22 Dec 2011

Owen Potts Sauces and Condiments


Those on the look-out for a helping hand in the kitchen need look no further, thanks to the launch of a brand new range of top-quality sauces and condiments from Owen Potts – undoubtedly the food industry’s best kept secret!

A genuine culinary expert, Owen has been developing products behind the scenes for years – if you’ve ever bought a gourmet salad dressing, luxury sauce, chutney or condiment, you’ve more than likely already tasted one of Owen’s creations.

With his delicious new quick to cook range, you can add some flair to your cooking, bring a little something extra to everyday meals or introduce a touch of indulgence to special occasion dining – safe in the knowledge you’re in the hands of a real food guru.

The Owen Potts range uses the very best, natural ingredients sourced from around the world, and includes everything from store cupboard essentials such as chicken gravy and steak sauce, to classic recipes with a unique twist, such as a mouth-watering cranberry sauce infused with honey, a great-tasting mustard sauce with hints of tarragon and a delectable Spanish dressing blended with roasted peppers and pimenton.

The delicious store cupboard range – with a product suitable for every occasion – will be available in most major supermarkets this winter. 

I am looking forward to trying the Honey Cranberry Sauce with my turkey on Christmas Day, I sometimes find cranberry sauce a bit sharp and tarty so hopefully as honey has been added it should be a little sweeter and smoother, a perfect combination for our turkey and trimmings.

Also in the new year the first BBQ will spark up (we have BBQ'd in Jan before... as we are odd!), I can't wait to test Owen Potts' Maple Chipotle Barbeque & Grilling Sauce out on some chops.  I know I could use the grill but the BBQ gives a more authentic taste.

The lead products in the Owen Potts range are:
Maple and Chipotle Barbecue and Grilling Sauce – RRP £2.29
Chicken Gravy with White Wine and Thyme – RRP £1.99
Steak Sauce – RRP £2.29
Spanish Dressing with Roasted Red Peppers and Pimenton – RRP £2.39
Honey Cranberry Sauce – RRP £1.89
Mustard and Tarragon Sauce – RRP £1.80

The Owen Potts range is currently available in Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Booths, with RRPs ranging from £1.65 to £2.39.  

Whitworths Christmas Cake Kit

Whitworths Christmas Cake Baking Kit

Christmas Cake is like Marmite - either you love it or you hate it, I 'like' Christmas Cake, its not my favourite but its not Christmas without a cake to devour with cups of tea, port and cheese.

I have always fancied making my own, starting months before and then pouring alcohol over it to keep it moist (and very boosy) for weeks and weeks.  As always I forgot and so 3 days before the big day I am now embarking on making my cake.

To help me out I am using a Christmas Cake kit from Whitworths.  Inside is almost everything I need: Soft Brown Sugar, Mixed Fruit with Rum, Black Treacle, Chopped Almonds, Plain Flour, Mixed Spice and the recipe card.    You also need to provide yourself the baking tin, baking parchment, butter, 3 eggs and lemon zest and juice.
To make the cake just follow the instructions - simple :)  (I'll let you know how I get on)
I have read online to lower the temperature in my oven a bit as I have a fan oven and also to put a circle of baking parchment on top of the cake (not touching the mixture) so that the top doesn't get too brown.  The pack states 150*C so I'll knock it down to 140*C instead.  The total baking time is 3 hours so I will watch that too as it may cook a little quicker in my oven.

What annoys me is that the decorating kit has to be brought separately.   The cake kit is around £8 which is a lot cheaper than buying all the ingredients on their own (plus you have no half packets of ingredients hanging around or being wasted), then you have to buy a decorating kit (or all the icing sugar etc... to make your own) the icing kits are at least a further £5+ to buy.    

To be honest its cheaper and easier to buy a ready done cake .... but its not so much fun :)

Moon Sand Construction Set

Moon Sand Construction

Young lads will love this Moon Sand set, the kit contains a sand tray base,  roof, door, windows, brick moulds, detonator, shovel, construction worker, plus 2 colours of Moon Sand.  

