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Froothie Optimum VAC2 Air Vacuum Blender Review

As a new ambassador for Froothie UK, I’ve had the lovely opportunity to try out one of the newest gadgets in their range.  I’m letting you all know about the fabulous Optimum Vac 2 Air Vacuum Blender.

I know, some of you will have some questions as vacuum blending isn’t a term that is commonly used for in home blending.

Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  These are marked by an asterisk next to them.  If you buy anything from using these links, I will receive an ambassador commission, which lets me keep this blog running.  The price is not altered for you in any way.  

What is vacuum blending?

It’s very much like ordinary blending, but with the vacuum ability, the air is removed, to reduce the risk of oxidation, which is especially great for fruits and vegetables.


When we blend food, the chemicals are exposed to the elements, otherwise known as oxygen.  The food changes colour and starts to break down, very much like a peeled banana or apple starts to turn a brown colour when left open to the air.  When fruit and vegetables begin to turn brown, they also begin to lose their value as a nutritional source.

Find out more in this video from Froothie, which is a fabulous way to picture it.

And a little more about the vacuum abilities of the Optimum Vac 2 Air Vacuum Blender.

I made my first smoothie with the Vac 2 in the morning and popped it in the fridge for later, which was great, as later that afternoon, I was still able to go back and drink it.  With my old blender, it changes colour so much, that I end up pouring the smoothie down the drain and making a new one.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said:
“Vitamin C is destroyed by oxidation, and is the vitamin most easily lost during processing, storage, and cooking.”

So, what do I think?

Optimum Vac 2 Air Vacuum Blender *

It’s big.  Not too big, but solid, and comforting that it will be up to the job for many years to come.  It’s like the daddy of my current blender from a different brand, which if I’m honest, is just not up to the job.  I’ve used my new gadget a few times, and it’s been fabulous.  I’m looking forward to sharing my recipes with you all, and my raw ice cream recipe will be the first one I post with this fabulous gadget.

I’d been thinking about buying an all signing all dancing blender for a while, but it’s not easy to decide on which brand, as it’s a commitment purchase.  Now I have this one, I won’t be looking any further, as the vacuum function is incredible.

The main points are:

  • Easy cleaning Froothie Blender * with clear cleaning instructions in the user manual.
  • 4 preset functions, which are:  Smoothie, Veg & Fruits, Nuts, Soup & a Pulse function to choose your own.  Find out more on the Froothie UK website *.
  • High speed settings from 1-8, with a Pulse option for blending thick ingredients or for cleaning.
  • Vacuum setting for use with the Smoothie & Veg & Fruits preset functions.
  • Heavy duty tamper tool for easier blending and mixing.
  • Choose between traditional blending or vacuum blending.  Soup and Nuts settings are not suitable for vacuum blending.
  • Smoothies and blended fruit are smoother and more creamy looking, and look better for longer if the lid is kept on the blender.  It’s easy to make, pop in the fridge and enjoy later.
  • It’s a one jug does it all blender, which is 2 litres.  That’s a lot of blending potential.
  • It’s noisy.  If you’re not used to a high speed blender, be prepared for the sound.  It’s a powerful blender *, with a 2238W motor, to tackle the toughest of blending tasks.

How to get one:

  • Currently, the Optimum Vac 2 Air Vacuum Blender has a RRP of £499.00.
  • There is a short time promotion on, with the blender currently available for £389. This is at the time of publication of this post. 
  • Click through from my affiliate link*
  • You also get a 30 day money back guarantee, which includes return postage, plus 5 years warranty as standard.
  • Access to expert support team.
  • 0% finance could be available on purchases of £299 or more, spread out over 6 months with a 10% deposit.


Raw Strawberry and Banana Ice Cream


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Gadgets I’d Like on MY Christmas List – Yes I Know it’s only October

It’s no secret that I’m a gadget girl.   Between Air Frying, Soup Making and Pressure Cooking, I tend to fall for lots of ideas and then not always follow through.

Some gadgets have been absolutely disastrous for me.  I bought an egg cooker that I thought was a saving grace, but within a month, I hated the blasted thing.  It kept cutting out, never cooked how I’d like it to, and the eggs just didn’t taste right.  A rice cooker that I was loving, packed up after a few uses and I couldn’t find the receipt to take it back.  On principle, I wouldn’t replace it.  I see rice cookers and I eye them suspiciously from shop aisles.  I was even suckered into an Air Fryer as my one had packed in.  I have regretted that choice for the last 2 months that I’ve owned it, but it does get lots of use.  I should have stuck to what I know, but it’s done now.

