My Family

My Family

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Behind the scenes at McDonalds, Seeing What's New and Making my own Big Mac! #ad

Behind the scenes at McDonalds, Seeing What's New and Making my own Big Mac!

Ever since I was a little girl I've always loved a McDonalds treat every now and again. My love of McDonalds started with the simple childhood love of their chicken nugget happy meals and grew into an adult love of Big Macs and McChicken Sandwiches. Yes I know it's not the healthiest of food but it sure does taste good and as I say, 'everything in moderation'.

Today I was invited to go behind the scenes at a local McDonalds restaurant too see how it all works. How it's all prepared and how it's all served. I also got too see some of the new changes that they've made and have to say, I was pretty impressed but most of them.

The new digital kiosks are pretty cool. You can browse, choose and order your food from these. There's lots of choice and several swaps available, you can swap your fries for a salad shaker or maybe you'd prefer to swap your fizzy drink for a juice or a coffee. I've seen these digital kiosks before but never used them as I didn't know you could place 'special' orders on them. Today I learnt that you can 'Customise' your order just how you like it. For me I'm forever ordering my Big Mac without the lettuce or my Hamburger without pickle. On these new digital kiosks you can do just that. There's the option to remove the ingredients you don't want with this new 'Customise' option - It's pretty awesome and definatley something I will be using myself in the near future. The kiosks take card only but another cool feature they have is a scan option which allows you to scan those bus ticket offers too.

There's even a Table Service option now, how cool is that? For those with their hands full, maybe sore feet after a long days shopping or just a brood of children to watch over. This could prove a really useful service. You can choose one of three Zones to sit in so the staff know where to bring your food and simply sit down and wait. Enjoying a McDonalds has never been more enjoyable. You can now order, pay by card and take a seat until your food is brought to you. I think it's a great idea and will hopefully help a lot of people out.

Inside the kitchen I saw how everything was cooked and put together. The kitchen itself isn't very big but it is very clean. Everything is in order and neatly in it's place. T revolutionised kitchen design is very clever making service fast with freshly prepared food. The staff work in a kind of Tag Team style to create our favourite McDonalds meals. One person does the bread, buns or wraps. The next adds the sauces and salads and one adds the meat or fish. It was great to see everyone in action and working together as part of their fantastic team. I'd never realised how quick they have to work. Organisation is key and the staff work well.

The highlight of my afternoon I have to say was learning how to make a Big Mac and getting to make my own. I was given an apron, hat and hair net just like the real staff have, it was great. I never realised how excited I'd be to be in the McDonalds kitchen. My Big Mac may not have been perfect but I got a pass which means it was good enough to be served to the public (it wasn't served though as I ate it). I did have a little help but it was still mine.

My family and I have been enjoying McDonalds for years and won't be stopping any time soon. With their restaurants evolving and changing with the times, things are only going to get better. Ordering has become easier, Service has become quicker and the taste has remained just as good as it's always been. I've really enjoyed my visit today and feel like I've really learned a lot. Seeing how the food was prepared for myself has made me feel much more positive about our future visits but next time I'll leave the Big Mac making to them.

Disclosure: I was invited to join a team of bloggers for an afternoon of behind the scene fun at a Birmingham McDonalds. This post is a sponsored post written in association with them.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Phillips New Anti-Allergen range - Making Vacuuming Easy #Review

Phillips New Anti-Allergen range.
Making Vacuuming Easy.

Phillips Anti-Allergen range is a brand new and very exciting product area for Philips and designed to make your home healthy and free from allergens, which ultimately lead to allergies, which a whopping 1 in 3 Brits suffer from. All of their new products are designed to alleviate and extract up to 99% of allergens in the home; including dust, pet hair and dust mites which lead to allergies. From a pet loving home, we're very excited about these.

There are seven new products in their range and over the past few months we have been busy testing out two of them. We've been playing with the Anti-Allergy Bagless Ultimate Vacuum Cleaner and the Anti-Allergy 2in1 Lithium Vacuum/Mop Wet & Dry- Cordless.

I've loved using both of them but I do have a clear favourite out of the two. The Anti-Allergy 2in1 Lithium Vacuum/Mop Wet & Dry- Cordless has been outstanding - I love it!