Moon Sand is a play sand that easily sticks together and moulds without the need for water.  It can be played with inside as it isn't mucky and can easily be hoovered up if an accident occurs.

Up until now the Moon Sand range was mostly aimed at girls, the construction set is however for a more male market ... build it up and knock it down!

A great present this Christmas, one that's intended for the kids but Dads and Uncles will end up playing with instead.

Moon Sand Construction is just one of the many sets from Spinmaster Toys please take a look at the Moon Sand website link for more ideas.

8 Dec 2011

Man Wrap

Man Wrap

Man Wrap is a wrapping paper made from thick foil, basically it allows you to wrap a gift in seconds without the need for scissors or sticky tape.

I have to admit that although it is a snazzy idea and perfect for men .. its not entirely brilliant.

Great points:

  • Fantastic for wrapping odd shapes such as the bottle in the video above or erm... Easter eggs!  
  • It also looks shiny and is pretty simple to use.  
  • I have run my finger along the edges and so far I haven't been able to cut myself (which I was a bit concerned about).
  • Not only it is easy to wrap stuff, it is also easy to unwrap too :)  so great for people with arthritis or a disability who find wrapping or unwrapping a problem.
  • You do not need to struggle and muck about with sticky tape, in fact you could wrap 3 gifts in the time it takes to find the end of the tape on the roll.

Bad points:

  • The roll isn't very wide, it could do with being twice the length that it is to be able to wrap more items effectively.  
  • You only get 5m for the £5.99 rrp .. so at £1.20 per metre it is quite pricey.
  • Its basically thick tin foil!  You may as well just buy some extra thick Baco Foil and have the same effect, plus you can get it in extra widths for your turkey.
  • I have wrapped up Andy's Xbox controller (as it was next to me, that'll fool him later when he tries to find it) and it looks like a cruddily-wrapped melted Easter egg, not a brilliant look.
Oh course you can still tart up your foil wrapped presents with bows and ribbon if you wish too, but then that kind of defeats the object.

The foil comes on a handle which will help for wrapping upright stuff (not entirely sure what??) but I am sure it could be handy.

I am not entirely impressed with this product, as a Secret Santa fun present then it is fab!  But as a usable item, unless you have a special need and require help with wrapping .. its not worth the price and I would stick to traditional wrapping paper, even if you do get stuck together with tape and curling ribbon.

Available in red or blue, 5m for £5.99 (rrp).
Please visit www.themonsterfactory.com for more information.

22 Nov 2011

Charm Watches and Bracelets

Anze Charms

A friend of mine has just started designing charm bracelets and charm watches.

Ann has a range of colours, sizes and styles available.  She is also open to requests in regards to colours and styling.

The prices are fantastic!  Excellent gifts for Christmas, Stocking fillers and Secret Santa gifts. Plus don't forget Birthdays, Anniversaries and Mothers Day too.

Please take a look at her Facebook Group Page: ttps://www.facebook.com/groups/115677601879360/

21 Nov 2011

FREE Manicure from Tampax and Always

Relax and Unwind With a FREE Manicure
Another beautiful touch from Tampax and Always

As purse strings across the UK are being tightened, savvy women continue look for a beauty pick-me-up with staying power.

Women in-the-know will be pleased to hear that Tampax and Always have teamed up to launch its limited edition ‘Free Manicure’ offer, available at hundreds of beauty salons across the UK.

Available when purchasing specially marked promotional packs of Tampax and Always, including the NEW Always Collection, Tampax Pearl and Tampax Compak, this is yet another beautiful touch from the experts in monthly protection.

