Festive Food Saviours

Birds eye recently sent me some vouchers to test out their festive food saviours.  At this time of year there is a lot of rushing around, and for me there have been times where we have had to grab a quick meal and dash out, or we have returned later than usual and needed something quickly before bed.  At other times, people might drop by and and it’s always handy to have something in the freezer so that you can rustle up a quick meal or serve a bit of finger food.

I bought:

Aviary Photo_130634593781202877 Aviary Photo_130634594255754985And some Steamfresh veg, that I forgot to photograph.  Oops! How could I resist the mashtags!! Our first meals looked like this:

Aviary Photo_130634590159232994Aviary Photo_130634593106187237

LittleLion wanted the smileys, so I got the hashtags.

I do not normally buy ready meals of convenience food, the nearest I get to a ready meal is fishfingers, and sometimes some breaded fish.  For me it is dead convenient to hydrate some noodles and stick them in the frying pan with a load of veg and a tin of tuna, or even stick a couple of jackets in the microwave.  Rice only takes about fifteen minutes and what could be easier than that?

Actually, Birds Eye Steamfresh rice can be easier than that!  I was worried that ready-meal rice would be awful but it was actually delicious, and contains two veg.  The fish that I bought similarly surprised me – I was expecting salty and soggy and what I got was beautiful tender fish with a really tasty and perfectly crispy batter.

The haul cost £6.25, and it’s given us three full meals and some veg left over.  Not bad at all.  I am really pleasantly surprised at the quality and ease of preparation.

Here’s what Birds Eye have to say:

birds eye

Light Bulbles Crafting Competition

I’ve had another jolly old time with some crafting this week, so that I can enter the Light Bulbles competition from Light Bulbs Direct.  The competition criteria is to recycle an old light bulb (or bulbs, but not fluorescent ones because they can be dangerous) into a Christmas decoration.

After a lot of careful though and reluctance to let LittleLion loose on glass light bulbs, I chose to go it alone.  Since before my visit to India I have been fascinated by the intricate designs of Mehndi.  I used to decorate my own hands but a few years ago I developed a sensitivity to henna that caused horrid itches under the design so I had to knock that on the head.

I still love the delicate designs though and I found that using glass painting outliner that I could still easily create pretty designs on any hard object. It’s very soothing, squiggling away, and because it is such fine detailed work, and I have slightly shaky hands, I have to control my breathing so that I am nice and relaxed so for me it is a meditation as well. You will see in the menu item “MummyLion” (above) that there is a page called “Art Shop” and I’ve also produced canvas drawings using the mehndi design as inspiration.

Another one of my loves is sparkly things and I’ve got quite a collection of rhinestones that I’ve used for one thing and another and so I combined the beautiful Indian-stye mehndi with some rainbow crystals and came up with the design below.

The light bulb is an UV one, I bought it years ago for a disco party for my son but it was a bit rubbish for the purpose so it has sat around waiting to be useful since that day.

The ribbon I had in my “doodle drawers”, and with a bit of glue, my creation was complete.

What do you think?

 

lightbulb Collage

Mattress Online Magical Christmas Competition

I was given the opportunity to enter a wonderfully seasonal competition by Mattress Online.  I looked inside my brain, inside my doodle drawers, where I collect bits and bobs for opportunities such as these, and checked on Pinterest for ideas (not many, on the sleigh bed front, I have to say.

Having had one or two deliveries recently, I had some cardboard around the house, and Granny and Grandad just had a new freezer so I set to work alongside LittleLion to create our own Spectacular Sleigh Bed.   It took us three days, what with the painting (he wouldn’t let me help), and the drying (there was an awful LOT of paint used!).  I even enlisted the help of a friend to cut out stars with me. There were also many tubes of glitter used but that didn’t really show up on the photos.

I duck taped and sellotaped it to the bed and even bent back a section of the sleigh for the door but sadly, the next day it all fell off. Never mind, we still have the glittery orange stars hanging from the ceiling and Rudolph with his tinsel nose floating at the end of the bed.

Here’s what the main man said “Rudolph can help me deliver happiness and joy all around the world”, which, sums up his wonderfully happy and generous nature and caring for his fellow humans.

Here’s the finished work of art that we had so much fun creating. I think LittleLion makes a super Father Christmas, don’t you​?:

 

LittleLion on sleigh

Cardboard Rudolph

Stars from the ceiling

Win £25 Cash!

