Happy 100th Birthday!

Death is not the end. Death can never be the end.
Death is the road. Life is the traveller. The soul is the guide.
– Sri Chinmoy

Today you would have been 100 years old, but you left us just weeks before this milestone.

I know how much you were waiting for this day, how much you were looking forward to your birthday party and chats with family and friends, not to mention a letter from the Queen…

Today you would have been 100 years old!

I hope now all your dreams have come true and you are having the best time of your journey!

Happy 100th Birthday Gran!

In loving memory of Flo 25/10/1914 – 13/09/2014

In loving memory of Flo
25/10/1914 – 13/09/2014

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Easy ways of pampering your pets

Certainly, twenty years ago our furry friends were less spoiled than today. Programmes like “World’s Most Pampered Pets” have showed us how much money pet owners are willing to pay for the comfort and welfare of their ‘new kids’.

To put this in context, we have found this infographic based on a survey carried out by Multiyork that shows us some facts and figures of the luxuries of our pets throughout the country.

UK’s pampered pets_New_CS2Courtesy of Multiyork

Britain is well-known for its long love affair with animals; from royalty to families with benefits, pets are considered part of the English family, 13 million of households are home of pets, and charities like the RSPCA and RSPB are at the top of Britain’s charities ranked by donations.

Nevertheless, is a fact that families are becoming smaller, busy young couples prefer pets than kids nowadays and relaxing at home next to your ‘best friend’ is the best therapy after a long day at work without breaking the bank.

Here are three easy ways of improving your pets’ quality of life and have a nice time together without disrupting your lifestyle.

A proper walk

Is not just about having a nice stroll in the park, a walk is also a great opportunity to practice obedience skills with your dog. For example when you bump into another dog, try to practise social skills and reward your dog for a good behaviour.

Also, bear in mind there is a ‘proper’ way to walk your dog; make your dog walk either beside you or behind you, never in front of you. You are the one walking the dog no the other way around.

Regarding how long a walk should be, it depends on how young your dog is and also how often you walk him, but in general half an hour per day is a good amount for both the dog and your own health benefits.

Quality time

We’re busier now more than ever, or it certainly feels that way. We’re working longer hours, and as a result of that, we’re tending to have much more active social lives. It’s easy to forget amidst our working hard and playing hard that we have a furry friend at home, patiently waiting to catch a glimpse of us between engagements.

Even if your pet isn’t tremendously touchy feely, you might have noticed that they tend to gravitate to wherever you are in the house, even if they don’t come thundering up to you, demanding attention.

Pets, for the most part, like being around humans, even if it’s just hearing their voices, or seeing their faces. While you’re out, why not give them the next best thing and leave the TV or radio on for them? One small appliance shouldn’t bump up your electricity bill, and it might make the silence a little less deafening in your absence.

Rewards and treats

You will no doubt already know that treats and rewards are key in the formative stages of your pet’s life. To briefly delve into Psychology, the theory behind treats is to form an association between behaviours and outcomes.

Continuing to provide treats after your young cat or dog successfully performs an act that you deem to be desirable, eventually results in that action being desirable to them too because they associate carrying out that action with a positive reward.

Now, once the training is complete, and your pets are doing what you want them to, or not doing what you don’t want them to do, we tend to become lax in dishing out rewards beyond the training stages.

This is not to say that you should be rewarding your pets every single time they do something good, but the odd treat here and there reinforces their training, ensuring that they don’t fall back into old habits or start to feel neglected.

*Post brought to you by Multiyork.

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Alphabet Project | X is for Xmas

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Charles Dickens

Alphabet Project  X is for Xmas

Alphabet Project is hosted by PODcast

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What’s Cooking – Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

I love tomatoes, especially the home grow kind – fresh, sweet, full of aroma… There are so many dishes they can be used for and Fresh Tomato Soup is one of the meals I enjoy the most.

There is however a huge difference between home grown tomatoes and the ones you can buy in a supermarket. If you want to make a truly tasty tomato soup you simply can’t buy the cheap range ingredients. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to suggest that value or so called salad tomatoes aren’t good for anything, but they aren’t for sure good enough for a tomato soup. In order to get the flavours you need to splash on a higher end of veggie section, or even better hunt your local farmer down (yes, I know this might not be so easy at this time of the year… My apologies, it took my ages to get around to actually writing this recipe down and the tomato season is over).

