Review: Bahlsen PiCK UP! Minis

Recently, I was contacted to see if I would be interested in reviewing Bahlsens’ new product ‘PiCK UP! Minis’. Being a lover of food, little snacks in general and being almost 18 weeks pregnant with baby #2 – I obviously excitedly agreed.

Whilst waiting for products to arrive I did a little light researching into Bahlsen as a company. Bahlsen are a biscuit company and the largest family-run biscuit company in the world, which is pretty impressive on it’s own. They have been producing for over 125 years (again wow!) and are the market leader for cakes and biscuits in Germany. Balshen’s products are exported to over 80 countries and the annual turnover of the company is in excess of £400 million, who know biscuits could make so much money. The UTZ logo on Bahlsen’s packaging represents the company’s commitment to responsibly manage it’s natural resources, commitment to sustainable cocoa farming and shows that Bahlsen takes the responsibility towards nature and society extremely seriously.

Packets of Bahlsen PiCK UP! Minis with title over

Anyway, with the serious background research over with, on to the fun part…biscuits. We received two new flavours of PiCK UP! Mini’s, which launched in August – Choco and Milk being one, and classic Milk Chocolate. Straight away the bright and colourful packaging appealed to my daughter, she was desperate to see what was lurking inside. A single pack contains ten individually wrapped biscuits, which is a perfect amount if you ask me (well with only having the one child I thought so).

Upon arrival of the biscuits, we all wanted to have a quick taste. First – the milk chocolate option. Now my other half has a sweet tooth and with looking at the chocolate filling inside the two crisp butter biscuit slabs, he 100% thought it wouldn’t hit his sweet spot…but he was wrong. The milk chocolate option, has just enough sweetness and chocolatey flavour to satisfy that sweet tooth, and the crunch of the biscuit stops it from being too sweet and overbearing. I see myself as more of a savoury person than a sweet, I’m one of those that will leave half the chocolate because it’s just too much for me to eat in one go, but I could easily sit and nibble the milk chocolate flavour of biscuit with it being a snack size too it’s perfect. And as warned, they are very moreish. The other flavour, Choco and Milk, is also really tasty. I initially thought it might taste a bit like a breakfast bar and a bit bland but it’s actually surprisingly yummy. It reminded me of a Milky Way Crispy Roll a little bit.

These little biscuits are perfect to pop on a lunch plate when having a little snack lunch dinner, or even perfect to satisfy that sweet craving between meals. I think they are a great little product. You can purchase PiCK UP! Minis at Tesco, Waitrose, Costcutter and Palmer and Harvey for the cheap and cheerful price of £1.29. My only little downfall with these biscuits, is with having a 2 year old, they are a little tough for her to enjoy but that being said it didn’t stop her from having a good old nibble, and it’s definitely something different for her to have with her lunch once in a while.

Have you tried PiCK UP! Minis? Have you had any other Bahlsen products? 

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All opinions and comments about this product are my own. I received two free sample packs in exchange for my review. Check out Balhsen for more information here.

 

Mad About Kids

Liebster Award 2016.

Kerry over at Don’t Drop The Baby is someone who’s posts I thoroughly enjoy. I first stumbled across Kerry reading her emotional, heart felt post about dealing with grief (after sadly loosing a grandparent) with a toddler and a blog, please do check it out and support her, here. If you have any experience in dealing with anxiety, panic attacks or the latter, then Don’t Drop The Baby is a site that makes you feel that you aren’t alone in your experiences as Kerry openly discusses her own journey, and offers supports. So thank you Kerry for this small nomination, it doesn’t go unrecognised!

Liebster Award badge

This award is basically an internet based award that bloggers give to each other, the nominated blogs must have 200 readers or less however. It’s an award that really helps new/smaller blogs promote themselves and connect with others – which is super important in the blogging world. Again, thank you for the recognition and opportunity to be involved. It goes without saying, no one has to blog about anything they don’t want too and not everyone will want to get involved but what do you have to lose? It’s a bit of light humoured fun. But, there are a few rules:

