Showing posts with label Giveaway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Giveaway. Show all posts

Monday, 2 July 2012

The best thing since sliced bread...

My Dad's Mum, my Granny, Phylis, was known to all of her ten grandchildren as "Barnham Granny"

She was an amazingly resourceful cook. My cousin Kate & I both strain with guarded but keen desire for her old handwritten recipe notes. They speak of how to create peppermint creams within the confines of the rationing that became her commonplace in World War II. My aunt used to tell me of tuck boxes sent to her at boarding school, filled with sweets, made from complicated substitutions of cornflour, essence and glycerine.

My Granny lived in a toll cottage, on Lake Lane, in a tiny Sussex village called Barnham. She and my Grandpa retired there, and lived opposite a bakery - Holt's bakery. (Which has since been demolished and turned into townhouses. Such is life.)

She was a strong woman.By the time I came along, nearly the last grandchild, she had aged and mellowed. My fondness for her was, quite simply, beyond measure. She had a grin that warmed the whole world. My perpetual memories of her were her beautiful voice, her huge bust and the cigarette the was her constant companion. She was a coffee afficionado. Of her and her gurgling coffee machine, and her laugh: I was so fond. With her red hair and her cuddles and her protection, I was so comfortable.

She smelled so good. Of baking, of tea rose, of cigarettes, of coffee. She was strong and tough and gentle and simple and sophisticated all in one hit of loveliness. I search for photos of her - the snaps never do justice to her persona, at all.

But due to the nature of her proximinity to the bakery, her bread baking days were done! She could concentrate on less arduous baking; and quicker treats, often with me at her side. She taught me so much.

She served tea. High teas. Jam tarts, and scones. Fruit cakes and iced fancies - sugar & butter and eggs and fruit in the 1970's were a long way from rationing, and she made the most of it! And sandwiches, made from bread from the local bakery across the lane.

Always at the dining table, we would wait for her to slice extra bread. A whole fresh loaf. A 2lb loaf, no less, to entertain her grandchildren.

And she would hold that bread under her arm like a baby, against her bust, and slice the most perfect thin slices. No squashed crumb. She evidently had had years of practice to get the tension and pressure just right. Never a nick or a cut, and certainly she never caught her cardy or her pinny strings with the end of the knife.

Just perfect slices of easy bread.

I miss her.

She was the best thing since sliced bread.

AND, all that said, I have a winner for last weeks bread baking giveaway....this was kindly sponsored by Brad Russell and the team at Kitchenware Direct - thank you!

Kell from Mad Mummas Sweet Randoms

Thanks to everyone that entered, and Kell, could you please email me with your postal address please?

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PS That image up there? Of my Granny's cottage? I managed to get that by going to Google Maps and moving up and down the lane until I spotted the house. A house I have not been to for thirty years, but I knew each curve of the road and spied it easily. How cool is modern technology?!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Bread Baking Giveaway!

I promised, last week, a bread baking giveaway, and here it is.

The weather has been cold and wet, so we have baked bread, this weekend. The smell through the house has been sensational!

Kitchenware Direct have put together a brilliant package of everything you will need to get your bake on, and this giveaway includes over $125 worth of professional baking equipment of the very highest quality:

Basic bread with fresh yeast
1 large loaf or 24 rolls
25g fresh yeast
½ tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
500 ml of water
2 tablespoon of oil
about 1 kilo of plain flour

1. In a large bowl, add 500ml blood temperature water – luke warm.

2. Add crumbled up yeast, salt, sugar and oil, and stir until the yeast has dissolved.

3. Pour in half of the flour and knead using your hands, add more flour and knead it in every time.

4. Keep adding flour and kneading until you have a smooth dough that doesn’t stick to your hands or the bowl. It should be soft, springy and smooth to the touch. Then knead on the bench for about 5 minutes.

5. Now find somewhere warm, it should be 22- 25 C. Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and let it rise for 30- 60 minutes until its' double the size.

6. Tip it out on a floured surface and knead until most of the big air bubbles are gone.

7. For a loaf: Grease a large loaf tin. Roll the dough out to a rectangle and roll it up and place in the tin.

8. For rolls, cut 24 lumps of dough, roll them into round balls and place with two fingers apart on a baking tray with baking paper on.
9. In all cases, cover with a clean tea towel towel and leave it to rise to double the size: about 20 minutes.

