Wednesday, 27 July 2016

FREE ICE-CREAM! TGI Fridays celebrates Britain’s summer of sport with new kids’ challenge & the chance to win a £2000 holiday!

With an array of amazing sporting events taking place, 2016 is set for a summer of sport to remember – and TGI Fridays has now made sure that kids can get in on the action, with the launch of its summer sports challenge especially for children. 

TGI Fridays ice-cream


 To be honest, the lure of their irresistible Jack Daniel's® glaze is enough to get me through the doors but this new initiative makes a visit to a TGI Fridays restaurant even more appealing.

Taking part couldn’t be easier – every child visiting TGI Fridays restaurants will be given a game show-esque sports spinner with ten sporty challenges on it, from naming three swimming strokes to acting out their favourite sport. 

TGI Fridays competition
All kids need to do is give it a spin to choose a challenge! The TGI Fridays challenges aim to encourage children to get creative, as well as testing their sporting knowledge – building excitement for the summer ahead!

Every child who can successfully complete three of the challenges will win a delicious free vanilla ice cream with a choice of strawberry or chocolate sauce. Alongside this they will receive a certificate and gold medal from TGI Fridays team members; kids can then get creative with their certificate, colouring it in and making it one of a kind. 

TGI Fridays win a holiday

But there’s more – parents can then send a photo of their child’s creative certificate to winning@tgifridays.co.uk to be entered into a prize draw to win a holiday voucher worth a whopping£2,000!

The TGI Fridays competition is the perfect way to be in with the chance of bagging a dream break. For those planning to ‘staycationing’ in the UK, Fridays is the ideal, fun-filled treat destination for children – and adults!

The summer sports challenge is available in restaurants NOW and runs until 11th September – plenty of time for parents and kids to get stuck in!
TGI Fridays summer of sport

Disclaimer: I received vouchers as a thank you for sharing news of this fun challenge and competition. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Nearly there - progress continues on our pre-loved conservatory DIY project with help from The Skirting Board Shop.

My husband is amazing. There are very few DIY jobs he cannot turn his hand to with the result that I have a beautiful gazebo he built for my 40th birthday party, a cute pergola with a grapevine climbing over it to remind me of happy days in Cyprus and a kitchen he installed to name a few.

Most recently he has been working on a garden room/conservatory project. Well, I say recently. He started the project in 2014 when we were offered a conservatory-type frame to create extra space on our cramped home. 


The conservatory ( I call it that but it seems an inadequate description) had been built by my friend's late father in law many years before but was being removed to extend the home- my friend offered it to us. 


The conservatory needed taking down and transporting, we had to look into required permissions and do lots of measuring to make what had been this custom built room fit our house.


(It was so lovely of the family to offer it to us and I hope they know just how much we love and appreciate it. You can see it below being removed from my friend's house here)


disassembling conservatory


With lots of help from friends, some pictured, some not, we got the frame and glazed units home and dug foundations. Then the unthinkable happened.

My husband had a serious accident. The ligament attaching his thigh muscle to his knee sheared completely off requiring emergency surgery. He was left wheelchair bound, unable to even dress himself.

He was a self-employed scaffolder. No work= no pay. The DIY was the last thing on our list of priorities. The wood and glazed units sat in the garden and I feared the materials would fall prey to the weather.

But did I mention my husband is amazing?

He defied all expectations relating to how long it might take him to recover and how well. He limps, he's unable to work as a scaffolder but because he has the strongest work ethic I've ever seen in anyone he found a part time job in our local supermarket just 6 months after they told us he probably wouldn't be able to walk properly for a year or more.

And he started working on the extension again. Slowly but surely, again with help from friends, our new space materialised. Another friend offered glazed units to fill the space where there had originally been a wall - we effectively had to swap two sides so one set of doors didn't lead into our hedge!

On Easter Monday the room was declared watertight and we enjoyed a celebratory meal with friends in it.

building a conservatory garden room using 2nd hand materialsconservatory walls

It was dark and cold - no heating or light - but truly felt more than just a room warming. It felt like confirmation that our family might be returning to normal. A new normal but better than the bleak prospect we had been facing.

My husband has continued to work on the room and we are into finishing touches now and we have been delighted to work with an amazing company who supply so many vital pieces for anyone undertaking house renovations, new projects or repair or enhancement work.

The Skirting Board Shop is an amazing resource for top quality products for all budgets.  And don't be fooled by the name - they obviously stock a great range of skirting boards but the site is also a one stop shop for architraves, door linings and casings and window sills.

