WIN: Ferrero Easter Goodies

It’s been a while since I had a giveaway on my blog but today I have a real treat for you.  Easter is just around the corner which means it’s the time to stuff yourself with as much chocolate as is humanely possible (it’s like the law or something).

Because I am that kind of girl I am here to help you achieve that goal.

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Yep. Today I am giving away a fabulous bundle of delicious Ferrero goodies worth £25. I can vouch for the fact that they are delicious (and oh-so-very-naughty) because the nice people at Ferrero also sent me my own bundle to try out.

Yum.

That is all.

The bundle contains one each of the following items:

Ferrero Golden Gallery
Ferrero Rocher Easter Egg
Grand Ferrero Rocher
Ferrero Rocher Novelty Bunny
Ferrero Raffaello

For your chance to win this bundle of chocolately goodness, just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.  The competition closes, and the winner will be drawn on Tuesday 31st March 2015.  In the event that the winner cannot be contacted, another name may be drawn. Giveaway is open to UK residents only. Please see full T&Cs in the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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Meal Planning Monday (23rd March 2015)

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Good morning! It’s a beautiful day here today, cold but sunny, nice way to start Monday.

So I totally failed at #mealplanningmonday last week. I started my new job at literally the other end of the country – faced a 5 hr journey at 5am last week – so forgive me for being a little out of sync. I’ve also started working 5 days a week as well as volunteering to do admin/marketing for a local industry group so right now I am trying to establish a new routine.

I’m not even going to pretend to have meal planned this week – I’ve not even thought about it. The problem with working 5 days a week (albeit from home so I am very lucky in that respect) is that I now have no time to do the shopping. When I finish work I normally have 3 hours of ferrying children around. What I need to do is make sure I allocated an hour at the weekend to meal plan and do an online grocery shop – it’s the only way things are going to happen for me.

In other great news, I’ve lost 7.5lbs now and I feel SO much better about myself already. Tried on some dresses that didn’t fit me 6 weeks ago and they zipped up like a dream. It’s really spurred me on to stay motivated. I’d like to lose 1.5 stone in total so I’m a third of the way there.

For those of you who are slightly more organised then me at present…

The all-important instructions… If you’re new to my blog or #mealplanningmonday all you have to do is this – write a blog post about your meal plan for the week and submit the URL of your post using the Linkytools below. If you’ve not got a blog but want to join in, that’s fine – just leave a comment below telling us what you’re planning this week.  Any questions, just holler at me via email (in the contact page) or on Twitter @madamding.

Hopefully I’ll be back with you full steam next week – I have a crazy busy few weeks coming up but I have loads of blog things to catch up with no time – it’s stressing and depressing me! Argh.

Have a great week everyone!

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Meet the Meal Planner: Mama Owl

Meet the Meal Planner is a new feature on At Home With Mrs M, designed to introduce everyone to the people who get involved with Meal Planning Monday each week.  This is each meal planners chance to tell us who they are, why and how they meal plan. I hope you enjoy this new item and feel free to leave a comment for the meal planner below!

Hi there and welcome to Meet the Meal Planner! It’s great to have you here. Lets start by introducing yourself. Please tell us a little more about who you are and all about your blog. (If you have one!)

Hello! I’m Julie and I blog at MamaOwl.co.uk. I’m a married mum to five and I like to share our story through my blog with posts about daily life, parenting, travel and days out, school, recipes, book reviews, autism, and much more besides.

Lets get down to business. I’d like to know how long you have been meal planning for and what inspired you to start?

I started in around May 2011, in a bid to save money as well as organise our home life a bit better. With five kids it can be chaotic at the best of times, so knowing what I am making for dinner at the end of a busy day just takes out that unnecessary faff of digging through cupboards deciding on what to have. It also saves us money (and reduces waste) because I’m only buying what I need and plan to use.

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It’s time to start writing your meal plan for the week. What do you do first? Talk us through your planning.

First, I have a wander around the kitchen, making a note of what I already have in the cupboards, fridges, and freezer. Then I set myself up at the computer with my notepad (and a cuppa), open a new post on my blog ready to write my meal plan, and then open up the supermarket website in another tab & get my delivery slot booked.

I look back at what we had the week before so it doesn’t get too ‘samey’ and also consult the family before I make any concrete decisions, and then I’ll look through the supermarket special offers (making use of BOGOFs & multibuys where I can) before I start to plan. I also have to take into account what activities we’re doing on what day – for example, choosing something I can make in the slow cooker on after-school club/swimming/Tae Kwon-do day to save my sanity!

Where do you find your meal-planning inspiration? Do you have a list of go-to meals or do you like to get creative and mix it up?

I look at what offers are on at the supermarket and then I consult my favourite cookbooks and recipes on my blog to see what I can make with it. We do have our family favourites and go-to meals for busy nights but occasionally we give something new a try.

What cookbooks do you use the most?  Is there a website resource you would recommend to other meal-planners?

