Avoid a Fat-berg Crisis and WIN!

When I was young, I thought my Dad was right weird, making bizarre lard moulds out of 4-pint bottles of milk. Let me explain, frying sausages, mince or a making a good old roast dinner produce a whole lot of juices - most of which is fat. Easy to pour down the sink you might think, but, what happens to them juices when they cool down? They solidify, causing havoc on your drain systems. Did you know that it costs around £20million to fix blocked pipes in the North West alone with this being one of the main causes?

The average roast dinner contains around 48g* of fat!

Dad's no longer as weird as I thought because guess who had to spend a small fortune on Mr Muscle and plumbers before Christmas? Yup, that'll be moi. I failed to pour leftover cooking fats into an open topped milk bottle! I'll be 32 years of age next month and I'm still uncovering proof to back up the fact that parent's are always right!

United Utilities want to help people learn how they can keep their own drains healthy, as many people don’t know that water companies aren’t responsible for fixing blockages on domestic properties. Insurance companies often won’t pay out if the problem was caused by fats, oils and grease. Can you imagine if Mr Muscle and a whole lotta elbow grease (excuse the pun!) hadn't have worked for my drains? Talk about an expensive Christmas.

Because of this, United Utilities have a dedicated area on their website just for this very issue, where you can find top tips like these, for keeping your drains in tip top condition:

> Before washing, pour or scrape fat and sauces (like gravy), from roasting trays, pans and plates into a heat resistant container, when cool put in the bin
*That'll be Dad's thinking!

> Small amounts of grease left in pans or on plates can be wiped away with kitchen roll and thrown into the bin.

> Use a sink strainer to capture food scraps and put them in the bin.

> For larger quantities of oils, contact your local council who’ll let you know how to dispose of them and where your local recycling centre is.

You can find much more information, advice and tips by visiting their website here.

To help raise awareness of the fat-berg crisis, because it is crisis - the North West pours 2.9 MILLION STONE of fat down our plugholes every year - we've got a Lakeland Fat Trapper to give away. A step up from the milk bottle method, this will look inconspicuous and slick in your kitchen whilst serving a real purpose.

Simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below for your chance to win. UK only,

Good luck!


This post was written in collaboration with United Utilities to raise awareness of the fat-berg crisis sweeping the North West.

Communication Passports For Autistic Children

As any loving mum would, I always look for ways to help Finley since his diagnosis and, as per usual,  I was recently mooching around the internet hoping to find the miracle 'cure' for his non-verbal, minimal understanding, often difficult to deal with Autism. It was not to be. Obviously! But hey, one can dream...

It was the Supreme Court ruling that wheelchairs take precedence over buggies on buses that really got me thinking. How on earth am I supposed to fold his buggy down if asked. I imagine a bus load of people burning holes in the back of my head, staring, judging or tutting, all whilst I look at the wheelchair-bound person who is expectantly awaiting my move. It absolutely terrifies me.

Such a happy, smiley little boy.

Disability seems to be pigeon-holed to the image of a wheelchair. So wrong. Despicable even. It's 2017!

I've witnessed people say that there's no reason it couldn't be done. That if that child was truly 'disabled' their pram would have obvious physical adaptations or, clearly, their oxygen tank would be attached. What the hell?

So disability is only valid when visible. Yeah, OK hun.

Don't forget though, "parents choose to have kids, wheelchair users don't choose to have no legs." Again, dramatic much? A) Using a wheelchair doesn't mean that the user "has no legs", talk about a massively disrespectful generalisation... and B) As a parent I didn't choose for my son to have a lifelong neurological condition.

Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

With the above in mind and my searching the net for any additional pointers that might help Finley, I came across CALL Scotland's communication passport templates online. OooOoo!! What's this, I thought, with great intrigue.

A personalisable mini guide as to how my little person works - helpful for all who see him or need to spend some time with him. It certainly saves having to run through everything every single time, that's for sure.

In addition, in the case of the bus issue, when he bolts in public and fails to respond to his name or it looks like I'm torturing him by holding on to him for dear life as he screams, thrashes and hits out, this could be really REALLY good for when he's "a naughty boy" (or whatever they want to say) when not in his buggy on a bus.

Check it out...

Template courtesy of CALL Scotland. Scroll down for link

I plan on having some of these made professionally to keep in his change bag, coat pocket, my handbag - wherever I can, really. It would look so much better than this sellotaped, whacked together version! Of course, I want to tweak it slightly, add a photo of him and put background colours in place etc. When I've taken that step and had them made, I'll share the finished product with you all.

You can find their templates over at communicationpassports.org.uk and there's a good, wide range to choose from.

What do you think? Will you use one for your little dude or dudette?

Image of Finley courtesy of Little Rainbows

Spectrum Sunday

Eggs at Christmas - Rant of The Week

Now this post was originally scheduled for New Year but, for some reason (possibly the delayed Millenuium bug?) it didn't post. But here we go anyway, it's relevant all the same...

Now that the Christmas festivities are over and we embark on a fresh start and a New Year.... who's looking forward to Easter?


I was shopping at Asda on December 28th and when I was in the queue, I was greeted by this ridiculous lovely offering at the till.

What is with shops? Seriously, why are they a full quarter ahead of us - there's so much pressure on the consumer it's unreal.

