The Photo Gallery 227: Colour

Nutribullet blastFor anyone who follows me on Instagram I really must apologise; I have become a NutriBullet bore.
I get so excited about the concoction I’ve produced I’ve snapped photos galore trying to get the brightest smoothie I can.

My first attempt was described on Facebook by a friend as “compost coloured”. She wasn’t wrong, but it tasted delicious.
My next attempt I would describe as ‘slowly getting there’, but this baby, this is the one that get me all excited. I know, I know.
I can honestly say I’m very impressed with the gadget. And I was very very sceptical before trying it out. Seriously, how can it be better than a simple blender? The one I use every morning that cost me £20.
Well it is and I love it and I’m going to bore you a little bit more with my breakfast and lunch creations!

This particular recipe filled me up so much I had to forego my late afternoon chocolate digestives which is UNHEARD of!
AND my skin looks like I’ve had an expensive facial. It’s all the wins.

So, just in case you fancy giving this one a go here is the recipe:

½ Tall Cup of spinach
½ Banana
½ cup strawberries
½ cup blueberries
1 tbs hemp seeds
fill to the max line with coconut water

NOTE: I’m actually running a giveaway to win a NutriBullet – in gold or purple. Just comment on the post to enter. 

This post is for week 227 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Colour.

Now it’s your turn to link up your post and join in. If you’re new here and want to know what the Photo Gallery feature is, go and read all about it, and then come right back and join in!

Here’s how to join in

Take a photo using the theme I’ve given as your inspiration. There are no rules and you can interpret the theme any way you like.

 Write a blog post using your photo. You can write as many or as few words as you like. You don’t even need to use a new photo; just a photo you think represents the prompt.

 Add the Photo Gallery badge (and the foot of this post) to your post so other readers can find the other entries.

 Link back to your post using the linky tool below so readers can find you. The linky stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.

Now go visit as many of the other entries as you can. Leave a comment, discover new blogs, discover new ways of taking photos and maybe share any tips you have.

The Photo Gallery isn’t about taking technically brilliant photos. You can take them on your phone, your point and shoot or your fancy pants camera. It’s about having a passion for photos, wanting to better yourself and discovering what other bloggers are doing.

If you’re using Twitter you can find us on the hashtag #TheGallery. We’re also on  Pinterest and Google +

Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

To ensure you don’t miss a prompt, you can subscribe to the Sticky Fingers feed to have them delivered directly to your inbox every Friday.

 PLEASE don’t link dump – this is not that sort of linky!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.thestickyfingersblog.com/the-photo-gallery" title="Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery"><img src="http://www.thestickyfingersblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The-Gallery-e1372717730880.png" alt="Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
 Loading InLinkz ...

The Photo Gallery is open for absolutely ANYONE to join in – be you on blog, Instagram, Flickr or any platform where you an host a photo.

See you over there x

Posted in The Gallery | Tagged | 22 Comments

The house of sores

poorly mia

I’m trying to write this post with a child’s head resting on my lap. Actually her whole body was contorted to somehow fit on to my lap; her long nine-year-old limbs all over the place.
Every now and again she shuffles around and tries to bury her head a little further into my neck like some giant baby creature.
It’s not the slightest bit comfortable for either of us but there is a certain comfort to be had from snuggling up to your mum when you’re feeling low.
Mia has been feeling very sorry for herself. She had to take two extra days off school this week after being diagnosed with impetigo.

She woke up one morning with spots all over her beautiful cheeks. Her one nostril is a mass of crusty scab. She looked utterly dreadful.
It started as just a scab on her nose. I kept telling her to leave it alone and when a spot rose up the following day just underneath, I told her it was probably caused by all the Easter chocolate she’d been devouring when she thinks I’m not looking.

Terrible mother. I dismissed it and covered it in antiseptic cream until the morning she woke up with sores all over her little face and I knew it most definitely wasn’t the chocolate.

The doctor diagnosed her pretty much the moment we walked in the door and put her on a course of antibiotics, but as impetigo is highly contagious, she wasn’t allowed back to school until she had two days worth of medicine in her system.
The medicine really isn’t pleasant, she warns us, but it’s the best one for the job.

“Will I miss maths?”
“Yes, honey. Sorry.”
“It’s OK. I don’t want to go out though. I don’t want anyone seeing me like this.”
“We can stay in and snuggle up on the sofa.”
“Can we eat some of my Easter chocolate?”
“Yes, of course we can.”