To take advantage of this limited offer women should simply:
1.        Purchase a special pack of Always or Tampax featuring the ‘Free Manicure’ sticker before 31st December 2011
2.        Visit www.alwaysmanicure.com or www.tampaxmanicure.com to find their nearest participating salon
3.        Book a nail treatment with the salon before 31st March 2012 quoting ‘Always and Tampax Manicures’
4.        Print the voucher and take it, along with the on-pack sticker, to their appointment
5.        Sit back, relax and enjoy!

Extra touches feature in all products in the Always and Tampax ranges to help make each period a more pleasant one.  The new Always Collection feature three kinds of pads, each with its own extra beautiful protection:
·        Always Silk with its silky soft topsheet
·        Always Freshness with its beautiful light scent
·        Always Freshelle complete with a fresh feminine wipe

What’s more, Tampax Pearl features a unique placement grip and Soft Touch™ applicator for an incredibly comfortable experience, while the smooth plastic applicator of Tampax Compak is half the length of the standard applicator making it twice as discreet.

For full details of how to claim a free manicure and terms and conditions visit www.alwaysmanicure.com or www.tampaxmanicure.com.

James Martin - Life Fork & Spoon

James Martin’s New Life Fork & Spoon Brings Real Restaurant Food to Your Kitchen Table

Life Fork & Spoon (www.lifeforkspoon.co.uk) is a fantastic new online home-delivery service bringing delicious, restaurant quality meals and dishes to your door. All recipes have been specially created by TV chef, James Martin and his team of experienced chefs, providing the perfect way to serve up gourmet meals in a matter of minutes.  

Whether you are hosting a dinner party, or simply want to stock up on hearty home-cooked dinners, Life Fork & Spoon is an easy and convenient way to enjoy professionally created, wholesome dishes without spending hours in the kitchen.

The online menu gives you a great choice of starters and main courses, including filling dishes for one, such as succulent Minted Lamb Shank, spicy Chicken Balti Pie or hearty Shepherd’s Pie. 
To impress friends at a dinner party, why not try the sharing starters and family-sized meals such as delightful Pork Apple and Cider Terrine, Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche, Luxury Beef Lasagne, Steak and Ale Pie and tempting Thai Green Curry, to bring that home-cooked look and taste to your table, whatever the occasion.

For the perfect end to your meal, there are also eight impressive desserts to choose from, such as James Martin’s signature Sticky Toffee Pudding with a rich caramel sauce, or his White Chocolate Bread & Butter Croissant Pudding with a drop of whisky for extra flavour. 
Treat yourself or your guests to family favourites such as the zingy Lemon Drizzle Sponge or the luxurious Treacle Tart (serves 8-10), or serve up a tempting treat with the melt-in-the-mouth Mascarpone and Vanilla Cheesecake (served 14-16).

The mouthwatering meals are all created using top quality ingredients and choice cuts of meats, cooked with care and passion to bring handmade, real restaurant standard foods to your table.
James has also put together a selection of introductory boxes – a great way to explore the range. You can order a Dinner Party for Four or Six, Family Favourites and Gourmet Boxes, all containing a hand-picked selection of delicious dinners from the menu for you to enjoy.

The dishes and desserts are ‘snap’ frozen for extra freshness and can be used on the day of delivery or kept in the freezer for a later date or as a stand-by dinner. All meals come with easy-to-follow cooking instructions, with many using the sous-vide technique. James’ advice is cook the products slowly and gently to produce the best results.

Ordering is quick and easy - simply browse through the options on the website, make your selection, choose a delivery date and time, checkout via the secure online process and your food will be delivered to your door ready for you to enjoy.

In addition, James is so confident in the range that he is offering a 100% cash back guarantee if you are not fully satisfied.
James comments: “We have worked hard to create a fantastic range of products that I am very proud of. Whether it is for every day dining or for a special occasion, I’m sure you will find something on our menu to delight you.”
Prices range from approximately £3.50 for a Chicken Balti Mini Pie for two, through to £19.90 for a luxury Beef Lasagne (serves 8).

