7yo and I decided that we wanted to surprise hubby on his recent birthday with 40 presents as it was his 40th birthday. We did this last year for 19y0 when she turned 18 and the concept was a success. The presents weren’t going to be big or expensive, so we put our thinking caps on to decide how we were going to deliver this on the day.
In the end we decided on paper bags (40 of them to be precise). A very cheap purchase from a very well known site, and we have plenty to spare for other projects in the future.
7yo started to design pictures on each bag before we thought about what to pop inside them. There were some very obvious choices such as chocolate bars, little bags of sweets etc.
We then started to put our thinking caps on and came up with some personalised items such as a penny with the year of birth printed on it, a poem of the day you were born.
Some presents wouldn’t fit inside the bags, so we wrapped separately and labelled them with a number. A corresponding piece of paper with a number on was placed inside a bag, so the present could only be opened when the number was drawn out of the bag.
There were a few filler gifts needed so 7yo drew some pictures for her Daddy. Once complete, we laid the bags out on the floor in the shape of a big 40 so he would find them when he came down stairs in the morning. We wanted to lay them outside in the garden so when the curtains were drawn back he would spot it, but the ground was too wet, so we settled on the lounge instead.
The reaction was good and both hubby and 7yo had great fun looking inside the paper bags (despite her knowing what was in them).
We’re having a very busy week! and there will be plenty of photos to come in the next few weeks to bore you all of our adventures. Here’s a little snapshot of our first week at Disney World.
20th – lunch at the airport before leaving for a very long flight
21st – first day in and we have to go to see the Frozen summer festival
22nd – the first shot of the castle is a magical one
23rd – a magical day today swimming with dolphins and exploring the reef for rays and sharks
24th – what a big tiger foot print
25th – this is what happens when the sun goes in. It doesn’t last too long and is a welcome rest from the heat.
26th – photo bombed by Olaf!
I was introduced to Tenderstem last year when I met up with a great group of blogging friends. Since then, I have chosen to use it in a variety of meals, so when I was challenged to go around the World with Tenderstem and create some new and different recipes for my family, I couldn’t say no.
We were sent a selection of recipes from around the world to create which all included using Tenderstem. We started by jetting off to Morocco and went a little off piste with the recipe guidelines and created a quinoa, sausage bake with Tenderstem.
- sausages cooked and sliced
- quinoa cooked according to instructions on the packet
- tomato puree
- Tenderstem broccoli
This really was a great one pot dinner that I could literally just throw all the ingredients in together. Mixing the sausages with the tomato puree, garlic and a little water, the cooked quinoa was added. It’s up to you whether you choose to pre boil the tenderstem or to add it at the last-minute for a nice crunch.
Then we went onto Italy and created a pasta bake.
- 500g mince (we used beef but you could use pork or turkey) mixed with herbs and garlic and rolled into meatballs
- pasta, cooked and drained
- grated cheese
- chopped tomatoes or passata
- Any other vegetables you choose to add to the dish
Brown the meatballs and then add the tomatoes or passata. Cook for five minutes and add any additional vegetables you wish to add. Slice the tenderstem and add to the dish. Mix with cooked pasta and add to an oven proof dish. Sprinkle with cheese and cook in the oven for fifteen minutes.
Zooming on from Italy, we stopped off in Mexico for fajitas
- sliced chicken or beef
- grated cheese
- Marinade made with brown sugar, olive oil, garlic, cumin and chilli powder.
Mix together the marinade ingredients and allow the meat to marinade for half an hour. Stir fry the meat and vegetables until cooked before layering over wraps, sprinkling with cheese and adding salsa, sour cream as required.
Our final stop was Asia for some lovely lamb steaks.
- Marinade made from soy sauce, garlic, and tomato puree
- Lamb steaks
Allow the lamb to marinade for as long as possible before cooking. Stir fry the broccoli in the left over marinade juice, leaving a small amount for the end. Pre cook the noodles in a pan of water and add the lamb to the broccoli to cook.
Layer all together over noodles when cooked through and drizzle remaining marinade on at the last-minute or more soy sauce for taste.
This is a really simple recipe packed full of flavour.
We enjoyed going around the World with Tenderstem and have been introduced to some lovely new recipes that we will definitely make again.
Disclosure – we received a voucher to purchase the ingredients for these recipes
I’ve blogged about how to keep children entertained on a long plane journey before, but it occurred to me the other day about how I was going to keep myself entertained as a grown up on a long flight.
I’m not a seasoned flier by any means and my happy limit for flying really is only around 2-3 hours. I’m not sure how I feel about a 9.5 hour flight. I think I’ve been ignoring it until I have realised I can’t actually ignore it any longer. It’s going to happen whether I like it or not.
I’m not particularly afraid of flying, I think it’s more that I get bored and then realise I can’t actually go anywhere – apart from the toilet! Then there’s the toilet!
I’ve been subtly making lists of things I can prepare to entertain myself. Amazon has become my friend with its list of free Kindle books that seem to be updated regularly. I’ve been merrily downloading anything that looks remotely interesting.
Aware that there is a good inflight entertainment package for me to get glued to, but who can spend hours and hours staring at a screen. I can’t that’s for sure. I’m not convinced I’m going to be able to sleep, so I need to start getting inventive.
I’ve loaded my tablet with some music and a couple of audio books to allow my eyes a rest from the screen but will hopefully keep my brain occupied instead.
I think the most important piece of hand luggage I will be taking is my notebook and a pen. I plan on using the down time to write lists, blog post ideas and thinking about what direction I want to take the blog in the next few months.