So, let’s start with the ingredients:

  • 500g of chicken – we used chicken thighs, which are actually perfect for the soup
  • 300g of smoked pork belly
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 large leek
  • ½ large celery; the root end (so called ugly part), not the nice stalks
  • 1kg of ripe, good quality tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • Good handful of chopped basil
  • 1tbs of pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 100g of wild rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for frying

Method:

Wash and peel all root vegetables – carrots, parsnips, celery and leeks – place them into a large cooking pot, add chicken, pork belly and a pinch of salt, pepper corns and bay leaves then fill with water about 2-3cm lower than a rim of the pot.

2. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Fire-up the cooker and let it cook for at least a couple of hours.

In a second pot start cooking your rice. The rice doesn’t have to be hot when your soup is served so it can be cooked well in advance. Make sure that your rice isn’t overcooked in fact it is better slightly undercooked. You really don’t want to have sticky rice in your soup. Oh, and don’t forget to add a bit of salt to your water.

Now would be a good time to start working on our tomatoes. Wash them well and place in a large bowl. Boil a kettle of water and pour hot water over your tomatoes and let stand for 30sec or so, this will allow you to remove the skins without any problems. Skin the tomatoes and chop into 1cm cubes.

3. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Chop the onion and prepare a good handful of fresh basil.

Take a large frying pan; add a bit of olive oil and start with frying your onions. Fry them until soft but still light in colour (don’t let them change the colour). Add the tomatoes and basil and fry on a low heat for around 10 minutes.

4. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Once done, pop all of the mixture into your soup. Let it all boil again and cook for further 30 minutes.

Now is a messy part. We have to remove all the meat from our soup and all other large chunks. You can use a sieve to do it or just use spoon with holes and fish out all the necessary ingredients.

Put the pork belly aside for the moment.

De-skin, peel and chop your chicken meat.

Cut all the root vegetables you want back in your soup into smaller chunks. (You can chop the veggies up at the start of the cook but I use big size veggies as sometimes I have to discard some of them like the celery in order for family members to actually try the soup, and I don’t want to lose any of the flavours by missing them out completely).

5. Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice

Pop your veggies and chicken back to the pot and use a food blender to turn your soup into a cream.

Add fresh ground pepper and stir well.

Chop your pork belly up into small bite sized cubes.

My Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild RiceFresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice.

Serve the soup in a bowl with the small pork belly chunks and a spoonful of the earlier cooked rice.

Enjoy!

my Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits and Wild Rice.Fresh Tomato Soup with Crispy Pork Bits, Basil  and Wild Rice

Link up your recipe of the week

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My 15 minutes of fame!

My 15 minutes of fame with Seabrook Crisps

Two weeks ago I ventured all the way up to Bradford for my 15 minutes of fame.

After winning #crispsarnie competition hosted by Seabrook Crisps my recipe was put on a giant billboard in Bradford, the home of Seabrook.

I was invited to take part in a photo shot next to “my billboard”. It was an amazing experience! Seeing my name on this giant advert was really something special.

I was met by two lovely PR ladies and the photographer arrived shortly after. It was an extremely windy and at times wet day, so not ideal but hey ho…It was such a rush anyway.

My 15 minutes of fame with Seabrook Crisps.

I love photography, but usually only when I am behind the camera. It was quite weird modelling for someone who had a full brief of pictures that needed taking. It wasn’t easy and I felt like a fool at times but it was an incredible experience and I am so happy I decided to do it. The photographer was extremely nice and helpful and despite stress and poor weather I really had a lot of fun doing it. I did however gain an incredible respect for models; I have no idea how you can do it all day long girls.

My 15 minutes of fame with Seabrook Crisps .

“Everyone is supposed to have 15 minutes of fame in their life – I would have never thought that it would be a crisp sarnie that would put me and my creation on a billboard for all to see! It was great fun coming up with my recipe and I’m delighted it will be going in to a recipe book to inspire others.” – that was my quote which is now being published by different news outlets including my local Bedfordshire News :-)

And yes, there is an e-book with recipes. If you want you can download it here.

My 15 minutes of fame with Seabrook Crisps ...

When I started blogging I had no idea that it would bring me such joy and so many amazing and unique experiences. It is truly the best hobby (just after competitions)…

Talking about competition, I have a small giveaway for you.

The lovely people at Seabrook Crisps have agreed to ship one box of their finest lattice crisps to one of you lucky people.

