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Wednesday 18 February 2015

Surviving winter with Domino's Pizza

I am so glad we have not any snow this year. Whilst it is beautiful it seems to cause chaos in Britain and we are just not prepared for it. Massive traffic jams, train delays, school closures and deliveries abandoned.  Of course the kids are beside themselves and that would be the only reason I would have enjoyed a few days of snow, so they could have tried out the sledges we bought 18 months ago when we moved to East Sussex and into the 220 acre estate that we live in now.

It's not been a harsh winter so far this year and that is a really good thing, we have still been getting out and enjoying the grounds where we live but just for shorter periods of time than normal as the kids are cold and really hungry when they arrive back indoors after a muddy game of football or hide and seek.

I was pleased that Domino's asked us if we would like a little treat one night during half term.  So after a good stroll and some fun in the woods we drove to our nearest Domino's to pick up our dinner. Sadly as we live in the middle of nowhere we can't get a delivery but we combined our pick-up with a trip to the library and pound shop, both things the kids enjoy!

Once we arrived back home my husband came home from work to join us and we tucked into our pizza feast and watched a good movie on Netflix. The film of choice was called Hunters and was pretty good for family viewing.

We all tucked into the Big pick and mix deal, which is £24.99 for a large pizza, medium pizza, chicken side and another side as well as two 500ml drinks. We also added on a combo and our order came to £31.34. On the Domino's site as you add all your items I was pleased to see that Domino's picks the best deal for the items you have chosen and this means you get a deal every time.

You can choose to remove the deal and use a voucher code if you have one. I received one on the menu which came with our meal and this gives you 40% off an online order of £40 or more but if you google for deals there are some even better ones out, there like 50% off a £40 order which ends up taking your spend down to about £20. You can also check out the Domino's blog and see what is being advertised on there too.

We really enjoyed our Domino's feast.  As always the chicken strippers were my favourite, JJ loves the potato wedges with barbecue dip and dh did a really good job of tucking into our large Meateor pizza.

This is a treat we really enjoy a couple of times a year.

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Pancake day with Hartleys jam

The kids had some great fun last night decorating pancakes and making some portraits, who they are of I have no idea!

Hartleys jam sent us through some of their squeezy smooth jam which the kids thought was great. It is so much easier for a child to squirt jam on their toast/ crumpet/ pancake (insert whatever you fancy here) and then spread it rather than dipping buttery knives into the jam pot and potentially making the whole pot go bad! I've not bought the sqeezy jams before as they are about £1.69 for 340g whereas the no-bits jam in a jar is just £1.00 for the same amount. I do think they are fabulous for something like pancake day when you want to be creative though.

I'm a big fan of the Hartleys brand and often buy their no-bits strawberry jam and when it is on offer I'll splash out and enjoy the Best range too. Whilst Hartleys can be more expensive than the supermarket own brand it is really enjoyable and worth the little extra I think.

Thanks Hartleys, the kids had a great time.

Monday 9 February 2015

Review: Dr Cool Science Kits

The kids were over the moon when we were sent four Dr Cool science sets a couple of weeks back.  I literally got nagged from the moment they arrived until I let them crack them open and then I had the joy of them arguing over which sets they each wanted. At least this means they were something they thought looked great and really wanted to play with.

This is what we received, clockwise from top left - Crystal growing kit, Mine for gems, Ultimate volcano science kit and Break open real geodes.

The first thing to say is that I like the packaging of the Dr Cool sets, the boxes are a good thick quality cardboard and the items inside the box are presented well.  Every kit comes with colourful instructions, additional information relating to the science activity you are going to do and also an activity book with word searches etc inside.  My 11 year old had no interest in the activity book but the 7 years olds like them and they seemed to be age appropriate.

Mine for Gems
This retails for £29.99 on Amazon so is not a cheap toy.  One of my 7 year old twins started off digging and she was bored within about 10 minutes (but this is her nature) and then my 11 year old boy happily took over. He had two sessions of about 2 or 3 hours a piece and happily sat there and dug away at his piece of plaster.

He found 10 gems in all and these were a good size and quality. In the kit he received a digging tool, small brush and magnifying glass as well as the instructions and activity booklet.

JJ loved this but I'd recommend that you buy it as an outside toy as it does make a mess, there is plaster dust all about (so probably not suitable for those with asthma) and I had to keep sweeping the floor. JJ also got it all over his clothes, granted it washes off easily but it was still a mess.

Break open real geodes
Miss E was so excited about this set and finding real crystals inside the rocks. She received 4 rocks and we put on the goggles supplied and set about cracking them open. I discovered we needed a hammer and chisel and I could not find one so I tried a very large and heavy spanner with a screwdriver but even when I was whacking them with this generally there was no give.

We did manage to crack one with a screwdriver and the spanner but the other three were beyond our skills, We next put one in a sock (as recommended) and trying whacking it against the stone floor or stone on our house and again no joy, nothing happened except we ruined the sock.

As a last resort we took the geodes down to the groundsman where we live and he tried to crack them with a big hammer and chisel.  He had no luck either so he took his diamond blade and cut them with an angle grinder.

You'll see from the picture that of the three he cut for us, only one was hollow and Miss E was over the moon with the crystals in that but the other two were a disappointment as they were not hollow. I suppose it is hard to know what is inside, but I suppose it would have been good to know this so I could have prepared Miss E. At £19.95 this is quite a costly investment.

We haven't started on the crystal growing or volcano sets yet, they will be in the next few weeks.

Saturday 7 February 2015

Trying out some new Nescafe Dolce Gusto Pods

About eight months ago I was sent the Nescafe Dolce Gusto mini-me drinks machine to review and I love it. It is so convenient when I want a treat to be able to enjoy a speciality coffee with no extortionate price tag. Drinks are ready in just a couple of minutes and they do not require anything too taxing from me but I'm pleased to say that you get the genuine rich coffee and frothy milk tastes and textures that you would expect from a very good coffee.

Earlier this week I was sent through a nice little package, including some more pods to try. I was super pleased to see that my favourite cappuccino was there and I had one of those straight away.

Also included were Chai Tea Latte and Americano.  My husband drinks classic coffee and not too milky so the rich Americano taste suits him and I tried the Chai tea Latte with some cinnamon on top and it was super yummy, I'll be having that again.

There are so many different pods to try out, my JJ loves the Chococino and has even asked me if he can pay for some with his own money.  As I was ordering them I spotted the website exclusive of Chococino caramel and they have been added to my list!

I also spotted that there are some nice recipes on the Dolce Gusto website, this mint chic-chip-chinno looks really good as a special dessert or in the summer when you need to cool down.

Disclosure: I was sent a couple of mugs and three boxes of pods to try out and enjoy. I wanted to blog about them as I am genuinely enjoying using my Dolce Gusto machine and am happy to share with my readers.