table of contents

  • Christmas pudding chocolate truffles #recipe

    I was recently challenged by Fat Freeze NYC to come up with a recipe fit for someone in uniform!

    I decided on this recipe as it is certainly fit for a fireman, with lots of nutrients, it would keep up their energy and a touch of fire – perfect! Of course the best way to serve it would be with the steak cooked on the BBQ, but of course we can’t count on the great british weather and BBQing just didn’t fit in!

    Steak with Chimichurri sauce

     

    Serves 2 Cooking time 50 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Chimichurri sauce

    • handful of parsley
    • 1/2 a red chilli, seeds removed (unless you are really brave!), chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 1 tsp dried oregano – you can use fresh, but its not something I usually have
    • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil – I used chilli flavoured oil for an extra kick, but plain or garlic would work just as well.

     

    • 2 steaks, I used fillet as that is what I had in – we have an amazing butcher who does some great deals – but you can use any cut you like, sirloin would be perfect!
    • 400g potatoes
    • 150g mushrooms
    • 1 pack of vine ripened cherry tomatoes

    Method

    1. Put all the ingredients for the Chimichurri sauce in a food processor and pulse until the parsley is fully chopped and all the ingredients are combined. If you can make this in advance and leave it in the fridge the flavours will develop.
    2. Peel the potatoes and cut up into chips. Parboil for 5 mins, before draining and putting on a baking tray sprayed with Fry Lite, then spray the chips again. Bake for 40 mins in an oven preheated to 200c, turning half way through cooking.
    3. 10 minutes before the end of cooking, add the mushrooms to the oven, and 5 minutes later add the tomatoes
    4. Cook your steaks in a griddle pan for a couple of minutes each side, until they are cooked to your liking.
    5. Serve the steaks drizzled with the Chimichurri sauce with the mushrooms, tomatoes and homemade chips on the side

    March 27, 2019

  • Office Snacks Delivery

    Whether you are throwing a dinner party, want a special treat for a special occasion or simply want to stock up with office snacks for when you are too tired to cook we’ve made it simple to enjoy the wonderful food from VarietyFun

    Three simple steps to gourmet food delivered to your home.

    1. Choose from the menu. Simply browse the site and choose what you’d like by adding it to the basket. There’s plenty of choice from simple snacks to three course dinners.

    2. Choose a delivery date . Once you are ready to order simply go to your basket where you will get a choice of delivery dates. You can have the food delivered the next day if ordered before 2pm. Then simply go through the easy and secure checkout process.

    3. Your food is delivered to your office

    How does the food arrive?

    We deliver your snacks in specially designed packaging. We do this because they travel better this way. The snacks will reach you with optimum quality, and give you the most choice on how and when to use it. This is great convenient food. Enjoy it.

    December 11, 2018

  • CBD Vape Pods from KYLE

    Established in 2013, KYLE, first started creating CBD Vape Pods for personal use. The Lords decided that the liquids that they had crafted was far too good to keep for themselves. Thus they decided to sell to the Great British Public.

    Humble Beginnings

    Starting small, KYLE, crafted their CBD liquids in small batches, allowing customers into the website a bit at a time to cope with the demand. As more staff were employed, production capacity increased and restrictions on the website were lifted.

    You can use credit card processing from nadapayments to save some money on this deal.

    The response to our liquids at UK Vapefest 2013 was resoundingly good, and from then on we have gone from strength to strength.

    Location, Location, Location

    In 2014 we moved into our first official office-based premises in Burnley called Lodge House (pictured) and began to set our sights on selling worldwide. We attended UK Vapefest once more in 2014 and we were inundated by hordes of vapers!

    2015 and Beyond…

    2015 is a big years for us. This year saw our biggest premises move yet, construction of our cleanroom, our first London expo at Vape Jam UK and once more we attended UK Vapefest 2015 which we had a tent all to our ourselves.

    December 10, 2018

  • Why promote cycling to work?

    Introduction.

    An over dependence of private motor vehicles has many consequences both for the individual and U.K. society as a whole. Perhaps the most obvious of these is the growing level of congestion experienced in our cities with the roads in many areas nearing maximum capacity.

