Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Casdon Christmas Gifts - Hetty Cleaning Trolley

Holly and Lara received a surprise Christmas present from Casdon, home of our favourite role-play toys. The girls were very excited to find out what was inside, so much so that I missed the opportunity to catch their faces on camera before they'd ripped off all the paper.  Who knew that my two girls could get so excited about cleaning products???

The Casdon Hetty Cleaning Trolley is a complete cleaning role play set for children of around 2-6 years old. The trolley has everything you need to pretend to be a professional cleaner! A modern style floor mop, a dustpan and brush, a broom, a pretend bottle of cleaning fluid and a bag to put all your rubbish in. The set is all branded with the Hetty imagery that we know from the Henry hoover cleaning range.  The girls just love it!

Lara who is now 7 is really too tall for using this play set but Holly who is 4 is just right for it. She can pull the trolley down the hallway complete with all its accessories. Given how rarely Holly sees me do any housework (!) I'm surprised at how well she manages this role play!!! I just wish she'd show a little more interest in genuinely cleaning up after herself!  The toy steam mop is a hit, it even comes with a replaceable cloth to place on the end of it, just like the real thing. In fact, there are so many little parts of this toy that it offers plenty of different ways to play; sweeping, mopping, brushing and scrubbing as well as tidying it all away.

For Holly, any toy that encourages her away from the TV is a good toy in my eyes! This little trolley encourages her to move around the house and explore different places that need a good clean; it's so realistic that she does actually manage to get the hard floors clean with the brush. It's good old fashioned role play and it is good to see both Lara and Holly happy to play together as part of their imaginary games.

Lara recognises the bright pink Hetty branding but I am not sure it resonates much for Holly other than a bright colour and a funny face. It's pink... and that's enough for her.

At just £14.99 in Toys R Us the Hetty cleaning trolley from Casdon is great value. It feels like a big toy and has lots of play options. I'd recommend it as a role play gift for a budding chores helper this Christmas!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Winter Style The Mellow Mummy Way

It is a little under a week until my work's Christmas party - more or less the only occasion during the year when I really dress up.  This year I've chosen a floaty navy blue dress that is very under-stated and I've been struggling to find an appropriate jacket to wear over the top of it.  I've now found this smart lighweight textured coat from Simple Be which I think will work well and I'm expecting to get plenty more use out of it beyond the Christmas party.

Most of my jackets and coats for winter are heavy. chunky and very casual; I like this one because it is warm over the body and arms and yet it is phenomenally light weight. Perfect as a jacket over a dress when it's cold and chilly.  The pockets are false which is a bit of a shame as I'd love to be able to dig my hands in there to keep warm. There is one big button across the front if you need to hold it closed but to me it feels more like the sort of jacket that you fold over yourself and snuggle up inside.

The reason I chose this as a party jacket from Simply Be is that I knew it would work well on numerous other occasions, not just Christmas party night.  As a wintery wrap up over a pair of jeans it works perfectly and looks far less formal.

I've chosen to pair the jacket with a lace trim tunic which, worn with a pair of black leggings and heels could in itself be suitably smart for an office Christmas party. However, worn with a pair of jeans I think a long-sleeved top and jacket combo is a wonderful winter smart-casual look.

This lace-trimmed tunic top has lace-effect shoulders and arms but a solid block of fabric around the body. I've worn it with black jeggings or blue jeans. Now all I need to go with it is a pair of sparkly heels to complete the wintery look!

Disclosure: Simply Be sent me the jacket and coat so that I could share my own winter style.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Spiralize Every Day - A Book Review

This summer I became the proud owner of a spiraliser. Like many spiraliser owners, I was phenomenally excited to start with and spiralised everything that came into my path but then the novelty wore off and I struggled with ideas more inspiring than carrot and courgette "pasta". That's why I was interested to read Denis Smart's new cookbook, Spiralize Every Day - 80 recipies to help replace your carbs.

Spiralize every day is packed full of recipe ideas that use the different blades you get with your spiraliser. There are lots of recipes based on the "noodle" theme such as butternut squash spaghetti with walnut, or sweet and sour pork with daikon noodles. But as well as this there are lots of ideas you might not have thought of such as using the blades to create think slivers of fruit and vegetables as toppings for cakes, pastries or pizzas.

I found lots of the recipes in this book to feel quite light and summery - salads and light bites. I guess that's the nature of carb-free meals though. There are one or two warming heavier dishes such as a cauliflower-base pizza, vegetable lasagne or a carrot-rice style jambalaya.  All of the photos of the food look amazing. Because of the distinct lack of carbs, you really notice that the food looks brighter and more colourful. In fact, there are very few things in this book that I don't want to try - they all look so inviting.

One section of the book that isn't carb-free is the baking and sweet treats chapter which has some really clever sweet ideas as well as some innovative bread ideas. The girls can't wait to try sweet potato and chocolate chip cookies made with shredded potato. Lara also seems quite tempted by beetroot cupcakes but I'm not so sure how she would feel sprializing beetroot as it can get very messy!

If you're looking for ideas of what to do with your spiraliser then I highly recommend this book for a bit of inspiration. It's only £9.99 and I promise there will be ideas in it that you'd never even have thought of.

Number one on my list for next weekend is...homemade carrot tortillas wraps with chipotle chicken.
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