Monday, 31 October 2011

Roasted Pumpkin and Honey Soup


I was at a conference this weekend, and for supper we were served a beautifully light and delicious soup. Without bread or butter or croutons. It was all I ate on Saturday evening,  and it was SO satisfying and creamy. It felt incredibly comforting and decadent, but was so light and healthy and delicious.

Hence I am trying to replicate it, so that I can stash a batch in the fridge, for some very healthy light dinners for myself...


Roasted Pumpkin and Honey Soup

1 butternut pumpkin, cubed
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Spray oil
750 ml chicken stock
1 ½ tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

Creamed low fat cottage cheese to garnish
Snipped chives to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Coat cubed pumpkin with oil, garlic and place on roasting tray.
3. Scatter onion throughout pumpkin.
4. Cook pumpkin and onion for 40 minutes or until golden and caramelised.
5. Heat stock and add cooked pumpkin, onion, honey, mustard, pepper and salt.
6. Simmer gently for 20mins
7. Blend until soup has a smooth consistency, either with a stick blender or in a processor
8. Garnish with the creamed cottage cheese and snipped chives.


If you have any really healthy but deliciously decadent tasting soup recipes, share with me?

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Six years...


For some reason, I have never blogged about my wedding. I have no idea why not, to be honest.

And today is our wedding anniversary.

The lovely husband and I have been together for fourteen years, and married for just six.

On this day six years ago, we made ourselves official, in front of family and friends. We chose to celebrate in an entirely secular fashion. We insisted upon no gifts, and threw a carnival of a party with face painters and fairy floss and bouncy castles...A Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Olivia walked down the aisle with to us. She had only just learned to walk, bless her. It was magical and it made me cry, to see her toddle down the aisle towards us. In full flower girl regalia, she looked utterly heart melting, her red hair topped with a tiny crown of lily of the valley.



This Corner of the Earth

Charlie was only months old - I was a breastfeeding bride. He was, as he is now, easy, content and placid. Through the ceremony and reception he was passed to a hundred willing relatives for cuddles and he gurgled happily to all of them and then slept for hours. (Lexie was not even a twinkle in a our eye - she is horrified that she was the only one not at our wedding...)

The entire day was celebrated with sensational spring weather, in the Adelaide Hills. At an old country house with paddocks abound, we were wed. The food was rustic and delicious, and the wine free flowing. The band were so much fun, and we partied on and on and on.

It was one of the best days of my life. A Lovely Day.

And the very best bit? I got to marry a man who rocks my world entirely. He my best friend and he makes me smile just thinking about him. Together, we are cooler than just about anyone else I know.

Today, over a chaotic family lunch, he loaded up a whole stack of the songs that we played at our wedding. That he can remember them, and play them to me and the kids, is a mark of the man he is and how much fun he makes our world. We don't bother with an exchange of gifts on our anniversary. But we did have a smoochy dance around the kitchen together whilst the kids giggled at us. And exchanged kisses, like we do.

Someone Like You

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Friday, 28 October 2011

The night Santa got busted...(free movie ticket giveaway!)


Yesterday I posted a snap of my seven year old self. It reminded me of a whole host of other stuff that happened when I was that age.

We were a family of seven, all living in a very small, very creaky holiday shack in the middle of winter. It was a beach house right on the coast, in a tiny seaside village in West Sussex, in England. In the middle of winter. So all glorious family beach recollections can easily be replaced with much frostier memories. No sandcastles and swimmers. More like scarves and swift sea breezes against flint grey skies. But they were happy times.

The house was a rental. (From memory we were living there because we were 'between houses' - property settlement timings were evidently a horror then as they are now!) There were three small bedrooms for seven of us. I truly cannot remember where my older siblings slept. But my younger brother and I shared a room together. We were accustomed to this. Giggling and bickering at bedtime was the norm.

The carpeted hall outside our bedroom was long and reached the back door, which in turn stretched to the beach. When the winds were strong and winter coastal gales were headed in our direction, the high tide waves would edge closer and closer to the back door, seeping in. Carpet soaked. I recall many winter nights, snuggling, falling asleep, listening to the salt water creep and lap across along the hall carpet.

The crust of salt would be felt underfoot, with the damp, the next morning, along with the hiss of the gas fire, to try and dry out the carpet and keep us toasty.

Christmas time was spent in that house. Christmas Eve came, and my younger brother and I were hysterical in our excitement and anticipation - with me at age seven, my younger brother just five. I was at 'that age' of uncertainty as to whether Santa truly existed. Hopeful, but realistic.

