#Dolmio #ThankGoodness – Midweek Meal Recipe

#ThankGoodness for Dolmio

Chicken and bacon Dolmio pasta bake with melted cheese

#Dolmio #Thankgoodness Chicken and bacon pasta bake with cheese ingredients

#Dolmio #Thankgoodness

We try to eat our evening meal around 6 pm. On a Wednesday, though, Ella has Cubs and has to be there for 5.45 pm. We have to be able to cook something that doesn’t take long, to give her time to eat and then get ready.

We’re very conscious of making sure the kids get their 5 a day. Pasta dishes are great for adding loads of healthy veg without the kids knowing what’s in it!

Dolmio infographic

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ant now does the majority of cooking in our house. He likes to cook from scratch, but even he agreed that the Chicken and Bacon pasta bake he made, with Dolmio Original Bolognese Sauce, was absolutely delicious.
Kaycee has been complaining that we’ve had spaghetti bolognese too often, just lately, so we decided to use the bolognese sauce with chicken and bacon instead of minced beef.
I have to say, I would never complain about having spaghetti bolognese too often because I don’t think it’s possible! I have a soft spot for Dolmio sauces because I craved Dolmio spicy bolognese throughout my pregnancy, with Kaycee. Everyone got fed up with me wanting it 3-4 times a week! I’d have had it every night if they’d let me! Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the spicy one anymore 🙁

#Dolmio #Thankgoodness chicken and bacon pasta bake with cheese

Here’s our recipe for Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake with Cheese.

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake with Cheese

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake with Cheese


  • 150g smoked bacon roughly chopped
  • 400g chicken breast chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 large courgette chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bell pepper de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 1 aubergine chopped into cubes
  • 150g mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 1 500g jar Dolmio Original
  • 200g pasta shapes
  • 20ml cooking oil
  • 100g Parmigiano Reggiano shavings
  • 150g mild cheddar


  1. Boil pasta as per packet instructions. Once cooked, drain, rinse and set aside
  2. In a large pan warm the oil then cook the onions and garlic over a medium heat until soft
  3. Add chicken and stir fry for 5 minutes or until it's cooked on the outside
  4. Add bacon and continue to stir fry for 3 minutes or until bacon is cooked
  5. Stir in mushrooms and peppers and cover for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have cooked down
  6. Stir in courgette and aubergine followed by the Dolmio sauce
  7. Stir really well to make sure everything is coated in the sauce
  8. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until courgette is soft
  9. Heat the oven to 200°c/ 180°c fan/ Gas 6
  10. Stir the pasta in to the sauce and mix well
  11. Transfer to a large oven proof dish and grate the mild cheddar all over
  12. Arrange the Parmigiano Reggiano shavings over the cheddar
  13. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbling

We doubled up the recipe as we had Kaycee’s friend for dinner and we also gave a portion to my father in law and one to my mother in law.
Ant makes fresh bread every day and for a change, he made baguettes which worked out well because he was able to make some garlic bread. The kids said he should have made more as he only made half a stick and they wanted more than 2 slices each!

It was enjoyed by everyone 🙂 I asked them which part they liked best. Here’s what they said:

Kaycee said:

The melted cheese was the best bit. It was delicious.

Curly hair after using magic curlers

Ella said

It was all delicious but the best part was the sauce.

Ella biggest accomplishment

Ant said

The smoky bacon combined with the sauce brought all the ingredients together in a really rich, mmmmm! I didn’t have to worry about adding herbs and seasoning because the sauce took care of all that. It was a pleasure to cook with.


This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness

4 Things to Look For Home Builders

4 Things to Look For Home Builders

4 things to look for in a home builder

home builders

If you are looking for new home builders that will help you build the beautiful and comfortable house that you have so longed for, then it is in your best interest that you consider and remember these 4 things that will help you in your search;

  •         Competence and Innovation

The trend in home building is very dynamic and is always evolving. There are various themes and concepts one can look at in building their house. It is very important that the chosen home builder will have the competence to build according to your desired concept and style. Having a look at their portfolio will be an accurate indicator of their competence.

It is also good for a home builder to be innovative in their work. Since most of their clients have no experience in the technical aspects of home building, it can also be a great plus for them to suggest new ideas to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of your house while still planning the design.

  •         Budget

Home builders can also be categorised by the scale of their projects. There are small-scale and large-scale home builders. Small-scale builders often specialise in building houses for a small family. They are home builders that can help you maximise the spaces in a small housing lot. They only employ about 10-20 workers in a single project. On the other hand, large-scale home builders are those that specialise in building mansions and villas with large lots to build on. Their employees can reach up to a hundred people in a single project.