The doctor tells you it’s ‘just one of those things’ and it’s very common and easy to clear up, but you still feel like the worst mother in the world for not recognising it, dismissing it, laughing at it.

* I wrote this in the week and have only just got around to posting as she’s better now and I feel I’m able to share now she’s over it and back to climbing trees again.
I’m hoping it’s at least taught her a lesson though and she will at least attempt to wash her hands when she gets in :-)

Posted in Dan & Mia | 12 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 227

Gallery logoHello and welcome to week 227 of The Photo Gallery.

I saw the most ‘stop you in your tracks’ photo on Facebook this week as I was browsing around; Annie Spratt (aka Mammasaurus) shared a picture of the rape seed field near her and the colours were just stunning. AND she added that there was not filter used.
Annie takes the most beautiful photos of the countryside around her, of the adventures her kids have in it and of a beautiful childhood of trees and nature and dirty knees. And that’s just her :-)

This is why spring – and the UK – are such wonderful places to be. Just look at the colours. Makes me want to run along that track like a child and run my hands through the yellow. And no I don’t have hay fever as I know many will be looking at this and thinking there is NO WAY I could do that!

Rape seed field
So this week the theme for the Photo Gallery is: Colour.
It doesn’t matter which colour, as long as it’s vivid and bold and makes us go WOW!

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

The Photo Gallery is a weekly feature for all those who love photography and photographs.
I set it up back in 2010 to give everyone an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around their pictures.

It has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | 3 Comments

Win a Nutribullet worth £99

Purple nutribullet
I don’t know about you, but the minute spring peeks its head over the parapet I start thinking about healthier eating, yummy in-season fruits and veggies and trying out new things in the kitchen.

Of course the one kitchen gadget on everyone’s lips at the moment is the Nutribullet.
Well, I’ve teamed up with the lovely people at Ideal World to offer you the chance to win a NutriBullet for yourself.

To mark Ideal World’s 15th birthday this month, they will be offering the NutriBullet in funky gold or purple.
Why should you get excited about a NutriBullet? Well, for one it’s one of Ideal World’s best selling gadgets of all time – selling 3,000 in just one day this month!
It’s also an ‘extractor’ not a blender or juicer. What does that mean? Well according to the blurb, it means every ounce of nutritional benefit is taken from your food and preserved for optimum benefit.

All of which basically means you get to create soups, smoothies, sauces, salsas and salad dressings which come with all the good stuff included.

nutribullet

magic bulletI’ve been testing one out this week to see what all the fuss is about.
Everyone I speak to that has one, swears by it. A friend bought a ‘cheap imitation’ and says it’s nowhere near as good.
So what is all the fuss about.

Well, call me shallow, but I really like the way it looks on my kitchen worktop for starters; that’s a big win for me!
The NutriBullet comes with a range of accessories, a recipe book and a pocket nutritionist book. You get one large and two smaller cups (and two ‘handle’ accessories to turn your cup into a mug), an extractor blade, a milling blade (to turn nuts and seeds into powder) and two resealable lids to keep anything you make fresh in the cup.
And you basically throw everything into the cup, twist on the lid, blitz and voila.
Except it wasn’t voila for me the first time as I followed my own recipe and the end result was brown! Not the vibrant green and deep purples I’ve seen.
I think my mistake was adding blackberries and spinach together. We’ll have to see as I experiment some more. It tasted absolutely delicious mind you!

Nutriblast ingredients nutriblast

The beauty of the set is you get a book packed with different ideas for recipes to use from detoxing blasts with pineapple and pear to ‘free radical fighters’ with chard, watermelon and flax seeds.

The NutriBullet Nutrition Extractor (with 9 accessories, recipe book and pocket Nutritionist Book) is available from IdealWorld priced £99.

How to enter

So what do you have to do to get your hands on one of these Nutribullets? All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is just fill in the widget below and cross your fingers! Best of luck x

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And if you want to find other competitions hosted on UK-based blogs, check out my Pinterest board for more places to win!

Follow Tara Cain’s board The UK Giveaway/Competition Community Board on Pinterest.