I have a yoghurt maker that I love, and works a treat.  My breadmaker, however will soon need replaced.  Mine is years old and I think is beginning to wilt.  For years, every loaf turned out perfectly, but now, it’s hit or miss.

So – the top gadgets for me are:

1 – New Soupmaker

My husband decided to drop mine, into a bucket of water.  Ahem…..  If you ask me, I think he dunked it to wash, then realised it doesn’t like the electrics being flooded with water.  He did dismantle it to dry it out, but although it still worked to heat, it no longer blended.  He owed me a new one.  I actually just went and bought this, so Christmas won’t be without a soup maker after all.  It’s a little more fancy than my last version, and has a lift out inner to make for easier cleaning, and today, yes, today, will be the first day I try this out with a new recipe.  I do need to review this soon.

(Aff Link)

2 – Actifry

My last Actifry blew up.  It had been used for hundreds of hours, and didn’t really stand a chance against loads of teenagers constantly making chips…….  The ideal thing about that, is that I don’t have to get involved.  The teens found it easy to throw in some chips, bung in a spoon of oil, and when it finished turning, the chips were ready.  AND, if they got distracted and forgot about the chips, they weren’t burning the house down.  When they put food in the oven, it invariably ends up burnt, or with the bottom of my oven seeping whatever food they cooked.

I was in Costco when my Actifry blew up, and they had another make on offer, which I ended up buying.  And while it’s great for other features, it fails miserably for chips.  For the teens to use it on their own, they have to put the chips into a closed basket, which rotates.  It’s rotation feature is amazing for chicken, but for chips, not on.  To get the chips out, they either have to open the basket with their hands wrapped in a towel or oven glove, or lift the whole thing out and do it.  If’s fiddly, and there’s a bigger chance of getting burned.  If they put the chips on the bottom of the pan, they have to be moved around in person half way through cooking, which sort of defies the potential of air cooking.

Anyway, I’m stuck with a machine that is actually good for many things, but just not for chips.  A new Actifry isn’t in my future, but one of these, I’d like.

(Aff Links)

3 – New Phone

Again, this isn’t actually in my future, but I’d love the new, super dooper iPhone.  I guess most of us Apple gadget fans would.  It’s just too pricey for me, so I’ll stick with my old iPhone 6S Plus, which is now out of contract and only costs me airtime.  It does have a teensy scratch on the screen, but I haven’t managed to persuade myself that it’s worth the cost of replacing with something that costs around a thousand pounds.  It doesn’t stop me looking at the picture with pure envy….

I can’t afford the phone, but maybe if I buy an iPhone X case, I can pretend there’s one on the way for my Christmas.  Given that the hub and I only give token pressies to each other for birthday and Xmas, I’ll just live and dream..

(Aff Link)

4 – Hoover – Vaccuum Cleaner

The name depends on where you come from.  Up here, we say hoover, but online, people all tend to say vacuum cleaner, and think Hoover is just a brand of vacuum.  Our is borked.  I don’t buy these often, but when I do, other people tend to be the ones who break them.  Kids – are you listening…….

These are what I’d like.  I haven’t pressed the button on buy yet, as I keep hoping for a sooper dooper sale, but I think I’ll have to go for it soon.

(Aff Links)

5 – Breadmaker

In actual reality, the first one below is the one I’d ideally love, as it also makes pasta.  I haven’t tried making pasta flour in my old breadmaker, so it might be worth trying to see if my dying machine can make anything suitable before splashing out.  I suspect that although I’d love one that also makes pasta, it’s a bit on the pricey side for me, so the second one is more likely to be my replacement one after Xmas. I like the idea of a black breadmaker that’s more likely to blend into my worktop than the light coloured machines.

(Aff Links)

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Brave by nature. Healthy hydration.

Highland Spring is one of those brands who like to highlight the benefits of healthy hydration, especially for kids.  When back-to-school comes, it’s always a worry for us parents, to know if our kids have had enough to drink or not.  It’s not as if we can tag along after then during the school day, and mark up what they’ve had to drink.

As a parent, I tend to think that under hydrated children get grumpy.  I doubt there is much in the way of evidence, but I know how I feel if I’m thirsty.

