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Spanish chicken with Mediterranean vegetables

Spanish chicken with Mediterranean vegetables

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really don’t fancy standing in the kitchen all evening to prepare a nice meal, but I also don’t want to eat a ready meal or order a takeaway, because let’s face it, they’re totally overpriced and you always end up regretting ordering them.

On days like that, I’m glad that I’ve got little helpers in my cupboard that save time and allow me to rustle up a tasty home-cooked meal in around 15 minutes. For this Spanish Chicken with Mediterranean vegetables, I have used the Schwartz Perfect Shake Spanish Herb & Spice Blend for some extra flavour, but more about that in the recipe below.

Spanish Chicken with Mediterranean Vegetables 

Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts, diced
1 medium sized white onion, rough chunks
1 medium sized red onion, rough chunks
2 red peppers, diced
2 small zucchini, sliced
150g plum
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Schwartz Perfect Shake Spanish Herb & Spice blend (or herbs of your choice)

Method:

1. Fry your chicken breast until golden in a wok or large frying pan.

2. Add all vegetables to the wok and mix with the chicken.

3. In a small bowl or cup, mix together your olive oil and Spanish Herb & Spice blend. Drizzle your mix over the contents of your wok and stir well.

4. Fry until your vegetables have your desired consistency and serve with a side of your choice. We use either new potatoes or rice.

I am linking this recipe  for Spanish Chicken with Mediterranean vegetables up with Recipe of the WeekTasty TuesdayAll Things Pretty and the Parenting Pin It Party. Make sure to check those out for more tasty recipes and DIY posts.

Disclosure: I was sent some Schwartz Perfect Shakes and Flavour Shots to try them out in our family meals. All recipes and opinions are our own. 

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Thomas Kitchen Knives and Knife Block

Tesco Thomas Kitchen Knives and Knife Block promotion

I’m really loving cooking at the moment (who’d have thought a couple of years ago), so when Tesco got in touch and offered me Thomas kitchen knives and and knife block for myself and another one to give away to one lucky reader, I couldn’t decline.

I received a small santoku knife, a large santoku knife, a utility knife as well as a cooks knife and a bread knife – everything you need on a day to day basis really. The knives are all made from quality steel and perfect for slicing, dicing, chopping and carving. Plus, you can combine them with lots of other kitchen accessories from the Thomas range that is currently part of a fabulous promotional deal at Tesco.

Tesco are running a sticker promotion between 3rd March – 1st June 2014 where you can save up to 70% on exclusive kitchenware products at Tesco. For every £20 you spend online OR in-store you can collect a sticker, once you’ve collected five stickers you can use these to save up to 70% off professional kitchenware items. 

Thomas Kitchen Knives and Knife Block

To find out more about the promotion and how to redeem your stickers, please check the terms and conditions and everything on offer here.

If you want to win a Thomas Kitchen Knives and Knife Block set, fill in the Rafflecopter form below following the instructions. Please make sure to complete all mandatory entries before moving on to earn extra points. I will verify all entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Woodford Bridge Country Club

Woodford Bridge Country Club

If you follow me on social media or have read about our adventure at Bude beach, you will know that I spent the beginning of last week in beautiful Devon and to be more precise at Woodford Bridge Country Club, a branch of Diamond Resorts International, a global hospitality and hotel brand with hotels in over 300 locations worldwide.

We were guests of Travelzoo, who had kindly invited us to trial their website, and after going through all the offers on their site, we decided to book a well needed short break not too far from home. On Travelzoo, you can find everything from restaurant, concert and spa deals as well as short breaks or international holidays – and everything for an amazing price!

Just to give you an example, the stay in our 2 bedroom lodge (self-catering, with Champagne and chocolate surprise) cost £99 for two nights. Regularly, you would pay £220 for this package, so by booking through Travelzoo, you are paying less than half the price. How amazing is that?

Anyway, let me tell you a little more about our stay at Woodford Bridge Country Club.

Woodford_Bridge_Country_Club-Milton_Damerel-Hotel

Accommodation:

During our time at Woodford Bridge Country Club, we stayed in one of their 2 bedroom lodges. The lodge sleeps up to 6 people with the option of adding travel cots for babies and toddlers. It spreads out over two floors and on the ground floor, you find a spacious living room equipped with a flatscreen TV, DVD player and two comfortably three seater sofas. There’s also a dining area with a big wooden dining table and chairs and a small, but well set out kitchen that comes with all mod cons that you would expect at home, e.g. a big fridge-freezer, a washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, kettle, coffee machine as well as a selection of sauce pans, frying pans and cutlery. There are even different sized baking tins available, which is great, if you are staying longer.

