As a coeliac, a wife to a fairly picky husband AND a very opinionated two-year-old, meal times together can sometimes be difficult. The ideal meal for my husband would honestly be chicken dippers, potato waffles and a load of ketchup. Although we do cave and have the odd freezer meal when time is rushed, I try to add a little more excitement to our plates at dinner time. One thing that has definitely helped out in times of need has been ready-to-go spices and recipe mixes.
So, here’s my favourite ‘quick and simple’ recipe for fussy families. The great thing about this recipe is that you can switch ingredients out according to your liking. I am going to show you how I create a delicious, one pan rice meal that is so easy and quick. My ingredients are:
Cooked basmati rice (approx 500g or 2 packs of microwave rice)
1 veggie or chicken stock cube (I use the knorr stockpots)
100ml chopped tomatoes
Any veggies I can find like peas and sweetcorn
Like I said, you can easily switch up the veg or meat to your family’s liking if this isn’t to taste, but the beauty of rice is that it pretty much goes with everything you can throw at it. Onto the method:
Dice the chicken up into thin strips, add a generous dash of oil plus all the seasonings. Again, this amount is totally up to you. Mix together until completely coated, cling film over the top and pop into the fridge for a minimum of 1.5 hours. Once ready, take out and pop the chicken into a large frying pan or wok, either will work fine. Cook on a med to high heat until turned white, then it’s time to add the rice, stock cube, water, tomatoes and veg.
Gently stir and turn down the heat until the pan is gently sizzling, but not going crazy. Now it’s just a waiting game for all that water to evaporate and leave you with all the juicy flavours. I tend to like it a little bit sticky, so once you can scoop a spoonful out and it’s not dripping off the edge, it is ready to go!
Super quick and simple, full of protein, good carbs and veg. My husband and daughter love it, and so do I with very minimal cleaning up time!
What’s your ‘go-to’ recipe that’s a family favourite? I’d love to know in the comments below.
If you liked my favourite ‘quick and simple’ recipe for fussy families, why not see how I celebrated Veganuary at the Cosy Club in Ipswich??
This is a sponsored post, all thoughts and views my own
This post contains gifted items, all thoughts and views my own
Happy 2020! I’ve been away for what feels like my longest break in blogging. Sometimes we all just need to take some time out and chill, especially during the festive/NY period. Though I can assure you it was more non-stop than relaxing, I am starting this new year with nothing but positivity. There are lots of changes coming in 2020 for the Schaefer family, and I cannot wait to share all the details. It’s going to be an interesting beginning to the decade to say the least so I need to get myself organised. Starting the new decade right with Boxclever has got me motivated and going in the right direction for 2020…
Boxclever are a brilliantly British stationery company who specialise in designing the most beautiful calendars, diaries and wall planners. I was thrilled to be gifted the 2020 weekly family planner calendar (£11.99) to show you. It has a handy 16 months so you can start using before the new year begins, six columns for all the family members and is designed in a week-to-view style.
This family planner calendar is just so easy to use, they really have thought of everything. You can add recurring activities on the plastic overlay and it comes with a host of stickers – from doctor and dentist to birthday and exclamation marks – for those things you just cannot forget! Alice was so eager to help me put the stickers onto the right days, so it’s something you can get your kids involved in to help them learn the fun of planning.
It’s so simple to follow as the planner is nice and strategic, yet it has a graceful charm that you will want to hang on your kitchen wall for everyone to see. I know exactly where mine is going to go. This is a no-fuss, super organised calendar that just fits within my family life. Where has this been in years gone past? Guaranteed I would have forgotten a few less things!
Boxclever have a design perfect for any household and decor so why not take a look on the website and find your 2020 match, there’s no excuse to not get organised!
Be back soon with a few more life updates, Saharasplash x
Items in this blog post have been gifted. All thoughts and views my own.