  • Thank your nominator. It’s also nice to include a little bit of promotion to their blog, they will not only be thankful but those who you nominate will also help you out.
  • Include the Award Image in your blog, there is a range of different images you can choose to include over at this site (which also includes more information on the award and rules). It is easier to save the image directly to your computer by the way.
  • As a new aspect of the award, you will need to include 150-300 words discussing your favourite blog, providing links of course. It’s also nice to be kind. I will be doing this as a separate Libster Award related post.
  • Write 10 random facts about yourself. This is optional but it’s great to help readers engage and learn more about you.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs, all that have less than 200 followers (if you can’t find this then feel free to ask the blog owner)
  • List the rules in your own post
  • Let the people you have nominated know about the award, providing links to your own post – of course the linked post, which you can visit here, which has all the rules etc is also helpful to provide

10 FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. My husband to be, is my childhood sweetheart and we have been together since I was 15 years old.
  2. My daughters middle name, Joyce, is in memory of my Nanna – whom I lived with from the age of 10 until 17, when she sadly passed away.
  3. I have 3 sisters and 3 brothers – however we aren’t all in contact.
  4. My cat is named Bronson as it has a moustache shape around his mouth much like Charles Bronson (feel free to do a quick google).
  5. I am 5ft3, and my husband to be is 6ft2!
  6. My all time favourite series is Desperate Housewives, Lynette being my favourite housewife.
  7. I never finished university, and this is something I deeply regret, but everything happens for a reason.
  8. I lost my mother at 8 years old, and my father broke all contact with my by the age of 12 years old.
  9. My favourite books are the Harry Potter series.
  10. I would love to visit New York one day.

WHO I NOMINATE

Life As We Know It Blog

Mummy Em Blog

Not So Secret Life of Us

Chilli Regina

Laura’s Lovely Blog

Be sure to comment with your posts so I can check them out, or tweet me when they are live!

loll

Sunshine Blogger Award: My answers and nominations.

Isn’t it wonderful when someone thinks of you? Whether that’s thinking of you and giving you a phone call, popping in for a nice cup of tea or even surprising you a bunch of flowers randomly. We all like being thought about. Even more so in the blogging community. So I was absolutely delighted that my fellow blogger Mrs Mummy Harris (do give her a visit, she does so truly wonderful posts like this) tweeted me to inform me she had nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. Many of you have probably stumbled across this, or even been nominated yourself well done if so, but it’s not an award that requires a trophy and speech but an award where five bloggers are nominated to answer ten questions (given to them by their nominated blogger) to answer in a new blog. So here we go, my ten questions and my five nominated bloggers!

Text with sunshine graphic

1) Who was your childhood celebrity crush? You know what, I don’t even recall. My only teenage crush that sticks out in my mind, and yes I’m still a sucker for him, is Cristiano Ronaldo (insert judgemental comments here). But in my defence, 1 – he isn’t a bad looking egg, and 2 – I fancied him when he was a spotty teen starting out. Gee.

2) What has been your favourite post that you’ve written to date? I like everything I write, except my early things as I didn’t have a clue about blogging or what to do or write. But recently I really enjoyed writing about the sitcom Friends and what I feel each character taught us. It was just a lighthearted, spur of the moment post.

3) What advice would you give to fellow bloggers? Don’t take things too seriously. Even if you want to blog as a career eventually. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the pressures, the numbers, the seriousness of it all. Just write for you, about what you want and build yourself that way. Take a break when needed. It does you and your blog, the world of good and stops you burning yourself out.

4) If you could survive on one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Food in general. No? Well being 17 weeks pregnant and it currently being lunchtime, I literally could survive on anything for life. But I do love a nice juicy cheese burger. Yum yum yum!

5) What song would you say is the soundtrack to your life? Oooh. This requires some thought. There are so many amazing songs. I really love Beyonces – I Was Here. That song just gives me goosebumps and chills, I think it is so meaningful and can mean anything to anyone. Really motivates me to do some good. I’m definitely more of a look to the future person than sit and mope about the past, so this is a good song for that.

6) Who would you get to play you in a movie? I used to get referenced to Elle Wood’s (Reece Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde), so I think I would get her to play me in a movie. She’s blonde, fun and I think she’d be a good fit.

7) What are your aims for your blog? Goodness, this is something I’ve never actually really sat down and given some thought. For now, I just want to blog for me. Build a small readership and become more established. In the far future, I would love to make my blog my work. I love the idea of having the opportunity to work from home, to be able to write for a living. Seems a long, winding journey but it’s definitely my goal. Lots of work to do though before that is anywhere in reach.

8) Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor? These questions are tough ones. Well as a former dancer, I love Strictly. The thing is, I think they really drag it out. I don’t like the cheesy little ‘promos’ before each couple dance and sometimes it’s a bit like oh just get on with it. That being said, X Factor is loosing my respect rapidly. Understand it’s an entertainment show but how can it question why it’s loosing viewers when they don’t put through real talent? That being said when I think about Saturday night TV, I think X Factor sat on the sofa with my Hub2Me. I think it’s 60%/40% Strictly though.

9) What came first, the chicken or the egg? I can’t even answer this. Is it weird this is something that me and Hub2Be discuss regularly!

10) If you could vote anyone in as Prime Minister, who would it be? Judge Rinder all day. I love him. After seeing him more on Strictly I think he is absolutely brilliant. So yeah, he has my vote!

Now for my five nominated bloggers:

Kimberley over at Oh Just My Little Blog

Kat at Confessions Of A Working Mum Site

Bridget on Bridie By The Sea

A Setra over at Mummy Setra

Claire at That Mumma Rocks

10 questions to answer:

  1. If you could be any age for a week, what age would you be and why?
  2. Do you have any nicknames? If so, how did you get them?
  3. Do you have any phobias?
  4. What’s one thing you regret?
  5. If you could make one wish, what would it be?
  6. Would you rather go back and change the past or know your future?
  7. What is your favourite festive holiday?
  8. What is your dream job?
  9. If you could give yourself one piece of advice at 16 years old, what would it be?
  10. Why did you start blogging?

Don’t forget to tweet me when your post is live so I can check it out!

loll

 

Halloween Fun Facts.

Pumpkin back ground with a title header in centre

Halloween approaching at a scary speed meaning it’s appropriate to do a Halloween themed post (and my first Halloween post too). With the spooky holiday being Octobers main interest, I thought I’d do a bit of digging (nope not in the graveyard) and see how certain Halloween traditions we all know came to be:

  • Why do we dress up?: I’ve heard this before so maybe it’s pretty common knowledge, but I can’t do a Halloween post without bringing up the costumes. This originated from a Samhain tradition, which basically was a Gaelic festival to mark the end of the harvest and the welcoming of the ‘darker half of the year’. Back then they celebrated  New Year on November 1st, so believed that spirits of the dead were able to overlap with the living during the transition into the New Year. This is why they dressed up and impersonated evil spirits – to fool them into thinking they were one of them. I guess it just evolved over time and became the money devouring tradition we know today.
  • Why do we carve pumpkins?: There are a few different tales and versions of the ‘legend’ behind why we carve pumpkins but they all basically evolve around the same essence. Apparently, a village drunk named Jack, had a bit of a run in with the Devil and tricked him  – eventually when it was Jack’s time to leave this world and go on to either Heaven or Hell, he was turned away from both gates because of his trickery. The Devil gave Jack a lump of coal to light his way on his journey of purgatory – which Jack carried inside a hollow turnip (resourceful little fellow for a drunk). Once the story had been told amongst the villagers and locals, Irish families placed hollowed, carved turnips (some with scary faces on) in their homes to scare away Jack and any unwanted ghouls. When the holiday hit the United States, Irish immigrants realised that the pumpkin (native to America) was much better for carving – and so began the evolution of pumpkin carvings on Halloween!
  • Why does candy get given out on Halloween?: This apparently is based on the medieval custom called ‘souling’, which happened on All Souls Day. Early Christians made desserts and cakes, which were named ‘soul cakes’ to honour their dead. Children then went from house to house, offering to sing and pray for the dead loved ones upon receiving a cake (cheeky little monkeys even back in the day!).
  • Why do we say Trick or Treat?: This is a fairly recent tradition in the world of Halloween, first being mentioned around 1920s. Relating back to ‘souling’, children would go door to door, preforming little fun tricks such as telling jokes, reciting poems or singing, in exchange for a yummy treat. It then went on to become the request of a treat, in exchange for avoiding any annoyance to the house such as window soaping etc.
  • Why do we bob for apples on Halloween?: Now this one was a bit trickier to research as there’s a lot of speculation and arguing amongst historians about where and when it actually originated from, but this is just for fun so let’s not shy away. Supposedly it’s thought apple bobbing was related to fortune telling, originating in the British Isles. They believed that you had to catch an apple from the water in your mouth, peel it, pass the long peel three times around your head and then throw it over your shoulder, allowing it to fall to the ground and form a letter – which was the initial of your true love. I suppose it then got introduced into the Halloween festival maybe because of witch craft or something? Who knows, but it’s interesting to read!