Highland Spring says:

When you’re 100% hydrated, you’re much more likely to be on top of your game – mentally, physically and emotionally.

I’d have to say, that I very much agree with that.

With back-to-school season just past, it’s the perfect time to encourage kids to give every day their all, with the help of great hydration.

Highland Spring ran a #BravebyNature project, which was all about that natural drive in children to let nothing get in their way and for us parents to help our kids stay naturally hydrated enough to wield it.

That’s why Highland Spring is one of your most important #TermTimeEssentials right now.

For me, I have a special needs boy, whose idea of fluid has to come in flavoured varieties.

To get him to be #BravebyNature, I tend to mix it with other things.  it could be diluting juice, or fresh orange or strawberry, or anything I can get him to drink, that isn’t just sugar in a glass.

Water is actually great for lunch bags though, so at school, it’s a bit of a no brainer.

Our schools do pretty well and will remove fizzy drinks from the kids, and ask for parents to send in healthy options.  At our local secondary, the kids are allowed to take in water for their desks, but aren’t allowed any other drinks.  It’s a positive step for hydration.

From Highland Spring, I learned that staying well hydrated  can boost attention by almost 25%. Its even nicer when you know the plain natural source water you’re giving drawn from organic land in Scotland’s beautiful Ochil Hills!

Where do you get your hydration from?

Thanks to Highland Spring for our water.

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Review: Nespresso New Summer Iced Coffee Pod Range

My last coffee machine was on it’s last legs, and being ever thrifty, I’ve just let it limp along, sometimes working and sometimes not.  I’ve meant to look for one for a while, so the offer to try Nespresso coffee pods came at the right time.  We didn’t have a compatible machine to try the pods in, so they sent us a wee one to use with the pods.

To be honest I was just expecting the wee Nespresso Essenza Mini and some iced coffee pods.  What arrived was a bit different.  Along with the little machine, came a whole box of iced coffee pods, two coffee glasses, a travel mug, and an ice cube tray.

The machine is very neat, and takes up little room on a worktop.  It’s not very wide at all and seems to make enough for two larger coffees, and several expresso sized beverages.  It took me a while to figure out the different coffee names, but I got there in the end.

The two new flavours of iced coffee, are:

  • Intenso on Ice
  • Leggero on Ice

Intenso on ice, is a rich, roasted coffee, with cereal notes, whereas the Legeero on ice is subtle, with lemony notes.   I did have to look up their website to figure out how to make iced coffee with a coffee maker.  Call me an iced coffee numptie, ahem, newbie.

I’d like to have made the iced vanilla coffee from their recipe, but my wee machine doesn’t have a milk frother, and I don’t own a milk frother.  Yes, I know, I have almost every type of gadget under the sun, but a milk frother isn’t one of them.  I did half wonder if putting some milk into my blender on a high setting might do the trick, but I didn’t take the chance.   I am making a mental note to get a milk frother however.  Having milk frothed latte needs to be in my future.

I did have a few cheeky cups of coffee to test out the machine, and to be honest, it’s fairly simple and doesn’t have excess bits on it to take up space.  I might even give this one to my mum so that her carers can make coffee up in her room, and don’t have to come downstairs a dozen times a day.  I might earn some brownie points there…and I can get myself a gadget with a built-in milk frother.  See, there is some method to this chain of thought….

Ok, now the coffee part has been well figured out, it had to go to the iced coffee version.

This is what I did.

  • Fill glass with ice.
  • Pop Leggero on ice pod into machine and choose expresso setting.
  • When expresso shot has finished, I poured cold milk over the back of a spoon, and into the glass, then stirred at the end.  I did manage to achieve a little froth on top of the coffee, which went down pretty well on a warm Aberdeen day…

What did I think?

To be fair, iced coffee isn’t ever going to be my thing, apart from the odd glass as a change.  I’m pretty much a traditional girl, and a hot latte is my bevvy of choice with caffeine.

Can I see this being popular?

I can.  I’ve always thought of iced coffee as being an American thing, but my kids tend to buy themselves iced coffee shots in a coffee shop, so now I just have to figure out how to use these pods for the same effect at home.  I suspect lots of crushed ice will do the trick, along whipped cream and some chocolate powder, but the possibilities are wide, as is the variation in the type and strength of coffee for the little machine.


