Win Tickets to the Ideal Home Show North

22:08 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've never made it to the Ideal Home Show in Birmingham or London although I've always rather liked the idea of going. A day wandering around an exhibition of all the latest homewares and design sounds right up my street. I was very pleased to learn that the Ideal Home Show is finally making it's way up North and will arrive at Manchester's EventCity on 6th, until the 8th June.

The Manchester show has recently announced it's celebrity line up with six famous faces on hand to give their expertise on all matters home.
• Gregg Wallace representing the ideal Food & Housewares section
• Melinda Messenger representing the ideal Woman section
• Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen representing the ideal Interiors section
• George Clarke representing the ideal Home Improvements section
• Diarmuid Gavin representing the ideal Gardens section
• Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis will also be making a special appearance

Ideal Home Show in the North Celebriity Line-Up

The Ideal Super Theatre will be the centrepiece of the 2014 Ideal Home Show. Representing each section of the show, the theatre will host talks and demonstrations from the nation's most loved home experts. With everything from gardening advice to renovation and planning tips the theatre will be the ultimate place to pick up the tips and tricks to improve your home. Plus, interior styling advice, technology know-how and even some of the nation's best chefs giving some culinary tips for your dinner parties at home.

The 2014 Ideal Super Theatre will have everything you need for the ultimate inspiration to create your own Ideal Home.

Ideal Home Show in the North Super Theatre

I'm going to be visiting the show on Friday 6th and I am delighted to have teamed up with the Ideal Home Show North to give away a pair of tickets to the show. To enter, please complete the Gleam widget below. The blog post comment is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entries. Please read the terms and conditions.

Ideal Home Show North Giveaway

Ravensburger Happy Days Lake District 1000 Piece Jigsaw

15:17 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've always loved jigsaw puzzles and a few hours spent poring over the mixture of pieces, trying to find order from chaos is always a really relaxing way to spend time. In fact my Mother in Law loves jigsaws and we often have a cup of tea and a chat while sitting over her current puzzle. It's been a while since I had my own jigsaw to puzzle over so when the opportunity arose to review one of the new Happy Days puzzles from Ravensburger I was keen.

Ravensburger Happy Days Lake District 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

The Happy Days puzzles feature nostalgic scenes of some well loved english destinations, including Sidmouth, York and London. I received the 1000 piece Lake District puzzle which features a view of Coniston, in the 1970s. Coniston is a favourite spot for our family so it was fun to get a retro perspective on the village.

First impressions on opening the box were 'wow, what a lot of pieces!' I've mainly helped with 500 piece puzzles lately so doubling up to 1000 was a big step up. Each piece is slightly larger than a penny coin and very thick. As soon as I started to assemble the puzzle I found it really easy to place matching pieces together and they combined well. The printing on to the puzzle is bright and colourful.

Ravensburger Happy Days Lake District 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

The picture makes for an interesting and engaging puzzle to solve. There aren't vast swathes of any one colour so it is easy to complete it bit by bit and you don't get bogged down with vast areas of sky or sea like on some. It is really fun to see the picture grow and I'm really enjoying the challenge of the puzzle. I haven't completed it yet and I need to buy a Puzzle Mate so I can put this away out of reach of small hands but I've found the jigsaw a great way to relax and unwind away from the laptop screen. It's good to see that the box is really sturdy, I'd' have no concerns about losing pieces through the flimsy cardboard of jigsaws past, the lid is very snug.

The Ravensburger Happy Days 1000 piece puzzles have an RRP of £11:99 which I think is excellent value for money for the hours of entertainment and relaxation provided. They can be purchased at Amazon and all good retailers.

Disclosure: We received the jigsaw for review purposes.

Mix Tape Monday - 26/4/2014

20:28 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

This week's Mixtape Monday saw it's host Clara Unravelled choose a Stone Roses track. Not one of my favourites. Of course it made me go and want to listen to some of the songs I love by them. I've never seen The Stone Roses live having tried and failed to get tickets for the reunion tour last year, I'd love to see them live one day.

My Mixtape Monday this week is The Stone Roses - This is the One, live from Coachella 2013.

Clara Unravelled

#BumpJudges - The TUMTUM Trainee Egg Set

11:08 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Our friends at Bump PR have launched a new review system to put the best of baby and toddler products through their paces and we are delighted to be in the first group of #BumpJudges. We are huge fans of the TUMTUM range and received their Trainee Egg Set to review. This comprises of a moulded egg cup plate,with room for soldiers, made from brightly printed melamine, and a spoon with a plastic, printed handle.

TUMTUM Trainee Egg Set Review #BumpJudges

The TUMTUM range was developed by a husband and wife duo when they got frustrated that they could not find fun and engaging products to encourage their little ones to enjoy meal times. Each product has been designed to look good through the use of simple bold colour, whilst holding the interest of the small user through brightly coloured animal illustrations. Even better, all the packaging is fully recyclable and it can be coloured in too!

