My Family

My Family

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A Taste Of Porto - Rump Steak in Port Wine Sauce.

A Taste Of Porto - Rump Steak in Port Wine Sauce.

This week I've been taking part in the Monarch "A Taste Of Porto” challenge where I was asked to create a dish cooked using Port which is something I've never cooked with before. 

Portugal is such a beautiful place, although I've never been before, I've heard great things from friends and family members who have been. With a rich history and stunning natural beauty, this country on the western-most edge of Europe looks like a good choice for sunshine filled holidays for all the family. Portugal has dramatic landscapes, vibrant cities and stunning natural beauty, with some of the best local delicacies to keep your tummy happy, too. The food, culture and heritage of Portugal makes it a rich and exciting destination. One I hope to discover for myself one day. It really does look like a dream.

Cooking with Port was so much fun, the smells were amazing, so fruity and fresh. I cooked up an alternative Sunday Dinner for us this week, making Rump Steak in Port Wine Sauce.

Using a bottle of Dow's Midnight Port, I made my Port sauce using:

  • 1/2 cups lemon juice
  • 3/4 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cups honey
  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (grated)
  • 5 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • Rump Steaks

  The sauce is really easy and quick to make, you simply whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, honey, olive oil, port, ginger, and garlic in a large glass or ceramic bowl. I'm not your best cook so I've gone for a 'mix it all together' kind of recipe which any one can do.

Once you have your sauce, I then dipped my uncooked Rump Steak into it giving it a nice sticky coating. I then cooked my steak in a frying pan and added a few spoons of the sauce every few minutes as It was cooking. It didn't take very long too cook, just 3 or 4 minutes for each side for a nice Well Done steak, just how I like it. It smelt so good whilst cooking, I was getting all excited just from the smells alone, once I cut into it, I couldn't wait to eat it.

Cooking with Port brought a whole new depth of flavours to our Sunday Dinner. Port brings amazing layers of luscious fruit flavours and lovely subtle notes of peppery spice. Who knew Port made such delicious sauce for steaks? I'd never had thought of trying the two together before but am so glad that I did because I really enjoyed the flavour combination. It was a lovely, fruity twist for me. I kept our dinner quite simple and served our delicious Rump Steak in Port Wine Sauce with some simple potato slices with a little added salt for taste.  

It was lovely to try something new this week and learn so much about Port and the beautiful country it comes from, Portugal, at the same time. Maybe one day I will visit and taste some of the food they cook with it. For now, I still have half a bottle of Port left which I might enjoy a glass of too. Waste not, Want not, as they say. Nothing gets wasted in our house.

Disclosure: I was provided with the ingredients for this meal to take part in the Monarch "A Taste Of Porto” challenge. I was not paid. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Big Family Festival's 2nd Year - See how we got on .. Review

The Big Family Festival's 2nd Year - See how we got on..

The Award-Nominated Big Family Festival Returned For an even Bigger And Better Second Year.  The West Midlands’ summer bonanza, Big Family Festival returned to Dunton Hall in Sutton Coldfield, from Friday 28th – Sunday 30th July. It was all set out across multiple areas of the field. There was an outdoor Main Stage, Workshops’ Den and another activities tent with a diverse programme of activities and music for all the family to enjoy. 

The fun included kids’ favourites Dick & Dom, The Sooty Show and Basil Brush and dozens of sports activities such as rounders, a Move With Peppa fitness class and flag football. Music wise there was a rousing lineup of the finest tribute acts out there, starring Rhapsody Queen, Black Magic Little Mix, Foo5ighters and Only One Direction. There was lots to do for younger children, there was model making workshops plus an outdoor cinema screening a lovely selection of family movies throughout the day. There was multiple ticket options available to fit varying budgets and timescales, from one-day tickets (adults £10 / children £5) to a three-day family-of-four camping ticket (£148). We just went along on the Sunday but we had a nice few hours having a look around and joining in with some of the games.

I took my 7 year old son Ryan along for the day to check it all out. We didn't spend much time around the main stage as it was raining all day but we did have a good look around and had some fun with some of the other things to do. There was a great Circus Area where Ryan got to join in learning some Circus tricks, he had fun stilt walking and riding a magical pedal bike. We spent quite a lot of time in that Zone as he could play quite freely within it.