Save yourself time by combining the vacuuming and mopping. Both are tasks that I often put off so being able to do them both in one go, is pretty awesome.
This 2-in-1 wet and dry vacuum cleaner and mop quickly cleans up daily messes in one go. It's so lightweight, I carried it around the house and up and down the stairs with ease. Its one of the lightest vacuums I've ever tried.

Offering powerful wet cleaning, without compromising on cordless suction, this product can vacuum up dirt whilst cleaning stains and spillages from hard floors in your home – it's ideal for pet owners.

I have been delighted with my new toy. I've hardly put it down since it arrived. My old (heavy) vacuum has been passed on to another family member and there's been no looking back.

One of my favourite things about it, is how smoothly it moves. The joint allows it to move freely in all directions so you're not stuck just going back and forwards. I managed to fly around the kids bedrooms avoiding all the toys and misplaced objects n seconds. There;s no need to waste time picking everything up any more when you can just breeze round them (unless you actually want to clean under them that is). Vacumming was never one of my favourite chores to do at home as my vacuum was so heavy and bulky. I hardly ever did the upstairs as I just couldn't carry it up but not any more. This new cordless vacuum is so light that even I could pick it up and carry it easily upstairs. Upstairs is now clean - yay!

Next up we had the  Anti-Allergy Bagless Ultimate Vacuum Cleaner. This one is has a cord but is much more powerful than the other one. It's a little heavier but not much noisier. 

has an Energy rating of Class A and is made to help you clean your home and protect your family from allergens. This vacuum cleaner helps to reduce allergy triggers in the home through its filtration process and powerful performance levels on carpets and hard floors.

Some of it's highlights include: 

  • Ultra Clean Air with the HEPA 13 Filter. Filters the exhaust air of up to 99 per cent of allergy triggers* from cat and dog hairs to dust and pollen, helping you to manage a clean and allergen reduced home.
  • A-Class Performance on Hard Floors. Up to 100 per cent of dust is picked up. The hard floor nozzle has soft brush hairs to protect the floor against scratches, and delivers excellent dust removal in crevices and along walls.
  • Clean Floors Throughout the Home. Remove allergens settled deep into carpets and hard to reach places with the Tri-active 3-in-1 nozzle. In one go it gently opens the carpet to remove the dust deep down, sucks up larger particles and sweeps up the dust and dirt alongside furniture and walls using its two side brushes.
  • Powerful Suction Performance. To ensure an exceptional cleaning performance, our vacuum cleaners are fitted with PowerCyclone 7 technology. PowerCyclone 7 works in three steps to help you clean, contain and filter dirt and allergens from the home.No Need for a Dustbag. This no mess bagless vacuum cleaner features Nano clean technology which reduces unpleasant dust clouds when emptying your 2.2 L dust bucket; more dust settles at the bottom of the dust bucket and slides out for easy, mess-free disposal.
  • Lightweight and Easy Handling. The Philips Ultimate is lightweight (6.2 kg) and has an operating radius of 11m; ideal for large spaces and taking up/down stairs.

Again this vacuum was lightweight, not quite light enough for me to carry it up the stairs easily by myself but still much lighter than my previous one. The design is very eye catching and very easy to use. I loved the ease of use, you could push it around without any real effort. It makes vacuuming a little more enjoyable rather than being boring, hard work.

I've enjoyed testing out both of the new vacuums, each one is quite different and has it's own good and bad points. My favourite has to be the Anti-Allergy 2in1 Lithium Vacuum/Mop Wet & Dry- Cordless. It's taken my cleaning experience to a whole new level. Cleaning has never been so easy or as much fun. It's made me want to vacuum the house more often.

I'm happy to continue using my new Phillips Anti-Allergy 2in1 Lithium Vacuum/Mop Wet & Dry- Cordless for years to come I hope. Cat hairs no longer linger on my chairs. Mud no longer clings to my carpets. I'm much happier, knowing my home is healthier now.

You can check out all the Phillips Vacuum Cleaners online on their website.

