Sunday, 2 May 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 18


Back to school for me and Pierre, plus Juliette is on a week-on, so things may be a bit hectic getting back into the swing of things. An easy week of meals will be needed to help us get back up to speed, I think !

Monday

lunch- leftover pasta carbonara

dinner - BBQ beef with baked potatoes & coleslaw

Tuesday

lunch- leftover BBQ beef with rice

dinner- pork chops with mash & veg

Wednesday

lunch- meatballs and spaghetti with tomato sauce

dinner- battered fish, rice and veggies

Thursday

lunch - leftovers or baked tomatoes stuffed with sausagemeat & rice

dinner- cottage pie

Friday

lunch- the kids can eat leftovers or there are beefburgers in the freezer

dinner - leftover cottage pie

Saturday

lunch- spaghetti bolognese

dinner-mini empanadas/pasties/quiches in a nibbly tea (with crisps, carrots, tomatoes, olives, etc)

Sunday 

lunch- roast dinner

dinner- leftovers, cheese on toast or fridge grazing

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Sunday, 25 April 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 17


Last week's meal plan included lots of new recipes from a Jamie Oliver series I was watching and they were all much enjoyed. The meatloaf, the chicken kievs, the sausage pasta and the Chinese cashew chicken have all been re-requested. Even better, the kids got involved with helping me out in the kitchen. Unfortunately, that will come to an end now as we're back to school next week, although we have one more week at home doing online learning before heading back to school. OK, so what's on the menu this week? I've gone looking through old recipes on my blog for this week's inspiration.

Monday

lunch- Lemon pepper chicken with rice and veg

dinner - Garlic bread topped sloppy Joes

Tuesday

lunch- Flamiche aux poireaux (Leek tart) with cherry tomatoes & salad (and leftover rice for those who want it) (there should be leftovers if Pierre turns his nose up at leeks !)

dinner- pork chops with mash & veg

Wednesday


dinner- Baked cheese empanadas with rice and cherry tomatoes

Thursday

lunch - Savoyard pork burgers with pasta & creamed spinach

dinner- Slow cooker BBQ beef with rice & veg

Friday


dinner - BBQ beef pies with leftovers from yesterday, boiled potatoes & veg

Saturday

lunch- spaghetti bolognese

dinner- hmmm maybe time for a Saturday night takeaway ? kebabs or fried chicken (from the same shop so they can choose !)

Sunday 

lunch- roast dinner

dinner- leftover takeaway or fridge grazing

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

April 2021 Degustabox : UK vs International


The postie dropped off this month's Degustabox a few days ago and as soon as we spotted the theme of the box, we were intrigued : UK vs International. Oooh, what would be lurking inside ? The kids instantly spotted several things that they couldn't wait to try !


This month's Product of the Month is one that we instantly grabbed - McVitie's Sticky Toffee Pudding Hobnobs (RRP £1.59 - other Degustaboxers got Chocolate Brownie flavour). These are new flavours in the Chocolate Hobnobs range, inspired by Great British desserts. They are totally delicious, even better than regular Hobnobs. Yum !


Bull's-Eye Kentucky Habanero Hot Sauce With Whiskey (RRP £1.99) sounds like a great product for summer barbecues. I must admit, I wimped out when reading the description though ! "This one's hot - for those in search of firepower, the fruity Habanero chilli is cooked up with a dash of whiskey to pack the heat. Expect bold, sweet aromas with some Kentucky tang." It would be great for adding some heat to meat before putting it on the grill, zinging up your salsa or stirring through chilli. I'll pass this on to a friend !

Dorset Cereals Nutty Granola (RRP £4.15) is a delicious breakfast option, made with crunchy almonds, hazelnuts and cashews. It tastes very natural and you instantly get the feeling that it's good for you. The perfect way to start the day ! 


Tilda Japanese Teriyaki Jasmine Rice (RRP £1.59) is a limited edition, so get in quick ! It's an exciting mix of sticky jasmine rice, spring onions, carrots and water chestnuts, with the addition of soy sauce, sugar and mirin (all ingredients typically used in teriyaki marinade). It's the perfect accompaniment to exotic food - if you want to try something Japanese, check out my recipes for Yakiniku-inspired Beef Stir Fry, Pork Yakisoba or Kamo No Teriyaki (Teriyaki Duck with Soba Noodles) - but it's also great for jazzing up leftovers, for example using up the leftover chicken after a Sunday roast.