There was a Police Van that they could go inside and try on some of the Uniforms which was great fun, Ryan loved siting in the front with the Police Woman and setting the Sirens off. It was a great experience for the kids, they even got to go back in Riot Van cages too.

There was a nice selection of Fair ground rides that wasn't too expensive, Ryan went on a few of them. He loved the Giant Inflatable Obstacle Course and the Big Trampolines best. 

The Big Family Festival had lots to do and if you have children that like arts and crafts then they'd love it as there was lots going on inside the tents for them to join in with. Children were colouring walls covered in artwork and meeting some of their favourite characters too.

The weather spoiled our day a little as the rain showers got quite heavy towards the end of the day so we didn't stay as long as we'd have liked. The big tents came in very handy for when it did rain. Like most festivals, you'll find a lot of food vans where you can grab some yummy food and treats. We grabbed some burgers and chips and some awesome milkshakes that were available from one of the stands. It was very naughty but very nice.

If you're looking for a nice chilled day out for the children to enjoy, then  this is definitely the festival for you. It's all about the children so expect children's entertainment, music and games. It's not all about the kids though, there was a Bar hidden in the Free Radio tent that hosted a beach vibe filled with deckchairs and a live music stage which was really great.

We had a lovely time and would definitely go again next year. I've heard that the festival will be back again next year and tickets are already on sale for those who want a bargain.

Disclosure: We went along to the Big Family Festival as guests. All the words and opinions expressed within this review are 100% honest and entirely my own.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

A First look inside Birmingham's Newly refurbished James Brindley Pub - The Canal House #TheSecretsOut

A First look inside Birmingham's Newly refurbished James Brindley Pub - The Canal House 

Last night I got an exclusive look inside Birmingham's newly refurbished James Brindley Pub on Bridge Street - The Canal House. They're bringing an exciting taste of history and heritage to our beautiful city. With over 60 ales, a handcrafted House Gin distilled right there on site, New World Wines and a wide selection of Cocktails pioneered with precision. This place is going to please so many people and that's just with their drinks menu's. I tried so many of their cocktails last night, each one unique and delicious and served with a twist.

There's way too many to tell you about them all so I've picked my favourite two:

The Narrowboat Iced Tea which is their twist on the Long Island Iced Tea. It's always my cocktail of choice where ever I go so I drink them a lot and I can say this one, was good!

The Aged After Death which was an interesting choice for me, It's a little mysterious as it's ingredients are 1 part Barrel House and 2 parts zombie juice and then garnished with fire.

 The Canal House also serves food and really tasty food at that. There's several sections to their Menu offering treats from The Grill or The Rotisserie or smaller treats like their Bread and Olives or Nibbles. They have their Famous Hanging Kebabs and a tasty selection of Grilled Flatbread Sandwiches too. The also do an impressive Deli Board where you get to choose 4 treats out of a huge section of 21 which is pretty impressive and really hard to do as everything sounds so great on there. My guest Kirsty went for the Deli Board and loved it.

I went for the Chicken with Garlic Hanging Kebab which was very tasty and well presented.

My highlights and must haves every time I go there from now on, are their Pork Cracking Nibbles which come beautifully presented and served with chopped chili and spring onion and served with homemade apple and fig ketchup - these were amazing! They're so light and fluffy and warm. I could have quite happily have just sat there munching on them.

Another 'Must Try' is their Baked Camembert Starter which is absolutely Delicious! 
Served with honey, fresh rosemary, skewered granary croutons which were toasted but soft and Braeburn apple wedges which sounded weird but actually tasted really great. This for me was yummy, Kirsty ordered it for herself but ended up having to share it with me, it was that good. You know something's good when you're upset it's all gone and you've scraped every last bit from the bottom of the dish, that's what happened here with this dish last night.

I had the Duck Rillette Starter served with fig chutney and baked granary toast which was lovely and very scrummy but the Camembert stole the show I'm afraid. I think I'm in Love.

The Canal House sure a beautiful addition to the Bridley Place's water edge. Step into Brindley's Residence and begin a journey of old meets new and relive stories of days gone by as The Canal House redefines the legacy of an 18th Century Icon in 21st Century fashion. I can see The Canal House being very popular in it's stunning setting with gorgeous large outdoor garden and balconies giving it's customers those perfect wow factor views.

