Tags: Octonauts Octopod Playset, Tesco, Tesco Toy Team, Top Toys for Christmas, vTech Innotab 2
Back in September, Bear was chosen to help test some of Tesco‘s top toys for Christmas.
After a casting day, we headed to a London filming studio for him to test out the Octonauts Octopod Playset and the vTech Innotab 2.
You can see the videos on the Tesco YouTube Channel!
Tags: Boden, Fashion, M&S, Miss Selfridge, Tesco, Transatlantic Blonde, Uniqlo, What I Wore Wednesday
A day at the office today and a hop over to pre-school for the nativity this afternoon, so this is what I opted for…
Jacket – Boden (last summer)
T-Shirt – Miss Selfridge (recent purchase)
Shorts – Uniqlo (recent purchase)
Tights – Tesco (recent purchase but sure they have black tights year round!!)
Suede wedges – Marks & Spencer via Save the Children charity shop (a bargain at £6.99)
Boy - home-made (had for just over three years now, wearing well).
In association with Transatlantic Blonde. If you like fashion, follow the weekly round up on her delicious site.
Tags: Birthday party, Lego Duplo, party in the park, planning a children's party, Tesco
Two weeks ago, our little bear turned three. Three. I know – that old cliché; where does the time go? A blur of magic, milestones, tears and momentary (mummy) meltdowns, that’s where.
We wanted a big bash this year, and being an August baby we crossed everything for a sunny day and planned a party at the nearby park and invited 28 children and 36 adults. Madness you might think, but with my new ‘enjoy life to the full’ philosophy, I was determined to not only pull it off, but enjoy it – see it and remember it too.
And I am smugly proud to report back – I damn well succeeded.
It might have been a big get together but it was simple, outdoor, childhood fun – like we used to have as kids.
We invited people with paper invites and on Faceb00k and provided a map to a nearby car park which was a short woodland walk along the river away. To keep children moving we placed 10 clues along the walk with a secret party password at the end which went down a storm.
We called in a little help from Tesco and their picnic food expertise – we were catering for the masses so a trestle table, card table and huge table-cloth hosted the ultimate in party food.
We feasted on veggie sticks with dips, crisps, assorted sarnies, savoury treats, strawberries and chocolate cakes.
Everything was gorgeous, fresh and there was barely a crumb left. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’ll be damned if you can go wrong with Tesco party food. The mini pizzas seemed to be the overwhelming favourite; we could have got through enough to put them out of stock for a month.
Lego Duplo came into their own with a giant building block birthday cake and invites, as well as balloons, cups, plates and party bags (which we filled with sweets, tiaras and jewels for the girls and parachute men and motorbike toys for the boys). The hugely coveted ‘winner stickers’ had the children’s eyes as big as saucers and willing to do anything to get their hands on one.
The sun shone, we played football, a hugely successful game of ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf’ – and then the highlight of the day, throwing water bombs at daddy.
The reason it was a success was the simplicity – green grass, plenty of food and drink and 20-something kids ready to paaaarteeeeee.
My tips for hosting a third birthday and enjoying it…
1. Get someone else to take photos. And get some with you in.
2. Accept help – one mum can only get so many sausage rolls out onto platters so fast.
3. Keep it simple – make games spontaneous and don’t try to include everyone if they’re having fun elsewhere
4. Give everyone a winner sticker or tiny prize to avoid tears
5. Get the parents playing games too. It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.
6. Stand back and take it all in like it’s your wedding day. They only turn three once.
This is a sponsored post. We were lucky enough to receive the majority of the food and drinks from the fantastic Tesco picnic range and Lego Duplo supplied all of the party accessories.. I stick to the Bloggers with Integrity Code to post honest open reviews.
Tags: birthday, children's parties, Lego Duplo, picnic food, Tesco
I’m sure all parents say this and cringe at the sound of it as they do say it – but they do grow up so flipping fast.
My little baby is three on Monday and tomorrow we are hosting the mother of all parties (I am starting to wonder if the power of my Anthea Turner mantras can get me through this) – from midday the chaos of a picnic party for 27 children and 39 adults (please, no rain) will begin.
By my front door currently sit several bags – party signs for the river walk with clues to keep the kids walking, outdoor toys, party bags, copious amounts of baby wipes and prizes for the games husband says he has planned…. we shall see. In the garage, numerous scooters, trikes, hoppers and bouncers.
Our inlaws arrived earlier and despite a delay in Tesco when every single till failed, I’m about to cook lamb chops, spuds and salad before I roll out the sandwich making conveyor belt for tomorrow. I feel excited like tomorrow is Christmas. By boy is having a big party. I feel really proud.
We have two fridges full of food and you cannot see an inch of worktop in the kitchen for squash, crisps and cake.