There's an array of styles, colours and finishes and we had so much fun browsing the website. Yes I know it sounds sad but if you've ever been involved in a DIY project you'll know how exciting and important these finishing touches are!

We chose American white oak windowsill - the room will have quite a wide window sill to cover the tile sill the windows rest on, the breeze blocks, insulation and plasterboard. Builders might be a bit puzzled by the way we've made the walls but it's all down to making someone else's project fit our house!

window sill from The Skirting Board Shop

I'm looking forward to wide sills - plenty of room to display my beloved vintage bits and pieces!

We've gone for a small fully finished white painted shaped skirting board. I'm very glad I don't have to paint it!
skirting board from The Skirting Board Shop

We found the site very easy to navigate and there's lots of information to help you make the right decision. You can order free samples to make sure you are happy with your chosen finish and there are even fixing and decorating guides on the site and downloadable printable guides on how to fit window sills and skirting boards.

You can shop by size, colour, style or finish and there is a handy helpline and "help" email address if you have any questions.

Delivery was quick and easy - we were delighted with the service throughout.

My husband is doing bits and pieces to prepare the area for the addition of sills and skirting board in between shifts at work and we hope to have the finishing touches done ready for a big reveal any day now!

In my next post about the project I will talk about costings (so far the project has cost just under £2,000) how to update/modernise an old wooden conservatory and where to get your own free/cheap conservatory.

DIY conservatorysecond hand conservatory

Disclaimer: Our project is being supported by The Skirting Board Shop who have kindly supplied skirting board and window sills for the purposes of this review.


Jansson's Frestele -Swedish cream, onion and anchovy potato bake #recipe

Now I can hear some of you gagging at the thought of putting anchovies in cream with potato but you are just going to have to trust me on this one - it really, really works and is not as fishy as you'd imagine. Please read on!

I am a self-confessed lover of the potato - maybe it's my distant Irish heritage or the fact that potato-based carbs satisfy and delight me. I regularly roast and mash them, occasionally serve them new, boiled in their skins with butter and every now and again, especially when I'm by the sea, I love them chipped and drenched in vinegar.

I'll be honest with you it had never occurred to me to peel and layer them with small salty fish. It took the Swedes to do that!

Jansson's Frestele Swedish Potato Bake

I went to an event held by Scan Authentic SwedishMeatballs last year for Tots100 and they served this potato dish alongside-meatballs. (obvs!)

I have often recalled the mouthwatering meal but wondered if my fond memory of it was helped by the shots we drank while toasting Midsummer Swedish style.

Anyway, it's kinda mid-summer and my book club had been reading A Man Called Ove by Swedish blogger and author Fredrick Backman. (awesome must-read book by the way!)

We always serve a meal at our book club and it was my turn to host so I went searching on the Scan website and found the delicious potato dish - known as Jansson's Frestele- along with a nice looking recipe for Swedish meatballs in a lingonberry sauce.

The meal was a huge hit and as my husband hoovered up his plateful whilst hiding from the book club ladies in the kitchen, he made me promise I would make the meal again ASAP.

This week it's his birthday but since many of our friends are disappearing for the summer I threw an early birthday dinner with some of them for him at the weekend.

The weather was iffy - sun then rain, then sun then cloud so I decided against a barbecue and opted for  cooked meal which we could (and did) eat outside.

Roast muntjac with savoy cabbage, smoked bacon & cranberries in port

I had a couple of haunches of muntjac in the freezer (thanks Linda) which I roasted then served on a bed of buttered savoy cabbage topped with smoked bacon lardons and sweetened dried cranberries which my 11-year old had sauted in port (he wants to be a chef).

I decided to take a chance given that the meat and fruit combination seemed similar to the meatball and lingonberry recipe and prepared the potato, onion and anchovy bake to go with it.

What can I say - it was a triumph!

dining al fresco, roast muntjac and potato bake
I can't take credit for the recipe - you can find both the recipe for the meatball and lingonberry dish and Jansson's Frestele on the Scan Meatballs website.

The potato dish is incredibly versatile and would go with lots of different foods - barbecued sausages, roast beef, chops or even meatballs! We agreed we'd even eat it as a main course on it's own.

The preparation is not as fiddly as it sounds and it's well worth going to the trouble to add the buttery breadcrumb topping. I actually missed out the single cream and just added more milk.

Disclaimer:I have not been paid or rewarded for this post - I just wanted to share a great recipe.

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