We get through tons of granola here at number one. Mr E and I both like it for breakfast, and the boys scoff enormous bowls of it whenever they’re hungry and often when they come in last thing at night, so it’s really important to me to buy great quality granola (we’ve all bought those ones that are a bit – well, ‘sawdusty’, haven’t we?). I use granola in quite a few different ways, and I thought I might share them with you. So here are a few different breakfast ideas using our fave Nature’s Path granola, including these really easy and yummy coconut and chia seed granola bars, plus the chance to win a lovely gift for you too!
If you read the title and those chunky clog-like shoes appeared in your mind, well, they did mine too, so when Crocs asked if I’d like to have a look at their spring range I was a bit hesitant. I think the original Crocs are a bit like marmite – you either love them or you hate them. We have a couple of pairs by the back door as they’re great for slipping on for gardening, or taking the dog out, but I could never really see myself wearing them out. It turns out, though that they have some really cute new spring shoes that are perfect for the warmer weather and holidays too.
Calling all Disney fans! English Mum has teamed up with London Designer Outlet (LDO), London’s only outlet centre located in Wembley Park, to offer the chance to win family tickets (for two adults, and two children) to Disney on Ice at The SSE Arena, Wembley, on Saturday 16thApril at 7pm. Enter below for a chance to join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse commemorate 25 years of Disney on Ice along with everyone’s favourite Disney characters!
Summer is coming! Hurrah for bare feet and sunny breakfasts al fresco, dog walks without wellies and massive coat, pottering in the garden and – hopefully- a bit of beach and pool time too.
I love a holiday snap. As you know, my own philosophy is ‘snapshots not stuff’ – I’d rather spend my money creating a lovely memory than spend it on more stuff to clutter up our already busy lives. This is my favourite one of ours – on the beach at Val André in Brittany stuffing our faces with ice creams:
This summer, Disneyland Paris is going to be sprinkled with snow! From 1st June to 13th September 2015, guests can experience the magic of the hit film Frozen, joining Anna, Elsa and Olaf in live, interactive Frozen sing-alongs, and catching a glimpse of the sisters as they ride around the park in a twinkling carriage.
It’s been really nice to see the sun this weekend, hasn’t it? If it’s made you crave a bit of sunshine, I’ve got just the thing. I’ve teamed up with MyFerryLink, the newest operator on the Dover-Calais route, to provide you with everything you’ll possibly need for a fantastic weekend (or midweek) break to France – a stay in the gorgeous Dolce Chantilly hotel, including breakfast, a family ticket to fabulous Park Astérix theme park where you can spend the day whizzing around on coasters, splashing around on water rides, and watching amazing live shows, and a return Dover-Calais crossing with MyFerryLink to get you there in style!
Often, the most stressful part of travel is getting to the airport. On my last trip, the flights were difficult to book and I ended up flying from Heathrow, but returning back to Gatwick. We always use APH meet and greet parking (I love being met at the airport by someone who whisks your car away leaving you free to walk straight into the airport, then magically returns it just as you walk out again after your trip) so I decided to drive to Heathrow, leave my car, then get an airport coach back from Gatwick on my return. APH were wonderful, and moved my car to Terminal 5, the nearest terminal, so I had the shortest journey possible to pick up my car again. I was delighted.
It’s no secret that I love my wine. And although I’m no expert, I’ve got to the stage where I’m interested enough to start recording my thoughts about wine that we’ve tried and liked, and want to know what other people think about wines.
What have you got planned this autumn? It’s the perfect time to get out and about, I always think – crunching through piles of golden leaves and wrapping up, getting out and discovering new places, all looking beautiful in their glowy autumn colours. To give you a bit of inspiration, I’ve teamed up with English Heritage to give two lucky winners a fabulous 12 month English Heritage family membership.
This weekend, I was invited down to Bluewater shopping centre in Kent for a bit of sandcastle fun with the team from the gorgeous Atlantis, The Palm. The beautiful resort, located on the incredible man-made island, The Palm in Dubai, was recreated in sand by some very clever people. And pretty impressive it was too. Here I am checking out the mahoosive sand sculpture: Read more
Ah I’ve absolutely loved looking through all the amazing bakeoff entries. Now it’s down to our lovely judge Catriona to choose a winner to receive all those lovely Yeo Valley goodies. Good luck everyone!
So once upon a time, back in… ooooh… 2010, I did this competition called The Great Cupcake Challenge. The entries were fab, and encouraged by this, the competition morphed into English Mum’s Big Bakeoff, (yes, before that one on the telly) and since then we’ve had various different ones, including the ‘baked with love’ bakeoff for Valentine’s Day, an Autumn bakeoff and even a fresh bread bakeoff. My fave, though, has always been the Christmas one.
So without further ado, I give you… The Big Christmas Bakeoff 2013!!
As usual, there really are no rules, and since the ‘send English Mum a piece of your entry for testing’ rule was scrapped (dammit) these are the only ones that remain:
1. You actually must have baked something yourself (although see below re: sneaky rule breaking) – doesn’t need to have been specifically for the bakeoff though.
2. You must take a picture (there’s none of those dodgy ‘I baked it, but then I ate it’ excuses…). The picture MUST be of your baking and MUST be original (I do check them!).
3. Email it to me at english[dot]towers[at]gmail[dot]com, telling me what it is and who you are. Entries must be received by midnight on the closing date (see below).