It’s no secret that this family is kind of Frozen obsessed. When Frozen first came out in 2012 (in a pre-Alice world) I absolutely adored it and went to the Disney store to get some licensed gear that same week. I was captivated by the music, the plot and characters and nothing brings me more joy than being able to share this love with my daughter. It is definitely her favourite Disney film by far, though we haven’t quite got round to seeing them all yet! Needless to say, I have been gearing up for Frozen madness all summer and it is now time to let it all go in this Frozen themed blog post. I’ll be covering Alice’s second birthday, our trip to see the latest movie in the cinema AND our top gifts for a very merry Frozen Christmas. So without further ado, let’s head over to Arendelle in a Frozen themed blog post!
Alice’s second birthday
Alice celebrated her second birthday not long ago, and I started planning it in my head like all events I’m in charge of running about 6 months prior. For Alice’s first birthday, we did an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party which was such a hit. I re-booked the same venue for her Frozen party, and invites went out in August. I contacted a local soft play service called Little Angels Soft Play (based in Essex). On the day, they provided and set up an amazing soft play area for the children (all Frozen-themed) as well as a ball pit!
I found a gorgeous dress for Alice, though it proved difficult to find anything Frozen related and in her size as she is so small. I got this tie-dye effect dress second hand from Depop, and then decided to get an Elsa dress for myself! My good friend came dressed as Anna, and we also had an Olaf suit going around as well.
We had a photoshoot area with snowballs and a cut-out Olaf which proved very popular. Snacks included popcorn “snow flurries”, carrots as “Olaf’s nose” and some beautiful snowflake lollipops made by Sparko Sweets.
I decided to save some pennies and decorate a store-bought cake. I bought the Frozen base/stand along with balloons from Children’s Party Shop and used blue food colouring, icing sugar and white chocolate snowflakes to decorate. I finished off with scattering Frozen figurines around the cake, which Alice now has in her toy box!
Our Frozen 2 cinema experience
Our trip to see Frozen 2 has been a much anticipated moment on my 2019 calendar. Ever since I booked the tickets on presale for the five of us (Alice, Paul, auntie Evie, James and me) to see it, I had it on countdown. A cinema trip with a two year old is never an easy feat, so I was pretty anxious on the day that everything would be ok and we wouldn’t have to leave early. I decided to put a little film together of our real life experience which you can see on Alice’s Instagram page (link below). She absolutely loved it. Just one toilet break needed, and she was singing along to the latest hit “Into the Unknown”. We had lots of popcorn and snacks to keep her occupied, and even though I was a little miffed to have forked out almost £70 for about three hours, it was worth it.
Bruni is the newest addition to the cute selection of characters. He is a salamander that represents fire in the second movie. Granted this wasn’t a Christmas present for Alice, we picked him up as soon as Disney released him in October and she goes to sleep with him every night. I can’t seem to find the little critter online anywhere except for eBay, but if you really want him I think that Disney will stock him again so keep checking!
We have saved this fluffy Olaf blanket (£15), and it will be waiting under the tree on Christmas morning for her. It looks like a cushion, as it folds up into the case oh so cleverly.
Aldi have released a huge selection of Frozen gifts this season. Take a look online and in your local stores for more of the range, but here is a lovely selection from kitchen and bedroom to play time. The duvet set is £12.99, puzzle is £1.99 and water bottle is £3.99
We have just bought our Frozen Christmas cards from Matalan. You cannot go wrong for £2.50 for 20, plus right now they are on a 3 for 2 offer along with other Frozen gifting items too. Also, I just love the range of Frozen pyjamas starting at just £7 for sets, robes and nighties.
I hope this Frozen themed blog post warmed your heart, much like Olaf’s warm hugs. Please leave a carrot out this Christmas not just for the reindeer, but for Sven too! And if you see any snow, it was definitely Elsa.
Press Invite to Moonpig HQ, all thoughts and views my own
Are you among the 1 in 3 people in the UK that has used Moonpig before? I certainly am, and I cannot tell you how many times. When Moonpig got in touch about their Christmas event this year, I was so excited to get my train booked and head into London.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from an event at Moonpig HQ, but as soon as I walked in, the mood was set. Moonpig had gone all out to make a handful of bloggers feel welcome and get into the Christmas spirit. There was a huge screen with a burning log fire and a glass of bubbly waiting for us. Moonpig cards and gifts were scattered about as well as gifts under a huge Christmas tree. It was so lovely seeing the latest collections, including a few Frozen items too!