If you fancy trying some of these lovely Yorkshire crisps just follow me on Twitter and RT this tweet:

Follow and RT @AgataPokutycka to win a case of Lovingly Made in Yorkshire @SeabrookCrisps Full T&C at: http://wp.me/p3l2gI-1iW

T&C
1. Open to UK readers only.
2. One obligatory entry per reader – follow me and RT as stated above. Extra RT will count as additional entries.
3. There will be 1 winner in total.
4. Winner will receive 1 x box of Seabrook Lattice Crisps.
5. Winner will be picked at random and informed within 7 working days via Twitter.
6. Winner will have 7 working days to claim the prize, after this time, a new winner will be selected.
7. Closing date is 28-10-2014 at 23:59pm, an entry made after this time will not be counted.

Good Luck!

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Baby #ootd – My First Halloween

1. Baby #ootd – My First Halloween2. Baby #ootd – My First Halloween3. Baby #ootd – My First Halloween4. Baby #ootd – My First Halloween5. Baby #ootd – My First Halloween6. Baby #ootd – My First Halloween7. Baby #ootd – My First Halloween8. Baby #ootd – My First Halloween

Striped Pumpkin Sleepsuit – Geogre at Asda
Pumpkin Bib – Geogre at Asda
Halloween Bib – Geogre at Asda

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RAVPower Luster 6000mAh External Battery – Review and Giveaway

There are a lot of unexpected things that can happen to us during the day but loss of battery power in your mobile or tablet when we are out must me one close to the top of the annoying list. Most of us rely on our mobile devices and it is hard to get around sometimes when they are out of juice.

Luckily for me someone invented an external charger, which is small, portable and of course doesn’t require you to be plugged into a socket, PC, laptop or any other bulky device. And to top it up I was sent a RAVPower Luster 6000mAh External Battery to review and I totally love it!

RAVPower Luster 6000mAh External Battery – Review and Giveaway

You are getting all you need to in one small, neat packaging:

  • External battery
  • Cable
  • Carry pouch
  • Instruction manual

All you have to do is to connect your mobile device into the external battery and let the charging begin.

So what are my thoughts about RAVPower Luster 6000mAh external battery?

Great looking little thing – it is fairly small and very well made. It feels robust without being bulky.

It is not feather light, but with a weight of 120g I can’t really call it heavy, can I?

RAVPower Luster 6000mAh External Battery –- Review and Giveaway

It has a large battery capacity, which will allow me to recharge my smartphone 3 times :-)

It represents great value for money as its current on an offer price of only £11.99 with free delivery. You must admit that this is a great price.

The LED light is a nice addition, they allow you to check the battery power level but the funkiest extra feature is a flashlight. Press the power on button twice and the light comes on, press twice again and it is gone. It is surprising how much light this tiny flashlight actually gives – very impressive… and according to the manual you can get up to 250 hours of light from one charge.

Oh, and there is a pouch as well, a great addition that I can see being very useful. The pouch is the perfect size to hold both the battery and the cable. It is soft and it looks smart. The only thing I don’t like about it is the fabric. Why? The pouch is extremely slippery. Unless you have very firm vice like grip on it, it will not stay in your hand.

And one more thing, it comes in a choice of four colours – black, gold, blue and pink – so everyone can pick something they like.

RAVPower Luster 6000mAh External Battery -- Review and Giveaway

So here you go RAVPower Luster 6000mAh External Battery in all its glory.

Would you like to have one on your own?

Sure you do.

To make it possible I have one unit in black of the RAVPower Luster 6000mAh External Battery to giveaway to one of you lovely people.

All you have to do is to follow me on Twitter and RT:

No more out of juice devices thanks to @RAVPower! Follow & RT to #WIN #RAVPowerUK – full T&C at: http://wp.me/p3l2gI-1iC via @AgataPokutycka

T&C
1. Open to UK readers only.
2. One obligatory entry per reader – follow me and RT as stated above. Extra RT will count as additional entries.
3. There will be 1 winner in total.
4. Winner will receive 1 x RAVPower Luster 600mAh External Battery in black.
5. Winner will be picked at random and informed within 7 working days via Twitter.
6. Winner will have 7 working days to claim the prize, after this time, a new winner will be selected.
7. Closing date is 27-10-2014 at 23:59pm, an entry made after this time will not be counted.

Good Luck!

RAVPower Luster 6000mAh External Battery - Review and Giveaway

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions
SuperLucky Blog Giveaways Linky

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