Our machine is going to be well used, whether by us, or my mum and her carers, so for that, I am grateful.  I doubt I’d buy iced coffee pods personally, but that’s just me, although my youngest is planning how to use the Caramelito and Vanilio pods instead of the Intenso on ice and Leggero on ice for whipped cream iced coffee.  He’s a teen, and I guess for teens, iced coffee really is a thing…..  Ok, this old woman is off to settle for an old fashioned cup of hot caffeine…

Thanks to Nespresso for our samples.


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Review: Antsy Labs Zuru Spinner and the amazing Fidget Cube

We received some samples of the new Antsy Labs Fidget Cube and Fidget Spinner.  To say two of my boys couldn’t wait to get their hands on them, is an understatement.  Two of mine are very restless, and tend to use anything they can get their hands on to fidget with, even if it’s just elastic bands.  I’ve lost count of how many pencils and rulers I’ve had to buy, as they fidget with them, and they end up broken.

We’ve seen fidget spinners before, but the one from Antsy was far better quality than the cheapo I first bought from a big company, but that one had sharp edges.  No fear of that with the Antsy one.  I can see the attraction for the kids with the spinner, as they flick and twist, but personally, I struggle with that.

Moving onto the fidget cube, I just couldn’t put that down.  With all the little bits to twist, spin, press, flick and click, and how it fit nicely into one hand, I could see the enormous benefit for that when my boys go back to school.  The spinner is great for home, but the cube, as it’s less of a distraction for other kids, would be great for school.  At the moment, my kids have a sort of putty they use at school, but the cube would be far better.

Watch this:

What does Antsy Labs say?

Leading international toy and consumer products company ZURU Toys is thrilled to announce an exclusive worldwide deal with Antsy Labs to manufacture and distribute the original sensation 
which started it all – Fidget Cube™.

Fidget Cube™ is available now in major UK retailers including Smyths, Tesco, Asda, Argos, Toys R Us and The Entertainer, selling for £9.99 each.   So, forget about fiddling about with paperclips and pens, once you get your hands on these toys you won’t want to fidget with anything else!

Headlining Fidget Cube™’s global launch is the world’s most famous “finger tutter” 23-year-old John Hunt (aka PNUT) – who wowed everyone with his amazing finger dancing moves in Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off videoclip. PNUT shows off his incredible finger moves with the cube in Fidget Cube™ commercials and other parts of the #FreeTheFidget campaign and has to be seen to be believed!

Check out the Fidget Cube™ TVC with PNUT here:

Also available in the range is the ZURU Spinner – the unique design uses high-quality ball-bearings for an even smoother spin, twirl and fidget. Designed to satisfy your natural fidgeting urges, you can choose from 4 classic colours.


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Deiss Pro Citrus Zester & Cheese Grater and Castle McLellan Pate

As part of the blog, I tried a couple of new products recently.  One thing I have never actually owned was a standalone Citrus Zester, so I was intrigued by the new new one from Deiss, that also doubles as a cheese grater with a multitude of uses, from grating lemon, garlic, ginger and nutmeg too.   As with all graters, you have to watch your fingers when you use it, and I’m grateful it comes with a blade cover, as it’s a much more substantial tool that the ones I’ve seen for sale in my local supermarkets.  I write more about it below.

Castle McLellan Pate

I do like a bit of pate, though mushroom is usually my stretch.

They say:

Castle MacLellan Foods Limited in Dumfries & Galloway has been established for over 30 years and is renowned for its high quality range of pâtés. Today we continue a tradition of excellence and the reputation as the pâté experts. It is our attention to detail and sourcing of authentic ingredients which enables us to create the finest recipes.

Castle McLellan sent me some samples of their pates’ to try, and as my kids also like it, I accepted a selection.  The ones we received were.

  • Oven Roasted Mushroom Pate, with garlic and thyme.
  • Smoked Salmon Pate, with lemon juice and horseradish.
  • Chicken Liver Pate, with Scottish heather honey.
  • Rannoch Smoked Duck Pate, with apple jelly.
  • Luxury Orkney Crab Terrine, with lemon juice & mustard.

We haven’t opened them all yet, as we couldn’t eat them all at once, but we have broken out the Mushroom and the Smoked Salmon.     I absolutely loved the mushroom one, as it’s a rich, creamy, over roasted mushroom pate, with full fat soft cheese, creme fraiche, and seasoned with a hint of garlic & thyme.