I tried to keep myself awake that Christmas Eve, to try and figure out the whole Santa down the chimney, crinkling stockings on the end of the bed, presents under the tree mystery. Torn between my imagination and pragmatism.

I heard the creeping up the hall carpet. Sea water or Santa? A shadowy figure at the end of the bed who, I realised, smelled sweetly of Diorissimo. My Mummy. Gently laying rustling stockings stuffed with little pressies.

I scrunched my eyes tight shut, all of a sudden wishing I was asleep and hadn't spied her. I listened again as she crept back out of our room. I pulled the quilt up around my neck, and listened again.

I heard the creeping up the hall carpet. Sea water or Santa?

When and how did you find out that Santa had an apprentice?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have ten family movie passes to give away, to see the new Christmas Movie, Santa's Apprentice. Just make sure you are following my blog, and leave me a comment below?
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SANTA'S APPRENTICE


In time for Christmas, the heart-warming festive themed animation, SANTA'S APPRENTICE dashes into cinemas everywhere from November 10!

With an all-star voice cast including Shane Jacobson, Magda Szubanski, Delta Goodrem and Hugh Sheridan, Santa’s Apprentice follows the story of young Nicolas (voice of Jack Versace), a 7 year old Australian boy on his adventure as he struggles with the ups and downs of being the next Santa Claus. It's a big responsibility that would scare even the bravest boy – but Nicolas wants to be the best Santa ever. So he will have to learn a few lessons along the way. Christmas has a way of making even the biggest mishaps alright and thanks to his loving mentors, Santa (Shane Jacobsen) and Waldorf (Hugh Sheridan), Nicolas learns, as we all do, the true meaning of Christmas!

SANTA'S APPRENTICE takes you to a place where wishes really do come true and proves that sometimes, happy endings are only the beginning!

Distributed by Becker Film Group, SANTA'S APPRENTICE is an Australian-French Coproduction by Gaumont-Alphanim and Avrill Stark Entertainment Pty Ltd with the participation of Flying Bark Productions Pty Ltd, Gaumont, Cartoon Saloon and ORANGE CINÉMA SÉRIES. Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l’Image Animée, Bord Scannán na hÉireann / Irish Film Board.

Dashing into cinemas everywhere November 10 http://www.santasapprentice.com.au/

Open to Australian readers only. Winners drawn at random. Closes Weds 2nd November.

Winners all informed via email.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The dreaded school photo day...

Yes, this is me, in about 1976. Shocker.

Is it just me, or does everyone get cranky and stressed out over the annual dreaded school photo day?

This morning saw me screech at all three of my kids and act like a stage mother over the right angle of the pony tails, the right shade of blue for the hair band, whilst at the same time scrubbing Charlie's face red raw to make sure the yearly shot didn't feature the Nutella Vegemite he had on his toast for brekky.

I am now back home, shaking my head over the fact that I made Olivia have a shower and wash her hair this morning so I could braid her hair properly, even though she already had a bath last night. And I made them all wait till the last minute to get into their freshly ironed by their neurotic mother uniform, just in case they spilt juice down themselves.

I even supervised teeth brushing for the first time since last year, to make sure that no smears of toothpaste got wiped onto their shoulders.

Hell, I even started telling Charlie how to smile to try and diminish the great big gappy grin he's currently sporting as a result of standard six year old wobbly teeth loss.

I need to get over myself, seriously.

If you want a real laugh, just click on the below for some hilarious annual photos - gold, I tell you.



Edited to add - despite my best efforts, Lexie managed to get yellow paint splatters all down her uniform before the photos were taken. So we shall have a delightfully crafty shot of her. So what's new?!

Do you do the annual school photos from school? Did you share YOUR old school photos?




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Netball, pasta, and a silver fox...


On Monday evening I had the rare chance of a night out for dinner without children. Obviously I jumped at it. The dinner was hosted by San Remo, to celebrate the fact that the Australian Netball Diamonds were in Adelaide.

Now, there are a few good reasons for me to get a bit excited by this -

1. My eldest daughter Olivia, who is nearly 8, is obsessed keen by all things netball - playing it, practicing it, watching it - she is crazy about it.  I played as a kid at school and adored it too...and as such I am loving that she is so mad about it.
4. My youngest daughter Lexie, at 5, is desperate to start Net Set Go, which is the starting point for all kids wanting to play netball, which is a joint venture between Netball Australia and San Remo
3. Despite the fact that I try to avoid carbs after lunch, I adore pasta. Hell, I adore carbs of any description, but particularly pasta.
3. I have a serious crush on Adam Swanson who is the San Remo brand ambassador chef. Three words - silver fox. Hot.