    Approximately 70% of UK households have access to a car. However, this means that 30% of households do not have access to a car and even within ‘car owning’ households there may well be individuals who do not have access to the family vehicle for many journeys. Given the large number of individuals who do not have immediate access to a private car, yet aspire to car ownership,  it seems certain that the current growth in car use will continue. This will be especially the case if alternative modes of transport are not developed. It is also very apparent that not only is the current growth in private car use is unsustainable existing levels of car use already have a significant negative impact on the quality of many peoples lives.

    In many ways facilitating alternative modes of travel is a central key to creating a more just and inclusive society that recognises the equal rights of all citizens. For example, a failure to develop alternative modes of transport will have increasingly acute consequences for those who continue to remain car free as they will find it ever more difficult to access work, shopping and leisure facilities which assume that everyone has access to a private car.

    Similarly, the roads infrastructure has for many decades been developed in a manner that has not given due regard to the needs of cyclists (or indeed pedestrians) as citizens and tax payers. This is despite the fact that the roads network is supposedly a public facility provided for the benefit of all classes of road user. Investing in more ‘cycling friendly’ roads does little more then redress a long term imbalance of investment in the road network.

    It might be suggested that the current level of private car use simply reflects consumer demand. However, the structure of the ‘transportation market’ has been distorted by long term under funding of alternative modes of transport (such as the rail system, cycling facilities and public transport) whilst at the same time investing vast amounts of public capital in highway network. Such policies have led to an increasing dependence on the car through necessity, not choice, where the free market cannot operate effectively and consumers are forced into a set lifestyle by the lack of viable transportation alternatives.

    In order to address these issues it is necessary to develop alternative travel strategies that both cater for the car free and to give those who are currently car users a realistic choice as to how they travel. Currently, many who would like to cycle do not because of the dominance of the roads system by the private car or they don’t have bike, in that case they can use bike rental. Facilitating alternative modes of travel, including cycling, is not about restricting the freedoms, rather it is about restoring to the individuals the freedom to choose how they travel.

    The bicycle is ideally suited to many inner city journeys of up to 5 miles. Although long neglected by politicians and planners in the U.K. in many European Countries the bicycle plays a key role in meeting the mobility needs of a large section of the population. 

    The potential of cycle use.

    The European Commission report ‘Cycling the way ahead for towns and cities’ 1999 points out that in Denmark 60% of children cycle to school each day (in the U.K. the figure is less than 4%). In the Netherlands 66% of the population are regular cyclists, in Denmark 50% and in Germany 33% . In the U.K. only 13% of individuals are regular cyclists and many of these use bicycles primarily for leisure purposes. In Ferrara in Italy 31% of home-to-work trips are made by cycle, In Vasteras in Sweden 33% of all trips are made by bicycle and in Berne in Switzerland 15% of trips are made by bicycle despite roads in the city having a gradient of 7%.  In the U.K. only 1% of utility trips are made by bicycle, although there are large regional variations with areas. For example, locations such as York, Hull and Cambridge have European levels of utility cycle use.  Given such figures it is also  very apparent that there is almost certainly a large suppressed demand for cycle use in the U.K. and that this demand can be met if appropriate measures are taken. 


    The benefits to your organisation of facilitating cycling to work.

    A detailed breakdown of the potential benefits of developing a Company Travel Plan so as to reduce car dependence and increase levels of cycling are detailed within this resource when considering  the Nottinghamshire County Council booklet. These are summarised here as being

    • Cut costs relating to the provision of car parking.

    • Enjoy real cost savings on business travel.

    • Enjoy easier access to your site for deliveries and staff.

    • Obtain tax Relief.

    • Support a Planning Application.

    • Enhance your company’s image.

    In the marketplace

    In the local community

    • Improve staff recruitment and retention.

    • Have a wider pool of labour available for staff recruitment.

    • Contribute to a more committed, healthy workforce.

    The wider social benefits of promoting cycling to work.

    There are a wide range of social and environmental problems which are the direct result of the continued growth in motor traffic and which can be alleviated by encouraging a shift from car use to cycling and other more sustainable transportation alternatives. These include:

    1) The economic and individual costs of traffic congestion.

    In 1993 The Confederation of British Industry calculated that the annual cost to British industry of congestion was £15 billion pounds per year and this has increased every year since then. Traffic congestion is also one of the primary sources of stress in modern society.