Disclosure: I received my vacuum samples in return for an honest review. All the opinions expressed within it are entirely my own and 100% honest.

It's National Board Games Week - Will you be Joining In?

It's National Board Games Week - Will you be Joining In?

Families across the UK are set to battle it out to be crowned games champion as part of National Board Games Week. The UK’s leading pork pie manufacturers, Pork Farms is celebrating the nation’s favourite pastime during the first National Board Games Week, starting on April 25, and your family could win a board games bundle plus a year’s supply of Pork Farms’ pork pies by getting involved. We're happy to say, we'll be joining in.

All you and your family have to do is register at and play either one or all of the family favourite board games listed on the site. There's loads to choose from, including: Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Connect 4, Jenga, Guess Who and more.

We're going to be having our very own games night this week so we're all very much so looking forward to that. I shall hope to see lots of you joining in with the games fun too.

Disclosure: We will be receiving a game to join in with this games night promotion.

Monday, 25 April 2016

How cute is my little Storm Trooper in his brand new jacket #Review

How cute is my little Storm Trooper
 in his brand new jacket.

When I first saw the title Noisy Sauce a few weeks ago, I'd imagined a shop that sold sauces, or food or something along those lines but boy was I wrong. Noisy Sauce are actually an online shop dedicated to children's fashion. Whether you're searching for t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts or other officially licensed merchandise featuring their favourite movie, cartoon character, comic book superhero, tv show or band - Noisy Sauce has the all.

When asked if we would like to review something from their shop my little excitedly chose the Star Wars Force Awakens First Order Stormtoooper boy’s varsity jacket which I have to admit was the perfect choice for him. Ryan (aged 5) loves Star Wars but was yet to own any of their official clothing range so he was over the moon with his lovely choice.

This jacket's a classic varsity style with colour contrasting sleeves and body in grey and black, the neck, cuffs and hem come in a striped look. The jacket has grey popper detail, side pockets which are a good size, Ryan loves big pockets and was pretty impressed with the size of these. There's a cool Stormtrooper patch across the chest and the Star Wars logo can be seen in white across the bottom in an embroidered style adding to the premium look of the garment. This kids jacket offers a standard fit and finish with official branding and tags attached. Ryan was delighted, his little face lit up when he tried this on at home.

Just look at how cute he looks in his new jacket, he's so happy with it as am I. The overall quality of the jacket is really good, it's nice and thick but not too heavy, perfect for these temperamental April months. The logos are big and clear so everyone can see that it's an official Star Wars piece of clothing. The pockets are a good size which made Ryan happy and the buttons are well attached so they won't be popping off any time soon.

Ryan loves wearing his new jacket, he's worn it to school all week. I'm actually struggling to get it of him, he loves it that much. This jacket costs £19.99 which is a really good price.

There's lots of other characters other than Star Wars over on Noisy Sauce. Why not pop over and check them out for yourself. I think they should start doing adults clothing next.

Disclosure: We received our jacket sample in return for an honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% honest and entirely my own.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Calvé Peanut butter is coming to the UK #Review

Calvé Peanut butter is coming to the UK

There are only two countries that eat more peanut butter than the USA and they are Canada and the Netherlands. The favourite Dutch brand is CalvĂ© Peanut Butter, which has an incredibly strong ‘cult’ following. In the Netherlands, many people start eating CalvĂ© as children and it will be their preferred peanut butter throughout their lives, and it is considered the national brand of peanut butter. Since production of peanut butter began in 1948, CalvĂ©’s iconic advertising campaigns have ensured that the brand has continued to be a family favourite. It is now available to the UK public for the very first time and we've so excited to say, we've got some here to try. So, what did we make of it?

CalvĂ© Peanut Butter comes in three varieties; Smooth, Crunchy and Light.

They're all pretty self explanatory really, the Smooth is smooth. The Crunchy has bits of peanuts in it to give you a crunchy texture and the Light has 30% less fat in it.

 I've always been a Crunchy fan for as long as I can remember but Daddy loves the Light option as being 33% less fat than the other two yet tasting just as good is pretty impressive. We eat peanut butter all the time in our house so we were very excited to try out this new and exciting brand. Whether it's spread on toast or put in a sandwich, we get through several tubs a week here. The taste is quite different to our usual brand but that doesn't make it bad. The flavours are very rich, it's like a very 'posh' peanut butter. 

