Saturday, 25 June 2016

YB WRITES: Euro 2016 - My Predictions

Well, I've watched almost every match of the group stages (except where there were 2 matches on at the same time) and there's been some shockers.



I'm an England supporter, but I wonder if they'll make it much further. They haven't played that well and, in my opinion, aren't that deserving of their place in the current round of 16. I think England's problem is they go into matches with the attitude that they can't be beaten, when that, as we have seen, is so far from the truth.



Croatia have played really well, I fancied them as an outsider chance right from before the start of the tournament. They play Portugal next, and the way Portugal have played in the tournament so far, I don't think they stand much chance of progressing against a very well playing Croatian team. I predict Croatia 2-1 Portugal.


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A bit of a mean draw is between Wales and Northern Ireland. These are both teams that have played their hearts out and really deserve their places in the round of 16 and it'll be shame that it'll be one of the home nations that has to knock the other home nation out. I'm pretty sure Wales will win, but Northern Ireland won't go down without a good fight (obviously not literally!). I predict Wales 2-1 Northern Ireland.


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I'm currently watch the Switzerland vs Poland match. Before it, I thought Poland would win, but Switzerland are playing really well. And what an equaliser from Xherdan Shaqiri for Switzerland! Extra team, saw some very nearly settlers, but now onto penalties. Such a sorry way to end a match... Good luck to both! I predicted Switzerland 1-2 Poland.


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Tomorrow sees France vs Ireland. France are heavy favourites and they have the advantage of being the home team, but Ireland have played well so far and if they give it their all as they always do, they might have a small chance of progressing. France have not been outstanding so far in this tournament in my opinion. I predict France 1-1 Ireland and France to win on penalties.

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Germany have been playing well and should see easy progression against Slovakia to the next round I reckon. I'd like to Ozil get a goal in the match and maybe Gotze too... I predict Germany 3-1 Slovakia.


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Hungary against Belgium is by no means and easy to pick one in my opinion. Despite Belgium being the heavy favourites, Hungary have been playing exceptionally well and aren't going to let the tournament pass them by with ease. I predict Hungary 1-2 Belgium.


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Italy vs Spain is surely going to be a very interesting game. Spain are favourites, but I like Italy to win myself. They've played really well with the exception of the game against Ireland. Again, they are another of my outsider favourites. Spain do have a very good chance, but it's no certainty at all... I predict Italy 1-2 Spain.


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And last, but not least, it England against Iceland. I *want* England to win, but I don't know that they will. They have quality players, but they are not playing like a winning team so far in the tournament. Iceland, however, are playing excellently. A team of mostly unknowns and they are doing so well and they are playing like they really want it. I could actually picture them taking the win. They're certainly not going to give it away easily and England can't go into the match with the mental attitude that they will win the match because they've got a poor team to play against. This will be a  very interesting match! I predict England 1-2 Iceland.


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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

YB WRITES: EU Referendum

Just days away from the EU referndum here in the UK which will decide whether we stay a part of the EU or not. What's everyone planning on voting?


I've always been for voting leave, but for the right reasons. I do not agree with those with racist seeming views such as Nigel Farage or The Daily Mail newspaper who seem to thrive on the propaganda angle.

I believe we should leave because I don't feel the EU make the best decisions for us. To be honest, nor do I think David Cameron does, but hey, that's another blog post.

Every time the EU seems to make a decision, it seems to be more favourable to the connected European countries within the EU, than little old Britain over here separated from them.

One of those things is immigration, but not in a racist way like UKIP & other people portray it. At the end of the day, we're a relatively small island and we can't cope with the continuing increase in immigrants entering the country. Especially not when countries as big as Germany take in very few in comparison, because the EU see fit to send so many immigrants here yet a disproportionately small amount to the much bigger EU member countries.

I strongly believe we need immigrants, just in limited numbers. There's something not right when people born here are homeless, yet homes are being given away to people who have only just arrived in the country. But we also have a lot of valuable immigrant workers that are so vital to our country - in particular, doctors and nurses. And to those who are simply racist who want to get rid of immigrants, would you be so keen if that meant a shortage of doctors and nurses? What if that meant you or a loved one could not receive the care you needed in hospital? Would you hatred beat the need for a loved ones life being saved? Maybe you read this and think "well, that's irrelevant" - but is it really? No-one knows what's around the corner, and there is no person that is impervious to injury or illness. And if it was you or someone you love, wouldn't you want there to be enough qualified hospital staff to hopefully get you or them through it?