None of this would have been possible without a little help from friends – and the friends in this instance are Tesco and Lego Duplo. Tesco are my everyday supermarket saviours (yes this is a sponsored post but actually I’m quite a devoted Tesco shopper). Their picnic selection is great, from carrot sticks to fruit bags, multi packs of crisps, dips, mini sausage rolls and of course the party essential, chocolate mini rolls.
Lego Duplo have sent us a brilliant selection of party bags ready for us to fill, with stickers for them as well as winner stickers for husband’s party games. And excitingly they’ve provided a cake in the shape of a giant Lego brick!
So, my boy is turning three – I admit I still really baby him – I don’t want him to grow up. But equally, he’s turning into my best friend – he’s the best companion any mum could want – funny, supportive, sensitive, kind and generous. God I love him.
Tesco kindly provided us with lots of picnic food and Lego Duplo with party extras and a great cake. I stick to the Bloggers with Integrity code to post honest and open reviews.
Tags: food shop, freshness challenge, groceries, online shopping, supermarket, Tesco
Sweet potato, feta & beetroot salad, chicken stuffed with soft cheese, mushrooms & spinach wrapped in bacon, beef quesadillas, lamb stew with sweet potato & asparagus.
A little while ago, Tesco asked if I’d take part in their Grocery Freshness challenge by ordering a weekly shop containing loads of lovely fresh fruit, veg, meat and fish.
Tesco operates a freshness guarantee and if there’s one thing that really gets on my wick, its fruit that goes bad after a day or two. Strawberries in particular – in the fridge, out, in the fridge, out – they either never go ripe or they turn to mush as soon as you turn your back.
So I was keen to put Tesco through their paces.
I was pleasantly surprised – Tesco is your everyday, reliable supermarket – you don’t expect bells and frills but with the cost of food soaring, you do expect to get good quality and service for your money at least. And Tesco are consistently reliable. When you shop in store, the quick pay option takes a huge amount of hassle out of the equation (apart from when bear insists in pulling the scanner out of the holder and clocking himself between the eyes).
We order a big shop every two weeks and it’s always laden with loads of veg, fruit, cheese, bread, cold meats and fish, as well as meat for the freezer. We tried online ordering on the iPad and whilst quick and easy it would be great if they had an app so that you could scan the barcodes like you do with your iPhone.
The delivery drivers are always really friendly and always offer to bring the food into the kitchen. It does always surprise me that even when you order without bags, you still seem to get 8 or 9 but I think this probably for hygiene reasons with raw meat, and safety with cleaning products – open for new ways of being greener.
The quality of delivered food is just as good – my only slight question would be over the sizes you get with home delivery – I usually receive the biggest courgettes you’ve seen in your life! It would also be great if it were quicker and easier to add a forgotten item after checking out. Plus an ‘items you might like’ area whilst you’re shopping – I sometimes miss browsing the aisles; the World Food section in particular!
There are always options for each budget; when it comes to chicken we go for organic or at least free range corn-fed – their whole chickens are always excellent and around £4-£5 feeds the family. We eat a lot of fish so their three for £10 on salmon always goes down well.
If you shop at Tesco and fill up at the petrol station, Clubcard points really stack up. Sometimes I take them off our next shop, other times I treat myself to new PJ’s!
I do love a mooch around a farmers market on a Sunday morning, tasting olives and Turkish Delight, but in the real world where mouths are constantly open and boys are always hungry, one cannot survive on a small wicker basket full of Danish pastries and sun-dried tomatoes a week, so we shop at Tesco – the prices are good, the rewards are a nice treat and overall the quality is excellent.
A house with a full fruit bowl is a far calmer place when you have a three year old with a bottomless pit of a tummy.
We received a £50 off a £60 shop from Tesco for taking part in this challenge. I stick to the Bloggers with Integrity code to only post open and honest reviews.
Tags: cover shoot, fashion shoot, makeover, Tesco, Tesco magazine
Thanks for stopping by.
It seems I am the face of Tesco magazine this month!
It all happened in a slightly random crazy way, a loose conversation with the lovely Liz from Living with Kids about car boot sales somehow escalated into a going back to work fashion feature, into a video, into a cover shoot.
It all happened faster than you could say ‘he’s pooed again pass me the change bag’. Which I can be found saying far more often than ‘are you getting my best side?’ that’s for sure.
Anyway, back in September last year I spent a day and a half in front of the cameras, at my home in Oxford with the bear, and at a studio in London, being a mum in need of a makeover. Bub-bye boring suits, hello F&F fashion for my working day from Tesco.
I don’t have anything to show and tell at the moment, but the magazine is out this coming Monday 10th January and I believe the video will be on the Tesco website around the same time.
I’ll leave you with this picture taken by my very good friend and fantastic photographer Jackie.
I had great fun, although confess to bursting into tears on seeing my husband at the end of day two. Tired was not the word.
