-->

Food Review | Schwartz Authentic Chicken Casserole Mix*


As it is getting colder and darker there is nothing better than a hearty casserole to warm you up and make you feel cosy. Recently Schwartz got in touch to see if I would be interested in reviewing their Chicken Casserole mix, perfect timing or what?

I have never used one of their mixes before, and I found it so easy to follow the recipe. The mix has sweet garlic, fragrant sage and rosemary for a classic, hearty casserole full of flavour. All you have to add is chicken, carrots and an onion. The dish is 1 of your 5 a day per serving, has no artificial colours, no hydrogenated fat and no added preservatives or MSG.


Good food does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. This simple, homely casserole is made without a lengthy shopping list of exotic fresh ingredients or hours of precise slicing and chopping.

This is a mix that you will return to time and time again because it is one of the quickest and tastiest chicken casserole recipes, Since chicken is a relatively meat, it's ideal for family suppers. You can also play around with ingredients to meet your personal taste.

The recipe states that it should place in the oven, however I threw everything into the slow cooker on low for 4 hours. Came home and added some dumplings, 20 minutes later the dish ready to serve and it tasted delicious. 




Perfect when you have a hungry child after her swimming lesson, the mix serves four people. Darcy really enjoyed it and actually asked for seconds, my child is always hungry! As there is only 2 of us, there was plenty to have the next day.

The Schwartz mixes are available to buy at Tesco for 85p RRP and are currently on offer for 4 for £2. And with Christmas round the corner we are all in need of some time-saving recipes or last minute dinner ideas when unsuspected visitors arrive. Now is the perfect time to stock up on some Schwartz mixes.

You might also like Quorn speedy creamy pasta recipe


AD this is a collaborative post

Your Guide to Picking the Best Credit Card for 2020*



With 2020 around the corner, you're looking for a fresh start for everything — including your credit card. You may wonder which one to get with so many choices on the market. How can you choose the right one to suit your income and spending habits? Luckily, knowledge and foresight can help you answer this question. Keep reading to discover factors to look for when selecting your credit card.

Credit Score
Your credit score decides what kind of card you can apply for. Individuals with high scores can apply for cards with higher credit limits and better rewards. Factors like payment history and credit diversity determine your rating. Always send payments on time and open multiple credit lines if possible.

Types of Cards There's no shortage of cards to pick, and arguably, your major task is choosing the winner. Popular varieties include secured, unsecured and business. Secured cards set a limit based on however much money you deposit into a credit line, such as $300. You'll receive your money back when you build your score and prove to be a trustworthy spender. Unsecured cards don't require you to deposit your own money — they work like regular credit cards.

Business credit cards let corporate or small companies spend money and earn rewards on things like travel mileage. Small business cards allow starting entrepreneurs to build their credit history until they can upgrade to corporate. Every card issuer defines "business" differently — ensure yours fits the bill before applying.

Annual Percentage Rate
If you carry a balance each month, your APR determines how much interest you'll pay. A low APR rate is better for those who rarely pay off their entire bill — you won't have to deal with added fees. The card you choose will either have a fixed or variable rate, which defines how much interest will accrue. If your chosen card has a variable rate, you may have to pay different interest amounts depending on the transactions you make.

Credit Limit
The credit limit determines how much you can spend. A limit of $400 means you can make up to $400 in charges — likewise for $10,000 or $20,000. Your credit history and income level determine this number. The more you can afford to pay off, the higher you can set the limit. Your chosen limit should be reasonable compared to your income. Having too much leeway with spending can cause you to go above your means and take longer to clear your debt.

Extra Fees 

Consider the additional fees you'll encounter as you use your card. Most people are familiar with late fees, but you also have the annual fee, balance transfer costs, convenience charges and more. You'll pay additional money for out-of-country transactions or payments surpassing your credit limit. These expenses make it clear why using your card wisely is crucial. If you manage your debt and consistently pay on time, you can avoid many of the higher costs.

Apply for Your Ideal Credit Card
Choosing the right card can be straightforward if you know what to look for. Nail down your preferences, and you'll be ready to apply in no time. Celebrate 2020 with a new card and a new lease on life.

Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass

Image Credit Gail Harland.
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs' follows the adventure of a boy called Flinn and his friends as they enter into a world where they are suddenly faced with pirates and dinosaurs!

The trio are in the middle of rehearsing for their school play when Mr T the T-Rex, appears and kidnaps them, forcing the kids to hunt for the secretive Magic Cutlass; a sword that grants the holder any wish.

Image credit Gail Harland.
What I didn't know is that the play is based on the award-winning book by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto. Do not worry, you do not have to be a fan of the book to enjoy the show

Image credit Gail Harland.

Image credit Gail Harland.

Our favourite part of the show  was the underwater disco, the use of sound, light and puppetry was perfect. The children in the audience were captured.

There is music throughout the show with catchy tunes and simple choreography, which you will find yourself humming to yourself on the way home. The show is 60 minutes long, which is perfect for the under 5s. 

Image Credit Gail Harland


Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass is currently on at the Spiegeltent, Christmas in Leicester Square, until 5 Jan 2020. You can find out more and book tickets through their website.

For details of future tour dates please visit the Les Petits Theatre Company website.

You might also like our thoughts on the
Cinderella - The Rockin' Panto

*We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review

Cinderella – The Rockin’ Panto



One of our Christmas traditions is to see a Panto, so when we were invited down last week to the artsdepot in Finchley to see Cinderella – The Rockin’ Panto how could we say no?

It's not easy being the Mayor, Baron Hardup, with Prince Charming due in town for a Royal visit and a staff of only two - his beautiful, feisty daughter Cinderella and the loyal and loveable Buttons. But when his lonely hearts ad is answered by the mysterious Rubella De Zees who brings along her two dangerous daughters Hernia and Verruca, it seems he's far more than she bargained for...for in Panto Land anything goes.
Image credit: Giulia Delprato
Director Peter Rowe has put a twist to traditional cinderella. It is non stop fun for the best part of three hours. Not to worry there's a interval in between which split the show up nicely. 

Cinderella – The Rockin’ Panto is everything a Panto should be and more. The music, the stellar dance performances, lots of interaction with the audience and you could tell each and every one of the cast loved being up on the stage. 

Image credit: Giulia Delprato

Image credit: Giulia Delprato

Image credit: Giulia Delprato
The show is perfect for all the family with classic slapstick comdey and a few added adult jokes thrown in for good measure.


Artsdepot has a fantastic reputation for putting on outstanding pantos. This year’s effort, will literally have you laughing non stop. A truely well polished performance.

Image credit: Giulia Delprato
 Cinderella - The Rockin' Panto is currently on at the artsdepot until 5 Jan 2020. We are planning on watching it with a few family members before the end and highly recommend a visit to see the show. You can find out more and book tickets through their website.

You might also like our thoughts on the Winter Wonderland
 

*We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review

5 Tips For a Stress-free Christmas When You Have a Chronic Illness*


*AD this is a collaborative post
 
It's the most wonderful time of the year, but Christmas can also take a lot out of you, especially when you're having to cope with the unpredictability of a Chronic Illness.


Christmas can be a tough time of year for a lot of people, but particularly for those living with chronic pain. If you are concerned about coping during the festive period, read my 5 top tips for managing your Chronic Pain.

Plan in advance

If you leave everything to the last-minute, it is bound to have serious implications on your health and you will be unable to enjoy the big day with the family. Be like Santa and make a list, one for food, gifts and cards. Setting targets for each list will be you will not be rushing about trying to do everything in one go bringing on a flare up. It is also a way to pace yourself.

Schedule in rest days

Christmas can be a stressful time, with a lot of rushing around. Try to avoid this as much as possible and allow your body to rest. Knowing you have rest days to look forward to will mean that put too much stress on your body. 

Don't be afraid to say no
Christmas is a very sociable time however when the invitations start coming in, consider if you will have the energy to attend. It’s OK to simply say “no.” And stick to it

Order groceries and presents on-line
People who suffer from Chronic pain suffer from numbness, aching and tingling When exposed to the cold. To cut the chances of a flare up stay indoors and do as much as your shopping at home.