CELEBRATE WITH ME!!!

For the past few years, I’ve been slowly building a business that will enable me to work from home.  As a single parent, I need to be able to pick my son up and drop him to school every day, and as a dog owner, I love a good walk or a run in the middle of the day.  I would hate to have to give my running up too, it makes me feel strong and free, and there are so many health benefits, physical and mental that I am enjoying because of it.

So work, care of me and care of our dog, plus household chores (so that I can give my son the attention he needs in the few hours after school and before bed) has to all fit into the six hours between drop off and pick up of school.  Due to my location, any travel time to a workplace would also have to be factored into my day, so I worked out that the most efficient way of doing this would be to work from home.

Back in 1996 or so I wrote my dissertation on Teleworking, and back then it seemed like a growth industry, but in reality there are not so many “teleworking” jobs and lots of “work at home” schemes are a bit of a scam, requiring lots of work for very little pay, and no employee protection or rights such as the minimum wage.

Not to be disheartened, I kept on writing my blog, hoping that eventually it would pay me.  You might have noticed more sponsored posts recently and that has helped me reach my goal of working from home.  I set a goal of earning enough to be free of DWP “benefits” by Christmas 2014 and have been scribbling away furiously, writing for myself and others and it has finally paid off.  I listened to myself and not anyone else.  I love to write and mess about on computers and now I can, all day.

Last week I called the tax office and finally declared myself working and self employed.

I’m so happy to reach my goal, and of course everybody that has read this blog and followed me on Twitter and Facebook has helped me achieve this.

I am by no means a millionaire yet, or even a thousand-aire (I’m not sure I’d want to be a millionaire anyway to be honest) but I would like to say thank you to each and every one of you for helping me I’m going to give you a cool prize on Christmas Day, all ready for the sales on the 26th.

May your purses never be empty

Enter via rafflecopter below, all entries will be checked, please don’t cheat, and yes, that’s about it.  Open worldwide. Payment via PayPal.  UK entries can have bank transfer rather than PayPal if you like, it’s up to the winner.  Payment will be in GBP.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Scruffs Hardwear Peaked Beanie

If you’re looking for a new hat to keep your ears warm in this harsh wet windy weather, or a hard wearing stocking filler for someone who works or plays outdoors, look no further.  Priced at £11.95 (at time of writing), it’s a well made hat that’ll wash well and keep you warm for years.

Scruffs have also started selling women’s workwear too, the jacket and the trousers look amazing.  They’d go beautifully with my cosy head gear.

Check out my vlog review:

Thank-you Scruffs for my warm gift.

Write Christmas – The Book

write christmas imageA few weeks ago I penned a story that LittleLion dictated to me during the course of one train-playing activity. His stories always fascinate me, they are a window into his imagination and mind, they are always funny and generally involve trains helping each other out.

I entered his story into a competition, and he was selected as one of the best in his age group and has been published.  A published author at only four and  a half!

Cartridge save, who ran the competition have created a print, and an online version of the book, containing a rich and varied collection of seasonal stories, all written by children.  I hope you will take a look and let me know what you think, I was very impressed by the imagination and literacy of all the work the young people produced.

Click here to have a read. You can download the pdf, or look at the online flip book.  Enjoy!

Great Winter Holiday Destinations in China

If you are looking for a fantastic winter holiday that is also different to anything that you are used to, a visit to China during winter may just be what you desire in a holiday. You will find that when you travel this vast country during the winter months that you will be able to see some spectacular scenery, as well as enjoy less fellow travellers. As the winter is also the off peak time to travel, prices are also cheaper when you visit at this time of year. The cooler weather also means less rain, so although the temperature may be colder, the weather is usually a bit more predictable.

Hiking in the Yellow Mountainshiking in the yellow mountains

Image by: whitecat sg

The Yellow Mountain area is in the East of China in Anhui Province. If you want to see some beautiful scenery on your travels and also enjoy hiking, then the yellow mountain area is an excellent destination to visit. There is countless snow capped peaks on display, and some of the views will just take your breath away. If hiking up and down mountains sound a bit too energetic for you, then you can also use the cable car to ascend or descend the mountains. One of the most popular times for visitors is during sunrise or sunset, when the mountains become even more majestic. After a hard day hiking you can relax and enjoy the wonders of the hot springs, which are said to have many healing properties, and this is an excellent way to unwind.