Gunna Ginger Rebel Ginger Lemonade (RRP £1.50) is a new drinks option - we've had ginger beer before but not ginger lemonade. Well, in terms of taste, it's very similar, with a fairly mild ginger taste. Gunna's aim is to "battle the bland" and bring customers healthier alternatives that are full of flavour. Their drinks contain less than 5% sugar, fewer calories and no artificial colours or preservatives. Definitely worth a try, if you want something a little bit different to quench your thirst. It might even help you out if you're suffering with morning sickness. (Ginger always used to help settle my stomach when I was pregnant.)
  

Aero Dark & Milk (RRP £1) is a new product from a brand I love. Orange and Mint Aeros remind me of being at school because my best friend always used to bring them in her lunch box - how times have changed ! I wasn't sure about the "dark" part though, as I'm definitely a milk chocolate kinda girl. The bar description is intriguing though : "Introducing Aero Dark&Milk, a darker chocolate bar that is bubbling with smooth milk and dark intensity. Aero Dark&Milk has a higher percentage of cocoa solids than standard Aero, whilst keeping the lightness and smoothness of Aero milk chocolate." Well, it's not bad - you get the same bubbly texture and smoothness - and it would be perfect if you're looking for a richer, stronger cocoa flavour, but I prefer the normal Aero bars. Sorry !

  
Noodl Plus Charcoal Noodles with Epic Mushrooms (RRP £2.50) is an interesting take on pot noodles. The noodles are thicker than most other pot noodle-type products so they take 7-8 minutes to rehydrate but they have a satisfying chewiness that really fills you up. There are impressive large chunks of cauliflower and spring onion in there and a lovely mushroom flavour. Eating black food still seems wrong to me (I said the same thing when trying cuttlefish ink paella !) but it's a tasty and surprisingly satisfying meal. There are other options available - Chilli Noodles with Balinese Spices or (purple) Beetroot Noodles with Heavenly Harissa. As well as the exciting colours, I love the fact that the noodles are plant based, high in protein and high in fibre.

Get More Vits have two products in this month's box - Get More Vits Vitamin D Still Mango & Passionfruit Drink (RRP £1.50) and Get More Vits Multivitamin Chewing Gum (RRP £1.50). They are both simple (and enjoyable) ways of upping your vitamin intake. The drink has a refreshing, fruity flavour and is sugar free and low calorie, as well as providing your daily dose of Vitamin D. The chewing gum is a great way to increase your vitamin intake while freshening your breath. It's available in two flavours - peppermint and spearmint - and, as well as being sugar free, each piece of gum provides a 25% daily dose of ten essential vitamins. 


Kind Dark Chocolate Orange Almond (RRP £1.30) is a healthy snack bar with no secret ingredients, no artificial flavours, no preservatives and no sweeteners. The description confused me, until I took a bite. "An iconic UK flavour, just done better…and a little less round." Ahhh forget the almonds, just think chocolate orange ! Well, it's not quite the same but it's very tasty nevertheless. 


Brioche Pasquier Pancakes (RRP £1.65) are a new product and they fit in perfectly with the rest of the range of delicious and convenient breakfast options. The pancakes come in packs of two, which helps to keep them fresh. They can be packed in a pocket or a bag to be eaten cold as a snack on the go but they are even tastier if you heat them up in the microwave then top them with fruit (blueberries, strawberries and raspberries work really well), maple syrup or (the Madhouse kids' favourite option !) chocolate and hazelnut spread.


Very Lazy Chipotle Paste (RRP £2) is a convenient way or adding a touch of heat to all your home-cooked Mexican-inspired meals. As well as a chilli kick, you get a lovely smoky flavour that adds depth to anything from fajitas and chilli to burritos and tacos. The great thing if you're cooking for your family is that you can serve the kids then stir through a little bit of paste for the adults.