You can find amazing deals on-line by using voucher codes and promotional discounts, whilst be sat in the comfort of your executive chair and avoid the hustle and bustle of the Christmas mayhem shop.


Make sure you book your groceries slot as soon as possible, as they do get booked up very quickly. Especially the few days before Christmas.

Don't be afraid to ask for help
Chronic pain has a tendency to make you feel alone and misunderstood. Whilst some people will find it hard to understand the daily struggle. Christmas is all about family, so don’t be afraid of asking yours for help! If you are struggling to get everything done for Christmas, or you are suffering from a flare up, see if your loved ones can ease the load for you.

Georgina from She Might Be Loved has put together an amazing Christmas guide for disabled people. If you are stuck on what to buy a love one with a chronic illness or disability.

If you like this post, you will definitely love Tips for a better sleep

Winter Wonderland 2019

Each year Darcy and I sit down and write a Christmas bucket list. One of the things on it, was to visit Winter Wonderland, as we have not been for a couple of years. So last weekend we headed down to Hyde Park to see what it had to offer.

As always, we travelled by public transport, there are a few stations including Green Park station on Jubilee Line or Piccadilly line or Victoria Line which are a short walk away. You can also reach Winter Wonderland via Hyde Park Underground station, however it can become very busy during weekends and evenings.

We arrived at about 10.30 am. It took about 2 minutes to queue to get in. Once our bags were checked we were in.


 

First stop was to watch the Mr Men & Little Miss show which is perfect for kids under 5 The show features every ones favourite Mr. Men and Little Miss characters in Happyland, and there is even an appearance from Little Miss Christmas herself.


 
When we last attended Darcy wasn't tall enough for most of the rides she wanted to go on. Now she is tall enough to go on most of the rides herself, which made both of us very happy. Most of the children rides are between 2 and 4 tokens. There are booths dotted around Winter Wonderland where you can buy tokens for rides. You’re able to use both cash and card.






There are plenty of food and drink places. Darcy ate her heart out, a unikitty hot chocolate which tasted as good as it looked, Cheese bratwurst and no trip is complete to Winter Wonderland without some Churros.





 
To give our feet a rest we headed over to Zippo Circus which is a fantastic and animal free circus, based in the theatre-style MegaDome. There are plenty of seats and is heated so you can beat the winter chill. The show is fun-packed from start to finish and, at about 45 minutes, is the perfect length for little ones.

Zippos Christmas Circus at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland runs until 5th January 2020. Tickets should be pre-booked to avoid disappointment 






 

The Magical Ice Kingdom, which has adopted the classic Dickensian 'A Christmas Carol' as its theme. Make sure you wrap up, we were not ready at all! We only lasted 10 minutes due to it being freezing, however it was an amazing 10 minutes. It's beautiful and i cannot get over how talented and skilled the ice sculptors are. There is also an ice slide that everyone no matter their age will love.

My battery rand out half way through the day but it was a blessing in disguise. As I truly got to enjoy our day out. I am lucky that I have a family that loves spending time together.

Tips and Hints

Winter Wonderland is free to enter but certain attractions become fully booked during peak periods. Buy your tickets in advance to make the most of your experience.

Get there early, it is busiest during weekends and evenings. We arrived just after 10am and there was plenty of space to move about in and we did not have to wait long to get on the rides.

Set a budget beforehand going, as your money will just disappear. I gave Darcy £10 before arriving and she knew once her money was finish that was that.

Go contactless, everywhere accept card payment. Which means you can leave your purse at home. You can also pay for Winter Wonderland rides via contactless payment or by using tokens, which are available at the token booths dotted around the site.

There are loads of stalls in festively wooden huts selling things from Christmas decorations to wooden things to chocolate to sweets to clothes and candles and all sorts of other wintery things.

Winter Wonderland was fun but just to warn you it’s busy (very hard to find spots to sit down) and full on. If you or your little ones prefer chill and space, definitely bare that in mind before going

Winter Wonderland will be open every day from 10am – 10pm except Christmas Day until 5th January 2020.

*We were kindly invited to the family press day of winter wonderland by Zippos Circus and had a lovely day!