I really love my Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, it’s a fantastic resource – I call it my kitchen bible! Loads of good ideas and recipes. The BBC Good Food website is another favourite of mine, and supermarket websites are pretty good for ideas these days, too.

So you’ve got your meal plan ready…do you ever go off-plan or do you always stick to it rigidly?

Some nights we end up not really fancying whatever it is that is planned for that night, so we swap around to another night’s meal. Occasionally (rarely) we do just treat ourselves to a takeaway, but we will save the ingredients we didn’t end up using for the following week, so nothing is wasted.

What benefits have you seen from meal planning? Do you find it helps you to cut waste? Save money?

All of the above! Reducing waste, saving money, saving time, helping keep me organised, less stress – I honestly don’t know how I managed before I started meal planning. I’d be lost without it.

Any top tips for meal planning? 

Use supermarket offers to your advantage where you can and meal plan around them, and always look in your stores before you shop so you know what you already have waiting to be used!

And finally, purely because I am nosey, what kitchen utensil/gadget could you just not live without?

My slow cooker! That thing is worth its weight in gold!

Thanks to Julie for sharing her meal planning tips. Why not head over to her blog and find out what she’s been up to recently.

I’ll be back with another Meet the Meal Planner really soon! If you’re interested in being featured, get in touch!

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Easter with the Happy Egg Co

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Earlier last year I became a tastemaker for the Happy Egg Co and with Easter coming up soon they sent me a new delicious recipe to try out – super sweet and laden with chocolate which is of course what you want for Easter however, I am on a diet.

Boo.

This means no chocolate for me and I shall be refraining from trying out the Peanut Butter & Chocolate Egg Cups that has been especially created for the Happy Egg Co by Eric Lanlard. For now anyhow.

They look delicious though don’t they?

Just to taunt me even further I also received a signed copy of Eric Lanlard’s Totally Chocolate cook book which features all his favourite chocolate recipes and is stacked full of delicious things that I MUST try as soon as I’ve got nearer my goal weight!  I’ll be reviewing this book in full shortly.

If you want to find out how other tastemakers have got on recreating this recipe, follow the Taste 100 hashtag on Twitter #happyeggtastemakers.

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Guest Post: Difference between Column and Tubular radiators

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When you are noting the difference between column and tubular radiators, you simply have to go back in time.The history of these hydronic heaters sets the style requirements. Column radiators were used during the Victorian era and are named for the columns that are presented. Usually two, four, six or nine columns are seen. Columns display a squared profile with a space between each column.

Therefore, when reviewing a column radiator from the side, it looks like a ladder-styled grate. People like adding the hydronic design to their homes today as it can be adapted to an irregular or crowded space. Column radiators can be made to fit into circular designs or into one of a number of variations beneath staircases and windows

A Tubular Design Can Convey a Contemporary Style

Tubular radiators vary from column radiator styles in their features, which makes use of various kinds of tubing in updated radiator designs. You can even mount tubular radiators high on a wall. Radiator companies provide a wide range of choices as well as materials. Therefore, the primary difference between column and tubular radiators lies primarily in their appearance. While column radiators follow a traditional vintage look, you can find tubular designs that look quite contemporary.

Both radiators use stainless steel or a similar alloy, such as aluminum, in their designs. They also, again, are hydronic systems. Utilizing a hydronic system translates to  savings in utility costs as it is cheaper to use water to heat a home versus using a forced air heat system in your furnace. Forced air furnishes heat with a blast and therefore continuously works much harder when it is running.

Using Water Instead of Natural Gas is Safer

Using water to heat the home too is a safer alternative to natural gas or oil. More warmth and lower utility costs make the difference between column and tubular radiators almost seem insignificant. So, how do hydronics work when it comes to using the two radiant heaters? The science of hydronics, when utilized in heating, is based on the idea of heat transfer.

Hydronic heat systems use water as a kind of conveyor belt to move water from one point to the next. Therefore, the water that is used in the process is not the heat source nor the destination for the heat. The heat is absorbed by the water at the heat source instead and transported using the water via distribution pipes. Upon reaching its destination, the heat is released into a heated space using a heat emitter. Any difference between column and tubular radiators then has nothing to do with how the heat is emitted for warming a home. The difference between column and tubular radiators lies in the looks of the radiator that is employed for use.

Where the Difference Lies

The use of hydronics technology combined with the choice of a column or tubular radiator shows that any difference between column and tubular radiators, again, is based on the design of the radiator itself. Hundreds of configurations in the form of hydronic technology are available and possible – all of which can also meet the exacting criteria of a homeowner.

Any difference between column and tubular radiator styles originates from the column designs that were used in old style radiators from the Victorian time period. Differences between column and tubular radiators are not marked then by how the system itself works as, again, it works the same when either design is used. The difference between column and tubular radiators is totally aesthetic rather than mechanical. Check the AEL Heating Solutions site for further details.