The set arrives in a cardboard bag, perfect as a gift set for anyone wanting to avoid giving toys for any reason and it's clear to see the bright printing on the plate and spoon straight away. Regular readers will know that Bud is obsessed by animals so the farm scene printed on the plate was an instant hit, as were the chicks on the spoon which he immediately started counting. Bud tried out the set with a boiled egg and soldiers, this is something that he will eat occasionally but can sometimes refuse. I wanted to see if this exciting new set would encourage him to eat straight away. It did. The plate really engaged his attention as he sat eating his breakfast, and he sat and talked about all of the different animals, what they were doing and why.

TUMTUM Trainee Egg Set Review #BumpJudges

I think this is an excellent set. The thought that has gone into the design is clear. The plate is exactly the right size for one slice of bread and the large boiled egg we used fitted perfectly into the egg cup with no wobbling whatsoever. The fact that the plate is moulded means that there aren't any little corners for crumbs or mess to get trapped in and it is, of course dishwasher safe and reassuringly BPA and Phthalate and PVC free. The spoon has been designed to give children extra room to grip the handle and get to the bottom of their egg with it and this works well too. We've used their cutlery before when we reviewed the Tiny Cutlery Set which still gets daily use in our house so I know their products last well too. The whole set is super sturdy which means any unfortunate spills or drops shouldn't cause any damage.

The RRP of the set is £12:50 which is quite expensive for a set of this kind, especially if you are buying for more than one child and in view of the fact that an older child might start to reject the design as babyish, but I think it would make an excellent gift and I would definitely buy one, in fact I think I may have to purchase one for Little Miss as she took over Bud's boiled egg last week and wolfed it down. It fits nicely on to the tray on her highchair too. Red Rose Daddy's suggestion of using it with a creme egg won't be taken on board though!

TUMTUM Trainee Egg Set Review #BumpJudges

We are really pleased with the TUMTUM Trainee Egg Set and I think it will get regular use in our house, it's a mess free way for your toddler to get to grips with boiled eggs themselves and we award the set 4/5 which means that we think it deserves the 'Bump Loves' star.

#BumpJudges Bump Loves

Why not check out the other #BumpJudges and find out what they thought?

Disclosure: We received this product for review purposes, all opinions are my own.

A Magical Day in the Forest with Julia Donaldson on the Gruffalo Trail

09:30 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Every so often you get an invitation that is completely thrilling and last week we received one just like that - come to Whinlatter Forest in the Lake District and meet Julia Donaldson on the Gruffalo Trail - we immediately accepted and headed off on an exciting adventure! The Forestry Commission have teamed up with The Gruffalo to celebrate the book's 15th anniversary across it's forests. Now families can retrace the footsteps of the mouse and take a walk through 'the deep, dark wood' and search for the Gruffalo themselves.

Forestry Commission Gruffalo Trail #WeLoveForests Julia Donaldson

The Forestry Commission have recently opened a series of Gruffalo Trails across twenty eight forests in England. The Gruffalo trail is in place until October, when The Gruffalo's Child will take over until February. Each trail feature lots of informative and interactive boards for families to participate in. In June fifteen of the forests will see the arrival of wooden Gruffalo sculptures. The sculptures are seven feet tall and carved out of a solid block of wood. The Forestry Commission is inviting people to download a Gruffalo Birthday Party pack from their website and celebrate with family and friends in their local woodland on 7th June.

We arrived at Whinlatter Forest on Thursday just in time for lunch, which was eaten in the Siskin Cafe in the Visitor Centre. This was really lovely, with paninis for Ian and me, and mini pizzas for the children. Whinlatter is England's only mountain forest and is in a beautiful location overlooking Lake Bassenthwaite, North West of Keswick. I visited there about twelve years ago to see the Osprey nest cam and I was pleased, as was Bud, to see it again on our visit.

Whinlatter Forest Lake District Forestry Commission Metal Osprey Sculpture

 From there it was time to go and get a sneak peek of Whinlatter's Gruffalo. This has been especially uncovered for Julia Donaldson and us to meet. I can't share photos of it right now but I can say that the sculpture was delightful and captures the essence of the Gruffalo character perfectly. Each of the finished sculptures will show the Gruffalo in a different pose, why not see how many different sculptures you can see in different forests? On the way up we also spotted the fox and mouse from the trail.

