Tuesday 30 April 2013

Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo has teamed up with UK wildlife charity, Froglife

A couple of weeks ago, you may remember reading about our big adventure discovering the wildlife in a local nature pond, where we were very excited to see newts, dragonfly larvae, frogspawn, frogs and toads. I was therefore really interested to learn that Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo has teamed up with UK wildlife charity Froglife as nearly a third (32.5%) of frogs are on the brink of extinction, and almost half of all known amphibian species are in decline. They have created downloadable guides with more information on how families can help to save the frogs with Freddo and Froglife and there are some nice activities on the guides that parents and kids can do together over the Spring and Summer. Read on for more information :



Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo has teamed up with UK wildlife charity, Froglife, and World Frog Day 2013 (which was on April 27th), the world’s largest day of amphibian education and conservation action.

There are thought to be over 5,500 species of frog in the world, yet amphibians are now the most endangered group of animals on the planet, with nearly a third (32.5%) of the world’s species on the brink of extinction, and almost half of all known amphibian species in decline. Three types of frog (the Hule painted frog, Macaya breast-spot frog and La Hotte glanded frog) featured on the IUCN and Zoological Society of London’s recent list of the 100 most endangered species on the planet.

Mike Dilger, presenter of the BBC’s The One Show and Patron of Froglife said: “It’s extremely concerning that nearly a third of the world’s amphibians are now on the brink of extinction. That’s why it’s great that Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo and Froglife have joined forces to encourage people to help save our frogs.”

John Shuttleworth, the fictional singer-songwriter created by English comedy actor and musician Graham Fellows, is also supporting the campaign with a song he has written, which is being shared via social media to encourage more people to save the frogs.

Ways you can help the frogs with Freddo and Froglife:

· Just add water- build a wildlife pond in your garden to create a habitat for frogs

· Become a dragon finder- watch out for amphibians and reptiles, and let Froglife know what you see at www.froglife.org/dragonfinder

· Adopt a pond- ask your local nature reserve or contact the Conservation Volunteers (TCV)

· Discover more about pond life- Pond dipping is a great way to introduce your kids to frogs and other amphibians! Try it in your garden or contact local nature reserves

Chocolate is more fun when it’s frog shaped! Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo is available in solid Dairy Milk chocolate and Dairy Milk with Caramel. It's the perfect treat to nibble after a busy afternoon pond-dipping (but don't forget to wash your hands !).

To download guides with more information on how to save the frogs with Freddo and Froglife, visit http://bit.ly/Cadburyfreddofrogs

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Tales from the Riverbank (well, pondbank actually!)

Giveaway #282 : Win a trio of Department 19 books - closed - winner Claire Samuel

Book 1 :  Department 19

In a secret supernatural battle that's been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised – and they're not wooden anymore.


When Jamie Carpenter's mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government's most secret agency.

Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can't stand up against…


Book 2  : The Rising

91 days till zero hour. That's 91 days to run. 91 days to hide. Or 91 days to pray for Department 19 to save you…

After the terrifying attack on Lindisfarne at the end of the first book, Jamie, Larissa and Kate are recovering at Department 19 headquarters, waiting for news of Dracula’s stolen ashes.
They won’t be waiting for long.

Vampire forces are gathering. Old enemies are getting too close. And Dracula… is rising.


Book 3 : Battle Lines

As the clock ticks remorselessly towards Zero Hour and the return of Dracula, the devastated remnants of Department 19 try to hold back the rising darkness.


To celebrate the latest release from the talent behind the bestselling hardback YA debut of 2011, Will Hill’s Department 19 – Battle Lines, the publishers have kindly provided a copy of all three books from the series so far available for one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader.

You can get your hands on:
Department 19
Department 19 – The Rising
Department 19 – Battle Lines

UK only. Closing date : 14/05/13

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.

Book review : The Paradise Guesthouse - Ellen Sussman

From looking at the title of Ellen Sussman's novel, The Paradise Guesthouse, and the front cover, with its delicate flowers framing a perfect azure sky and picture postcard landscape of misty mountains and Oriental temples, I thought I knew exactly what to expect when I turned to the first page. The setting of the novel is indeed paradisiacal as we discover Bali with its white sandy beaches and throngs of young suntanned holidaymakers looking for some fun in the sun.

