Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Willie's Cacao chocolate giveaway

Willie's Cacao is my most favourite chocolate ever, bar none.  I discovered it after the 2008 Channel 4 TV series which followed Willie Harcourt-Cooze from his cacao farm in Venezuela to producing the high-end pure cacao bars in Devon.  He is the master of cacao and chocolate in my eyes.

I thought it was time for a foodie giveaway, so one lucky blog reader will win four 50g single square delicious Willie's Cacao chocolate bars.  I couldn't decide which one to buy as a prize, so I bought all four!

  • Milk of the Gods, sublime single estate milk chocolate
  • Sierra Leone Ginger Lime, layers of exotic flavour
  • Cuban Luscious Orange, delicate orange with honey notes
  • El Blanco, Venezuelan white chocolate

To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter below.  Don't forget to tweet everyday for even more entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • This competition is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Willie's Cacao.
  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 22nd July 2014 until 23:59 on 6th August 2014.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is four 50g single square Willie's Cacao chocolate bars.  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 10th August 2014.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • I'll do my utmost to get the prize to the winner within 14 days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Judge’s decision is final.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Monday, 21 July 2014

Taste test: Soreen apple and sultana, banana and original fruit loaf

I've been a huge fan of Soreen fruit loaf since I was little.  Mum used to give us 'malt loaf', as it was known back in the 80s, as a treat and if I was really lucky, she toasted it too.  Mmmm!

Our son is also a big fan of Soreen fruit loaf and has a slice of original in his lunch box every day.  So we thought we'd run a taste taste for a few of the many variants of Soreen that are available now.

Our son and I put Soreen original, apple and sultana and banana through their paces (it's a tough job, but someone has to do it!).

All loaves are low fat (the banana loaf has less than 1.5% saturated fat) - great!  All have a decent shelf life of around four weeks too - perfect for keeping in the cupboard as a snack when needed, although it never lasts that long in our house!

First impression of all loaves were great.  Fresh smelling and ridiculously squidgy, they all cut through easily with a bread knife to reveal a squidgy cake/bread like texture.  The banana loaf in particular was really dense.  The original and apple and sultana loaves had a good even distribution of fruit.

"Mum, please can I have a piece now you've taken loads of pictures?" - our son, aged five.
Here's our verdict:
Apple and Sultana Soreen fruit loaf - 5 out of 5
A really delicious fruit loaf.  Our son said it tasted like apple flapjack and apple crumble all in one.  I could taste a hint of cinnamon to balance it all out.  Light but squidgy and satisfying, this was our absolute favourite.  It'd be great toasted with a spread of really good quality butter.

"Mum, can I have some more?  That one's the best!" - our son
Original Soreen fruit loaf - 4.5 out of 5
Yummy, squidgy with a great distribution of fruit.  The loaf held its shape well and was a nice texture.  Tasted perfectly cooked, with a nice balance of barley and raisin.  Delicious!
Banana moist Soreen fruit loaf - 3.5 out of 5
This loaf gives you squidgy energy with the addition of banana.  Of all the loaves, this one was the most dense.  The banana flavour was strong throughout and although our son really liked it, it was a little strong for me - this is probably a good thing so you don't eat the whole loaf!  Still delicious, and again would be great toasted.

You can visit the Soreen website for information on all variants and loads of delicious recipes at www.soreen.com.  I particularly love the sound of this heavenly sounding chocolate Soreen flapjack:

At the time of writing (July 2014), all these variants were on offer in Asda at two for £2.  Bargain!
Family Fever
Disclaimer: thanks Soreen for sending me the original and banana loaves to review.  I purchased the apple and sultana loaf myself.  All views and thoughts are mine, and my son's.  Please don't use images without permission.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

My Sunday photo

Life is getting easier now toddler girl's getting older and we all can eat out more easily.  We went to Pizza Express yesterday, and she absolutely loved the chocolate fudge cake that was part of the kids' menu. Some of it even went in her mouth!

For more pictures like this, please follow me on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/meaddthreeblog.

Linking up with One Dad 3 Girls for My Sunday Photo.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Proud #WotW

It's been a week of reflection - our son has just finished his reception year at school.  I am so proud of him.  We had a great school report, showing just how far he's come.  He spoke at his graduation ceremony, and was clear and confident.  He received a trophy at football on Monday.  He is a happy little boy.  I'm so proud to be his Mum.  Sometimes I wonder where he came from.

Linking up with Jocelyn at The Reading Residence for this post.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Baby girl becomes toddler girl

It feels like she's been taking her time for ages, but finally baby girl became toddler girl a week or two ago. 

She's off!

It is lovely to see her walking on her own.  She still crawls sometimes because it's faster, but she loves to walk and climb and walk and climb.  She particularly loves our stairs and tries to walk up them all the time!
I'm so happy she's walking, but it's tinged with sadness as our baby days are now over.  Here's to the next chapter.  Even more mischief!
Have you reached any milestones this week?  I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Heaven #TuesdayTune

It's our son's last week in reception year at primary school.  This afternoon I went to his graduation, and a lovely montage of pictures of all his class was playing to the acoustic version of Heaven by DJ Sammy.  I tracked it down on iTunes - it features Do.
"Oh thinking about our younger years,
We were young and wild and free
There was only you and me"
I, along with lots of other Mums, was overcome with emotion.  The song is so powerful, and it seemed so fitting.  It will always take me back to that school hall now.
I'd love to know what song you're listening to this week - is there one which has moved you?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Teacher buy or not to buy. That is the question.

Should you buy a thank you gift for a teacher?

It's the end of our son's first year at school. He's had a great reception year and has settled really well into school.

The quality of teaching and care he's received at school has been excellent. The progress he's made with literacy since last September is brilliant.

We, genuinely, are really pleased with his school.

So should we buy his teacher an end of year thank you gift? It's the talk of the playground, and I'm really in a dilemma about it.

Some people are going all out - tens of pounds for a one off treat. Some people are doing small gifts like chocolates. Some are giving a bottle of wine.

And I don't know whether to join in or not. Would you?

Teaching is after all, his teacher's job. She has done what she's supposed to do. At parent's evening and after every school concert, we’ve said thank you and told her how pleased we are with our son’s progress.

The education our son has received is also down to a whole range of people within the school - his PE teacher, the classroom assistant, all the cooks and dinner staff, playground supervisors, even the cleaners who regularly have the unpleasant task of unblocking toilets. It seems disrespectful to give a gift only to his teacher. So should I send something for all?

And then there are the neverending costs of school. Last month alone we've had a school trip, raffle tickets and prizes, cake making and buying, class photos, school dinners and an artwork sale. These costs aren't insignificant, so do we really want to add 'gifts' to those?

But then, there's the peer pressure of all the Mums in the playground who will be giving a gift. I know our son would feel really left out if he was the only one who didn't give a gift out of his whole class.

He likes his teacher, and teaching assistant. He knows they work hard for him. Any he has asked if we can get something for the dinner lady that goes out of her way to help him every day.

They've all done a great job so why shouldn't they be rewarded with a gesture of thanks?

I'd love to know what you think, and what you did in this situation. Please help me make up my mind!