Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - an Uggly's toy review

Some toys are so beautiful to look at.  To touch, to feel, to cuddle, to stroke.

Some toys, on the other hand, are absolutely Uggly (!).  And, I mean totally Uggly. Uggly as in The Gross Electronic Pup-Pet from Character.

Be prepared to be grossed out with this toy!

We were 'lucky' enough to receive one of these gross pets, Barf the St. Bernard.  I have to tell you, they say they are the grossest pets, and, believe me, they ARE!

Have you ever been in a crowded room and you hear a little 'toot'?

Have you been in a car and heard a 'burp?

Well, this is like that, but times it by a million!  As an adult, we were totally grossed out by the various noises the puppy makes.  The kids, were totally different.  They absolutely loved it! Couldn't get enough.

They were practically fighting over who could make the grossest sound and who could make it burp/fart for the longest. They thought it was hilarious.

The toy is like a puppet, you put your hand into it and squeeze the mouth.  It makes so many different, obscene, noises.

There are four main puppies to 'collect' and each one comes with a little leaflet about that particular one you've chosen.


Barf, the St, Barnard, also has a little 'fly' button which can be pressed and a buzzing fly noise happens, which can then be distorted using the twisting button next to it.

If you want the obscene noises to last longer then you just keep the mouth closed, with your hand. 

I had to listen to my son playing with this toy all the way from South East London to West London (an hour's journey).  I actually got quite used to it and started playing with it myself!

Although, it says its for children aged 5+, my 3 year old played with it. He didn't find it too heavy or bulky to carry.  It isn't a complex toy, so he didn't struggle too much.

It is a gross toy, so don't expect anything else. Although, quite shocking at first, you do get used to the noises, but for grown ups its a short term toy. For the kids, they love it!

If you want to give a toy to a child who likes playing pranks or is quite easy going, then this is cool. It is fun and gross all at the same time (parents might not be too happy though, but that's half the fun!)

Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review. All views and opinions are my own.





Monday, 21 July 2014

I didn't fudge it....I made it!

I have been wanting to make fudge for ages, but just didn't know how to do it. 

I had heard that it takes a lot of effort (oh boy!), that's probably one of the reasons I didn't actually do it!

Anyway, I bit the bullet and tried it.  I have to say, it wasn't as hard as I thought. It did take a little bit of stirring but, I thought that is good for the arms, isn't it?!

Anyway, all I used was a can of condensed milk, sugar and butter.  There are lots of recipes on the internet, but if you want my one just comment and I'll send you the recipe.


Once you pour the condensed milk, butter and sugar, you have to let it simmer and boil and stir continuously (for about 10-15mins).

Then you take it off the heat and beat it until it starts getting thicker (see the third pic).

Pour it on a tray and let it cool for a few hours. Then cut into squares.

If you want the recipe then send me a comment and I'll let you have it!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

End of year teacher cupcakes

Here's my first attempt at teacher cupcakes.

Thanks to all the teachers who made my sons first year so enjoyable.

Roll on September!

Oh, those are supposed to be apples on the side (my husband thinks they look like tomatoes......thanks hubby!)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

It's a frying pan...but not as we know it! - Ozeri review

We all have them, we all use them.  But, we generally all fall out of love with them quickly as they start to stick.  You know what I'm talking about, right?  Well, it has to be frying pans? 

I have at least 3 big frying pans and 1 small one.  I have had them for a little while, but they have all lost there gleam and optimum cooking potential.  They do look a little sad to say the least!

So, when I was offered an Ozeri Stone Earth Pan to review, I jumped at the chance.  I had heard about these pans, but hadn't got around to getting one.

If you haven't heard about Ozeri and their ranges, they are manufacture high quality products and gadgets for the home, kitchen and bathroom.  The designs are always modern and sleek and uber functional.

The Ozeri Stone Earth Pan I received was 10" (26cm). This is a perfect size for me.  I was expecting it to be quite heavy, considering it is made from stone, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was quite easy to carry, even when hot and/or containing cooked food.


