Friday, 27 February 2015

Mothers Day Ideas

Mother's Day is nearly upon us once again and I don't know about you but I love to receive something nice and a little bit different.  Below are a couple of ideas that I think are absolutely fabulous.

Spice Kitchen are a small artisan company who provide spices and spice blends. Each jar contains 45g of spice, Garam Masala, Sri Lankan Curry Powder, Panch Phoron, Mexican Spice Blend, Jerk Spice Blend, Chinese Spice Blend, Ras El Hanout and Baharat and comes in a gorgeous wooden spice box.  I was sent an assortment of spices to try and aroma from inside the package was amazing, needless to say I have been checking out the recipes on their website and will be experimenting shortly.  I would love to receive this as a Mother's Day present.

Joanie's Gifts sent me this great bone china mug which is featured on her Mother's Day gifts page, made by "the bright side" and of course it was made for me!  Joanie has some unique gifts in her oriental section ranging from Feng Shui Gifts, Japanese Lucky Cats and Owls as well as the gorgeous Kokeshi Dolls.  You might need to bookmark this website as there are so many beautiful items I'm sure you will visit more than once.

What would you like to receive for Mother's Day?  If I was to be honest I think the sweetest thing my boys ever did was pick me some daffodils off the grass verge, although I didn't display them in my window from fear of the local council complaining as to where all their flowers had gone.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

My Wishlist Camera

I love to see beautiful photographs, but by the time I have fathomed out how to use a complicated camera the moment I would have liked to capture has usually past.   It is important to me to be able to point and shoot as I think some of the best photos are taken on the spur of the moment, saying that I don't want to compromise on the quality of the picture being taken.

The Lumix DMC-TZ70 is an ideal camera for me, with a 30x optical zoom which would allow me to take photos of Grotbags when she is least expecting it, currently we seem to be having battles as she does not want her picture taking.  It is perfect to use in low light conditions due to a new larger pixel sized High Sensitivity MOS sensor which will make images clearer even in low light, this would be ideal at dusk or night time and especially on holiday when we are more likely to be out late in the evening. The video below shows just how capable this small camera is.

The camera has a manual control ring, RAW format recording, light speed autofocus and high speed burst shooting.  Another useful feature is the high definition video recording, this could come in very hand when trying to master the art of vlogging and of course Grotbags loves recording herself doing various activities around the house.  There are so many more useful features on this camera

I need this camera and have left various clues for the husband as to what I would like for my half century birthday this year. I am sure it would teach me so many things and allow me to further my love for photography.  Most importantly it is small and compact and would fit easily in my handbag / luggage waiting to appear at the right moment.

This post is written in collaboration with Panasonic

Who's the Worst Driver?

The moment I feared arrived when my boys passed their driving tests, no longer could I keep them safe at home, when they could enjoy the freedom of the open road.  Middle son passed his driving test at the age of 17 and of course saved frantically before this, so that he had a car ready and waiting for him on his return from the test station.

Of course he wanted to take mum out for a test drive and how can you refuse? even if you experience one of those edge of the seat moments, when your knuckles turn white with holding on to the door handle too tight, contemplating jumping out if the moment arises.  May be I've turned into an old frump but surely you are supposed to slow down before entering a corner and not leave it until the tyres are screeching from going too fast.  Then there is the noise from the twin bore big exhaust!  What on earth is that all about?  You can actually feel your teeth vibrating in your head and that's before he turned the music on.

As mothers we are entitled to worry about our children, middle son actually crashed twice in 2 days, all within weeks of passing his test.  He was lucky, so many young drivers aren't and whilst he suffered the loss of his car at least I was not suffering the loss of my child and this I am thankful for, he learnt his lesson the hard way.

More Than offer young drivers a policy whereby a small black box is fitted in to the car and this in turn sends information about their driving such as braking and speed.  This information enables them to give you a Driving Style Score, the higher the score the bigger the rewards.  One of the good things about this policy is the fact that you get a cash reward for a good driving score,  this should encourage young drivers to drive sensibly and most of all keep them and other road users safe.  I wish these policies had been around when my boys had first passed their tests, I'm sure I would not have suffered as much anxiety.

This post was written in collaboration with More Than.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

David Swimwear Review

At this time of year I start to dream of faraway lands where the climate is warmer and I long to spend quality time with my family.  I cannot tell you how happy I was to receive some David Swimwear to review, as although I am not in bad shape for a soon to be woman of 50, I think I have outgrown bikinis, although I may still be tempted especially with the fabulous styles and colours that are available.

