#EcoverLaundry Challenge Trying Ecover For The First Time

Recently I decided to join in with the Ecover/BritMums #EcoverLaundry challenge to test out their new non-bio laundry detergent. Even though I have switched a lot of my cleaning products to eco-friendly alternatives I was yet to try a laundry detergent.

Ecover

If I’m honest, I didn’t think a non chemical detergent would stand a chance against a very messy toddler or an equally messy teenage boy. I also thought the scent wouldn’t last as long as traditional detergents. I am constantly of the hunt for a washing solution that still has that lovely just washed smell when you take the clothes out of the wardrobe.

Ecover’s new non-bio formula is now even tougher on stains yet is still gentle enough to use on sensitive skin. It is dermatologically tested, plant-based and delivers spotless results even on a cold wash. Ecover have been pioneering a greener clean since 1979, I can’t believe I have never tried one of their products until now, shame on me!

My Thoughts On Ecover non-bio detergent

I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised with how well it tackled stains, especially the harder to remove stains like tomato based sauces, why do toddlers have to smear that everywhere?? Our clothes came out the wash lovely and soft too, a must in my eyes for baby clothes.

We were sent the new naturally inspired fragrance, lavender & sandalwood. Not a fragrance I would have considered buying myself but it smells so nice, and more importantly, I found our clothes remained smelling fresh after being hung. The fragrance is a lovely calming scent, perfect for bed linen.

The bottle seems to be lasting ages and I’m really enjoying using it, which is a good job considering how much laundry I seem to do these days, where does it all come from????

This product is definitely one I would repurchase and would recommend to friends.

 

Amy x

*This post is an entry for BritMums #EcoverLaundry challenge, sponsored by Ecover.co.uk

 

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Meal Plan Monday 25/09/17 Family Meals

This weeks meal plan for a family of four – 2 adults, 1 teenager and a toddler.

Monday

Dolmio chicken tray bake sun dried tomato and basil served with cous cous. This is a new sauce that I found on offer in Tesco at the minute. I love making tray bakes, they are great for shoving any left over veg in that needs using up too.

Tuesday

Birdseye fish burgers, chips and peas. Ava will have fishfingers. I like to do a freezer meal once a week to keep the food bill down and use up some of the food lurking in there!

Wednesday

Sausage and bean casserole and crusty bread. I always look forward to the weather changing so as I can start putting this dish back on the menu. It is a much loved recipe we have been cooking for years, plus if you chop the veg up small they should be well hidden in the yummy tomato sauce and will hopefully go unnoticed by the tiny veg dodgers.

Thursday

Homepride tomato and bacon pasta bake with garlic bread. A firm favourite with everyone in the house. The sauces are currently on offer in Tesco’s.

Friday

Fajita night. I’ve bought and extra mild fajita kit as sometimes I find the others a bit spicy for Ava.

Saturday

Chicken Korma Fakeaway. Chicken korma made with Pataks korma paste. I will serve it with rice, naan breads, poppadoms and chutneys for everyone to help themselves.

Sunday

Chicken chargrills and potato wedges. I am out for dinner on Sunday so Andy and the kids will just grab something quick from the freezer.

This week I have purchased the majority of my food shopping online. I will do a top up shop midweek for fresh items.

Don’t forget to check out my other meal plans for inspiration too.

Amy x

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#HealthyRedMeat Challenge, Healthy Cottage Pie – Toddler Approved

Recently I signed up to a BritMums blogging #healthyredmeat challenge, they challenged a group of parenting bloggers to create a family recipe using lean red meat to inspire others to include red meat in their family diet. Red meat has been under the spotlight recently and as a result less families are eating it. The meat advisory panel have partnered with BritMums to promote red meat as part of a healthy diet. Red meat provides a range of nutrients that toddlers and children are often low on, such as iron,zinc,selenium,potassium and B vitamins. Public health nutritionist and mother, Dr Emma Derbyshire recommends including a small portion of red meat a few times a week into your child’s diet to help bridge the nutrient gaps and maintain good health through childhood and beyond.

