Monday, 22 December 2014

A Festive Gingerbread House for Christmas

Aldi sells enough gingerbread houses to measure the height of 20 London Shards!

Aldi’s bestselling gingerbread house has seen impressive sales since it launched in store for the festive season.  The 14cm tall house comes ready built and comes with a large tube of royal icing and all the sweets and candies needed to transform it into a beautiful, festive centrepiece!

Aldi has sold enough gingerbread houses to measure 6,370 metres, which is the equivalent of 20 London Shard’s – the tallest building in the UK – or  425 double-decker buses, 66 Big Ben’s, 40 Blackpool Tower’s or 1,158 Giraffes!

That is a lot of gingerbread houses!

Aldi, Christmas

We were sent one and were really impressed with it.  Freddy and Ella had some festive fun together decorating it. Having it ready constructed made it such an easy project and the end result was very good.  At just £4.89 it is a great buy, taking all the hard work out of making a gingerbread house for Christmas.

Christmas, Aldi

To celebrate their festive food sales, Aldi erected a giant replica of the Aldi gingerbread house in Manchester’s city centre, standing over 9 ft. tall, 10 ft. wide and 16 ft. deep.  A ‘Mrs Claus’ and jolly team of Aldi elves were on hand to welcome Christmas shoppers with a taster of some seasonal Aldi Christmas treats too – including gingerbread men.

Joint Managing Director for Corporate Buying at Aldi, Tony Baines, said: 

“We hope our giant replica of the gingerbread house kit brought some festive fun in the midst of one of the busiest shopping days in the lead up to Christmas and that our Aldi elves inspired shoppers to discover and enjoy all that Aldi has to offer.”

Manchester, Christmas, Aldi

For more information about Aldi’s Christmas range, please visit

Thursday, 18 December 2014

NibNibs - a delicious nibbly snack from Yorkshire

Made using hand picked ingredients from British suppliers, nibnibs and mini nibnibs are lovingly hand crafted artisan cheese straws and breadsticks from Yorkshire.  With Extra Mature British Cheddar, British butter and wheat flour from the Yorkshire Mills, the ingredients are all natural. 

snacks, mini nibnibs

Nibnibs are perfect for snacking on and make great party nibbles. They are also ideal for popping into a festive hamper for food loving friends.  I was sent some to nibble on and can confirm that they are delicious.  I love the good cheesy flavour, which is cheesier and tastier then any other cheese flavoured snack I've ever had!  The light crunchy texture of the straws is really nice and then the nibnib melts in the mouth.  Nibnibs are so moreish and the children could not get enough of them. The branding is very eye catching and we liked the resealable tubs, although we never tested out how effective they were because we ate the lot in one sitting.  I'd love to see the nibnibs products sold in supermarkets nationwide because I would definitely be buying them.  They really are superior to any other cheesy snack or breadstick we've ever tasted.

nibnibs, snacks, artisan food

NibNibs straws are available in a 175g pack and are currently available in four delicious flavours:

Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
West Country Cheddar
West Country Cheddar and Cheeky Onion
West Country Cheddar & Spicy Chilli

The new Mininibs are bite size cheese straws available in a resealable 65g tub in these flavours:
Exceptional Cheddar Cheese.
Cheddar & Spicy Chilli
Cheddar & Cheeky Onion Straws

You can find local stockists and discover more about the nibnibs brand at

Freddy's Christmas Wish List

"Christmas is coming, my festive joy gets stronger.
And Freddy's Christmas list gets longer and longer!
So many toys to go on Santa's sleigh,
Ready to deliver and unwrap on Christmas Day!
So what will Santa bring, to fill Fred's heart with joy?
And will he be lucky and get a must have toy?
A Golden Coin Maker to make choccie treats,
Foil wrapped and yummy for us all to eat.
Or maybe he'll get arty with a set of cool Blo-Pens,
Or the VTech KidiPet could become a virtual friend.
LEGO and Marvel are two awesome brands,
Put them together and he's building Spiderman!
A soft toy to hug and something new to snuggle,
To nurture and love, to squeeze and cuddle.
Teksta Kitty walks, meows, plays and purrs,
Just like a real pet (but without any fur!)
What toys will Freddy find this year under the tree?
Only Santa knows! We'll just have to wait and see!"

Debenhams Toys Wish List

This is my entry into the Debenhams Christmas Wishlist competition.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Happy Birthday to my Grandson Ted

It's hard to believe that it was a whole two years ago that I was waiting anxiously for a message from my son Joe, to tell us that his baby son had been born.  When a photograph finally arrived to my mobile I burst into tears of joy, pride and relief, knowing that Joe had become a daddy, and that mother and baby were doing well.  So started a brand new phase of my life, where I became a grandma to baby Ted, welcoming a brand new generation into our family.

Happy birthday to my cheeky, boisterous, sweet and funny little grandson Ted.  We love you xxx

balloons, second birthday, Ted

And just because I love a bit of reflection and nostalgia, here is a photograph of my own little boy Joe on his second birthday in 1990, ready to dive into his Dennis the Menace birthday cake! 

Beano, second birthday, Dennis the menace

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

How to Play Christmas TV Bingo

While you are watching your favourite Christmas television shows and festive films this year, you can have some extra fun by having a go at TalkTalk's Christmas TV Bingo. Whenever you see someone having a smooch under the mistletoe in the soaps or if you spot a giant Christmas tree in your favourite Christmas film, simply mark them off on the Bingo card (you can click on it and print it from below).  When you get a full house treat yourself to a yummy chocolate or a tempting tipple. Why not use this bingo card as inspiration and make cards for all the family so you can all play along against each other, with a prize for the winner! 