Rules:
The competition is open to residents of the UK only (sorry rest of the world).
No cash alternative offered.
The prize is 1 NutriBullet worth £99 from Ideal World in either purple or gold.
Entry is via Rafflecopter.
Make sure your contact details are easily available.
The competition closes on Friday, May 1.
One winner will be chosen from all the entries after the closing date.
The winner will be asked to provide their full name and address for the prize to be sent to.
If a prizewinner does not respond within a week of being contacted, the prize will be re-drawn and a new winner will be contacted.

Posted in Competitions, Food, Other Review, Reviews | 317 Comments

On finally, FINALLY getting into our school of choice

mia schoolingUp until 7am this morning, school choices for us have been a hugely stressful issue.
Our first foray into schooling seven years ago saw Dan refused all three of his first choice places for first school. All three.
We were the victim of hugely oversubscribed schools – even though our first choice was our catchment school and we could walk there in 5 minutes. AND we live in a fairly quiet town, not a bustling city.
He was then refused a place at his middle school of choice at the age of 9, the one actually attached to the first school he ended up at.
School choice felt like a million miles away for us.

Until that day when you are responsible for your little one’s education; where they will go, the friends they will make, the environment they will spent most of their week at, you cannot possibly realise how crushing it is to be refused the place you’ve hoped for.
To be sat there waiting for that email to come into your inbox, all your hopes and dreams for their future resting on one solitary sentence: ‘Your child has been offered a place at XXXXXXX School’.

I cried when all this happened to Dan I don’t mind admitting. First school wasn’t quite so bad because he had no idea what lay before him, just that he was going to school and would make new friends. I just wanted him to be able to walk to school and his friends live where we live.
But at the age of 9 when the middle school places were offered, when his face crumpled because he would have to go to a school where he knew no one and none of his friends were going, we had night after night of ‘I’m worried’ and tears and quiet moments to himself when I knew he was fretting about it.
I would take myself off in the car and cry and rage at the world and get angry and then cry some more.
Then I would come home, go to his room and hug him and tell him all would be OK because we would get through it together and I would make sure all was good.

Today all that changed as an email popped into my inbox at 2.50am to say Mia has been offered a place at the middle school of her choice.
I could actually cry. Again. Actually cry. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally relax and not think about appeals (I’ve been down that road before) and how to tell her she won’t be able to walk to school with her friends or that we’ll have to try to find somewhere else she likes.

We went through all of this with Dan and it was so so stressful. I felt like I had failed as a parent and I know it sounds melodramatic and over the top but, like I said, until you’ve been there don’t scoff.
I was having to take my kids to two different schools which were miles apart and every day one of them was late and there was nothing I could do about it.
As it is, we took control of Dan’s eduction ourselves last year and he’s blissfully happy now and flying. Which is all any parent wants; to send their child to an environment where they can flourish.

So in September Mia will get to walk to school with her friends and her mum will most probably have yet another tear in her eye, but this time it will be a tear of happiness as my girl gets to move on to the next stage of her life.

mia at school

Posted in School | Tagged | 12 Comments

Win a £75 iTunes or Google Play voucher

HTC One M9

One of my absolutely MUST have items when I travel these days is my phone.
No, not my dSLR (although I’d be so so upset if I ever forgot it!) but having your phone means you can taken photos anywhere and everywhere. It’s easy to document your adventure when you have a small but powerful camera in your back pocket.
On a recent trip to the Caribbean I had it on me for horse riding along the beach, getting all set up for snorkelling in the ocean – it’s always on hand for a quick snap.
And if your phone camera is all singing, all dancing, well you’re on to a real winner!

The newly launched HTC One M9 is just such a phone. It boasts a 20 megapixel camera and the ability to play and record 4k video. A great asset to have on your travels – especially if you want to share your adventures on Instagram or your blog like me!

So, to celebrate the launch of the new phone (it came out on March 31) I’ve teamed up with the people at Three Mobile to offer you lovely readers a £75 iTunes or Google Play voucher – depending of which device you are using.

How to enter

So what do you have to do to get your hands on this great voucher? Well, all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is just fill in the Rafflecopter widget below and cross your fingers! Best of luck x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you want to find other competitions hosted on UK-based blogs, check out my Pinterest board for more places to win!

Follow Tara Cain’s board The UK Giveaway/Competition Community Board on Pinterest.