In order for you to save and get the most out of your budget, it is very important that you choose the right kind of home builder. If you are building a two-storey house in a small or medium-sized lot, it is better for you to hire a small-scale home builder. If you think that hiring the home builder with more workers will be better, thinking that with more workers will make the project completion faster, then you are greatly mistaken. There are processes in home building that can’t be started unless another process is finished; electrical wiring can’t be installed unless the general structure and roof of the house is completed. Thus, it would be very expensive and inefficient to have a team of electricians while still in the early stages of construction.

  •         Communication

It is also very important to have a good and steady relationship with the home builder. An open line of communication should be established to ensure that you are informed of their progress and possible setbacks and delays. This way, both you and the home builders will be able to address and solve the issues before they become bigger and cause worse situations.

  •         Help-line

After the house is built and you and your family have already settled down, it can be expected that you will encounter some problems in the house. It would be a very big plus for a home builder to actually return and fix the problems for you even if the contract is already done and paid. Home builders with this kind of help-line or troubleshooting services are very rare and definitely one of those “perfect home builders”.

Home Builders Electrician

This is a collaborative post

4 Things To Think Of When Upgrading To A New Display Home

4 Things to Think of When Upgrading to a New Display Home

Before upgrading to a new home for your growing family, there are many things that you should consider before making the final decision. Just randomly visiting display homes will not help in marking your decision. In fact, it will only make you more confused and make things worse.

If you are seriously thinking of upgrading to a new home, then here are 4 things that according to Glenvill Display Homes can help you in making the decision.

Buying a new house

Reasons Why

  1.    Why are you making the decision to upgrade and can you afford to upgrade? – the very first thing you need to seriously think about is the reason why you are planning on upgrading your home. One can think of a thousand reasons to justify their decision only to regret it in the near future. When you finally decide to upgrade, the reason needs to be valid and acceptable for you and your family.

Consider all the expenses you will incur from the purchase of a new house; from the moving of your things up to the buying of new furniture and fixtures and the installation of necessary amenities. Also, consider the location of the new house that you will upgrade to; will it be beneficial to you and your family or not?

What Do You Need?

  1. What house will you need to upgrade to? – the second thing you seriously need to decide upon is the kind of house that you will move to. List all of the necessary things that you need to check when doing the display home visits. If you are moving with your family, you also need to consider them and their needs. You have to make sure that they will have a smooth transition and that all possible problems they will encounter are addressed upon.

Also, decide on the size of the house that you will need and the number of rooms it must contain to accommodate your family. The new house needs to fulfil all of these conditions.

Builder’s Reputation

  1. The reputation of the home builder that sold you the new house – display homes are sometimes too good to be true. They are specifically designed to maximise all the features and functionalities of the house and to address all the inquiries from the clients. Salespersons also say all the right words just to convince you to make the purchase.

That is why it is very important to check the reputation and credibility of the home builder that the display home represents. Make sure that they stay true to the offers given while doing the display home visit. Make sure that by the time you sign the sale contracts, all bases have been covered and that they are a company with a positive track record.


  1. Space for self-customization – the final thing to consider when upgrading to a new home is to have space in your new house for your own customization or decoration. There are display homes that have the perfect arrangement and division of rooms only for you to find that their interior decoration doesn’t suit your taste. Make sure that you have the opportunity to change the interior decoration and arrangement to achieve the perfect house upgrade.

This is a collaborative post

Mother’s Day and Spring are on the way

Mother’s Day

My girls were a little disappointed today. Ant told them that I want garden centre vouchers for Mother’s Day this year and they like to buy me lots of little presents. Things like chocolate, a new mug, teddies that say ‘World’s Best Mum’, you get the gist.

As you may know, this is the year of the garden. We have a mammoth task ahead of us. It’s not going to be cheap to get the garden the way we want it so I don’t want to be spending money unnecessarily. I’d much rather they buy me a tenners worth of alpine plants!

We did get presents for my mum, Ant’s mum and Aiden’s step mum from HomeSense. We’re not usually this organised! We tend to leave everything to the day before and go to Asda trying to find some nice flowers or something.


This shell box is so pretty

Mother's Day at HomeSense Shell box

I love owls. I’d never be able to light this candle, though, it’s just too nice!