The Stone Earth Pan has a Stonehenge coating, which is a natural stone-derived coating from Germany that achieves non-stick perfection while remaining absolutely free of PFOA.

You are probably wondering what PFOA is! It's quite daunting really, but here goes.

PFOA is a chemical and is readily absorbed following ingestion.  It is moderately toxic following ingestion, causing effects on the liver and gastrointestinal tract.

Basically, PFOA is a harmful chemical which is found in traditional cookware and once ingested it takes years and years for the body to get rid of it.  A build of it in your system can effect your liver and gastro lining.

Serious stuff.

So, another HUGE tick for the Stone Earth Pan.

It's 100% safe , it contains no harmful metals and has a superior non-stick performance. The stone derived coating is durable and scratch-resistant.

The handle is very comfortable as it is made out of silicon and does not get hot when the pan is hot. It can even go into the oven. The pan is extremely easy to clean.  Unfortunately, is can't go into the dishwasher, but it just requires and rinse and wipe clean (seriously, that's all it needs, no scrubbing).

I found that when I was cooking, I was using less heat than a traditional frying pan.  The food was being cooked evenly too.  This is because the Stone Earth Pan is a better conductor of heat.

I always struggle making pancakes and parathas with my current frying pans, as they always stick.  So I thought I would challenge the Stone Earth Pan.

I 'seasoned' the pan when I first used it.  As the pan is straight from the box it is recommended that a small amount of oil is rubbed into the pan.  This enables better cooking productivity, and also means you do not need to put so much oil when doing subsequent cooking.

Paratha cooking on the Stone Earth Pan
American style pancakes cooking on the Stone Earth Pan

I have to say, even though these were the first times I used the pan, the results were really good.  No sticking at all.  I tried again a few days later and it was the same results.  Totally non-stick.
I can tell that this is going to be a good pan.  For the pure fact that there isn't any coating on the pan and it's a stone derived coating.  Making it totally natural to cook on.
For storage the pan comes with a pan protector which is designed to protect the surface and coating against scratches. You need to place the protector on top of the pan before storing other pans on top of it.

It really is a good pan and a great investment. I can imagine these pans lasting a lot longer than the traditional pans we use.
Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review. All opinions and views are my own.



Where's Barny?

Barny Bear is an adventure seeking little bear. He likes nothing more than to experience new sites and surroundings with his favourite little friends (hungry little boys and girls.....big or small!) :)

We rounded up our Barny's for a little trip from West London to South East London to visit our friendly and playful cousin.  I needed to discreetly hide our flavoursome Barny's from the prying eyes and roaming hands of my two little eager boys.  If they knew I had two flavours on me, I wouldn't have heard the end of it, whilst driving across town!

I hid the chocolate and strawberry Barny Bears in the boot (i can assure all Bear lovers, no Bears were actually harmed as we have a massive boot, which is actually open to the rest of the car).

To give you all a little background on these gorgeous little cakey bears, they are, well, gorgeous little cakey bears! In the centre of each bear you will find a delicious flavour. There are four flavours, chocolate, milk, apple and strawberry. 

Barny contains no artificial colours or preservatives and each bear comes individually wrapped to protect the little bears from roaming fingers!

Once we had travelled across town to my brother's house, I decided to have a Barny Bear Hunt with my two boys and my nephew. I hid the bears in various places around the house and in the back 

I sat the children down and told them the rules (which I knew would be forgotten as soon I mentioned Barny Bears!).  They went on their way.  Hunting high and low. 

The first to find their strawberry and chocolate bears was my youngest, Zain.  He was so happy to find them as he hadn't eaten them before. His little face lit up when he saw the packets glistening in their hiding place. 

We then ventured outside.  The older boys were so excited. Tongues wagging, toes wriggling and mouths drooling! I let them loose in the garden.  Again, looking high and low, inside things even on top of trees!