On the second floor, you will find a bathroom with bath tub as well as two spacious bedrooms: one of them a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, the second a twin bedroom. Two more people can sleep on one of the pull out sofas in the living room.

Throughout the lodge, there’s plenty of storage for your clothes, shoes and suitcases and outside, you have a little patio area with a table and chairs – perfect for warm summer nights or dining al fresco when the weather is a little better.

All in all, the Woodford Bridge Country Club lodges (they offer apartments and 1 bedroom lodges too) are the type of accommodation that I would happily stay in again. Clean, spacious and very child-friendly. You can get cots, highchairs and stair gates delivered to your lodge too.

bude beach 14

Location:

Woodford Bridge Country Club is literally situated in the middle of nowhere, so you will need a car, if you want to explore the surrounding area. The closest beach is in Bude, which is a little over 15 miles away, the closest supermarket around 8 miles. There are some local attractions such as Lizzy’s Larder, an award-winning farm with a farm shop and tea room or the Gnome Reserve, a collection of over 3000 garden gnomes – yes, really! The resort staff are also happy to advise on attractions or things to do in the area and will happily hand out maps of North Devon and Cornwall. Extra tip: Beware the mean pheasant when traveling along country roads.

Food:

There’s a club restaurant on side and a pub, but we didn’t use either of them as we had two toddlers in tow and thought they might not be very patient at the end of a busy day. We did however use the takeaway service that the hotel’s bistro offers and the food, delivered straight to our lodge, was really lovely. We ordered Thai Green Curry, Chicken Korma, some cheesy chips, garlic bread and salad. The portions were very generous and the food arrived hot and tasty. For breakfast, we just got some bits and bobs at the supermarket. That way we were independent and could eat when the girls were up and ready. There was the option to have breakfast in the bistro though and having a look at the menu, I can say that the choices on offer were great and reasonably priced, so definitely an option, if you don’t fancy preparing breakfast yourself.

woodford bridge country club pool

What’s on site:

Woodford Bridge Country Club offers a great range of activities for all ages as well as a well looked after playground and a decent sized swimming pool within the fitness centre that also houses a gym, a squash court,  a sauna, hot tub and table tennis tables. There is also a beauty studio on site as well as a hairdressers, so you can always look your best when dining in the club restaurant

In all buildings of Woodford Bridge Country Club, you will find a number of posters that inform you about daily activities. When we stayed at Woodford Bridge, you could attend a guided walk, a jewellery making class as well as evening program and quizzes. We only used the pool as we didn’t stay long enough for any activities and preferred discovering the area on our own, but all communal areas were very well maintained and had we spent more time at Woodford Bridge Country Club, we would have definitely made use of them.

Overall experience:

We had an amazing time at Woodford Bridge Country Club. The resort was clean, quiet and very well looked after and the customer service was outstanding. We had a daily call from reception checking in with us and making sure that we had everything we needed and on the evening before our departure, reception phoned to offer us help with our luggage on the next morning. It was lovely to know that we are really valued as guests and that there was help available should we need it. Would we come back? Definitely, I have already recommended it to friends and family who are looking into booking a short break at Woodford Bridge Country Club.

Disclosure: We were guests of Travelzoo and only paid for our internet use and food. All opinions are our own and 100% honest. All images apart from Bude beach courtsey of Woodford Bridge Country Club. 

 

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Saving money – Start with paying yourself first every month

how to make savingsBritons lag behind the French and Germans in terms of the percentage of money earned that is put in savings.

Tony Vine-Lott, Director General of TISA, wrote in the FTAdviser yesterday that only a third of British families habitually save a portion of what they earn. Shockingly, just as many families are broke every month end that there is nothing left to put in savings.

How can 66% of the British population start building up savings?

Automate it

The answer is to put away a tenth of what you make and forget about it. And do it automatically.

Arrange for your bank or building society to automatically take out 10% from your pay every payday and put it into a saver account. This way you don’t even see the money come in and aren’t tempted to spend it on things you don’t really need. You can set this up yourself with most of the best current account deals by setting up a direct debit or standing order using their online banking tools.

If you worry about how to stretch what is leftover to last til the next pay, know that there are easy ways to cut down on spending at home and even make a few extra quid:

Make a grocery list and stick to it

British consumers typically horde food from supermarkets only to throw it out after it has sat in the fridge too long. To avoid this, make sure you only buy what you will actually eat by planning your meals and making a list. If it’s not in the list, it shouldn’t go in the trolley.

Before heading out to shop, compare supermarket prices at http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/. This will not only lead you to the store with the best prices, you will also have a fairly certain idea how much you will spend to budget accordingly.

Don’t pay for bills you don’t have to

Do you pay a monthly membership to the gym you never go to? Do you pay for a mobile phone service that can be switched to pay-as-you-go? Do you really watch enough TV to need a TV licence? If you cancel a subscription you don’t really use and save around ₤20 a month, you could save up to ₤240 in a year.