This was a great box with a real mixture of ingredients. The kids didn't think it was particularly international, but when I pointed out that chipotle is Mexican, pancakes are French, teriyaki rice is Japanese, noodles are (amongst other nationalities) Chinese and Kentucky habanero sauce is American, they had to agree, even if, as far as they were concerned, they were just normal store cupboard ingredients. It just goes to show how many different types of cooking they're used to !

 A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that, but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which means you'll get the first box for just £9.99 - enter code PKUFE at the checkout. 

for more information :

Also now on Instagram @DegustaboxUK

Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review. As a Degustabox blogger, I receive all of the products that go into the monthly boxes, but subscribers may not get exactly the same selection.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 16


Last week was a lovely (and much-needed) lazy week. I didn't do any of the big jobs that I had planned - oh well, I'm off this week too ! We did spend lots of time dashing off to the local parcel depots with all the stuff that Pierre has been selling on Vinted and he's very happy as he's already earned about €70-€80 ! I'm amazed. Not to mention very chuffed at all the extra cupboard space that this is making ! In terms of cooking, last week we stuck to plan completely. I'm watching Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food as I write this menu plan and it's already giving me some good ideas.

Monday

lunch- chicken cordon bleu with pasta & veg

dinner - Osso buco with risotto (if I manage to find osso bucco at the shop - if not, I'll adapt the recipe)

Tuesday

lunch- battered fish with leftover pasta/risotto

dinner- meatloaf with mash & veg

Wednesday

lunch- leftover meatloaf with couscous & veg

dinner- chicken kievs (I think I'll give Jamie Oliver's version a go and add bacon to the filling) with rice & veg

Thursday

lunch - tuna & potato salad

dinner- spaghetti bolognese

Friday


dinner - Chinese cashew chicken with rice

Saturday

lunch- Hamburger gravy with mash & sweetcorn

dinner-I'm trying to convince the kids they love curries so this is a good starting point - butter chicken with rice & salad

Sunday 

lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes & veg

dinner- toast or leftovers

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Friday, 16 April 2021

Foul Play Murder Mystery Card Game review


What can you do in the middle of a pandemic when your entire business activity revolves around interacting with the public? Such was the problem faced by After Dark Murder Mystery during lockdown. Rather than sitting around twiddling their thumbs, they decided to look at news ways to keep their business afloat. Faced with the large number of companies offering online activities, they decided to go down a different route. The Foul Play Murder Mystery Card Game was born !

The basic aim of the game reminds me of Cluedo - you have to uncover the perpetrator of a vicious crime. In this game though, you just need a pack of cards, rather than a big playing board, making it the perfect game to pack in your bag when travelling or going on holiday.

The game is set in Edwardian England and the Lord of the Manor has been murdered ! Obviously, the servants are the lead suspects and your job is to unearth evidence and catch the culprit. You have a choice though - will you play Good Cop or Bad Cop?


If you play as Good Cop, you set up the game by removing the fifteen evidence cards from the pack, selecting one of each colour, putting them back in the pack then reshuffling the cards. The evidence cards have facts such as hair colour, sex or clothing on them. Next, lay out nine cards in the middle of the table in a 3x3 grid as "the crime scene". Each player is dealt five cards and the rest go to the side as the "evidence locker". On each turn, you can take a card from the evidence locker and discard one in your hand or play a card, swapping a card with one of your opponents' cards. As you play, you will see the evidence cards go through which will show you who the murderer is. You must have the card showing this person to be able to announce your suspect, lay out your proof and (hopefully !) win the game.

In Bad Cop mode, each player takes seven cards and all cards are in play. You just need to find three evidence cards that match with a suspect card in your hand to win.


It takes a couple of games to get used to how to play and what each card allows you to do, but once you've got the hang of it, it's great fun. There's no waiting around as everyone is involved on each turn so it's a great option for kids who tend to get bored quickly, especially as you can watch players' faces when they pick up a card and try to detect signs of excitement, then remember which colour the back of the card was to try and pinch it ! 

Throughout confinement, I think we all spent far too long online and playing video games, so finding a new card game that is quick to learn, fun to play and keeps everyone off their screens is absolutely great !

