30 November 2012

What's Really Important?

It's easy to get so caught up in day to day life that you forget what's really important. I'll give you a clue, it's not reality television or what someone said online. It's not what you have, it's who you have in your life that makes it special.

Family and friends are what's really important. Spending time with people you love; chatting, laughing, listening, caring, a welcome hug and a warm smile.

Especially when you've been best friends with someone for seventeen years and are as close as sisters. Someone who knows everything about you - good and bad - and still loves you, that's what's really important.

Yep, that's about it.

In loving memory of my beautiful friend
11 March 1969 - 16 November 2012

I miss you. 

My life is richer for having known you.



Oh no, not again...

I only wrote my Dear PR letter a couple of weeks ago, but it hasn't made any difference. I complain about being sent free cake and now they've moved onto free chocolate.

Oh, alright, if I must. I'll review a monster chocolate Christmas wreath from Hotel Chocolat. You've twisted my arm.

Basically, the Festive Wreath from Hotel Chocolat is a huge (450g) slab of chocolatey gorgeousness. It arrived very well packaged and there was only a tiny chocolate chip that had broken off.

The Festive Wreath contains chocolate, cookies and caramel and serves 8 - allegedly. Perfect as a pudding or a treat when you've got friends round. It would make an excellent Christmas present. At £20 it's a little more than I would normally spend on chocolate for myself, but at Christmas it's a perfect gift.

Hotel Chocolat is known for it's quality, so you know that you're getting something pretty wonderful. It's a substantial block of creamy chocolate, crammed full of florentines and cookie pieces. We had to cut it with a knife to get at it, but oh my it's delicious. Somehow I knew it would be.

Disclosure: I was sent a Festive Wreath from Hotel Chocolat to review. The things I do for my readers. Tsk.


14 November 2012

The Photo Gallery: The Eighties

I haven't joined in with The Photo Gallery for ages, but how could I let this week's theme go by without a rummage through my old snaps?

Yes, folks, it only me in THE EIGHTIES!

I LOVED the eighties, particularly the fashion and the music, and won't have a word said against them.




It's a Wrap - Scotch Giveaway and Facebook Competition

This giveaway is now closed, please see below for the link to Scotch's Facebook Competition and a few clues to help you with your entry.

The winners, selected using random.org, are:
5 - Shelley White
96 - Emma Hart
77 - Helen A
25 - Anon (mandymot)
1 - Cally Taylor

I will contact you via Twitter or email today to ask for your addresses

Last year I reviewed the Scotch Pop-Up Tape Handband Dispenser and called it the best thing since sliced bread.

This year I'm working with Scotch on their Christmas campaign and they are offering Handband Dispensers and refills to five lucky Baby Baby readers.

To enter this giveaway:

  • Please leave a 'pick me' comment below. You must leave a way for me to contact you if you win (e.g. your Twitter ID).
  • If you give this post a +1 you can have another entry, simply leave another comment. 
  • If you tweet a link to this post you can have another entry, simply leave another comment.

This giveaway closes at 8pm on Tuesday 20th November 2012. The winners will be drawn at random. Usual terms apply. UK only. The prizes will be sent out by the PR agency.

Good luck!


Scotch are also running a competition on their Facebook page where the weekly prize is a beautifully wrapped mystery gift worth up to £150.

I'm helping them out by posting clues to the mystery gift on this blog.

The clue for Week 1 is:
I’m the smallest member of my family (one billionth); fit in the palm of your hand and can hold tunes a plenty!

Check back here each week for the next clue.

Week 2
A word defined,’ to set alight or start to burn’ - you’ll be carrying a library with you wherever you go!

Week 3
In Greek mythology, the first women on earth – she comes with charms, but whatever you do, don’t open her box!

Week 4
Cheltenham _____ or Leamington _____ - it’s sure to be a day of pampering; leaving you relaxed and revitalised!

Week 5
At the gym, going for a run, or a frequent traveller - the perfect mix of sound and style - made for music lovers!

Week 6
Comes in a wicker basket and promises to be full of festive treats!

Week 7
An essential for keeping the kids occupied whilst on those long car journeys!

Week 8
If you got a new iPod for Christmas, you'll be needing one of these as an alternative to headphones!

