In association with Maryland Cookies

recipe cookie butter spread Maryland Cookies

In the important cultural debate that is ‘cookies or cake?’ I am very much in the cookie camp.

For me, it’s a question of consistency of experience. Sure, you can get some amazing cake, no denying that. Sometimes they’re just right – moist and delicious and full of flavour – but all too often I’m left disappointed by cakes. They might LOOK lush, but then the sponge is dry, or the frosting to cake ratio is all wrong, and you eat it reluctantly, thinking ‘for God’s sake, what a waste of calories, I could have had four gins for that.’

(And yes, you could just NOT eat it, but food waste remember?)

With a cookie though, or a good plain biscuit, you know what you’re getting. No one ever cracks into a packet of Maryland and comes away feeling like they’re had anything other than the exact cookie experience they were expecting. No snack-time risk, no worry, just mid-afternoon cookie fun times. View Post

Post in association with Metis®

Metis® fruit recipes

Imagine if you will that a plum and an apricot go on a date.

They get on well as they have a lot in common – they both like classic crime fiction, they love to travel, and they both have a stone in their middle, that sort of thing. One date leads to another. On the second date they crank it up a notch and do an activity – segway maybe. Or pottery painting.

Time passes, stuff happens, and they have a baby. They call it Metis®.

Metis® fruit recipes


Oh how I wish that’s how it happened! View Post

What does tea time look like for your family?

This is dinner time in our house:

typical family dinner time

Ha ha! Not really.

Who has family dinner times like that?? Everyone is so attractive! And all those white units and place mats and teeth? What I love most though about this picture is that the caption is ‘family laughing around a good meal in the kitchen.’

I do my own voice over as I look at it:

MUM, laughing: Oh look everyone at how big our bowls of peas and carrots are!

DAD, laughing: Ha ha! That’s so funny! I love vegetables! Isn’t that funny kids?

DAUGHTER, laughing, but also crying a bit: But Daddy I hate peas!

DAD, laughing: Just keep laughing Angelica!

DAUGHTER: But it hurts my cheeks…

MUM: Ha ha ha! What a lovely family dinner we’re all having!


Family meal times in our house don’t look like that. In fact, weekdays are pretty quiet. Bee has long since left home, so it’s more often than not just me and Belle.

That’s okay though. That’s the beauty of a modern family – it can be anything you want it to be.


According to new research from potato brand McCain, as part of their We Are Family campaign, we often find it hard to identify with the portrayal of family life as shown in the media. 84% of families surveyed claim they haven’t seen anything in popular culture that depicted a family like their own in the last six months and 45% of Brits think more needs to be done to show the reality of everyday family life.

I agree, and to illustrate the point, Belle and I created a mini fly-on-the wall documentary of tea times in our house. (Does this video count as popular culture?? It definitely shows the reality of family life…)

View Post

I have to admit that until I started working with Iceland a few months ago, I would have never thought to order my weekly shop online with them. To be totally honest, I didn’t even know you COULD shop online at Iceland. I thought it was just one of those places you went to buy a six pack of cornettos for a pound when you were in town with friends and didn’t want to spend £2 each on a Magnum.

(It IS good for that mind, it’s just more too. In fact, without wanting to get you over excited, if you wanted to splash out and get five ice creams for £1.50, you could get five mini Viennas on sticks. Follow the link and take a look. It will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.)

I feel like this year though, after going to Iceland’s autumn/winter launch and then getting to go up to London and spend Christmas with them, (in July), Iceland has blossomed in my mind from rows of freezer cabinets to somewhere where you can actually SHOP properly. For actual things that aren’t just frozen Slimming World meals. (They do loads of these – top tip if you’re on Slimming World.)

Turns out Iceland online is an awesome place to shop.

Hold up though, I know what you might be thinking.

‘Yeah, yeah,’ you’re muttering, ‘she would say that wouldn’t she? Everyone knows you can’t get EVERYTHING you need from Iceland – you can’t exactly buy frozen toilet roll can you?’

No, obviously no one wants frozen toilet roll, but despite the name, the majority of things that Iceland sells aren’t actually frozen.

*MIND BLOWN* View Post

Gousto food delivery

I quite often tell the story of when Bee went off to university for the first time, and had to share a flat with seven other students. In that entire flat of eight apparently grown up people, Bee was the only one who knew how to use a washing machine.

Isn’t that shocking??

On the one hand I was proud, but on the other, kind of embarrassed on their behalf. How had these young adults grown up without being taught how to do basic tasks around the house? It quickly became clear that what they lacked in washing machine skills, they most definitely did NOT make up for in the kitchen.

Teaching children how to do things for themselves like cooking, cleaning, catching trains and generally taking care of themselves, is surely what parenting is all about? Yes, you have to look after them a bit, and make sure they don’t walk into roads and stuff, but ultimately your goal is to equip them with the skills to function as an independent adult, not shelter them from all responsibility. If your child goes off to university never having used a washing machine, then something has gone wrong.

It’s one of the reasons I really like trying out recipe box schemes like Gousto.

Gousto is the compromise between simply handing your child a hardback Delia Smith and a Tesco Clubcard, and driving yourself mad trying to cook delicious yet wholesome meals for a whole family EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Instead you get to cook from scratch, but without the hassle of having to decide what to make or go shopping for ingredients. View Post

Created in association with Heinz 

Heinz No Added Sugar Spaghetti Hoops review

I’ve always had this morbid fantasy about what’s going to happen when I die.

(Bear with me…)

In my mind I picture a scene a bit like this one in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. I imagine that once I’ve answered a series of questions to confirm it’s me, that I’ll be given a huge book full of statistics on everything I’ve ever done – number of hours spent asleep – 233,601; number of sandwiches from school packed lunches that I’ve thrown away at 3.30pm – 3,296 – that sort of thing. Some of it might be in graph form, because whoever is in charge will appreciate that I like a good graph.

Under the category ‘Family Teas > 1995 – 2010 > Tinned’ I expect there to be a fairly substantial entry for spaghetti hoops. Or, as it has always been known here, ‘ghetty’. (A bit like the images but without the hefty legal bills.)

With Alphabetti Spaghetti limited to special occasions only, number one in the chart would definitely be Heinz Spaghetti Hoops.

Heinz No Added Sugar Spaghetti Hoops review

There is just something wonderful isn’t there about the way you can gather them up on your fork? I remember quite vividly as a child the thrill of lining them up neatly on every other prong, so as not to crowd them, and seeing how many I could fit on before an adult said ‘stop messing about with your hoops and just eat your tea.’

Both of my children have always loved Heinz Spaghetti Hoops. A tin of Heinz Hoops is a staple in our cupboard – a sure-fire way to please everyone when they were small.

I ask Belle what she likes most about Heinz Hoops. View Post