My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Swag your way through SWAGO!

Swago returns!

I've written here about the bingo style game from Swagbucks called Swago before, and here we are again as Swagbucks bring us another fun round with the chance to earn a 300SB bonus, simply for completing everyday tasks online which you are probably doing anyway.

Swagbucks has one more bit of April fun - it's the return of Swago! It's just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. The best part is that the points you get can be used to get free gift cards to places like Amazon, or PayPal cash!      

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 300 SB bonus! Activate your board over at www.swagbucks.com/swago and work your way through the grid, completing as many of the tasks as you can. When you complete an activity, the corresponding square will change colour to indicate success. Keep an eye on the board patterns to the right of your board as these show you which patterns reward which bonuses. Please do remember, you can only submit your board ONCE, so if you are going for the full board, wait until you have every square 'lit' before you submit.      

Click here to sign up and get started! If you sign up through my link and earn 300 SB before May 1st, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!

I am working alongside Swagbucks as an Influencer to spread the word about the benefits. I am very much an active member and all opinions are 100% my own!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Challenge Accepted, Swagbucks!

International Egg-cellent Team Challenge

Happy Easter everyone! By now, you've probably had your fill of chocolatey treats and have hopefully been able to enjoy some precious time with those you hold dearest. However, now comes the time to return to normality, and many have already been fighting off those Back to Work Blues as they resume the daily grind. 

However, Swagbucks is helping its members to extend the Easter excitement with yet another fun Team Challenge!

Easter is bringing with it another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks! For those of you who don't know what Swagbucks is, it's a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online like shopping, answering surveys, discovering deals, and watching videos. You can even earn for searching the web! If you've never tried Swagbucks before because you didn't know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes! Their latest, the "Egg-cellent" Team Challenge, began Monday, 17 April, but there is still time to join in and claim a slice of the prize!

Here's how you can join the challenge (and and Swagbucks, if you haven't already!):  

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. If you don't already have an account, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting 17 April at 4pm GMT, in addition to earning SB you'll contribute points to your teams total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.

3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you've contributed so far.   

Every member who participates and contributes at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card! Not only that, but if you earn 300 SB before 1 May, you'll get a 300 SB bonus (as long as you've signed up under me)!  

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 40 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 20 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, 21 April and will expire on Sunday, 7 May at 7:59am GMT.

So get yourself signed up and start swagging! The quicker you start earning the SB, the quicker you can start redeeming them for vouchers for many of your favourite online and High Street stores!

I am working alongside Swagbucks as an Influencer to spread the word about the benefits. I am very much an active member and all opinions are 100% my own!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Blissful Bolognese, Comforting Carbonara, Luxurious Lasagne ... Delizioso Dolmio!

Midweek meals for the busy family
#ThankGoodness for #Dolmio!

A story that rings very true to so many parents out there today ...

"Not enough hours in the day!"

Too often, I find myself wanting to prepare a nutritious, satisfying meal for the whole family in the evening, but juggling the cooking process along with school runs, after school clubs and the general, everyday antics of three young children, can regularly see me short of time. As a result, I find myself searching for inspiration of quick family meals and often worry our weekly menu can become slightly bland. Couple these day-to-day dilemmas with three very fussy eaters (only two of which are children!), and mealtimes can fly dangerously close to the Chore Zone!

So when we were invited by Britmums to take part in the #Thank Goodness challenge with Dolmio, we were well and truly ready!

The good people at Dolmio recognise mealtime meltdowns and dinner dilemmas like no other, and they know that, when time is short and bellies are empty, we all look for a quick, comforting meal that will satisfy the fussiest of taste buds!

Our challenge was to gratefully accept the hamper of tasty goods that were delivered to our door and whip up a family favourite in the midst of our busy weekday schedule. And the star of the show ...?

Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g sauce is 100% natural. In each jar, you’ll find at least 10 juicy diced tomatoes, a dollop of tomato puree, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs including basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water and nothing more. In fact, a jar provides a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each and that’s before you add any further veg to the meal!

So, sitting down with the kids and showing them our ingredients, I decided I would get inspiration from them.

Munch: "Spaghetti Bolognese!"
Beastie: Spag Bol!"
Plumlet: "Sgettiiiiii!"

Spaghetti Bolognese is a firm favourite here, so, seeing the ingredients and recognising the popular Dolmio logo as a regular in our shopping baskets, it was a no-brainer for them!

As mentioned earlier, Munch, Plumlet and The Man are all extremely fussy eaters. They all love a spag bol, but their ideal dish would be very plain, vegetable free and lacking any 'colourful bits'. Myself and Beastie, however, couldn't be more different! However, I don't need to educate anyone on the importance of a decent intake of vegetables, nor do I want anyone to think that I succumb to their aversion to 'colourful bits' and neglect feeding them healthy stuff. I just have to be a little more creative sometimes. Chopping an onion to within a millimetre of its existence finding a variety of ways to conceal vegetables within their food as well as finding fun and exciting ways to present the colourful food to them seems to be a normal exercise in this house. However, this time, I did add finely chopped vegetables - onion and carrot, and added some yummy extras for myself and Beastie to enjoy with our dinner.