After seeing the Gruffalo sculpture, which was then covered up again, ready for the grand nationwide unveiling, it was time to meet Julia Donaldson. Anyone with a child aged under 20 (ish) has probably come across her children's books. From 'A Squash and a Squeeze' which was published 21 years ago through The Gruffalo, Gruffalo's Child, What the Ladybird Heard,The Snail and the Whale, The Smartest Giant in Town and Stick Man, to name but a few, she has written more than 60 books available in bookshops, with an additional 120 for use in schools, including a complete reading scheme. Her books are amongst our favourites and we return to them constantly, we know many of them by heart. She arrived in the company of her husband Malcolm, armed with a bag of Gruffalo props and a two foot tall Gruffalo puppet! Within a few minutes introductions had been made and the children had claimed their different masks and accessories to become the characters from the story. Bud claimed the fox hood and wore it throughout the whole session.

Julia Donaldson on the Gruffalo Trail at Whinlatter Forest

The purpose of Julia's  visit to Whinlatter was to see the trail and sculpture for the first time and to be filmed for the BBC One show Countryfile. The production team joined us and we set off along the trail. This allowed us to see the information boards and sign posts for it which are laid out along the route and we also got to see the owl too. The boards are informative and encourage children to use all of their senses in connecting with the story. One of the boards encourages families to build an animal home and I know Bud would love to have done that if we'd had more time. We then assembled at a campfire area to listen to Julia read The Gruffalo to the children. She was absolutely wonderful, patient and engaging, it was amazing to see and hear the Gruffalo's creator read her own words to us. Bud was utterly entranced and sat beside Julia and listened avidly all the way through the story. We all loved Julia's Gruffalo voice as I suspect the parents there all have their own voice for him when they are reading to their own children.

Julia Donaldson on the Gruffalo Trail at Whinlatter Forest

After this there was time to have a few books signed,with 'The Snail and the Whale' for Bud, 'Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou' for Little Miss, and copies of the 15th Anniversary Edition of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom as gifts for Bud's nursery school. The two stories are quite important there and each sees a week of focused activity so I am hoping they will be delighted by them. We were being filmed by BBC Countryfile during this time so tune in on Sunday 1st June to see if we make it to the screen.

Following this it was time for tea and cake back in the Siskin cafe. The lovely staff there (including a lady from Bolton like us) had made us Gruffalo cupcakes which delighted the children. We had time to sit and chat with Julia and her husband about her life and she was very interested in finding out about us bloggers too. She told us all about her university days, when she met her husband and they performed together, entertaining fellow students, through time spent working in local and children's theatre, songwriting and performing. She spent many years performing folk music with her husband, and worked for the BBC writing songs for childrens's television. It was so interesting to hear her talk about her collaborations with the  various illustrators and I was surprised to learn that this is a two-way collaboration. I imagined that authors write books and then seek an illustrator but, with her regular illustrators, a gap in the illustrator's schedule can be the catalyst for a new book and, sometimes, an illustrator will ask for a certain topic as that's what they want to draw. I could have listened to, and chatted to Julia all afternoon but sadly time passed and we had to part ways.

Julia Donaldson on the Gruffalo Trail at Whinlatter Forest Cupcakes

We decided to burn off some steam on the fabulous children's Play Trail before we headed home. This is a must visit if you're in the area with children. It features nine different, linked play areas along a 600 metre trail, incorporating climbing walls, an archimedes screw, fairy doors, sculpture, swings and a wooden castle, it kept our two entertained for over an hour and we had to virtually drag Bud back to the car.

Julia Donaldson on the Gruffalo Trail at Whinlatter Forest

Our day at Whinlatter was one we will find hard to beat. It was an unbelievable experience to meet, and spend time with, an author who is an integral part of our children's lives and one whose books are part of the fabric of their childhood. The Gruffalo Trail is an exciting way to get out into your local forest and learn more about nature and the 'characters' in the book and, from June 7th, seeing the fantastic sculptures will be the icing on the cake. Whinlatter itself is good for the soul, it's breathtakingly beautiful at times with unbeatable views, clean air and the ability to explore, learn and get your hands (and everywhere else) dirty. We will definitely be back there some time, and visit our more local Forestry Commission - Delamere Forest - very soon.

We were joined at Whinlatter by Andrea and her daughter from All You Need is Love and Cake and Susanne and her family from Ghostwriter Mummy, click on their blog names to see what they made of the day.

For more information about the Gruffalo Trail, to find your nearest forest and events taking place to celebrate The Gruffalo's 15th birthday please visit the Forestry Commission Gruffalo Trail site.

Disclaimer: We were invited to Whinlatter as the guests of the Forestry Commission and received expenses, lunch and a goodie bag. I have not been asked to write this post and all opinions are my own.

Silent Sunday and My Sunday Photo - 27/04/2014

12:31 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Montagne Jeunesse Brazillian Mud Fabric Masque

11:00 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I'm a huge fan of face masks. When you're a busy mum who gets precious little time for a beauty regime it's often easier to find five minutes to pop on a face mask while you do other tasks to give your complexion a boost. I've always found Montagne Jeunesse products easy to use as they are single application, you simply open, apply, throw the packet away and try to relax for ten to fifteen minutes. I recently received their new Brazilian Mud Fabric Masque to try out.