With over 60 fantastic foods to choose from, including chicken, beef, pork, lamb, duck, pies, quiches, fish as well as seafood and vegetarian options, you will be sure to find something to suit all tastes, no matter what the occasion.

James and his team will be adding new dishes to the menu in the next few months so watch this space!

Visit www.lifeforkspoon.co.uk to see the menus and to place your order now. 
You can follow us on Twitter @lifeforkspoon or become a fan on www.facebook/lifeforkspoon.

Prices for dishes mentioned:
Chicken Balti Mini Pie - £3.50 (serves 2)
Minted Lamb Shank - £5.40 (serves 1)
Shepherds Pie - £3.90 (serves 1)
Pork Apple and Cider Terrine - £7.90 (serves 6)
Quiche - £18 (serves 8-10)
Luxury Beef Lasagne - £19 (serves 6-8)
Steak and Ale Pie - £3.90 (serves 1) or £19.90 (serves 8)
Sticky Toffee, Date & Pecan Pudding - £4.80 (serves 2)
White Chocolate & Whisky Bread & Butter Croissant Pudding - £4.90 (serves 2)
Treacle Tart - £17.50 (serves 8-10)
Mascarpone and Vanilla Cheesecake - £21 (serves 12-16)

19 Nov 2011

Disney Universe Xbox360 Game

Review by guest blogger: Emma Guest, Age 10

Disney Universe is action packed game for the Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Nintendo wii and PC (Digital Download Only).  You face 6 different Disney worlds, which are based on movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in wonderland and more!

4 of the many costumes you can pick
You have your own character and can pick up to 45 costumes.  You can also have teams of up to 4 and battle the worlds together!

The cover of the game
I say: "its really fun when your with your mates, as when you work together its better. I would love to have this game for Christmas. It will be good for kids age 7 and up to play."

For more information please visit: http://www.disney.co.uk/universe/?

15 Nov 2011

WowWee Light Strike

Light Strike from WowWee

Stuck for what to get the kids for Christmas? Do you have an active bunch or usually end up with half the kids from the street in your house?  WowWee may have the answer.

Light Strike is a home version of Lazer Tag, when I was about 15 Lazer Tag was massive in the UK ... indoor units were setting up assault maze style courses for people to hire out and run round for an hour shooting each other with harmless lazer guns.  I know there are a few places now that still offer the chance to play 'lazer army' against your friends even now as we have one in Cannock.  Great for corporate do's and team building amongst other skills.

Now though you can play the game in your own home!!
WowWee have brought out Light Strike, the kit is quite pricy but you don't have to buy all the gear to play .. you can add to your collection as the kids (and adults) get better and require more kit to make the game more interesting.

This video will explain it all better than I can, its quite a fast paced action game and that it quite hard to get across in a blog post.

Now you don't have to be able to do back flips to play.  Simple skills such as being able to play hide and seek are a good start! From an educational point of view you can improve team building skills and also the exercise is good for everyone.  This is the type of game that is better played outside (unless you have a massive house) and so you get some good old fresh air as well.

Light Strike is not just for boys I might add, plenty of girls like combat style games - bring the video games to life and actually join in with no worry of getting hurt.  A good idea if you do have mixed teams is boys against girls or kids against adults ... who will win ???

The whole kit is quite comprehensive with different types of guns, scopes, enemy scanners, add-on bits for the guns and targets to try and hit. 
Prices start at £10 for a scope, up to £40 for the guns .. there are plenty of products and prices in between to cover most price ranges.

For more information please visit:

2 Nov 2011

Tefal Sensorielle

Tefal Creates its Toughest Ever Non-Stick Pans
New Sensorielle range delivers the ultimate non-stick cookware

The clever scientists at Tefal are always developing new innovations to make life easier and their new range of Sensorielle cookware is one of their best yet! A new patented non-scratch coating and a host of other innovations make Sensorielle the most durable cookware range ever.