10. Bake in a preheated oven at 220`c, for 30- 40 minutes for the loaf, 10- 15 minutes for the rolls. Cool on a rack.


1. In winter, to create a perfect proving space, turn your oven on very low (25`c) whilst you’re making the dough. Then turn the oven off. Then you can prove the dough in the oven – draft free and warm.

2. When baking the bread, place a casserole dish half filled with boiling water in the oven. (You want hot steam within the oven.) The steam makes bread. Keep the casserole dish in the oven the whole time you’re baking the bread.

3. 25 gram of yeast is 1 tablespoon of dry active yeast.

4. You can buy fresh yeast from supermarket deli-counters and from health food shops.

To enter this giveaway to win all this glorious bread baking equipment, all you need to do is leave me a comment, telling me which kind of bread you'd bake if you won...

Entry is for Australian residents only.

Winner will be drawn at random next Monday 2nd July.

Please feel free to share on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries.


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I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the team at Kitchenware Direct for their ongoing support of Aussie blogging - they really understand SEO, and they "get" that Aussie bloggers have influence, trust capital and also high authority.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

The 5-in-1 Multi Cooker - a giveaway!

Kitchenware Direct 5-in-1 Multi Cooker - a giveaway!

The 5-in-1 Multi Cooker - a Kitchenware Direct giveaway!

(And if you want any more brilliant pressure cooker recipes, all you need to do is pop over here to this very cool pressure cooker recipe site!)

I asked advice the other day, on rice cookers.

I have always wanted one, and previously had bought a very cheap one from KMart which turned out to be a total waste of time. I chucked it out in the hard waste. (Can you see a pattern occurring here?!)

So whilst my first experience of rice cookers was poor, I was convinced that they had to be a good idea. I am more than a little obsessed by kitchen gadgetry, and I have plenty of bench space for "things with cords and plugs" as the lovely husband likes to call them.

The rice cooker - I have tried stove top and microwave and I can, of course, cook rice. But the idea of a rice cooker doing it all automatically is very appealing. And the idea of being able to cook real recipes in a rice cooker too - risotto style dishes - enticing!

I love any set and forget type appliance. Timed one pot meals that just do their thing, whilst I get on and do MY thing....

So when the lovely people at Kitchenware Direct got back to me too suggest some brands of rice cookers, I was intrigued when the also pointed out the New Wave Five In One Multi-Cooker. I went on to read the squillions of reviews that customers have left on the product too...and was impressed.

It's a gadget that handles the workload of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, electric pan/pot, soup/rice cooker and steamer.

I have never owned a pressure cooker, but my Granny and my Mum both used theirs all the I figured it's probably time to give that concept a whirl!

As you'll see from all sorts of my other recipes, I am a fan of slow cooking in general.

We are coming into soup season - I adore home made veggie soups.

But the absolute best thing about this device? The pot has a browning function. All those slow cooker recipes and risotto recipes where you need to brown onions and brown meat first? I'll be honest, I never bother. I never want to have two pans to wash up. I love cooking but at my age and stage with small kids, my priorities are nutrition and EASE. Easy and quick to prepare.

So when I realised that this The 5-in-1 Multi Cooker allows you to brown off first, then simply change a setting to move to pressure cooking or slow cooking or rice cooking - I am there! How cool!

So my first experiment was some homemade minestrone soup. (We have glut of tomatoes that need to be used. Minestrone fits the bill.) I browned the onion and the garlic off first, and softened the carrots in the electric pot, on the browning function, then chucked the other ingredients and and set it to the soup function. 15 minutes later we had utterly perfect minestrone.

easy minestrone recipe

On Tuesday I made, so simply, chicken and tomato risotto. I browned the onion and chicken off, added the rice, then flicked the setting to steam, added all the other ingredients, closed the lid, and 7 minutes later (in which I Tweeted...) the risotto was ready to serve and it was the perfect texture and consistency!

slow cooker risotto

And the very best thing about this Multi Cooker?

I have one to giveaway!

Thanks to Kitchenware Direct, I have one of these little beauties to give away to one lucky reader. Valued at $189, they have kindly offered one up as a prize to one of my lovely followers.