Montagne Jeunesse Brazilian Mud Fabric Face Mask

All things Brazilian are very much in focus this year as the world cup takes place so this new mask is very much of the moment. The back of the packet promises:
'The lush vegetation of vibrant Brazil is the source for this natural beauty. Purple Brazilian Mud, rich in magnesium, cleanses and stimulates skin while pulped Acai Berries, high in antioxidants and vitamin enriched Avocado join forces to fight free radicals.

The first thing you notice when you open the packet is the fragrance which offers a zingy boost of blackcurrant. Obviously the packet says fabric but I wasn't really sure what this meant. You open it up and find a folded piece of fabric infused with the mask, this makes it super easy to apply. You simply press it on to your face allowing the holes for eyes, nose and mouth to line up.

Montagne Jeunesse Brazilian Mud Fabric Face Mask

The instructions advise leaving the mask on for ten to fifteen minutes and I used it for the full fifteen. It felt cool and refreshing against my skin but I did find I needed to keep pressing it down against my skin in certain areas, this wasn't an issue though. Removal was equally simple, just take the fabric off and throw it away, and rinse your face with water to remove the traces of the mask left behind.

Montagne Jeunesse Brazilian Mud Fabric Face Mask

I was very impressed by the fabric mask. I've had a persistent area of dry skin above the bridge of my nose and that was left feeling soothed and moisturised. The rest of my face felt beautifully soft and smooth too and I could smell the lovely fresh fragrance for a while afterwards. I would definitely use this mask again and I think it is a great addition to the Montagne Jeunesse range.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Our Great British Home

13:39 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We've lived in our home for over four years now but we've only decorated the children's bedrooms, and still haven't finished Bud's. As a result, I'm only fully happy with Little Miss' room. Our home is definitely a work in progress so, when I came across the Great British Home Quiz from Victoria Plumb, I thought it might give us some ideas for our future decorating plans.

The quiz takes you through each room of your home and then matches you with a celebrity style. My style was 'Quirky Cool', I'm pretty pleased with that. I think it does reflect the grand plan I have for the decor of my home. I love picking up unusual pictures and frames, decorative items and fabrics, and showing our family personality and history through them. I'm not sure whether I'm anything like Jess or Nick from New Girl though, I've never seen it! The only real thing that's not me in the description is the choice of home, I'd much prefer to live in a period town house!

The one room in our house that I am desperate to upgrade is our bathroom. The previous owners, in their wisdom, decided to rip out the bathroom and install a butter yellow bathroom suite. Nice. Trying to keep two children clean with just a shower has been fun for the last four years. We need to rip out the suite and start from scratch. The suggestion of a gold frame just wouldn't look right in out tiny bathroom but I do have some clear ideas.

I'm thinking soft pale grey or beige walls, a bright white suite with chrome accessories. I'd love something like this, sadly this bathroom is about four times the size of ours but this is the style I'm channeling! 

Victoria Plumb Bathroom Suite

Grey seems to be a huge theme in bathrooms at the moment and there are some beautiful accessories around at the moment, like this range from John Lewis. I can definitely picture it in our house!

My Bathroom Haven

Are you planning any work in your home? Which room will you be updating next?

This post is an entry for the #GreatBritishHome Challenge sponsored by Victoria Plumb, a source of quality bathrooms for every type of home. Take its “What’s Your Celebrity Home Style?” quiz to discover what your home says about you.

Win Your Very Own Mooshka Doll from Zapf Creation

10:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

A few weeks ago Little Miss received her very own Mooshka Doll from Zapf Creation. Ever since our Ina doll has really become a treasured toy. She's very pretty and Little Miss seeks her out whenever she can. To find out all the details on our Mooshka Doll review.

I received lots of lovely comments about my review and I've had a lot of interest in the dolls when friends and relatives have seen them so I am delighted to have teamed up with Zapf Creation to giveaway a Mooshka Doll to one of my lucky readers.

I'm trying out a new giveaway system for this one, Gleam works in much the same way as Rafflecopter but I think it's easier to use and less hassle to enter with, let me know what you think in the comments, if you like?

Mooshka Doll

Win competitions at

Mixtape Monday Returns

23:56 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I loved Mixtape Monday back when Clara Unravelled used to run it and it was a great way of showing a little of myself, through music, every week. I found out, about 30 seconds ago, that Clara has revived the linky and I knew I had to join in.

I loved the different themes Clara offered when it ran before but the brief this week is that there is no theme. Someone asked me my favourite song this week and wouldn't take 'that's too hard a question' for an answer. At that moment in time, this was my favourite song so I'm linking it up this week.