Moonpig’s CEO Nickyl Raithatha led us into the evening with a presentation on the company’s background and most importantly this year’s Christmas message: personal giving. If you haven’t used anything like Moonpig before, it really is so easy to create a heartfelt, personalised card to send to anyone for any occasion. They have thousands of designs you can customize with text and photos, and have it delivered in record time.
Back to the event, we had three fun activities to try and up first was cocktail making. Even though I am not heavily into the alcohol, I did thoroughly enjoy our Christmas tutorial from our personal mixologist. He taught us how to make three cocktails (recipes below) and I became quite partial to the Christmapolitan!
Gingerbread Mojito – Rum, Mint, Lime, Gingerbread Syrup, Soda
Port of Call – Gin, Port, Cranberry Sauce, Cinnamon Syrup
Moving onto our second section, photoshoots! Moonpig, being kings of creativity, pulled out all the stops and set up a green screen for a true Christmas photobooth experience. We even had a visit from Santa, so I decided to grab Olaf from the present stash and bring him in for a Frozen-themed snap. I then got to upload the photos onto Moonpig.com and create my own Christmas card which was posted out to me.
Cocktail finished and photos done, we moved onto our final station of the night, and there was a table full of flowers waiting for us. Moonpig had organised their very own flower buyer to give us a masterclass in flower arranging. I picked up a letterbox flower gift filled with beautiful tulips, and we each picked three jars. We were shown how to properly cut the stems and arrange in different sized jars to create a floral masterpiece.
As if that wasn’t enough to finish the night, Santa then came round to deliver us all a present each. I couldn’t have felt any happier to act like a child on Christmas, so thank you to Moonpig HQ for an epic night!
Are you planning on using Moonpig to give personalised cards and gifts this year? All links to products used on the night are right here for you:
This is a gifted/sponsored post in collaboration with the brands below. All thoughts and views my own.
This year I am doing things slightly differently. In the past, I have separated out men’s and women’s things, but for some reason I just can’t do it this year. Labels, sections and lines are being removed from our society day by day, especially in the beauty industry, so why should I have to put certain things under a certain label? Short answer is, I don’t, so I won’t. I have three amazing sections this year…Category is… ok I’m laughing at that one a little too much, if you’re a RuPaul fan then you’ll get why. If not, let’s just move on swiftly to my big fat Christmas gift guide 2019.
Cienna Rose are a vegan and non-toxic brand that create the most beautiful shades, especially this time of year. Below are shades “Let it Snow” (clear with holographic glitter flakes) and “Ice Cream Sundae” (pink, orange, blue and white micro glitter) along with “Plump it up High Shine Gel Effect Top Coat”.
Mavala are a Swiss-based brand that I cannot get enough of. They have a stunning range of makeup and skincare, but I particularly wanted to showcase their “Cyber Chic Collection” in the form of this festive, mini trio set. I highly recommend their waterproof mascara too for a great stocking filler.
In aid of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, Spacemasks have designed a beautifully packaged pack of five masks. The amazing thing about these masks (with ingredients of essence of rose and iron) is that they react with oxygen once applied and gently heat up for 15 minutes of bliss.
A company very close to home are Suffolk-based skincare experts Pevonia. With a very enticing Christmas gift section, you’ll have no trouble finding a perfect preside. Below are some favourites from the “Spa at Home” collection, including body moisturiser and shower gel.
I have been a REN Skincare enthusiast ever since I discovered their miracle allergy spray. They have their ultimate season staples all wrapped up in one complete package here in the “Face Favourites” skincare gift set. Containing three bestselling facial products for glowing, hydrated and youthful looking skin.
Est. 1994, American Crew is distributed in more than 30,000 salons across over 40 countries. This “Essential Grooming Gift” can go anywhere with you, and nothing from this selection will go to waste. I just love a gift that’s thought of it all, and American Crew definitely has! Contains shaving gel, lotion, 3-in-1, cream pomade in this stylish bag.