At first I wasn't sure weather I liked it or not but after a few tries, I came to quite like it. The children were not so keen, I think it was a little too full on for them but Daddy was pretty impressed with the Light variety. He uses his peanut butter on his sandwiches instead of a sauce to add flavour and protein, whilst keeping sugar levels down as he's on a high protein diet. My favourite was the Crunchy, the peanut pieces are very small, much smaller than what I'm used too but the overall taste was very nice. Would I change from my usual brand? I don't think I would but that's just my opinion and everyone's taste buds are different.

The CalvĂ© peanut butters will soon be rolled out to UK retailers but in the meantime, the full range can be found on the Pragmatic International Holdings Amazon pages.

Disclosure: We received our Peanut Butter samples in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Check out my Y-cam HomeMonitor camera #Review & #Win your own!

Check out my Y-cam Home Monitor camera 
#Review & #Win your own!

Over the past few weeks we have been testing a HomeMonitor Indoor HD Wireless Security Camera and I have to say straight off, it's given me a whole new peace of mind.

Just two weeks ago we went on holiday and were worried about leaving the house empty so we set up our HomeMonitor Security Camera to watch the house just before we went. 

It's so easy to set up. You literally open the box, plug it in and you're ready to play. It works straight out of the box, with no recording device required. You plug it into the power socket, connect to your network with a wire or wifi and activate your online account, that's it - no technical skills necessary! It's really simple to set up and only takes minutes to do. It's great.

The camera itself is really small so it fits discreetly into a corner in your home, I forget ours is there most of the time. I decided to place ours in our front room so it can watch our front door. You can set the device to pick up unusual movements at certain times of the day. Ours is set for early mornings and late at night, the times when we are not usually in the room so if anyone was to enter our home, we would be alerted and made aware very quickly.

Whilst we were away on our holiday I could check our home through the eyes of the camera from my mobile phone. On one of the days I could even see my post sticking through the door. I was able to enjoy my holiday knowing that my home was safe and that no one had entered it as no motion had been detected. The camera made my week so much more enjoyable as it took away all my worries. When I was worried I could check on my home when ever I liked, Either with the live view option or by watching the recorded footage from the week. The camera is so clear both in daytime and night, it's been a real godsend around here. I choose to use our camera to watch over my front door for me but it can be used for so many other uses. You could use it to watch your back garden for intruders. To watch a child's bedroom to see what they are doing or even to watch over your home whilst you're away like I did. However you choose to use, it will bring great peace of mind and won't let you down. For the one of price of £129.99. I think it's really worth every penny.

Competition: Win a Y-cam HomeMonitor camera 

I'm going to keep it nice and simple to enter. Simply use the Rafflecopter Form below.

I’ve teamed up with Y-camthe British home security camera specialists who recently won Best Buy with The Sunday Times, to offer you the chance to win a HomeMonitor HDS camera worth £125. All Y-cam HomeMonitor cameras already include free online cloud recording of motion detected videos for the last 7 days, video downloads and remote live view from a smartphone, tablet or PC/Mac but the new HomeMonitor HDs has been enhanced to include Location Recording and On-Demand Recoding for an even better home monitoring experience – at no additional costs! Amazing!

The Y-cam HomeMonitor is the only cloud based security camera that doesn't charge a monthly or annual fee for using the secure cloud service. So, who wants to win one?

Terms & Conditions: Open to the UK only. 1 winner will be drawn at random for all the correctly made entries on Sunday May 1st and contacted using the email used in the app.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

#Win a Cadbury Heroes Treasure box

Win a Cadbury Heroes Treasure box

" We can be heroes, just for one day. "

I've been singing this song all week (It's been stuck in my head after hearing it on my TV).

It's a lovely song with a lovely meaning and it got me thinking, who's MY Hero?

I have lots of Hero's in my life for all different reasons, big and small but my biggest one would have to be my Mum, she's awesome! Last week we all went on a family holiday and I got to see just how awesome she really is. Not that I needed that reminder to see it.