FOUL PLAY The Murder Mystery Card Game -   The Manor House Murder 
 A game for 2 – 5 players | Age 8 + 
 £8.95 + p&p www.foulplaygame.co.uk 
 
Disclosure : We received the product in order to share our honest opinion.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Testing out the Zerowater water filter jug (review)


We've had some lovely warm, sunny weather here recently (shhh we'll just completely ignore the one snowy day in the middle of the mini-heatwave, as it made no sense whatsoever !) so we've been enjoying afternoons lounging on the patio, reading, chatting and drinking gallons of cold drinks. Diet coke, fruit juice and even home made smoothies (if I'm lucky and the girls are feeling adventurous !) are frequently enjoyed, but we also drink lots of dilutable squash or just a glass of water, especially at mealtimes. I don't mind drinking plain water at all, but sometimes, I'll turn my nose up because it has an extra strong smell of chlorine or, when I'm at the school canteen, it just tastes stale. (I don't want to think too much about what would make water taste "stale" so let's move on swiftly !) 

 Zerowater recently got in touch with some information about the water-drinking habits of the UK population. According to a recent survey by Zerowater UK, 70% of Brits are still drinking unfiltered tap water, which apparently contains microplastics, which is a definite worry. However, bottled water contains twice as much plastic, as well as being expensive, not to mention bad for the environment. (Think of all those empty water bottles ending up in landfill - eeek !)


Zerowater offered us the chance to try out one of their water filters, which are supposed to be twice as good as Brita. Zerowater removes as much as 99.6% of all toxins, solids and contaminants, such as chlorine, aluminium and plastic particles, and reading through the complete list of contaminants removed (which you can see here) is actually quite scary - mercury, lead, asbestos, arsenic ... Crikey !

The Zerowater jug comes with a total dissolved solids reader so you can test your area's water quality before and after. Some cities like Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and London have water readings of over 280, but after using Zerowater it drops to 0.  There is actually a great video to prove this, showing Philip Schofield putting the water jug through its paces by turning red wine into pure water ! I'm not wasting wine doing this (sorry !) so here's the video to see for yourselves !


We've been trying the Zerowater jug and it does work very well. The water tastes crisp and clear, just the way it should, with no disagreeable chlorine taste. I tried it on the kids and they were unimpressed, claiming that "it doesn't taste of anything". When I replied that that was exactly the point, they looked confused and wandered off, shaking their heads. Kids !

The only downside is that the replacement cartridges are fairly expensive and they apparently need to be changed about every 3-4 weeks, otherwise the water starts to taste bitter. It's worth looking out for bulk-buy deals which will work out cheaper in the long run. You can also get a £5-off voucher if you submit your water quality reading on the website.

The water jug that we received to review is a 12-cup filter worth £39.99, but there are various other sizes available on the Zerowater website.


Disclosure : We received the product in order to share our honest review.

Monday, 12 April 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 15


We're on holiday - phewwwww ! No plans (well, apart from sorting out the new boiler (which involves checking out all the new government help schemes that have just been launched), getting the garage door fixed and .... something. There is a third job that needs doing but I can't remember what at the moment !) and having a big clean up. Pierre has a new mission - selling all his old toys and clothes on Vinted, a second-hand sale site which is similar to ebay but you set the price and don't have to worry about shipping costs as they deal with that. The only trouble is, he's brought boxes and bags of stuff (big soft toys mainly) downstairs to sell (he wants help deciding on the prices) so I feel like I'm living in a jumble sale at the moment. Not the plan ! Right, let's sort out this week's menu plan. The first half of the week will go to plan, but I'll need to go shopping mid-week, so it depends what they have in stock.

Monday

lunch- BBQ-seasoned pork chops, rice & coleslaw

dinner - potato-topped mince hotpot

Tuesday

lunch- grilled ham, mash & veg

dinner- veal in a creamy sauce with mushrooms and pasta

Wednesday

lunch- chicken sausages with rice and leeks au gratin

dinner- spaghetti carbonara

Thursday

lunch -leftovers for Pierre and Juliette, baked stuffed tomatoes with ebly for me and Sophie

dinner- chilli con carne & rice

Friday

lunch- chicken fajitas

dinner - twice baked potatoes with cheese & bacon

Saturday

lunch- spaghetti bolognese

dinner- chicken spring rolls

Sunday 

lunch- roast dinner

dinner-  cheese on toast or leftovers

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Thursday, 8 April 2021

The perfect anti-COVID toy : Antibacterial Slime !