All you need to do is leave me a comment, telling me what YOU would cook in this marvellous gadget.

Pop over to Facebook and like Kitchenware Direct over there too, perhaps?

Giveaway closes Easter Saturday, and I shall let the winner know via email. The winner will be picked by Open to Australian residents only.

So, what would YOU cook in this fantastic cooker? And if you want any more brilliant pressure cooker recipes, all you need to do is pop over here to this very cool pressure cooker recipe site!

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Kitchenware Direct Giveaway

I am currently at the Digital Parents Conference thanks to Brad Russell and the team at Kitchenware Direct!


Thursday, 26 January 2012


When I was drowning a sea of nappies and suffocating in the fog of mundane, caring for three little babies, I often wondered whether I would EVER be able to go back to work.

I used to be a career girl.

Then the three under three situation made it virtually impossible to return.

Something inside me told me that I was not ready to return. Would I ever be confident enough to return?

The three little people at my feet made it hard to even contemplate.

Occasionally, I would wistfully look at Seek to see if there were any part time roles that could fit in around the kids, and around childcare options. On one such search, back in about 2007, I also stumbled across the Career Mums website.

I felt inspired when I found that site. Other Mums, all with great skills, all in the same boat as me, making the choice to get back to work. A website that understood the need for flexibility. It felt hugely reassuring to realise that I was not the only mum dithering over choices.

As a result of the website, I managed to get inspired enough to apply and secure some part time work around the kids. Just for ten hours a week, but it was enough for my dormant skills to reawaken.

And It also got my creative juices flowing again, and so I also began to take my blogging and my social media interests a whole lot more seriously.

Through blogging and writing I have been lucky enough to get to know the talented Allison Tait, whose blog Life In a Pink Fibro was one of my early faves. I remember her blog when it's header was a ropey snap of the Fibro's roof line. And through strange coincidence, it turns out that Allison knows the lovely Kate Sykes, founder of the Career Mums site.

I find out that not only do they know one another, but they are working together on a book...a book called...Career Mums.

All of these facts collide at the same time that my youngest, Lexie, starts school.

Serendipitous indeed.

I ordered the book on pre-order and devoured it the minute I received it.

Simple but often overlooked advice is given succinctly. The book is brilliant at the business of confidence building. 

The practical advice from experts is an eye opener. It made me realise that I had my own personal elevator pitch all wrong.

The book gave me a huge surge of hope to be honest. The "going back to work" thing, in my head, has become a huge issue. 
  • I want to really contribute to a role, to a business, to help create success. I want to share my skills to drive business results.
  • I want to work hard in a fun environment and be really productive and then hop in my car feeling a sense of achievement as I rush to pick the kids up!
  • I want to work in a role that utilises all of my skills, but I'd like to work part time.
  • I want a job that matches my skill set, where I can really make a positive difference, but at the end of the day, my children come first these days.
  • I want a job that stimulates me, but I also want to be able to walk away at the end of the day and not be stressed to the gills.
  • I want a job that pays well, but that also offers family friendly flexibility.

    Before reading the book, the above statements were all more of a wish list. Fantasy land - not attainable, so I probably was put off before I even started.

    But, now that I have absorbed the book and all it's sound advice, I feel really confident in being able to pitch to organisations and potential new bosses for the kinds of roles I am after.

    I have a copy of the book to give away, so if you'd like to be in the running for to win this, all you need to do is leave me a comment, telling me your current career goal. (And if you'd like to nip over and "Like" Career Mums on Facebook, that'd be tops too!)

    ETA The winner of this brilliant book giveaway is...Mel, of Coal Valley View. Mel, I will email you to get your current postal address!

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    Sunday, 22 January 2012


    Don't you love it when you find a new item of clothing that is just PERFECT for everything.

    I get a sensational feeling of utter smugness, knowing that a particular item looks good, feels comfy, and that it suits me and my many required "looks".

    School drop off Mummy? Not too try hard, but neat and respectable? Check.
    Studying Mummy? Cool, comfy and crease free? Yep.
    Oh my goddess I have an appointment which I forgot about and have nothing ironed but need to look presentable? Superb.
    Weekend dinner out at a nice pub restaurant? Crisp but relaxed? Can be dressed up with a little classy bling?
    Office day today? Is it smart enough? With tailored pants, oh yes it is! Phew!