It reminds me of a time in my youth, one I'm reflecting a lot on at the moment as 'my music' - Britpop - is,apparently 20 years old. I'm not sure that this one was officially Britpop but it's certainly the right age. I love it. Enjoy.

Clara Unravelled

Win with The Brit Pack and Project Jelly

00:01 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Introducing The Brit Pack: A New Voice for British Made Children’s Brands

The Brit Pack Logo

If you haven’t already read about The Brit Pack let me tell you more…   It’s a collaboration formed of brands that design and manufacture quality goods here in the UK, specifically within the children’s arena.  The collaboration is the inspiration of Grubbies - the ‘dungaree evangelists’ – made Great in Britain!

The premise for the initiative is to help support and build recognition for brands that not only design, but also manufacture their goods in Britain. By working together, The Brit Pack aims to generate greater awareness for British made children’s brands.

The Brit Pack are celebrating the collaboration with an eggciting Easter Blog Hop.  For 15 consecutive days in the run up to Easter, you’ll have an opportunity to WIN delightful children’s products, made with love, here in the UK. 


The final prize on the Easter Blog Hop is from PROJECT JELLY who have provided an exclusive opportunity to WIN a pair of their retro, British made, Jelly shoes!

The Brit Pack Project JellyThe Brit Pack Project Jelly

Project Jelly is the ultimate fundraising initiative.  In 2013 Natalie Collier set about repackaging charity in a cool and innovative way - by combining the best of British children’s design with a fundraising edge - creating fun and funky Original British Jellies & Wellies for children, and donating 25% of the profit made from each pair sold to mencap!

The Brit Pack Project Jelly

Project Jelly recently unveiled their Spring/Summer collection, incorporating a NEW range of 'limited edition' children's Jelly shoes, in aid of mencap – available from May 2014. In addition to the Watermelon Rocks, cherry red sandals with a sunny yellow sole, and Raspberry Mivi, a sparkly pink style, there’ll be four new bold and equally delectable colours to choose between!

For further information visit:  You can also find Project Jelly on Facebook and Twitter

For your chance to win, simply complete the entry criteria below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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My Mobile Phone Frustration!

17:43 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

This time last year I upgraded my tired old Nokia 900 in favour of a shiny new phone, on my Virgin Media contract. Within two months, and despite having a case for it, I dropped it and the screen smashed to smithereens. I stumbled on with a broken screen for a while, never seeming to have the spare cash for the excess to claim on my insurance and, eventually the phone just packed in. I went back to my old Nokia.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's a great little phone, but it's getting rather past it's best. If I don't charge it every night it gives up the ghost and it's running Windows 7 so I can't even access Instagram on there. Yup, my Instagram account gets no love from me because I can't upload from my phone. Imagine, fellow bloggers and Instagram addicts? It's like a blogging arm has been chopped off! If I'm out at an event, or somewhere I need to tweet a lot from, you can guarantee that the battery will expire quicker than James Arthur's musical career. It weighs a ton too, which is good as that makes it virtually indestructible, I'm clumsy, did I mention the dropping? Do you know which phone has excellent battery life and a tough, water resistant case? The Samsung Galaxy S5!

Virgin Media are giving away a brand new (and shiny) Samsung Galaxy S5 to the blogger who can tell them why they deserve to win one. If that little story above doesn't do it (no Instagram. None. No photos of my food or children playing, or cats I have seen, on there. None! Won't someone think of my followers?) then maybe the simple fact that a brand new phone would allow me to run my blog, personal and social life far more efficiently and effectively might be a good enough reason to choose me. The 16MP camera would vastly improve the quality of my Instagram snaps too!

Pick me, Virgin Media, and make Instagram cat happy, you know it makes sense!

This is my entry into the Virgin Media Samsung Galaxy S5 competition 

Lyle's Syrup Fruit Cider Cake

12:27 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Will you be doing any baking over Easter? This cake from Tate & Lyle would be a perfect yummy treat if you are entertaining or planning a picnic this weekend.

Tate & Lyle Syrup Fruit Cider Cake

Syrup Fruit Cider Cake
Time to prepare: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 to 50 minutes
Makes: 6 to 8

175g plain flour
Pinch of salt
75g butter

3 medium eggs
1 tbsp milk
50g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Dark Brown Sugar
175g Lyle's Golden Syrup
50g butter, softened
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla essence
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
175g shelled walnut halves

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl then rub the butter in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then stir in just enough water to give a soft but not sticky dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface then use to line a 30x 10cm/12x4in rectangular fluted flan tin. Trim off any excess pastry then line with baking paper and beans, Place the tin on a baking sheet and bake blind in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove paper and beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until lightly browned.