How do you entertain yourself on a long flight?
We went to see Lola puppy yesterday and 7yo was getting all of the attention. Two of the three puppies thought it would be funny to bundle all over her. She didn’t look as though she minded too much.
13th – A visit to see Lola puppy. She was having kisses with 19yo
14th – School report came home today. A very proud Mummy moment.
15th – I ordered lunch at work today and this arrived with my order. It was my last day at work this week.
16th – Leftovers for dinner almost every night this week. I managed to make a chicken curry from bombay potato mix and it was quite nice.
17th – Off to the library to join the summer reading challenge
18th – Teaching Daddy to do hand clapping
19th – Another visit to see Lola puppy before we bring her home in a couple of weeks.
The Summer holidays are here, and for a lot of parents it can be a daunting prospect to think of how to entertain the kids for the long holidays. CBeebies have a way to save money this Summer, and I also have a chance to win an annual subscription to CBeebies magazine at the same time.
CBeebies magazine has teemed up with Merlin Entertainments to give parents the chance to save up to £355 on kids attractions this Summer. Between 16th July and 7th October there will be two vouchers for kids to go free for a variety of popular locations including Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures and Sealife Centre,
The first issue was released on 16th July (so out now) and contains offers for the Sealife Centres and Seal Sanctuaries.
I also have an amazing giveaway for you as well in conjunction with telling your about this amazing way to save money this Summer holidays whilst letting the kids think you are super parents.
One lucky reader of the blog can win an annual subscription to CBeebies magazine, which will keep the kids entertained all year round. All you need to do is enter using the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com
I’ve been doing a lot of holiday shopping over the last few weeks with our upcoming holiday looming. Protest is a company founded in Holland by a group of snowboarders. The clothing ranges cover a variety of clothes wear designed to fit around the board wear theme. After browsing the website and realising there is so much more to board wear than wearing shorts and t-shirts in Summer and jackets and trousers in Winter, I was happy to accept an offer of reviewing some samples.
A surprise was on its way to me, and whilst a little apprehensive, I was also excited after more browsing of the website and seeing plenty of pieces that I would like.
I was sent a lovely parcel including a gorgeous lightweight tunic, flip-flops, and accessories.
The tunic is unlike anything I have ever worn before, and I’m not entirely sure I would have chosen it myself if I’d seen it in a shop. However, once I put it on, I realised how much I actually loved it. Having a tie waist means that I can have it as tight or as loose as I want according to comfort. I think the top looks lovely paired with leggings as seen above, but it’s going to be equally as lovely to have wearing over a bikini walking to and from the pool on holiday.
I don’t feel restricted at all wearing the top, and it hides all the bits I don’t want to have on show. A bargain at £27.99.
No outfit is complete without footwear. I live in flip-flops through the summer, but I remember last time I bought some really nice ones and wore them on holiday around the pool every day. All the pattern disappeared from them, so when I investigated these flip-flops from Protest, I realised they were going to be the answer to my prayers. Not only do they have a unique sole to them making them anti slip around the pool area, they are made of rubber so you wont ruin these around water.
Despite being made for use around water, don’t let this put you off general wear. They really are very comfortable. I haven’t got the impression they will mould to your feet like some other brands do after use, and they feel more solid when walking, but the pretty detailing on the straps make them very feminine and fit to a variety of outfits.
Stamp slaps are £9.99
I can’t wait to take both on holiday with me this year.
Disclosure – I received the clothes free of charge but all opinions are my own
I remember the last time we went abroad, when unpacking I discovered a bottle of hand sanitizer had exploded in my wash bag. Nothing was ruined, but it was a bit of a nuisance having to clean everything off.
I vowed to make sure I was prepared for any future holiday packing, so have been scouring for some great hints and tips to make transferring your holiday items safely from home to holiday.
- Pack bottles in a zip lock bag therefore if one explodes with the pressure, then you wont ruin other items.
- Clothes also work well packed in zip lock bags. Eileen from Et Speaks From Home recommends flattening clothes in zip lock bags to act as space savers.
- Place heavy items such as shoes at the bottom of the case so when the case is on it’s edge the shoes don’t crush the clothes.
- Save time by packing everything you need for the pool in one case is a great idea from Pippa at Red Rose Mummy.
- Encourage the children to get a good night’s sleep by taking their own pillow, encouraging familiar feels, smells etc says Joanne from Charlie Moos.
- Think! Do you REALLY need all of that you’re packing?
- Once the suitcase is packed, take a look at it and decide if you’ll recognise it instantly when it goes around the carousel. If you’re not sure if it’ll stand out, how about decorating it, or adding something like this to your case to make it unique.
- When the holiday is over, there’s nothing worse than bringing home a suitcase of mixed clean and dirty clothes. Lauren from Belle Du Brighton suggests a plastic bag to store the dirty clothes in separating them from any clean ones.
- Once you’re on holiday Swazi has some great tips to relax whilst you’re on holiday.
Have I missed anything? What are your top holiday packing tips?
How often do you treat yourself to a new outfit? I know I don’t very often. 7yo always seems to come first when it comes to new clothes.
Bonmarche is the leading UK’s value ladies clothing retailer with sizes from 10-24. With the warm weather firmly in place here in the UK at the moment, I have been browsing the Bon Marche site to see what I would choose with £50.
- Beaded tropical floral print sun dress – £25
- Multi bead short necklace – £8
- Sequin wedge flip flop sandals – £8
A bargain outfit for just £41
Would you like to win a £50 Bonmarche voucher to buy yourself some new clothes? If so enter using the rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com