Using Dolmio Bolognese sauce means I can be confident that the whole family are eating well, as they enjoy a meal that is both tasty and nutritious.

To make this meal choice even better, it is really quick and simple to make. The ingredients I used were:

500g Lean Beef Mince
1 500g jar of Original Dolmio Bolognese Sauce
1 Medium Onion
1 Medium Carrot
1 tsp Italian Herbs
0.5 tsp garlic powder
1 handful Mushrooms (amount depends on preference)
1 Yellow Pepper 
Grated Cheddar
Grated Fresh Parmesan
350g wholemeal Spaghetti

The method for making a delicious bolognese is simple, well known and extremely versatile. Whilst chopping the onion and carrot small enough to avoid finding a little pile of colourful bits at the edge of three out of five plates, I also cooked up some mushrooms (a favourite for me and Beastie) and sliced some bright yellow pepper to garnish our plates as we fancied! Just goes to show, a good spaghetti bolognese should be made how you like it!

Even my two fussiest eaters loved it and requested a second round before they had even finished their first!

So, next time you are out on your food shop, be sure to add Dolmio to your basket. Versatile goodness, valuable convenience and satisfied tummies ... all in a 500g jar!

Take a look at the hashtags #ThankGoodness and #Dolmio to see what delicious creations others have been enjoying.

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Ha Ha Ha Harvester!

From serving ribs ... to tickling them!

As a family of 5, going out for a family meal at a restaurant usually requires some careful consideration and intricate planning. Selecting a family friendly establishment with suitable facilities can be a task in itself. Then, getting all three children out of the door, looking respectable, getting seated happily at the restaurant, getting each child to choose their preferred meal from a menu of (what might as well be) a million possibilities, keeping said children entertained whilst their meals are being prepared (meals that at least one child will change their mind on 5 minutes later), and eating a relatively stress free dinner whilst avoiding the eye contact of any potentially disapproving or disgruntled diners!

It's no wonder our usual restaurant of choice is Harvester!

We've all been in a comparable situation, or witnessed a family in a restaurant facing a similar dilemma.

Harvester have come up with a great idea to distract those restless kids, to encourage those social media addicts to put their phones down and interact with one another and to keep everybody happy at the dinner table.

The popular family restaurant have recruited comedian Rhys James (of Mock the Week fame) to provide its staff with some comedic coaching.

The UK's favourite feel good restaurant hopes to help bring people together over food and drink and add some fun back into to its customers’ dining experiences through the use of some ‘fish & quips’.

A poll of 845 people conducted by the restaurant chain on Twitter revealed that the top dining situations people felt could use some humour are:

Screaming children (34 per cent)
Fellow diners too distracted by phones to have a conversation (26 per cent)
An awkward first date (21 per cent)
Boring dinner with the family (19 per cent)

A video of the ‘RibTickler’ training session sees Rhys James take some Harvester team members through a variety of comedy tactics and conversation starters before putting their new skills to test on unsuspecting diners, as he assists through a hidden camera.

Rhys James said: 

“I once worked in a restaurant and my banter never received the appreciation it deserved, so it was great to live vicariously through the Harvester team. It’s the ideal situation - if they get a laugh, I’m a genius. If they don’t, then it’s all down to their poor delivery! Some of them did really well with their own improvisation, but I’m secretly going to put this down to my excellent training too.”

Hazel Laughey, who has worked at Harvester for 6 years, said: 

“I’ve been part of plenty of training sessions but never one quite like this. We’re trained to create ‘feel good moments’ for guests, but this taught us the value of using comedy to improve our guests’ dining experience, which was the extra cherry on top. Admittedly, I was nervous at first, but once the guests started to laugh, it certainly gave me a buzz!”

Rob Pitcher, Divisional Director at Harvester, commented: 

“Our ethos is based on ‘feel good dining’ and we believe that training our staff in comedy will help bring family and friends closer together. Introducing more humour to the server and guest relationship is something we consider very important. We want guests to know that if they go into a Harvester, they will not only be served delicious food, but they’ll have a brilliant experience too!”

Watch the rib-tickling training session in action: 

I have to say, the reasons we always choose Harvester as our place to go for a family meal (apart from the fact that Beastie would happily spend our entire visit at the salad bar!) are vast and varied, but one of the chief reasons for us is their accommodating attitude towards families and young children. The staff always treat the children as though they are the most important people in the restaurant and no demand is too much work. This makes a huge difference to how well the meal goes and to how happy everyone is when we leave.

So, a family meal, with a delicious, varied menu, warm and welcoming customer service mixed with a team with a great sense of humour is surely the perfect choice for a family of any size and temperament! Check out your local restaurant here

This post has been written in collaboration with Harvester. We were offered a meal voucher in return for the post.