Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Win a 3 Month Supply of Swisse Vitamins for Him & Her

Today I have a fabulous competition to win a 3 month supply of Men and Women's Ultivite Multivitamins from Swisse, worth approximately £60.  Swisse are the No 1 Australian supplement brand who launched in the UK about a year and a half ago and have a wonderful philosophy that puts health, happiness and wellbeing at the centre of everything they do.

The Ultivite products contain vitamins, minerals, botanical extracts and nutrients made to a high quality standard and whilst you cannot beat a varied and balanced diet to lead a healthy lifestyle, at times in our life we can all do with an added burst of support. After recently undergoing spinal surgery I felt that I was in desperate need of a pick me up and after  a month of taking the women's Ultivite I have noticed a significant increase in energy and I feel less tired.

To enter the competition to win a 3 Month Supply of Men and Women's Ultivite please complete the rafflecopter form below, good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 22 June 2017

6 Guilty Pleasure Movies to Persuade the Kids to Watch this Summer

I’m sure I speak for mums everywhere when I say that planning those long summer days in advance is a good strategy. After all, hearing the dreaded “I’m booooored…” less than two weeks into the summer break is never a good sign.

Roll on summer movie days and the excuse to introduce our little ones to some of those feel-good movies we all like to pretend we’re too old for. Guilty pleasures are what summer days are all about, and after much thought I’ve rounded up six guilty pleasure movie recommendations sure to spark some imagination.

The Princess Bride
A classic in every sense of the word, The Princess Bride is also pretty smart inasmuch as it was one of the first films to poke fun at fairytales on the big screen. One of the biggest highlights has to be the scene with Magic Mike, made all the more hilarious thanks to the cranky ad-libbed antics of Billy Crystal in heavy old-man make-up.

The Harry Potter series
Granted, this is more of a guilty pleasure for us grown-ups than the kids, but we all know J. K. Rowling and co were making these stories as much for us as for the youngsters. The shopaholic in me would love to get stuck into the enchanted boutiques along Diagon Alley, although the next best thing is definitely the Harry Potter experiences offered via the Warner Bros Studio Tour. Something else to plan for the summer holidays, perhaps?

My Favourite Martian
The tale of aliens visiting Earth in human form has been done plenty of times over the years, but we’ve all got a soft spot for the alien if he’s played by Christopher Lloyd. My Favourite Martian is good, cheesy fun filled with some raucous jokes and a wise-cracking spacesuit to boot. Just try not to get jealous watching Uncle Martin the Martian eating all that ice cream after he lands on Earth.

Muppet Treasure Island
Before Mr Depp and his crew sailed onto the scene to make pirates cool again, they were the one genre that Hollywood did its best to avoid. Of course, The Muppets have always done things their own way, and that can definitely be said of their adaptation of the literary classic. Tim Curry has gone on record saying that playing Long John Silver in this film is one of his all-time favourite roles – and that he based the pirate accent on that of his own seafaring granddad.

Galaxy Quest
With all the Star Trek reboot movies doing the rounds, it can be fun to dip into a parody of sci-fi that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Galaxy Quest has a great time throwing around quips and lovingly picking apart some of the biggest cheesy moments in space movies, but it’s also got plenty of heart all on its own.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Tim Burton may have portrayed his trademark dark wit in the more recent version of the Roald Dahl book, but few can argue with the loveable brilliance of the vintage original movie. Gene Wilder, a much missed actor, made Willy Wonka spring to life in a way that’s still sparking imaginations even today. I’m sure there’s nobody reading this that wouldn’t relish the chance to tour a chocolate factory – although we might have to make do with Cadbury World for now.

Those are just a few of my favourites, but there are plenty more guilty pleasure movies where those came from. Here’s hoping your summer can be as full of fun in front of the big screen as out and about in the sunshine.

This is a collaborative post.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Cosmo Restaurant - Review

Last Sunday we were invited to dine out at Cosmo Restaurant in Sheffield. If you don't know Sheffield it is ideally situated in St Paul's Place, which is in the centre of the City, making it an ideal place to dine out, whether you are shopping or enjoying a night out.

On arrival at Cosmo you cannot help but notice how clean and luxurious the restaurant appears and we were quickly seated. The waitress took our order for drinks and brought us glasses for the refillable drinks which you helped yourself too.

She then explained the procedure for selecting our food from the banquet on offer. Plates were stationed next to the food and you are allowed to return to the banquet as many times as you like, although once I had eaten what I had chosen, I wanted to save some room for a pudding.

