9 Aug 2012

Poppy Powered Cuddles

Poppy Powered Cuddles
One of the latest arrivals at The Royal British Legion office is hoping to give more than just cuddles this autumn.

The super soft Toffee Teddy Bear, who comes wearing a poppy motif scarf, will make the perfect companion for any child looking for a new friend to cuddle up to. The Royal British Legion Toffee Teddy Bear also helps to support our Armed Forces families however and all proceeds raised from sales go directly to the charity to help their important work providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces, past and present, and their families.

To buy simply visit www.poppyshop.org.uk where the Toffee Teddy Bear is available for just £10.95.

The Royal British Legion stands shoulder to shoulder with all who serve. It is the nation's leading Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is also the national Custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is best known for the annual Poppy Appeal and its emblem, the red poppy. www.britishlegion.org.uk

4 Aug 2012

Aqua Pura supporting Cancer Research UK


Aqua Pura, 100% pure Cumbrian natural mineral water, has launched Vitality Teams around the country to help women get themselves ready for the Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life. 

Women across the UK are being offered the chance to win free professional training sessions to help them get ready to walk, jog or run 5k at Race for Life.  This summer, around 625,000 women across the UK, of all ages and fitness levels, will come together to raise money and beat cancer.  Every two minutes someone in the UK is told they have cancer and there are over 235 events across the country which you can enter to help more people survive.

This year the official water sponsor, Aqua Pura, is offering women a helping hand for the big day with an opportunity to win two free personal training sessions for them and up to ten friends.  So whether you plan to walk, jog or run make sure you and your group are race ready with the help of Aqua Pura.

Some women don't do any training for their Race for Life event, but it is healthier and safer to do some exercise before the day. So to support women taking part, Aqua Pura will be giving one lucky runner and up to ten of her friends, family or colleagues two free personal training sessions and a personalised training plan from the Aqua Pura Vitality Team.
In addition the team will be sharing a series of training and fitness tips along with advice for the big day on www.everybottlecounts.co.uk

 “We want to help get you to get to the finish line and enjoy the day of your event.  If you’re a beginner even a few simple exercises in the lead up to the event will help to improve your fitness levels.  Or if you’re a more experienced runner a more focused training plan, with a few easy-to-follow nutrition tips, will help you achieve or even improve your race time as well enjoy the experience all the more!” says Cain Leathem, Aqua Pura Vitality Team leader.
“My top tips would be to invest in a good pair of running shoes and keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to your event. A few days before the event, back off a little on any training or exercise you may be doing and be sure to stretch daily - as this will keep you nice and supple during the 5k course” continued Cain.

As well as helping with training preparation, Aqua Pura is continuing the successful Every Bottle Counts campaign to help people donate to Cancer Research UK. 
Donating is easy, simply grab a code from the inside of any promotional bottle; 500ml, 1.5ltr, 2ltr sparkling and 5ltr. Visit www.everybottlecounts.co.uk and enter your code.  For every bottle registered, Aqua Pura will donate 10p to Cancer Research UK.

For more information on how to enter the competition or donate to Cancer Research with promotional bottles visit www.everybottlecounts.co.uk

To sign up and or more information about Race for Life visit www.raceforlife.co.uk

Walkers Pork Pies


Are you off the the Olympics? Or spending time with the kids taking in our great British countryside? Why don't you take a picnic with you ... When it comes to picnics in the park, a great British food institution – the pork pie – has topped of a new consumer poll for must-have essentials in our hampers this summer! With the good old fashioned sandwich a close second.

The survey, carried out by award-winning Leicestershire piemaker Walkers, showed that nearly 60% of people interviewed voted pork pies as the essential picnic ingredient.

Andy Walton, brand controller for Walkers Pies, which has been making traditional pies from the best cuts of meat for nearly 200 years, said:  “It is heart-warming to know that in these days of commercial food production and dishes from all over the world, that the good old traditional, lovingly-crafted pork pie is still topping the charts as a picnic favourite.

“Whether people are feeling particularly patriotic this year we don’t know, but we certainly believe the great British public know a good thing when they taste it.”

Picnic lovers surveyed were also asked what flavour they would like to try were a new pork pie to be invented.  Suggestions ranged from black pudding and Guinness, tandoori and Chinese barbecue spare rib to “don’t mess with a perfect recipe!”

I have to admit .. I am glad that Walkers haven't messed with the perfect recipe as their pork pies are delicious!  Good thick buttery pastry surrounding a good wedge of pork, the meat was quality cuts, no gristle or odd looking parts, just fine pink pork.

I always eat pork pie cold, but Andy likes to warm his up so the jelly runs out ... however you eat pork pie I was impressed with Walkers Pies - one to try and love!

For more information visit www.walkerspies.co.uk

3 Aug 2012

MOA to the rescue

Bumps, bruises and grazes are all part of growing up, but that doesn't make them any less distressing for little ones…

Moa, the green balm, is made with 100% natural ingredients, including extracts from the yarrow plant, and is perfect for using on children's delicate skin.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), one of Moa’s main ingredients, might look like a fairly unremarkable plant, but it is named after the Greek hero Achilles, who is said to have used it to treat his wounded soldiers on the battlegrounds of Troy.
Today the plant is still used for its powerful properties and, whilst it might not be used to help heal sword wounds anymore, it could aid your children with battles of their own and can help soothe everything from insect bites, to blisters and grazes, making it an essential for any bathroom cabinet.