    Although there is the widespread perception that private car use is a net contributor to the National economy, Whitelegg (1992) calculated that if all the indirect costs associated with car use are totalled (for example, the costs of pollution, traffic injury and death and the costs to the National Health Service arising from a  sedentary car bound lifestyle), the private car driver was being subsidised by £20 billion pounds annually.  In 1992 motor vehicle tax would have had to be increased to over £1000 per vehicle per year if the total costs of private car use were to be met by car users themselves. In the 11 years since this calculation was made these indirect costs have risen substantially. For example, the annual £5 billion cost of road traffic related injury and deaths used by Whitelegg in 1992 had risen to almost £11 billion per year by 2000.

    2) The degradation of the environment due to pollution created by motor vehicles.

    No motor vehicle can be considered to be ‘green’. Even lead-free petrol releases hydrocarbon derived toxins into the atmosphere and the particulates released by diesel engines are carriers of high-risk carcinogens. In addition, the majority of car journeys are only a few miles in length and for such journeys catalytic converters are ineffective in reducing emission levels.

    The British Medical Council estimated in 1998 that 22,000 individuals die prematurely each year as a result of the pollution from car exhausts. Vehicle exhaust levels also significantly affect children. In many areas one third of children require treatment for asthma, either directly as a result of exposure to traffic fumes or because exposure has sensitised them to other factors.

    3) The continued destruction of the countryside in an attempt to accommodate the ever increasing amounts of traffic.

    This occurs despite the fact that it is now recognised that it is impossible to build ones’ way out of congestion. Creating new roads creates new opportunities to drive and may make existing journeys easier. The overall outcome of this is to increase the net number of vehicle journeys and a corresponding increase in congestion at those parts of the network with limited capacity.

    4) A continuation of the high rate of death and injury resulting from motor vehicle crashes.

    The death and injury toll from motor vehicle crashes is commonly regarded as a normal part of life, due in part to the dispersal of casualties. In addition to the personal impact of such crashes the financial cost of injury and death incidents, as estimated by The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, had  risen to £10.9 billion per year by the year 2000.

    5)  Increasing dependency on the car is a key cause of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle for many individuals. This has a wide range of negative effects on the health of the individual.

    Levels of obesity are increasing along with obesity related diseases such as diabetes. The World Health Organisation has determined that living a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity by 50% with a wide range of other illnesses being made significantly more likely, including some forms of cancer.

    In 2001 the Scottish Cancer foundation found that regular exercise could reduce bowel cancer by 50%. In 2002 researchers at the University of Bristol reported that regular exercise could reduce the chance of developing bowel cancer by between 40% and 50% and the chance of developing breast cancer by 30%. These findings were further supported by research from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg(published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2003) which showed that 3 hours of moderate cycling per week reduced the risk of breast cancer by 34%. This report also suggested that cycling might be an especially effective form of exercise with regards increasing the individuals resistance to cancer.

    Individuals also suffer from decreasing levels of fitness with a negative effect on their life quality and feeling of well being.  As a consequence sedentary individuals are also more likely to suffer from depression and mental health than those living a more active lifestyle.

    6) High levels of car use have also led to degradation in the quality of life due to traffic levels, danger and noise.

    Again this is particularly serious problem for children who spend their lives in cars without being able enjoy the personal development and health benefits previous generations gained from cycling and walking. As is the case with crime, the fear of traffic has a negative influence on many more individuals than those who actually become victims.

    In addition the development of the road infrastructure itself has also had a significant adverse affect on quality of life and local communities. Major roads schemes, evident in cities such as Leeds, have severed links within communities and created areas of urban blight. In such areas residents often have to live in close proximity to networks of inner city motorways which individuals find alienating and hostile.

    8) An increasing dependence on car ownership has exacerbated levels of social exclusion.

    Those who choose not to drive or who cannot drive have become excluded from many aspects of normal social life. Many facilities, from cinemas to supermarkets have effectively become accessible only to car owners. In part this is due to a high level of car use resulting in a reduced demand for public transport, this in turn resulting in services being cut, leaving the car free isolated.  High levels of traffic also mean that many individuals feel that cycling or even walking are not viable options, even for short journeys. In addition, many facilities have been developed that are hard to access without a car, for example out of town shopping centres. Employers also frequently recruit from a wide catchment area or require staff to have a car available for ‘work’ use.

