Saturday, 22 March 2014

Family film night with Domino's Pizza

Friday night seems to have unofficially been declared film night in our house and I must admit I really like it. The husband works late, so the last couple of weeks the kids and I have grabbed an easy tea and some popcorn and settled down together snuggled in duvets with the lights off and watched a kiddie film. Tonight it was one of those junior spy thriller ones - the girls felt very grown up!

This week I was super delighted that Domino's had asked us to come along and have a meal on them, so that we could try out their high quality pizzas. I'll be honest and say it is a very long time since I last had a Domino's pizza, this is partly because we now live in the middle of nowhere and partly because I'd much rather have an Indian if given a choice. However we had a great meal and you don't get yummy brownies and Ben & Jerry's ice cream with an Indian takeaway!

We cashed in on the buy one get one free deal for medium and large pizzas and the kids opted for a create your own with ham and chicken on top and the hubbie and I had a meteor with the yummiest BBQ sauce. As well as the pizzas we had garlic bread, wedges, chicken strippers and some fizzy drinks. It really was a feast!


The kids find it all the more exciting when we eat in the front room with the TV and sit on the floor, so that was what we did, it was Friday night after all. I really enjoyed my pizza, the pork meatballs on the meteor are divine and I found there was a good amount of toppings on both pizzas. The kids all ate theirs up and the girls being smaller they seemed to like the little garlic bread pizza slices.

We all agreed that the chicken strippers are excellent and the BBQ sauce that came with them was good too but I did not manage to get a look-in at the wedges as they were gone in a flash. The kids tell me they hit the mark as well. It is worth noting that the Domino's classic crust base is tasty and hold it shape well, not any grease in sight.

After our pizza feast we enjoyed some Domino's brownie bites with Ben & Jerry's ice cream and a squirt of cream for god measure. the brownie bites are excellent but then I would expect them to be at the price of £3.45, that is pretty step and next time we would probably get a box of 20 form a supermarket for £1.99!

We had opted to collect our pizzas and I tied it in to a visit to the supermarket. I used the website to place my order before leaving home and was able to choose what time we would collect. I opted for 6.15pm and when we arrived at the shop ahead of time our pizzas were not ready, which of course is exactly right as Domino's had it all panned that they would be ready and fresh at 6.15pm as I had requested.

Being there ten minutes early was actually quite fun as the girls got to watch the pizza chefs through the glass window and see them making our pizzas. There was one guy in there (Laddo I think his name was) who was such great fun, he was messing around with the girls and really engaging with them whilst also keeping his eye on the ball and turning the pizzas out. It is very reassuring as a customer to be able to see into the kitchen and see all the lovely fresh produce and perfectly clean floors.



We walked out of the Domino's in Hailsham at 6.14pm with or full order and happy with the great customer service too.

Thanks so much Domino's, you did a great job, we will be back again.

Disclosure: I was reimbursed for the cost of our meal for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Lego storage solutions from Store

My son JJ was sent the new Lego movie lunchbox and drinks bottle set to review. This meant that I was the best Mum in the world (well, for at least a week) as all his school friends thought it was super cool.


The box has an easy to detach lid (but one that does stay on well in his bag) and it measures 6.5cm high x 16cm long x 14cm wide, which is a little bigger than some he has had before. It is in fact a good enough size that you don’t need to use it inside a lunchbag or such as it can take everything you need – a sandwich, yoghurt tube, packet of crisps etc. I must say this has been through the dishwasher loads of times in the last couple of weeks and there is no sign of fading of the printed lid and bottle, which is a good surprise.

JJ particularly likes the drinks bottle as it has a Lego stud for the lid and he thought this was a great. Also at the bottom it has a detachable piece in contrasting colour plastic and I had wondered what on earth it was for, thinking it was a bit bizarre but JJ knew as soon as he saw it that it was a cup for his drink – brilliant! The bottle holds 350mls of liquid. The limited edition Lego movie lunchbox and bottle set retails for £14.00 and it would make a super gift for someone.

Store also sell other Lego lunchboxes and sets, such as Lego Chima and Lego friends.

As well as the lunchbox Lego sets, the Store website have a great range of Lego storage containers and for my Lego mad JJ they are a hit. We were sent the the giant 8 stud Lego brick container in red to review. This is a really sturdy box in durable plastic, JJ was able to stand on the box and it stayed firm. The lid lifts off easily too. The red brick is glossy and looks super stylish and you can choose form a range of colours.