    Above all else, despite losing a bit of weight, I still need all my clothing items to be FLATTERING.

    Hence I am totally loved up with the range from Yummie

    I have always been a fan of "shape wear" or "foundation" pieces - a close girlfriend of mine is a stylist and she swayed me this way a year or two back - no matter how much weight I lose, I still have lumps, bumps and crevices. A smooth silhouette is crucial, regardless of my size!

    So when I read about Yummie, and how the control and shape is within the actual clothes, I was immediately intrigued - such a simple and obvious idea, but not something I have come across before.

    Simple, comfortable, classic styles, all with the ability to smooth out my muffin tops and tyres? I am there.

    The full range of lightweight, breathable, super soft wardrobe staples are designed to be worn by themselves (or under anything for a layered look.) Constructed with a patented dual fabric technology, the edge is derived from a firm control midsection panel which secretly smooths and shapes the midsection, camouflaging unwanted lumps and bumps. The genius behind Yummie is that it is a wardrobe essential and is the first shape wear that’s sexy, functional, comfortable and lovely to be seen. The innovative intimates, clothing and denims slim, smooth, and shape with unbelievable comfort, style and trend-setting designs.

    If you would like to win one of the above Yummie tanks (Original, Strappy or Invisible Skinny), all you need to do is this:

    Monday, 12 December 2011

    Chips and Christmas...

    One of the many things I love about Australia at Christmas is the tradition of carols in the park.

    A summers evening, nearly at the end of term, nothing else planned - so we hopped in the car to our local council presentation of carols by candlelight.

    The best bits -
    • We did not have to arrive four hours early to score a park just directly next to the entrance, nor did not have to park a four hour walk away from the park
    • There was a free sausage sizzle and free coffee and free hot chocolate
    • There were dinky little fake flame torches for the kids (more stuff for free) - to save me getting all in a panic over burns from dripping wax
    • There was a top notch kids entertainment act as a warm up act to the carols. Interactive panto-esque audience participation. Let us knacker these children out before we get to the peaceful carolling.
    • The MC blokey was an absolute professional - great singing voice, generous with his jokes, good with kids.
    • Santa - he was a lovely old gent - I tend to be a little wary of the creepy looking skinny Santas with ill- fitting red coats and ill fitting beards - this one was very cuddly and trad. And the kids had a right old chinwag with him as they kept their eyes on the lolly bag loot. (Also free. I am beginning to suspect I know why we pay so much in council all goes to fund shindigs like the carols by candlelight!)
    • The lovely ladies and gents of the St Johns were all out in force - and their services were not required all night. Phew.
    • The local council helpers did a sterling job on corralling all the oldies with chairs up to the back and herding all the families with kids and picnic rugs to the front - no whinging.
    • No smoking allowed - apart from one feral, who Charlie told off. That's my boy!
    • The carols by candlelight was held at a local lacrosse club. Sports club. Club. Club bar. Club bar prices. The lovely husband was a happy man, paying only $3 for the odd bottle of Coopers Pale Ale.
    • The Australian Girls Choir - all decked out in hot pink choir outfits - sensational singing!
    • The brass band. Can I admit, quietly here (and I may need to blog about this in more depth at a later time) that brass band music brings me to instant happy tears? Totally overcome, ever single time. The lovely husband looked sideways at me the minute they started, and smiled as he passed me a tissue. I love him nearly as much as I love brass bands.
    • Carols. Christmas carols. With a songbook and everything. It was just lovely.
    The very best bit? A picnic. I packed a picnic. Hard boiled egg sandwiches, cheese, fresh strawberries and fresh gingerbread. And chippies! Oh, how I adore me a big bag of chippies!

    I scoffed a whole bag of Ajitas Vege Deli Rice Chips. They are bloody lovely. (I was sent some to try. I had been resisting temptation. At 80% less fat than normal chippies, I have no doubt they will become a regular treat.) They are TOO nice. The kids also really liked them. Which is a bit annoying - I eat chippies so rarely that I am selfish in wanting them all to myself!

    Anyway, as I leaned back on the picnic rug with my beer and my chips, crying happy tears at the brass band, not fretting about the kids burning themselves, I felt supremely content. It seems Christmas is a state of mind, rather than a date. Who knew?!