    It is also significant that those who suffer most from social exclusion due to a lack of access to a private car are also those most likely to experiences the negative impact resulting from the car use of others. Children from the poorest backgrounds are five times as likely to be killed by a car then those from the richest backgrounds and poorer inner city areas often cut through with busy roads giving suburban dwellers access to city centres but creating pollution and danger for those who live in their vicinity.

    This report lays out how ‘accessibility planning’ can be used to identify where social exclusion is arising as a result of individuals being unable to access jobs, learning, health care and leisure facilities. It also shows how action may be taken to improve access by ‘improving public transport, introducing more innovative travel options, or changing the location or delivery of the services people need.’ This approach is central to many of the initatives examined within this resource.

    November 29, 2018

  • THE STAY AT HOME CROWD #4

    Welcome to the fourth fortnightly feature of The Stay at Home Crowd or #SAHCrowd.

    I’m always interested in finding out about stay at home parents and I’m very curious about why they became stay at home parents, what they enjoy about it, along with a million other questions – which I’ve rounded down to about 11. This is the inspiration behind this feature as I am a stay at home parent and out of my friends I am the only one.

    Thank you very much to Chloe from Steven Tabach for taking part in the last edition and replying to all of the lovely comments that she received.

    This week please welcome the lovely Becca from the parenting, lifestyle and weight loss blog Mummydaddymia.

    Tell us a little bit more about yourself and your family, including how long you’ve been a stay at home parent. 

    I’m Becca, I have been a stay at home mum since Mia came along two and a half years ago. Before then I was a Teaching Assistant at a local primary school. I run a small baby gifts business from home and spend a lot of time blogging. We live in Nottingham with Mia’s daddy Mario who is an IT Project Manager.

    Why and how did you choose to become a stay at home parent? 

    We have always had traditional ideas when it comes to having a family and we decided pretty early on that Mario would go out to work and I would stay at home. It’s what both of our parents were able to do and we felt that I was at the stage in my life where I could choose to start my career or have a family. We were also in a position where we could afford to do it this way and are very thankful for that.

    What do you enjoy/not enjoy about being a stay at home parent?

    I enjoy being able to experience everything Mia says and does for the first time. I love taking her to different places and having the chance to see her experience new things. I also enjoy taking care of my family by being at home and doing all of the ‘traditional’ things.

    However, there are things I don’t enjoy so much, sometimes people don’t respond well to me telling them I’m a stay at home mum and its tricky to handle those types of situations, also I don’t enjoy having absolutely no time to myself, ever! I tend to put myself under a lot of pressure to make everything perfect and that can mean some days are harder than others, it’s important to find the right balance.

    What’s been one of the hardest challenges you’ve faced?

    I would say the first few months of Mia’s life were the hardest I have ever dealt with as a first time mum. I had no idea what I was doing, I was emotionally and physically drained and Mario worked away all week so we only saw him and had his help at the weekend. It was really tough but we got through it.

    How do you find time to get other things completed (for example blogging, housework, etc) during the day when you have a little one demanding your attention?

    We have been very lucky in that Mia is very happy to entertain herself now. When she was first born I learnt very quickly to prioritise things such as housework and only aim to do achievable things every day. As Mia has got older and I have got into a good routine, I usually find a quick period in the day where I can get a few bits done but any work or blogging has to be done when Mia’s gone to bed. It’s impossible to concentrate with a toddler around!

    How do you find the reaction of others when you tell them you’re a stay at home parent?

    I don’t have many friends with children; those that I do have all work but I know would want to stay at home if they had the choice. It’s my own problem but I always feel guilty talking about it to them as I can stay at home and they can’t. When I go to Mia’s classes, most other mums work at least part time and I find people tend to be surprised that I stay at home full time. I think it’s unusual with mums like me to stay at home.

    What advice would you give someone who was contemplating becoming a stay at home parent?

    Just to make sure that you go out and do something every day because if you don’t, you will slowly go crazy in the house! It’s very important to go out and meet other people, even if it’s just to the park. Baby/Toddler talk can get very draining after a full day of it, you will crave adult conversation!