Then the unthinkable happens and two enormous bombs go off, killing 222 people and injuring 446 more. The setting would seem unlikely, if this wasn't based on real life and the terrorist attack that rocked the peaceful island in 2002. The author perfectly captures the moment that the bombs went off and the sense of horror and incomprehension in the minutes and days that followed. Seeing the personal dramas of a few of the victims unfolding in the minutes before the blast really brings home how lives can change in a moment and how being in the wrong place at the wrong time can shatter destinies.

The book starts in 2003, a year after the bombing, and survivor Jamie, who lost her boyfriend in the attack, is heading back for a commemorative service and to get some closure on a part of her life that has still left a gaping wound in her soul. She wants to meet up with Gabe, the American ex-pat who pulled her from the rubble and nursed her back to health, but has she turned him into some larger-than-life hero in her imagination over the past year? As Gabe and Jamie's paths cross, the book heads back to the year before and the days just before and after the horrific events, showing how they helped each other through the difficult days following the bombs.

The book is sensitively written, with great insight into the damage that the attack caused on a personal, but also national, level. It takes an interesting look at how different people and different cultures deal with grief and mourning. It's a poignant read that offers a glimmer of hope, hinting at a period of healing and a tentative new beginning for the survivors of the blast and the island of Bali as a whole.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £9.99

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Canvas (21 Mar 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 147210224X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472102249

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : Honour - Elif Shafak

Our Cinco de Mayo Fiesta with Discovery

May seems to be a great month for bank holidays wherever you are in the world. The Brits are looking forward to two bank holidays on 6th and 27th May, while the French take the biscuit with FOUR public holidays in May: the 1st May (Labour Day), the 8th May (commemorating the end of World War II), the 9th May (Ascension Thursday) and the 20th May (Whit Monday). Plus they have that great tradition of "faire le pont" - if a bank holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, they add in the extra day to make a long weekend of it so the 11th is an unofficial public holiday too, making a 5 day weekend - beat that ! Well, even in America and Mexico, it's time to celebrate too with Cinco de Mayo - the fifth of May - coming around again.

To help us get in fiesta mood, Discovery sent us through a fabulous selection of Mexican themed products to spice things up in the kitchen. They sent through a Mexican BBQ Perfect Fajita Kit, some Fajita Sauce, Green Jalapeno Relish, Salsa and Soured Cream - everything we needed for a proper Mexican feast.

I always love packing in loads of sneaky veggies when we have fajitas because the Madhouse Mini-testers always eat loads without even thinking about it ! I added red and green peppers, onions and mushrooms to the chicken, did half with the fajita spices and half without, and also put a bowl of chopped cherry tomatoes, guacamole and sweetcorn on the table. It's always really colourful with all the different bowls on the table so that, added to the fun factor of eating with your fingers, always means that fajitas go down well with the kids.

Rolling, rolling, rolling ... Though the wraps are swollen ... Keep them fajitas rolling ...  Rawhide !

One happy fajita-muncher ...

Two happy fajita munchers ...

Three happy fajita munchers !

And if you're wondering what that Green Jalapeno Relish is like, you can read my review here. It's not actually anywhere near as spicy as I was expecting so don't be put off !

If you want to get the kids involved with the Cinco De Mayo celebrations, Discovery have some fab Mexican themed activities on their website, including a wordsearch, spot the difference, colour-in placemats and make-your-own pinata !

Happy Cinco de Mayo !

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

Disclosure : I received a selection of Discovery products to cook up a Mexican feast for Cinco de Mayo.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Monday 29 April 2013

Share your bagel recipes and win !

New York Bakery Co is giving all aspiring masterchefs the chance to be published in a recipe book, and get paid for it! The crowd sourced recipe collection has now reached 2,000 entries with selected recipe writers receiving financial reward every time the book is downloaded.

To get involved, budding food writers simply need to upload their favourite bagel recipe at www.facebook.com/newyorkbakery by Sunday 5th May with the most popular recipes featuring in the online recipe book.

Here's my entry : ULTIMATE BRUNCH BAGEL 

Imagine the luxury of Breakfast at Tiffany's - scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, fresh dill, cracked black pepper and gherkins, on a red onion & chive bagel. The perfect start to a lazy Sunday. :)
Ingredients: Onion Bagel with Scrambled Egg, Salmon, Dill, Gherkin, Pepper

Here are some more recipe suggestions from New York Bakery co :

Diner Breakfast
- Toast a Wholemeal or Plain bagel and top with creamy scrambled egg, cracked black pepper and crispy NY style bacon
- OR toast a Fruit & Oat bagel and top with sliced banana and a drizzle of sweet honey