So what food is available at Cosmo? There is such a wide variety of food that I could not possibly list it all, but to give you an idea you can choose from Asian curries to stir fries and noodles, Indian curries, samosas and onion bhajis, good old roast dinners, Italian pizza and pasta to sushi and Japanese delicacies to name a few. In fact myself, hubbie, mother in law and Gee all found something that we would like to eat, without any of the "I don't know what I want".

It is worth noting that if you do suffer from food allergies, the staff have a handy booklet which tells you which foods have any of the 14 major allergens, although there may be accidental cross contamination if serving spoons are used in various dishes.

I have never seen Gee eat so much food, she tried so many of the dishes available even though it was all on one plate. She has actually talked Nan Nan into taking her back again when she goes to stay.

Many desserts were available, so whether you prefer cold desserts like mousse, cheesecake, jelly, ice cream, a chocolate fountain and marshmallows, fruit or cake, or prefer a hot dessert like apple crumble or pie and custard there is so much variety.  As you can see from Gee's plate below, she loved choosing some of her favourites.

Thanks to the efficient staff we had such a relaxing, enjoyable meal and will definitely be visiting again in the near future. Prices are very reasonable too, if you visit Monday - Friday between
12pm & 3pm it costs £7.99, Saturday 12pm - 4pm £10.99 and Sunday costs £14.99, although children below 150cm tall are half price.

We were provided with our meal at Cosmo for the purpose of this review but the opinion is entirely our own.

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Tinto Hotel - Biggar - Review

On our recent trip to the Scottish Borders one of the hotels we stayed at was the Tinto Hotel. Set in 5 acres of gardens and surrounded by the beautiful Scottish countryside it is a perfect place to take a break and enjoy the peace and serenity of the area. The hotel also has dog friendly rooms so perfect if you want to take your four legged friend and ramble along one of the many walks which are recommended by staff.

One of the first things to hit you when you walk through the door is the magnificent architecture and stunning staircase, all overlooked by a large stained glass window.

The Grandfather clock immediately caught my eye, elegantly tall and slim with its large pendulum, they always remind me of the Secret Garden.

The room we stayed in at the Tinto Hotel was individually decorated to a high standard, clean and very comfortable. I loved the colour scheme it reminded me of heather on the moors.

Each room has a flat screen TV, Wi-Fi access, tea and coffee making facilities and a direct dial telephone.

My favourite item in the room was the luxurious velvet chair and footstool, I was so contented sat there with my cup of coffee it was hard not to dose off.

The bathroom was large and spacious with floor to ceiling tiles with a overhead shower in the bath. Sea Kelp toiletries were provided and once I had showered and dried myself on the fluffy white towels, I felt rejuvenated and ready to go for dinner.

As a starter we both chose the soup of the day which was tomato and vegetable. Full of chunky vegetables and the richness of tomato with added herbs and spices accompanied by freshly baked bread.  It was delicious but quite filling and a meal in its self.

My main course was haddock cooked in light and crispy beer batter served with mushy peas and lemon and tartare sauce. The batter on the fish was the best I have ever tasted and I did not think I would have room to finish the plate off but I did.

Hubbie being a steak addict opted for the sirloin steak which was cooked just the way he had asked. His words were "it melted in my mouth" so it must have been good. To round the meal off he has a sticky toffee pudding and custard and I had coffee.  I could not have ate another mouthful.

The next morning we enjoyed a full English breakfast with my favourite tatti scone, accompanied by toast, orange juice and fresh coffee.  There was also pastries, cereal, yoghurt and fresh fruit available.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Tinto Hotel and we will definitely be back to stay again if in the area, with such marvellous views it was perfect.  I would just like to thank all the staff for their help and ensuring our stay was perfect, they worked really hard to please everyone but also spent the time passing the time of day with useful information about the area.

Our visit was complimentary but all opinions are our own.

Friday, 16 June 2017

What's New in June

June is my favourite month of the year, lighter nights, warmer days and just being able to experience more daylight and the great outdoors without freezing. This month is always busy with lots of family birthdays and outings to enjoy.  This month I have been looking around for new things on the market that I like and enjoy, and want to share with you, from tasty treats to great body products there is something for everyone.

Salted Caramel Heaven
If like me you are a huge salted caramel fan then the new limited edition Monin Salted Caramel syrup is the perfect treat to add to your coffee or can even be added to cocktails and desserts for that delicious salted caramel taste. I poured some over my vanilla ice cream and it was lush.  Available from Sainsburys it retails at around £3.