 

Fingers crossed, we are starting to slowly, tentatively tiptoe out of lockdown. Wearing masks and keeping our distance from those around us remain key points but we can slowly start looking ahead to brighter times. Sending the kids back to school was a big step towards getting back to normal but we still have a long way to go.

As parents, one of our biggest concerns is getting the kids to constantly wash their hands and/or use hand gel. Well, Canal Toys have the answer to our prayers - anti-bacterial slime that kills up to 99.9% of bacteria on hands. Let the kids have fun as they keep themselves (and those around them) safe !


Hand gel dispensers are often available in public spaces and, as shops and restaurants start to open up again, they will be commonly used, but they are not always suited to children. They can be fiddly to use or may be placed too high. Then there's the gooey, cold, slippery feeling that many kids don't like. Hand gel is simpler and, let's face it, much more fun to use !


I'd never even thought of this kind of product but it's a no-brainer. The Madhouse kids, even the teenagers, will quite happily (and almost hypnotically !) squish slime through their fingers so adding anti-bacterial properties is a genius idea. It's a child-safe, alcohol-free slime that can be used over and over again for up to one month.

I have a top tip for you - just before you throw it away, squish it across your computer keyboard to get out all the dust and muck that gathers in the keyboard !

Each pot costs £2.99 and you can buy a four pack tube for £9.99. 

 

 Disclosure : We received the product in order to share our opinions.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 14


Last week, the president announced that schools in France would shut for a month as from Monday. There's a two week holiday in there though, so it's only two weeks of online classes to deal with. We won't be able to do much during the holidays, but it'll give me a chance to rest and sort out the house (again !). We're all getting bored of eating the same kinds of meals every week, so I need to start looking up some new recipes or maybe digging out some old favourites.

Monday

lunch- leftovers pie (roast chicken, roast potatoes & veg) with mash

dinner -  flammenkuechen (like very thin pizzas with crème fraîche and bacon) & garlic bread (to use up some stale bread)

Tuesday

lunch- gratin dauphinois (creamy potato bake), baked ham & ratatouille

dinner- pork chops, rice & veg

Wednesday

lunch- chicken fajitas with rice, salsa & guacamole

dinner- cottage pie

Thursday

lunch - leftovers

dinner- spaghetti bolognese

Friday

lunch- chicken burgers, wedges & veg

dinner - lasagne

Saturday

lunch- quiche lorraine & salad

dinner- I'm thinking we'll fancy a takeaway - maybe kebabs or we have recently discovered a new chippy that might be worth a try

Sunday 

lunch- chicken curry & rice

dinner- leftovers or toast

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

March 2021 Degustabox review : Hello Spring


This morning, I woke up to some lovely sunshine blazing through the windows and thought aaaaahh, spring is definitely on the way ! It's amazing how a little bit of sunshine can put you in a good mood. I got up thinking about spring cleaning, planting some bulbs and seeds out on the patio, dejunking the cupboards ...  Time for new beginnings ! This month's Degustabox fits in with this shift of mentality as its theme is Hello Spring.


Unpacking this month's goodies, I instantly spotted lots of brand names that we were familiar with. I think there were only two or three that were new to us in fact, but they are all new twists on old favourites and we were all keen to try them out.


First up, we discovered this pack of Apple & Raspberry Brynmor Flapjacks (RRP £2 - other subscribers got Caramel Fudge or Dark Chocolate & Ginger flavour). We've tried other flavours from this range in previous Degustaboxes and loved them and these ones didn't disappoint. They are vegan friendly, high in fibre and lovingly baked in Wales. As they are made with high quality, natural ingredients, they feel like a definite "not so guilty" treat ! Yum !

Esprala Apple & Red Plum (RRP £1.09) is a lightly sparkling fruit drink with guarana and green tea. It contains no added sugar and only 43 calories per serving. It's a pleasant, refreshing taste, perfect fresh out of the fridge on a warm day. Rumour has it, it's great as a gin cocktail mixer too ! Available on amazon.