This month I'm treating one of you lucky readers to this awesome Cadbury Heroes Treasure Box just because I want to remind you all that we can be heroes, even if for just one day.

It's really easy to enter, you can do so by using the Rafflecopter Form below:

Terms & Conditions: Open to the UK only. 1 winner will be drawn at random from all the correctly made entries on Sunday 24th April and will be contacted by the email they used to enter. I reserve the right to redraw if the winner does not claim in 28 days.

Shopkins Party Supplies from the House Of Party #Review

Shopkins Party Supplies from the House Of Party 

We celebrated Lily's 9th Birthday in style this week by having a Shopkins party. We've reviewed several Shopkins toy and playsets over the past year so when we were offered a lovely Shopkins party pack to review, we couldn't possibly say no as Lily loves Shopkins. 

House Of Party provide everything your party could possibly need and more. We had a Shopkins party but you can have any themed party you like, there's so much choice.

Our party items included lots of brightly coloured Shopkins items including: 

Tablecloth, Invitations, Cups, Plates, Banners, Balloons and Party Bags.

Everything is brightly coloured and covered in cute pictures of the Shopkins characters.
Lily loved here Shopkins party table layout as there was so much pink on show and Lily loves pink. You can see the colours better in the pictures below as my picture above doesn't really do them justice. Having matching party items sure does make the party nicer. Some of the items like the tablecloth and banners can be reused if taken down carefully like we did.

Most of the items like the cups, plates and napkins can only be used once but that's OK and too be expected as they're made that way but they did the job well and made Lily happy.

If you have a Shopkins fan in your house then I'd happily recommend the party items from House Of Party as they're nice and bright, cute and beautiful and all round good quality.

Disclosure: We received our Shopkins Party Pack in return for an honest review.

We love National Stationery Week because Writing Matters! #natstatweek #writingmatters

We love National Stationery Week
because Writing Matters! 

With National Stationery Week 2016 fast approaching. We're getting ready here to celebrate all things stationery! The dates for this year are 25th April to 1st May 2016.

In our world full of computers and digital communication, it's never been so important to remind ourselves of why writing matters. Luckily for me, my children love to write. My middle daughter Lily (who's 9) loves writing poetry and short creative stories. She's always winning her school competitions and coming home with certificates for her good writing. I couldn't be more proud of her if I tried. She's definatley shares my love of writing as I write poetry too.

My eldest daughter (13) isn't much of a writer sadly. She's more of a stationery addict who likes to collect novelty pens and pencils. She enjoys colouring in and has many adult style colouring books which keep her happy and allow her to release her creative side that way.

My youngest, Ryan (who's 5) is still learning to write so we try to make it fun where we can. We often write little stories for his homework and make up silly stories ourselves too. I hope to instil a sense of love for writing in him whilst he's still young so it can last a lifetime.

Me, I LOVE tow write which is why I started a blog in the first place. I write as I speak which is a lot. If I'm not writing for my blog or for fun. I'm writing poems to cheer up friends or to enter online competitions which I'm happy to say, I've won quite a few with my words.

So here in our house, I'm happy to say that writing really does matter. Our words matter. 

A few weeks ago we were sent a lovely bundle of stationery items to help us celebrate National Stationery Week. We can't wait to join in the fun, it's going to be great fun.

If you'd like to follow all the fun, like we will be. You can follow @NatStatWeek on Twitter or search the hashtags #natstatweek #writingmatters #lovestationery #stationeryaddict .

Join in and celebrate National Stationery Week 25th April to 1st May 2016.

Disclosure: We revived some stationery samples to help us join in with National Stationery Week but we wrote this post to share our love of stationery. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A New Zealand Lamb Recipe for Easter and Beyond #Review

A New Zealand Lamb Recipe for Easter and Beyond.

A few weeks back I was set a delicious Easter challenge but as we were away over Easter, I've altered it slightly. Well, after all - Lamb doesn't have to be just for Easter, does it? Lamb can make a great family roast all year round. Want to see how I got on with the recipe?