I had hidden the bears in quite discreet places, so the boys really needed to work up a sweat for their treats!
They searched and searched.........


and searched!  Then, bingo! A find! Joshua was so happy!
Then, the final instalment! There was still one pair to find.  Although two pairs had already been found, they still worked together to find the last pair. It was lovely to see them working as a team, for the greater good!
They upped their searching, looking in flower pots.  Even looking on top of heads and in each others hoodies! They were on a mission!
Looking in flowers pots

Looking underneath hats

         This is Joshua, looking in his hoodie for the Bears!

At last, a find!

Peace and quiet for 5 mins, while they savoured their Barny Bear's.  Bliss!


Thank you Barny for being you! You are a treat to eat and a treat to find!

Disclaimer: I was sent these Barny Bear's to review. All ideas are my own.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Natural cupcakes - coconut cupcakes with coconut and lime buttercream

It's been a long time coming.  But, here it is.  The final cupcake buttercream flavour, courtesy of Sugar and Crumbs

The flavour I left until last, for no reason at all, was the coconut and lime icing sugar.

As you can see from my previous posts, which you can see here, just opening the packet is an amazing experience. The smell is so tangy and fresh.  It's like walking into a sweet factory. The amazing sweet smell too gorgeous!
This packet was 125g of luscious coconut and lime icing sugar, which I decided to make into buttercream to go on top of coconut and vanilla cupcakes.
As per my usual cupcake recipes, see my previous posts, I made up a normal batch of cupcakes but I added around 30-40g of desiccated coconut to the mixture before popping it into the oven.
It took around 15 minutes to cook.
For the 125g of icing sugar I cream about 80g of unsalted butter and then sifted the icing sugar into the butter and mixed it for about 8 minutes. Basically, until the consistency was soft and mousse like.

The coconut cupcakes were delicious and the coconut and lime buttercream on top wasn't too sweet or overpowering. It was lip-smacking!  I really can't recommend these flavours enough. They are different and refreshing.  It's not often that you can find natural icing sugars which still taste amazing and come in mouth watering flavours.
You obviously don't have to just make cupcakes, a gorgeous summer cake covered in this icing would be, well the icing on the cake!!
Go on, try some and you will be hooked too!
Disclaimer: I was sent these products to review but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

When you have a point to make......

There is a proposed teacher strike day next week.  What is your initial reaction to this?
1. Good on them. Our teachers need to show the Government that they deserve a better pension package and wage.
2. Not again.
3. What? 1 week before the schools break up for the end of the year. That's ridiculous!

I'm not really a betting woman but I'm quite positive that most of you would probably go for option 3, as your initial reaction.

Luckily, I am a stay at home mum so I don't have to worry about childcare. But, what I do get annoyed at is this constant need for striking (tubes, trains, teachers etc). It really doesn't get anyone anywhere.

I am already struggling on how to keep my two occupied over the summer term, my husband can only take off two weeks so I'm left to my own devices for the rest of the summer, an extra day is not helpful and really doesn't carry any sympathy from me.

If you have a point to make, make it coherently, not by alienating the people who actually respect you the most.....parents.

How about the parent/families who are already taking time off during the summer to be with their children and now they have to factor in another day off work. It's hard enough as it is.

In this modern society, there should be absolutely no need for striking, across any industry.
Sometimes, as harsh as this may sound, we just have to put up and shut up.  People working in the
private sector have to deal with less pension rights and pay and probably more working hours and working days.  Sometimes, strikers need to empathise and realise they may actually be better off than others.

I know this is only just scratching the surface of the issues and topics but if it's ok for strikers to justify their action and subsequently directly effect thousands of people why can't I just say "stop it". It really isn't doing any good.  There will be another strike in a few months and some more a few months after that. Its a constant cycle.

If you have a message, do it without the strikes, it doesn't help you or the people you are supposed to be serving (e.g. children, passengers etc). What do you think?

Disclaimer: this is just me having a rant!

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