Mama OWL Blog

{Summer Bucket List} Make Lollies | #ShepSummer

Friday, 31 July 2015

One of the things on our Summer Bucket List this year is to make our own lollies, which we have done before (these tasty fruity fro-yo lollies went down a treat) but the lovely people at Domu challenged us to make something using an ingredient we had never used before. They sent us the VonShef 150W Masticating Slow Juicer (£59.99, RRP £150) to help us complete the challenge, and the kids and I set about thinking up something fun to make using something new.

Eventually we decided as part of our bucket list adventures to use the juicer to make some healthy, home-made lollies using only fresh fruit and more specifically - pears! We haven't used pears in cooking before, as we normally stick to traditional apple (crumble, pie, turnovers - that sort of thing) but since even L is a fan of pears we thought that this would be the ideal opportunity to try something new and to make our own treats for these lazy Summer days.

Using our ice lolly mould and the Juicer the children and I chose pears, oranges and apples to use to make our ice lollies. The kids cut up the fruit into smaller pieces to allow them to be put through the juicer easily (the instructions recommend approx 4-5 inches long and 1 inch wide) and we set it all up ready to go. It was already assembled when it arrived but the instruction booklet offers detailed steps with diagrams should you need to disassemble for cleaning, although simply pouring water through between juicings flushes it sufficiently.

We cut up two pears, two oranges and one apple and this produced enough juice to make three lollies (one each for L, H & E) which we then placed in the freezer, ready for the children to enjoy tomorrow when we have heard a rumour that the sun might be coming out to play! The juicer even separates off the pulp and the juice, meaning that it's ready to drink straight away - although if you prefer a smooth juice you may like to strain it again before drinking. The consistency is perfect for lollies and the kids are very excited to try them, and are busy thinking up new combinations to try after.

The multi-purpose juicer extracts rather than grinds to retain all the nutrients and enzymes for a healthier juice, and it couldn't be easier to use - you can even use it to extract a variety of ingredients including fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and leafy veg like spinach and kale to make healthy breakfast juices to take with you on the go.

Did you take part in the #DomuChallenge? People got creative in the kitchen and shared their culinary delights with @domu_UK on Twitter using the challenge hashtag to win a fantastic prize to celebrate the launch of Domu's exciting new website. Follow Domu on Facebook and twitter for all of the latest news, updates and offers.

We received a complimentary juicer for review purposes and challenge participation. All opinions are our own.

Using up Leftover Beef | #DomuChallenge

Friday, 31 July 2015

It isn't often that anything is leftover from a meal in our house, mostly due to careful meal planning and budgeting but also largely to do with hungry teenagers that descend on the kitchen like locusts every couple of hours. On a Sunday we enjoy a family roast dinner, and occasionally are left with meat which of course needs to be used up instead of wasted. Since it's the Summer holidays, sandwiches are a staple for lunchtimes as they can be packed up to go out & about with, or enjoyed on a carpet picnic in the living room if the weather is poor but in truth - sandwiches can be a bit boring.

An easy way to liven up a sandwich is to toast it. There is nothing better than a hot toasted sandwich stuffed full of melt in the mouth ingredients which we tried out this week using the VonShef 2-in-1 Health Grill, £42.99 from (RRP £89.99).

Using leftover beef from Sunday's dinner, I bought panini rolls which I then cut in half and spread lightly with butter before adding a layer of cheese, a layer of sliced beef, another layer of cheese and topping it with sweet chilli tomato sauce before placing it in the grill for about five minutes. The children absolutely loved them, and the beef wasn't 'leftover' for long - cheesy chilli beef paninis are now a firm favourite here.

As well as being a handy sandwich press, the health grill is also a griddle which can be used to cook a wide selection of meats and vegetables and even eggs and pancakes on its interchangeable plates that can be used as a contact press or opened out side by side. The grill also reduces fat with its sloped design to channel away excess fat off the non-stick easy to clean grilling surface through the spout into the collection tray.

How do you liven up a traditional meal? Have you put your own twist on a classic dish? There's still time to join in with the #DomuChallenge - but you need to be quick! Get your Chef's hat on & share your culinary creations with @domu_UK on Twitter with the hashtag & you could win a prize, closes TODAY 31.07.15.

Mark Warner Holiday Childcare Essentials

Thursday, 30 July 2015

On our recent visit to San Lucianu Beach Resort in Corsica with Mark Warner the children got to enjoy their holiday without boring Mum & Dad hanging about making them look uncool, by hanging out with the brilliant & infinitely more fun young ladies and gents at the Kidz, Junior & Minis Clubs. The Childcare facilities at Mark Warner resorts are second to none (just ask POD) and the kids were spoiled for choice with the daily games, activities and watersports that were on offer throughout our stay.

