Friday, 31 May 2013

Dove Men+Care shower gel and deodorant review


You may remember a couple of months ago, Madhouse Daddy was very happy to receive some Dove Men+Care products to try out. You can read our review of their face wash and shaving foam here. Well, he's been spoilt again and this time received some shower gel and deodorant from the range to try out.

I discreetly put the two bottles of shower gel in the shower stall to see if he'd notice and he wandered downstairs, freshly showered, mentioning the nice texture and zingy scent that isn't overpowering. We received two fragrances - Fresh Awake and Clean Comfort. As an Original Source and Lush fan, I personally love big, brash, in-your-face fragrances that make the whole bathroom smell lovely when you have a shower so I thought the fragrances were slightly too discreet, but maybe that's a girl thing - Madhouse Daddy thought the strength of the scent was spot on. We both preferred the citrussy Fresh Awake fragrance but the Clean Comfort one has a nice fresh scent too. Both products (and indeed the rest of the range) use MicroMoisture technology to instantly tackle the causes of skin dryness. They're not actually labelled as shower gel - they are "Body and Face Wash" - and Madhouse Daddy said that he liked the fact that he could use them on his face without it lathering up too much, avoiding him getting a mouthful of bubbles or stinging eyes.

On to the deodorants. We received the sprays but you can also get roll ons. We again got two products from the range to try out - Invisible Dry and Extra Fresh. Both fragrances are very nice and Madhouse Daddy said that they did keep him perfectly dry and smelling fresh as a daisy all day ! As well as anti-perspirant ingredients, the deodorants also contain advanced 1/4 moisturiser technology to help reduce irritation. The Invisible Dry deodorant contains translucent anti-perspirant ingredients to avoid white marks on skin and clothes and promises 48 hour protection.

Madhouse Daddy said he was very impressed and would definitely buy them again.

star rating : 4.5/5


Disclosure : We received a selection of products in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Remember The Motherhood rap? Get ready for The Fatherhood !

Grab Bertie's ABC app for free today and tomorrow only


Just a quick heads up that for two days only, educational app Bertie's ABC is free of charge. The free period is today and tomorrow (Friday 31st and Saturday 1st) and it's a "thank you" to everyone who helped with its development or offered encouragement along the way. (That's me, but I'm allowed to share it with you too !) It works on iphone or ipad.


Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Kids' app review : Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom - Magic School

Madhouse recipe : Stuffed Turkey Roulade


This is a recipe that I saw on TV that really appealed to me. The idea was to present vegetables in a way that would appeal to kids. It looked fantastic but I thought it would probably be much more complicated than it looked. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see how simple it was and also how well it worked. Clean plates all round !


Chop a carrot into thin strips and prepare some green beans. Parboil them for a few minutes. Lay out a chicken or turkey fillet and line up alternating carrot sticks and green beans.


Gently roll the turkey fillet up, like a giant sushi. You could sprinkle with salt and pepper and put them straight in the oven at this point but I decided to add crispy breadcrumbs.


Prepare two dishes, one with a beaten egg and one with seasoned breadcrumbs. I added smoked paprika, barbecue seasoning and parmesan but you can add whatever you fancy.


Gently roll the turkey in the egg then the breadcrumbs.


Place on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180° for 20 minutes, until completely cooked through.


Sit back and listen to your kids gasp in amazement as they slice the meat and discover the hidden surprise inside !

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Nescafé, Nescafé, the better way to start your day !!


Hands up if you remember that slightly cheesy Nescafé ad from the 80's - ''Nescafé, Nescafé, the better way to start your day. Isn't it time that you woke up to a rich and smoother tasting cup!'' Well, they've gone one better now. Look closely at the jar of coffee - it's a personalised jar wishing me a good morning that is guaranteed to put a smile on my face as I pull it out of the kitchen cupboard !

I may have just mentioned the eighties (and you may have seen me having an eighties flashback here !) but research conducted by Nescafé Original to celebrate their 75th birthday found that of the past eight decades, the 60s have been voted as the decade the nation would most like to have lived in.

Nescafé explain : "The past 75 years has seen it all; man walking on the moon, the first female Prime Minister, hem lines going up and down in synch with the nation's mood, rationing, recession, recession again and countless right Royal knees ups. But the music, fashion and sporting successes of the 60s make it the time us Brits are the fondest of from the past eight decades, according to research released today. The Beatles top the charts as the most loved band from the past 75 years, Kate and Will’s wedding steals the nation’s hearts as the favourite Royal moment, and men reveal they are particularly partial to flesh-baring women’s 60s’ fashions, including the mini-skirt and the bikini."