Sell off what you don’t use

Go through your cupboard and sort all the things you haven’t used in the past few years. Chances are you never will and you can add a bit more to your savings by selling these things off. Sites like Ebay make it easy to find people who will be happy to take over your unwanted treasure.

This is a guest post from Clydesdale Bank with an image from OTA photos. 

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No luck on the National Lottery? Try a different one!

would I would do if I won the lotteryIf you enjoy playing the lottery but think that the chances of hitting the jackpot are too slim, then you’re not alone. Every time you play the UK lottery you have a 1 in 13,983, 815 of winning the jackpot. Granted, it’s still a chance, but there is a way to play the lotto at better odds. You can now play the Irish lotto even if you live in the UK and the chances of hitting the Irish lotto jackpot are 1 in 8, 145,060. It’s still a long shot, of course, but less of one.

It used to be that you’d have to be in Ireland in order to buy a ticket, but now you can buy them online. It works in just the same way as if you were buying tickets for the UK National Lottery online. You simply pick your Irish Lottery numbers or go for a quick pick option – where the numbers are chosen for you – and then you’re in with a 40% better chance of winning than you would be with the UK National Lottery.

The prize jackpot on the Irish lotto averages about £2.5 million a week – which is plenty big enough for most people. Sure, it may not be anywhere near the Euromillions jackpot of £108 million won by car mechanic Neil Trotter in March this year, but £2.5 million would certainly be a life-changing amount.

Part of the fun of playing the lotto online is that you can try your luck at lots of different lotteries – including the Euromillions, the Irish lotto, and the big lotteries in the USA, Powerball and Megamillions. There’s no need to stick with your own country’s National Lottery these days – you may as well widen your chances of winning a jackpot somewhere by joining in other countries’ lotteries too.

Guest post with image from Matthew Anderson. 

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Mushroom risotto with sausages and peas

mushroom risotto with sausage and peasI’ve become a little obsessed with risotto recently and as I was asked, why I didn’t share the recipe for my chicken and mushroom risotto last time, I thought I’d tell you how to make this tasty mushroom risotto with sausages and peas instead. It does sound like a strange mix and it probably isn’t the prettiest meal to look at, but the flavours compliment each other really nicely and both Amy and Ben went on to have seconds.

So how do you make this mushroom risotto with sausages and peas, I hear you ask? Here  you go:

Mushroom Risotto with sausages and peas

- serves 4 very hungry people

Ingredients:

2.5 pints chicken stock
100g butter, unsalted
1 big onion
1 pack of pork sausages, roughly chopped without skin
250g button mushrooms, roughly chopped
250g risotto rice, e.g. Arborio or similar
120g frozen peas
salt, pepper
some grated parmesan

Method:

1. Bring stock to simmer in a saucepan.

2. In a separate large saucepan, melt your butter over a medium heat before adding the onion and cooking it for five minutes or until translucent.

3. Add sausages and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid lumps.

4. Add mushrooms to the saucepan and cook until soft. Stir in the rice and cook until it has absorbed all liquid.

5. Now the work begins: Add 200ml of stock at a time and make sure to constantly stir your mix. Only add more stock once all liquid has been absorbed. Stir in peas and season. Continue to add liquid and stir until your rice is creamy, approximately after 22 minutes.

6. Serve with some grated parmesan.

Enjoy and do experiment with flavours to see what you and your family enjoy best! Some white wine also adds to the flavour of your mushroom risotto, but this step is optional as the wine tastes just as good accompanying your meal. 

I’ll be linking this recipe up with Recipe of the WeekTasty TuesdayAll Things Pretty and the Parenting Pin It Party. Make sure to check those out for more tasty recipes and DIY posts.

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A day at Bude beach – Country Kids

At the beginning of the week, I was lucky enough to enjoy a short break in Devon with my friend Andrea from All You Need Is Love And Cake and our little girls. We had a lovely time, albeit it being way too short, and made use of the great weather by spending an entire day at Bude beach in Cornwall.

Equipped with a bucket, two crab nets, a crab line, some stinky herring in one bag and a picnic in the other, we made our way down to Summerleaze beach – ready for our big beach adventure. Amy and Sophie were instantly in their element. They ran along the beach, climbed dunes, collected stones and watched the sea gulls pick up the rest of their sandwiches. It was utter bliss.

Andrea and I sat in the sun while the girls happily entertained themselves and I loved every second of it. Having grown up by the sea, being by the seaside always makes me happy and reminds me of my childhood: the salty air, the slight breeze, the sea gulls cheekily dancing in the sky and the waves crashing against the shore. There’s no better place to be and refuel for the weeks to come!