Please keep the following piece of information in mind when reading my post (I'm NOT a great cook). I'm just your average Mum trying to keep her family fed so I hold my hands up now and admit it. I tried my best and our meal tasted great in the end, so I am happy.

For the Easter Roast Lamb recipe you will need:

  • A half shoulder of New Zealand lamb, thawed from frozen or chilled
  • 450g potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 250g chantenay carrots
  • 350g squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks
  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves separated but still in their skin
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • A few sprigs of rosemary
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • Foil

  • I purchased all of the ingredients I needed at my local Sainsbury's and set up my kitchen ready to start. This roast is really simple so even non cooks like me can do it.

    You can follow the 9 simple steps below:
    • Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6.
    • Blanch potatoes for 5 minutes.
    • Place the lamb in a large non-stick roasting tin, scatter around the carrots, squash,potatoes and red onions. Drizzle over the oil and season all well.
    • Add a small glass of wine and a splash of water.

    • Place the roasting tin in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 180°C.
    • After another 30 minutes add the garlic and rosemary sprigs to the pan and scatter the fennel seeds and lemon over the lamb.
    • Continue roasting until the vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelise and the lamb is cooked to your liking (approx 20-30 minutes more for medium).
    • Add a splash more wine or water to the pan if it is looking very dry. Once out of the oven cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes before carving.
    • Ready to serve. 

     Our after Easter Lamb Roast was delicious. You can really taste the flavours coming through the juices. We used our juices to make our gravy which tasted amazing!

    You really can't go wrong with a leg of New Zealand Lamb. It's simple and easy to cook yet tastes pretty good. It makes the perfect Sunday Roast or even Roast Sandwiches.

    My Lamb may not look like the pictures in the recipe books but that's OK. It looked pretty good to us and tasted great which was all that mattered. I was pretty pleased with how it all turned out. Everything went nicely to plan and we all enjoyed our meal together.

    For more information about New Zealand Lamb head to

    Disclosure: We we're compensated for the ingredients to make this recipe but all the pictures, comments and opinions are entirely my own and 100% honest.

    With HP Instant Ink - You'll Never run out of Ink again.

    With HP Instant Ink - You'll Never run out of Ink again.

    With HP Instant Ink - You'll Never run out of Ink again which is a good job for us as we're always forgetting to check when we're running low and often run out. Our HP Printer is a big part of our daily life. If it's not scanning work for me, it's printing homework for the teen or pictures to colour in for the youngest. It's always on the go in our house, always.

    Running out of ink is not only an inconvenience for adults but also a real tear jerker when it comes to smaller children. There's nothing worse than a upset child who wants to colour with no pictures to colour to hand. Rainy days and Play days often call for colouring in.

    Instant Ink can solve all these problems easily and efficiently. HP Instant Ink is an ink replacement service that lets you select your plan and they take care of the rest. You’ll get ink before you need it with their ink replacement service and you will save money too. All the Ink cartridges, delivery costs and recycling are included in one monthly plan price.

    Instant Ink is a great idea for busy families like us. By joining up with their delivery service we'd never have to worry about running out of ink again. Now, that sounds like a plan.

    How does HP make sure you’ll always have ink?

    Your printer uses the Internet to let HP know when to send more ink. 
    Here’s how you can get all the ink you need, delivered to your door: 

    • Purchase an eligible printer.
    • Enrol in a plan based on the number of pages you print.
    • Ink cartridges and delivery costs included in your monthly plan price.
    • Pre-paid envelope included for you to recycle your used cartridges.
    • No annual fee—Change or cancel plans online any time without penalty.
    • They’ll deliver HP Instant Ink cartridges to you.
    • Their cartridges have more ink than XL cartridges, so you'll replace them less often.
    • Billing and service start after you insert your first HP Instant Ink cartridge.
    • Your printer will tell HP when to send ink.
    • Your service is not based on how many cartridges you use, so print as many high quality photos as you like.
    • You’ll get ink before you need it.
    This quick video shows you just how it works below:

    If your home printer is always on the go like ours is, this could be a really useful service for you. It's a very clever yet easy way to stay one step ahead when it comes to your topping up your ink cartridges. We think it's a great idea that not only saves time but money too.