Taking its name from the Latin “oleum verum” (meaning ‘true oil’) Olverum will prove to be the hit of the household. Only half a capful needed per bath, a little will go a very long way. A sublime gift for anyone needing a bit of R&R this Christmas- can you smell the lavender already?
Such a beautiful name for a brand, don’t you agree? It’s named after the Sweet Iris of Dalmatia and uses sustainable ingredients such as wild plant oils, healing honey and pomegranate. This “Everybody Energy Cleanse” will invigorate the sleepy soul and awaken a newfound sense of self. Trust me, I’ve tried and tested it.
Quirky things, bubbles and gold
Moving onto section two of my Christmas Gift Guide 2019. I think you’ll find a few things in here to rival anyone’s standard Christmas list…
If you have a friend or family member that tends to shy away from getting into the festive spirit, or maybe you know someone who is choosing to go it abroad this year, then hear more about Zap-It! Perfect for winter sun, beaches and picnics, this device generates a harmless, low electrical impulse that stops the itching of an insect bite within minutes. Bet you’ve never heard of a gift quite like this before?! Available via Asda, Superdrug and Amazon.
If you are looking for an ultimate gift to spruce up your favourite couple’s home, then how about a beautiful piece of furniture? Grey Chenille Bedroom Accessories like this one can become a nursery toy box, or a blanket storage system/seat to sit at the end of a bed. I love its versatility and thanks to IG’s newfound home interior craze, you’d be number one on anyone’s list well into 2020 with this gift-giving expertise.
Be prepared for another mind-blowing stocking filler. This gift comes with the notion of forward-planning for those times where festivities+alcohol=bad next day. With the gift of Yeti & The Fox capsules, your recipient will receive a present that will help promote optimum health when they most need it. These capsules aid in replenishing the body with much needed glutathione, which plays a significant role in energy metabolism. For a better description, no more feeling dodgy after you’ve gone too hard.
Hashtag trending, if you didn’t know, is all things CBD this year. Completely legal might I add, with a variety of benefits, I bring you the “Hugg CBD Gift Kit”. Containing CBD Oil (to be used sublingually) as well as CBD bath salts, this gift kit will be perfect for someone who deserves a long bath and some royal treatment. FYI the bath salts contain coconut oil, orange and ginger root essential oils that will remain fragrant on your skin long after the bath is over.
Eco-friendly and sustainable are words on everyone’s lips right now. The Natural Deodorant Co. is the ultimate go-to choice for many a celeb with all products free from palm oil, synthetics and pore-blocking preservatives. These velvety balms melt into the skin helping nourish, banish odours and provide all-day protection. The Natural Deodorant Co. are the only deodorants to have been selected by Selfridges to be part of their Project Ocean campaign. Current best sellers are Fearne Cotton’s favourite, “Clean Orange + Bergamot” and refreshing “Active Coriander + Lime”.
Now it wouldn’t be a proper Christmas Gift Guide without a little tipple would it? I have never really been hugely interested in alcohol, especially wines. That was until I tried Barefoot. These guys adorned the tables at my wedding and they are always on my Christmas list each year. Introduced into the UK market in 2007, the brand now boasts an extensive collection of still and sparkling wines. My favourite has to be the Pink Pino Grigio.
Seol originates from the Anglo-Saxon word for silver “Seolfor”, originally used for sterling coins. Seol + Gold caters for all vibes, from delicate 9ct gold flourishes to richly plated statement jewellery for layering. I have on show below the beautiful “North Star Studs”, totally worth a double-tap am I right?!
One for the Kids
Now onto my final section, for the kiddos in your lives that you generally have no clue what to get for them because they already own everything.
Peppa Pig, an icon of this day and age. Whether you love her or hate her, you have to admit that this character has stolen the hearts of our mini nation. We love Peppa in our household and so here are a few lovely ideas from Gift Giving All Wrapped up to score some major points from those little angels this season.
For the kids who really have got the lot, or maybe the parents have asked you not to splurge out on toys and chocolate, Little Siberica is a great option. Organic birch extract in the baby soap softens the skin and relieves irritation, while organic extracts of chamomile heals and relieves in the baby daily care cream. Both these wondrous gifts provide gentle care of baby and child’s delicate skin for 24 hours.