But what do you need to provide for them?

We took the children's Trunki PaddlePaks on the plane for all of their essential travel bits & bobs to keep them busy quiet happy on the flight. We then used these bags (that had already been labelled with the children's names using our fab Stamptastic labelling kit as they use them for their swimming lessons at home) to send along with them when they went off to have fun with their friends at club. In their bags we packed:

  • Sun Hat (a baseball cap or similar)
  • Sun Cream (we also applied this before they left)
  • T-Shirt (that covers their shoulders, a UV/Rash Vest is ideal)
  • Shorts
  • Swimwear
  • Towel
  • Closed-toe Shoes
  • Bottle of water

You also need to make sure that all of your items are labelled, to help the staff keep everything in check so it's best to prepare it all before you leave. Often we would put their swimwear on under their shorts & t-shirt (or just a t-shirt with swimming shorts for the boys) but this way they all had sufficient clothing to change into as they often ended up very wet with all of the swimming and watersports (and water fights!) so don't forget their towel! Our children wore their clog/croc style shoes the majority of the time although they did also have trainers for field sports and times that they would be running around playing games on the grassy area, or on the courts playing tennis - also handy if you plan to take them out cycling. As mine were constantly in and out of the swimming pool, personally I would recommend taking them a pair of goggles too.

We shared this fantastic holiday at San Lucianu in Corsica with lots of other lovely bloggers and their families, where lifelong friendships were forged. To read all about their experiences and thoughts on San Lu please do visit their blogs, listed below.

Anya at Older Single Mum - Amanda at The Ana Mum Diary - Carissa at Little Likely Lads - Lisa at Hollybobbs - Charly at PODcast - Kate at WitWitWoo - Monika at Family {m}adventures - Emma at Emma&3 - Alice at LifeAsAlice

Mark Warner provided flights, resort transfers and half-board accommodation.The views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words.

Feeding the Family for under £4 | #DomuChallenge

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Regular readers will know that we meal plan weekly to help us keep to our household budget and reduce food waste, so I was more than happy to give the #DomuChallenge a go when they asked me to come up with a family meal for under £4.

Domu UK sent us the VonShef Turbo Air Fryer, currently priced at £69.99 (RRP £99.99) to aid our mission and so I added a family favourite - Spaghetti Bolognese - to our meal plan this week. So easy, and very inexpensive even for a family of seven.

The benefits of using an air fryer are immeasurable - the food is evenly and thoroughly cooked, and the need for oil is greatly reduced (a teaspoon is often more than enough) or removed entirely for healthy, low calorie dishes without sacrificing flavour and is versatile enough to be used to grill, roast, fry and even bake all of your favourite meals in its easy-clean 10 litre capacity bowl. The Air Fryer is also energy efficient and often reduces the cooking time meaning healthier meals faster, and comes pre-programmed with 7 modes in addition to manual settings with adjustable temperatures & timer.


Minced Beef 750g - £2.98
2 tins of Chopped Tomatoes 400g - 62p
Onion - 16p, chopped
Store-brand Spaghetti - 20p

Pinch of Herbs, squeeze of Tomato purée, crushed Clove of Garlic - from my store cupboard


  • Put the minced beef to the baking cage and cook for approx 10 minutes.
  • Open the cage (carefully!) and add the onion and garlic.
  • Close the cage and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  • While the beef is cooking, add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée and herbs to a saucepan and heat through. Place the spaghetti in a separate pan of boiling water and cook as per packet instructions.
  • Add the beef, onions and to the pan of sauce and stir well, leaving to simmer for around 5 minutes.

So simple, and this meal comes to a grand total of £3.96. No need for oil and no jars of ready made sauces full of preservatives, salt & sugar - just a healthy home-made meal. You could even substitute the spaghetti for courgette, either thinly sliced or 'spiralised' and lightly sautéed to serve with the bolognese instead to make it healthier still.

The Air Fryer is so easy to use, and just as importantly, easy to clean. After use I simply drained off and disposed of the fat from the mince (I couldn't believe the amount that came out!) before washing the bowl and baking cage with dish soap and warm water. It comes with a skewer to be used with either the baking cage or the meat forks, as well as tongs to lift the cage from the bowl & a rack to use for baking. Though very quiet during operation, it's worth noting that the Air Fryer is quite large but with its versatility I dare say it will receive constant (even daily) use and earn it's place on the worktop.

There's still time to join in with the #DomuChallenge - can you put your own stamp on a classic dish? Get your Chef's hat on & share your culinary creations with @domu_UK on Twitter with the hashtag & you could win a prize, closes Friday 31.07.15.

We received a complimentary VonShef Turbo Air Fryer for the purpose of participation in the Domu Challenge and for review. The views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words.
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