Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The newest green reflex : #RecycleYourHeadphones !

Having seen how many pairs of headphones Sophie gets through (and I know she's not alone because the pupils at school are always saying they need to buy new ones too), this definitely looks like being a worthwhile gesture for the planet. Make sure you read right to the bottom for a great giveaway for the first 100 RT's !

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Love your music and care about the planet too? RecycleYourHeadphones.com can help !

- The UK produces over a million tons of electronic waste every year
- That’s the equivalent weight of 2400 jumbo jets
- All our e-waste goes to landfill – often in poor developing countries

RecycleYourHeadphones.com is a new campaign by ColourYourWorld by Urbanz to raise awareness of e-waste by calling on people to recycle their old or broken headphones, which will lower the amount of toxic e-waste going into landfill and damaging our precious planet.

Currently there are no schemes for recycling headphones in the UK. However, thanks to RecycleYourHeadphones.com, ethical music lovers can now post their headphones to a UK address to be responsibly recycled.

Music lovers can also opt to receive 45% off a new pair of ColourYourWorld by Urbanz headphones priced £15 or more and 10% of all sales will be donated to www.greenpeace.org.

Find out how it works here :



Doing your bit has never been so easy ! Do you normally chuck your old headphones in the bin? Now you can dispose of them with a clear conscience by simply filling out the form on www.recycleyourheadphones.com. Place an order and you’ll be sent your order (with 45% off) with free P&P and a returns packet to return your broken headphones for recycling.

What’s not to love? 

- E-waste is extremely toxic to humans and the environment contaminating soil, air and sea
- Global e-waste is set to reach 65.4 million tons by 2017
- That’s enough to fill a line of 40 ton Lorries all the way from the UK to Australia and back

Every pair of headphones recycled is one less pair of electronic waste going into landfill. And with over 280 million headphones sold worldwide each year, that’s a lot of headphones. Make responsible choices for the future of our planet


ColourYourWorld by Urbanz is a registered recycler, which means your old headphones will be responsibly recycled by trustworthy and accredited recycling partners and won’t be contributing to the contamination of our planet.

Other people do their bit, do you?

From 17 to 23 June, National Recycling Week aims to raise awareness of the benefits of recycling and why it’s important for the future of our planet. Why not get involved and download a posters to for your school or club and share with mates.
Or help us spread the word on Twitter @CYWbyUrbanz and tell your friends by tweeting www.recycleYourHeadphones.com

We’re also offering a free pair of G-FIT headphones to the first 100 people to tweet www.recycleyourheadphones.com with hashtag #RecycleYourHeadphones.

Other blogposts you may be interested iin :

Giveaway #383 : Win 1 of 10 Joulo Energy Saving Devices - closing date 9/5

Cadbury Dairy Milk with Ritz and Lu review


When I spotted an email from Cadbury, asking me if I'd like to do a review for them, I immediately hit reply to say yes please. Free chocolate - what's not to like?! Then I had a closer look at the product they wanted me to try - Dairy Milk with Lu and Ritz Crackers. Dairy Milk with Ritz Crackers ?! I like both but together? Would it work ?


Well, when they arrived, I started with the safe option and tucked into the Dairy Milk with Lu Sweet Biscuits bar. The bar breaks into four squares and each square has two biscuits stuck on either side of a thick layer of chocolate. Unsurprisingly, these were very tasty and the little biscuits are great for mess-free handholds, so you don't end up getting covered in chocolate !


Time to move on to the Dairy Milk with Ritz Crackers. Well, they're not bad but I didn't like them as much as the Lu ones. The sweet/salty flavour combination seems to be big news at the moment though, whether for chocolate, popcorn or numerous other foodie products, so if you're a fan, you'll love them.

Each 35g bar contains 180 calories (183 for Ritz) which is quite a lot for the size of the bar. The Ritz bar contains 10g of fat, of which 6g saturates and 17g of sugar. The Lu bar is very slightly better, with 9.3g of fat, of which 5.5g saturates, and 16.5g of sugar.

If you fancy something a bit different and can't decide whether you want chocolate or biscuits as a snack, these would tick all the right boxes !

star rating : 4/5

RRP : 58p for 35g (also available in three bar multipacks RRP £1.49)

Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Soreen Chocolate Mega Loaf review

Giveaway #385 : Win a duo of Drumond Park Logo board games - closed - winner Michelle Speight


I have a fabulous giveaway for you today, offering not one but two of Drumond Park's board games that the whole family can enjoy.