Rules: 
The competition is open to residents of the UK only (sorry rest of the world).
No cash alternative offered.
The prize is 1 voucher for iTunes or Google Play worth £75.
Entry is via Rafflecopter only.
Make sure your contact details are easily available.
The competition closes on Friday, May 1.
One winner will be chosen at random from all the entries after the closing date.
The winner will be asked to provide their full name and address for the prize to be sent to.
If a prizewinner does not respond within a week of being contacted, the prize will be re-drawn and a new winner will be contacted.

Posted in Competitions | 240 Comments

The Photo Gallery 226: Spring

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”
~Margaret Atwood

A photo posted by Tara Cain (@taralara) on

If ever there was a sentiment that suits this family down to the ground, it is this one.
Only we’d probably say it of every season!

This post is for week 226 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is: Spring.
Now it’s your turn to link up your post and join in. If you’re new here and want to know what the Photo Gallery feature is, go and read all about it, and then come right back and join in!

Here’s how to join in

Take a photo using the theme I’ve given as your inspiration. There are no rules and you can interpret the theme any way you like.

Now share your photo. Write a blog post using your photo. You can write as many or as few words as you choose. You don’t even need to use a new photo; it can be something from your archives. Just a photo which you think represents the prompt.

 Add the Photo Gallery badge (and the foot of this post) to your post so other readers can find the other entries.

 Add a link back to your post using the linky tool below. The linky stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.

Now go visit as many of the other entries as you can. Leave a comment, discover new blogs, discover new ways of taking photos and maybe share any tips you have. It’s about going out and encouraging each other.

The Photo Gallery isn’t about taking technically brilliant photos. You can take them on your phone, your point and shoot or your fancy pants camera. It’s about having a passion for photos, wanting to better yourself and discovering what other bloggers are doing.

If you’re using Twitter you can find us on the hashtag #TheGallery.

 The Photo Gallery is also on  Pinterest and Google +
Follow Tara Cain’s board The Photo Gallery on Pinterest.

To ensure you don’t miss a prompt, you can subscribe to the Sticky Fingers feed to have them delivered directly to your inbox every Friday.

 PLEASE don’t link dump – this is not that sort of linky!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.thestickyfingersblog.com/the-photo-gallery" title="Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery"><img src="http://www.thestickyfingersblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The-Gallery-e1372717730880.png" alt="Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
 Loading InLinkz ...

The Photo Gallery is open for absolutely ANYONE to join in – be you on blog, Instagram, Flickr or any platform where you an host a photo.

See you over there x

Posted in The Gallery | 11 Comments

The Crocky Trail

crocky trail man

The best family days out, as far as my kids are concerned, are ones where you get covered in mud.
Scuffed knees, wet socks and fingernails so dirty, 20 minutes sat in the bath still fails to remove everything from under the nails. These are also Good Days.

Many places we visit these days – where you pay an astronomical fee to get in and even more to eat mediocre food – are so controlled and ‘health and safety conscious’ that it strips the actual fun right out of it.
Which is probably why forests and fields and canals have such a huge appeal to my kids because they can explore and make mistakes and learn from their mistakes and get back up and get back into the tree or whatever object they’re navigating a way over/up/through.

Then we stumbled on the Crocky Trail in Chester. The absolutely brilliant Crocky Trail.
This giant iron man is the first thing that greets  you as you drive up to the site. It looks like you’re parking in a field. There is literally no frills.
The outdoor adventure trail is the brainchild of a local inventor who wanted to create something for local kids and so for years it was free to enter.
Over the years it’s grown and grown and it’s now open to the public (it’s about £50 for a family of four).
It’s basic, rustic and we absolutely loved it.
Why?
It’s essentially a circuit around a giant field with bridges over the stream made from chains, fallen trees, logs you scooch along on your bottom, clever cantilevered swings, mini mazes in metal shacks – lots and lots of little tests and science lessons built into nature.

The only MAJOR downfall of the place is that it’s about 2 hours away from where we live or we would be there all the time.
We discovered it while on an Easter holiday with friends near the Delamere Forest in Chester and were recommend we try it out as it was ‘right up our street’.
Oh it was. It was, it was, it was. It managed to entertain a 9-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy – both ends of the spectrum in our 8-strong party!

crocky trail bridgecrocky trail tree bridgecrocky trail tunnelcrocky trail swingcrocky trail mudcrocky trail mazecrocky trail logcrocky trail chain bridgeAnd as if that wasn’t fun enough, there’s more.
As the trail’s popularity grew and grew so more ‘rides’ were added.
So as you arrive there is a ‘theme park’ area. Rides like Titanic where you get to rush to the back of what looks like a giant flat-bed truck, sit with your back to the wall and when the ‘titanic’ rises you have to try to stay sitting.
My kids were on this for ages cackling and discovering new ways to stay at the top (you need to site on your hands).