I had a brilliant night out. The food was sensational. I ate this, and it was truly divine. (The recipe is actually here - so I may well try and replicate it at home.)


More than all that though, I had the pleasure of meeting the Australian Netball Diamonds and seeing the passion in their eyes as they talked about the game, the team and the competition. It was inspiring and reminded me of how much I loved playing as a team, and why I am so grateful that my girls are discovering a love of the game too.

The Diamonds are playing New Zealand's Silver Ferns tonight, in Adelaide. I wish them the best of luck! I shall be watching on the TV, on the edge of my seat!

San Remo have kindly given me a San Remo Pasta Gift Pack to give away to one lucky reader - a pasta gift pack containing a whole stack of San Remo pastas, as well as an apron and cap.

All you need to do to enter is leave me a comment below, telling me your favourite pasta dish or your favourite silver fox - simple!

(Available to Australian readers only. Winner picked at random. Closing date Tuesday 1st November.)

Did you play netball as a kid? Do your kids play now?

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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Netball, pasta, and a silver fox...



On Monday evening I had the rare chance of a night out for dinner without children. Obviously I jumped at it. The dinner was hosted by San Remo, to celebrate the fact that the Australian Netball Diamonds were in Adelaide.

Now, there are a few good reasons for me to get a bit excited by this -

1. My eldest daughter Olivia, who is nearly 8, is obsessed keen by all things netball - playing it, practicing it, watching it - she is crazy about it.  I played as a kid at school and adored it too...and as such I am loving that she is so mad about it.
4. My youngest daughter Lexie, at 5, is desperate to start Net Set Go, which is the starting point for all kids wanting to play netball, which is a joint venture between Netball Australia and San Remo
3. Despite the fact that I try to avoid carbs after lunch, I adore pasta. Hell, I adore carbs of any description, but particularly pasta.
3. I have a serious crush on Adam Swanson who is the San Remo brand ambassador chef. Three words - silver fox. Hot.



I had a brilliant night out. The food was sensational. I ate this, and it was truly divine. (The recipe is actually here - so I may well try and replicate it at home.)


More than all that though, I had the pleasure of meeting the Australian Netball Diamonds and seeing the passion in their eyes as they talked about the game, the team and the competition. It was inspiring and reminded me of how much I loved playing as a team, and why I am so grateful that my girls are discovering a love of the game too.

The Diamonds are playing New Zealand's Silver Ferns tonight, in Adelaide. I wish them the best of luck! I shall be watching on the TV, on the edge of my seat!

San Remo have kindly given me a San Remo Pasta Gift Pack to give away to one lucky reader - a pasta gift pack containing a whole stack of San Remo pastas, as well as an apron and cap.

All you need to do to enter is make sure you go an "Like" San Remo via their Facebook page and leave me a comment below, telling me your favourite pasta dish or your favourite silver fox - simple! (Available to Australian readers only. Winner picked at random. Closing date Tuesday 1st November.)

Did you play netball as a kid? Do your kids play now?
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Online Competitions

Skylander and Spooky Buddies Winners

The recent Skylander giveaway was won by Danni Beauty


And the Spooky Buddies giveaway was won by Being Me



Lovely ladies, if you could both email me your postal addresses and I will then organise your prizes to be sent out to you....


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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Buckets, wells and fences...


I went out last night. Frocked up and off to dinner with a great group of bloggers.*
As always, one of the very best bits of the event was the interaction between other bloggers.
I am very very tired today as a result. Happy tired though.

I was lucky enough to spend some extra special time before the event with the beautiful Kelly from Be a Fun Mum, and the very lovely Sarah from Ah, the Possibilities.

Between coffee, chemists and grooming ourselves, we chatted about wells, fences and buckets.

As a result, I feel very much "topped up". My positive energy is charged.

How did you feel after your last interaction with another person? Did that person - your partner, best friend, coworker, blogger, or even a total stranger -  "fill your bucket" by making you feel more positive? Or did that person "dip from your bucket," leaving you more negative than before?



Some people have a never ending well of generosity of spirit. The more they give in terms of time and grace and humour and conversation, they more they want to give, and the more charismatic they become and the more they attract positive things. Their well is contstantly refilling, as they fill others needs too.

