Welcome to my blog! I started my blog to let you in on a little bit of my life. My life as me, as a mumma, as a Coeliac and my product reviews.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Review: ~ TRUfree and Dietary Specials foods

The lovely Becky from sent me a box of goodies to try. Inside were a variety of tasty things by TRUfree and Dietary Specials.

From TRUfree we received some rich tea biscuits and their tasty pretzels...

My daughter instantly spotted the biscuits and demanded to try some. When we opened the box (125g) we found 3pks of 6 biscuits each, i think this is great as it gives more freshness and life to them to make them last longer. However 6 biscuits is quite alot, maybe 4 packs of 4 biscuits would be better?
So i opened them and was disappointed that most of the biscuits were already broken into pieces, I've had these before and they were the same so it wasn't method of delivery. I just think that the biscuits are to thin, if they were slightly thicker then they'd break less. I made some tea to go with them and was disappointed that my tea ended up full of soggy biscuit crumbs.
The taste of the biscuit was nice though, the classic sweet and buttery taste that's plain and simple just like an ''original'' rich tea biscuit.

Next the pretzels got spotted by the non-coeliac in the house, Justin. He loves these and i regularly buy him them as he says (in his words) ''They taste like the real thing''. I find that i defiantly need a drink with these as they are very salty and hard. The bag is quite large, 60g, as just a snack. One for sharing, picnics or even opening a few bags at a party. I'd like to see smaller snack packets of 30g/40g sold in multi packs (6) for convenience, and some other flavours such as chocolate covered or garlic and herb? Yummy :)

From Dietary Specials we had their Chocolate & Orange crispy bars,
bread sticks and brown ciabatta rolls.

The crispy bars didn't stay in the packet very long as they looked really tasty! Inside the 180g box you get 5 individually wrapped bars, one for each week day :) They were very tasty with quite a tangy orange flavour, little pieces of orange were also dotted around the bars. Nice and chewy but not enough chocolate, it would be nice to have the chocolate running all the way though instead of just on the outside. This also might help to make them less dry and bland? Also available in apricot and raisin flavour, yummy.

Next up were their *new* product, bread sticks. They come in a 150g pack and inside are separated into 3pks. This is excellent for freshness and sharing, if you only want to nibble on a few the rest are still sealed and fresh for next time. Or open them all up for a party! I found them to be a bit dry and crumbly but with a dip they were fantastic :) Also they make a good alternative to biki-pegs for a teething toddler, hard enough to help with teething but edible and flavourless for them to like. Little snack sizes packets of these in miniature form would go down well at kids party's, in a lunch box or your handbag as a quick snack when on the go.

 Lastly we tried the brown ciabatta rolls, 200g with four rolls. Winner of the bread and bread mixes catergory at the Free From food awards. I had never tried ciabatta before having these and now i love it!
They are fresh enough to eat as they are but the taste develops if you warm them through. Either a few seconds in the microwave or a few minutes in the oven, for that beautiful fresh bread taste and smell :) I enjoyed mine oven warm with some margarine and a hearty beef stew. The outside turns crispy and the inside stays soft and fluffy with it chewy seeds, fantastic for moping up the gravy. I have previously used these to make garlic bread, again in the oven with fantastic tasty results. I wonder if some larger ones could be made to use as sandwiches? Yummy!!! 

I was overall very impressed with both of these brands, with their easily recognisable packaging and quite impressive products. I am keeping my eyes peeled for any new makes from them, i will be sure to give them a try out to :)

Dietary Specials also has an impressive frozen range including pizzas and pies, very exciting, low fat and flavoursome products again!

If you wish to purchase any of these products or just fancy a look at their full ranges then head over to your local supermarkets which are bound to stock of few items from each company or shop directly from them online here; Dietary Specials and TRUfree.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A Little Sister for Lydia....

A Little Sister for Lydia

Dear little sister, i hope you become my very best friend.
I don't want you to steal my stuff but you can borrow it.
I don't want you to hog Mumma, we can share her.

I love you already without even realising it,
I hope our first hug is going to be as magical as mine was with Mumma.

Mumma likes hugs and kisses so be sure to give her lots,
but don't forget me. I like them to :)

I will hold you hand when you scared and chase away nasty children,
i will play with you and not moan about you being a 'baby'.
I will help Mumma when you need a nappy change,
or be good when your hungry and need Mumma for milk :)

But please keep the noise down when you cry
otherwise i will cry to :'(
I do know how to put my fingers in my ears though!

I know I've not met you yet, but if you like me your going to be awesome!!!