Chilling in Beijing

chilling in beijing

Image by: Wojtek Gurak

Beijing is one of the most popular destinations for foreign tourists in China, and the winter weather is cool and usually dry. The winter months are from November until March and the temperature drops enough for water to freeze. Because of this, ice skating is very popular in this magnificent city, and they have even designed bikes that can be driven on ice safely. During the summer months if you take a trip to the Great Wall, which is not far from Beijing, you will be faced with large crowds of tourists. If you decide to visit the wall during the winter months, there are fewer tourists that visit. You will be able to enjoy the wonderful scenery in virtual peace.

Visiting the North-eastern Ice City

In the North East of China is the province of Heilongjiang, which borders with Russia. The capital city of the province is Harbin and is sometimes called the Ice City. Every winter Harbin plays host to snow and ice festivals, and this is an excellent time of year to visit. Every year teams enter the festival and build beautiful sculptures out of ice and snow, and the level of intricacy is amazing. There is also a museum that is dedicated to snow and ice and is also indoors, so it can be a good refuge if the weather is bad outside.

Skiing in China

skiing in china

Image by: Philip McMaster

There are many China tour packages on offer where you can go skiing if you are into the more traditional winter sports. The majority of the ski resorts are located in the North East of China and also around Beijing. Some of the more popular resorts for skiing are Nanshan Ski Resort and Huaibei Ski Resort. Although foreign travellers are only just discovering the Chinese skiing resorts, they are becoming increasingly popular and can cater for a wide variety of abilities. There are all of the usual activities that you find in ski resorts in the West, so there is plenty of Apres Ski activities for you to enjoy after a great days skiing. You will not be disappointed in choosing China as a destination for your next winter holiday!

So for your next fantastic winter holiday, come and look for tour packages in China that is new and unique this season. Visit China instead to see this vast country with some spectacular scenery and countryside.

@WishesandAngels

wishesand angeelsI’ve been meaning for years to write a little bit about this wonderful website and finally today is the day.

Times are hard for all of us, globally, and it’s not our fault.  The Western government have abandoned their social responsibilities and decided instead to favour the banking system and line their own pockets and pension pots.  People are starving in one of the richest countries of the world and the colossal growth of food banks in the UK is something that the Queen and the Government should be deeply ashamed of.

Many of us try and ignore it, but by doing nothing, the problem continues and the people in charge go unchallenged.

There are some big charities that use the media and schools to raise money but do you know about the six-figure salaries the directors pay themselves? I prefer to donate to smaller charities,and preferably, real actual people.

I am a #RAKtivist and participate in #opHumanAngels when I can and I would like to set up a local @rucksackproject.

If you have a few quid  that you’d like to give to a real person in need, and don’t actually know one, Wishes and Angels helps people worldwide who have experienced a crisis and need help.  The money goes directly to granting the wish for the person and wishes can be anything from hospital fees in the Phillipines to a gift card for food, even something as simple as sending a card to somebody.

You can search for a wish in a country or for a cause that’s close to your heart.  The money is NOT spent of marketing or director’s salaries and the site is run out of care for humanity.  Hints for Angels are here and one pound/dollar/euro can really make a difference to somebody.

So if you’re wondering how to spread some love this Christmas time, visit Wishes and Angels, and help make somebody smile.

If you’re in a difficult situation yourself, please, post a wish and good luck x

 

Take Advantage of Commercial Golf Holidays at Murray Downs Golf Club

golf

Image by: Al_HikesAZ

Everywhere we look in the world today, the commercialized nature of modern times has penetrated almost everything, especially in terms of sport. Many sports, such as soccer, were once working-class games of the people where the professional participants got well paid, but things have grown in epic proportions over the past 20 years, especially in the game of golf.

Whether we are talking about prize money, accessories, fashion, equipment, television, sponsors and even golf tours visiting golf playing regions across the world, courses such as Murray Downs Golf Club in Australia have, like the rest of us, highly benefitted from the sport growing so rapidly.

Fastest Growing Sport in the World

We only have to look at the rising popularity of golf in Asia over the past couple of decades for proof that golf is the world’s fastest growing participation sport. More people, countries and classes are playing the game today, which has had a massive knock-on effect on the game itself in commercial terms. Some might say that the commercial aspects of the sport such as more televised tournaments could have triggered the rise in popularity.