Now I don’t claim that these fun facts are the absolute truth and reason as to why the many normal Halloween traditions of today came about, but I do think it’s interesting to read different interpretations and influences – seeing how these traditions have evolved and shaped the modern day festival we are familiar with today. Ending things on a Halloween note, here’s a 19th century ‘souling song’ that would have been sung for ‘soul cakes’ (extra points if you sing this if you go trick or treating this year):

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.

loll

Did you know where any of these ‘traditions’ came from? Do you know where any more originated from? Do you get involved in the spooky holiday?

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5 quotes to embrace happiness.

Happiness.jpg

Sunday is often a day we reflect, make plans for the following week and mull over the week we have just had. I’ve seen some small improvements and successes in my blog (well I like to think) and this makes me proud, positive and happy. So on that note why not keep it nice and light – rounding off the week with some quotes that make us feel all happy and mushy inside. Here’s five of my best:

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  2. 92e99ac41b06f3a9cda84a659493eb18
  3. bc3da3e5f39392e6985f1437b9ca7be4
  4. download
  5. happiness-quotes-saying

Each quote can relate and mean something different to every person, so I’m not going to say what they mean to me as this s purely a reflection post. Instead I’ll leave you with this, remember that there is only one of you in this world and you are brilliant. Learn to love yourself, overly love those important to you, remember making mistakes is human, learn from you every day. You’re your own best teacher. Embrace you. Be happy!

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What makes you happy? Do you have a favourite happiness quote? Anything this week that has lifted your spirits?

Is Social Media ruining our ability to socialise?

The internet has 3.17 billion users. Let that number sink in. Now 2.3 billion of those users are active on social media. After reading an interesting article on 96 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts for 2016, I  quickly got dragged into a deep wormhole of thought. Technology is evidently everywhere. Our society is one providing information we need want at the open of an app. Gone are the days people discovered news from a newspaper delivery to their homes. What’s more social media is obviously reigning supreme, and human interaction is feebly trying to hold on.

Man on phone on train

How many of us interact with others through social media everyday? Be it replying to a tweet, getting involved in a twitter chat, responding to comments on any platform or even Whats App’ing and text messaging as they loosely fall under this category too. We all do it. What’s more we all do it every single day. A lot. Especially if your hobby and/or business is internet/technology based. It’s a must in order to keep active and present, fully understandable too but do we know when to truly switch to sleep mode on social media and technology? Or is it a concept that’s lost to us. We make a conscious decision every day to be involved in the world of social media, can we say the same about regular human interactions?

Did you know that according to a 2015 report in The Telegraph , the average person has not one but FIVE social media accounts and can spend upwards of 1 hour and 40 minutes a day skimming through them, if you’re a Briton it’s likely to be 1 hour and 20 minutes across FOUR social media accounts. How insane is that? These days how many of you spend 1 hour and 20 minutes a day socialising in person, (your child, pet, husband or someone in your household who you speak to everyday does not count). I mean – how many of us make an effort to actually make plans, to go out and actually connect with someone in person and what’s more want too. I’ll admit it, I don’t. And if you are one of those people who do (firstly I truly applaud you and your superhuman abilities) how many times do you take out your phone and scroll through during? Again, guilty!

Recently I deleted my personal Facebook account. A rash decision after sitting musing one day over how many of the people on there do I actually consider to be a friend? Not an old school friend or childhood friend who you found online, not a work colleague you make small talk with over the morning coffee break or a friend of a friend. How many are actual friends? People who make an effort to be in my daughters life, people who I could phone at 3am during an emergency, people who I would make plans with. Don’t get me wrong social media can be, and indeed is a wonderful platform for connecting with family members who live far away but let’s be honest, many of us have social media skills better than actual people skills. Flicking through my newsfeed I found myself thinking, why am I on here (as a personal account)? What am I actually gaining, because time clearly isn’t one of them. Social media is clearly robbing me of my free time. I sit reading about other peoples lives day in day out, checking it like a morning newspaper, ‘liking’ all the fun things people are up too ( on social media whilst  on these outings too might I add) and simply feel as if I’m shutting off from my own life and my ability to make plans. Where is the logic in that? So I did it. I cut it out and made a commitment to actually socialise more. Be it a lunch date, a phone call, a quick trip to the local park with fellow mummy friends – I made a change.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying social media is something we need to shut out of our lives, because it’s been very beneficial to me and it is indeed very important to many people in terms of connecting to loved ones. I just mean do we really need to stare at our screens as much as we do. Do we really need to check our notifications first thing in a morning and last at night? Are we missing out on actual life?  Through apps we can’t see our friends/family laugh, react and respond to us, we don’t get to react and feel in response to this – we are bypassing interacting and feeling on a human level. Some days, my hub to be sits scrolling through his news feed, reading pretty generic and repetitive updates,  missing out on our daughter screeching singing and dancing to Frozen’s Let It Go (maybe this is why he was scrolling through hmm). Something that seems so small and insignificant but when our children grow, it’s moments like that we are wish to relive.

