I was given the opportunity to review a canvas from Canvas Design. I couldn’t refuse, particularly after moving to a new house with much more space and so many bare walls. I chose a photo of my three Littlies taken on a day trip to a local attraction last summer. I love the fact it’s a lovely sunny day and the tree bench is lovely, of course the kids poses could have been better, but I’m lucky to get a photo of them all together so I’m not complaining.

My parcel took only five days to arrive and that was including the weekend. I was so excited to open it. The canvas measures 22 inches by 14 and looks lovely on my wall above the settee. It’s lovely and sturdy and comes with a complete hanging kit so you can put it up straight away. Maybe the hanging kit should come with a little instruction sheet as it took OH a few minutes to work it out, but then again, he’s a man, he’d have probably ignored instructions anyway.

Canvas design have been around for twelve years now and have perfected the art of putting your favourite photos onto canvas. The frames start from as small as six inches and go all the way up to forty inches. (OH wants a forty inch canvas of his guitar!) Prices start from as little as £7.99 and delivery is free.

The website is easy to use, you upload your photo, choose your size and then you can even view what it would look like on a wall above a sofa. It really helps to give you some perspective. You can even change the colour of the background to see what the canvas would look like on a coloured wall. If you can’t decide what photo to choose you can even go for a montage with anything from three to twenty photos.

If you fancy trying Canvas Design for yourself you can get a 15% discount with the code BLOG15 at the checkout. (I’ve just ordered one for grandma’s birthday)

Or….you could try and win one in my fabulous competition. The prize is a canvas of your choice in any size, with free delivery. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition guidelines:
Uk only competition (sorry)
winner will be required to e-mail photo of their choice to Canvas Design to attain their prize canvas
Competition prize will be supplied by a third party, Raisiebay cannot be held responsible for the receipt of this prize.

Disclaimer: I was given a canvas of my choice for the purpose of this review and competition. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Disclaimer:

With Shrove Tuesday approaching I was happy to review some Princes fruit filling for our pancakes. Of course I’m a firm believer that pancakes are not only for Shrove Tuesday, you can have them anytime. We love them.

Now my family is big and we all have different tastes. I like pancakes with lemon and sugar and so does Star, but Daddy likes banana and chocolate sauce in his. Eldest Daughter likes nutella on hers and Boo and the little man like melted chocolate. No1 son was never fussy, he’d eat his with anything, but he now has a new favourite……chocolate pancakes with cream and black cherries.

Ingredients (serves 4)

125g self-raising flour
10g cocoa powder
2tsp caster sugar
1 egg
150ml milk 
few drops of vegetable oil
150ml double cream
1 x 410g can Princes Black Cherry Fruit Filling

Method:

sift the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl and stir in the caster sugar
the egg and milk and then use a hand whisk to beat the mixture together to make a smooth batter.
Heat 2-3 drops of vegestable oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
Use the batter to make 8 small pancakes, cooking them in batches. To cook, add small ladlefuls of batter to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface. Turn over and cook for 1-2 more minutes until set. Set aside on kitchen paper until all the pancakes are cooked.
Whip the cream in a chilled bowl until it holds its shape. Sandwich two pancakes together per person with half the whipped cream and Princes Black Cherry Fruit Filling. Top with the rest of the cream and cherries.
If you like you can sprinkle them with a little more cocoa powder.
According to No1 Son, they taste even better when chilled. (personally, I couldn’t wait)

You can find this recipe along with many others on the Princes website

A tasty
alternative to traditional sugar and lemon, the canned Fruit Fillings come in a
range of delicious flavours to suit the whole family including Apple; Summer
Fruits; Red Cherry; Black Cherry; Strawberry; Blackcurrant and Apple &
Blackberry. Princes Fruit
Fillings can also be used as a quick and easy addition to a variety of home
baking recipes – from tarts to trifles and cheesecakes to
crumbles. Princes Fruit Fillings
are available for £1.29 RRP (395g / 410g) at a range of
supermarkets.

I also have a can of apple and blackberry which I’m thinking of using in a recipe with the littlies later this week, so look out for that, I’m sure it will be just as delicious.

I was sent some products from Princes for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen. It’s been half term for us and we’ve had plenty of chances to help out in the kitchen so we’ve lots to share. It was also Daddy’s birthday so, of course, there was birthday cake. Silly Daddy wanted a cake with big hard nuts which Mummy made for him, but don’t worry, the kids didn’t miss out because they made their very own chocolate birthday cake and decorated it all by themselves.