JJ already had some smaller one stud Lego containers and also a Lego head and the great thing is that all of these can stack together. I’m sure we will be getting many more in the months to come as he is trying to get organised and sort all his Lego out. 

The giant Lego storage brick retails for £22.95 and measures (externally) 18cm high x 50cm wide x 25cm deep and internal  11cm high x 48cm wide x 22.5cm deep. I do feel it is a shame that the capacity inside is so much less than you might think it would be, this is because they are stackable and you have to allow for the studs underneath to sit into it.

Here is JJ happily adding the giant Lego storage brick into his collection and having a play.



Disclosure: We received these products free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Review of the Chill Factor Slushy Maker

When my kids came home from school the other day they ran into the kitchen as they always do, dumping their bags on the floor and hoping for a tasty after-school snack. Before I even got to the kitchen I heard yelps and squeals from the three of them and I wondered what on earth was going on! Well I had made the mistake of leaving my latest item for review on the side.

How was I to know that the Slushy maker from Chill Factor would cause so much excitement? Apparently the kids have seen this on a TV advert and have been asking me for it for ages....  well, I can't recall but then I tend to tune out to the constant I wants...

So what is the Slushy Maker?
It is a cup with a lid and spoon basically, but a cup that does something clever, it can make any refrigerated drink into an icy slush. It works best with juice, squash or soda type drinks but can be used to make a diary slush too, this just might take longer or need a little extra freeze.

How do you make the slush?

  • Remove the lid and place the cup in the freezer to freeze for about 6 hours.
  • Take the cup out once it is totally frozen and pour in your drink (it must be fridge cold)
  • Place the lid on and slowly at first and then you can get more vigorous once there is less liquid in it but squeeze, squeeze, squeeze for about a minute
  • Once it is all slushy, put the lid back on and enjoy with the clever long spoon/ straw that came with it
It really is as simple as that and my kids absolutely love it. Me, I think it is a bit of a faff really but then I'm not into slushy drinks and don't want to drink them! However having said that I do like the idea that I know exactly what is in this slush, the kids like those bright blue and red ones you get on holiday and who knows what scary additives are in those.


One small downside is that you then have to take the cup apart into numerous pieces and wash it by hand but it didn't take that long. Once done, pop it back upright in the freezer and wait for it to freeze again and then repeat!


We are happy to recommend the Slushy Maker as a fun thing for the kids. It retails for £12.99 and is recommended for children aged 3 and over.

Disclosure: We received the slush maker free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.


Friday, 14 March 2014

Interesting children's books from Francis Lincoln & QED Publishing

I have two book lovers and one who finds all this reading lark just too difficult for words. I am therefore determined that I'll find some books to help my little Miss E to love books as much as her siblings and I do.



Miss E is an amazing artist and has really great skills for a 6 year old and this is where she chooses to focus her attention, so with that in mind I ordered her a book from QED publishing called 'Drawing and Sketching', it is aimed at 7 - 11 year olds but was fine for her and she is 6.  The retail price is £5.99 and for this you get 32 pages of tips and techniques to help you draw better. We found it a great starter to get your child interested in learning about building pictures up but Miss E was desperate for even more than this book gave her.

Here are a couple of samples pages from the book -

This is the squirrel that Miss E drew herself in about 10 minutes and since then she has drawn me loads of other creatures too, not bad for a  year old!



At school right now the girls are learning about pirates on their learning journey, so when I saw the hard backed 'Buccaneering Book of Pirates' I knew it would be a big hit. This book retails for £12.99 and has some fabulous stories in it to enchant your children, it is great to read to younger children or older ones can read it themselves. Our book headed into school and the whole class have been enjoying the stories.  In the front pocket is also a massive poster of a pirate with lots of little fun part to move, take out and educate. There are good sturdy metal holes in the top of hang it by, you can see just how big it is in the picture against Miss E!



The last book I choose I ordered with Miss M in mind. She is a confident reader and gets bored really quickly so I knew that some silly word poems would be right up her street. As well as reading them to herself and her twin sister she has been regaling anyone that has visited our house in the last week with a live rendition.


I am a poetato has 80 pages and is hardbacked, it is chocca full of really fun poems and they come in all forms, so it is fabulously educational for helping Miss M understand how to create poems and prose in new forms. The retail price is £12.99.

I'd happily recommend each of these books but my personal favourite has to be I am a Poetato as it combines fun and learning together in such a great way.