I also think we should be making our own decisions overall, not just regarding immigration. I don't think that people who it won't directly affect, should be making such important decisions for us. Again, it's bad enough that we put our trust in the likes of David Cameron (again another story for another blog post), but you could at least argue that he is British and was elected by the people of the country. The same cannot be said for the EU.

It seems that David Cameron and those in support of remaining have done their share of scaremongering too. There could be repercussions to us leaving that would have on the economy, but I feel it's not really certain to anyone what, if any, affect that would be. I was watching television earlier and saw David Cameron and all he could talk about was the effect it might have on businesses, with not really any emphasis on the effect it would have on the working class person. I feel that as he is in league with big businesses, that's his only real concern, so to listen to him is making a mistake too as he is clearly biased.

I think FACTS should be the most important factor in what you decide to vote. Not scaremongering from those in favour of remaining OR those in favour of leaving. Nor should it play a factor which of your favourite celebrities have been paid to support a certain campaign. You should be using your head to make an informed decision that you feel is right for you, your family and your country! I urge you, if you are unsure, take the next 24 hours to read the FACTS from somewhere neutral. And make your decision based on facts rather than scaremongering or propaganda being thrown around the media and from politicians. I would suggest maybe Full Fact as a place to start looking.

I really personally hope the majority vote goes to leave, but you really should read the facts and make up your own minds - don't let politicians, media or celebrities influence your decisions, just let the facts make up your mind...

Monday, 30 May 2016

YB WRITES: Get Paid To Enter Competitions

Recently, I saw a comper friend post about finding this and thought I'd give it a go...

You can basically get paid to enter free competitions!

First of all, you need to have an android capable mobile phone though, as you need to download the app in order to use this. As far as I can tell, it's not yet available on iOS though.

I've been using Lucky Leftovers for a couple of weeks now, it's great if you're on a contract and have unlimited text messages. You can enter competitions for free as the phone number to enter via is a standard mobile number so is inclusive if you've got unlimited free texts.

You get points for every competition you enter and every 5,000 points is worth either £5 cash via PayPal or a £5 Amazon voucher. I've so far received 2 £5 payments successfully via PayPal...



Plus there are loads of great prizes to be won like an XBox One Kinect bundle (the one I'm hoping I win!), theatre tickets, digital camera, DVDs, cash, vouchers and loads more!. I've not yet won a prize, but I have received 2 payments from them!

Check them out here (you're best off going to the link on your mobile phone so you can download the app)... https://get-luc.ky/leftovers/app/share-u11807-r4

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

WIN: Tickets To The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

For the chance to win, participants must enter a picture of their own little garden - this could be flowers, vegetables, herbs or anything else that you’ve grown in your garden, green house, window box or container. 

This week’s overarching theme is Secret Hideaways: Moments of Escape and next week’s theme is Modern Beauty (modern interpretation of Oak Woodland): Gardens in style.

You can email your photos to littlegarden@mandg.co.uk or upload them to social media with the #littlegarden. A panel of celebrity judges from the world of horticulture will be selecting the weekly winners.  18+. UK only. Terms and conditions apply

Enter on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MandGGarden/
Enter on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MandGGarden

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Envious: The X-Files

For anyone that knows me, they know I'm a HUGE fan of The X-Files.

I'm so envious that those in the US & Canada get to watch the most anticipated comeback of the series before we get to see it here in the UK :(


I've watched all 9 seasons (many times over) and both films and always hoped there would be more X-Files. My husband will tell you, all the years he's known me, I've never gave up hope on more X-Files and I have probably does his head in with the amount I've talked about it over the years!

I originally watched as a teenager, and there are very few programmes from my teen years that I would care to watch again and again, but The X-Files was PHENOMENAL.

Most sci-fi (science fiction) television gets laughed at by a lot and seen as only for the geeks and weirdos (not that I would use such stereotypes, but that was what people would think of people who watched it). But The X-Files was THE programme that got lovers of all genres taking an interest in the sci-fi genre.