    If you'd like to try the Ajitas Vege Deli Rice Chips, just make sure you are following my blog and leave me a comment and tell me where you'd like to take your picnic rug? I have a months supply of these divine chippies to give away. So leave me a comment and I will use Random.Org to pick a winner this time next week. (Open to Australian residents only.)

    Tell me your favoured picnic spot? And do you do carols by candlelight?

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    Sunday, 27 November 2011

    Bedtime stories...

    My children are getting older.

    It's only just recently that I realise I don't actually need to read them bedtime stories any more.

    Olivia is voracious in reading her own material.

    Charlie is well on his way, devouring all manner of "information" books. He is a non-fiction aficionado.

    And Lexie still loves a picture book. But insists on reading it herself. She works through a pile of ten by herself, and drops them all from the bed onto the floor as she falls asleep.

    The days of timing baths and bedtimes to enable each child the opportunity for us to read them a long story are slipping away.

    Unless, of course, they are tired. Then they resort to a little more cuddly behavior.

    I offered, the other night, for them all to get into my bed instead of theirs. And I offered story reading. There was much bickering over which stories and who secured which position in the bed next to me  - three children - one mummy, someone, apparently, always "misses out"...

    We read, together, several times, a range of beautiful books called "Little Treasures" by Peter Carnavas.

    Oh, how lovely it was! Snuggled up, it reminded me of when my three were a lot smaller. But in this current era of grown-up-ness, they could of course appreciate the stories so much more. The tales and the message. And the stories were as appealing to me as they were to them.

    Jessica's Box explores friendship and self worth - so pertinent considering Lexie has just this term started at school.

    Sarah's Heavy Heart is heart meltingly lovely. The illustrations in all of Peter's books are simply sensational, but I especially love the big red heart depicted in this little tale. We can all identify, I hope, with the idea of a heart getting carried away, particularly with a friend..?

    The Important Things, quite frankly, had me in tears. It's centred around a little boy whose father has faded from his life. I sobbed at the tales sweetness and of course this evoked some really vital conversations with the kids, which gave us all an opportunity for gratefulness and awareness. Charlie, who is very family aware, and sensitive to the changing nature of relationships, kept patting me. It was adorable.

    All three of my children were fascinated by the story of the Last Tree in the City. Touching on the environment, the story was sad, but I was amazed at how quickly my kids began talking to me about their own perceptions of the story and indeed of their own natural world in relation to local environmental issues.

    Olivia, Charlie and Lexie have requested these books to be read to them every single night for a week. High praise.

    The illustrations are as magical as the stories are satisfying to read. The tales are wonderful for evoking lovely interesting conversations.

    If you find yourself needing a little snuggle with your kids, and an opportunity to just chat with them, these books are actually ideal for a really broad age range. I would totally recommend them. At this time of year, these small books are perfect too, for stocking presents for Christmas.

    The Little Treasures range of books by Peter Carnavas are available in all good bookshops, and online.

    I have two sets of these Little Treasures, to give away.

    To enter, all you need to do is make sure you are following my blog, and then leave me a comment, telling me your favourite bedtime story memory. (If you'd like to share via Twitter and Facebook too, that would be wonderful!)

    Open to everyone and all my readers worldwide, - I am happy to post these internationally. Winners will be picked via Random.Org and announced this time next week...

    Good luck!

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    Sunday, 20 November 2011

    Scars remind me that the past is real...♫♫

    Well, actually, stretch marks remind me that my past pregnancies and my past jelly belly were real...

    And scars too.

    I have scars, wrinkles and stretch marks, as well as dehydrated skin .
    I was going to get all brave and take snaps of my stretch marks, but to be honest, who needs to look at that as they read my blog over their morning coffee?

    But I do have a scar on my leg which I hate.

    We are coming up to summer and I live in shorts.

    And my scar annoys me. It is red, but does not tan, so in summer when my legs go brown, it stays pale but red and, well, just...noticiable. (The scar is from a fall from July 2009 - over two years ago, that became infected. Nice. Not.)

    So I decided to complete my own 28 day trial of the "clinically proven"  Busby Pure Tissue Oil.

    I was sent some Busby Pure Tissue Oil to trial. I could think of no better use for it, for me, for my leg scar. (I am cheerfully resigned to the stretch marks and the wrinkles...)