And remember Mumma loves us both,
because we're the best of course!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Review: Organix, Toddler's Mighty Meals

We received an email from Sarah at Organix asking if we'd like to try their new toddler's dinner range, 'Mighty Meals'. She described the fives different types to us and i was very pleased to see that two of them are gluten and wheat free, being Coeliac its just what my household has to eat!

Its great to see the variety of something for everyone with the four main meats and a veggie option. Meals like these are often not free from for allergy sufferers so this was very exciting for us!

We received the Pork Meatballs and the Spinach Falafel dinners. Both looked great straight away, a great picture on the front which makes them look homemade and yummy! I love the little fork symbol at the top with the suggested age range, 1-3.

I think the portion size (200g) is just right for the age range, giving the older child other things to eat if needed. My 17mth old Lydia would eat all of this and want a yoghurt afterwards, she loves her pud!
Saying that Lydia was not interested in eating these on the two days i tried :( She's been teething and has been rather funny with anything besides yoghurt!

First we tried the Pork Meatball's in a tomatoey chickpea & sweet potato sauce

Lydia usually loves things that have a bit of pork in, with this she was happy to nibble on a meatball but didn't like the chickpeas in the sauce, once she had bitten one of them she refused to eat anymore of any of it! That was only on meatball one :(
If she wasn't in such a tetchy mood with her teething I'm sure she would've allowed me to pick out the meatballs for her to eat separately. But she was being fussy so me and daddy shared it! It was really tasty, she missed out! lol
I did find the sauce was quite dry, which is probley what she didn't like. Its the dryness of the chickpeas, so maybe a bit more tomato sauce is needed? Or you could swap the chickpeas for a more softer bean? (baked beans maybe? yummy!)

Next it was the Spinach Falafel in beany sweet red pepper sauce

Another gorgeous meal for my fussy not wanting to eat toddler to try. This time she dove in to the sauce first, chewed a bean and spat it out :( Then refused to have anything more to do with it. Again i think it was the dryness of the beans, but that's my toddler's fussiness and not the foods fault! Just have a drink with you.
This meal is the vegetarian option in the 'Mighty Meals' range, and i think it is gorgeous! I love falafel, so to try a spinach falafel was great. I'd be happy to buy this for myself as lunch!
Lovely bite-size balls for adults to eat (like the pork meatballs) but i feel they need cutting in half for the younger of the eaters out their.
A very well rounded meal with delicious flavours. And Lydia will be trying these two again once she's feeling better from teething :(

However Lydia did love playing robots with the cardboard sleeve packaging....

... funny child of mine!

So if your now hungry or fancy trying these for your toddlers then here's where you can get them!

They're on offer in Boots from the 6th May for 6wks they will have 20% off, along with other Organix goodies to try. Or buy them directly from Organix online shop for £1.99 each.
Also from June/July time they will be available from big supermarkets like Sainsburry's, ASDA and Waitrose.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Review: Honeybuns ~ The new mini range

What better to wake up to than a box of yummy treats?! A rare occurrence if your a Coeliac, intolerant to wheat and gluten. But not if you've heard of Honeybuns!

Lottie over at Honeybuns sent me some of their new mini's range to review.... 

Five gorgeous mini's

1. Snowy Hill's ~ Ginger polenta shortbread and lemon sponge flavour, double layered cake :)
Once opened you get the beautiful smell of ginger instantly, but the shortbread taste's more of butter than ginger which was a bit disappointing. Biting into it you could taste the tangy lemon sponge which was deliciously soft, and i would have liked a piece of that just on its own. The whole piece was moist in texture but, the ginger polenta left gravelly/sandy bits in your mouth, need a cup of tea with this one i think.

2. Milk Chocolate brownie with coffee ~ Once opened you get the classic smell of homemade brownies,amazing and unmistakable. The brownie was really yummy and moist with good size pieces of nut to chew on. However i couldn't taste the coffee at all? I love coffee and chocolate flavours together so i was very disappointed that the taste wasn't there :( The brownie had small chunks of chocolate on the top, which is usually an excellent extra to nibble on, but they were horrible and tasted very bland. Not like chocolate at all? More like hamster chocolate.

3. Almond Moon ~ Almond cake with cranberry's (Not Alfie Moon).
Another double textured cake with strong almondy flavour and the bitter sweetness of the cranberry's. I found this also to be very buttery, but once you bite into one of the fat juicy cranberry's all is forgiven! Overall you could compare it to marzipan, but its not a sickening in flavour. I really like the double layer of this one, makes it 'different' from your average cake.