So many great episodes, from the serious episodes, to the very funny light-hearted episodes, The X-Files had it all. And now that it's back, I'm hopeful it still will. And of course the brilliant chemistry between Mulder (played by David Duchovny) and Scully (played by Gillian Anderson). And of course the other all important characters who made The X-Files so brilliant, such as Skinner (played by Mitch Pileggi) - Mulder & Scully's boss at the FBI, the very mysterious and sinister C.G.B. 'Cigarette Smoking Man' Spender (played by William B. Davis) and of course, The Lone Gunmen - Byers (played by Bruce Harwood), Frohike (played by Tom Braidwood) and Langly (played by Dean Haglund) - a group of conspiracy theorists set on 'outing' the truth.

Here's a little bit about a couple of my favourite episodes, just to give you an idea of why I love it so much...

SQUEEZE
Well, for fellow fans, I'm sure this was one of your favourites too. Squeeze was an excellently written episode and equally brilliantly acted.

Mulder and Scully hunted down Eugene Victor Tooms (excellently played by Doug Hutchinson) - the human liver eating mutant that can stretch himself like Stretch Armstrong and fit through tiny spaces, preying on people to steal their livers to prolong his lifespan, consuming 5 livers before nesting and going into hibernation for 30 years.

This episode is so memorable. When my eldest son doesn't tidy his room, I always call him Tooms indicative of him building a nest ready to hibernate in!

DREAMLAND
Well, we all loved the light-hearted episodes of The X-Files, and Dreamland (episodes 4 &5 of season 6) was definitely one of the best.

It saw Mulder & Scully encounter the 'Men In Black' and Mulder switching bodies with one of their members, Morris Fletcher (portrayed by Michael McKean) leading to some seriously hilarious scenes, such as Mulder (in Morris's body) doing his funny dance in front of the mirror. And then of course, there's Morris (in Mulder's body) totally trying it on with Scully with hilarious consequences which result in him being left handcuffed to the bed!

I could talk about every episode of The X-Files, but this would be a very long blog post!

I am so exited about the return and can't wait for it to arrive on TV here in the UK. So there will be more blog posts about The X-Files yet to come!

I have a huge collection of X-Files stuff - clippings from newspaper/magazine articles, all the seasons on video (VHS), some of the seasons on DVD, all the individual and special videos (VHS), postcard books, clock, t-shirt, mug, watch, figures, trading cards, posters, books, comics/magazines, basically anything official I could get my hands on and anything unofficial that I just loved! And I'm still collecting...


Well, it's 14 years since we last saw The X-Files - will Chris Carter still have the magic to work with The X-Files that he once had, and will David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson still be able to bring that same magic to Mulder & Scully that they once had? I'm really hoping so and I can't wait to watch!!

Are any of my readers fellow X-Philes? What's your favourite episode? Who is your favourite character? Are you looking forward to the new series?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

YB REVIEWS: Mission Deli Wraps

I was sent some Mission Deli wraps to review.



I was sent 2 packets of "8 Original Wraps" and 2 packets of "8 Multigrain Wraps" to review.

I only normally buy original wraps, so it was interesting to try the multigrain wraps. I was slightly dubious as it's easy to stick to what you know, but I was very impressed with them, they looked like they should be quite a challenge to eat, but they were soft and tasty and felt healthier to eat and to give to my son in his lunchbox.

Wraps are very versatile. It's easy to get caught up in the thought that they're just for Mexican food, after all, that's what a fajita always comes in, but you can fill them with lots of different fillings, hot or cold.

We had wraps for our tea, filled with turkey ham (hubby is veggy so he had a substitute), garlic & herb soft cheese, smoked beetroot, boiled egg, lettuce and garlic mayonnaise - a delicious, cold wrap.

We did have delicious hot chicken fajitas too (well hubby had vegetarian Quorn fajitas).

One other thing we tried was deep fried jerk chicken (hubby had fried jerk Quorn) with lettuce and garlic mayonnaise - it was a truly delicious hot wrap meal.




I definitely found them very versatile, and definitely not just for fajitas! My eldest son has been taking them to school as part of his packed lunch too filled with ham or chicken salad and he's enjoyed a change from boring old bread.

Alex Hollywood has come up with some recipes to use wraps with your leftovers too, which look good. I'm featuring them below and I'll definitely be giving ome of them a go myself.