I’m guilty of rarely eating red meat and as I do the meal planning it means nobody else eats it either. At my last midwife appointment it was found that my Iron levels are low and I know incorporating red meat into our meals will help with that. My sons favourite meal is cottage pie and I never make it for him, he is super happy to hear it’s on the meal plan this week!

Red meat based meals don’t have to be unhealthy, in fact this tried and trusted recipe was originally from the hairy dieters cookbook. It’s great for slimming world followers as the only thing that needs to be ‘syned’ is the half fat creme fraiche and any cooking oil you use.

The recipe is jam packed with veg, something my toddler hates, but as it’s all cooked in a tasty sauce she doesn’t notice and scoffs the lot! * if you little one is really fussy you could always cook the mince and the sauce ingredients separately then blend the sauce so as no veg can be detected.

Not only is this recipe healthy it is also very cost effective. I buy a large pack of mince and either make 2 cottage pies and freeze one for another time, or this week I plan to halve the mince and make spaghetti bolognese, which uses the same veg as the cottage pie. That’s 2 nutritious meals to feed a family of 4 plus plenty leftovers to freeze into toddler sized portions for around £10.

#healthyredmeat

#Healthyredmeat – Cottage pie with added veg

Ingredients

Lean minced beef

2 medium onions, chopped

2 medium carrots, diced

2 celery sticks, finely sliced

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

2tbsp tomato purée

500ml beef stock, made with 1 stock cube

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Leeks potato topping

750g floury potatoes

2 slender leeks, trimmed and cut into 1cm slices

150g half fat crème fraiche

Method

  • Place a large non stick pan over medium heat. Add the mince, onions, celery and Carrots and cook for 10 mins until lightly coloured, breaking the meat up as it cooks
  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and mixed herbs. Season. Bring to the boil, cover loosely and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Whilst the mince is cooking, boil the potatoes until tender,drain and pop back in the pan with the Crème fraiche, season to taste and mash until smooth, set aside. Heat some oil in a non stick frying pan and fry the leeks for 5 mins until softened but not coloured then fold into the mash.
  • When the beef mixture has been cooking for 40 mins, it’s time to assemble. Pour the beef into a 2ltr shallow dish and top with the mash.

 

If you are eating this straight away, preheat your oven to 20°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7, bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Or if you are making this ahead which I always do, let the pie cool, cover and then put in the fridge. Cook from chilled in a preheated oven for 40-50 minutes until the pie is piping hot throughout.

*if the beef mixture is too runny you can thicken it with 4tsp of cornflour mixed with cold water and stir through the mix until it thickens. I’ve never found it to be too runny though.

Verdict

The teenager thought it was awesome

Hubby said I would get the Paul Hollywood handshake (that’s a Great British Bake Off reference not anything dodgy!)

Toddler shovelled it in at record speed and didn’t once throw a piece of unwanted veg at me. Success!!

Amy x

*This post is an entry for BritMums #HealthyRedMeat, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel

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Meal Plan Monday – 11/9/17 Family Meals

I love meal planning at this time of year, mainly because I love stews, pies and all the yummy comfort food associated with the colder seasons. I also find I’m able to reduce my food bill as a lot of meals, especially stews can be made in bigger portions so there’s always plenty of leftovers. If you would like to know how I meal plan for my family on a budget you can read my post here

 

Meal plan 11/9/17

Monday – Cottage pie with lots of veg inside, Ava is a veg dodger but she will happily eat it if she cant see it, sneaky! I will freeze some leftovers in mini portions for my toddler and Andy will take some to work with him for lunch.