4. Heathcliffe ~ Brownie with orange (not the fat cat or Wuthering heights).
This was AMAZING! The beautiful tangy orange scent hits you first then you bite it and get what i describe as 'the Terry's orange effect', lovely milky chocolate with an orange that you just want more of!
Moist, chewy and gooey, just what every brownie should be like. More please :)

5. Coppice cake ~ Hazelnut, chocolate and cranberry cake.
Wow, this one blew me away. I read the label and thought it sounded like a rather odd combination, then i tried it and totally changed my mind. To be honest with you i couldn't eat it quick enough!!!
A very balanced cake that's not to sweet, the cranberry's that add a light sharpness that's needed but they're not to harsh as they in turn are softened by the chocolate and sugar. Running throughout the taste is a background of hazelnut, which is gorgeous and not ''to nutty''.
Soft, moist and moreish (please, hehe).

Over all i found these mini cakes great!
Fabulous for tea-party's, lunch box's, handbag snacks, children, quick snacks, party's and gifts!

They are all gluten and wheat free (apart from the flapjack which i didn't review), its hard to find a beautiful cake that i can eat and now i know of five! Also its great how they're not in your face about being free-from, they just are :)

All of them are wrapped in colourful bio-degradable packaging and re-cycled cling wrap. They each come with a little story/information to read so non of the packaging is left un-used, which makes a lovely little read whilst you happily chomp away :) Very inviting to look at and read, makes you want to buy more, and learn more about what Honeybuns do,where they are etc...

So if I've made you hungry you better log onto Honeybuns and get some! They are also available in selected heath food shops (infinity foods), Waitrose, John Lewis and Salisbury's Cafes as well as other independent delis and cafes around the UK. Yummy!

Review: Yummy Mummy Maternity ~ Maternity t-shirts

Following my previous review for Yummy Mummy nursing wear i was more than happy to be able to do a second one for their lovely maternity wear.

Zoe sent me two tops, one a vest for underwear and the other a funky maternity t-shirt.

When i first opened the t-shirt i was surprised at how soft it is, its so lovely i had to put it on straight away. The softness add's to the overall comfort of the t-shirt. It has little gatherings along both sides which allow for bump growth and look very stylish.
The t-shirt has is a great length and doesn't ride up when you move. I've had it for a good few weeks now and the colour or print haven't faded at all. It has stayed in shape and fits me well throughout my bump growth.

Me at 17.1wks, I'm now 19wks

It looks great with jeans, either under bump or over it doesn't matter as the fabric gathers so you can't see the waist line very much at all :) Also any black bottoms would go really nicely, a black skirt like the Jessica Alba look previously posted on Yummy Mummy's facebook page.

The only thing i dislike about the top is the placement of a grey dot, it looks like a nipple!?! See the photo below, right boob. Please excuse the state of me, i was knackered!

The neckline is nice enough but i would prefer a v-neck or it to be a bit wider, it sometimes gets out of place/wonky when you wear it but nothing a little re-adjustment won't sort out :)
The sleeve length is really nice, not to short to be an annoying cap sleeve and not to long that its not quite a 3/4 length. Just right.

Over all i love this t-shirt, and at £12 i think its very good value for a comfortable t-shirt that'll grow with you throughout your pregnancy and beyond for post-birth comfort. I'd love to see it more variety's, if they make a red one its mine!!!

I received this top in raspberry colour, however I'd describe it more as coral or orange. Also available in dolce blue or white. I think black and nude should be added to the range :)
It is a onesize fits all (8-16) vest, used as support underwear during pregnancy.

As a size 14 pre-pregnancy i did feel a bit like a sausage being squeezed into its skin, made me think of that Cheryl Baker in the Jenny Craig dieting advert! This is definatly more suited to the 'smaller' lady size 10-12ish i think, to get a comfortable fit.

If like me you have a few bumpy bits you need smoothing out to wear something fitted for an occasion then this would be good for that, it gave me a nice silhouette under a maternity dress but showed my knicker line/muffin top area off :(
I've been wearing it in bed to give a little support whilst i sleep, also it's be good for exercising.

At £12 this is good buy for the quality, softness and support you get.
It just isn't the thing for me :)

So if you fancy either of these items or just want a nose about to see what else Yummy Mummy have then click this link for a look....

Also if you visit their facebook page you will get a 10% off code, make sure you tell them i sent you :)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Two teenagers already!?!

I am now 18.4wks pregnant and Lydia is 16mths old, two teenagers!