Mother's Day at HomeSense Owl Candle

Scented candles are always a great choice for me. I just love having a gorgeously smelly candle burning away.

Mother's Day at HomeSense Scented Candle


Mother's Day at HomeSense scented candle

Chocolates. Need I say anything else?!

Mother's Day at HomeSense Chocolates

Bayliss and Harding would also be a good choice. I usually get some for Christmas and unlike lots of people who complain when they get toiletries for a gift, I don’t because I like them 🙂

Mother's Day at HomeSense Toiletries

Spring at HomeSense

Any of these would be the best choice for me right now, though. Garden tools, plants or ornaments are on my list because I will have a nice garden this year!

Mother's Day at HomeSense Garden Tools


Mother's Day at HomeSense Rose Growing Kit


Mother's Day at HomeSense Bird House


Mother's Day at HomeSense Garden Furniture


Mother's Day at HomeSense Flower growing kit

If all else fails and you don’t have a clue what to get your mum, there’s always the gift card option 🙂

Mother's Day at HomeSense Gift Card

Mother's Day at HomeSense


I received a gift card in return for this post. All opinions are my own.

Don’t let ankle pain stop you from keeping fit

 Don’t let ankle pain stop you from keeping fit, there is a solution

Ankle pain, if not treated immediately and properly, can surely cause you to miss some of your workout routines and throw you off your fitness plan. Ankle pain is referred to any type of pain, discomfort, and inflammation in your ankles. It can be caused by an underlying medical condition like arthritis and tendinitis, or by an injury.

Most ankle pain cases are not serious and can easily be treated at home. However, if your ankle is severely swollen, visibly disfigured, or extremely painful even when you are at rest, you must seek immediate medical attention. Pain that does not go away for a week or inflammation that does not subside for three days must also be reported to a doctor right away.

While there are different over-the-counter and prescription medications including anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and analgesics, a simple ankle pain can easily be treated at home without taking any medicine. Listed below are some of the effective procedures that you should try, to heal your ankle injury in no time. Don’t let ankle pain stop you from keeping fit. There are ways to quickly recover from an ankle injury.

The most common way of dealing with an ankle injury is the RICE method. This stands for Rest, Icing, Compression, and Elevation.

Woman exercising ankle brace ankle pain


When standing or walking, our ankles bear the majority of our body’s weight. Prolonged standing and walking can, therefore, aggravate an existing ankle injury. The best way to treat ankle pain is to rest your leg on a chair or an elevated platform. Refrain from doing any strenuous activity in order to allow the tissues to completely heal.


Immediately after an injury, fill a bag with ice and wrap it around the ankle for 15 to 20 minutes until medical personnel arrives. Decreasing the temperature alleviates the pain by numbing the area, and reduces swelling by restricting blood flow to your ankles.


Compression, when performed properly, is an effective method to reduce ankle pain. You may use a compression sleeve, elastic bandage, or even scrap clothing to wrap around the injured area. Start by wrapping from the middle of the feet up to the bottom of your leg. Increased pain or a tingling sensation means that the compression is wrapped too tightly.


During the recovery period, it is important to keep the entire leg elevated. This will improve blood circulation and help minimise swelling in the ankles. Keep your leg elevated at heart level to reduce the pressure and to assist in draining excess fluid back to the blood vessels.

Rehabilitation and Prevention

After recovery, it is essential to rehabilitate and restore the range of motion for you to be able to perform your usual workout routines. These exercises do not only help in complete tissue repair but also improve the strength, control, and balance of your feet.

The best cure is always prevention. Wear well-fitted shoes and ankle support gears all of the time. Click here to find out more about the best ankle braces that you should try. If you are overweight, consider going on a diet to reduce the impact on your ankles. Include warm-up or stretching exercises on your routine to condition your ankle before performing more difficult workouts.

Pair of feet with trainers on ankle pain best ankle braces

This is a collaborative post

#Win A Bumper Gro Bundle From Kid Transit

Win A Gro Bundle

Gro Bundle from The Gro Company and Kid Transit

Gro Bundle Competition

Kid Transit have launched a competition with a brilliant prize for new parents. You can win a Gro Bundle worth around £150.

Gro Bundle Prize

  • 2.5 TOG GROBAG (6-18 months) – RRP £24.74
  • GRO-HUSH – RRP £24.99
  • GRO-CLOCK – RRP £34.99
  • GRO-LIGHT – RRP £19.99

The Gro Egg and Penguin Shell changes colour according to the temperature of the room. It lets you know at a glance whether the temperature is too high, too low or just right. It also doubles up as a gentle night light.