Disclosure: Scotch are sponsoring me to work on this campaign, but I genuinely love this product and will be using it for all my Christmas wrapping. As you will see in a few weeks, I have a lot to wrap this year.

13 November 2012

Bake it for Babies - Changing the World One Cupcake at a Time

It's amazing what a few bloggers can do in a short space of time.

We were inspired by a Save the Children blogging conference. We had thrown around fundraising ideas and in addition to the Blog it for Babies campaign and tour, some bloggers decided to create a cook book. Jenny created a Save the Children cupcake based on the peanut paste that is given to malnourished children by Save the Children.

A few of us submitted recipes and ta da, the result is the beautifully illustrated Bake it for Babies Cook Book. I'm delighted to have a recipe published. I made these cakes, from my recipe, for the boys' birthday, for the children to take home from the party at our local farm centre.

The best indictment of how wonderful this book is, is that when I lent it to my mum she didn't realise that I was showing her because I had a recipe published (her noisy grandchildren had just arrived). When she returned the book a week later she said she'd copied down four of the recipes to try.

It would make a lovely xmas present....

Bake it for Babies is available from Lulu. All proceeds to Save the Children.


Dear PR, I'm sorry...

I've never asked you for anything to review, ever.  I decline 99.9% of products that you offer me for review, sometimes I'm even polite enough to email you back to tell you 'thanks, but no thanks'.

It's not me though, it's you. It's your fault I have to apologise. It's your fault I've been such a slacker.

You see, you've been emailing me with offers of free cake. I mean, who on earth turns down free cake?

Oh, you wanted me to write about the free cake? Oh, okay. This is why I've been rather sheepish lately and not replied to your chasing emails. This blog post is my thank you for all the free cake that I've scoffed this year and not written about.

Dear PR, I'm sorry I'm late with my review, but I was too full of cake to get to my laptop. Love, Sandy x

Mr Kipling

CAKE! Individually wrapped cake slices that you can kid yourself you're only going to eat one of as a treat, but then you rip open pack after pack until they're all gone... ahem... maybe that's just me.

No only did Mr Kipling send me some yummy cakey goodness (that I didn't share with my family), they also sent an M&S gift card (that I didn't share with my family). What I did share with my family was the day out they also gave us. And what a gorgeous day we chose for our treat. Thanks, Mr Kipling.

Aunt Bessies

My children love to bake. I've only got to mention the 'b'word and they're got their aprons on. Sometimes all they want to do is mix something. Aunt Bessies cake mixes are perfect for this. They are quick and easy, especially if you lack confidence in the baking department or don't bake regularly. The instructions are clear and you only need to add the odd ingredient such as an egg, oil or water. My boys made the cookies first and they turned out really well. My mum and I shared the rest of the mixes. She loved the Victoria sponge, but wasn't so keen on the Yorkshire tea loaf.


Free chocolate? YES, PLEASE. Over the last few months I got to try some new Cadbury chocolate. My favourite was the Dairy Milk Bubbly, but I still happily scoffed the Toffee Popcorn and Golden Biscuit Crunch. The things I have to do for my readers. Welcome to Joyville, indeed.


Heinz Five Beanz, what's that got to do with cake? Well, not only did Heinz send us some new Five Beans and old skool Alphabetti Spaghetti to try, they also send a bag of food shopping to go with them - including a tower of profiteroles. We ate well that weekend, I can tell you.

I wasn't sure I'd like the Five Beanz, because I associate kidney beans with chilli, but they tasted great - just like regular Baked Beans, but with more texture. I now use them in chilli and veggie pasta dishes, as well as on toast. I'm a Five Beanz convert.

Angel Delight Ice Cream

Mmm, Angel Delight AND Ice Cream? That's a match made in Heaven, surely? Angel Delight Ice Cream is lovely stuff, it's cheap and easy to make. You whisk milk into the packet mix and freeze. The butterscotch flavour is my favourite. No, you don't have to thank me.


I know, I know, it's not cake, but bread is pretty good too. Thanks, Hovis, the Seed Sensations loaf is delicious.

Disclosure: all of the above items were sent to me for review, all opinions are my own.



1 November 2012

Reasons to Love Living in Milton Keynes #6


Whaddya mean you can't see a woodpecker? Tsk.

Extreme close up:

See? Woodpecker!

It's not all concrete here in Milton Keynes, you know.

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