Thanks Liz for the opportunity to be glam for a day!
Tags: pregnancy test, receipt, Tesco
I think if I had scanned over the items in my shopping basket, I may have realised that good old aunt flo was on her way and I wasn’t going to need the last item on the list…
Tags: grumpy husband, parent troubles, parenting grips, Tesco, traffic, work life balance
Around November/December time last year (possibly the gloomiest time of the year), I felt particularly stressed and bogged down by work and the daily juggle – time at my desk, challenging work situations, and dashing from meeting to home, getting dinner on – la, la, la. Plus, when you’re slightly OCD about housework there’s the obsessive hoovering and bathroom cleaning to squeeze in.
So, I decided to do something about it. Find out what was really cheesing me off and make some changes. Little tweaks to restore some PMA and generally make Catherine a nicer person to be around – I could see myself quickly being retired by close friends tired of the doldrums.
Here’s a little diary, spot the patterns.
Day 1 (a Monday) – my weight
Day 2 – Work/life balance or lack of
Day 3 – Traffic!
Day 4 – Up at 5am with the bear
Day 5 – No clothes I want to wear/feel comfortable in
Day 6 – No hot water at the hotel I’d booked for husbands birthday
Day 7 – Queue jumpers, housework and not enough change for the carpark (a tres stressful day)
Day 8 – Tesco online shop crashed…start again
Day 9 – Grumpy husband
Day 10 – Stroppy client
Day 11 – Nothing yey
Day 12 – Traffic…again
Day 13 (unlucky for some) – unamed family member demands
Day 14 – Same unnamed family member and more demands
Day 15 – Nothing
Day 16 – Nothing (things are looking up)
Day 17 – Traffic
Day 18 – Being rushed, doing everything myself
Day 19 – Working on my day off
Day 20 – Nothing
Day 21 – Horrific sickness bug
Day 22 – Nothing (probably in bed recovering)
Day 23 – People late for a meeting
Day 24 – Nothing
Day 25 – Nothing
Day 26 – Client being strange
Day 27 – Grumpy husband
Day 28 – Rushing around
Day 29 – Nothing
Day 30 – Nothing (ended on a high, ha)
So, it seemed after this little test, the following really got me fired up:
Traffic – this was due to taking the bear to a really nice nursery over the other side of town. We looked at another nursery (read the nursery saga here), but after that little episode decided just to get our backsides out of bed earlier and let the bear have breakfast at nursery. One less meal at home yes, but far better happy mummy quality time to compensate).
Weight - I let myself go over Christmas – well we were hosting and the chef has to taste everything, but come January I buckled down. I admit I haven’t managed to fit exercise into our manic schedule yet, but portions are a little smaller….although we did have McFlurry’s for pudding the other night. I have lost 4lbs though. Ok, so this one is work in progress. And on the clothes front I found some good bargains in the January sales….although the 24in Diesel jeans I tried to get into was a ridiculously depressing event, why try on jeans so many sizes too small and expect to walk out of the changing rooms feeling anything other than suicidal?!
Work and clients - one client in particular was getting me really down, to the point I’d sob to husband about how unhappy it was making me. I got to the point where no amount of money was worth they way the were treating me. When it came to renewing the contract I was very happy to agree with them not to renew and I suddenly had a spring back in my step.
While there’s pretty much naff all you can do about the plumbing of a B&B, or the ability for your internet connection to fail just as you’re adding the final purchase to the basket for your online shop, you can however give your husband a clout around the back of the head for whining because he’s run out of muesli, or because he has only been able to fit in two gym sessions this week and hasn’t worked his legs and might lose a pound of muscle – god forbid; I’ll show you muscle, look at these arms from lugging our son around, huh?!
Whoops….it’s therapy here, this blog, ok.
AND, good news my glass is half full, I had nine ‘nothing’ days so during almost one third of the month, nothing annoyed me!
So, this isn’t a meme, you’re not tagged, but if you want to try this little experiment, feel free! And let me know how you get on! With a little encouragement from the lovely Liz at Violet Posy I am continuing to address the work life balance – and I feel a little closer to being the placid earth mummy we all dream about….ok so just an in control mum would be good….dressed, and made up in control mum….hair brushed, clean clothed mum.
Tags: ASK pizza, mushroom growing kit, petrol station gloves, skills swap, smoke alarms, Tesco, Virgin Media
Thank you to the lovely JumblyMummy at Mellow Mummy for tagging me on this great meme about the 10 top ten freebies – we must be in sync, both tagging each other on memes without knowing!
So onwards, a run down of my favourite 10 freebies, in response to JumblyMummy’s brilliant post – I’ll be investigating the ‘health in pregnancy’ grant by the way!
Here we go!