It is tempting at times, for all of us, to put fences up, in order to try and protect ourselves and our territories and our own insecutities and our little space in the world. Very occasionally a neccessity. But often not - often just erected out of habit and fear.



I am determined to not create fences, but to be a well, a well that replenishes other peoples buckets.

How about you?


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* Watch this space for more details on the dinner!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Cereal Box Craft...


I have no shame in admitting that I once was a lot little bit into the idea of scrap booking. Instead of the traditional baby books, I scrap booked all of the photos of my children for the first two years of their lives. Then, I gave up with a sigh of relief. I have done the odd layout since, but there are huge volumes and hundreds of dollars worth a lot of crafty scrap booking supplies laying redundant in our house.

So, I let Olivia and Lexie help themselves to a whole heap of stuff the other day, and we set about some craft. They had a ball. I turned a blind eye to the glue and the snipping. Even Charlie got a little bit interested. (Only after I tore him away from the Wii. That is a whole other blog post...)

I had scoured Google earlier for some ideas, so here I give you  our collection of cereal box craft:


Cereal Box Gift Bag (which Lexie now uses to cart all her Barbie bits and bobs around in...


Magazine holder made from a Cornflakes box...Olivia now has this in her room to hold all of her various colouring/activity books.


As it was school holidays a week or two back, we indulged in "little packets". And what better way to use the boxes than a hair band tidy in Olivia's room. (Saves me vacuuming the hair bands up. Hair bands all over the floor area constant irritation in my life...)







 For any of these cereal box crafts, all you need is a stack of tape, glue sticks, embellishments and pretty papers. And scissors and a black marker and a ruler too. And of course, a healthy supply of cereal boxes.

And time and patience, obviously.




This fridge file is magnetically stucck to the fridge - so they kids can stick all the school/swimming/netball notes straight in there for me to ignore read.
Olivia and Charlie and Lexie are very proud of their creations. Next on the list, apparently, is a puppet show TV and a filing cabinet for all my crap fadmin paperwork.

And there was no glitter involved. Result.

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PS This post is not sponsored by Kellogg's at all, but I was given a whole stack of Kellogg's cereal as a result of going to a brunch meeting with them.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Melt and Mix Smart Cookies...


These are lower fat than usual cookies. And they're a melt and mix method - heaps easier on the arm - no creaming of butter and sugar, so I didn't bother to even get my mixer out.

They're  packed full of low GI fibre and fruit, and use a lot less sugar than a standard cookie recipe.They're also low GI...so ideal for recess to keep energy levels high.

The recipe calls for no eggs, so it's an ideal biccie for kids school lunchboxes - my kids are (thankfully) not allergic to anything, but other children in their classes are, so I tend to be a little cautious...

I got the recipe off the back of a cereal box, and I've adapted it a little for ease. The kids love them, so they have become a very quick and easy Sunday afternoon baking job.

Melt and Mix Smart Cookies

2 cups Sultana Bran
1/4tsp bicarbonate soda
150g butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 cup orange juice
Zest of 1 orange or 2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:
  • Melt the butter.
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients in mixing bowl until well combined.
  • Combine the butter, orange juice and vanilla essence and then add to the dry ingredients.
  • Stir well to combine.
  • Take a tablespoon of mixture, roll into balls, and place onto non-stick baking sheets and press down lightly with a fork.
  • Bake at 160`c for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets before transferring to wire cooling tray.
  • Store in an airtight container.
Makes approximately 24.

This is a rare healthy cookie recipe that my kids actually like...
Tell me your best healthy lunch box treat? Link me to a recipe?

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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Women friends...




In a week where I have had no children through the days, and aside from some deadlines, no appointments, I was reminded of the importance of friends. And the importance of making time to see them.

So I have made the effort.

I made a list of those friends who are overdue a 'phone call.

To some overseas friends I have emailed them a proper chatter letter, rather than just clicking "Like" on a Facebook status.

I have left the odd message and text to those friends who I know are mad busy, just to let them know I am thinking of them.

We had friends over for a BBQ last weekend- their kids and ours ran wild together in the bush and came back tired and happy to devour sausages and bread with sauce. In between times we chatted, sipped, laughed and clinked. It was a riot - two families, children and parents: all firm friends. Easy. Social. Energy giving bliss.

I took a day off on Tuesday, for what my kids term a "Mummy Playdate". I met a friend and we went shopping. Handbags and shoes - my favourite kind of retail. We stopped for coffee, we perused the metaphysical store, and then had a glorious lunch together in the sun before hot footing it back to school to pick up the kids. Easy. Social. Energy giving bliss.