I am so glad that I got to go see The Canal House in all it's glory for myself last night. It's a beautiful building in an even more beautiful surrounding. It serves beautifully crafted drinks and beautifully displayed food. I think what I'm trying to say, if you haven't guessed already is that The Canal House is beautiful and hopefully be filled and thrive with beautiful people.

The Canal House opens to the public on August 14th 2017. Please do go check it out.

Disclosure: I attended The Canal House Press Launch as a guest. This review is written under no obligation and is filled with opinions that are 100% honest and entirely mine.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

BABY Born Interactive Sister Doll #Review

BABY Born Interactive Sister Doll 

Today is National Sister Day so we're sharing our latest review of the BABY Born Interactive Sister Doll. Lily love all of the BABY Born dolls and has a few of the other dolls already. The BABY Born Interactive Sister doll is little bit special though as Lily herself is a sister of 2, she's the middle child, the big sister to a little brother and the little sister to an older sister. Being the middle child isn't always easy but Lily copes it with it really well.

BABY Born Interactive Sister is not your usual 'baby' doll. She's like BABY Born's Big Sister. She's very pretty and comes dressed in a sweet LOVE T shirt, jeans and trainers. With six life like functions and no need for batteries, she's so much fun to play and interact with. 

She has lovely long hair that you can brush and style. The little blonde-haired girl already brings one brush, three hair clips and two scrunchies along with her. She is able to stand on her own or can sit down by herself too because her joints are super flexible. She comes with her own bottle which lets her drink real water and then when you squeeze her right arm,   she can cry real tears. Being a hard bodied doll is great and means she can go swimming.

Lily loves her already. Even though she's a big sister doll, Lily's been enjoying being her big sister too. They've been playing hairdressers exploring in the garden today. Lily loves feeding her the bottle and then making her cry to see the tears but not in a sad way. She just likes making her cry so that she can comfort her with lots of hugs and kisses like a real Mum would. The BABY Born Interactive Sister doll comes with 2 super cute silver friendship bracelets, 1 for you and 1 for her. They're a lovely little added touch that young girls love.

She's been a huge hit since she arrived here in our house, not only does Lily love her but Ryan, Lily's younger brother has been joining in too. Being a big sister means looking after your little brother, even if that means letting him play with your new favourite doll sometimes.

The BABY Born Interactive Sister Doll is recommended for children aged 3 and over. Lily is 10 and loves her but you're never too old you play with dolls. I remember playing with my dolls at home right up until the age of 12 or 13. I think I still have some of them hidden away in the loft some where. Playing with dolls is all part of growing up and a fun one at that.

Lily loves her new doll and says she's one of her favourite dolls yet. You can check out all the BABY Born dolls at Zapf Creation where there's so many beautiful dolls to choose from.

Happy National Sister Day Everyone x

Disclosure: We received BABY Born Interactive Sister Doll in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Competition: Win a Personalised P.E Bag from Bags Of Love.

Win a Personalised P.E Bag from Bags Of Love.

Bags of Love is a personalised gift and clothing company that specialise in printing on demand. They design anything from bedding and cushions to handbags and deckchairs. 

Everything is lovingly make everything to order. 

Personalised bags can perfect for children st school, being personalised can take away the drama of a missing bag and can make life so much easier when they stand out from the rest. Ryan loves his bags and has lots of different ones, one for ever occasion I guess.

Bags Of Love make a really handy personalised school P.E Bag which would be perfect for their P.E Kit or even swimming kit. It's strong, durable and 100% waterproof. The custom PE bag is an ideal addition to a child's school sports kit. Create your very own school PE bags personalised with a photo and name for easy identification, or print photo collages for a fun, unique gift that nobody in their class or club will have. Full print on the front and back.

They usually cost £25 but I have one to give away today. The lovely people at Bags Of Love are giving the readers of Mummy Of 3 Diaries the chance to win a personalise P.E Bag for themselves. It's all really easy to enter, simply use the Rafflecopter Form (it might take a few seconds to load) Please feel free to do as many or as little of the entries as you like. 

Terms and Conditions: This Giveaway is open to the UK Only. 1 Winner will be drawn at random from all the correctly made entries in the Rafflecopter App on August 31st.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Back To School with the Scentco Scented Stationery Range #Review

Back To School with the 
Scentco Scented Stationery Range.