The Sensorielle range is the first cookware to use Tefal’s new Intensium coating. Intensium is an extra hard mineral base layer which is fused to the other layers, including a visible holographic layer. Intensium provides the ultimate scratch-resistant surface, designed to withstand the most rigorous use and even resistant when using metal utensils.

Thermo-Spot- Tefals Unique Heat Indicator System lets you know when your pan is pre-heated to the right temperature.

The Tefal Sensorielle range also boasts a high-performance new anti-warp base which makes each pan resistant to thermal shocks. The copper particles in the base make Sensorielle pans extremely effective at heat diffusion, distributing heat evenly throughout the food and preventing hot spots.  

Non-Stick Exterior- Easy to clean both inside and outside. 

Bakelite Handles- Stylish polished stainless steel inserts; oven proof upto 180C

The Sensorielle range features Tefal’s high quality, lifetime guaranteed Ultimium non-stick coating, which enables you to cook without oil – perfect for a low-fat kitchen. The range is dishwasher safe, easy to clean and compatible with electric and gas hobs.

The non-stick coating is guaranteed for the life of the pan against blistering or peeling.  This guarantee does not cover damage caused by incorrect use, professional use or if the product is knocked or dropped.  It does not cover stains, discolouration or scratches on the inside or outside of the product due to normal wear or tear

For stockist enquiries please call 0845 602 1454 or visit www.tefal.co.uk

Scarlett and Crimson Eye Spy

Get an eyeful with Scarlett & Crimson!

Created by beauty icons Ruby Hammer and Millie Kendall, the full Scarlett & Crimson range of 35 unique products has been designed to celebrate self-expression, individuality, creativity and friendship.

Has a special guy caught your eye? This pocked sized set will help you achieve a natural flutter that will be sure to hold his gaze. 
Scarlett & Crimson‘s Eye Spy collection, all contained in a funky keepsake tin, will help banish any signs of the dreaded ‘uni-brow’ and create perfect arches to frame your eyes.
This handy little kit contains everything you need to achieve flawlessly shaped and styled brows, including; three stencils, natural brow pencil, tweezers and brow gel. Then finish off the natural look with a coating of clear mascara for a glossy lash effect that will be worth ogling at!

No More Mono Brow's 
The kit is very handy with everything you need to create perfect eyebrows.  Never again will you either have a lovely Mono Brow  as instead you can pluck your brows into perfect arches using the simple stencils included in the kit.
Perfect Eye Brow
A great present for teenagers this Christmas, available in Superdrug for only £7.95 its also great as a secret santa gift or a stocking filler too!!

31 Oct 2011

Lyons Seafood

 Lyons Seafoods, Giving You Back Your Evening…
With All The Spice Included!

I have recently tried some new meal kits from Lyons Seafoods, all of the kits had a chinese or thai influence containing everything I needed to make prawn and fish dishes.

To be honest we all really loved them.  They were simple to cook, the instructions were very clear to follow and the food smelt mouthwatering while cooking, then all were extremely tasty to eat.  The meals do not take a lifetime to cook either, each took less than 10 minutes to prepare (some took less than 5) which is great for busy people.

The kits are supposed to feed 2 people, now I don't know if we are just greedy or that people eat very little? I found the kits to be a little on the small size.  Andy, my Dad and I ate 3 of the kits and I also cooked up a further dish and some noodles to compliment the range of food.  We used them a little like a Chinese/Thai banquet with a little of each style on our plates with rice and noodles.

Andy's favourite was the Thai Sweet Chilli King Prawn kit, it was full of big juicy fresh prawns and the vegetables included were 'different' to what we normally eat but were all really crunchy and tasty.   
My favourite was the Catalan Fish Stew, ok it was a little stinky to cook but the kit was full of flavours - it was lovely!
My Dad liked them all, he had no particular favourite but did like the Malaysian King Prawn Laska flavours and accompanied vegetables (particularly the mini sweetcorn).