Alongside the research, NESCAFÉ Original has recreated five memorable moments from history in a light-hearted photography collection, to be displayed at the company’s key sites amid birthday celebrations. 
You can see the cheeky snaps below :


1. The Queen’s coronation – 1953


2. The advent of the mini skirt – 1964


3. Man walking on the moon for the first time - 1969


4. Backstage at the Brits with the Spice Girls - 1997


5. Triumphing at the London Olympic Games - 2012

The limited edition 75th birthday images will be showcased in NESCAFÉ’s key factories around the country including Dalston, York and Tutbury.

NESCAFÉ Original fans are also sharing their favourite moments of the last 75 years on Twitter #NESCAFÉ75.  I think my favourite historic moment of the last 75 years would be the original royal wedding, watching Lady Di walking down the aisle in that amazing dress. Although, going back to before I was born, VE Day celebrations marking the end of World War II must be up there as one of the greatest moments too. What’s your favourite moment?

Disclosure : I received a jar of coffee and a mug to get involved in Nescafé's 75th birthday celebrations.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Quark New York Cheesecake recipe


As I mentioned earlier in the week, we recently received a hamper of goodies from Quark in order to try out their fat-free soft cheese in a couple of recipes. The first recipe that we wanted to test was for a delicious-sounding baked cheesecake. Now, I couldn't help but stifle a snigger when my dear old dad offered to put on a pinny and do the cooking - the last time he cooked, he stuck a couple of half burnt Crispy Pancakes (remember those? shows how long ago it was !) in a pile of mash and said it was rabbit ears ! Well, I'm amazed to say, Madhouse Grandad did us proud - it was fabulous !

Here's the recipe if you want to give it a go :

Quark New York Cheesecake 


Serves: 8-12

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

Biscuit crust:

125g digestive biscuits, broken
70g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, melted

Topping:

1000g The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark
85g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tsps (10ml) vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat oven to 170°C fan/ 190°C/gas mark 5. Butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm spring form tin. Line the sides of the tin with non-stick baking parchment.


Pulse the digestive biscuits and sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs. Add the butter and pulse until mixed. Press this evenly into bottom of prepared tin and bake on a lower oven shelf for about 15min until golden brown and set. Transfer to wire rack to cool for 10 mins.


Using an electric food mixer (not food processor) or electric hand whisk, beat The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark, butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and yolks one at the time until fully incorporated, then the lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Take a large piece of thick kitchen foil and place the lined tin in the centre and wrap foil tightly around bottom and sides of pan (this will prevent any water leaking into biscuit base). Set in a roasting pan, pour the cheesecake filling into the tin, and smooth the top.


Pour boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake and carefully transfer to oven. Bake for 1 hour until top of cheesecake is golden brown, the edges are set, and centre is still slightly wobbly. Lift cheesecake out, drain well and remove foil from the outside. Cool completely, then chill in refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours.


To serve, remove the tin and baking parchment. Cut the cheesecake with a long, thin-bladed knife. Serve with seasonal berries.


Using The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark instead of cream cheese in this recipe means that there are 438 fewer calories per portion, 76% less fat per portion and 2.4x more protein per portion - that's an amazing difference. More to the point, it tastes great. The only bad thing is having to sit and look at it for 8 hours before you can eat it !

Well done Madhouse Grandad - I think I'll be calling on your services again !!

Disclosure : I received a hamper of ingredients in order to try out the recipe.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Have you ever heard of Quark?


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Aero Perfect Pairing Challenge - Bacon and Choc Chip Cookies (yes, really !)


When I was asked if I'd like to take part in an Aero perfect pairing challenge, I (only half jokingly) replied that the best thing I could think of to pair it with would be more bubbly chocolate ! Then I received a lovely pack of goodies through the post to help me find some inspiration. Aero Bubbles have been given a makeover so you can see as well as taste their two-tone mint/choc or orange/choc flavours and this was to be the driving force behind the challenge - putting together two contrasting but ultimately complementary flavours.


As well as some big bars of Aero and bags of Aero Bubbles, there were some fab bakeware goodies from Lakeland and a really interesting book called The Flavour Thesaurus, which suggests all sorts of weird and wonderful flavour pairings that I probably never would have come up with in a million years !

I toyed with making a chocolate omelette or trying out a recipe that I found for Encacahuatado - Chicken with Mexican Peanut Chocolate Sauce - but something kept popping up all over the place as I went looking for weird and wonderful flavour combinations - chocolate and bacon ! Really ?!

Well, I have to admit, I really wasn't convinced but - in for a penny, in for a pound - I decided to bite the bullet and try out this recipe for Bacon and Choc Chip Cookies.