The brilliant and super-popular LOGO picture board game from Drumond Park (rrp £32.99) features recognition and knowledge questions based on hundreds of the UK’s best loved and most iconic brands – from the AA, Bird’s Eye and BMW to Walkers crisps and Wrigley’s gum. It’s great for families who enjoy playing games together - absolutely anyone, any age, loves this great game.

Click through to read our review of the Logo Board Game.





LOGO What Am I? (rrp £24.99, age 8+) is a fast and furious multi-activity game, based on the Number One best-selling LOGO picture board game, which the whole family can get stuck into. Each player has to either draw, describe or answer questions, so that the others can start guessing the names of well-known branded items or everyday products, before the 60-second timer expires. Ugg Boots, Raybans, Rolex, iPod, Smarties, Toblerone, Raleigh Bicycle, Reebok and lots more lifestyle favourites make an appearance on the hundreds of cards which come with this clever and original game! It’s all the most fun imaginable - with some hilarious antics, especially watching Dad or Auntie struggling to articulate Speedos or Hunter Wellies!

For children on their own the game draws together many crucial aspects of communication and gamesmanship. It is also perfect for the youngsters to play with their parents and older siblings or at multi-generational gatherings. Absolutely everyone will be able to relate to the famous name products and brands - and join in the fun.

Click through to read our review of the Logo What Am I? Board Game.




APPY TIMES AHEAD!

You’ll be blown away by The Official LOGO board game app. It’s on the Apple list (for iPhones and iPads), and it’s absolutely free! This is the one and only Official LOGO app, published with fully granted permissions and approvals from all the contributing companies. Big-name favourites include Argos, Birds Eye, British Gas, Campbell’s Soup, Churchill, Hovis, John West, Marmite, National Express, Ready Brek, Tesco, Tetley, Vauxhall and Wagon Wheels. There are 7 question types - Reveal, Blur, Tilt, Grid, Shape, Colour and Trivia - and 12 levels of play, involving more than 1,600 questions and approaching 400 images in all.

For stockists and to play games online, visit www.drumondpark.com

Drumond Park have kindly offered to send a magnificent ‘LOGO Prize Pair’to one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader … that's two UK Top Ten board games: The ‘LOGO’ family game and The ‘LOGO What Am I?’ children’s game. Fill in your entries on the Rafflecopter widget below.



UK only. Closing date : 14/5/14

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. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !


Other giveaways you may be interested in :

Drumond Park's The Logo Board Game review


Drumond Park recently sent us their Logo Board Game to review. In the past, we've reviewed the Best of TV & Movies and Logo What Am I? games from the range, but this time we discovered the original Logo game. 


The playing board folds out to reveal a multicoloured spiral path, with red, yellow, green and blue squares. Each colour corresponds to the different questions on each card.


While we were setting up the game, Juliette had fun making witchy fingers out of the player pieces !


It's a great game for the whole family to play because there are well-known brands and products that players of all ages will recognise. It's actually interesting seeing just how many brandnames very young players can come up with. These chocolate-themed cards were mega-easy-peasy apparently, even for the youngest players !


There are 400 question cards in three categories – 200 Pictorial, 100 Themed and 100 ‘Pot Luck’. Each Picture card features full or partial logo images to identify, coupled with questions relating to the brand. The answers on the Themed cards relate to the headings, such as ‘Birds’ (eg Kiwi Shoe Polish, Penguin, Swan Vestas) and ‘Relatives’ (e.g. Aunt Bessie’s, Daddies, Uncle Ben’s). 


To give you an example, here's the "animals" themed card, with questions on Cadbury's Chocolate animals, the Coco Pops monkey, the Foster's lager kangaroo and the Dairy Milk gorilla.


The Pot Luck cards offer a huge and interesting variety of brand-related questions which have everyone wanting to shout out the answers – even if it’s not their turn!


They are as random as Crunchie bars, lager, Children In Need and V8 vegetable juice.

It's a fun game that the whole family can enjoy, either playing separately or as a team. The younger players aren't necessarily at a disadvantage because they'll know more about the hi-tech, fashionable and sweet brands, whereas the older players will be better at household products, makes of car and alcohol brands, for example.