I've got another two scans booked for the 21st of June and the 24th of June, hopefully they'll be able to tell the sex of bambino. Everyone has said to me they think its a boy, we will see (hopefully). We're not fussed either way, they only difference will be the expense if its a boy! We still have all of Lydia's old stuff so another girl would be sorted for everything!!!

I've got two scans because Brighton and Worthing both want to do their own. Worthing is where i am booked into have the birth, a water birth hopefully. And Brighton want me to stay on their records in case i can't make it Worthing on time.
The water pool tour has been booked, that's in September :)

Lydia has been rubbing my belly and saying 'baby, aww'. She also offers to give a kiss or cuddle to me or daddy, not very often but still. And she is such a chatter box, things she says like 'in there', 'rubbish', 'dog', 'shoes', 'bag' etc... And yesterday she copied me and said 'Oh shit', whoopsie! I really need to watch what i say now, cheeky little madam.

We found another play group to go to, its for 0-5yrs which means i can go with the both of them once bambino arrives. The only thing is it doesn't run during term time, but not many do :( Boo!
Its at the Calvary church by the fire station, i was surprised at how big it is inside as it looks tiny from the outside. The group is run by a lovely lady, Katy i think? Now i didn't realise but it is actually a christian group and we're not religious, but there is no harm in going and Lydia is to young to understand anything like that anyway. She can make up her own mind on religion when she's old enough to.
We've only been the once at the moment as of term time, but intend to keep going from now on. Hopefully make a few friends for Lydia and myself :) One lady who i was talking to is also pregnant (with a boy) and due at the end of august, she already has a 2yr old girl.
And a few of the other mums had a couple of children, i was asking them for tips about having a baby and a toddler, so that will be useful :)
Lydia learnt how to go up the stairs and down the slide all by herself, yey!

We've been doing a few indoors activity's to lately. Like painting, drawing and dressing up!

I've learnt how to use my new wrap slings, been practising baby holds with teddy bears and the rucksack back carry with Lydia....

And I've been making lots of things again, mostly recycled old t-shirts into new clothes for Lydia....

If only she'd keep still long enough for me to take a picture! Cushion was made from an old dressing gown, sock bunny from one of Lydia's baby socks and some off cuts, stripy dress from an old t-shirt and green dress was an old vest top of mine :)

Right i best be off now, Lydia is asking for a 'nana' (banana) and i myself am rather hungry to!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Review: Stardust T-shirt ~ Rags for Rascals!

Have you heard of Stardust? A funky and cool place to get stylish gear for your little rascals!

Geraldine over a Stardust HQ sent us a beautiful top for Lydia. 

I call the top 'Moriss Hepburn' as the cat looks like my old cat with an Audrey Hepburn hair do! The design was instantly appealing to us both, as Lydia and i both love cats and i am a fan of Audrey.
It arrived beautifully packaged in a white paper shopping bag, white tissue paper and a really cool sticker. We opened it to find the t-shirt very neatly folded with a funky tag on.

Lydia instantly grabbed it off me saying 'Cat!' and attempted to dress herself in the t-shirt, then she realised the print was shiny and had glitter in so she was stroking it saying 'Wow' and smiling :)

Oooh shiny!

Cool Toddler Clothes : Audrey Cat T-Shirt, is its real name and where to find it.

You have choice of six different colours to have it in, and i presume that the pattern colour will vary depending on the colour of your chosen t-shirt.
Sized from 0-6mths right up to 11-12yrs, we went for fuchsia in aged 1-2yrs. Lydia is 16mths and quite heavy, however this t-shirt was the right size for her with enough room to grow.


The t-shirts have been....

- Made in India by an ethical ETI Basecode compliant family factory.
- Made from premium 100% interlock cotton which is gentle and stretchy.
- Nickel-free poppers on the neck of baby sizes for simple dressing.
- The garment washes and wears beautifully and has been tested on our own kids!
- Hand printed in our London workshop with bold durable graphics.
- Machine wash up to 40°C, tumble dry on low.

I love how soft and thick the fabric is, a really quality about it unlike mass produced in store high-street purchases. Also i find it to be a lovely length, some tops are to short for toddlers little pot belly's but this was great! I was very pleased to see that the age 1-2yrs top was still classed as a 'baby' size and therefore has poppers on the left shoulder this allowed for easy dressing of my fidget bum toddler.

Priced at £14.99 i found was a bit steep to be buying them as everyday wear. They're more as a one off present or treat, but for the quality and individuality it is worth it.
Gweneth Paltrow is a regular customer of Stardust, but she can afford to be. Lol :)

They also make custom printed items, so if your looking for a one off gift, or feeling as plush as Gweneth then head over to Stardust's facebook page for 10% discount code and then onto their website to purchase! :) Also don't forget to check out the sale items!!!


