roll them out into a long sausage shape approx 25cm long. Tip: for best results make the thickness of each breadstick equal, try making twists by splitting the dough piece in half and then braiding the two halves together

8. Place the breadsticks on the prepared baking trays and space them apart. Cover the breadsticks with oiled clingfilm making sure this is airtight. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the sticks have doubled in size

9. Remove the clingfilm and sprinkle the bread sticks with your choice of toppings. Bake the breadsticks until they are golden brown and feel firm. Remove the sticks from the oven and leave to cool on baking trays

Violet absolutely loved helping me make the breadsticks (she decided to make bread rolls too) and she’s a massive fan of the soup. I think I might actually have to use this one on my Christmas Dinner Menu as a starter option this year.

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Macaroni Cheese with Crispy Leeks & Bacon

I’m a huge fan of Macaroni Cheese and this is another super easy recipe suitable for all of the family. I made this for dinner one evening for us both and the kids and there wasn’t a scrap left- huge thumbs up!

Ingredients

  • 350g dried macaroni pasta
  • 100g streaky bacon, un-smoked, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 100g medium cheddar cheese, grated
  • 15g parmesan cheese, grated

 

Sauce:

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 285ml whole milk
  • 200g Rachel’s Greek Style natural set yogurt or Rachel’s crème fraiche
  • 200g medium cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt & black pepper

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Method

Preparation time: 30 minutes Serves: 4
1. Prepare the pasta according to the packet instructions in a large saucepan

2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan fry the bacon until cooked through and crispy. To this, add the finely chopped leek. Once they are both cooked, take the pan from the heat and keep to one side

3. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan and then whisk in the flour. Mix until a smooth paste is formed

4. Little by little add the milk, with the pan still on the heat, whisking after each addition and until the milk is all incorporated. Add the yogurt or crème fraiche and cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is melted

5. Drain the cooked pasta and return to the saucepan, pour over the cheese sauce and toss well

6. Spoon the macaroni cheese into serving dishes and top with the reserved fried bacon and leek, and scatter with breadcrumbs, extra cheese and parmesan

7. Place the dishes under a hot grill for the cheese to melt and the topping to become nice & crisp

IMG_6375

 

Orange & Cranberry Cupcakes

Cupcakes are a major hit with anyone, anyday and these beauties are no different. Violet helped bake these and once they were finished, declared that they are ‘Christmassy!’. She’s totally right. Not only do they look perfect for Christmas, there’s just something about orange and cranberry which shouts all things festive! Oh, and from now on, I’ll be making my icing with yoghurt- it’s gorgeous!

Cupcake

Ingredients:

  • 225g margarine or butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g Rachel’s low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 70g dried cranberries,
  • chopped Orange zest,
  • juice of ½ orange

To Decorate:

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 30g Rachel’s low fat vanilla yogurt

Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 15 mins Makes: 12 cakes
Method:
Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas Mark 5. Arrange paper cases in muffin or bun tins. Place the margarine, sugar, flour and eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat for about two minutes until smooth, light and fluffy. Fold in the yogurt, dried cranberries, orange zest and juice. Divide the mixture between the cases so that they are half filled and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack. To make the icing, mix the icing sugar with the yogurt and mix until smooth. Tip: the icing should be runny and flow.
Decorate each cake with a blob of icing and spread with a palette knife. Alternatively, leave to run to the edges of the paper case. Leave the icing to set.
Cakes will keep in an airtight container for up to four days.

Cupcake2

There you have it- three incredibly easy recipes all using Rachel’s organic yoghurts! If you’d like to find out more on the Rachel’s Organic range or have a look through some more of their fantastic recipes, have a look here.

Don’t forget to give me a tag or tweet if you try any of them- I’d love to see your photo’s!

Mother Hermit xx

“I was very kindly sent some vouchers for the Rachel’s Organic yoghurts for the purpose of this post. All views and opinions are that of my own”