Thursday, 13 February 2014

Fancy Winning A Million Pounds?

Yes that's right! You read it correctly: Fancy Winning A Million Pounds? We've just heard about this amazing competition that's running at the moment with Walkers Crisps.
"Do Us A Flavour and Win £1 Million"
It's that simple!
All you have to do is come up with a juicy flavour that Walkers add to their portfolio as a Limited Edition bag and you could win yourself £1 Million!

If you hurry you can grab a bag in store or just click on Walkers website and check out the full competition details.

So what do you need to do to enter the Competition?

OK we'll summarise the competition briefly here, but to be sure of the full rules, do check out the terms and conditions over at Walkers. Don't take our word for it.

 1) Choose one of the six “home grown ingredients” (the “home grown ingredients”) listed below, which you want your flavour to include :
I. Cheese from Somerset
II. Tomatoes from the Vale of Evesham
III. Aberdeen Angus Beef from Scotland
IV. Sour cream from Dorset
V. Chicken from Devon
VI. Pork from Norfolk,

2) then use your creativity to tell us what your new crisp flavour is

3) then submit an image that best shows the inspiration behind your new flavour idea. Think of things like creativity, talkability, deliciousness, originality, practicality and lastly variety - these are just some of the criteria that the flavour idea will be judged on.

Remember, you must have the necessary rights and consents for the image you submit, and also any parental consent if any children appear in the image.

4) Then enter via one of the routes listed on the Walkers website.

Hurry though, the competition closes at 23:59 on 5 March 2014, so get your taste buds and creativity flowing, and come up with some tantalising concoction that'll win over the judges!

Fingers and toes crossed for you, and let us know if you rise to the challenge and enter!

So what's your favourite flavour of crisps anyway?

The Lunchbox Lady x

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Positive Reflections and True Values - Chiltern Open Air Museum

Just before Christmas we were invited to the Chiltern Open Air Museum for a family day of fun. I was keen for the children to appreciate and experience how the locals in bygone years had celebrated Christmas. In some ways the modern world is becoming way too materialistic and I was keen for the children to see another way of life, a life where people had fewer possessions, smaller houses, but where things were calmer with no TV, no computers, no GAMING, just radio and chatter and song! I was keen for the kids to be reminded and learn to appreciate what they do have.

I know Christmas has passed, but the place really struck a chord with us that day and it's not long until the museum re-opens for its school visits from 24 February and to the public at the end of March!

So back to December...
It was a chilly and damp Sunday afternoon, a day that's best spent tucked inside warming yourself by an open fire, drinking hot chocolate and eating freshly baked cake. Instead we spent it at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, the kids sipping on hot chocolate and the adults sipping warm apple cider, listening to the local volunteers singing carols and tunes from bygone years.

There were numerous workshops running throughout the day, each marked on the map for easy reference, so we could leisurely wander down and take part with whatever workshop we wished.
Always loving any craft project, we started by learning how they made decorations out of pine cones with the clever use of ribbon and glitter.

Safeguarding these treasures the kids had made, they were then determined to show their father the little candle workshop they'd attended last summer and to make a new bees wax candle out of flat sheets to take home for the mantel piece.

With crafts under our belts, we also observed in the little prefab houses that paper chains were often made with chopped up strips of old magazines, strung up in their sparse homes with string

Unfortunately we just missed the last demonstration of how they baked and decorated simple yet delicious biscuits with pumpkin seeds and nuts to make them look bright and festive, but our spirits were lifted with the smell of freshly baked biscuits that still lingered in Leagreave cottage!

As darkness fell, we then ran over for the last lantern show, a slide show of "Goldilocks and the 3 bears" to entertain the family. Imagine a kind of bunker, with large white sheets draped across one wall, providing the "screen" for the show, and then families and children all huddled together on small wooden benches, facing the screen, ready for the final viewing, all comfortable and happy watching the slides being changed by an elderly gentleman and a dear lady reading out loud the story we all know so well.

This was a special day laid on to close the year's celebrations at the Open Air Museum but do check with the website as it will be open again soon on 29 March 2014 and, with the run of the Bank Holidays, there will be lots of opportunities for the family to take part in the many activities outdoors.  They also run school visits that are closely linked to some of the curriculum topics taught in school.

The highlight of the day for the children was playing with the marble pin ball game that was in the 1940's home. You can just see it to the bottom right of the photo, to the right of the bed...

They still talk about making one, and I am sure we will.  So do check back...

The Lunchbox Lady x

PS A belated happy New Year to you all and sorry for the silence! x

Monday, 9 December 2013

Fun Lunch Box Idea - Mattessons Double Dippers

Some shocking new research is out that tells us where people eat these days... The sample size is 2000 people but it sure does give an indication into our eating habits in the 21st century.  It covers questions such as how many meals we eat a day, to where exactly we tend to eat.