Bacon and Choc Chip Cookies


ingredients :

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1&1/8 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
8 rashers of bacon, cooked and cut into strips


Cream together the margarine and the sugars.


 Add the egg.


Mix in the flour and baking powder, then add the chocolate and bacon. You're allowed to scream a little bit at this point !!

Drop dollops on a greased baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven at 180° for 10 minutes.


The Madhouse Mini Testers said they were disgusting before even tasting them and only had a small nibble before wandering off ... then their curiosity got the better of them and they came back and ate a whole one. They said that they were a bit strange but quite nice actually. I tried one too and discovered that it's a weird combination but is quite reminiscent of salted caramel because you get the mixture of sweet and salty. They're quite nice, in a weird way, and are strangely moreish - which is quite worrying ! I'm not pregnant, honest !!

Update : It's obviously an acquired taste - they're disappearing like nobody's business now and I've been asked if I can make some more !!

Link up your recipe of the week

Disclosure : I received a baking kit and some Aero in order to take part in the Aero perfect pairing challenge. The winner will win dinner for two at a gastronomic restaurant and some Aero to give away as a prize.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Have you ever heard of Quark?

What's Cooking at The Madhouse next week ? menu plan 24/5

Giveaway #291 : Win a pair of Hotter Shoes - closed - winner Charlotte Hoskins


I've just posted my review for Hotter Shoes summer collection where I shared some of my favourite pairs with you. Hotter have very kindly offered to send a pair of shoes of your choice to one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader. To be in with a chance of winning, just fill in your details in the Rafflecopter widget below.

To find out more about Hotter Shoes and see which shoes you'd like to win, follow them on twitter (https://twitter.com/hottershoes), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HotterShoes) or their website (http://www.hottershoes.com/)



UK only. Closing date : 14/6/13

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook, twitter and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after a week, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners.

Hotter Shoes summer collection review


The sun actually put in an appearance over the weekend - woohoo to blue skies ! But the weather wasn't the only thing getting hotter. My feet were too because Hotter kindly sent me through a pair of shoes from their summer collection to try out !

Now, I've reviewed Hotter shoes in the past and enthused about how comfy they are and how they don't give you blisters, even the first time you wear them, but I've always thought of them as sensible shoes your mum or your granny would love, practical but not really fashionable. Well, I had to have a bit of a rethink when I saw some of the designs in their new collection. I almost went for some of these funky styles :



I love all of these designs but decided to go with something that I'd get a lot of wear out of because they would be as suitable for work as going on holiday. The Jewel model (in the top photo) was ideal.


I decided to go for the rather neutral "dune" colour, but you could go for some brighter colours that would be great for the summer - I love the coral pink and dolphin blue ones too. They also come in classic black or ginger (darker brown). I always let out a little squeal when I slip my feet into a pair of Hotter shoes because they are so comfy - they have pillow-like cushions inside which make you feel like you're walking on air. The nubuck leather of this model is really soft too and is naturally breathable.

If (like me) you often hesitate between two sizes, I would suggest that for this model, you go a size down - they're generously sized. I've been wearing them with jeans but they'd also go perfectly with shorts, skirts or dresses. They're so comfortable, I'm happy to wear them day-in-day-out, even when we're going for a long walk.

If you'd like to try out a pair of Hotter Shoes, watch this space - I'll have a giveaway coming up in just a moment where you can win the pair of your choice. Your feet will love you !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £69


Disclosure : I received a pair of shoes in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Barratts Boots review

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Kids' app review : Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom - Magic School


If you have a Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom fan in your midst, you'll be pleased to know that a brand new app featuring the cheeky pair has just been released. The Madhouse Mini-testers were very pleased to get a code to try it out. 


Called Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom - Magic School, the app contains a whopping seven mini games, making it great value because it will keep little players occupied for ages. Both 8-year-old Juliette and 3-year-old Pierre have been having great fun with it since I downloaded it.

You have the choice between the following games:

Wand Creator – Get creative by designing your very own wand! Pick your wand shape, colour, face, sparkles and sound! What will you choose?


Wand Practice – What will you turn Wise Old Elf into? Practice your wand skills by joining the stars to transform Wise Old Elf into a variety of objects and animals!

Potion Making  Create your own magic potion by picking ingredients and fairy dust and mixing them in a large cauldron to test the funny effects on Ben!


Magic Picnic – Help Holly transform the plates of food for each character into something tastier!  Use your wand to tap and zap the right food at the right time! 

Box of Burps – Holly wanted to show off her magic skills by creating a beautiful flower but she accidently created a box of burps instead! Use your wand to stop the burps escaping from the Box! (This one ALWAYS guarantees lots of giggles !)