The Grobag has a super soft jersey lining which will keep your baby nice and cosy. The winner can choose a design and tog rating (same priced product only).

The Gro-hush is a portable white noise baby calmer. It transmits soothing white noise directly to your baby so that only they can hear it, keeping them calm.

The Gro-friend elephant is called Ernie and he’s got soft flappy ears and cute snuggly features.

The Gro-clock lets your child know when they can get up by using sun and stars pictures.

Finally, the Gro-light adapts your existing light to an adjustable nightlight. You can have a soothing LED glow or your original light.

I’d have loved the Gro-hush when Kaycee was a baby. The only way she’d sleep was in her battery powered swing, in the kitchen with the tumble dryer switched on!

Gro Bundle competition with Gro Company and Kid Transit

Click the image to be taken to the competition


Valentine’s Day At HomeSense

Valentine’s Day

After another trip to HomeSense to check their Valentine’s Day stock, we came back with nothing at all related to Valentine’s Day!

We bought a lovely new cake stand that was on offer for a fiver. We also picked up some chocolates for a birthday present and a pretty tin with tea inside for a Christmas present.

Ant got himself a cutter thing that he can use to cut shapes out of the bread. He makes the sandwiches for the school lunches and the other day cut a love heart out of Kaycee’s sandwich. She found it very funny when she opened her lunch, as did her friends!

He puts little notes in Ella’s lunch. The other day he forgot and not only was Ella disappointed, her friend was as well!

Ant and I have decided not to buy each other anything for Valentine’s Day. We’re saving for a holiday for just the two of us. If we were buying presents, though, I’d love any of these treats from HomeSense 🙂

Valentine's Day HomeSense

Valentine's Day HomeSense

Valentine's Day HomeSense

Valentine's Day HomeSense

Valentine's Day HomeSense

Valentine's Day HomeSense

Valentine's Day HomeSense

Valentine's Day HomeSense

Valentine's Day HomeSense

Valentine's Day HomeSense

*We were sent a gift card in return for showing some of the gifts available at HomeSense

Cold And Flu And Poorly Children #Vickstricks

Poorly Children

Don’t you just hate it when you have poorly children? Our girls have been suffering from colds that seem to have lasted for weeks rather than days just lately.
Thankfully they haven’t been bad enough to keep them from school but it’s still awful to see them suffering from runny noses and horrible headaches.

Vick’s Vapo Rub

When a cold does knock them off their feet, I get them to do the same things my mum got me to do when I was younger and got sick.
The first thing she’d get me to do is get the duvet and pillow from my bed and snuggle down on the sofa. The Vicks Vapo rub would be brought out and she’d rub it on my chest and for the rest of the day, there would be ‘that smell’. I love that smell. It transports me right back to those times and even though I was sick and feeling terrible, I felt totally loved and cared for by my mum and dad.

Vick's Vapo Rub helps poorly children


One of the best things about being ill back then was the treat that was Lucozade! We were never allowed it unless we were ill! Mum would buy a bottle just for me. My brothers and sister always wanted some but weren’t allowed, which made me feel even more special! (Wasn’t so good when they were sick and I wasn’t allowed any of theirs, though!)
Another thing I remember is being able to watch daytime TV. I loved all the soaps! Falcon Crest and Sons and Daughters were two of my favourites. I still remember the song to Sons and Daughters….’Sons and Daughters, love and laughter. Tears and sadness and happiness’!
There was another soap set in Scotland called Take The Highroad. It wasn’t as good but I still watched it!

Vick’s First Defence

I’ve been waiting for them to pass the virus onto me because that’s usually how it goes as soon as anyone gets a cold in this house!
Somehow I seem to have been immune, though. When I do get a cold, I usually really suffer. It starts in the usual way, pain at the back of my nose leading to a runny nose. Blocked ears, headache, sore throat. Then it goes to my chest which in turns gives me a horrible cough and I end up losing my voice.

It’s been over a year since I last had a cold and *touch wood* I won’t be getting one anytime soon. However, if I do, I now have a bottle of Vick’s First Defence in the medicine box. Vick’s kindly sent me a care package for the family that contained a bottle of Vick’s First Defence, some cute finger puppets that Ella loves and a bedtime book that we’re going to read tonight 🙂

Vick's First Defence, finger puppets and The rabbit who wants to sleep book

Aiden (16) started with a cold yesterday so I got him to use Vick’s First Defence. It’s not completely gone yet but he wasn’t feeling as bad as expected today. He’s gone to college which is great. He’s at 99.9% attendance so I’m happy the First Defence has helped him keep his attendance record.