You might also like Our thoughts on the must see family Christmas show Stick Man

Why It Is Important To Keep Kids Learning Over The Festive Season*



We are officially in December, the Christmas countdown is finally here. While all children should enjoy this festive time of year, a break from school doesn’t have to mean a break from learning.

The Christmas period can be a constant juggling act. With days outs, or you may be travelling abroad or visiting relatives. All of this at the same time as encouraging your child to do their homework which they have brought home from school and keeping their motivation and enjoyment of learning as much as possible.

There are numerous ways you can encourage your child's learning over the Christmas time, without them even realising.

Keeping a diary

They can record what they get up to each day, people they meet, anything new they've learnt, etc. The diary will also be a nice keepsake for them full of memories. It is also a fantastic way to help to them practice their handwriting.

Reading
Your child should continue to read whilst off school. A trip to the library is a great way to explore new reading material. To make it more fun you could always look for Christmas theme books. There is time to do a Christmas book advent calendar for the 12 days of Christmas.

Day trips
Going to see the Christmas lights, a nature walk or a visit to a museum is a low-cost way for children to have fun whilst learning. Have a look on Pinterest for free printable that you can take along with you.

Play board games
Board games such as snake and ladders, Scrabble and Monopoly encourage skills such as problem solving and spelling. They are also great learning resources. English/Language arts and maths. They all go from “boring” subjects to “can we do that again tomorrow” subjects when you’re playing. It is also a way to keep them away from the TV and computers and have some quality family time.

Get creative
Encourage your child to use their creativity and knowledge to build projects from household materials. In doing so they will learn new skills, practise existing ones, and at the end, have something to be proud of.They can also make lovely Christmas presents for families and friends.

If you feel your child needs more of a structure learning then looking for English tutors in London is one way to keep up their learning. Private tuition could help them not simply thrive in school, but also enjoy their lessons without fear of not completely understanding.

UK Bloggers Christmas Competition


Now Halloween is over, We're officially allowed to talk about Christmas!! I don't know about you, but I am excited for the lights, the decorations, singing, pretty gift wrapping. And mostly, or more so the energy of ‘coming togetherness’.

To share my excitement for the most wonderful time of the year, I have got together with a bunch of lovely bloggers to host a Christmas giveaway.

So if you fancy getting a Christmas freebie then you can enter the competition below.





This Christmas, some of the UK Bloggers have come together to offer you the chance to win five Virginia Hayward The Magic of Christmas Hampers. Five lucky winners will win a Christmas hamper delivered before Christmas. Keep reading to find out how you can enter.

Who are the bloggers behind the giveaway?

The UK Bloggers are a group of bloggers, podcasters, and influencers in the UK who are passionate about helping you to improve your life. We are a mix of lifestyle, parenting, food and money bloggers. Whether you want to make more money, find recipes, read about parenting or other lifestyle topics, we are your people. Here's who we are:




Savings 4 Savvy Mums | My Beautiful Mess | Rachel Bustin | Soph Obsessed | Charlotte Musha | The Somerset Foodie | Odd Hogg | Keiran Crying | Thrifty Chap | Bronni | Yorkshire Wonders




Earning By The Sea | Welsh Mum | Mind Over Money Matters | My Money Cottage | Bargain Bunny | Slimming Violet | The Life Of Dee | Tuppennys Fireplace | My Three and Me | Side Hustle Directory




Daily Deals Blog | Chilling With Lucas | Tammy Mum | Whinge Whinge Wine | Big Family Organised Chaos | Midlands Traveller | I Always Believed In Futures | Melanies Fab Finds | Really Missing Sleep | Life Loving | The Money Whisperer



Ruth Makes Money | Jupiter Hadley | At Home With Kayla | Our Adventurehood | Looking After Your Pennies | The Free From Mummy | You Have To Laugh | Attachment Mummy | A Rose Tinted World | Mighty Mama Bear | Parenting Phils



I Beat Debt | Run Jump Scrap | The Parent Game | Accidental Hipster Mum | Mummy Saver Money Maker | Miss Many Pennies | Savvy In Somerset | Dolly Dowsie | Yeah Lifestyle | Just Average Jen | Pain In The Head