    What one thing would you wish your partner/family/friends would do to help/support you more?

    We are very lucky that we see family members each week and my mum has Mia for us once a month overnight so we can spend time together as a couple. It’s very important to make time for each other. I wouldn’t want or need any more support from them, they are great!

    How do you relax and unwind at the end of the day?

    I relax by either doing some blogging work, watching TV (usually an easier watch than something I have to actually think about!), and also by reading a book which is one of my favourite hobbies. It’s important to wind down after a busy day and make sure you enjoy the quietness of the house!

    What are your plans for the future with regards to being a stay at home parent?

    We plan for me to stay at home with Mia until she goes to school. If we have any more children then I will be staying at home with them hopefully but the plan is that once they are of school age, I will go and do my teacher training which is something I have wanted to do for a number of years.

    Any tips or anything else you’d like to share?

    Everyone gives so much advice to you but it’s important to look after yourself and your family first. Don’t feel guilty for not getting all the housework done or not cooking dinner in time, just enjoy being at home and doing something that not everyone is able to do.

    Thank you very much for taking part Becca. 

    Like you I put myself under a lot of pressure for everything to be perfect at home. It’s definitely important to find the right balance for you and your family. It’s something we’re still working on.

    January 29, 2016

  • WICKED UNCLE TOYS & WEBSITE – REVIEW

    A few weeks ago Wicked Uncle, a children’s toy website, set a challenge on Twitter, the first five bloggers to respond to a certain tweet would be given the opportunity to work with them. Thankfully I saw it just in time and was the fourth blogger (I think) to respond, yey!

    We were given a voucher code to use on their site in return for an honest review of their toys and user experience of the website.

    Alex and I sat down and went through the site together. It’s really easy to navigate and the text and colours are really pleasing to the eye. There are a number of different categories that you can search through which are different themes of toys, such as brainiac, creativity and outdoorsy. On the home screen you also have the option to search via gender and age.

    This opportunity came just at the right time as we were in the middle of Christmas shopping for Rowan and we went for two amazing presents. (We have sent the items to Santa to wrap up so I’ll post some photos of Rowan and his gifts after Christmas!)

    1. Wooden Cafe Machine – Barista Fun RRP £24.95

    Wicked Uncle Description: A brightly painted red wooden cafe style coffee making machine, from top toy company Le Toy Van.

    This play set includes five different coloured pods which can be inserted into the removable coffee filter. It also comes with two red and white spotted cups and a handy little spoon.

    Rowan is being gifted a wooden kitchen for Christmas by his Grandparents so this matches wonderfully. It has lots of moving elements that Rowan will really enjoy playing with straightaway, and as he gets older he’ll be able to play with it in lots of different ways to develop his role play skills.

    2. Magnetic Stacking Rocket RRP £16.95

    Wicked Uncle Description: A bright and colourful wooden toy made from five separate pieces which stack up and are held together with magnets. Each wooden piece has a built in magnet to make assembly easy and fun. It has a spinning propeller at the bottom of the 16cm tall rocket. Children can have role play fun too with the happy little astronaut hidden inside.

    We choose this item as what little boy wouldn’t like his own rocket? At the moment Rowan loves dismantling things and then attempting to put them back together again. He’s obsessed with his wooden stackers and the rocket combines all of these features. I can imagine him running around with it when he’s a little older making rocket noises with it.

     

    Each item listed on Wicked Uncle has great pictures, fantastic descriptions and at the bottom of each listed toy there is a table which gives you three reason why you’ll love it, and three items listing three technical points, for example the height and weight of the toy. Beneath that section it shows you three related products that you may also like.

    Adding items to your basket and the checkout procedure is very easy and you’re taken through it step by step. There is an option at checkout to have your items gift-wrapped, which is handy at this time of year. You can also have a handwritten (by Elves no less) greeting card or gift message included with your package.

    Wicked Uncle offer a variety of delivery service starting at £2.95 for the standard service – irrespective of the size and weight of your item. We received our item within two days having been notified via email the status of the order and told when it was posted.

    The items arrived packed really well in large box with appropriate packing material to ensure your items get to you safely.

    We’d highly recommend the website and the items available at Wicked Uncle also check central park bike rental.

     

    November 29, 2015

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