Tuesday – Spaghetti bolognese with hidden veg in the sauce. The base for this is the same as the cottage pie I make except the herbs, so I will buy a large pack of mince and cook them up at the same time. I will freeze the leftovers in mini portions for my toddler

Wednesday – Sweet and sour chicken using a Sharwoods sauce (they are on offer in Tesco at the minute) Served with rice.

Thursday – Jacket potatoes with cheese beans and coleslaw. Ava doesn’t like jacket potatoes (how can you not?!) so she will have one of the frozen portions of cottage pie.

Friday – 3 ingredient slow cooker Hawaiian chicken and rice, I found the recipe on Pinterest

Saturday – Sort of home made pizza night. I’m going to buy some ready made pizza bases and let everyone top them with their favourite toppings. I would like to attempt to make my own bases but my last attempt was disastrous and inedible!

Sunday – Roast chicken dinner. Don’t hate me but I can’t stand roast dinners so they don’t occur very often in our house, the teenager has been begging me to do one for weeks though.

I plan to do my food shopping online at Tesco’s, this way I can stick to my meal plan and shopping list and hopefully not overspend on all the naughty things that tempt me instore.`

 

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Bedroom Makeover Wishlist – Curtains,Bed linen and Furniture

When we first bought our house, our bedroom was the first room to get decorated and I was so in love with it. Fast forward 5 years and its looking pretty shabby, the wallpaper had started peeling, the paint is not quite the colour it started off as, I’ve fallen out of love with our bed and the bed linen and curtains have bleach splatters all over them from where I went cleaning crazy at the end of my last pregnancy! A bedroom makeover is definitely needed.

Bedroom Makeover Plan

We have stripped the wallpaper and plan to paint the room white, my colour scheme will be white, grey, blush pink and possibly rose gold accents. I have been trawling pinterest and my favourite homeware shops for inspiration and I have compiled a little wishlist of furniture and furnishings I would love to get once the decorating side of things is complete.

Bedroom Makeover Wishlist

Next Paris Double Bed

I’m sooo desperate for a bed with a padded headboard, especially with the new baby on the way. Trying to get comfy feeding a newborn leaning against a metal bed is pretty impossible I found.

bedroom makeover wishlist

Canterbury Duvet Set – The Yorkshire Linen Company

I love the colour and pattern of this duvet set, especially the little hints of pink.

The Range Seersucker White Duvet Set

I know I might be being optimistic here with 3 kids but there’s just something so luxurious and hotel like about white bedding.

 

Hemnes Bedside Tables

technically there is nothing wrong with our bedside tables but they are quite bulky and I have a tendency to store unnecessary crap in them. My vision for the bedroom makeover is to have a more minimalist look, these would be perfect.

 

Eclipse Blackout Curtains In Silver – The Yorkshire Linen Company

Blackout curtains are a must for anyone with a baby or toddler especially when it comes to daytime naps, they block out light and reduce sound for the outside world meaning your little one will get a restful sleep. Blackout curtains have been a lifesaver for us over the summer months as they block out the sun keeping our room cooler. Not only are the great in the summer months, they also are great at keeping the heat in in the colder months, which is essential for us as we will have a newborn sleeping in our room from December! As well as being practical they are also a stylish way to finish a room and bring your colour scheme together. To get blackout curtains for your home, head to  Yorkshire Linen’s e-store

Dunelm Copper Desk Lamp

I love the look of these, they will add a nice accent colour to the room, and I love that they don’t take up much space.

 

Roxford Ombre Throw – The Yorkshire Linen Company

As the nights are starting to turn colder I love the idea of having a nice cosy throw on the bed, the colours of this Ombre throw from www.yorkshirelinen.com will fit perfectly with my colour scheme.

 

Accessories

I want to keep accessories to a minimum really as I want to create a calm uncluttered space. I plan to put some black and white wedding photographs up above our bed and add in a plant of some fresh flowers.

I’m looking forward to it all being done and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Amy x

*This is a collaberative post with Yorkshire Linen. All opinions however are very much my own.

 

 

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