Raising Moonbows | Lindy Loves | Boxnip | Me Be Geek | Mrs Pinch | Thrifty Husband | Pounds and Sense | Boring Mother | A Mum Reviews |




My Balancing Act | Emma Drew | Make Money Without A Job | Bump and Beyond | Life In A Break Down | Mummy Vs Work | Lisa's Notebook | Christmas Magic And Markets | 



For The Family | The Money Saving Mum | Three Little Zees | Family Travel With Ellie | Two Plus Dogs  | At Home And Online | Adventures Of A Yorkshire Mum | The Willow Tree |

The prizes


You can win one of five Virginia Hayward The Magic Of Christmas Hampers.


The rules

The giveaway is open until midnight on 17th November 2019, when the five winners will be chosen. 

The giveaway is open to UK residents only.

Winners will be contacted by email from laura@savings4savvymums.co.uk

Should the Christmas hampers be out of stock then a suitable replacement will be found. 

How to enter

You can enter by completing as many of the Rafflecopter widget entry options below as you like. You can enter multiple times by clicking on each blog link above and entering via their own widget. All entries will then be put together and five winners will be randomly chosen. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Easy Halloween Crafts for Kids with Vikings*


These quick and easy Halloween kids crafts can be made in under 30 minutes and best of all no special tools or skills are required, so ANYONE can make these.






We had lots of fun making these quick and easy Halloween crafts, with a package of craft supplies we were sent from Viking.

Viking is one of the largest suppliers of office stationary in the world, selling everything from photocopying paper to coffee. Not only can you stock up on office supplies you can also find lots of creative items to get crafty at home with too.








Halloween cards

kids will love-making their own hand print ghost, hand print pumpkin and hand prints Frankenstein! And the best part is they are really easy to make!

What you will need;
 

Colour card
Black Sharpie
Googly eyes
Glue
Scissors
Pencil

Frankenstein
1. Fold your green card in half. Trace the hand print so that the pinky is on the folded part of the card. Cut out the hand print being sure to leave the pinky part uncut so that the card will open at this part.

2. Paint or use a sharpie to colour the top of the hand black to make the hair. Add some zig zag lines in the hair when painting.

3. Draw on the eyebrows and mouth.

4. Glue the googly eyes on top of the eyebrows.

Pumpkin
1. Fold your orange card in half. Trace the hand print so that the wrist part is at the folded part of the card. Cut out the hand print so that the wrist part is not cut and the card will open up at this part.

2. Draw the pumpkin eyes, nose and mouth using a black sharpie.

3. Cut out a small stem from a darker green and glue down.

4. Cut out a small strip of lighter green and wrap around a pencil to make it curl. Then glue down to the stem.

Ghost
1. Fold a piece of white card.

2. Trace your hand print so that the pinky is at the folded part of the paper. Cut out your hand print leaving the folded side where the pinky is so the card will open up. Watch the video tutorial at the bottom of this post for full details on how it opens!

3. Draw on a mouth and eyes with a black sharpie.






Halloween Mummies

This string wrapped mummy craft is perfect for keeping the kids busy. Try hanging several of them up together on a string to make a spooky display.

You will need;

Card
String
Googly eyes
Tape
Glue
Scissors
Pencil

1. Trace the template on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. You can also free draw a shape, like i did.
 
2. Use Glue Dots or tacky glue to glue on your googly eyes.
  3. Tape the end of your string to the back of the card and begin wrapping the yarn around the face of the mummy, leaving a space open for the eyes. Continue wrapping the mummy all the way down and wrap each of the legs.

4. When you are finished wrapping your mummy craft, tape the end of the yarn onto the back of the mummy.



Halloween masks

These Halloween masks are an easy and inexpensive Halloween craft for kids.

What you will need;

Mask template
Cardboard
String
Glitter
Glue

1. Download or make your own template and draw on card or other heavy weight paper so they won’t tear

2. Once you cut them out, let your imagination go wild and design them how you like

3. Punch holes for the string. Thread elastic string through the holes on the side and the masks are ready to go.

A big thank you to Viking for providing us our Halloween package, we had loads of fun getting our craft on.

If you like this then you might like these Halloween pumpkin carving tips and tricks