Meanwhile beat the eggs and milk together. Put the Tate & Lyle Fairtrade sugar and Lyle’s Golden Syrup in a saucepan and heat gently until combined. Stir in the butter, cinnamon, vanilla and orange rind and cool slightly. Slowly pour the syrup mixture onto the beaten eggs.

Scatter the walnuts over the pastry case then spoon the syrup mixture over. Reduce the heat to 170°C/150Cfan/gas 3 and cook for 30 minutes or until the filling is set.

Serve either hot or cold.

Win a Fabulous Postman Pat Movie Goodie Bag

11:35 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

We are very excited about the Postman Pat movie in our house. The film is released on May 23rd and I think we will be off to see it just as soon as we can. For those not yet aware, the movie sees Postman Pat enter a singing contest and features the voice talent of Stephen Mangan and Ronan Keating.

Take a look at the trailer, we've watched it a few times now, to add to the excitement!

I've teamed up with the Postman Pat movie to offer my readers the chance to win a fabulous goodie bag to celebrate the film's release.

One lucky winner will receive the following items:
  • 1 x Pat Doll
  • 1 x Jess Doll
  • 1 x Soundtrack
  • 1 x Set of figurines
  • 1 x poster

It's a fantastic prize and bound to make any little Postman Pat fan very happy. Bud would love it I'm sure.

To enter the giveaway please complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Commenting on this blog post is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional entry options. Please read the terms and conditions.

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© 2014 Lions Gate UK Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
‘Postman Pat: The Movie’ © 2014 RGH Entertainment, LLC and Woodland Animation Ltd, a division of Classic Media UK Ltd.

The Mind Body and Soul Experience Manchester - Giveaway

12:42 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The Mind Body and Soul Experience comes to Manchester on 10th and 11th May at Manchester Central.
Mind Body Soul Experience Manchester

After years of bringing the show to London the exhibition comes to Manchester for the first time, there is a huge variety of workshops and stage experiences, all of which are free of charge. Some highlights include From Stress to Vitality Now with Kris North and How to Become a Money Magnet with Marie-Claire Carlyle. In addition, visitors to the Mind Body Soul Experience can attend the OYoga Show, being held in a neighbouring hall, completely free of charge.

The fun-packed weekend event is a great way to experience new and exciting things, and the perfect pick-
me-up. On offer is an eclectic collection of complementary health, spiritual awareness, and personal development that you simply won’t find on the high street. 

Mind Body Soul Experience Manchester

With over 100 exhibitors, the show will allow visitors to use all five senses to see, feel, hear, smell and taste the rich diversity on offer: from fairies to food blenders, runes to raw chocolate, there is a new experience awaiting around every corner. 

“The MBS show offers an experience like no other with the aim of helping visitors to develop a positive mind, healthy body and enlightened soul,” says MBS organiser Julie Saunders. “Visitors will be taking away new ideas and ancient wisdom and leave with a spring in their step.” From Latin rhythm, to sultry sitar, the multi-cultural assortment of entertainment on stage will also be an experience in itself. There will be plenty of space to unwind, relax, refresh and renew, with visitors welcome to stay to the very end to soak up the atmosphere, and with plenty of hot and cold healthy food options available, there’s no reason to leave early.

Opening Times:
Saturday 10am – 6pm | Sunday 10am – 5pm

Online admission costs:
Adults £7.50 | Concessions £6

On the door: 
Adults: £9 | Concessions £7.50

Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

I've teamed up with the Mind, Body and Soul Experience to give away two pairs of weekend tickets to the show. One pair each for two lucky winners. To enter please complete the Rafflecopter widget below and ensure your read the terms and conditions. Commenting on this blog post is compulsory and will unlock a range of additional ways to enter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Free Easter Family Fun

15:39 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

I've posted a few ideas in my What's On Guide for April but, since publishing that one I've heard about a few more fun ways to spend time together as a family this Easter.


To celebrate Easter and the arrival of spring,  Ashton Park Garden Centre in Ashton-under-Lyne will be holding free Easter egg hunts from Saturday 12th April to Monday 21st April between 11am and 4pm for all the local children to come exploring and get out and about this half term.

There will be six posters of the Easter Bunny located around the store and the children will need to find the posters, make a note of the location and return their form to a member of staff at the store in order to receive a delicious Easter treat!

Stephen Broadbent, centre manager at Ashton Park Garden Centre said: “Easter is a really fun time for us here at Notcutts, as it welcomes in spring and the time when we get active in the garden again after the long winter months! The Easter egg hunts are an exciting way to encourage the local children to come down to their local centre with their parents, giving them a fun activity to do during half term and giving parents the chance to explore all the incredible new products the centre has to offer.”


Old Granada Studios, Manchester’s new arts and cultural neighbourhood, has announced its series of weekly markets starting in April. A brand new offering for the region, every Saturday and Sunday Old Granada Studios will come alive with street vendors, exclusive operators, community events and live performances.