The Cheaty Bit
Hey, it’s Christmas, and any bit of Christmassy cookery is basically fair game. And I do like a healthy bit of skulduggery amongst friends, so any entertaining reason why your entry should be considered will be looked upon favourably. For example, if your trifle is beautiful, but obviously not exactly baked, let me know. I’m a flexible type and I’ll probably allow it. No lying though.
Okay, a bit of lying then, but not too much…
The Social Media Bit
If you’re a blogger, please link back to this post, and if you’re on Facebook or a tweeter or Instagrammer, please use the hashtag #bigChristmasbakeoff – if you’re none of the above, then just ignore this bit completely.
The Exciting Bit!
Those lovely little pixies down on the farm at Yeo Valley have very kindly agreed to give the winner a copy of their brand new cookbook. The Great British Farmhouse Cookbook, plus a lovely cool bag full of delicious Yeo Valley goodies!
The Inspirationy Bit
Get that camera or phone out and snap a picture of your home made mince pies, your festive cupcakes or your Grandma’s old Christmas cake recipe. Or maybe you can have a go at my jaffa cake Christmas trees, or some cranberry and pistachio biscotti. Whatever floats your boat.
And don’t think you have so be some sort of uber super duper food stylist. The bakeoff is all about the fun.
The Judgy Bit
Entries will be displayed in one enormous blog post and accompanied by the usual descent into hysteria while I wrestle with pixels and uploading and all that other complicated stuff. Follow me on twitter (@englishmum) to witness the carnage as it happens.
The very lovely Catriona from the very popular Irish food blog Wholesome Ireland has very
foolishly kindly agreed to be our judge this year. You can find her on Twitter @wholesomeIE if you want to attempt a bit of online judge tampering. The judge’s decision is final. No arguing. She’s an Irish mammy y’know, she’ll take none of that boldness.
So that’s it, then. You’ve got loads of time, plenty of inspiration, and some very ambiguous rules. Let’s get baking!
The Small Printy Bit
This competition is open to everyone in the UK and Ireland. No age limit. The closing date will be Wednesday 18th December at midnight. There is no cash alternative to the prize. If you’re outside of the UK and want to enter, please feel free. If you win, I’ll mail you the cookbook but I’m afraid the yogurt won’t travel!
So donning my Santa hat once more, I’ve got another lovely giveaway for you all. This would be a fab present for those who love to travel and explore new countries. Or maybe you’d like to keep it for yourself and learn to chat away with the locals next time you’re away? It’s also a really fab thing to do as a family – I’ve had a go myself and it’s really quite easy – you can listen and repeat and the app will tell you if you’re pronouncing it correctly.
All you have to do is visit Rosetta Stone’s website, then leave a comment and tell me which language you’d like to learn and why. The winner will receive an online 6 month language course of their choice.
For a bonus entry, send a tweet to @englishmum and @RosettaStoneUK saying which language you’d like to learn, using the hashtag #RosettaMum and comment to confirm that you’ve done so.
Usual English Mum competition rules apply. This giveaway ends at 9am on Tuesday 10th December 2013. New commenters please note that your comment won’t show until it has been moderated. Winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
**This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for all your entries – congratulations to winner Beth Gurney! **
It’s an expensive old business, Christmas. This is why I love it when people like the lovely chaps at Farmer’s Choice give me fab stuff to give away. This Christmas, they are offering you the chance to win a really amazing Farmers Choice Christmas hamper to give away, stuffed with all sorts of lovely stuff, including a huge 2kg beef topside, smoked salmon, lamb, streaky bacon, a gammon joint and loads more, worth £84.
To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is take a look at the Farmers Choice Christmas dinner page and let me know what, for you, is the best part of Christmas dinner. Remember if you’re a first time commenter on English Mum, your comment won’t show up straight away.
There are also a couple of ways to increase your chances of winning: for one bonus entry, just like Farmers Choice on Facebook. Leave a separate comment to confirm that you’ve done so and this will be counted as an extra entry.
For a further bonus entry, follow @FarmersChoiceUK on Twitter. Leave a separate comment to confirm that you’ve done so and this will be counted as an extra entry. Usual English Mum competition rules apply. This giveaway ends at midnight on 15th December 2013. Winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
**This competition is now closed – winner to be announced shortly!**
Want to win a dining experience unlike any other?
River Cottage evening events are a celebration of the River Cottage ethos, where the food, location and atmosphere take centre stage. You will be treated to delicious dishes whilst enjoying the familiar surroundings from the River Cottage TV series.
You will be seated outside on covered decking with beautiful views of the Axe valley below – should the evening be cooler there is an outdoor log burner to keep you warm and removable walls to ensure a comfortable evening.
When you arrive you will be met by members of the River Cottage team before getting on the tractor and trailer for the journey down to River Cottage HQ. Your host for the evening will greet you with a seasonal welcome drink and canapés will be served. You will have the opportunity to have a look around and soak up the atmosphere. Once seated, the chef will introduce the menu and talk about the dishes being served. You will learn about the River Cottage philosophy, the food, its provenance and how it has been prepared. You will enjoy further canapés at the table, before tucking into a four course menu made using the very best local and seasonal ingredients. The menu is decided on the day depending on what produce is at its very best. A wonderful evening is rounded off with coffee and petit fours. At this stage the tractor will be available to take you back to the car park when you are ready.
The prize is worth £140. There are a selection of dates available on Friday nights throughout the summer and all are subject to availability. To enter, just click the button and enter your details:
For further information about the dining events, cookery courses and other events at River Cottage visit www.rivercottage.net
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED – THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR ENTRIES! ANNOUNCING THE WINNER VERY SOON!
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