It's bad enough that in the Winter looking for coats or boots is impossible because it's all about the sheer blouses and peep toe wedges for Spring, but to prolong our Crimbo gorging with an Easter range before the year is out is just unspeakable.

Easter is late this year too - in the middle of April as opposed to in March like last year.

Piddle off! I still have mince pies in the cupboard for God's sake.

It's no wonder people seem to be both putting their trees up and taking their trees down earlier and earlier these days. We're being forced to join in with their ridiculous schedules.

Can we not enjoy a season for what it is any more?

That's my rant of the week. And... I refuse to even look at a Creme Egg until at least Valentine's Day has been and gone.

I'm cracking up here, it's no yolk. Do you succumb to the supermarket's poaching of your purse contents or are you just as fried as I am by the whole thing?

Excuse the puns - my brain's scrambled - I don't know what month it is. Cheers Asda!!

Lunchbox newcomers: Joosed Junior

Yesterday I wrote a post about syn-free snacks that were also perfect for Carson's lunch box. Today, I'm writing about something else to pack in his bag instead. 

I'm talking about Joosed Junior. An all natural, massively thirst-quenching, sports-lidded drink. No added sugar - yay! 

After all that lovely chocolate and fizzy prosecco pop over Christmas, it's about time we got back to basics and over-hauled our eating and drinking ways isn't it? Well, we think so anyway and after being sent a couple of bottles of this late last year, I'm feeling all angelic in our consumption of these now. 

Joosed Junior is made by Bensons, a fruit juice producer based on a beautiful National Trust farm in the Cotswolds. Creating fruit juices and ices for all ages you usually find them in places like Nandos, National Trust, English Heritage and The Garden Centre Group.

Joosed Junior is created with the young Benson children in mind (ranging from 6yrs– 14yrs) and the current fruit juice category being full with hidden sugars and unrecognizable ingredients. Their juices are just 150ml of pure fruit juice mixed up with British spring water and, as per the running theme of this post, have no added sugars, colourings or flavourings. 

Whilst Carson will be the first to say I'm tight with these drinks, and he does get a little annoyed when I limit him to one a day, but, as with all fruit, the natural sugars within here are pretty high so I am strict with his consumption purely on that basis. That being said, counting as one of Carson's 5 a day, I'm confident in the quality of what I'm giving him when it comes to Joosed Junior. 

We were sent the Apple and the Blackcurrant & Apple flavours to try and we enjoyed both varieties. Personally, my absolute fave was the Apple. I'd finished vacuuming and was so thirsty when I grabbed one from the fridge. Oh my! I'll never forget the satisfaction in quenching my thirst with such a wonderfully natural flavour. My only grumble? It didn't last long enough! Junior shmunior - they're good for any age, trust me.

Currently £1.74* for a pack of 4 in Waitrose, have you tried Joosed Junior yet? If not, go get some!

Whilst I've got your attention, why not go and follow Bensons on twitter for Joosed news and giveaways here.

*correct at time of publishing

Syn free snack? Grabits!

I was sent some new and pretty unusual snacks to taste towards the end of last year and all I've heard since they ran out is "Muuuum, when can I have more chicken on a stick for my lunch boxes?"

syn free snack

Yes. Chicken on a stick. Such a simple idea, yet one that I'd not ever seen before! The best thing about them? They're syn free - if you're a lover of Slimming World, you'll appreciate this hugely, I'm sure.

Grabits Original Chicken on a Stick offers natural, meaty, 100% real, ready-to-eat chicken breast, perfect for snacking on their own, or quickly and simply adding to a salad or curry, with fewer than 70 calories per stick. 

Just because you're on slimming world though, doesn't mean you can't introduce a flavoured snack as well. With Grabits Chinese Chicken on a Stick, made from 100% whole muscle, healthy chicken, you can have a flavoursome snack with, again, fewer than 70 calories per stick.

syn free satisfying snack

The above picture shows the sheer size of these hunger-busting treats. Hint: that's on a dinner plate, not a side plate!

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned Carson wanting them for his lunch box again. That's because Grabits really are suitable for all the family. Instead of a sandwich, Carson loved having one of these with some cherry tomatoes and cheese chunks. From what he tells me, his classmates were a little on the jealous side too.

For those who've started a gym membership as part of their New Year's Resolutions - these pack away a huge 12g of protein per portion, making it perfect to take as a pre or post-workout snack.

They didn't last long in our house as, between Carson and I, we found new ways to utilise them and quickly! He gobbled them instead of crisps at home as well as taking in his lunch box for school. I made salads with them to take to work, or snacked on them in between meals at home. Grabits actually suggest using the Chinese ones in a meal of boiled rice, soy sauce and sliced spring onion for an easy-to-prepare Chinese-style lunch. How's that for a tasty, quick meal? And with an RRP of £1.69, it's pretty cost effective too. *Shred the takeaway menu!*

You can purchase these in shops like Spar, Costcutter, Londis etc. which is great for a snack on the go if you're passing. However, having said that you can see here that they're also available in Budgens and we recently have had one appear in our home town. Great to pick up during a proper shop too! 

Follow Grabits on Twitter or facebook for meal ideas, competitions and new flavour announcements, or if you prefer looking at pretty pictures, follow them on Instagram too. 

Tell me, is this a snack you'd try? Have you tried them already and, if so, do share your ways of eating them with us.

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