From 11am – 5pm, Old Granada Studios markets will host a hugely dynamic and varying offering from art and design, craft, gourmet and street food through to fashion and vintage.The iconic destination will welcome the themed markets - some for the first time to Manchester, providing a truly unique atmosphere for visitors to sample the most exciting stalls and boutiques in the country, right in the heart of city centre.

19th April sees the Urban Market BITE - Manchester’s first weekend gourmet and street food market. Coinciding with the launch of the Coronation Street Tour, Old Granada Studios is set to become the must-visit destination for families, tourists and city dwellers alike. Hosted within an exceptional, quintessentially Mancunian setting, Old Granada Studios has inherited its culture and has embraced its world-renowned attributes and with the recent inclusion of the urban markets, this hugely iconic destination is set to be kept on the map for years to come.

Forthcoming Markets:
19th April – BITE, Urban Markets
26th April – Love Fashion markets
27th  April – Vintage Village Market


Bolton Town Centre has a fun Easter Egg-stravaganza planned for Easter Saturday, 19th April, with visits from Shaun the Sheep, the opportunity to meet Dr Zoolittle's animals and much more. You can take part in an Easter Egg Hunt from Bolton Market to Bolton Market Place,with the chance to win a 15KG Slattery's Easter Egg. The Market Place has 'Bunny Transformation' workshops on and Victoria Square will see the Easter 'Eggspress' with the chance to meet both the Easter Bunny and Eggwina the Chick. 

The fun takes place in Bolton Town Centre, Saturday 19th April, 10am-4pm. 


One for older children here If you are 12 to 14 years of age, enter the Football for Friendship competition and you could be in with the chance to become an internationally-known junior sports journalist!
The winner will fly to Lisbon to represent the UK against finalists from 15 other European countries in the quest to be crowned Europe's Best Young Sports Journalist.

To enter just click on the link below and follow the on-screen instructions:

Football for Friendship Reporter Competition


And finally, Wyke Farms have a fab Facebook competition to win a very alternative Easter Egg.  It is two feet tall and made with 85 x 300g blocks of Wyke Farms' award-winning  ‘Just Delicious’ Extra Mature cheddar.  

Wyke Farms Cheaster Egg

Cheese-lovers can get their hands on it by entering the Wyke Farms ‘Cheaster Egg’ giveaway – on Twitter using #cheasteregg @wykefarms or liking the Cheaster Egg posts on to enter! The Cheaster Egg competition has been run since 2008 but this is the first year it will also feature on Twitter. There are two prize eggs worth over £200 each! The competition ends on Tuesday 15th April at midday. 

What will you be getting up to this Easter?

Easter Gifts for Children

11:18 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Think of Easter and you think of chocolate and I always like to give my children an egg but usually find that we get them a small 'non edible' gift to go with them. I've compiled a few ideas for gifts below that might help you with some Easter ideas.

Easter Gifts for Children

You have to start with chocolate, don't you? I always love the Thorntons Easter Range, they have some fab eggs for children this year. I think Bud would love the Rocket Easter Egg* (£3 at the moment), with the cute white chocolate rocket on a milk chocolate egg, while the Hopalot white chocolate rabbit* (£6:99) would suit Little Miss perfectly. There are some fab special offers available on the Thorntons website which will let you buy great quality eggs at fantastic prices.

Thorntons Rocket Egg and Hopalot Rabbit

Bud loves crafting with his cousins and Easter is a really good opportunity to get the art supplies out. We've been sent some fantastic colour in items from Eggnog. They have a fab range of colour in bunting, tablecloths, decorations and easter egg hunt clues*. We're going to be taking these away with us this weekend with the family, for some Easter fun. The paper used is excellent quality, the illustrations are really engaging and prices start from £3:99

Eggnog Colour In Easter Crafts

So, what to buy for those tiny children celebrating their first Easter? They will be too small for chocolate treats but parents may well want to make it special for them. Hippychick have put together some lovely gift sets for babies aged up to six months. Choose from a set that includes a luxuriously soft blanket, woven from 100% cotton fleece, a snuggly ‘Nattou’ Comforter to keep baby feeling safe and secure, and an adorable pair of supremely soft, leather ‘Shoo-Shoos’ for £35. Or opt for one containing an uber cool ‘Dribble On’ bandana bib, a traditional swaddling ‘Bubble Wrap’ made from muslin as well as a pair of leather Shoo-Shoos. At prices from £25-£35 they are more expensive than an egg but are a gorgeous way to mark your baby's first Easter. Available from

Hippychick new baby gift sets

If you're looking for a toy then look no further than Tomy's classic 'Hide'n'Squeak' eggs. Little Miss got a set of these for Christmas and both of my children love them. From 'cracking' them into the pan on their toy kitchen, to squeaking them and popping the shells back on, over and over again, they really are a fab toy for little hands. They are suitable from twelve months upwards and are available for the same price as a mid-range egg. RRP £5:99 and available from Amazon and all usual stockists.