More of that in a bit, first I’d like to say thank you to last weeks linkers. Mummy Zen and her son linked up their yummy Apple and Cinnamon Muffins. EatsAmazing cooked up some delicious looking Chicken Kebabs with Small Child, we are so going to try these! Miss T from the Beesley Buzz cooked up a favourite of ours, Toad in the Hole. And Baked Potato Mummy and little Potato treated us to Yoghurt Pot Muffins, with all ingredients measured in a yoghurt pot, how clever is that?

If you’d like to join in this week, it’s easy. Just cook with your kids and link up your post. Kids in the Kitchen has it’s own special page with further details, if you want to know more.

Half Term Cooking:

We had lots of time in the kitchen this week. The littlies love sandwiches so I thought it was about time they learnt how to make their own. Buttering bread is a great task to learn and the littlies loved making their own lunch.

kids in the kitchen

The Little Man loves to measure out his pasta for his lunch, he could live on pasta, I swear he’s addicted. Then every time I had something to mix together there was at least one willing pair of hands to help out.

Then there was the birthday cake. I decided to let them make a basic chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake


Ingredients:


175 grams butter
175 grams caster sugar
2 eggs
160 grams self raising flour
15 grams of cocoa powder

for the filling:

60 grams butter
110 grams icing sugar
10 grams cocoa powder

To decorate:

500grams ready to roll icing
a little blue food colouring
star stampers

Method:


Put butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. We like to use a wooden spoon because it’s good fun.
beat the eggs in another bowl then add half at at time to the butter and sugar mixture.
(Boo always says the mixture looks like baby food)
The we sift in the flour and the cocoa powder, trying very hard to get most of it in the bowl and not all over the work top, or our clothes. ( We rarely succeed!)
Then we slowly mix in the flour to make our cake batter.

For this cake we split the mixture between two 7″ cake tins and baked for 30 mins at Gas mark 4 or 180C

When I had removed the cake from the oven and allowed it to cool, we began the filling.

We put the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder in the food mixer and the Little Man was the proud switcher on. When the mixture was smooth we split it into two. half we put in the middle of the cake and the other half we covered the outside of the cake.

The decorating was most fun. I let the littlies take turns in rolling out the icing, then I helped them place it on the cake and smooth it out.

The left over bits we dyed blue with a little food colouring. Then we rolled it out again and the littlies cut out lots of little stars with my star stampers. You can use cutters, but the littlies enjoyed stamping the icing and then pressing the button to release the stars. When we had lots and lots of stars Boo decorated the cake with them.
To finish off I made them some icing in a piping bag and helped them pipe Happy Birthday Daddy around the edge of the cake.

kids in the kitchen

Please come and join in your posts for this weeks linky.

I’d also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. 

I don’t think I have IBS or any specific allergies, but I do get a lot of bloating and upset stomachs. I always say I have a good diet, but I do feel I’m kidding myself sometimes, I can be a bit of a junk food junkie at times and I have a passion for biscuits and cake. When I’m trying to lose weight I generally just cut out the junk, sugar and full fat milk and I can lose a few pounds easily. I do however, feel hungry and deprived when I miss out on my ‘treats’

I decided to give Ilumi a go because I wanted to see if changes in my diet would really help me, both from the bloating and stomach problems and the craving for unhealthy food. I was sent a box of food for one for one week. This was the Boost Your Energy box and included 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 main dishes and snacks for every day. The plan also comes with a handy tip sheet and menu to follow.

Ilumi produce nut-, gluten and milk free food and use no uneccessary additives. They are perfect for people with allergies, or diet related conditions like IBS. The meals are cooked in pouches and then
 sealed so they stay fresh for when you open them. They do not need to be stored in the fridge. The most amazing thing about them is that they are full of flavour!

I’ve tried ready meals before, those well known brand boxes that you pop in your microwave for a quick and easy meal, and I’ve never been impressed. The last one I tried, when I needed a quick and easy lunch for one, tasted purely of sugar and salt and had tiny rock hard prawns that were inedible. So, I’m not a big fan. In fact, I find ready meals a bit of a cheat, I love cooking and putting everything together. In my kitchen food is made with love, not microwaves. However, I was prepared to give this box of food a chance, particularly as I would be eating differently to my family for a week, the convenience of popping my dinner in the microwave at the last minute made the task doable. I guess this is one of the reasons why I find dieting so difficult, how can I prepare my meals seperately when I have another six people to feed, and a couple of them are incredibly fussy eaters.