If you like playing board games, I have a fantastic giveaway coming right up where you can win not one but two of Drumond Park's fabulous family-friendly board games. Apple users can also download the one and only Official LOGO Board Game app via the App Store – it’s absolutely FREE!.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £32.99

for more information : www.drumondpark.com

Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.


Other reviews you may be interested in :

Drumond Park Gross Magic review

Madhouse recipe : Japchae


Today's meal was designed to use up the leftover cooked chicken and kale from the fridge and also to clear out the food cupboards a bit. I had a half bag of sweet potato noodles from a past Korea-themed Kitchen Nomad box lingering at the back and I wasn't too sure what to do with them. Inspiration came from this recipe for Japchae from the back of the noodles pack !


Japchae


ingredients :

1/4 pack of sweet potato noodles
leftover cooked chicken
leftover cooked kale (or you can use fresh, or replace with spinach)
1 carrot, grated
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
a sprinkle of black onion seeds
1tsp sesame seeds

First, put a big pan of salted water on to boil and cook the sweet potato noodles for 6/7 minutes, just like spaghetti. Drain and set aside.

In a small frying pan, make a very quick 2-egg omelette - lightly whisk the eggs and put in the pan with a drizzle of oil. Cook until set and put to one side to cool.

In a bowl, place the chopped cooked chicken, kale and carrots. Drizzle with the sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar and mix - add extra until the ingredients are nicely covered and you have the balance of flavours just right.


In a large frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil with 1tbsp sesame oil. Stir-fry the onions for 3 minutes then add the kale, carrots and chicken. Stir-fry for 5 minutes, drizzling over extra soy sauce and/or sesame oil if it seems a bit dry or starts to stick.

Cut the cooled omelette into strips. Add the drained noodles and stir to combine. Sprinkle the omelette strip over the top.

Sprinkle with black onion seeds and sesame seeds.

Link up your recipe of the week


I'm joining in with the World Cup recipe challenge over on the Cooking Around The World blog

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Madhouse recipe : Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Madhouse diaries : Our geocaching adventures in Fort Mardyck


After our first two successful geocaching outings last week, the kids were itching to get out for another one so this time, I copied down the details (coordinates and hints) in my little book for a whole series of caches in the same general area - the next town across from us called Fort Mardyck.



Our first cache was located in a lovely park, next to a tree with a double trunk. We had a good look around the whole park for double trunked trees (of which there were many !) then checked with the coordinates on my GPS but we couldn't find it.


We did find an enormous mushroom the size of a dinner plate though.


And we saw some lovely cute ducklings running along after their mum.


And we found some perfect places for caches but no little box. Never mind, a great time was had by all which is the most important thing.


On to the next cache and, in fact, our proper destination - the zoo. I'd seen that they were offering guided tours during the school holidays so we went along for a visit. It's only a small zoo but they have some lovely animals so the kids always love it. And I had just happened to notice that there was cache hidden somewhere along the zoo wall - we found it after a few minutes of hunting. This was great fun because you could hear the animals snuffling behind the fence, which made it quite exciting !


For the first time, we found a proper cache with items to exchange, much to the kids' delight. There was a scoubidoo and two magnets.



We took all three and left behind a Goofy paper clip, a wooden apple and a different magnet.


Pierre proudly put it back in its place.


So where next? A statue of an Icelandic fisherman, in homage to the men of Dunkirk who headed off to the waters off Iceland to go cod fishing, many of whom never made it back. One of the things I love about the geocaching.com website is that they give you the historical background of the different monuments and places of interest that you are taken to. 


The hint for this one was "no entry but you can go there" and, after a bit of scurrying around, I had a brainwave. The top of the no entry sign comes off and it was hidden in there - genius !


Out - a little Smurf. In - a Boots toy, from Dora the Explorer. 


And Juliette popped it back in place.



On to a different statue this time - a big golden bear representing the town's zoo.


The cache is listed as somewhere under a rock so we had a good look under all the rocks scattered around until Juliette let out a cry - she'd found it !