We discovered rock pools, unsuccessfully attempted to catch some crabs for the girls and quickly made our way into town for some dry clothes and ice-cream when poor Sophie ended up bum first in one of the rock pools. We quickly raced back to a different part of the beach though and continued our adventure.

The girls sorted stones by size, threw them in the water and discovered something that I had never seen before: limpets, sea snails that cling extremely tightly onto the surface that they live on in order to protect themselves from being washed away with the tide. Never seen a limpet? No, but I promise that I’m neither terribly uneducated, nor have I hidden under a rock for the best part of my life. I’ve simply grown up on the coast of the Baltic Sea, a mediterranean sea that doesn’t have tidal movements, so no limpets.

But enough of our little marine biology class, here are some photos that I took of the girls while they were exploring the beach. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Bude beach 1

Bude beach 2

Bude beach 3

Bude beach 4 sea gullBude beach 5

BUde beach 6Bude beach 7bude beach 8bude beach 9bude beach 11bude beach 13bude beach 12bude beach 14
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Parents: How to Pack For Sports Tour Matches

sports tours for children- rugby toursOn tour with your kids this year? truly admire your support! Are you prepared for a multitude of match fixtures? It can be stressful, so it’s important to be fully equipped for the matches to come. Here are a few tips from parents who’ve been on the mini junior rugby tour trail.

Sports Kit

Seeing as you’re hitting the road so your kid can play with their team, you probably should pack their kit first. Many parents are given the responsibility of their children’s sports uniform, so this needs to be prepared before it’s time to go. Know that everything important is packed and double-check that you have everything they need.

Towels!

The great thing about towels is that they are multi-purpose. Sure, your kids will need something to dry off with after the team shower but they can also be sat on or dipped in cold water for cooling hot brows on a sweltering day.

Umbrellas, Blankets, and Chairs

Okay, you’re going to be sat outside in all kinds of weather. Make sure you know what to expect. Outdoor umbrellas can be used as shelter from the rain and the sun. Blankets are fine for sitting on, but if you’d prefer to kick back in comfort, bring a camping chair or two with you. For the cold games, bring a generous sized thermos. You may be able to fill this at catering stations, if you run out of hot tea.

Hydration

Don’t rely on the match organisers to provide your kids with H2O. It’s worth filling large bottles with water before you leave. You’ll need them for the journey anyway and it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Rations

picnic for sports tour

Watching matches is hungry work and the food on-site tends to be pricy. Bring your own grub to enjoy and keep it healthy. A cooler can be filled with all sorts of tasty snacks. You certainly don’t want to have a car full of children hyped up on sugar (what’s the good of a sports match, after all, if they’re not completely worn out afterwards?).

Entertainment

You may be taking young siblings along for the ride, so make sure that they have plenty of entertainment to keep them going. We’re talking hand-held consoles, portable DVD players, books, or outdoor games. You could also give the younger ones an inexpensive camera to take pictures of the match for you.

Pack for Longevity

If you’re hotel hopping, be sure to pack enough toiletries and clothes to keep you going, whatever the weather. You may want to pack some laundry detergent, as some hotels offer clothes washing facilities.

Do your research before you leave. There should be interesting sites and activities to enjoy in the local area, whether it’s a water park or a historically important building. Make the most of your travels; otherwise you’ll go crazy with the incessant matches!

This is a promotional post with images from Ludovic and totoro_friend.

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Last minute Mother’s Day gifts with Bespoke Offers

bespoke offers for mother's day

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m a little disorganised and end up forgetting birthdays or occasions like Mother’s Day until the very last minute. Not good, I know, and that is why it probably serves me right that finding a present with only a little of time left to go shopping takes it out of me like a marathon and a half. I mean let’s be honest, there’s nothing more stressful than rushing into town with no idea what to buy and only an hour of time on your hands.

Well, my dear friends, there is hope and as I love being the bearer of great news, I’m even going to share it with you. The saviour of all your problems is a little website called Bespoke Offers.

Bespoke offers allows you to buy great deals at discounted prices. Simply choose your interests in a drop down menu and select your location to receive local deals tailored to you. Offers range from meals and days out to spa treatments, jewellery, chocolates and more. There really is something for everyone and with specifically set up pages for occasions like Mother’s Day, finding the perfect gift is made even easier.

I have recently bought one of their restaurant deals for a review, but I will tell you more about that very soon. Until then, check out fab deals in your area. You might find a real gem for Mother’s Day or someone’s birthday or, if you are a really nice person, a surprise treat – just because you want to make someone smile!

I was kindly offered the chance to review Bespoke Offers. I have purchased the deal myself to be able to write about the purchasing process, but will be refunded.