Classic Brunch
- A true classic: top your Sesame bagel with smoked salmon, smooth cream cheese and sprinklings of dill and watercress

Deli Lunch
- Fill your Red Onion & Chive bagel full of meaty pastrami, crunchy gherkins, fiery Dijon mustard
- Healthy Wholemeal bagel bursting with mouth-watering avocado, crispy bacon, lettuce & juicy tomato

Cheesy Treat
- Create a yummy pizza bagel by melting mozzarella on a Sesame or Plain bagel and topping with juicy cherry tomatoes, freshly cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of basil

Afternoon Delight
- Spread butter on a toasted sweet Cinnamon & Raisin or Blueberry bagel

Tea Time Feast
- Devour a Plain bagel with spicy chorizo, sundried tomato and peppery rocket

If that's inspired you, don't forget to go over and enter your own creation. Recipes can be entered at the New York Bakery Co Facebook page using the Start Spreading Build-a-Bagel application until 5th May 2013. Budding chefs simply need to create their ultimate bagel and then start spreading the news to all of their fiends to encourage them to vote for their recipe for the best chance of being included in the book or to win one of five trips to New York. The 20 most popular bagel suggestions at the end of the campaign will be featured in the online recipe book, which will be available to download absolutely free from www.newyorkbakery.co.uk. Chosen contributors will receive a 1p payment every time the book is downloaded and will be encouraged to share the bagel recipe book online amongst family and friends to secure the maximum possible reward. New York Bakery Co is also offering the chance to win five trips to New York, the home of bagels, to research all of the latest bagel inspirations. Plus, 500 bagel protectors will be up for grabs, following their successful trial last year, to make sure bagels stay in the best possible shape whilst on the move.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Madhouse Recipe : Apple & Cranberry Crumble

#VegBoxChallenge - Week 2

Last week's  fruit & veg box  contained the following :

Baby grenaille potatoes
Broad Beans
Round Courgettes
Endives (Chicory)
White cabbage
Boscoop apples

Here's what I made with them :

Baby grenaille potatoes - Coated in Garlic & Herb Seasoning, Drizzled with Olive Oil and Roasted in the Oven, with roast pork on top

Broad Beans - Cooked with Garlic, Onions, Mushrooms and Tomatoes and served with the Pork and Baby Potatoes (see above)

Round Courgettes - Stuffed with a mixture of cooked rice, the flesh of the courgettes, the chopped leftover cooked pork and the leftover broad bean mix (these are my leftover busters - you can stuff them with pretty much anything !)

Lettuce - Just used in sandwiches and side salads, nothing very interesting !

Beetroot / Endives (Chicory) - Will be used in the next couple of days, I'm running late !

Broccoli & Cauliflower - Bro-Cauli Cheese

White cabbage - Fruity Coleslaw

Boscoop apples - Apple & Cranberry Crumble

Strawberries - Due to popular demand, eaten as they were with some squirty cream !

Head over to Kirschplunder's blog to see what everyone else has done for the Veg Box Challenge this week or maybe even join in.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Veg box 28/4

Madhouse Recipe : Apple & Cranberry Crumble

I had some rather lovely local boscoop apples in last week's veg box so I decided to stick with something traditional and make a nice apple crumble.

To jazz things up a bit, after peeling and dicing the apples, I sprinkled them with a little brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and a generous handful of dried cranberries. I added a splash of water to help the apple cook.

As I was short on time (and still intent on clearing out my food cupboards), I cheated and used a bag of instant crumble mix but it's dead easy to make yourself.

I put it in the bottom of the oven for the last half hour while the roast was cooking, then turned off the oven while we ate and left it in there to stay warm.

The cranberries added a nice shaprness to contrast with the sweet apples.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Madhouse Recipe : Fruity Coleslaw

Sunday 28 April 2013

Personalised Peppa Pig Goes Swimming book review

Pierre loves Peppa Pig and he also loves reading, so when we were offered the chance to review a personalised Peppa Pig And Me book, I jumped at the chance. He absolutely loved the one we received last year called "Pierre and Peppa Go To School" - you can see our review for that one here - which tied in perfectly with his first day at school, and this one - called "Peppa and (Your Child) Go Swimming" - again perfectly suits our needs, because Pierre has recently started freaking out at bathtime when I need to get his hair wet. That could be a problem when we spend a fortnight in Morocco in a couple of months and will be spending a large part of our time at the pool !

In this book, George is scared of swimming when Peppa's family (and your child) go off to the pool , but he soon learns to love splashing about, hopefully reassuring and convincing your child along the way.