How to use yarrow
Moa the green balm is crammed with organic yarrow, one of its main active ingredients and provides an easy and effective way to apply the plant extract to the skin. It can be used to soothe, nourish and renew bumps, bites, grazes and minor burns so should be part of every family first-aid kit. It also comes in a mini-sized pot, ideal for keeping in the baby-bag for any sudden emergency.  Moa balm might be able to help soothe sunburn, but the manufacturers would rather you avoided getting sunburnt in the first place!

Moa contains a wholesome blend of other 100% natural ingredients such as tea tree, coconut oil, soya bean oil, sweet almond oil and beeswax, with no nasty ingredients giving every mother peace of mind when using it on their child.  Moa the green balm contains yarrow and soy bean oils and is so not recommended during pregnancy.

The balm looks a little like a tub of lipbalm, the blend has a mild smell of tea tree which is fantastic as sometimes tea tree can be very strong and off-putting ... this is quite mild and so smells clean and fresh.
I spread some on Andy's nettle stung fingers earlier (don't ask!) he was complaining about 'not being able to find a dock leaf when you need one' so I dug out my pot of Moa and smoothed it on his poorlys.  All was fine for 2 minutes when he started to scream "It stings! its burning!" ... now I am not sure if Andy is a big numpty or if it really did sting, so please be cautious on first use.  He washed it off and put on some 'white cream' and was fine.
I have since spread some on my lips (as they were a bit sore) and they are fine .. so different people, different reactions.

Moa is also good for tattoo or piercing care as it doesn't contain petroleum or lanolin which can clog pores and pull the colour from your new tattoo.  It is also suitable for permanent make-up tattooing as it can be used around the delicate eye area.

Moa is suitable for vegetarians as it does not contain lanolin or petrochemicals/mineral oil.  It is also suitable for sensitive skin types.

Moa the green balm starts at £4.99 for a 15ml pot and £9.99 for 50ml for your bathroom cabinet.
To buy and for more info about Moa or yarrow ask at your local health store or visit www.thegreenbalm.com

Beyond Organic Skincare

Beyond Organic Skincare was set up to do exactly what it says on the tin, go beyond simply providing organic beauty products. They felt that whilst there was a growing number of organic beauty brands on the market there was a lack of products that went that extra mile; that were organic, but also paid attention to the finer details.

Whilst producing products that help protect our planet is central to Beyond Organic’s beliefs, they don’t want people to have to settle for inferior products at a higher price just to have the organic tag. They aim to provide highly effective products that really make a difference to the health of your skin, that protect it from harmful chemicals and the elements, whilst giving it the love and attention it deserves through gorgeous high quality skincare.

With their latest new product launches they have certainly lived up to their name and ethos…

Daily SPF 30 Protection - 50ml pump bottle £25.60.

A 100% Natural & Organic Sun Filter Cream giving UVA & UVB protection.
·    Does not whiten the skin or clog the pores.
·    Zinc Oxide is a mineral sun filter.
·    Helps the fight against aging in two ways – it protects from the harmful rays and defends against UV damage. 
·    The strong antioxidants are rich in retinol, which prevents premature aging, minimises wrinkles and reduces scar tissue.

Apply daily, especially before any exposure to sun. 
Re-apply regularly as needed, particularly after swimming.  
Remember to use also in winter and on cloudy days as the suns rays can still cause damage.  Can be used under mineral make up.  

Beyond Organic’s Daily SPF 30 Protection Cream definitely doesn't scrimp on the quality of their organic ingredients with Organic Macadamia Oil, Shea Butter, Rosehip Oil and Beeswax being listed alongside other equally effective natural ingredients. There’s also zinc oxide which acts as a natural mineral sun filter, and the cream is jam packed with anti-oxidants, such as retinol, to help prevent premature aging, minimise wrinkles and reduce scar tissue. What’s more it has been specially formulated so it doesn't whiten the skin or clog pores. Perhaps most importantly, the product fulfils their promise of going that extra mile, and smell and feel gorgeous on your skin, coming in high quality packaging that wouldn’t look out of place in the most exclusive of spas, but without the celebrity price tag. 

Daily SPF 30 Protection; Zinc Oxide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Rose Hydrolat (Rosa damascene)*, Macadamia Oil (Macadamia Integrifolia)*, Shea Butter (Vitellaria Paradoxa)*, Olive Leaf Emulsifier (Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate), Rosehip Oil (Rosa Canina)*, Beeswax (Cera Alba)*, Lecithin (Lyosolecithin)*, Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil (Hippophae rhamnoides)*, Corn (Propanediol), Willow Bark Extract (Salix Alba), Essential Oils (Containing Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene)* *Organic Ingredients (50.5%)

 My thoughts: 
A little goes a long way, the cream rubs in easily but feels and looks very very greasy, for a facial product this gives a 'shimmer' effect but also a 'sweaty' effect, I am not totally convinced about using it underneath mineral makeup.