So I say, make plans. Live in the moment that little bit more. Arrange a family day out without any social media, commit to a date night without looking at your phone (and if you do, you are dumped with the bill), connect with your friend over lunch rather than Whats App. Even make the effort to send a phone call rather than send a text. Commit to making more of a human interaction, to feeling. Set an example to our younger generation that you don’t need to socialise through a phone or computer. That it’s good for the soul to be able to take a break and what’s more, know when a break is needed to bring the balance back to your life.

Time is gone in the blink of an eye. Don’t let social media/apps/technology steal more than it needs too.

loll

All images used were taken from canva as a free image. 

How often do you use social media purely for entertainment? Do you think you can afford to cut back on the usage? What would you like to change about your social media to socialising life?

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Homemade & Hearty: Slow Cooker Chilli for the Family.

slow cooked chill, chilli recipe, slow cooker, family meals, hearty meals, simple food, parenting blog, food blog

As you all are probably well aware, slow cookers are the new microwaves. They provide us with a quick, simple way to prepare a dinner for the family. I love using mine, but since hub-to-be had been requesting chilli for a good week or so – I thought I’d share my own simple recipe. I love recipes such a chilli as they are so cheap to make (especially when you shop on a budget like us) but still taste great, and what’s more they are perfect for this autumn weather. It’s best mentioning I have no qualifications/professions within this subject, I cook for fun and to feed my family – so I don’t claim to have the best recipe. Without further ado… here goes. My first food post!

Ingredients


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  • Beef mince (500g is enough for us)
  • 1 tin of kidney beans
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 green pepper (chopped into small chunks)
  • Oxo cubes (I add according to taste)
  • Tomato puree
  • Brown rice (we prefer this but white is fine)
  • Olive oil (to lightly cook meat before cooker)
  • Paprika seasoning
  • Chilli seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • Boiling water
  • Gravy granules

Method

  1. Lightly fry the mince meat in a little olive oil, careful not to brown too much. You just want to take some of the pink colouring off (tip: I like to add an oxo cube and a small amount of salt and pepper at this point)
  2. Add the chopped onions and chopped pepper to soften up for a couple of minutes.
  3. Put pan contents in the slow cooker
  4. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and kidney beans to the slow cooker
  5. Add a small amount of tomato puree and stir until together nicely
  6. Now add boiling water to the slow cooker (enough to just cover the ingredients)
  7. Add a couple of oxo cubes and some gravy granules to the pot (not so much to thicken just get, but enough for the meats to take in the beefy flavour whilst slow cooking)
  8. Add a little of the paprika
  9. Leave for a few hours (can be left all day if going to work, but as a SAHM I only leave it a few hours)image3
  10. Boil the amount of rice you need
  11. Just before you are ready to serve, thicken the mix with gravy granules to your preferred consistency
  12. Add paprika to taste
  13. Add chilli to taste (I don’t like spice and my 21 month old doesn’t have any, so I add this after I have divided it up so hub-to-be can enjoy)
  14. Serve in a bowl (it’s lovely with a small amount of grated cheese on top and a buttered baguette to dip)

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I do like to freeze any left over chilli, ready to eat on a night I just don’t have the energy. But if you are doing this, remember to make sure the food has completely cooled before freezing – and that it is piping hot before serving.

So there you have it. My homemade recipe for a nice, hearty slow cooked chilli for the family to enjoy. It’s great and simple to make in bulk if you have people over too.

lollWhat’s your favourite recipes to do in the slow cooker? Do you have any preferred seasonal meals?