It's really quick and simple to personalise the book online. You just need to put in your child's name, choose the colour for their hair, skin and eyes, choose the hairstyle and select glasses if required, then add a quick personal message for the front page. That's it - it literally takes 2 minutes.

Pierre loves reading any book that features one of his favourite TV heroes, but actually having a book that stars him alongside them is a totally magical experience for him. I'm sure the same would be true for any little girl or boy - and if they don't like Peppa Pig, there are other characters available, such as Fifi & the Flowertots, Roary and Noddy.

The glossy paged book comes in a choice of paperback or hardback and contains 24 pages that are about A4 size (21 x 28cm). As well as being impressed with the product itself, the customer service is faultless - the book arrived the very next day after I ordered it.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £14.99 for paperback, £19.99 for hardback

Disclosure : I received a book in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Madhouse Recipe : Fruity Coleslaw

This started off as regular homemade coleslaw - chop 1/2 white cabbage, 1 large carrot and 1 spring onion and toss together in a bowl. Add light mayonnaise, 1 tablespoonful at a time, until it is evenly covered (use the smallest amount possible).

As part of the veg box challenge, I wanted to make a few changes so I chopped up a red apple, squeezed over some lemon juice, and added it to the coleslaw with a generous handful of raisins.

This actually worked really well - the soft chewiness of the raisins nicely complemented the crunchiness of the vegetables.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Madhouse Recipe : Bro-cauli Cheese

Veg box 28/4

Lots of things that I'd class as fridge basics this week - spring onions, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, chicory (endives), green pepper, beetroot, cucumber and white cabbage.

I'll have to get my thinking cap on to come up with interesting things for these. And I still need to tell you what I made with last week's box too !

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Madhouse recipe : Creamy Prawns with Leeks & Mushrooms

Giveaway #281 : Win a copy of Geek Girl - closed - winner Sarah Lee

Geek Girl is a semi-autobiographical first novel by ex-model-turned-author, Holly Smale. It tells the account of an unlikely teenage model who becomes entangled in the dramas of adolescence as she navigates the glamorous world of modelling, not always with huge success.

When self-confessed, socially awkward geek Harriet Manners is spotted by a top model agent, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself despite what this entails: stealing her best friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch-enemy Alexa, repeatedly humiliating herself in front of impossibly handsome model Nick and worst of all, lying to the people she loves. Veering from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her über geeky stalker, Toby, Harriet begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did, and is certainly no less forgiving.

The publishers have kindly provided a copy of Geek Girl to give away to one Madhouse Family Reviews reader.

UK only. Closing date : 11/05/13

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.

Sunday weigh-in : Meh !

Last week I had a fab week on the scales. This week, I've put on 200g which is not great, but I'm blaming it on the time of the month so hopefully next week will be better. We got in another couple of long walks - but also some baking sessions which could be another reason ! Next week is back to school and work for everyone *sniff* which means I'll be back to eating at the canteen four times a week.

Positives of the week

- We've had two weeks of having fun - thinking about food and weightloss didn't even come into the equation ! And it was still a loss overall.

- The kids have discovered that a 5 mile walk is great fun and leads to adventures so we'll be doing loads of them in the summer holidays.

This week's targets 

Last week's target was : Fit in at least one more mammoth walk. (Done) Pack in more veggies and salads. (No salads but lots of veggies.) Drink more water. (Not great but I did cut down on diet coke again.) A loss, however small. (Failed !)

This week's target is :  - Make healthy choices at the canteen. Get back to below 79kg.

Longer-term targets : Wear my new blue jeans without a tummy bulge.

STILL TO GO : 13.1kg

Feel free to add your weightloss posts to our weekly linkie - it's great to see how everyone else has been getting on and give each other support and encouragement :)

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

 MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods

#SilentSunday 28/4

Saturday 27 April 2013

Giveaway #280 : Win Brian Cox Wonders of Life book and DVD - closed - winner Jo G.

Wonders of Life tells the story of the amazing diversity and adaptability of life through the laws that govern it: from the dance of chromosomes as cells divide to the spark of electricity that causes muscles to move. 

Professor Brian Cox takes us on an incredible journey to discover how a few fundamental laws gave birth to the most complex, diverse and unique force in the Universe – life itself.

This definitive new series is available now in a beautiful illustrated hardback book and on DVD and blu-ray from 4th March.

The publishers have given me one copy of the Wonders of Life book and DVD to give away to one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UK only. Closing date : 9/05/13

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.

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