 

The kids always love to try out new cereal brands so they were delighted to find a box of Organic Honey & Choc Cheerios (RRP £3). I wasn't sure about the combination of the two flavours, but it does work and the kids loved them. This product marks the brand's entrance into the UK organic market. It is a certified organic cereal made using organic honey hoops from five organically-farmed whole grains and chocolate cereal pieces. They can be enjoyed in a bowl with milk, made into cornflake cake type desserts or - as the Madhouse kids enjoyed them - straight out of the box by the handful as a snack !

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Peanut Butter (RRP £2.50) confused me to start with - why are there so many different peanut butters with additions coming out lately?! - but closer inspection revealed that there are in fact no cornflakes in the pot, just some honey roasted peanuts in an ultra-smooth peanut butter. It tastes very nice - I think the honey on the peanuts adds some extra sweetness - and I, as a crunchy peanut butter lover, thought the texture was very nice. Great on toast, in sandwiches or even baked into cookies and muffins. Available at Sainsbury's, Iceland, Morrisons, One Stop and periodically at Aldi.


Enervit The Protein Deal (RRP £2.50 - subscribers received one of two bars, either Red Fruit Delight or Dark Choc) is designed as positive food for conscious and active consumers, food for people who want to keep fit & well, basically the perfect bars for mindful indulgence. The bars are low in sugar, gluten free, palm oil free and contain 20g of protein. As a snack, I think they're very expensive, but as a special treat when following a high protein diet or trying to get fit, they are a tasty treat.

 

Hippeas Chickpea Puff Snacks (RRP 99p) are a product that we have tried in previous Degustaboxes and these Salt & Vinegar Vibes didn't disappoint. They are light and crunchy with a definite salt & vinegar zing. Very tasty ! They are gluten free, vegan and come in at 91 calories per pack.

Mighty Chicken & Mushroom Mug Shot (RRP £1.49) is great as a swift and convenient lunch option at work or for the kids when they need a snack or quick meal. It is super quick to prepare - just pour in boiling water, stir and wait for five minutes - then it's good to go. It contains less than 2% fat and provides 440 calories. It's made with natural flavours and no artificial colours. When you dash home for lunch and need something fast to fill your growling stomach, it's perfect ! The great news is, you can feel super virtuous when you eat it as they have reduced the pot size while keeping the same quantity of ingredients, thereby using 50% less plastic, which is great news for the environment.


Lucozade Zero Tropical (RRP £1.49) is a sugar free pineapple and mango flavoured drink that is very tasty. I still remember the ultra sweet original Lucozade in a plastic covered, bobbly glass bottle that I would have as a child when off school sick, but this is a much lighter, more refreshing option. They have even made the bottle fully recyclable now too for some extra bonus points !

Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar (RRP £1.29) were welcome additions to the kitchen cupboard. Filippo Berio has been creating the finest oils since 1867 and the brand's ongoing success is no doubt testament to the passion and dedication of Filippo Berio himself, the man who set out with a dream to make delicious olive oils worthy of his friends, his family – and his name. I know and already use the olive oil, which is great for frying meat and vegetables or drizzling over salads. The vinegar, made with specially selected Modena grapes, has a smooth, sweet flavour that works well in vinaigrette. With salad season on the way, I'm sure this will come in handy over the summer !


Mallow & Marsh Vanilla Marshmallow Bar Coated in Milk Chocolate (RRP £1.35) is a very tasty bar when you need a sweet treat. With fluffy vanilla marshmallow and a velvety smooth Belgian milk chocolate, it sounds like a match made in heaven ... and it is ! Even better, it comes in at 134 calories which is very reasonable. 

 

Maynards Bassetts Fruit Smoothie Jellies (RRP £1.32) instantly appealed to me, but I was even more keen to try them when I saw the flavours : Banana & Strawberry, Mango & Passion fruit, Pineapple & Lemon or Pomegranate & Berry. I love the originality of the flavours and these were polished off by the whole family in record time ! They contain natural colours and flavours, are made with real fruit puree and are a source of Vitamins C&E.