DermaEraze Miracle Oil
Developed by Lorena Oberg skincare expert to celebrities, Miracle Oil can improve and rejuvenate your skin, helping to prevent imperfections if used on daily basis. Made with natural oils, olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil it is suitable for all skin types.  Some of the benefits for your hair and body include it is great for blemishes, chapped lips and skin, scarring, sunburn and great for your hair too. You only need a small amount on the area of concern to help improve the area.  Priced at £15 for 50ml, £25 for 100ml or £35 for 250ml. As I have aged my elbows have become quite dry and since using the Miracle Oil the skin in that area feels a lot smoother.

A great alternative to Flowers or Chocolate
I am a huge nut and dried fruit fan and Nutalicious have some great healthy alternatives to chocolate and flowers. On their website you can easily choose with the nut gift box creator, which products to include in your gift. You can order either a 4 box gift set £16.99 or 8 box gift set £26.00. I tried the pistachios, white chocolate cherries, chilli roasted peanuts and honey roasted peanuts and sadly they did not last long once my daughter got her hands on them, she is a complete nut fanatic too. This is such a great idea and what that tastes divine too.

Judge Glass Measuring Jug & Citrus Press
Judge have released my absolute go to product, ideal for baking and measuring ingredients, it has metric and imperial measurements and can be used for hot and cold products. The press fits neatly and securely on the measuring jug ensuring no mess.  Priced at £11.20 it is a must for any busy kitchen.

Nordic Berries range from Urtekram Organic
The Danish Urtekram Organic range of body products hypo allergenic and Vegan Society approved. New to the Nordic Berries range is the shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion all of which are packed with vitamins and antioxidants from the traditional Nordic berries helping to rejuvenate and nourish the body and hair. Priced from £1.75 some of the range is available at Tesco and Ocado.  These products really do smell good enough to eat.

New Refresh'd from Robinsons
Robinsons have launched an new refreshing drink made with a mix of spring water and real fruit. These drinks have no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavourings or preservatives and contain 55 calories per 500ml bottle. With 3 great flavours to choose from, Raspberry & Apple, Orange & Lime and Apple & Kiwi I think they will be a great hit. Costing £1.29 per bottle they are a great alternative for a drink on the go and they taste gorgeous.

Natural Skincare from Purepotions
Purepotions was founded by a mother looking for an emollient cream to treat her daughter's dry and itchy skin and her skin salvation range is now available worldwide. All the high quality products are made in Brighton from organic, local sourced ingredients. All the products are fragrance and paraben free and not tested on animals. Suitable for people with skin conditions they are recommended by users to improve skin condition, relieve itching, do not sting. The moisturising ointment costs £7.99 for 30ml, daily moisturising cream is £12.99 for 100ml, omega rich cleansing oil is £22.00 for 200ml and the intensive facial oil is £22.00 for 30ml. A small price to pay to relieve discomfort.

Well that is all for June, I can't wait to see what is new next month.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Pra'delle Torri Holiday Village, Caorle - Venice

Summer holidays are nearly upon us and we have had great fun exploring places to stay in Italy. The appeal of the beautiful historical buildings and ancient culture teamed with first class cuisine is a sure winner and one that ensures a memorable family holiday.

The Pra’ delle Torri Holiday Village was awarded the Trip Advisor Travellers Choice in 2017 and is certainly well placed to be in the top 15 places to stay in Italy, gaining 5 stars from ANWB and ADAC and ranked 1st in the places to stay in Caorle, according to the people who have stayed which is an amazing achievement.

Situated in the coastal town of Caorle in the province of Venice, the Adriatic Sea and a kilometre of gently sloping golden sand, shallow waters which are patrolled by lifeguards, sunbeds and umbrellas and a wide expanse of lush flora and nature are on your doorstep. It is no wonder that the Pra’ delle Torri Holiday Village is a fabulous base to enjoy an adventurous and entertaining outdoor holiday. One of the key places to visit in Caorle is the Santuario della Madonna dell'Angelo, a small church surrounded by the sea on three sides and home to some fabulous artwork. Or why not head for the mountains and experience some of the best views in the region.

Not only do you have the beach, on the seafront is an extensive Water Park equipped with water slides, Olympic size swimming pool and plenty of games to keep the children happy. I think Gee would love the massive galleon and it would be so nice to relax whilst she joined in with the fun and games. There is also an Activity Park with its own Skate Park, chill out room and audio area for children who like to listen and make music. For smaller children, there is the Fantasy World which is home to inflatable rides, a mini-cart track, amusements and equipped play area. At night children can let their hair down and join in with the mini disco, experience games, parades and other activities offered by the qualified entertainment staff.

For the sports enthusiast, there is a Golf course, with fees payable, tennis courts, football fields, mini-golf, basketball and badminton to name a few. All available for your enjoyment and fun. My favourite part is the Water sports, no holiday is complete without experiencing the Banana Boat or having a go at Wind Surfing. In fact, there are so many varied activities available you will probably be spoiled for choice.