Introducing Scentco Scented Stationery from DKL - The hottest new stationery around.

Just imagine delicious scents paired with bright and exciting designs. Smelly pens, pencils, markers, pencils cases and more. Not only do they smell delicious but they look great too. 

They're set to be an instant hit with kids this year making them the perfect back to school treats. As well as their addictive smells and fun packaging, Scentco products are all eco-friendly with bio-degradable plastic and recycled newspapers used to create each product. 

We were sent an exciting bundle of Scentco scented stationery to try out and first off I do have to say, it's got to have been one of the best smelling parcels I have ever received. 

Lily will be going into Year 6, her final year of Infant School in September and Ryan will be heading into Year 3. They're both huge stationery addicts just like their Mum which is where Scentco will really come in handy. When they smell do good, they'll never forget to take them with them again. Scentco is stationery that children will actually want to use. They are so excited about these and cannot wait to go back to school to show all their friends. 

Let me show you what's available in the range:

The Lollipop Scented Sketch n' Sniff Pad and Smencil set is very cute. It's an A5  notepad that comes with a scented pencil too. It's a lovely little set. It's pretty and smells lovely too. 

Smencil Buddies are their wonderful pencil cases which are perfect for carrying your whole Scentco collection. You can choose from 4 designs: Watermelon, Rainbow Sherbert, Jelly Doughnut and Cupcake. We have the Watermelon one which smells delicious and feels fab.

The Graphite Smencils are their scented pencils which come in a pack of 5 different scents.

There's a 4 pack of Gel pens called Glitter Smens, a pack of 5 Gel crayons called Sketch & Sniff Scented Gel crayons and a rather cute pack of Sniff It's Fruit Punch, paper clips.

Last but not least is the Coloured Scented Pencils which come in a pack of 10 scents. 

Please be aware that even though they all smell 'good enough to eat' they are not edible and should not be eaten or put in your mouth. They are for smelling pleasures only.

Each Scentco product has a two year scent gaurentee and each has it's own gourmet scent.

Lily and Ryan love the new Scentco Stationery range and give all the products a huge thumbs up. They love the bright colours, silly designs and names and delicious smells.

Disclosure: We received our Scentco stationery in return for an honest review.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Hallmark are Celebrating Super Hero Girls with their Brand New collection of Itty Bittys #Review

Hallmark are Celebrating Super Hero Girls with their Brand New collection of Itty Bittys.

Having two daughter's, we're all for Girl Power in our house so when Hallmark asked me if we'd like to review their brand new Super Hero Girls collection, let's just say we all jumped at the chance. Not only are they all super cute and cuddly but they represent so much more than that. These Super Heroes Girls are inspiring and show all the young girls that they too are super in their own right! The new collection is comprised of 4 new Itty Bittys: Super Girl, Wonder Woman, Bat Girl and Harley Quinn, a truly epic squad if ever there was one! 

Each one is super bright and colourful and looks really lovely. They're super soft to touch and great to play with or collect if you wish. Let me tell you a little bit about Itty Bittys:

A man named Adan Chung once sketched a quick interpretation of what popular characters could look like if they were just a bit “itty bittier" and soon, Adan’s simple-but-fresh portrayal of popular licensed characters inspired an entire collection that still to this day continues to grow. With their small stature and super-cute style, they make the perfect gift or stocking filler or treat for yourself. Itty Bittys may be small but there’s certainly a whole lot to love!

Let's meet them all, one by one.

Bat Girl

Super Girl

Wonder Woman

Harley Quinn

I love them all as they're all great but I must admit, I do have a favourite out of the four. After watching Suicide Squad a few months back, I've gotten a real soft spot for Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn is now mine to keep, she's going to sit up on my Mummy shelf out of harms way. The other three now belong to my 10 year old daughter Lily who will be putting hers through a more vigorous lifestyle of play and fun. I'm sure they're going to have lots of fun together. I may let Harley Quinn join in the fun at some point but for now I think I love her.

Which Super Hero Girl is your favourite?

Disclosure: We received our Super Hero Girls Itty Bittys from Hallmark for the purpose of this review. All the photographs and opinions used are 100% honest and entirely my own.