Would you believe it, some snack on the school run, at the desk, on the tube, on the bus, that's fair enough, but then I read on to discover what people are doing whilst eating. And eating whilst on the loo comes in at 4th position. Ugh.. And that's not great is it?

To help combat our snacking habits with healthier options, Mattessons have just launched their brand new Double Dippers in a load of different varieties.
We were sent to try these out over the weekend. The kids loved the cheese and the italian or mediterranean flavours whilst hubbie loved the ones with that extra kick, the thai and the tikka! My favourite was the italian.

These are stocked at all good supermarkets, so you can't miss them. They'll be in the chiller cabinets and are a handy pack to give you that treat in your lunch box. And if you want to grab yourself a money off voucher, head over to the Mattessons website

So come on, spill the bins, where's your favourite place to have a snack, and what do you tend to be doing whilst eating?!

The Lunchbox Lady x

Disclosure: We received these samples to try. This is a sponsored post.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Dream Holiday - Become a MarkWarnerMum

It's this time of year that many start thinking summer holidays and what to do as a family. For some they manage a February break and head for the ski slopes, for others, that shy away from the snow, they'll head for the sun.
For us, we are always in search of adventure and family fun.
This summer you may recall we set ourselves the challenge of hiking around Lake Annecy, a mere 41 km around one of the most picturesque parts of Europe, as a family. The kids are getting older and we make sure everyone is having a holiday, and having fun. So we do multiple activities to keep everyone happy! In case you missed it, here are the links: Hiking around Lake Annecy part 1, part 2 and the final part 3.

This next year, the kids want more! They want to sail, kayak, canoe, go on zip wires, giant swings, water ski if that were possible, scuba dive, you name it, now they are aged 15,13 and 11, they want to experience it all!
Nicknamed at Thorpe Park as adrenalin junkies, they are always up for the next thrill! But when asked what would they prefer: summer sun or winter snow. They immediately shouted Winter Snow! They love the snow, that feeling of whooshing down the mountain, wind in the hair, balancing on two skinny skis, navigating themselves down the mountainside. Yes, they can ski, but they would LOVE I repeat L.O.V.E to learn how to snowboard and learn the odd trick or two on jumps!
Being able to ski already would help them pick up snowboarding a bit quicker, but I appreciate all sports are slightly different!

That's where Mark Warner come in with their amazing summer and winter holidays, where you get to try all sorts of activities - summer sun or winter snow.

So before I get carried away, for those new to the blog, let me introduce us.  We are an outgoing outdoor-sy family of 5: the two fun loving parents and the three sporty teen kids.

Meet the fun loving Job Family - are we the next MarkWarner family? Let's hope so!

Ian, hubbie loves the outdoors. If the sun is shining he is out there, ready for an adventure, always walking, swimming, running. Having the sun in his hair is his idea of paradise!
Then there's me, the Lunchbox Lady, who rowed for 6 years as a student in Oxford, so was *coughs* very fit at one point, winning regattas each summer.

The three kids are just annoyingly good at everything. They swim, play tennis, are active in scouts, not shy to have a go, they have experienced skiing but would love to go back and try snowboarding and learn some tricks on picnic tables and jumps!! They love nature, craft and well, everything really!

So for us to go on a dream Mark Warner holiday where you can embrace all these activities would be pure magic! The kids could go off and do their activities and hubbie and I could get to spend some well earned quality time together for part of the day or we could all be together for some more family magic! (Did I mention Hubbie travels alot on business and most of the time is working out of Head office in Germany with me and the family in the UK.) So family time and precious family moments are all the more important, and that's what we are all about when we get together! Simple family values, having fun and enjoying being together!

The kids would love to learn to snow board. They've done some skiing and are pretty fast learners, have a good sense of balance, so would get loads out of a winter sport holiday. Hubbie and I love the snow and all its twinkliness! Getting out on the slopes, feeling the mountain sun beating down on us, in amongst nature, the blue skies, high up in the mountains is just the most invigorating experience out there. Yes, it gets chilly but as long as you wrap up, it's oodles of fun. After an exhiliarating day's exercise, to then return into the warm, sit by the fire, sipping on a vin chaud, or hot chocolate, and enjoying the apres ski on offer.... well, that is my idea of Heaven on Earth! x

We live by the slogans "Eat that Frog!" ie just do the things before they appear to be like a frog, ie something you put off can get uglier by the day. "Just Do It" is another one, and we also say "And why not?" ie why not try that, you don't know until you try...

What would your dream holiday look like?

The Lunchbox Lady x

Disclosure: This is our entry for our family to be chosen and for me to become a MarkWarnerMum. We've worked with many food and drink brands in connection with Lunchbox World, including Actimel who we're grateful for providing funding for our family hike in the summer; Thorpe Park, Warner Bros Studio, Woburn Safari, amongst others.