titanic at crocky trail crocky trail titanic

There are giant slides, obstacle courses like something from the Krypton Factor and it’s all about laughing and falling and getting back up and diving back in again.
This giant rolling slide is the Wave Rider. And that’s my daughter’s wellied feet disappearing over the top.

crocky trail wave rider

This below is the Spider’s Web; the only way up that slippery slope is to grab onto the rope half way up and haul you and your mates up. Cackles galore.

crocky trail spiders webcrocky trail drumcrocky trail funIt’s proper good old-fashioned fun.
And look at my kids’ faces. That just can’t be beaten.

So my advice to you if visiting: Don’t dress up, take spare clothes, you can take the dog but they must be on a lead and be prepared to stay the whole day.
We went on a damp, drizzly day and it was buzzing but fairly quiet so we got to go on as many rides as many times as we liked. I actually think the mud and drizzle added to the fun.
However, I expect sunnier days attract far far more people and so you should expect to queue.
Picnics are welcome (there are no cafe facilities to speak of) and there are loads of places to set up camp and eat.

Posted in Days Out, Travel, UK getaways | Tagged , | 5 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 226

Gallery logoHello and welcome to week 226 of The Photo Gallery.

The sun is out, the kids are back at school and the dog and I are back to our daily walks.
You know, those simple things in life!
So this week the theme for the Photo Gallery is also nice and simple: Spring.

I spent a couple of hours in the garden last weekend, clearing out all the dead things, cutting back, mowing the lawn and generally feeling good about having a garden again.
And as the dead things were moved away, I found buds and strange shoots pushing up through the soil and I’m getting excited about spring and the sunshine and spending more time in the garden again.

So, what does spring look like where you are? Bring a little sunshine to our lives!

I’ll see you back here on Wednesday when it’s time to link up x

The Photo Gallery is a weekly feature for all those who love photography and photographs.
I set it up back in 2010 to give everyone an outlet to share and encourage and write really interesting posts around their pictures.

It has always been about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

But remember, you will get out of The Gallery what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Or by joining in the Gallery communities over on Pinterest and Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here, here’s a post to tell you all about what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to the Sticky Fingers blog and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | Leave a comment

The brightest trainers on the pitch

nike trainersI’m not sure when it happened but there seems to have been a memo send around to all pre-teen boys that if they are going to wear trainers, they absolutely positively have to be the brightest fluorescent colour known to mankind.
Headache-inducing bright flourescent.
Make your parents wince when they realise what they’re forking out for flourescent.

nike trainers at brantano

These are Dan’s latest monstrosities. You’d think they would bring you a distinct advantage in that you could at least easily spot him across the pitch in a sea of other 12 year old legs with the same kit on.
But no, all the other boys are wearing similarly garish footwear and all it serves to do is make your head swim and make you feel all kinds of woozy.
I guess it’s slightly better than the yellow ones he wanted. Or the green ones he had last year.

I sound really old don’t I?

I took the kids to get their feet measured at Brantano after being invited back to try out their foot measuring service. We did the school shoes thing last year and now it’s time for the trainer session.
For next to school shoes, a good pair of trainers is next down the list on my kids’ Most Important Clothing list.

brantano trainers

I think my kids both chose the brightest trainers in the whole shop. Still they’re very happy.

The staff were super helpful, and even gave me a sympathetic smile when I realised my 12 year old’s trainers would be a size 7. That’s actually bigger than my shoes now. *Weeps*.
He really does need to stop growing.

Mia’s feet are currently different sizes (one is 4.5 and the other is a 5) and so some trainer styles didn’t suit, but we were pointed in the direction of ones that would be suitable now and luckily for her they too were the brightest pair available :-)
I’m so glad we were at the hands of a trained fitter as the pair she wanted just wouldn’t have been right given her size difference and she spotted the fact that she was walking ‘funny’ in them straight away. I just thought she was putting it on.

brantano trainers display feet measuring service at brantanoSo a big thank you Brantano again for being helpful, knowledgeable and patient and for sending both of my kids home with big smiley faces.

 

Posted in Fashion Review, Reviews | 1 Comment