Thursday, 24 July 2014

It's a man's world - The Prompt

It's been a while since I joined in with Mum Turned Mom's The Prompt.  The idea is that Sara publishes a writing prompt every week, and bloggers (that's me then!) link up.  This week's prompt is:

It's a man's world
Is it though? 
51% of the UK's population is female.  We have women teachers, doctors and lawyers.  The Houses of Parliament have women representatives.  We've even had a woman prime minister.
So is the world we all operate in really a man's?  Is it more that women, generally speaking, lack the confidence to believe it's theirs?  That we really do have a say, and influence in how it operates?
Time and again at work I hear that there's a glass ceiling, that you have to be masculine to be successful, that if you take maternity leave or prioritise your children you can't be as successful as men.

And I hear in the school playground that husbands don't have time to help with 'women's work', that childcare is not important, that they are 'just' a stay at home Mum and are too tired/frazzled/busy to do anything 'meaningful' in the 'real' world. 
Are these not just barriers that women put up for themselves?  I've never heard a man say a woman didn't get the job because of her gender.  But I've heard plenty of women who didn't apply because they don't have (in their opinion) the experience, qualifications, and/or dedication necessary.

I've never heard a man worry endlessly if their children are getting their five a day.  Stress because the ironing pile is big.  Or worry about how they will cope and balance things if one of the kids gets chicken pox.
Isn't it time that women woke up and realised that we are the biggest barrier to our own success?  That we're the ones who define that success, and the world that both men and women live in. 
And if we define success as staying home and looking after children then that's the world, and if success is career, then that's the world.  And if we try and do both, and juggle, prioritise, delegate and manage families and careers all at the same time, then that's also the world. 
Whichever way, it isn't a man's world.  It is both a man and women's world, and we can make of it what we choose.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Willie's Cacao chocolate giveaway

Willie's Cacao is my most favourite chocolate ever, bar none.  I discovered it after the 2008 Channel 4 TV series which followed Willie Harcourt-Cooze from his cacao farm in Venezuela to producing the high-end pure cacao bars in Devon.  He is the master of cacao and chocolate in my eyes.

I thought it was time for a foodie giveaway, so one lucky blog reader will win four 50g single square delicious Willie's Cacao chocolate bars.  I couldn't decide which one to buy as a prize, so I bought all four!

  • Milk of the Gods, sublime single estate milk chocolate
  • Sierra Leone Ginger Lime, layers of exotic flavour
  • Cuban Luscious Orange, delicate orange with honey notes
  • El Blanco, Venezuelan white chocolate

To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter below.  Don't forget to tweet everyday for even more entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • This competition is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Willie's Cacao.
  • You must be resident in the UK to enter. Prize will be shipped to a UK address.
  • Competition runs from 22nd July 2014 until 23:59 on 6th August 2014.
  • Entry is via one and/or more of the methods in Rafflecopter widget.
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  Winning entries will be checked and must be current at time of checking.
  • There is one prize.  The prize is four 50g single square Willie's Cacao chocolate bars.  There is no cash alternative.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by email or on Twitter (if appropriate) by 10th August 2014.  If no reply is received, a new winner may be chosen.
  • I'll do my utmost to get the prize to the winner within 14 days, but can’t guarantee it.
  • The winner's name, as registered when logged into Rafflecopter will be displayed after the end of the competition.
  • Judge’s decision is final.

Win competitions at

Monday, 21 July 2014

Taste test: Soreen apple and sultana, banana and original fruit loaf

I've been a huge fan of Soreen fruit loaf since I was little.  Mum used to give us 'malt loaf', as it was known back in the 80s, as a treat and if I was really lucky, she toasted it too.  Mmmm!

Our son is also a big fan of Soreen fruit loaf and has a slice of original in his lunch box every day.  So we thought we'd run a taste taste for a few of the many variants of Soreen that are available now.

Our son and I put Soreen original, apple and sultana and banana through their paces (it's a tough job, but someone has to do it!).

All loaves are low fat (the banana loaf has less than 1.5% saturated fat) - great!  All have a decent shelf life of around four weeks too - perfect for keeping in the cupboard as a snack when needed, although it never lasts that long in our house!

First impression of all loaves were great.  Fresh smelling and ridiculously squidgy, they all cut through easily with a bread knife to reveal a squidgy cake/bread like texture.  The banana loaf in particular was really dense.  The original and apple and sultana loaves had a good even distribution of fruit.

"Mum, please can I have a piece now you've taken loads of pictures?" - our son, aged five.
Here's our verdict:
Apple and Sultana Soreen fruit loaf - 5 out of 5
A really delicious fruit loaf.  Our son said it tasted like apple flapjack and apple crumble all in one.  I could taste a hint of cinnamon to balance it all out.  Light but squidgy and satisfying, this was our absolute favourite.  It'd be great toasted with a spread of really good quality butter.

"Mum, can I have some more?  That one's the best!" - our son
Original Soreen fruit loaf - 4.5 out of 5
Yummy, squidgy with a great distribution of fruit.  The loaf held its shape well and was a nice texture.  Tasted perfectly cooked, with a nice balance of barley and raisin.  Delicious!
Banana moist Soreen fruit loaf - 3.5 out of 5
This loaf gives you squidgy energy with the addition of banana.  Of all the loaves, this one was the most dense.  The banana flavour was strong throughout and although our son really liked it, it was a little strong for me - this is probably a good thing so you don't eat the whole loaf!  Still delicious, and again would be great toasted.

You can visit the Soreen website for information on all variants and loads of delicious recipes at  I particularly love the sound of this heavenly sounding chocolate Soreen flapjack:

At the time of writing (July 2014), all these variants were on offer in Asda at two for £2.  Bargain!
Family Fever
Disclaimer: thanks Soreen for sending me the original and banana loaves to review.  I purchased the apple and sultana loaf myself.  All views and thoughts are mine, and my son's.  Please don't use images without permission.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

My Sunday photo

Life is getting easier now toddler girl's getting older and we all can eat out more easily.  We went to Pizza Express yesterday, and she absolutely loved the chocolate fudge cake that was part of the kids' menu. Some of it even went in her mouth!

For more pictures like this, please follow me on Instagram at

Linking up with One Dad 3 Girls for My Sunday Photo.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Proud #WotW

It's been a week of reflection - our son has just finished his reception year at school.  I am so proud of him.  We had a great school report, showing just how far he's come.  He spoke at his graduation ceremony, and was clear and confident.  He received a trophy at football on Monday.  He is a happy little boy.  I'm so proud to be his Mum.  Sometimes I wonder where he came from.

Linking up with Jocelyn at The Reading Residence for this post.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Baby girl becomes toddler girl

It feels like she's been taking her time for ages, but finally baby girl became toddler girl a week or two ago. 

She's off!

It is lovely to see her walking on her own.  She still crawls sometimes because it's faster, but she loves to walk and climb and walk and climb.  She particularly loves our stairs and tries to walk up them all the time!
I'm so happy she's walking, but it's tinged with sadness as our baby days are now over.  Here's to the next chapter.  Even more mischief!
Have you reached any milestones this week?  I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Heaven #TuesdayTune

It's our son's last week in reception year at primary school.  This afternoon I went to his graduation, and a lovely montage of pictures of all his class was playing to the acoustic version of Heaven by DJ Sammy.  I tracked it down on iTunes - it features Do.
"Oh thinking about our younger years,
We were young and wild and free
There was only you and me"
I, along with lots of other Mums, was overcome with emotion.  The song is so powerful, and it seemed so fitting.  It will always take me back to that school hall now.
I'd love to know what song you're listening to this week - is there one which has moved you?