Whether it’s Nike, Rolex or a multitude of the world’s biggest brand names, they all want a piece of the action and have helped grow the sport.

Memberships to Golf Clubs are Massively up

When I was a kid watching the game, it was popular in a small group of people, but nowadays everyone knows when the Ryder Cup, The Open or The Masters is taking place. The popularity of the game is really being seen at the club level such as at Murray Downs Golf Club in Australia, with not only more memberships than ever before, but also at a reasonable price that a working man, or woman, can afford.

Golf Fashion and Accessories

At one time in the not-too-distant past, golf fashion was seen as geeky and aloof, with plaid trousers, knee-socks and dubious sweaters and jumpers. Today, golf fashion is a multi-million dollar empire, courtesy of the biggest sporting brands in the world such as Nike and Adidas having a massive market share. It’s great news for the modern golfer who not only looks and feels great, but doesn’t have to hide their Pringle jumpers in the trunk of the car at the thought of being ridiculed as a fashion serial killer!

Whether its clothing, accessories or equipment, there is always something new and interesting in the market thanks to the commercial age in which we live.

Golf Tour Holidays

Courses such as Murray Downs Golf Club in Australia have become holiday destinations for the world’s golfing addicts, as golf tour holidays have become highly desirable and big business. For the likes of Murray Downs Golf Club and other high-quality golf courses and regions around the world, the internet has brought in a new age to showcase their courses to the ever-growing clientele across the planet.

A golf tour that includes green fees, accommodation and taxi transfers to and from the courses have ensured you receive a one-stop-shop environment for golf holidays, which doesn’t seem to be slowly down any time yet.

The commercialized nature of the modern world might be seen as negative in some ways, but where golf courses such as Murray Downs Golf Club, and golfers across the globe are concerned, it’s been nothing short of a spherical-shaped revolution. There are more options than ever before in terms of courses to play, fashion and equipment, which has also driven he prices down and made the game more accessible to all.

Tips for families with toddlers and preschoolers who wet the bed

bed

Image by: Naoya Fujii

Typically, children are toilet trained by around age three and stop wetting the bed by five years old, though older school age children do struggle with bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis as well. If you’re in the process of trying to toilet train your toddler and prevent or stop bedwetting, try some of these tips.

Tips for dealing with bedwetting in toddlers

While the percentages lesson as children grow older, one in eight first and second graders still deals with bedwetting so if you can deal with it when they’re even younger, it’s more beneficial. Sometimes, even with how widespread the issue is, it’s become taboo, and parents are embarrassed to discuss it amongst themselves or with their pediatrician. We hope this tips will be useful.

  • Don’t blame or punish your child. Instead, reassure them that bedwetting and accidents are normal among their peers. Punishing or shaming your child just delays the problem. If you think they’ll understand, try explaining that their brain has difficulty controlling their bladder when asleep.
  • Talk to your child’s doctor to eliminate any medical reasons such as recurring urinary tract infections or diabetes. Emotional stressors in your child’s life such as starting a new school or becoming an older sibling and no longer being the baby may also trigger bedwetting incidents.
  • Provide more fluids earlier in the day and limit it to small sips after 4 pm. Forgo a drink of water before bedtime.
  • Make a trip to the bathroom with your child before their bedtime, and try waking them up or carrying them back to the bathroom to go again before you go to bed a few hours later. If they go to sleep on an empty bladder, there’s a better chance for success.
  • Cover the mattress with waterproof sheet, as well as putting nighttime pull-ups on your child. In the morning, make sure to run your child a shower so they smell fresh.

Another Option

Recently, another option has become readily available to families–a bedwetting alarm. These have been effective mainly because the sensor attaches right to your child’s underwear to detect wetness immediately, while the alarm part attaches comfortably to their pajama top. The sensor as soon as it detects wetness will sound the alarm. Some use sounds and others use melodies, whatever works best for your child. It’s important that you place the volume at the highest setting so you know it will awaken your child.

If you choose to use a bedwetting alarm, be prepared that can take around two months to break a habit and that you will be largely involved in the process. As your child may not be used to the alarm at first and sleep right through it, you’ll need to have the baby monitor on so you can listen for it yourself. You may be sleepwalking your child to the bathroom for the first week or so but within a few weeks, they’ll be able to wake up on their own before wetting the bed.