I was quite surprised to find that inside the outer cardboard wrappers, there are recipe suggestions for the pate.   Our Mushroom pate contained a recipe for wild mushroom soup, with garlic croutons, which would make 1 large bowl or 2 smaller bowls.  By that point, I’d eaten half the pate, and my middle child had eaten the bagel in the image, so we had none left to make the soup with, but I’d love to try making it.

There are lots of other recipes on their website at

My kids polished off the Smoked Salmon Pate, and I don’t think the other ones currently sitting in my fridge are going to last for long.  You don’t get the real colour of the smoked salmon pate below, but it was a lovely pale shade.

Castle MacLellan and proud makers of Scottish Pate, and are owned by the Kavli Trust, which supports good causes in the UK and abroad.  Part of the profits from the Kavli group are reinvested in strengthening and developing the groups operations, which the rest is donated to good causes in research, culture and humanitarian work, by supporting poor and disadvantaged people in the global south and in the Kavli countries.

Available to buy in Sainsburys, Aldi, ASDA, Morrisons, Co-operative, Booths, NISA, Budgens, Local Independent Stores.

Deiss Pro Citrus Zester & Cheese Grater

For the pictures on this post, I used the Deiss to grate some lemon peel to sit over the Smoked Salmon Pate from Castle McLellan.  Deiss is a small kitchenware company, and the Citrus Zester and Cheese Grater can be found on Amazon at a great price at the moment.  As of 23 April 2017, the price is £9.98 with free delivery.  That’s a pretty great price for such a nifty gadget.

The Zester & Cheese Grater are well presented and looks like a professional product from the word go.  It is very sharp.  I’ve already said this, as I ran my fingers across it to wipe away the lemon zest.  Big mistake.  Thankfully, I didn’t press, and my fingers recovered, but keep your hands well away from the blades when you are cleaning it, and if you put this in a kitchen drawer, make sure you use the purpose designed blade cover that comes with it.

Actually, I’m pretty pleased with this.  It’s far easier for me to hold and grate cheese, than my old traditional style grater, and I have more control it.   It’s made of a premium quality stainless steel that won’t rust, and has a non-slip grip, which is always important for any device with a blade.

I like it so much, that I’ve given my old graters away.  I guess that says it all.  It’s very light, and comes with a lifetime warranty, as well as being dishwasher safe.

Thanks to Castle McLellan and Deiss for our samples.


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Having Wide Feet Isn’t Fair…….

Brought to you, in collaboration with Simply Be.

I think the name of this says it all.  I’m one of those people with boats for feet.  Really, when I was around the age of 10, I’d hit a size 7 in shoes, and was just touching five foot tall.  By the time I was 11, I’d gone into 7.5 and have fluctuated between 7 – 8 over the years, depending on the styles, manufacturers and widths on offer.

In an upmarket shoe shop, they once measured me as having a C width….  I don’t know about their tape measures, but standard shop shoes tend to be around a C to D width, and I’ve hardly ever been able to get anything with a heel on in a D width, unless the manufacturer has been very generous indeed.  Perhaps it’s my high instep that throws the width I need off, but I’ve always had to consider good width shoes.

I remember years ago, buying a pair of Sole Diva boots.  They were ankle boots, in black suede wedge, and a good height, at around 3 or so inches high.  They were like pillows on my feet, and I loved them.  Over the years, I’ve tried to find another pair that are similar, but never come up smelling of roses for this.  Simply Be asked me to take a look at their ranges for the new season, and the first thing I headed to was the shoe department, for obvious reasons.

I’ve not looked at these for a while, so it was nice to see regular shoes in EEE widths, as well as regular.  I’ve tended to live in trainers and fitflops over the last year, but that has to stop as I go into a new business venture for the future.  I do need footwear that will be a little smarter going forward.

I quite like the look of these silver mules.  in E width for £35.

These look quite comfy for standing about all day in, and cool enough to go with jeans on black trousers.

I’m very much a jeans with sandals girl in summer, and jeans and boots girl in winter.  Perhaps I shouldn’t say girl, given my age, but you know what I mean.  I also think it’s important for brands to design for women, not just for very skinny, boyish figures, which is why I’m not surprised that there are several online shops now that have good clothes, in a range of sizing.  For jeans, at the moment, I seem to very between brands, ranting from size 8 to size 12, depending on who makes them.