Yesterday I caught up with a friend who I had been missing for ages. She has small children and a career and is mid renovations and she lives on the other side of town. It's hard to co-ordinate. But we managed it. The venue was sensibly MacDonald's, which is positioned halfway between us, with half decent coffee and a play area for her little one. We had the time and space and inclination to catch up. Six months worth of news; challenges, wins, and laughter. It was good for my soul to see her, and I know she appreciated it as much as I did. Easy. Social. Energy giving bliss.





We have more friends coming around today. For a bowl of pasta and some ice cream - we will break bread together and laugh. She knows her way around my kitchen almost as well as I do. Hell, she knows my kids nearly as well as I do. We are so used to helping one another out, that we sometimes forget to just kick back and enjoy one another. Today, we will.

I still have a way to go. I still have coffees to arrange and nights out to organise. I have lovely friends. I am a lucky lucky girl. I need to make sure, as our lives get frantic and busy, that I do not let these friendships dwindle.

I am grateful for friends. They make my world a lovely place.

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Linking up, as I do, to Maxabella.

Friday, 21 October 2011

When being overweight seems to work...


I get a lot of emails, asking me a range of questions about dieting, weight loss, motivation and exercise.

These emails ask about specifics - and sometimes I get the impression that I am being asked to reply back with a definitive plan, or an exact formula, or a secret, to make weight loss easy.

I have lost a fair amount of weight. (About 40kg or about 85lb.) I still have a way to go. I am currently maintaining this weight loss and maintaining my body shape and fitness levels. So I guess that is why others might feel compelled to email me for advice? And I do feel touched when people tell me they are inspired and motivated by my efforts so far...

So I do usually give an overview of what has worked for me, and what I recommend someone else to try. It is no secret. Eat less calories, and move more. A daily intake of 1200 calories, and at least 45 minutes a day of exercise, plenty of water, plenty of sleep.

But here's the thing - I am guessing that most overweight people, including myself and anyone who emails me - we already know how to lose weight. We already KNOW we need to eat less and move more. We all already KNOW that a healthy balanced diet and plenty of exercise means that we will lose weight.

So why are there so many of us who are still overweight?

Why, when we know that an apple is the best option, do we sneak in a bar of chocolate instead? We know that is a bad choice, especially if we want to lose weight, but we manage to justify it anyway?

If we KNOW that regular daily exercise is great for weight loss, why don't we do it? Why do we make up excuses to not do something that we know if effective for losing weight?

If we have clear ideas on what we want to look like and how great we would feel at a healthy weight, why are we still overweight?

If we are goal orientated and can realise the benefits of a healthy, fit body, why do we drag our heals and not move toward this?

Why do we persist in behaviours that keep us overweight?

I'll tell you why - somehow, being fat is working for us. Eating too much is giving us a payoff of some kind.  There is, in some way, a benefit to being the size we are.

Some how, some way, for some reason, our brains and bodies are getting a message that being overweight is working for us.

If I try and analyse this in myself, I find myself uneasy and confused by the utter mind-fuckery that this concept presents. What on earth is it that makes my brain so happy to hold onto the idea that being fat is actually benefiting me in some way?

Off the top of my head -
  • Overweight is safe
  • Overweight hides me
  • Overweight plays down my abilities
  • Overweight calms me down
  • Overweight slows my frantic brain
  • Overweight forces me shine in non-physical ways
  • Overweight gives me a (false) sense of abundance
  • Overweight gives me something else to blame if I fail
  • Overweight is a well know habit
Wow. I need to look into all this a little more I think.

How about you? Are you are overweight despite knowing exactly how to lose weight? Can you identify with what I am saying here?

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Do you 'do' Halloween? (And another giveaway...)


Growing up in little tiny villages in England, as a child, Halloween was a big deal.

The evening before All Hallows Day (All Saints Day) was a mark of a turn of the seasons, a mark of the end of harvest time. Perhaps with pagan origins, certainly some Christian origins, as kids, we celebrated big time by "guising".

This involved dressing up with all the other kids in the village and telling spooky stories and singing to our neighbours in order to earn treats. Idle threats of tricks may have been made and quickly dismissed. Our dress ups were usually nothing more fancy than a sack or a cloak, and often the treats were apples. Apple bobbing was always the culmination - in someones kitchen, safe and warm, with water being sloshed all over the lino floor as we fought for apples with our mouths.