TOMY Hide'n'Squeak Eggs

Lego Duplo is always a hit in our house, with both of my children and these two new sets would definitely go down a storm as a special treat - the Farm Tractor (RRP £16:99) and Creative Picnic (RRP £19:99) are both great sets to get children playing with Duplo. Bud would love the Farm Tractor, he loves everything farm and animal related, while I think Little Miss would enjoy the picnic set outside and with her toy kitchen.

Lego Duplo Farm Tractor and Creative Picnic Sets

If you're looking for a few more ideas then we have reviewed some great Easter gifts - 

Will you be buying Easter gifts for children this year?

*PR Samples

The Outtakes - Shoes

09:24 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Earlier this week we reviewed some gorgeous Inch Blue Shoes and Little Miss loves them. As soon as she gets up in the morning she asks to wear them then trots around the house in them all day. Inevitably, when you review shoes, you have to take photos of the shoes being worn, don't you. Well, that's easier said than done! Nineteen month olds don't take very well to direction and being told to 'stand still' for a second. I thought, as my link up for this week's The Outtakes, I'd show you some of my less successful attempts at photographing them. Check out the blog post for the successful shots (and a chance to win the shoes too).

The Outtakes - Shoes

Do you have some Outtakes to share? Why not link up with Mama Geek by clicking below

the outtakes

Mooshka Dolls from Zapf Creation

18:33 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

Little Miss is really starting to take an interest in dollies. She loves carrying them around, pushing them in her pram and looking st their clothes and features. When Zapf Creation got in touch to tell me about their new Mooshka dolls I fell a little in love and knew we would love to take a look at one.

Mooshka Dolls from Zapf Creations

The Mooshka dolls were paper doll best friends who, one day, held hands and were transformed into little girls. The resulting dolls are a really beautiful creation, with unique patterned fabrics, cute little dresses and accessories and pretty faces. They are a traditional doll which is fully machine washable and recommended for age two upwards. Each doll measures 33cm and there are six to collect. Inside each box you will find the doll, a finger puppet and a paper chain.

Each Mooshka doll comes with it's own interactive storybook available for free through the App Store, we don't have any iOS devices in our house (although we borrow the cousin's iPad sometimes) but I've checked out 'Myra's Birthday Surprise' which is available on the Amazon Kindle, it offers your child the ability to read the story by themselves, or have it read to them, and includes a fun matching game too. It's a lovely continuation of the world of Mooshka and perfect for children who love the dolls.

We received Ina, her box tells us that she loves art and this is reflected in the print on her dress which shows all sorts of art supplies and her roomy shoulder bag, perfect for storing her sketchbook. Ina wears her hair in a blonde bun with a pink ribbon bow. I was super impressed with this doll as soon I opened the parcel, Her box is beautifully printed and you could even keep it to store your dolly in, it would look lovely on a shelf in a little girl's room. Ina herself is gorgeous. Did I mention she is fully washable? That's a major plus for a toddler dolly in my opinion. The fabric used to make her is really soft and lovely to touch and her hair bow and bag add just enough detail for little fingers to explore. Each dolly has velcro pads on her hands. This allows you to fasten her hands in front of her or to link her to other dolls from the range. She is very snuggly and cuddly. Little Miss has a few dollies with hard bodies or heads, hands and feet. She plays with Ina the Mooshka doll in a very different way and she has become the doll she reaches for when she comes for a snuggle at nap or bed time. 

Ina is a big hit in our house. I love being able to give LM a soft doll and knowing that she can take it anywhere, and do anything with it as I can just pop it in the washing machine later. She's already been washed once, after an unfortunate chocolate incident and she came through her washing machine adventure perfectly well and dried quickly too. I think they are absolutely lovely and may well be advising friends and relatives that a couple of the other Mooshka dolls would be perfect gifts for her second birthday. The age range is 2+ but LM is always supervised when playing with this doll and we don't allow her to sleep with it yet. The quality is fantastic and I don't have any concerns about giving it to her.

I'd recommend Mooshka dolls to anyone looking for a sweet, soft-bodied doll for a little girl. With six dolls in the range it would be fun to match the dolly to the little girl, by buying the one that looks most like her (Little Miss would be Katia I think). They retail at around £16:99 which I think is a reasonable price for such a beautifully presented doll. There are also Mooshka Tots available, which are four smaller dolls, the little sisters of the six larger dolls and these retail at around £12:99.

You  can find more information at the Mooshka Dolls website or at the Zapf Creation Facebook Page. Mooshka Dolls are available in all usual stockists.

Disclosure: We received this doll in exchange for an honest review.