    Cheaper than a dermatologist appointment or plastic surgery Busby Natural Oil retails at only $17.95 for 100ml. Available at most pharmacies nationwide - just call 1800 655 841 for stockists.

    It smells divine - so I have used it as a body lotion on my legs, rather than a medicinal style cream or oil. It doesn't feel greasy and it comes in a pump pack. It contains only naturally derived oils, and no petrochemicals. It's actually really lovely to use, on my legs and on my arms.

    And the results?

    See for yourselves - here are the before and after shots:

    It's a bit tricky to really see the massive difference - taking a snap of my own leg at the best angle is hard enough! But there has been more improvement in appearnace in one month than there has been in the previous two years. I have used another brand of oil before - it did nothing. The Busby oil has most definately made a dramatic improvement. More than enough evidence for me to continue using it.

    I have another five 100ml bottles of Busby Pure Tissue Oil to give away. All you need to do is make sure you are following my blog, and leave me a comment telling me why you need to try this liquid gold. Winner will be chosen this time next week.

    Open to Australian residents only, and the winner will be picked by

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    Sunday, 13 November 2011

    Toothy pegs...(a review and giveaway!)

    Sadly not my teeth. I aim for mine to look this good eventually...

    I wrote, some months ago now, about the state of my teeth. A great many visits to the dentist later, and my mouth is healthier. (Still not much prettier, but a whole lot healthier and for that I am relieved.)

    And of course, I am determined to keep them healthy. (Just like when I gave up smoking and when I lose weight, I have turned obsessively very a little evangelical when it comes to teeth brushing.)

    For me and the kids and for lovely husband, it's a twice a day obsession. We have all become adept and keen. Olivia, Charlie and Lexie are all lucky recipients of strong teeth, and so far, healthy teeth too. Wobbles and gaps aside, they have lovely toothy pegs.

    They still leave blobs of toothpaste foam on the hand towels and they leave globs of toothpaste all over the bathroom vanity, which also bugs me. They never rinse the basin properly and teeth tooth brushing evidence all over the place. They squeeze the toothpaste tube all wrong - they push from the middle: how wrong, how annoying!

    But I cannot complain. The teeth brushing thing, for them, has become ingrained, and as automatic as breathing. I pray for superb dental histories for them all. I never want them to experience the pain  that an unhealthy mouthful of rotten teeth can bring. Or the price! My mouth has costs me thousands of dollars. I do not want my kids to incur that expense!

    We, as a family, recently undertook the Philips Sonicare 28 Day Family Challenge

    All five of us have used the Philips Sonicare for just over a month now. Sensational!

    At first I was a little worried about the electronic nature of all these tooth brushes - we only have one power point in our bathrooms. BUT, once charged, the toothbrushes hold the charge for WEEKS! So you really only need to charge them once every three weeks or so? No dangling cords in the bathroom.

    The Sonicare for Kids, which has interchangeable different coloured handles, features:

    • Kid Timer helps to increase brushing time (perfect for Lexie, who tends to be a little too slapdash at times!)
    • 2 Kid-friendly power modes deliver a gentle, effective clean (Charlie and Olivia operate at a more powerful level than little Lexie, for example.)
    • Age-appropriate brush heads to protect kid's teeth
    • Kid Pacer delivers fun and engaging musical tones - this is the BEST! The toothbrush plays a little tune to remind the kids to swap sides. The whole thing takes 2 minutes - meaning they are encourages to brush for 30 seconds top and bottom, right and left.

    In terms of my teeth, I have used the Philips FlexCare+.
    I actually asked my dentist's advice about it, and she was, initially, slightly ambivalent. I have a regular "date" with my dentist - I go every fortnight for work to continue. So we decided between us to do an honest review after a month. I promised to used the Philips FlexCare+ twice a day for a month, and she promised to give me her expert thoughts afterwards. And her opinion? She was actually genuinely impressed! She indicated that my gums particularly are in much better condition (plumper, with a much paler pink colour.) She actually admitted to being surprised at the definite improvement.
    Plus, I like using it. It feels really gentle whilst I am brushing, but afterwards, my teeth feel a lot shinier and a lot squeaky cleaner! 
    So there you have it. My kids love their Philips toothbrushes, so do I, and so does my dentist.
    I have a Sonicare FlexCare + to giveaway, thanks to Philips.
    To enter, just make sure you are following my blog, and leave me a comment telling your worst dental habit?!
    Open to Australian Residents only. Winner will be drawn this time next week, via Random.Org, and informed by email. If you would like to share this giveaway via Twitter or Facebook, I will love you forever.