The product reminds me of babies sun block, but it does go clear instead of giving the whitewash look ... however you would struggle to put on delicate clothing on after smothering yourself in the cream as it is still greasy to the touch after leaving it to sink in for 10 minutes.

I like the way they have used natural products, particularly Shea Butter which is fantastic for keeping your skin supple an healthy.  I am also impressed at how the cream blocks both UVA and UVB rays which damage the skin and can cause skin cancer.  The non-pore blocking is also fantastic as it does not contain aluminium salts which some people find aggravates acne or causes flare-ups on their skin of small pimples, this is a good property for the sun cream to have.

I like the cream, it has its good points (non-pore blocking, good coverage, contains shea butter and natural ingredients) but the greasy look and the fragrance (it is a little off-putting as it smells like a cross between cough sweets and rose hips), plus the price put me off purchasing the cream.

Update!! .... it also attracts flies, since testing the cream on the back of my hand a little blue bottle will not leave my hand alone! This isn't a very good quality for a sun cream!

For more information: www.beyondskincare.co.uk


Gaymers Cider

Wish for summer with a chilled bottle of 
Gaymers Cider.

Whether you prefer the refreshing core range of Apple and Pear cider or the two new mouth-watering flavours, Pear Cider with Raspberry and Pear Cider with Cherry & Apple, Gaymers is sure to get taste buds tingling on hot days. 

Get ready to swap your umbrella for a parasol and enjoy the sunny weather while it lasts with a cider in hand!

I am off to some 4x4 Shows over the next few weeks with my Land Rover, I am sure I will be sat outside my caravan cider in hand watching the world go by.   My favourite of the new flavours is Pear with Cherry & Apple, its fruity and refreshing, but must be served freezing cold (I pour over ice).  Andy prefers the regular Gaymers Pear Cider, again freezing cold while sat in the sun - he says the fruity new ones are 'girls drinks' but when we ran out of pure pear he didn't turn down a pear and raspberry version!

Remember to drink responsibly - each bottle is alc. 4% vol  which works out as 2.0 UK units. It is recommended that women drink no more than 2-3 units per day and men 3-4 units per day.   This means that one-two bottles are enough - to relax and wind down without exceeding your limit.

Please visit www.facebook.com/gaymers for more information.

The new flavours from Gaymers Cider are available in Morrisons and Tesco supermarkets nationwide (£1.69 - £1.89).



Owen Potts’ brand-new selection of delicious stocks offer the perfect way to transform a classic dish into a real culinary delight – ideal for enriching and adding flavour to soups, sauces, tagines and risottos, to name just a few. 

With flavours including beef, chicken and fish, these stocks are great for adding some flair to a home-made soup, bringing a little something extra to a beef stew, or introducing a touch of indulgence to a seafood risotto – safe in the knowledge you’re in the hands of a real food guru.

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

Owen Potts’ stocks are made using the very best, natural ingredients sourced from around the world. They are available at an RRP of £2.50 from Tesco.

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

I have tried Owen Potts Chicken Stock, it comes in an easy to use plastic pouch.  The colouring of the product is a good tasty yellow, however the contents do settle inside the see-through pouch which for me is a little off-putting, a good shake and everything mixes together well
I prepared Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup which I have listed the recipe for below.  The preparation time took me longer than 10 minutes, but I was using products that I had never used before .. to be honest some of them I didn't even know existed!  
The recipe was simple to make (after all the chopping), and I was surprised that even with extra water added and a lot of flavoursome ingredients you could still taste the chicken stocks full flavours as we enjoyed the soup as a family (the recipe states 2 bowls, but we got 3 out of it).

I will use Owen Potts stocks again, I am planning on trying to make a tagine for my friends (a bit like 'Come dine with me') and so I think that cheating a little with an Owen Potts stock won't break the rules too much .. but "Shhh!" don't tell them :)

Just one of the Ways to Enjoy Owen Potts Superior Stocks…

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
An Asian classic, perfect for a healthy lunch or a lighter evening meal

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 2

·         70g rice noodles
·         500ml Owen Potts chicken stock
·         200g chicken breast, diced
·         2 star anise
·         1 cinnamon stick
·         2 lemon grass stalks, bruised
·         2cm piece fresh root ginger, thickly sliced
·         1 tsp fish sauce
·         150g beansprouts
·         200g pak choi, thickly sliced
·         4 salad onions, finely sliced
·         ½ red chilli, deseeded and sliced

1.      Prepare the rice noodles as instructed on pack.
2.      Heat the Owen Potts chicken stock, spices, ginger and lemon grass in a large pan with roughly 300ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for 15 mins.
3.      Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the spices, lemon grass and ginger and then stir in the fish sauce.
4.      Bring the soup base back to the boil. Stir in the prepared noodles and pak choi and simmer for 2 mins.
5.      Add the chicken and beansprouts to the pan and cook for another minute. Divide between two large bowls.
6.      Top with the salad onions and chilli. 

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

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