Well, we found the cork but couldn't find the container. The hint had said to "pop the cork" so I assumed it would be behind it. After logging my find online when we got back and mentioning that we couldn't find the paper log to fill in, I got a message from the geocacher who'd hidden it to say that it is INSIDE the cork. You literally have to "pop" the cork to get to it ! Ingenious ! Maybe we'll come back to this one another day to get closure and fill in the log.


By now it was getting quite late and we'd already walked miles but the kids wanted to do one more. We headed off to Le Calvaire de Kruysbellaert, hidden down a little lane.


Unfortunately, there are lots of roadworks down the lane which blocked access to some of the area. We were intrigued to see all the little rags and socks and baby booties tied on the railings. Geocaching.com had all the answers - legend has it that a relic of Christ's cross was found here so the water from the well supposedly has healing properties (or, more prosaically, the presence of a particular plant probably gave its properties to the water) so people leave offerings in the hope of getting healing from pain or fever.


We didn't find the cache in the end (I think the roadworks may be in the way) but we did find a huge hairy caterpillar ! It's a pretty little place and we had a good snoop around, in the calvaire grounds which feel like a graveyard, even if they aren't. I'd seen on the map that the calvaire is located very close to the local mosque and, while we were in the middle of our Scooby Doo moment, tiptoeing around the calvaire grounds, the call for prayer suddenly started booming out and scared us all to death ! We were giggling about it all the way home !

So, total for the day, geocache sites explored : 5. Caches found : 3 (well, two and a half technically !). Kilometres walked : 9.5 ! Calories burned : 456. And above all, loads of fun and excitement and a few discoveries of local landmarks we'd never spotted before.

Madhouse recipe : Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Having invited friends over for dinner at the weekend, we had two chicken carcasses. Normally, we throw them away but I decided to try my hand at making chicken soup. It was so delicious, not to mention quick and simple, that I don't think we'll ever throw away another carcass ever again !


Chicken & Vegetable Soup

ingredients :

1 or 2 leftover chicken carcasses
1 onion
2 carrots
1 leek
2 potatoes
1 tsp onion salt
1 tbsp thyme
1 stock cube (I used a Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot)

Put the cooked chicken carcasses in a large pot and cover with boiling water. (I put enough to just cover them.) Peel and roughly chop the vegetables and throw them in the pot too. Add the seasoning and stock cube and leave to simmer for an hour.

Remove the chicken bones and liquidise the soup with a stick blender.

Absolutely delicious - I can see why people say chicken soup for the soul now !


Joining in with the No Waste Food Challenge linkie, which is being hosted by JibberJabberUK this month


Other recipes you may be interested in :

#Alphabakes meets #Randomrecipes : A is for ... Granny's Apple Shortcake

Shloer White Grape review


Easter is a time for over-indulgence of the chocolate variety but if you fancy giving your liver a break and going easy on the alcohol, or if you just fancy a nice alcohol-free drink for the drivers or that you can enjoy with the kids, Shloer is always a great option. It always makes me think of Christmas and New Year because we usually buy it as a special champagne-like drink for the kids to make them feel grown up, but when Shloer sent us through a bottle for Easter, it made me realise that it goes really well with a Sunday roast all year round. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that when we had a dinner party at the weekend with some friends, I decided to buy some more for the kids to drink in place of wine.


They felt very grown up drinking it out of proper wine glasses and I was surprised to see that a few of the adults opted for Shloer over wine too. It has a lovely fresh, crisp flavour that goes well with food but can also be enjoyed on its own.

We tried the White Grape variety, but it is available in nine flavours, including Red Grape, Rosé, Apple & White Grape, White Grape, Raspberry & Cranberry, Berry Punch and White Grape & Elderflower.

Shloer have come up with a fabulous website, packed with recipes, competitions and a money-off voucher for Shloer, to help enjoy a sumptuous Sunday lunch. Head over to EnjoySundayLunch.com for inspiration. Don't hang about though - one of the giveaways finishes at the end of the month.

star rating: 4.5/5

RRP : £2.25 for 75cl, also available in share packs (4 x 275ml bottles, £4.29)

for more information : www.shloer.com

Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Mexican Dave's Nacho Tortilla Chips review & recipe


One of the products in last month's Degustabox was a bag of Mexican Dave's Nacho Tortilla Chips. As soon as I poured them out of the bag, a multitude of little (and big !) fingers started darting into the bowl to pinch one !