Roast chicken leftovers with Harissa roast veg, feta & minted yoghurt
Chopped leftover cooked roast chicken
Approx. 200g roast vegetables: onions, squash, aubergine, peppers, asparagus, (roast in a tbsp. olive oil garlic cloves, seasoning)
1/2 packet of feta
1 tsp Harissa paste
1 spoon olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt/pepper
Some rocket leaves
175 m tub plain yoghurt
Handful chopped fresh mint or a tsp mint sauce
2-4 Mission Deli Super Soft Wholemeal Wraps


In a bowl whisk the Harissa with a dash of oil and the lemon juice, season then add the roast vegetables and coat well. Spoon some onto the middle of the wrap followed by chopped chicken, rocket leaves and a little crumbled feta, season then wrap. In a bowl mix the yoghurt with the mint, season to taste and serve as a dip on the side.

Veggie curry leftovers with paneer & toasted cumin yoghurt dip
Leftover vegetable curry ( bulk up with frozen cooked peas if necessary)
1 packet paneer ( Indian cheese for cooking) chopped into small cubes
Garam Masala
Coriander leaves chopped
1 pot Greek yoghurt
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 crushed garlic cloves
Seasoning
2-4 Mission Deli Super Soft Multigrain Wraps


In a dry pan, dry fry the cumin seeds until they pop then transfer to a pestle and mortar and crush well, stir into the yoghurt with the crushed garlic and a little salt. Heat the vegetable curry, if necessary cook some frozen peas and add in to bulk the curry out then in a frying pan, dry fry the chopped paneer until browned all over. Throw into the curry and stir in the chopped coriander and a pinch of Garam masala then spoon into a wrap, wrap tightly and serve with the cumin garlic dip.

Tip: If you have any leftover roast lamb or chicken, chop it up, add it to the curry and serve with a dollop of Mint yoghurt and some mango chutney.

Leftover Bolognese ( chilli)  with sour cream & chilli cheddar
2-300g of leftover Bolognese sauce
1 can kidney beans drained
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
I small handful chopped fresh coriander
1 small lime
I pot sour cream
Grated mature 'chilli' cheddar
2-4 Mission Deli Original Wraps

In a heavy bottomed pan bring the Bolognese to a simmer; throw in the beans and spices. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes (if it begins to dry out too much, add a little water). Add the chopped coriander and a good squeeze of lime, adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon some onto a wrap with a dollop of sour cream and a handful of the grated chilli cheddar, wrap and serve with green salad leaves.

Tip:
To give your Bolognese more of a kick & authentic chilli flavour - add a dash of tequila!

Quick baked pudding wraps with mango chocolate sauce & granola
1 Bottle of good quality, thick hazelnut sauce (Nutella or home-made sauce would work too)
1 can mango slices (or 1 fresh prepared mango) or peach slices
150g granola
Icing sugar for dusting
Vanilla or hazelnut ice cream
2-4 Mission Deli Super Soft Original Wraps

Drop 2-3 spoonfuls of the hazelnut sauce on the wrap.  Arrange slices of fruit over then sprinkle a spoonful of granola on top. Fold over and wrap tightly. Dust with icing sugar and bake for 8-10 mins 180c. Serve with a scoop of ice-cream.

Tip: if you want to make this more 'grown-up', use fresh orange slices that have been soaked in a dash of Grand Marnier and crumble toasted pecans over the top before serving with hazelnut ice-cream

Sticky chicken with tomato, avocado, lettuce, cucumber slices & mozzarella
2 leftover chicken breasts - cooked & sliced
2-4 rough chopped tomatoes
1 ripe avocado sliced
some chopped lettuce
Sliced cucumber
1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
Lemon juice
Salt pepper
1 Mozzarella ball torn
Some fresh basil leaves
2-4 Mission Deli Super Soft Wheat and White Wraps

For the sticky sauce;

1 tbsp ketchup
1tsp Moroccan spices, e.g.
Ras el Hanout (available from all major supermarkets)
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2tsp sesame oil (or veg oil)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and throw in the sliced chicken to coat well.  Heat a griddle pan then add the chicken slices and griddle until slightly darkened. In a bowl mash the ripe avocado with the Greek yoghurt add a squeeze of lemon and season, dollop a little on the wrap add some chicken then tomato lettuce cucumber and torn mozzarella, finish with some basil leaves, wrap and devour!  

