Saturday, 30 November 2013

Moxie Girlz™ are rockin’ out this season!

The Moxie Girlz™ are really rockin’ this season with several new magical ranges added to the popular brand.
Moxie Girlz™ really love music and this season they have started their own band in the fabulous new range: Moxie Girlz™ Rockin Band. Each doll comes with its very own instrument, which girls can actually play themselves. Avery comes with a guitar, Sophina has a drum set and Lexa comes with a keyboard. Each instrument also plays the Moxie Girlz™ theme music instrumental.
Moxie Girlz™ Rockin Band dolls are priced at around £29.99 and suitable for ages three years plus.
The amazing new Moxie Girlz™ Magic Swim Dolphin dolls love having fun in the water, and this season they’re playing with the dolphins! Each doll is dressed in a colourful bathing suit and comes with a dolphin that really swims when placed in water. Girls will watch in amazement as the cute dolphin glides the doll through the water on the included fun board.

There are two cool characters to collect in the range and are priced at around £24.99 and are suitable for ages three plus.
The Moxie Girlz™ are having fun by the sea pretending they are real mermaids in the magical range, Moxie Girlz™ Magic Swim Mermaid. Ready for an underwater adventure, with their glittery tops and shimmering mermaid tails, the dolls magically come to life and swim by themselves when placed in water. Once you take the doll out of the water it will automatically stop swimming. The dolls have posable bodies and even feature a magic colour changing tail when placed in warm water. Moxie Girlz™ Magic Swim Mermaid dolls are suitable for ages three years plus.
The Moxie Girlz™ aims to encourage girls to reach for their dreams and embrace their individuality through self-expression, friendships and fashion.  Every girl has the strength to do something amazing. Anything is possible as long as you stay true to yourself and never give up on your dreams.
This blog post is an advertorial.


Katie's Advent Calendar!

Throughout December, I'll have a different, daily festive craft activity, gift idea, recipe or something else that has caught my eye to share with you! Some simple and kid-friendly and some a bit more complicated but perfect for entertaining your families over the Christmas period.

Don't forget to follow or subscribe to receive the updates straight to your inbox - share with your friends too, so everyone gets a taste of Christmas, 'Katie-style'! Thanks for keeping up with my news and recipes! Hope you all have a busy but manageable December!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Deciphering the code - helping your child to read!

Not many adults can remember when or how they learned to read. It's just something that happens over time - there's no definitive day or milestone marker because it's a gradual process in which everyone is different!

My children go to a bi-lingual school where from an early age they are immersed in the Welsh language and English is only introduced into their school life at age 6 when they start Class 2 (the least academic year of Key Stage 1). At home though, we read both Welsh and English books - fact and fiction!

I thought I'd share with you some of our tips to help you to help your child to read - the calm and relaxed way!
  1. When your child is reading to you, develop a 'secret code' for the times when they get stuck on a word. Not many children like to say that they don't know something and if you jump in with the correct word each time there's a pause your child will become frustrated that you are just reading the book for them, so when my son is stuck on a word, he does a little *cough* and I know that's the sign to help 'sound out' the word.
  2. When you are 'sounding out' a word or spelling something for them to write, use the phonetic alphabet rather than the 'traditional' alphabet sung in the song, 'A, B, C, D, E, F, G....' and join letters together that belong together, e.g. 'ph' 'tr' 'bl', etc.
  3. Talk about words in other places not just books. When out and about, read sign posts, names of houses, letters/numbers on car registration plates - you can even read the backs of food packets like cereal boxes at breakfast time!
  4. Play 'I Spy'! With younger children, it's easier to start with 'I spy with my little eye, something that is coloured red!' as this still develops their language skills, then move on to letters once they have got a grasp of the phonetic alphabet although you may have to be a bit lenient with words such as 'phone' and 'knife to start with!
  5. Let them choose the same old book time and time again; familiarity is good for your child as they will learn the story pattern and then match the words to the story as they become familiar and recognizable to them. 'Slinky Malinki Open the Door' is a firm favourite in our house, for both children! (Although I love 'Stick Man'!)
I hope these couple of tips help you on your journey with your children - have you got any tips of your own to help others? Share below!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Pan fried pork fillet in creamy tarragon sauce – Recommended Recipe!

Pan Fried Pork Fillet in Creamy Tarragon Sauce – serves 2

350g pork fillet
Knob of butter
1 tsp olive oil
150 ml white wine
2 tsp finely chopped tarragon
½ tsp ground black pepper
100ml single cream

1.       Heat the oven to 160C/Gas 4. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan until sizzling and fry the pork fillet so it browns on all sides. Transfer to a roasting tin and cook for 30 mins (depending on the thickness of the fillet) or until just cooked through.
2.       Deglaze the frying pan by pouring the wine in and stirring to incorporate any meaty browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Simmer gently until reduced to 1/3 its original volume. Add the tarragon, black pepper and salt, to taste.
3.       When the pork has cooked, allow to rest for 10 mins under foil. While it rests, pour in the cream and any juices that have come out of the pork, stir and bring to a simmer. Cut the pork into thick slices, divide between two plates and top with the tarragon sauce.

Source: Bart Spices recipe card

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Chicken chow mein – Recommended Recipe!

Chicken Chow Mein – serves 4, ready in 40 mins including preparation and marinating time

225g dried or fresh egg noodles
4tsp sesame oil
100g boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into fine shreds 5cm long
2 ½ tbsp groundnut oil
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
50g mangetout, finely shredded
50g Parma ham or cooked ham, finely shredded
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp sugar
3 tbsp spring onions, finely chopped

For the marinade:
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp dry sherry
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground white pepper

1.       Cook the noodles in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, then drain and plunge into cold water. Drain again and toss with 3 tsp of the sesame oil until noodles are coated and set to one side.
2.       Combine the marinade ingredients, toss with the chicken and leave for 10 mins. Heat 1 tbsp of the groundnut oil in a wok over a high heat and, when very hot and slightly smoking, add the chicken. Stir-fry for about 2 mins, then transfer to a plate. Wipe the wok clean.
3.       Reheat the wok until hot and add the rest of the groundnut oil. When the oil is very hot, add the garlic and stir fry for about 10 seconds. Add the mangetout and ham and stir fry for another minute.
4.       Add the noodles, soy sauces, dry sherry, salt, pepper, sugar and spring onions and stir fry for 2 mins. Return the chicken and remaining sesame oil to the wok and stir fry to mix for 5 mins. Serve immediately.

Source: Asda instore magazine.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Goulash stew - Recommended Recipe!

Goulash Stew – serves 4, takes 2 ½ hours.

400g braising steak, cubed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ - 1 tsp paprika
½ - 1 tsp smoked paprika
Good pinch ground cumin
400g can chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp soured cream
300g mashed potato

1.       Set the oven at 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Trim the beef of any excess fat. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the beef until browned.
2.       Add the onions and fry for 5 mins until tender, then add the pepper, mushrooms and garlic with the paprika and cumin and fry for another 5 mins.
3.       Add 150ml water and the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, cover and place in the oven for 2 hours.
4.       Remove, swirl in the soured cream and serve with mashed potato. Add a dollop of soured cream, if liked.

Per serving: 431 calories, 8g sugar, 20g fat, 5g saturated fat, 0.4g salt.
Source: Morrisons instore magazine.