Copas Turkeys -The Most Pampered Turkey

Today I may have met the turkey we'll be eating this Christmas Day!

My Copas Turkey!

I visited Copas Turkeys, at Kings Coppice farm this morning, just a short drive along many a country lane close to the beautiful Town of Marlow in Cookham.  The perfect setting for raising perfectly pampered turkeys: tranquil countryside, close to the River Thames, space to roam, food whenever you like and turkey dogs to protect you. Oh! to be a Copas Turkey!

On arrival I was given a quick tour by the lovely Sarah, who looks after the Marketing at Copas and then got to spend some time with the turkeys, all at their full maturity now...

Here's the video of me chatting with the Copas turkeys! (sorry about the film quality, but I just wanted to capture the essence! The birds look so healthy, happy and are truly pampered! They are such inquisitive birds and clearly love to chat! These are the Free Range Bronze Turkeys... Say hello to the girls!

So what is so special about a Copas Turkey?

Copas Turkeys are free range, feed when they like, and nurtured until they reach their natural full maturity, which is way longer than the standard supermarket bird. Copas turkeys live to 24-26 weeks in total, so they are naturally fully grown adults.  (Supermarket birds live to just half that, they are mere teenagers by comparison.)
Because these turkeys live such a long life, they develop that natural fat layer. So when roasting them, the need for basting and layering on the bacon is totally eliminated. It's as if they come ready basted, with their own layer of fat!
These Copas turkeys freely roam around the farm in the cherry orchards earlier in the year but are now in the reeded areas, all safely enclosed within electric fencing of course. They feed when they like, just like they do in the wild. And the turkey dogs keep a good eye on them keeping the foxes away!

They are hand plucked, and then game hung for two weeks, so they'll be ready for 22 December, which is when most courier deliveries are dispatched overnight and delivered 23rd December, in time for the final Christmas preparations. It is the fact they are game hung and grown to full maturity that gives them the great flavour, not the breed they are.

How come so many weight options are on offer if they are all the same age?

At Copas turkeys they rear over 40,000 turkeys each year, of which there are 20 different breeds. Because of the variety of breed, and the fact they feed when they like, this allows the birds to be differing sizes, and weights. This then allows Copas, and therefore us, the discerning customer, to choose the weight of bird we want, depending on how many we're having for Christmas Dinner! The range is from 4kg - 14kg!

Why are they so very very pampered?

These turkeys must be the most pampered turkey. They remind me of the Happy Egg adverts, where you see the chickens roaming wild around the farm, with the single aim: to make Happy Eggs. Well these are totally happy turkeys. I am sure as they chatted away, they were all smiling at me! Their single aim: to be the show stopper piece in that delicious Christmas Dinner!

Little do they know their time is nearly up. But just think what a smile they'll put on our faces when we tuck into that succulent full tasting turkey on Christmas Day!

They listen to Radio 2, considered to be a mellow radio station, where there's a soothing mix of music, informative chatter and healthy banter, so the turkeys get used to human voices.
These birds can be very sensitive, and the last thing you want is for the turkeys to panic! They end up hurting each other!
And for that reason, in the run up to Bonfire Night / Guy Fawkes, the turkeys are introduced to fireworks so that when the local neighbourhood have their own parties, the turkeys don't freak out!

How can you buy a Copas Turkey?

You can buy direct from or through any of the Britains's Best Delis and Farm Shops. You won't find them in the supermarket chains but they can be purchased in Fortnum and Masons or in Selfridges in London too.

What if I don't want Turkey?

If turkey isn't your thing, this is the first year it's possible to get a very very special Copas Chicken. Reared in exactly the same way as Copas Turkeys, these chickens also grow to their full maturity, and are then plucked and game hung. So it is also possible to get that perfectly pampered chicken and get to taste how chicken really should taste!

So you know what I am ordering up today? My Copas Turkey. And we're opting for Farm Collection,  rather than home delivery, so we can take part in the Christmas celebrations down on the farm on 23 December, and collect our bird at the same time. However it doesn't matter where you live in the UK, as they deliver by overnight courier and the bird is carefully packaged with greaseproof paper, the giblets of course, and a sprig of rosemary, and are carefully further wrapped using insulated material to keep it at its best whilst in transit to you. All birds are delivered by courier before 2pm on 23 December.

If you fancy giving Copas turkeys a try this year, here's the link for more information.

Don't you just love the build up to Christmas? I can't wait to try these turkeys. So be sure to check back in the New Year to hear how we got on!
So what are you most looking forward to this Christmas?

The Lunchbox Lady x

Disclosure: having been talking turkey last week with Neil Nugent it seemed a natural next step to visit our local turkey farm in Cookham to see these handsome healthy birds. Opinions are my own. Thanks to Sarah for allowing me to interview her at such short notice!
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