On unpacking my box I was pleased with the amount of food, all this just for me! There was also a couple of bottles of gluten free beer popped in. I stashed it all in the cupboard and read the tips sheet to see if I would need anything else.

ilumi’s Recommended Shopping List
Semi-skimmed milk
Gluten Free Bread Rolls
Gluten Free Pasta
Fruit portions
Selection of Vegetables
Side Salad

I always buy fruit and vegetables anyway and I didn’t bother with the side salad. I did buy gluten free bread rolls and hated them, yuk! I also bought gluten free pasta which was nice and actually cooks quicker than regular pasta so I’m going to buy it regular for my Little Man who is a pasta addict and finds 11 minutes too long to wait for his fix.
The snacks included in the box were oat cakes and oat and syrup biscuits. I had a feeling I might get a little chocolate craving so I added some gluten free chocolaty type fruit bar thingies to my shopping list, just in case.
I also bought some gluten free breakfast cereal in case I didn’t have time to make up the porridge.
So the first day came and I began my energy boosting diet. 
Remember, that microwave meal I talked about earlier? Well it was no comparison to these meals. The flavours exploded in your mouth. They were really easy to prepare, just a few minuts in the microwave and put on the plate, but you would not believe that they hadn’t come straight from a couple of hours slaving over a hot stove. They were fresh and delicious. The rice dishes were fluffy and perfect, and I always thought MY rice was perfect! 
I didn’t like everything, well that would be too much to expect, but the ones I didn’t enjoy were purely down to my personal tastes, there was nothing wrong with them. 
I do believe that if my family were taking part too they’d be very happy…then I had a brainwave, these would be perfect for self catering breaks away. You know the ones where you have to give up your beach or fun time to go back to the caravan or chalet to feed the brood before the next lot of entertainment. Well, with a few Illumi products packed in your suitcase you could whip up a totally delicous meal, worthy of a restaurant, in just  a few minutes!
Within a couple of days I noticed that my ‘looking like I’m six months pregnant tum, when I’m not pregnant at all’ had reduced quite a lot…yay, the bloating was improving already. I also found at the end of the week I’d lost 2lb. Although this is not a weight loss diet, I believe I lost weight purely through not eating junk and retaining water. I never felt hungry, the meals were satisfying and I rarely had to add any more veg or salad, they were fine on their own. I didn’t finish all the snacks in the week, not even the chocolate ones. I didn’t snack on anything naughty either, I just didn’t feel the need.

As for the energy boost, well, I didn’t feel that usual ‘don’t want to get up I’ve just eaten’ feeling after the meals. Yes I was full, but not bloated. I also felt a little less tired, I do have three little ones that I have to run around after and often get deprived of sleep, so every little bit of extra energy helps. 


On the Ilumi website you can purchase the full weeks supply of the energy boost diet for just £40, that’s including delivery. You can also purchase meals individually and if you like the taste but want to add your own meat or vegetable you can even buy pouches of just the sauce. Meals start from £2.75 and sauces from £1.50 with packets of rice for one for just £1. I think these are great value, especially considering how tasty they are.

ilumi

Disclaimer: I was sent a box of food to trial from Ilumi. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Linking up to Well Being Wednesday over on Autism Mumma.

Wellbeing Wednesday

This is our entry to the Tots100 Competition to celebrate the release of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs2 on Blu Ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, Flint’s invention is turning animals into food, or foodimals and we would like to introduce our very own foodimals….The Breadgehogs!

The Breadgehog first appeared in Star’s lunch box a couple of years ago. He felt really at home on his bed of lettuce with a wall of cucumber, some grapes and two cheesnails for company.

We called him Harry the Breadgehog and loved him so much he made a further appearance at a picnic the following summer along with some other family members.

We thought they would be happy with some lettuce and cucumber to snack on, but oh no, Harry got a bit cheeky and went after the treats instead.

We forgave him though, and he still makes regular appearances in our kitchen. Only a few weeks ago he was made again but this time by the littlies.

We hope you love the breadgehogs as much as we do.