They look really authentic with a rough texture and classic triangle shape. They also have a lovely strong cheese flavour which perfectly complements the wheatiness of the tortillas. They're beautifully crunchy and not as greasy as crisps.

Nutritionwise, they're quite heavy on the calories - 100g contains 484 calories, 6.1g protein, 61.4g carbohydrates (of which 2.3g sugars) and 24.3g fat. The problem with the big share bag is that, as they're so moreish, you'll find it hard not to scoff the whole bag !

If you have a bit more willpower than us and don't eat them as soon as they hit the bowl, Degustabox offered a recipe in the box to jazz up your nachos.

Dave's Legendary Loaded Nachos


ingredients :

6-8 large handfuls or corn tortilla chips
1&1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1&1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
425g can of chili
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup sliced pickled jalapenos
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
3/4 cup sour cream
2 green onions, diced
salsa

Preheat the oven to 205°C. Lay half of the tortilla chips on a baking sheet then top with half the can of chili, half of the cheddar and half of the pepper jack cheese. Now repeat the layering : tortillas, chilli, cheese.

Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and gooey. Quickly top with the black olives, jalapenos, diced tomato, sour cream and green onions. Serve hot with a side of salsa. Enjoy !

This sounds exactly like a plate of nachos we ordered in a bar while on honeymoon in Washington DC !

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £1.29 for 225g

for more information : http://www.mexicandave.co.uk/

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

April Degustabox review

MUM's Shopping List & Menu Planner review


When Mum's Office got in touch and asked if I'd like to try out one of their products, I had a quick look at the range on offer and immediately knew which one would be the most useful for me - Mum's Shopping List.


Each page has two columns side by side - one for menu planning and one for a shopping list - so you can plan your meals for the week and jot down the ingredients you need to buy as you go. This is what I was already doing, typing out my menu plan for the week then rummaging around for an old envelope or scrap of paper to do the corresponding shopping list. Having a hard copy of the menu plan means I don't have to keep looking up online what we're supposed to be eating and the shopping list can be kept safely until needed at the end of the week then ripped out along the perforations.


There's plenty of room for writing the weekly shopping list and for putting lunch and dinner on the menu plan each day. It's A5 sized and contains 48 pages. (They could have gone for 52 and made it a complete year.)

If you like organisational tools to make your life easier, it's great. It even has a magnet on the back so you can keep it on the fridge.

I've just noticed they also do a twin pack, with Mum's To Do List, which sounds handy too.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £5.95


Disclosure : I received the product in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

What's cooking at The Madhouse? menu plan 25/4

Monday, 28 April 2014

Clarks Get Out and About, Get Adventurous Campaign


Clarks recently got in touch with news of their latest campaign, Get Out and About – Get Adventurous, which aims to encourage families to make the most of their Easter holidays and have lots of family fun. The campaign page - http://www.clarks.co.uk/kids/adventures - features activity ideas for families and encourages parents to upload their adventures to be in with the chance of winning a family weekend away. 


They sent us through an exciting parcel to inspire some family fun and adventures.


Inside we discovered a selection of goodies that are perfect for our newest family hobby, geocaching. The little torch and magnifying glass can help us search for the hidden caches and the notebook is ideal for keeping track of what we've found and when. I even suggested the bouncy ball could go in as a treasure swap but Pierre decided he wanted to keep it !


To help us get out and about and have some adventures, Clarks also sent us through some trainers from their new SS14 Sports Lifestyle range. We picked the gorgeous Super Leap Jnr Purple Combi which go up to size 6&1/2 so even the mums can buy a pair. Maybe you could go for a Mini Me look and get the same pair as your child ?!


Juliette opted for the funky Super Leap Jnr Pink Combi Suede ones. As well as looking gorgeous, they have anti-microbial linings help feet stay fresh. Like all Clarks shoes, they are available in whole and half sizes and different widths to make sure you get the perfect fit. 


Pierre missed out this time because the shoes don't go down to his size but the boys Super Run trainers are gorgeous too. Prices start at £32 for the girls' Super Leap and boys' Super Run ranges.


The competition ends on Monday 5th May 2014 so make sure you upload your photos of your family adventures before then !

Disclosure : We received some shoes and an activity box to get involved in the challenge.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

New shoes for the New Year at Clarks

Madhouse diaries : Our first foray into geocaching