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Guest Review: Mothers en Vouge ~ Bonita flutter sleeve top

Mothers en Vouge sent me a beautiful top to review. Unfortunately i just looked ill in it with my super pale skin tone, I'd have loved it another colour. However my sister-in-law Margaret is also pregnant, at 24wks, (4wks ahead of me) she has a lovely bump and was a bit unsure on how to show it of in style. A perfect candidate for the review of this top.

Here's what she thought of it....

At 24 weeks its a good top if you want to show off your bump. Both the fabric and back ties help to support and flatter the bust, overall giving the top a nice fit. The fabric is 92% Rayon and 8% Spandex, making it a very soft and comfortable fit with room for a growing bump.

I love the fact that its also suitable for breastfeeding, which i intend to do when my baby boy arrives. The top will offer me great coverage allowing access to only the necessary area without me having to flash to much flesh, which is a concern of mine being a first time mum. 

I think its suitable for both day and evening wear, you could add a simple pair of jeans or a smart black pair of trousers/skirt for a more dressy feel. 

The colour certainly suits the darker skin tone and I'd like to know what other colours are available.

At  around £29 this top is a little bit more expensive than similar items I've seen that are available, but i do think that this was the most comfortable and stylish. So you get what you pay for really. Based in Singapore you can only get their products online here....Mothers en Vogue

Review ~ Isabel's Naurally free from: Dough Balls

Isabel over at Brazilian Flavours sent me a box her gorgeous cheese dough balls to try.

Being a Coeliac is hard to find tasty, healthy quick snacks for party's or for just enjoying. Well Isabel's Cheese dough balls are gluten and wheat free, and they fit the requirements just great! Also they're low in salt, sugar free and vegetarian :)

They won last years 'Free-from food award', and i can see why....

Just after they'd been cooked

When i first opened the packet i felt a little disappointed that all it seemed was that you'd just paid £2.69 for a small bag of flour. I was very wrong. When i opened the bag i could smell a subtle hint of cheese and the flour was very smooth and soft, like it have just been sieved.

I followed the preparation instructions which i found very clear and easy to read and follow, A simple four step job. Isabel said to make sure i used the exact amount of water shown in the recipe and not to guess as this will alter the results. I whizzed mine up in the food processor which made less mess and was much quicker than by hand. However if i was making these with children i would do it by hand, get your hands messy and have fun. They'd love it! And its very simple that not much could go wrong really.

I love how versatile this product is, you can add in your own favorite flavours to the mix. I added in some cheddar and mixed herbs. I LOVE cheese so i added a bit more than the recipe suggests :)
Next was to separate the mix into balls, the recipe says around 3cm in diameter will make you 26-28 dough balls. Mine made 27! :)
Now at this stage you have an option to cook now or to freeze for use at a later date, fantastic for preparation for party's/sleep-overs/movie night etc... Then all you'd need to do is pop them in the oven!?!
I put mine on a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, the oven was pre-heated to the correct temperature (180* fan assisted), if the oven is to hot or to cold the balls won't cook through properly.
These cook for 20-25mins until they've turned lightly golden in colour.

Once cooked i removed them from the baking tray and into bowl to serve, they kept the warmth in very well and were totally scrumptious to eat! My 16mth old daughter loved them to :)
The outside was crispy and golden with a yummy soft and slightly chewy centre, almost like ''normal'' glutinous dough balls would be.
Next time i think i will make them slightly smaller than the recipe suggests. Two reasons, one being that they were quite big to take your first bite from without squashing or ripping them open, and secondly purely so you get more :) yummy!!! These are an excellent sharing food, even though i could've eaten them all!
I will deffinatly be buying these for future gatherings, partys or just as something to keep in cupboard as a quick snack when i need one :) Mmm...i want more now!

Just before i devoured them!

Some ideas i have for future use of this product are; using dips, adding a small lump of mozzarella into the centre so it gives a melt in the middle effect, brushing the tops with milk or egg and sprinkling with sesame/poppy seeds before cooking, making them into tiny sandwiches for fun food for kids, adding garlic butter to the mix to create restaurant like dough balls to accompany pizza or pasta.

Also if you have an egg allergy you can use an egg replacer to make this mix, so get on it!

Dough balls can be purchased from ASDA and directly from the Brazilian Flavours website along with their other gorgeous products. The dough balls are priced £2.69 for 250gram box and are currently on offer, £2 off is you order a case of 8 box's. Yummy!!!
Also Isabel's products can be found in Waitrose and Ocado.