Smarties Milk Chocolate Sharing Block (RRP £1 - some subscribers got the Orange Smarties Sharing Block) is exactly what it sounds like - a big bar of chocolate stuffed with Smarties. What's not to like?! The kids polished this off and declared it very tasty. The paper packaging is even fully recyclable.


Finally, the kids were over the moon to discover Brioche Pasquier Pitch Bloc 'o' Choc Filled Brioche (RRP £1.40). They loved the soft, buttery brioche and the real stick of chocolate in the middle. They're perfect for breakfast or snacks any time of day. Their one complaint - there were only four in the pack and they needed more !

The kids were very happy with everything in this box and I can see us continuing to buy several of these products.

 A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that, but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which means you'll get the first box for just £9.99 - enter code PKUFE at the checkout. 

for more information :

Also now on Instagram @DegustaboxUK

Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review. As a Degustabox blogger, I receive all of the products that go into the monthly boxes, but subscribers may not get exactly the same selection.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 13


For the first time in ages, this week was nice and calm. All my report filling and school meetings were done and dusted, phew ! It's just been announced that, as from this weekend, if one pupil is declared as Covid positive, the whole class will shut for a week and pupils will only be allowed back with a negative test, otherwise they have to stay off for two weeks. There's even a rumour that schools may be shut down completely from Wednesday onwards, so time will tell. We'll see what happens. I'm not overly worried as we're into the final term, so they've had most of their year in class. In other news, there was a report that the problems in the Suez canal may lead to a lack of toilet roll ! Sounds very strange but who knows - luckily I just bought some ! So, here's what's on the menu this week.

Monday

lunch- fish (or beefburger), mash & peas

dinner - chicken, veg & noodle stir fry

Tuesday

lunch- pasta carbonara

dinner- this is a bit of a "may be, may not be" dinner - I have what is supposed to be a spaghetti squash from my friend's allotment, in which case I'll serve it in something like this : Spaghetti squash with chorizo, cherry tomatoes and parmesan - but I might chop it open and discover it's not a spaghetti squash at all. We'll see ! The kids will probably turn up their noses so they can have leftover chicken stir fry

Wednesday

lunch- sausage & chips


Thursday

lunch - baked potatoes

dinner- Spanish omelettes (or leftovers for those who prefer)

Friday

lunch- I'll be at school canteen (unless schools have closed) so the kids can fend for themselves

dinner - spaghetti bolognese

Saturday

lunch- corned beef hash

dinner- pizza

Sunday 

lunch- roast dinner

dinner- toast or leftovers

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Friday, 26 March 2021

Book review : The End is Where We Begin - Maria Goodin


The End Is Where We Begin must have been a very complicated book to write, as it completely lacks chronology. As you read it, you soon pick up on the structure of the book, but it threw me in the beginning as even within a chapter, paragraphs will jump about in time with no warning so it can be hard to keep track of the bigger picture. In fact, just like when you are piecing together a large, complicated puzzle, you will not get the whole picture until the very end, when you will look back at earlier events and realise how it all fits together. That said, I did soon fit into the narrative flow and really enjoyed it.

The book focuses on single father Jay Lewis, a man who is trying - and failing - to keep his life on track, with everything chugging happily along. Troubled by nightmares and flashbacks, he knows that he has to take account of events in his past that are throwing his life off kilter. If only it were that simple.

Just a few chapters in, the author mentions a tragic event that happened to Jay and his three best friends when he was just fifteen. The complete details are not revealed until the end of the book, but we understand that all the problems in his life stem from this event, as he just feels that he doesn't deserve to be happy in his life. Now aged 32, we follow his life up to this point and see the often unfortunate choices that he has made. He sets out to track down the figures from that fateful night - his ex girlfriend, his friends, ... - and to set things right.

It's an interesting story and is cleverly put together with a few surprises thrown in to keep you interested. I often smiled at Jay's parenting antics, probably recognising myself as a parent of teens ! The idea of looking back at past events that cause you pain and setting things right is heart-warming and I appreciated the fact that it was a male character (for once !) pondering on his life.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £8.99
 

  • Publisher : Legend Press (16 Mar. 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1789559456
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1789559453



Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book in order to share my honest opinion.

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