What better way to explore Caorle and the surrounding area than to hire a bike and take in the sights of the Caorle and Venice Lagoon, stop off and enjoy the fine Italian cuisine and sit and admire the flora and fauna. The Pra’ delle Torri Holiday Village takes pride in its environment as you will see from the beautiful gardens. They are also environmentally aware and charging points are available for electric cars.

Accommodation comes in a variety of options from the recently renovated hotel with en-suite rooms to the more relaxed Apart Hotel terraced houses which come complete with their own kitchen area, useful if you like to prepare your own food. If you like more freedom then the different standard bungalows may be for you, all of which are equipped to a high standard. Camping facilities are also available with washroom units containing showers, toilets, children’s area and washing facilities for crockery. Disabled facilities are also available.

Featuring 5 restaurants, you can enjoy a wide variety of food from snacks to modern cuisine, in fact there is bound to be something to suit individual tastes and of course sample some of the finest wine. On site, there is also a shopping centre, pharmacy, supermarket and bazaar so if like me you arrive and realise you have not packed everything, you should easily be able to purchase things once you arrive.With its close proximity to Venice, the Pra’ delle Torri Holiday Village is the perfect base to relax, sight see, be entertained and experience the many historical and cultural jewels of the Veneto region. Learn more about Pra' delle Torri Holiday Centre here. You can also find more information on Facebook and Instagram.

This is a collaborative post.


Monday, 12 June 2017

The Elphinstone Hotel, Biggar - Review

Last weekend we went on a little road trip to Scotland and stayed in the picturesque town of Biggar in Lanarkshire. Our first night was spent at the Elphinstone Hotel which is a traditional coaching inn that has a long history and goes back over 400 years. Today it is run by the Allen family who pride themselves on their locals and return customers.

We stayed in a family room which had a king size bed, bunk beds and an en-suite bathroom.  All of the rooms at the Elphinstone have flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi access, hair dryer, ironing facilities and a tray with coffee, tea and a kettle so that after a busy day you can still enjoy a non alcoholic drink if you prefer.

The rooms were tastefully furnished with sets of drawers, a large wardrobe, table and two bucket chairs so no need to worry about storage especially if you are like me and always take too many clothes. Cleanliness was really good and all surfaces were spotless. I was also pleasantly surprised how big the room was, even if we had taken Gee there would have been plenty of room for her to play and chill out.

The tea/coffee tray was well equipped with tea, coffee, milk, sugar and biscuits and you are also supplied with a bottle of water and two glasses. Bed and Breakfast comes inclusive with all room rates at the Elphinstone. 

The bathroom was bright, airy and meticulously clean with an overhead shower over the bath. The only slight problem was the toilet seat did not sit straight but this did not prove a problem.

Toiletries were provided in the bathroom and they had a gorgeous smell.

Lunch and Dinner menus are extensive and include lots of Scottish delicacies if you want to enjoy a taste of Scotland. We were so hungry the evening of our arrival. We had a busy day driving from Derbyshire and the lovely aromas coming from the kitchen were mouth watering. For my starter I settled for the Prawn Cocktail, one of my all time old fashioned favourites and it was delicious.

Hubbie chose Chicken Pakora, sliced chicken fillets in a Indian inspired batter which came with a tomato, mint and yoghurt raita.  He said it was so tasty and the raita cooled the spices down perfectly.

For my main course I chose the Roast Scottish Beef which came with a huge Yorkshire Pudding and vegetables. The beef was tender and the vegetables cooked to perfection.

Hubbie decided he wanted to try something with a Scottish theme and so chose the Fillet Rob Roy.  This dish is medallions of fillet steak which come stacked with black pudding and haggis served with a Drambuie and mushroom gravy. Now I am not sure what he was expecting but when he wants steak he really should not order something he knows nothing about. He was not struck on the gravy on his fillet steak but this was down to personal preference and nothing to do with the food.

After a restful nights sleep (the bed was extremely comfy) and a quick shower it was time for my favourite part of the day, breakfast. Once guided to our table we were immediately asked if we would like tea or coffee and this was most welcome.  Juices and cereals were displayed on a table so that you could help yourself.

There was also a breakfast menu on the table which you could choose from and all hot breakfast are cooked to order. Breakfast was delicious and I especially enjoyed the Tatti Scone a welcome addition to any breakfast.

Staff were so welcoming and only to happy to chat about the area. We would definitely visit the Elphinstone Hotel again if in the area, it is perfectly situated to visit places of interest in Lanarkshire and the town of Biggar is delightful.

Our visit was complementary but the opinion is entirely our own.