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    Tuesday, 1 November 2011

    Eat chocolate and still lose weight...(Lindt Chocolate Giveaway)

    When I first started to lose weight, it became apparent that, in order to shed kilos, I would indeed have to relent, and give all the beautifully indulgent foods I loved. Including chocolate.

    And of course, as soon as I told myself that I was "not allowed" chocolate, I felt like running to the shop and buying kilos of the stuff. The idea of deprivation is not a good one - it usually enhances cravings. The moment we are "not allowed" something, we want it all the more.

    So right from the start of my weight loss journey, I have always always factored in some chocolate into my eating plan. You can eat chocolate and lose weight. Truly. How lovely and reassuring is that?!

    My lovely husband made an interesting observation in relation to chocolate eating habits. If we eat cheap chocolate of a lesser quality, the tendency is to scoff a bucket load of the stuff, get toothache, and STILL not feel satisfied.

    But, if we eat lovely high quality chocolate, I can eat just a small amount, and it tastes and feels sensational. I am totally happy and satisfied. All chocolate is not equal! (This is all to do with the percentage of cocoa solids that's in chocolate - the more cocoa solids in a chocolate, the more it hits the spot. Good quality chocolate has less sugar and less milk solids - so again, it hits the spot.)

    As a result, I happily buy my "shoppers treat" once a week, which is Lindt Lindor Balls...

    These keep me satisfied all week.

    And of course, at Easter we have the Lindt Gold Bunnies. The kids ALWAYS eat these first. Always. Why? Because the are the nicest kind of chocolate.

    So, I was very happy to find out that Lindt are introducing a new chocolate, especially for Christmas. The Lindt Teddy Bear - adorable, divine good quality chocolate, as cute as, utterly edible! Perfect!

    He stands at about 7cm tall, and he is 100g worth of gorgeous Lindt choccy. Wrapped in gold foil with the signature little red collar (with a heart pendant this season, instead of a bell...) he is adorable. (He costs $5.49)

    The Lindt Teddy Bear is  available exclusively to Target stores across Australia, and Target are also running free in-store Lindt chocolate sampling. (Yes, you read that right - you can pop along to you local Target and sample free Lindt chocolate.)

    Target are also offering exclusive an in-store promotion where you can get a free limited edition Lindt Teddy Bear USB - it's as cute as, and for once it might be a USB that doesn't get lost...

    I don't buy a lot of chocolate, for me or the kids. I would rather buy a small and delicious amount of Lindt in comparison to a whole pile of the cheap stuff.

    But instead of a small and delicious amount, I have a huge and delectable prize pack of Lindt chocolate to give away. The pack (valued at over $50 of chocolate) includes, of course, the Lindt Teddy Bear, in all his forms, as well as one of the Lindt Teddy Bear USB.

    All you need to do to in with a chance of recieving this lovely treat is:
    - Make sure you're following my blog
    - Leave me a comment telling me why you'd like to win the Lindt prize pack
    - Open to Australian residents only
    - Giveaway closes Tuesday 8th November
    - Winner chosen by Random.Org
    For more opportuities to win this decadent prize pack, and to find out where the Lindt sampling sessions are where you live -  the following bloggers are also running Lindt giveaways over the next little while -
    Fat Mum Slim, Seven Cherubs, Everything is Edible and Superparents.

    If you are in South Australia, the Lindt sampling events are being held at the following Target Stores:
    Edwardstown, Saturday 3rd Dec 11am- 2pm
    Fulham Gardens, Sat 3rd Dec 11am - 2pm
    Adelaide City - Thurs 8th Dec 5pm - 8pm
    Unley - Sat 10th Dec - 11am - 2pm
    Marion - Sat 10th Dec - 11am - 2pm

    For more details on Lindt, the Teddy Bears and on the Target exclusives, please see more here
    Good luck!
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    Winner announced via email - Chantel

    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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    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

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

    Winners all informed via email.

    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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