Disclosure: we received these books free of charge for the purposes of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Review of Vegesentials fruit & veg drinks

I'd not head of Vegesentials before so when they got in contact and offered me some of their products to try, I thought 'why not, all the family like fruit and veg' and two of my kids are particularly crazy about fruit juice and smoothies so I was sure they would be a hit.

When the drinks arrived I was impressed with the packaging and I think they look like a premium product. The adult juices come in a 250ml bottle and the child ones a 125ml bottle which are perfect sizes I think.


There are a range of flavour combinations and every drink contains at least 50% vegetable juice, this of course means the drinks are lower in calories than plain fruit juice and also contain less sugar and have a lower acidic value, all of which are good.

At first glance I thought the flavour combinations sounded really good, especially the children's ones, there are -
Groovy beet and strawberry juice
Cool cucumber and pineapple smoothie
Cheeky carrot and peach juice

Then for adults there are -
Cucumber, pineapple and spinach smoothie
Beetroot, pomegranate and carrot juice
Celery, apple, kale and kiwi juice
Carrot, mango and parsnip smoothie
Carrot, peach and cucumber smoothie
Beetroot, blueberry and cucumber smoothie

However I have to say that we ended up a bit disappointed as only one of the children's drinks has pineapple as a leading ingredient and they all contained pineapple and in our opinion predominantly tasted of pineapple. I then found the adult ones either very watery and smelling of cucumber or very earthy and smelling of carrots and parsnips. The drinks are perfectly drinkable and obviously it is good that they are an easy fix of fruit and veg but not one of them stood out as a really tasty drink I'm sorry to say.  All three of my kids tried a couple each and would not drink much more than one taste.


My husband has predominantly been the one to drink most of these and he is doing that as it is a fabulously easy and healthy breakfast for him during Lent, when he is trying to improve his eating.

I would say that if you are looking for a product which is really healthy and has health benefits then Vegesentials might just suit you, but if, like me you prefer a really tasty drink then they might not.

Pros

  • Good size bottle with all raw and fresh vegetables and fruit inside
  • Very attractive packaging
  • Each ingredient, selected from the different colour families, has been chosen for the unique benefit it contributes to balancing taste with health benefits. These health benefits include lowering the risk heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.
  • The product is not heat treated so the fruit and veg retain their natural vitamins and minerals
  • Vegesentials have also committed to donating a proportion of their annual proceeds to Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
Cons
  • The names of the drinks are not always an accurate indication of what is in it, we found there would be lots of other 'filler' fruits such as pineapple, apple and pear and then the fruit listed on the front might only be a tiny percentage
  • None of the drinks are that distinctive in taste, they are all quite sameish
  • It is limited where the drinks can be purchased from currently
  • At £1.99 for a 250ml bottle they are about 20p each more than a comparative bottle of quality branded all fruit smoothie
For us we won't be buying these again but luckily as a family we like veg and are happy to get our intake in its natural form. if you need to get your veg in an easier way then maybe Vegesentials are for you.

Disclosure: We were provided with these drinks free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Review Snugg iPad 2 Cover


JJ has been a happy little lad this week as he received a nice new red PU leather case for his iPad 2 to review. He's has his iPad for a couple of years now and bought a case at the same time as purchasing it and to be honest it is beyond battered now. This case from The Snugg seems a much better quality and he is really impressed with the beautiful bright red colour that he choose.


Pros of this case

  • Available in 14 colours and a beautiful quality leather
  • Soft nubuck lining to help ensure your iPad remains scratch free
  • Sleep/ wake function included in the cover. I've not seen this before and is super clever that it turns on when you open it!
  • You can stand it up in two ways, so it can either be a prop for typing or stand higher for watching TV or such and it is very sturdy when  standing too
  • Elasticated hand strap so you can safely carry for your iPad with you
  • You slip your iPad in and a tough velcro grip holds it in place and keeps it secure
  • It has a lifetime guarantee in regards to any production failures
  • Available for all models of iPad
  • Free delivery on items of £25 or more
  • If you change your mind, you can access a full refund and he returns process is simple
Cons

I'm hard pushed to find any to be honest but at £34.99 it is not a cheap purchase but then again it is not a cheap product and I do believe you get what you pay for, so I think this will prove to be value for money.

I'll happily look on The Snugg website again in the future when I need a new case for any of our iPad, tablets or phones as they seem to have a good variety of products to suit all pockets and needs.

Disclosure: We received his case free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.