David Swimwear is designed and made in Italy. The costume and sarong I received oozes class and style with each piece being hand embroidered making every costume unique.  Ladies this swimwear is designed to flatter your figure and it does make you feel slim and elegant with the aid of the lycra support. I love the vibrant colours used which distract away from any lumps and bumps. Small details which have gone into creating every costume, such as the twin straps attached to the costume by a glittery cube make it feel so special.  

David swimwear can be purchased from Patricia Eve online, why not take a look and plan your next summer holiday.

I was sent these items free of charge for the purpose of this review but the opinions are my own.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Direct Cosmetic Goodies

I recently received some beauty items from Direct Cosmetics to try.  I must admit I hadn't considered buying beauty items online before as I prefer to browse the shops and usually buy things which have been recommended to me by friends.  The items that I received were well packaged which is always a good sign as I tend to find items such as these can easily become damaged.
FaceFinity by Max Factor
The ivory coloured foundation which I received gives great coverage and is ideal for popping in your handbag, this enables you to touch up on the go.  The foundation protects and moisturises your face giving a smooth appearance.  I don't usually use foundation on a daily basis as I tend to find it dries my skin but this really was good and I love that you can either use a little or build it up depending on the effect you want.  Priced at £9.99.

ROC Sublime Energy
RoC sublime energy for eyes is patented with E-pulse technology which creates low level micro-currents to stimulate skin’s regeneration. Eye contour is supposed to look brighter and younger with dark circles and puffiness noticeably reduced. The eye cream should be applied twice daily in 2 steps to the eyelids and the eye contours. You apply the grey e-pulse concentrate first and gently pat the activating moisturiser on top of the concentrate. I could see a visible reduction in the appearance of  fine lines and wrinkles but I'm afraid my crow’s feet did not seem to reap the benefits of this cream. Priced at £9.99.
Femme de Mont Blanc
Out of the three items I was sent this has to be my favourite.  Femme de Mont Blanc has a oriental fragrance which I love, it is not too strong or overpowering and is just right.  With top notes of Bergamot, Cardamom and Pineapple, heart notes of  Turkish Rose, Jasmine and Heliotrope and base notes of Raspberry, Chocolate, Peach, Amber, Patchouli and Musk it really is a winner. Priced at £9.99.
I would definitely order more items from Direct Cosmetics as they offer huge savings on a variety of beauty items.
I was sent these items free of charge for the purpose of this review but the opinions are entirely my own.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Cricket World Cup Recipe Challenge - My Indian Recipe

The Cricket World Cup has come round again and I have devised a menu inspired by the Indian team who are one of the nations who will be competing in the Cricket World Cup.  

Since working with a friend who originates from a small village in India she has opened my eyes to the use of spices instead of buying pre-bought sauces and I think I have finally mastered our favourite indian meal.
1 cup Plain flour
sunflower oil to mix into dough 
Roll the dough into a circle, cut in half to make a triangle.
For the filling use finely chopped cooked potatoes, frozen peas, cumin seeds, garam masala, salt and red chilli flakes, mix together and fill triangles, seal ends and fry. 
These are fabulous serviced with salad and mint sauce.  
To make your own Mint Sauce use 6tbsp natural yoghurt, ½ tsp sugar, ½ tsp salt and 1tbsp mint sauce and mix together.

Authentic Chicken Curry
1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp ginger, 5 green chillies, blitz in blender and cook in oil until soft, add  ½ tbsp salt, 1 tbsp garam masala, 1 tbsp turmeric, ½ tbsp cumin seeds, cook for 2/3 mins, ½ tin chopped tomatoes, cook 5 mins, add chicken and ½ pt water and cook for 20 mins.

Mix chappati flour and water and roll out finely, cook on a flat surface until golden brown.

Bombay Potatoes
Finely diced potatoes, onion sliced, 1 tbsp turmeric powder, ½ tbsp salt, 1½ tbsp mustard seeds, 2 chillies whole, cook in 2 tbsp oil on a low heat and serve.
Gulab Jamman and Ice Cream
175gms milk powder
3 tbsp self raising flour
3 tbsp course semolina 
Mix together, add a mug of warm milk to make a dough, roll into small balls and fry until golden brown.

For the syrup use a cup of sugar, 2 cups of water and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 mins.   Add the golden balls and let sit for 2 hours and serve with ice cream. (serve warm).

Finally I would like to wish all the teams all the best in the World Cup.

I was asked by Betfair to take part in the Cricket World Cup Recipe Challenge.