Elf Tag Touch the elves and fairies that are covered in jelly to splat it off them with your wand.

End of School Photograph - Create your own imaginative photo with the stickers you have won in the other mini games.


There are several things that I instantly loved about the app. Firstly, it immediately sweeps little players into the Ben & Holly Kingdom that they will recognise from TV because it has the right voices, music and sound effects. Secondly, and this is true of all of P2 Games apps, it doesn't have any in-app purchases at all to worry about. Thirdly, the games are totally intuitive and even Pierre managed to pick it straight up and play with no instructions from me whatsoever.


One slight niggle (although this didn't seem to bother Pierre in the slightest, to be honest !) - although you can pick your player, there are only fairies available. Surely they could have added some elves instead to keep the boys happy too?!

Overall, it's still a great game though.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £2.99


Disclosure : We received a code for the app in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Blue Nose Toys app and toys review

Have you ever heard of Quark?


Well, I have to admit, when we were given the chance to receive a hamper full of goodies to try out Quark in some recipes, we hadn't. Cue lots of bad jokes about posh ducks ! It's a naturally fat-free dairy ingredient that is so versatile that it can be used in a whole range of sweet and savoury recipes.


The press release explains : "With its smooth, creamy texture, this spoonable soft cheese is ideal for blending beautifully with other ingredients as well as substituting into both sweet and savoury meals as a tasty healthy alternative to the likes of cream cheese, crème fraiche, mascarpone, ricotta, Greek yogurt, fromage frais, double cream and even soured cream. This natural ‘wonder ingredient’ is packed with impressive nutritional credentials - high in protein, naturally fat free and low in salt and sugar. In fact, it is so striking in its health credentials that those who examine its packaging will quickly notice that The Lake District Dairy Co. Original Quark scores ‘all green’ on its on-pack GDAs (Guideline Daily Amounts)."


Here are all the lovely ingredients that we received to put it through its paces - can you guess what the recipes were? I'll give you a clue - one is sweet and one is savoury.


Well, watch this space and you'll see how we got on - we received everything we need to make New York Cheesecake and Moussaka. Hmmm my mouth is watering already !

for more information : www.LakeDistrictQuark.co.uk

Disclosure : I received a hamper of ingredients, including Quark, to make up two recipes and blog about them.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Recipe : Stuffed Courgettes

My Dream Cake at #level36 for World Baking Day #bakebrave

Simple summer dish : Melon and Parma ham


As you know, I'm dealing with a glut of melons at the moment so I decided to roll out the classic pairing of melon and Parma ham. It's a totally simple but pretty dish (the photo doesn't really do it justice) that could be served as a starter or even as a main course with salad and crusty bread.

Simply cut a melon in half, scoop out the seeds and cut each half into slices. Flip it over on the plate and slide a fold of Parma ham between each slice of melon. The sweetness and juiciness of the melon perfectly complements the saltiness and slightly dry texture of the Parma ham.

It's a match made in heaven - I hope I'll be able to say the same about another rather unusual sweet and savoury pairing that I'll be trying out for an Aero challenge tomorrow !

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Madhouse recipe : Instant Melon Crumble

Save The Children highlight the importance of nutrition for education #foodforthought


Save the Children have just launched a new campaign to highlight a global literacy crisis caused by poor nutrition. In a ground-breaking new report called Food for Thought, they reveal that chronically malnourished children are on average 20 per cent less literate than their better nourished counterparts. You can see some of the main findings from the report in the infographic below :


One in four children in the world are chronically malnourished, and the report shows that not having a nutritious diet can severely impair a child’s ability to read and write a simple sentence – regardless of the amount and quality of schooling they have received. Save the Children is appealing to the online community to help them tell the world about it.

A number of high profile children's authors, including Julia Donaldson, Eric Carle and Philip Pullman, have signed an open letter to G8 leaders to support the cause. In June, the UK will host a nutrition summit in London in advance of the G8 and Save the Children are releasing this report just before, and calling on world leaders to take action on this issue.


This report will form part of the IF campaign where over 170 charities have joined together to call for the G8 to take action on World Hunger - the campaign's main call is around the fact that the world already produces enough food for everyone, so it makes no sense for people to be going hungry. You may remember me blogging about this here.

To mark the launch of the report, there will be a #foodforthought Twitter chat today (Tuesday 28th May) from 1-2pm to discuss the importance of nutrition for education and learning to read, as well as sharing news of your favourite children’s books and the joy of reading. Follow the hashtag #foodforthought and @kateonthinice for more information.

You can also sign the petition at http://savethechildren.org.uk/if

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

#Blogging4Madeleine & Missing Children Worldwide