Tip: this sauce works well with any leftover BBQ meat - sausages, pulled pork or even fish!

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the products for free to review, but thoughts & opinions expressed are my own. I pride myself on an honest review, good or bad. Recipes provided by Mission Deli in collaboration with Alex Hollywood.

Monday, 7 September 2015

YB WRITES: I'm Going To Mars!

Well, not quite... But my name is :P



And it did a couple of years ago too... 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

YB REVIEWS: Bio-Kult & Bio-Kult Infantis

I was sent samples of Bio-Kult and Bio-Kult Infantis to review.



Bio-Kult is a capsule of live bacteria - 14 strains - good bacteria, bacteria that helps promote a healthy gut and boost your immune system. You take 1-2 capsules a day. I was really pleased that there is more than one way to take them. I have a throat problem which means I can't swallow tablets/capsules whole, but fortunately, you can open them up and sprinkle them onto food or mix with a drink which for me, was perfect. It does not need to be refrigerated and can be taken alongside antibiotics, by babies toddlers and children, when travelling, by vegetarians, as part of a healthy diet and when pregnant - so pretty much all the time.



The Bio-Kult Infantis is specifically made for babies, toddlers and young children. As it's currently around back to school time - it's now more than ever that children need an immunity boost and Bio-Kult Infantis provides this. It comes in a convenient sachet that you can mix with milk, water or food to make it easy for them to take. It contains 7 strains of bacteria, is high in Omega 3 and contains Vitamin D3. I mixed it in with my little mans drink and he had it no problems and I like knowing that it's giving his gut a good immunity boost.



Bio-Kult’s nutritional therapist Natalie Lamb has provided some back to school tips...

Back to school is fast approaching and many parents will be starting to worry about the stresses and strains that a new term can put on a family. Stress can upset the delicate balance of the gut microflora in a child, depleting their immune system and causing symptoms such as stomach upsets and increasing their susceptibility to colds and flu. With 70% of our immune cells located in the gut, a child’s are still growing and changing during childhood. Their gut bacteria play an essential role in supporting the development of a strong healthy immune system at this time. This can be compromised if they are busy fighting off a wide range of new bugs shared out amongst new class mates. As well as being well organised and making sure your child is getting plenty of sleep, the following tips could help support a healthy immune system:
  • Get the most of the last of the British summer sun to boost natural vitamin D levels, important for ensuring a strong immune system.
  • Have fun picking local berries and fruits mid-summer such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, elderberries and black currants are said to be rich in Vitamin C & E and full of antioxidants.
  • Eat a varied wholefood diet high in a rainbow of coloured vegetables, salads and some fruits. I’d also advise choosing meats, eggs and oily fish over processed sugars and refined carbohydrates which could feed unwanted bacteria and are generally low in useful immune boosting nutrients.
  • Multi-strain probiotics such a Bio-Kult Infantis have been shown to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of common colds commonly picked up in play groups.   
Bio-Kult retails for £14.95 for a box of 60 capsules and is widely available in high street retailers, independent pharmacies, health food stores and online at www.Bio-Kult.com

Bio-Kult Infantis retails for £11.95 for a box of 16 sachets and is widely available in high street retailers, independent pharmacies and health food stores and online at www.Bio-Kult.com.

YB WRITES: Turbospoke Competition

Turbospoke is a brand new toy for kids that is a toy exhaust for fitting to a bicycle that has realistic motorbike exhaust sounds - mega fun for kids!




The Turbospoke can be easily attached to back of of the bike frame with the mounting kit which comes with tools in the box to fit it with.



It comes with 3 sound cards that you can tune for up to 6 different realistic sounds. It's a great gift for children of all ages (recommended age of 6+) and I think it's probably going to be a big hit this Christmas, which is quickly creeping up on us!


  • Bicycle exhaust sound system
  • Makes authentic motorbike noises
  • Three interchangeable sound cars
  • Activates as bike is pedalled
  • Does not require batteries
  • Modern take on a classic
  • Includes stick-on decals
  • 35cm



If you would like the chance to win one, simply read the terms & conditions below and enter using gleam.

TERMS & CONDITIONS
Open to UK residents
Closes 23:59 03/10/2015
Winner has 7 days to claim their prize (send over name, address, e-mail address & phone number) or a new winner will be chosen