1. I’ll start with my trashy one – petrol station gloves! I always grab a handful when I’m filling up, they’re great for putting the rubbish out or cleaning the bathroom. Regular readers know what an Anthea Turner fan I am! Clean, clean it must be clean….The bear quite likes cleaning too!
2. ASK buy one get one free vouchers – will be taking advantage of this one on Saturday – celebrating a friends birthday, pizza is probably my favourite food to eat out…as well as tapas….and a good steak…actually I just really like eating out, it’s our favourite hobby. Oh, and the kids meals are really good at ASK, plenty of healthy options.
3. Two month free trial of full Virgin TV package. I am a big Richie B fan, loved his books, and am a Virgin rather than Sky peep. Am desperately missing Got to Dance with the girl from Pussycat Dolls and the dude from Diversity as judges now that our two months are up though!
4. Supermarket magazines – I love picking up free magazines, Tesco is quite good for recipes! Waitrose should give theirs away.
5. Ocado could just be the new Waitrose! £15 off first shop when you spend £60 (easily done!) voucher with Love Film recently. Although not quite figured it out, can you not order loose fruit and veg from Ocado?! Delivery arriving tomorrow, see how it goes!
6. Twitter, how could I put this as far down the list, really it deserves to be number 1 – the advice and support I’ve had on Twitter has been amazing. When it came to the big nursery move, or not as it was, the emotional crutch was truly appreciated.
7. In following of JumblyMummy and her free veggies, I had to list the grow your own mushroom kit I got for Christmas. I have been uber excited about this – three crops of home grown mushrooms, however ‘little white pin heads’ were supposed to appear about a week ago now, I am still spritzing to keep the soil most everyday with some hope remaining.
8. Skills swaps – last year I did a skill swap with an accountant – some PR advice for her second business, an online lingerie shop, in return for advice on how do to my tax return. It worked out great. At the moment I’m working with an illustrator who is designing some backgrounds and icons for my website, and I’ll help with some PR for his design business. Win win!
9. Orange Wednesdays – really want to see Up in the Air is it? With George Clooney, as well as Avatar so must get a babysitter (mum….!) and go to the cinema with husband on a Wednesday when you get two for one with Orange.
10. Smoke alarms – this is a brilliant one and has double perks! If you phone your local fire station (or drop in because ‘you were just on the way to the swings) and ask, they’ll arrange to come over and fit new smoke alarms for you. We’d just moved house and a friend tipped me off to this one, and low and behold the following week, two lovely firemen arrived in their fire truck to ensure my house was fire safe. I did feel a little silly after excitedly going through my evacuation plan which involved jumping on to the garage roof and onwards to safety. I got a little swept up in the moment.
So, there we are, my 10 things! If you fancy carrying on this brilliant meme – tagged, you’re it!
Addition – 30th Jan – I’d like to tag a new Twitter friend Kate of School Gate Chic, maybe for a top 10 fashion freebies? And to satisfy Emma’s childhood fashion designer dream (Mellow Mummy) as well as Victoria of Mum to a Princess -you’re it!
Tags: disabled parking, mother and baby parking, Swine flu, Tesco
A few weeks ago, during the swine flu outbreak that struck down my husband and son, I had to stop at Tesco to pick up some pain killers (having stropped out of another supermarket theatrically after the pharmacist was mean to me).
Anyway, I’d been out of the house for nearly two and a half hours and was increasingly conscious of my bed ridden husband waiting at home. I could imagine him, back of hand draped over brow, begging for water and cocodamol. I don’t care what you say; men, and husbands in particular make awful patients.
So, it was raining to add to the drama, and I scooted round to the mother and baby parking near the front of the shop to find that, as usual, there were of course no spaces free.
I loitered for a few moments, feeling the clock ticking louder, my heart rate quickened. I felt like I was on a game show. Then, a space came free. Dammit. The car reversed out, revealing a wheelchair (not a real – what were you thinking?!!!!), rather than the mother with buggy icon I’d hoped for.
I paused, thinking – this is a sort of emergency, I’m in a real hurry, I never abuse these spaces normally, and this surely is an exception. Right?
So I shot into the space, grabbed the bear and ran into the shop to get supplies. Feeling a hole in my shoe as I ran, my sock soaked up the cold rain water. Bummer.
I quickly got what I needed and left Tesco. Remembering the hole in the sole of my (absolute favourite cowboy) boots, I tried to avoid stepping on that part of my foot, and further drenching my sock.
As I reached the car and remembered my parking predicament I froze in horror.
In my attempt to protect my sock, I had charged across the car park doing a very strange lungy, lurchy type hobble.
Sh*t (no other word for it, I’m sorry). I prayed that no one was watching me. If they were it would have looked very much like some elaborate attempt to justify my position in a disabled parking space, with a very strange wobbly injured foot type dance.
Oh, the shame.
Over to you, is it ever ok? What do you think?