If you are considering spoiling your niece or nephew rotten this year, then I would love to introduce you to Babyblooms. Equipped with personalisation services and a gift-wrapped box next to none, just take a look at these gorgeous and thoughtful gift ideas below. I just cannot get over the personalised toy makeup set with palette, lipstick, compact mirror and brush. Not a piece of plastic in sight, and utterly stunning. Also featured below is the “Personalised Little Bunny Christmas Breakfast Set and Christmas Eve Box”- you just can’t go wrong.
A second Swiss-made company on my list, and this time it’s for the art lovers out there. A present like these beautiful neocolor pastels will receive enjoyment from all ages, and they are perfect for many surfaces from paper, cardboard, glass, to wood, leather, fabric and even stone! Alice loves drawing and painting, so a gift like this is perfect for my budding little artiste.
Last, but certainly no means least on my Christmas Gift Guide extravaganza list is a beautiful set of pjamas from Chelsea Peers NYC. I can honestly say I’ve never felt pyjamas so soft before. Both Alice and I had such fun taking these shots while having a snowball fight with daddy! You can see more matching sets on the website, below we are wearing “Bearly Awake Long PJ Sets” in adult and mini size.
Et voila, fin, ende, final and any other language you can add in here. I hope you loved reading through the plethora of amazing suggestions as much as I did compiling it. Of course, my gift guide would not be half as possible or fun without the support of the brands involved, so my final thanks extends to you all,
NB: This is a no-spoiler, press invite review of WICKED the musical, all thoughts and views my own.
I had been wanting to see WICKED the musical since it first came to the West End in 2006, so literally 13 years! It may be an unlucky number for some, but this year I was invited to see the show on a very special press night along with many other bloggers and celebrities. I felt so honoured to be sat in the theatre among the likes of Dame Kelly Holmes and Craig Revel Horwood as the 13-year anniversary show made its debut.
In my opinion, it was imperative to wear green and so I pulled out a floral kimono that I last wore on my 42nd week of pregnancy! It was perfect for the occasion. I left at 3pm and drove to the Intercontinental Hotel near the O2 where I was staying for the night to drop my bags off and get ready. I met my husband, Paul near the Apollo Theatre Victoria to grab some quick dinner before the show started.
On the night
At 7pm sharp we were outside the theatre to take in the atmosphere and of course, to get the shots. We took about a hundred to get the perfect one before we went inside. The entrance was filled with the hustle and bustle of people arriving, getting drinks, their tickets and waiting to be seated. The crowds were also being filmed from every angle for the 13thanniversary video (which you can now see on the WIKED social channels). There were so many things to take in before the show started, like costumes hidden all around the theatre and an ‘Ozdust Boutique’ for souvenirs just as you entered the main theatre.
The performance was wonderful. I’m not going to post any spoilers for my readers who still haven’t seen it and are planning to. The show was magical, uplifting and absolutely worth the long wait to see. I knew a few of the songs throughout the performance, as well as a very good idea to how the story was going to play out based on my knowledge of the world of Oz. It was lovely to see old characters come to the stage from a previous timeline, as well as meet the new ones like Fiyero and Madame Morrible. It was in some ways a standalone, and what I mean by this is that you don’t need to know much about the Wizard of Oz to enjoy it. The characters of Elphaba and Glinda are simply spell-binding and I cannot believe I waited this long to see it.
The After Party
Once the curtains closed and the sea of green balloons cleared, we made a swift exit and headed down the street to the Park Plaza for the after party. It was such a thrill to not only see the show, but to meet the actors afterwards too and get to speak with some of them. I got the chance to share a moment with the beautiful Nikki Bentley who plays Elphaba and also Idriss Kargbo who is currently Boq.
Needless to say, I listened to the soundtrack all the way home the next day and couldn’t stop singing the songs (in a good way). I want to sincerely thank the Official London Theatre for arranging this magical escapade; I hope it’s not too long until my next visit to the West End.
Let me know if you have seen WICKED yet, or if it is on your bucket list in the comments below!