The one thing I’ve learned over the years, from being all sizes of clothes, is that if a size 10-12 model on the larger clothing ranges doesn’t look good in something, then it’ll look ten times worse on me.  I go for things I like the shape of, and try them.

These jeans have a great shape, and at £28, for a shape I like, is good value.  I tend to pay for shape rather than brand with jeans, which I think many of us middleaged people do.

Brought to you, in collaboration with Simply Be. Opinions are my own, and not reflective of Simply Be.

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Review: Bahlsen Minis

We received some new samples this week, of the Bahlsen Mini range.  My kids tend to like these as they’re easily eaten, and we loved our Christmas samples, so although my boys had to wait a few days until I had time to take some pictures, the packets didn’t hang around for long.  My youngest had some pals around, and for early evening snack, these did the job perfectly, although I had to grab some of my favourites before they were demolished by teenage boys.

My favourites were the Waffle Minis, which are crispy mini wafer rolls, the ones in the centre in this picture.  Light and crispy, they’re more like a sweetie than a biscuit.  Perfect.

My eldest preferred the Messino Minis, with the soft sponge, orange fruit filling and dark chocolate on the top.

Available in Tesco.

Thanks to Bahlsen for our samples.

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An Alternative to Traditional Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. Great for Kids..

And when I say kids, I mean of the big variety too.  My teens like anything wrapped in breadcrumbs or battered, and lets face it, there are times when the easiest option is indeed the best option for us on a day to day basis.  Yes, I make lots of fresh and home cooked meals, but I’m not adverse to also grabbing something from the freezer on a day where I’m rushed, and throwing something hassle free onto an oven tray, to quickly feed the ravenous hordes.

I also have to say, that mashed anything is one of the hardest things I take food photographs of.  Dollops of food just never looks great on a plate, even though it tastes awesome on the way into your belly….

My mother, is very fussy with her food, and for me, looking at a plate of haggis, while traditional, isn’t the most attractive of dishes.  But realistically, that’s not what Burns Night is all about, and that’s the occasion when us Scots celebrate the birthday of the bard, Robert Burns, poet extraordinaire.  If you want to find out more about it, click here.

Mash Direct sent us some samples of their Burns Night Fare, which included traditional Neeps and Tatties (mashed swede and mashed potatoes), and Burns Bites, or a mix of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, coated in a crispy gluten free crumb.

I quite liked how Mash Direct quote Robert Burns, or who I know more as Rabbie Burns, as do many of us up in Scotland.

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftan o’ the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye take your place,
Painch, tripe or thairm;
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.
(From the poem, ‘To a Haggis’ by Robert Burns)

These Burns Bites are cooked in the oven at 180 Degrees for 10-12 minutes, while the neeps and tatties can easily be popped into the microwave, so it’s an easy take on a traditional meal, and very very quick.  I added a little ground peppercorn over the top, actually forgetting for a moment, that haggis can be quite spicy, but it was fine.  I’d recommend churning up the tatties before serving, by mixing in the tray, which softens them up, and of course, neeps and tatties would never taste the same, without a generous blob of butter melting into the top.

The Burns Bites would also do quite well as finger food, with neeps and tatties mixed in with the haggis.  It softens the flavour, so the bites aren’t overpowering, and make them quite easy for little ones to manage.  Three Burns Bites is 181 calories, so that’s a perfect amount for me, who always watches what she eats.  We had ours with that other national drink, Irn-Bru, in place of a good dram.

The Burns Bites are a new product for Mash Direct, and in celebration, they wrapped their John Deere tractor in Tartan.  What a fitting sight….  Burns night is the 25th January this year, and the 258th since Rabbie Burns was born.

Image Courtesy of

Many of us here, do celebrate, with a Ceilidh, a meal at home, or with friends, and Scottish communities everywhere seem to enjoy the celebration.   With the neeps and tatties, grown on their Farm, Mash Direct decided to bring out a product mixing it all together.

Mash Direct Burns Bites and Neeps & Tatties can be found in Tesco Scotland, Morrison’s Scotland, Nisa Scotland and Independents throughout Scotland.

Find out more at Mash Direct.  Thank you for our samples.

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Skavi & Ray Alkoholfrei Prosecco and Lush Bahlsen Christmas Goodies

Thanks to Scavi & Ray, and also to Bahlsen for our Christmas samples.