Lyons Seafoods, one of the UK’s leading seafood suppliers, is delighted to announce a brand new range of chilled, ready to cook seafood meals, providing time poor consumers with a convenient, healthy and delicious solution.

Each meal kit contains three separate compartments prepared daily by Lyons; succulent seafood, freshly cut vegetables and a perfectly matched sauce, capturing the authenticity of a scratch cooking experience for consumers. The combination of ingredients can be cooked-up in less that seven minutes and offers the pleasure of “real cooking” with no hassle, wasted ingredients or mess in the kitchen.

Inspired by seafood recipes from all over the world, the mouth-watering range incorporates a medley of modern classics for your palate including; Malaysian King Prawn Laksa, Sweet Thai Chilli Prawns and Catalan Fish Stew.

Research conducted by Lyons shows that despite our best intentions to incorporate the government’s ‘two a week’ fish initiative into our diets, the perceived level of preparation and fuss associated with fish can prove to be too challenging when time is of the essence. Of those surveyed 71% confessed to relying on unhealthy fast food and 50% only eat fish in restaurants as they don’t know how to cook it, or simply just don’t have the time!

Lyons aims to demystify cooking with fish and encourage consumers who are intimidated to experiment with simple yet delicious fish solutions.

Whilst Fish Friday may be a longstanding tradition, with Lyons Seafoods, now every day can be a fish day!

Priced at £5.99, the full range of Lyons ready to cook fish meal solutions for two people is now available in larger Sainsbury’s stores.

For more information on Lyons products, visit:  www.lyonsseafoods.co.uk

Twitter: @Lyons_seafood

Belvoir Fruit Farms’ Mulled Winter Punch

Warm Up This Winter with Belvoir Fruit Farms’ Mulled Winter Punch

At last, a mulled winter punch without the hangover! Belvoir Fruit Farms’ new non- alcoholic alternative to mulled wine combines the festive flavours of nutmeg oil and mixed spice extracts with blackcurrant juice, red grape juice, elderberry juice and orange juice. You can always add a glug of red wine if you’re hankering after a little more yuletide spirit.

It is the perfect tipple to keep you warm this festive season while you’re snuggled up under a blanket with the fire blazing and some classic movies on the box.

Like the rest of the Belvoir range, Mulled Winter Punch (75cl, RRP £2.75) is made from the finest ingredients with no artificial flavours, preservatives or other ‘nasties’. It is available from many fine food shops, delicatessens, farm shops and regional Tesco stores from 1 September, as well as being on sale in Waitrose nationally from 1 November, and also online at  www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk.

18 Oct 2011

Cosmopolitans Real Touch Nails

Fashion at your fingertips with Cosmopolitan’s NEW Real Touch Nails!

Nail the latest trends this winter with Cosmopolitan’s new Real Touch Nails, a must-have collection for hands-on fashion fiends.

Match your mood and add a statement ‘pop’ to your look with dramatic ‘Deep Purple’ (RRP £5.95), diva-style ‘Pink Sparkle’ (RRP £6.50) or, primitive ‘Wild Thing’ (RRP £6.50). Flexible, durable and comfortable to wear these nails are perfect for both day and night.

Created by the experts from the world’s number one glossy magazine, Cosmopolitan’sReal Touch Nails can be applied in the comfort of your own home to achieve an enviously beautiful, salon-quality look.

Each pack comes with 24 false nails, gel glue and cuticle pusher and is available exclusively from Superdrug.

The full Cosmopolitan™ Beauty Accessories range includes 29 products covering make-up brushes, false nails, make-up sponges and beauty essentials. Stockists include Superdrug, feelunique.com and Tesco. 

I am not a fan of fake nails myself, but Emma loves them!  For the upcoming party season these are a must-have to finish off your outfit.  With 24 in each pack that's a brilliant selection to get the right fit and if you lose one .. you have spares :)

For more information visit www.slgbeauty.com