Laughter is the best medicine

We’ve all heard the saying, laughter is the best medicine and I believe it’s true. Vicks have created some videos to help you cheer your little one up when they ill.
All kids love magic tricks so here are a couple anyone can easily do 🙂

You can find more #VicksTricks magic tricks on YouTube and for more help from the experts when your child is ill, see the infographics below 🙂

Vick's Sickness cycle

Vick's Sickness cycle

This post is an entry for the #VicksTricks campaign


Refresh Your Home – HomeSense

Refresh Your Home

Whenever January rolls around, I always start feeling like I want to change things in the house. After the lights and glitter of December, January is cold and dull.
I want to refresh my home and make it colourful and bright, ready to welcome spring.

The super wonderful husband and I took a trip to HomeSense on Thursday. He likes to see what kitchen things they have and I like to look at everything else!

HomeSense artificial orchids Refresh your home

Cushions - HomeSense refresh your home

Shelf and hooks - HomeSense refresh your home

Pink vases - HomeSense refresh your home

Be Kind wall plaque - HomeSense refresh your home

Wall clock - HomeSense refresh your home

Wall hangings - HomeSense refresh your home

Door knobs - HomeSense refresh your home

We want to decorate the living room because it’s been plain magnolia since we moved in three years ago. Some colour needs injecting into the room but I’m not sure which colour to choose.

I have made a decision about our shower room, though. We want to get rid of the pink toilet, shower and sink but we need to save for those. I can’t go another year with the room as it is so I’ve picked grey as the main colour and we’ve started buying bits and pieces.

I’ve never picked grey before so I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing! I saw some lovely grey towels in HomeSense and I’m going to check on the web to find a nice wallpaper to match the colour and do a feature wall in there.

We’ve also changed the colour scheme in the kitchen. We had light blue accessories but because Ant chose to have a candy apple red KitchenAid mixer, we’ve changed the kettle, toaster and other things to red. I really like it 🙂


Please Note: We were sent a gift card in return for this post.

Essential Apps for the Everyday Student

Essential Apps for the Everyday Student

summer, communication, technology , education and teenage concept - group of students or teenagers with laptop and tablet pc computers at park or campus

Right after the joys of the Christmas holidays, students are quickly thrown back into class and back into the mind frame of learning in one fell swoop. The pressures of going back into learning gear can be challenging for anyone in University; luckily, there’s an app for that! I’ve listed the top apps that every student needs to succeed in the classroom and in real life.

1. Scribd

What’s more convenient than hitting up the library to scroll through endless books in search of your thesis topic? Doing the same thing from your phone, of course. Scribd is the pocket hub of information you need for any paper, project, or just for kicks. Audiobooks, news, magazines, documents and even sheet music can be found in this app, which also gives personalised recommendations based on the information you provide it with.

2. Self Control

Let’s face it; we’ve all fallen down the rabbit hole of social media feeds when we are at work or in class. Luckily, Self Control is there to keep you in check and focused! By entering your class times and study times, this app will temporarily block all notifications and will disable your usage of certain apps during the entered timeframe. Strict, but a definite productivity lifesaver!

3. Hungry House

Pizza in pizza box on table - essential apps for students Hungry Horse

When microwave meals and canned food has you craving something more, Hungry House will save the day. Search for meals based on cuisine type or restaurant, select your craving, and the hard part is done. This app will track your delivery from restaurant to your dorm and will remember your favourite go-to meals for next time.

4. DuoLingo

If you’ve opted in to take that Spanish class, or just are looking to expand your horizons with a new language, DuoLingo is your best mate. This app makes learning another language incredibly fun and engaging. Invite friends to download the app for friendly competition, create teams to learn a language with classmates, and browse through quick learning blocks that feel more like a game than education. Whether it is French, German, Italian, Dutch, or Swedish, DuoLingo has the database of information you need to get through each language lecture.

5. Mint

British money pound coins balanced in a precarious stack on a background of more money.

On campus, where money is a scarcity and often easily spent, Mint is an app that any University student can benefit from. Mint syncs your bank account information, informs you of your spending pitfalls and gives financial advice on how to stretch each pound. Think of it as a personal financial adviser, Mint will help you coast through your remaining University years without ending up penniless in the first semester.

This is a collaborative post