Scavi & Ray Alcohol Free Prosecco

I have to say, that I haven’t understood the Prosecco thing.  I’m pretty much teetotal, but not through deliberate or sustained choice.  I’ve had times in my life when I’ve drunk alcohol, it’s just that it hasn’t been that often, and I rarely ever found a drink I actually enjoyed.

Wine for me, is a bit hit or miss.  I rarely drink it in company, as it tends to be either very dry, or to me, pretty bitter.  I’m usually a cheap fizzy wine girl when I choose to imbibe, as I have absolutely zero alcohol class, and because it’s rarely on offer, I usually say no.  I’d been quite negative around the Prosecco culture, but I hadn’t ever really tasted it, nor had I understood why it’s talked about so much.

Scavi & Ray asked me to try the Alcohol free version, so I gave it a go.  I also have to say, I’ve never understood the put the kids to bed and have a glass of wine thing that goes on in blogging circles. I’d rather have chocolate……  Perhaps it’s just the younger ones, but hey ho.  The times I do miss having a drink in my hand, is at the Christmas dinner table, or at New Year.  I usually end up having to drive, so it’s often fizzy grape juice, but you know how it goes, there’s often someone, who’s usually had a drink or two, and they’re trying to push ‘just one,’ glass on you.  It annoys me that they push, and it annoys them that I don’t take.

The bottles really do look like a real bottle of wine.  I received two sample bottles, in a perfect size, and immediately – my Xmas and New Year problem is solved on the fooling those who are drinking into my actually taking one.  Unless they scrutinise the bottles very carefully, they’re not going to know.

Tasting some of my wine, I realised it’s a sparkling wine, and is refreshing, almost as sweet as grape juice but it looks like the real stuff.  I have no idea if this tastes like the alcoholic version of Prosecco, as I’ve never tried it, but if it does, I understand why it’s popular.  I have also realised the attraction…..and it’s that many people who drank wine, used to pretend they like the other stuff…….   This non-alcoholic Prosecco is fizzy wine, and doesn’t have a name that’s frowned upon.  It’s also very easy to drink…

I don’t think I’d be persuaded to go down the alcohol version route, as I don’t fancy a hangover with my daily routine.  There are no days off when you have 2 people with disabilities in your house, and you need to be able to get up during the night when the need arises.  Available from Amazon.

Bahlsen Christmas Goodies

This type of Christmas food, is something else I hadn’t ever tried, so is the main reason for choosing to feature these on my blog.

Our samples were:

  • Lebkuchen Mischung – An assortment of spiced lebkuchen cakes with chocolate.
  • Mohn-Stollen – A Christmas stollen with a poppy seed filling.
  • Zimtsterne – Star shaped cinnamon spiced, hazlenut cakes.

My favourite is the Mohn-Stollen.  I honestly thought the crunch was nuts, but it’s the poppy seeds.  I don’t mind either way, as it was delicious.

The Zimtsterne and Lebkuchen Mischung tasted very similar to me, but with slightly different textures than I expected.  From the shape and size, I expected crunch biscuit, but they really are a cake like texture in the middle.   I believe Waitrose, Amazon, Ocado, Asda, Morrison and Tesco stock Bahlsen goodies.  The cakes tasted cinnamony to me, but my youngest is convinced they are ginger based.   I checked the packaging and I was right. That’s why I liked them, as cinnamon is my favourite spice of the season.

Sadly, I opened the Mohn-Stollen early afternoon, and it was half gone in less than an hour.  I can’t see this hanging around for long.

I hope you all enjoy your own pick of Christmas goodies when you go shopping this month.

(Affiliate Links Below)

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Review: Star Wars Interactech Rogue One Imperial Stormtrooper

The Hasbro Toy Tribe has been good to us once again.  The Star Wars Rogue One Imperial Stormtrooper arrived on our doorstep, and with an afternoon stuck in with a sore back, I decided to make use of my time.

When my kids look for toys to play with, I know they tend to first look at how many moveable bits there are.  Immediately, even before they open the packet, they’re feeling about and checking to see if the arms and legs move.  It’s a very important things for kids to know.

Being imaginative tends to put a lot of pressure on toys, to get into positions kids want them to, and that includes just being able to stand up on their own, without flopping over, or being propped up.

If you want to know how the Stormtrooper fared, for doll type toys, I look for the following:


Really easy to get into, with simple elastic bungees holding down the figure.  Four snips and it was free.  The shield and gun took two snips each.