I love watching a good Christmas movie.  I love Elf, Love Actually, Arthur Christmas and Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas.  I will definitely be watching for things to tick off my bingo card while I watch this Christmas.

With Freeview, Sky channels, On Demand, Boost packages and Box Office, there are hours and hours of fabulous festive entertainment to enjoy with TalkTalk TV this year.  Find out more at


Monday, 15 December 2014

Daelmans Stroopwafels Coffee Spread Challenge

Daelmans recently sent me a wonderful hamper of their delicious Stroopwafels so I could take part in the coffee spread challenge.  Stroopwafels are caramel waffles filled with buttery syrup enriched with natural Bourbon vanilla.  They are incredible straight from the pack, but they are even better when balanced over a cup of hot coffee.  The steam gently melts the caramel bending the Stroopwafel into what Daelmans call their Stroopsmile.  The warm, luscious biscuit is simply divine.

caramel waffles

Stroopwafels come in packs of eight in a decorative cube box (RRP £1.99 in Tesco and the Co-Op). You can also find them in a lovely metal gift tin, which would make a lovely little Christmas gift or stocking filler (RRP £2.99 available online at Daelmans). You can also get Mini Stroopwafels in a resealable pouch, which are great for snacking.  The kids loved these miniature Stroopwafels, which are bitesize versions of the full size ones (RRP £1.99 from Tesco).

Daelmans, Stroopwafels

Daelmans are a traditional Dutch bakery and the Stroopwafel range has a very continental feel, so I thought that the perfect accompaniment to the biscuits would be a delicious spread of French stick and a selection of continental cheeses including Holland's own Edam and Gouda.  It all felt very European and reminded me of some wonderful family holidays we have enjoyed over the years. Some festive Christmas tree shaped waffles and a bunch of juicy red grapes completed the spread.

Daelmans Stroopwafels

I served the spread with a cup of freshly machine made continental black coffee, to showcase the Stroopwafel at its very best. The glass coffee cups added to the occasion.

I love how the Stroopwafel fits so nicely on the cup and the anticipation as you wait for the Stroopsmile to happen is mouthwatering.

Daelmans, Stroopwafels

Daelmans Stroopwafel

The children really enjoyed warming their Stroopwafels over my coffee!  Thankfully no Mini Stroopwafels ended up in my drink! The delicious gooey caramel centre is just so indulgent.  We are now all huge fans of the Stroopwafel, which promises to be a regular treat in our home.


12 year old Kezia gave her own Stroopsmile after enjoying her continental spread.  It really was the perfect Sunday afternoon late lunch spread.  We loved the continental theme of the spread, which made for a really informal, family friendly and fun meal.

Daelmans, stroopwafels

The Importance of Tyre Safety in Winter

Back in October over 1000 Mumsnetters were surveyed on the subject of tyres and tyre safety for a survey commissioned by Michelin. The findings revealed that in the majority of cases, men take on the responsibility for buying and fitting tyres, but 97% of the mums surveyed agreed that all drivers should take responsibility for their vehicle and its safety. 


Ian is generally the one who takes the main responsibility for our car maintenance and tyre safety in our house, putting us in the 73% of households where the man assumes this role. Even though I let Ian do the 'dirty work', I do take an active role in decision making and take an interest in the car's safety. After all, as the main driver of the daily school run, I am responsible for my children's safety and I want to be sure we are as safe as we can be.
Safety and longevity emerged as the most important criteria to Mumsnetters when choosing tyres, but car handling and fuel saving were important too. Only 19% referred to the importance of tyre labelling, even though tyre labels include important information such as the tyre's rating for wet braking stopping distances. This suggests that we are generally not very familiar with the labeling system even though it could improve our awareness and help us make better informed choices when it comes to buying tyres for our cars.

When it comes to the law, 38% of those surveyed didn’t know the legal tread depth and 67% were unaware of the penalty for having bald tyres. None of us want to fall fowl of the law and the penalty of 3 points and a fine per tyre is easily avoided by making sure our tyres are safe and meet legal requirements.

38% only checked their tyre pressures twice a year or less. I have to admit, we only check the tyre pressure if we think the tyre looks like its going a bit 'puddingy'! 

66% said that they would consider or be prepared to buy winter tyres in the future. Only 7% of Mumsnetters currently own winter tyres, which is above average when compared with the UK as a whole.  We swear by ours, so I was surprised that this figure was so low.

Ian is an absolute advocate of fitting winter tyres to our cars once the weather gets colder.  Winter tyres are not just designed for snow covered roads, they improve the car's performance on wet roads too, making braking distances shorter by 4m at 50mph. My school run is a three mile trek down a very windy, narrow country road.  If it's icy or wet, the journey can become quite treacherous, so anything that can help me to have better grip enabling me to stop safely is a bonus.  The safety of the kids is paramount, and for us, investing in winter tyres is worth every penny.


65% are prepared to pay extra for a quality tyre brand which confirms that the majority of Mumsnetters recognise its worth paying for the improved performance and safety associated with a recognised premium brand. Not all tyres are the same, and it's worth getting the best that you can afford.

When it comes to buying tyres, we use a local, independent tyre retailer, because they are always very helpful, honest and accommodating. I think having a good relationship with a reliable shop gives me the confidence in my ability to take the lead when it comes to dealing with tyre issues.

Here is an infographic of the main findings of this survey:

tyre safety

“Michelin Total Performance brings together an optimum mix of performance areas such as grip, long-life and fuel saving without a trade-off. Michelin tyres are the best match for the daily driving challenges that Mumsnetters face.”


This post is in collaboration with Mumsnet and Michelin to help spread awareness of tyre safety. I have not been compensated to write this post but have been entered into a prize draw. Find out what other Mumsnet Bloggers have to say about tyre safety here.


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