In more recent times, it seems Halloween celebrations has become all about the lollies and chocolate and commercial costumes and parties and elaborate decorations and loot bags. I am not sure how? But I know the shops are full of pumpkins and masks and orange plastic stuff...and lots of chocolate and packets of lollies!

Olivia, Charlie and Lexie, are all seduced by all the promise of abundant sugary prizes. They are intrigued by the concept of it all, the glamour of the lit pumpkins and the general air of partiness. The concept of running through the streets in dress ups is so novel to them, they are entranced the idea of it.

Previously, I have never entertained the thought of celebrating Halloween particularly.

But this year they have nagged my ears off.

So I am relenting.

We won't be cruising the streets in witches and skeletons costumes.

But we will play dress ups at home. I may even try my hand at some face painting.

I am going to carve out a pumpkin and light a candle inside.

I am going to introduce them to the delights of apple bobbing.

I am going to cook up some spooky Halloween treats. (Bat shaped biccies?!)

And I will let them stay up and settle down for a "Spooky" movie on the couch.

Tell me, do you do Halloween? Do you have any Halloween traditions to share with me?


In celebration of Halloween, I have the brand new Spooky Buddies Blu-ray and DVD Value Pack (RRP $49.95) and a Buddies plush toy (RRP $14.95) to give away...as well as a $25 Woolworths Gift Card (to buy some lollies and a pumpkin!) and a Halloween party pack full of Halloween games, recipe and costume suggestions!


All you need to do to enter is make sure you are following my blog, and leave a comment telling me YOUR Halloween traditions.

Open to Australian residents only. Giveaway closes Tues 25th October - winner will be picked at random.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Screen time...? (Sensational Giveaway...)



In an ideal world, me and my perfect mothering and my perfect children would not watch much TV, nor play on the Wii, nor get addicted to Angry Birds on the iPhone, or indeed the new Skylanders Spyro's Adventures.

But, my personal work and hobby is via a computer. I write, I blog, I Twitter, I tip tip tap on my computer at any given opportunity.

When the girls get home from school, they want to chill out and tune out for an hour or so, in front of kids shows or DVD's.

And Charlie? My boy Charlie is a gamer. Extraordinaire.

At the ripe old age of six, he is an expert.  His platform of choice is the Wii (especially since his legend mother fixed it!). He has conquered Harry Potter Lego, Sonic, Cars II, Super Mario Brothers, Toy Story and Madagascar.

The lovely husband is in IT and has always been into gaming. And even he is astounded at Charlie's instinctive ability to manipulate controls, strategize better than a chess master, and persevere with game scenarios.

I was given a sneak preview a month or so back, of the new Skylanders Spyro's Adventuress. It's a game that plays on ALL the platforms - so it doesn't matter whether you're a Wii family or one that prefers XBox or a DS or a Play Station - the game plays on them all.



It's not just a computerised game on a disk either - the concept that persuaded me to attend the preview was because of the interactive little game figurines that are integral to the game. The little heroes literally come to life via "portal of power" and whilst the human player controls the game, the little characters dramatically influence the way that levels are won and lost.

The "Skylanders" figures are an integral part of the game because they store their characters' entire history inside. But they are also small enough and certainly sturdy enough to get tucked into the pockets of little boys shorts and played with at school....

Anyway, Charlie is TOTALLY addicted. He LOVES IT! We have watched him, with amused fondness as he spends a few hours at a time engrossed with Skylanders. (Should I ration it?!)

I am glad he loves it so much. It's an early Christmas pressie to him.

But I am torn too - he loves it so much - he leaps around and is certainly not passively vegging out. Should I restrict the time he spends in front of a screen?

He comes home from school, after also spending an hour at cricket practice, and then winds down with an hour playing another game he is evidently passionately keen on. Skylanders. Where's the harm? I love that he's mad about it. I love the peace!

I have a full Skylanders Spyro's Adventures Starter Pack, for XBox 360, up for grabs as a giveaway - thanks to the makers of the game, Activision. This comes with three of the action characters (toys with brains) and also the "portal of power" and also the game itself. (RRP $99)

If you would like to win this, all you need to do is make sure you are following my blog and then leave me a comment giving me an example of your screen addiction!

Open to Australian residents only. Winner will be drawn at random. Entries close midnight Sunday 23rd October, and the winner will be announced on this blog.


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This is not a sponsored post but I did attend a preview demo of the game and I was sent the game to trial out with Charlie...the opinions in this post are entirely my own (and Charlie's!).