No huge and excessive packaging, so it’s a win win for this.


Several moving parts.  Hands swivel all the way round, the head moves, and the legs move at the top.

When middler came home, he did express a little disappointment that the knees didn’t move, but he soon got over that when he realised it stood unaided, and with arms and legs in different positions.


65 sounds and phrases that are motion-activated.  Pick up the stormtrooper for flight style sounds, and shake it for battle sounds.  On the front, there is a mode selector, which lets you choose attack or flight mode.  Buttons on the belt also activate for different sounds, as well as the realistic blaster sounds.


From Hasbro direct, download the Star Wars StudioFX App, to make videos with the toys.  There’s a code inside the pack.  It works with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and some Android devices.   Check for more information.

What Did Kids Say

Middler grabbed it when he came back from the footie match with his dad.  Sadly Aberdeen drew 0:0 with St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership match, so he came in with a long face, and instantly brightened up when he saw the Stormtrooper out of its box and ready to take away.  It had been sitting tormenting him on the counter for the last day or so, and I knew I’d have to do this review quickly, or I’d get no peace at all.

What Did I Say

Find out below.  I promise I will get better at videos, and I promise to do them in the daylight and with make-up on – well most of the time anyway.  Not that most of you care, but I’m new to this, so bear with me as I’m having to learn as I go – and that’s not an easy thing at my age.  Someone told me brain cells dimish for every year after the age of 20.  🙂


Where to Buy Star Wars Interatech Rogue One Imperial Stormtrooper

Prices correct as at 10th Dec 2016 and may be variable.

Tesco It’s currently and incredible £19 from Tesco, which is likely to not hang around long. Dec 16

Toysrus £39.99

Amazon (Affiliate Link) £30.49

Smyths £32.99

John Lewis £42.99

Argos £35.99

Disclaimer:  Thanks to Hasbro for our review Star Wars Interactech Rogue One Imperial Stormtrooper.  All opinions are my own.

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Review: Disney on Ice Frozen

We had the good fortune to be invited to Disney on Ice for Aberdeen, where it’s running until the 11th December, so if you want to see it, you better get your skates on..  See what I did there…..

As luck wouldn’t have it, we ended up being late for the pre-show, after I scratched my car.  Well, I wouldn’t call it a scratch, as I pulled off a side skirt on a friends fence and scratched two side panels.  I also ended up doing my back in, by pulling the fence away to stop more damage while I reversed, but at least it wasn’t until the next day when I really felt the burn.

After a horrendously long drive time wise, we ended up in rush hour traffic and missed the meet and greet we’d been invited to, which couldn’t be helped, but I did manage to snaffle the Princesses on the way from the meet and greet room, so bagged a picture for one of the boys to show their nephews.

I’m ashamed to say that it’s my first ever Disney on Ice show.  It’s one of those things I kept meaning to get to, but somehow never did.  I won’t make that mistake again.  I’m going to be finding every excuse under the sun to take my nephews with me next time it comes around.

The skating was amazing, and the intricacy of the steps phenomenal.  Despite having a car and friends fence to fix, I’m glad we made it in time.  At one point, I worried we wouldn’t get there at all.

The favourite part, by the reaction of most of the kids, seemed to be when the Trolls came out.  I have no idea why ghoulies and ghosties and all things trollish please children of most ages, but they do.

It’s the full story, live on ice.  And it’s not just for the girls.

There were groups of adults, plenty teens, and a fair few boys sitting around where we were.  Not to mention the two Aberdeen footballers beside us, who middler kept checking up on.  I’ve no idea who they were, but the kids did.

Disney says:

Whisk your family away to the wintry world of Arendelle as the entire heart-warming take of Academy Awared-winning Frozen skates into town!  Featuring never-before-seen characters, sensational skating and inspirational songs like “Let It GO”, treat your family to a dazzling celebration of love and friendship they’ll never forget!

The show is running in Aberdeen until the 11th December, 2016, and then onto the Sheffield Arena from the 14-18th December, and The O2 in London from the 21st to the 30th December.

We’re advised to arrive early to learn the snowman dance.

For more information and tickets, visit

On the way out, I heard someone say that it was “stunning.”  She was right.  It really is.

Disclaimer:  Thanks to Disney on Ice for our complimentary show tickets.  All opinions are my own.