Do you like to win? Are you lucky?

Largely though wanting to engage with other mummy bloggers, I joined in competitions in the last year or so via the Britmums website.

The first win was a surprise and others followed in pleasing numbers. It is worth having a go and you can get some lovely parcels through the post to brighten your day.

My best win of the year was via Netmums where I won a family ticket to the Jack in the Beanstalk Pantomime. I liked this as everyone got to enjoy it.

So what am I saying? Well, in cash-strapped times, perhaps a little treat via competition wins now and again is a very good thing. You have to be in it to win it of course.

According to money-saving sites, some people set time aside to apply for competitions almost as if it is a job in itself. That is not for me but it might be for you.

With this new and improved blog, I hope to offer regular competitions so do keep checking back.

If you are a promoting a product or service, why not consider asking me to run a competition or reader offer? Just check out the “How To Contact Me” page at the top of this site. My readers are mainly mums based in the UK.

Wishing you all lots of luck on all fronts in 2012.

Do you do competitions? What is your experience of them?

Roscon de Reyes – Three Kings Cake recipe

(Makes a 15” cake)
Ingredients:
400g flour
3 eggs
100g butter
100g sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 litre milk

zest of 1 lemon
dried mixed peel for decorating

glace cherries for decorating
salt

250ml whipping cream for filling

Model king / small toy / butterbean for decoration (optional)

Method

1. Mix the baking powder 4 tbsp of the milk add this to 100g of the flour. Mix together until it forms a dough type mixture – cover with a clean tea towel and set aside until it doubles in size.

2. Place the rest of the flour (300g) in a bowl and add the eggs, sugar, pinch of salt, the rest of the milk and zest of the lemon. Mix well then add the butter and continue mixing for a further 2 mins then add the dough mixture – once a smooth dough has been achieved cover and set aside for 2 hours.

3. After 2hrs knead the mixture then put it in a ring shape on a greased baking tray. Decorate with the dried mixed peel and glace cherries. Brush with milk and bake in an oven at 160 degrees for 15-20 mins.

4. When cool, whip the cream and slice the bun in half. Fill it with whipped cream (you can hide the toy, model king or butter bean in the cream). Slice and serve.

Are you looking for a low fat and sugar muffin recipe?

Low fat and sugar muffin recipe

This recipe couldn’t be easier. Grated veg adds moisture and a little sweetness.

While we wouldn’t normally advocate cake for breakfast, in comparison to calorific pastries, these muffins are practically saintly. The low sugar content minimises the risk to you and your children’s teeth, starting the day as you mean to go on.

Low Fat And Sugar Muffin Recipe
Easily prepped and baked the day before, this is a delicious start to the day!

Best served with a side of relaxation, this recipe makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:

40g grated courgette

40g grated carrot

70mls milk

30ml sunflower oil

2 free-range eggs, beaten together

150g plain flour

30g soft brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Method

•Pre-heat your oven to 200c, and fill your muffin tray with 12 cases
•Stir the beaten eggs with the grated courgette and carrot, and add milk and sunflower oil.
•In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar and baking powder)
•Combine both mixtures together and mix well until you have a batter
•Divide the mixture between the 12 cases, and bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until baked (Test with a skewer – it should come out clean when they are ready!)
•Remove your muffins from the tin, and set aside to cool

Check out other healthy eating breakfast recipes.

 

I am back to blogging after the Christmas break. It actually feels quite weird and I feel ridiculously nervous about posting for some strange reason. So I am taking the easy option of joining with a blog hop as a step to dipping my toe in the blogging water.

Here are my Christmasey reasons to be cheerful.

1. Quality time with Him Indoors. It is great to see him relaxing and forgetting about work for a while.

2. A wonderful luxury cottage that we escaped to for the festive break. A peaceful zone away from any potential family conflicts. Full of squishy sofas, comfy beds and a kitchen well-equipped for Him Indoors to prepare the Christmas meal in. Yes, dear readers, I did not cook or wash up for 2 whole days.

3. A surprise meal out on Christmas Eve with Him Indoors and the children at a country pub that was new to us. The most wonderful food and yes, we will be back.

4. A long and relaxing Christmas Day with good presents, food and drink. Gordon’s Cookalong, children’s movies and the Christmas soaps playing their part in the day. For the first time ever, I even squeezed in a nap on the sofa on Christmas Day afternoon. Most importantly, a Christmas with the people I love most and am most loved by.

5. Two reindeers that decided to walk right up to the cottage on our final day. How very perfect!

6. A lovely red robbin that popped along just as we were handing the keys in to the cottage. My late Mum loved robins. She clearly approves of my “do it my way” Christmas.

7. A really relaxing Boxing Day again without any pressure.

8. Various shopping trips to play with that pre-Christmas tax refund. Biggest purchase was a new telly as I get lots of fun about spending in charity shops too. Also a wonderful trip to the Panto courtesy of my Netmums prize win.

9. Baking bonanzas with my daughter resulting in a giant gingerbread man, a gingerbread cottage, a Christmas cake and some animal shaped biscuits.

10. Progress in the house disposing of furniture we no longer want and clothing too. A very good feeling to say goodbye to those clothes that a much larger lady used to wear.

11. Progress in terms of arranging GP and dentist appointments, haircut, socks and knickers buying and other vital stuff.

12. Welcoming my Dad home from my brother’s house where he had a quiet but happy Christmas. Conversing well and laughing a lot too.

Twelve very good reasons to match the 12 days of Christmas.

Pop over to http://mdplife.blogspot.com to see other people celebrating their Christmas joys.

It is good to be back to blogging and I sense instinctively there is a very interesting New Year ahead.

Reasons To Get Your Car ServicedGetting your car serviced so that you always have a smooth and safe ride if vital and all too easy to overlook in the business of life. So today I am sharing some good reasons to get your car serviced.

Learning from experience

My Dad always emphasized the importance of car servicing and I noticed that he usually passed his MOT easily and never ran up huge car repair bills unlike boyfriends who neglected to get their cars serviced.

Cars are complicated

A car is a complicated machine with many different compoments  such as the brakes, battery and exhaust. We look after our bodies so they perform better and cars also need us to look after them well for greater performance.

Modern cars

Modern cars are often fitted with a computer chip (the ECU ) which manages various aspects of the vehicle. It also collects information on events that occur as the car is driven. Garages have diagnostic equipment which can read the logs of issues that the ECU has recorded and this may prompt actions which may prevent failure at a later date.

So what do you do when the dreaded “Service Required” message appears? You can check your mileage against the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals

Where to get your car serviced

Local garages often offer a better level of customer service and you can build up a great relationship with  them so they know you as an individual and get to know your car too.

For example you could visit Ossett Tyre House  to avail of their car exhaust repair service in West Yorkshire.

Do I need to take my car to the dealer?

If your car is under warranty it is usually conditional on following the manufacturer’s service schedule but that doesn’t mean you must go to the main dealer. There are many specialists in various makes who will follow the specifications set by the manufacturer and stamp your service book. A local garage may also do the same if they have the diagnostic equipment. It is well worth building a relationship with your local garage so they know you, your car and you know what to expect from them