Because a Dad’s Work is Never Done: Johnson’s Click & Collect Dry Cleaning

This is a sponsored review post in collaboration with Johnson Cleaners.

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Being the at-home parent means I get certain household tasks by default: Cooking, cleaning (not enough for my wife’s high standards), laundry, etc.

Something else I get saddled with, and generally provokes a sigh every time I need to do it, is going to the dry cleaners. I resent dry clean only clothing (my wife seems to have a lot of these), and getting the likes of household items cleaned (“Is the couch really THAT dirty?”).

So when I was offered the chance to check out Johnson’s Click & Collect Dry Cleaning, I jumped at the chance to remove one of my domestic burdens (oh woe is me).

We decided to clean some of our sofa covers and cushions – which have suffered years of food & drink abuse. I’d like to blame the kid, but us parents are pretty messy TV dinner eaters too.

It was very simple. I went to the site, created an account, then went to online ordering > new order . The selected ‘Home’ and ticked boxes for sofa covers and cushions & number of items. After selecting your chosen day, you pay and you’re all done.

After checkout, the confirmation email arrived – but confusingly it said ‘delivery’ (they were picking up). It also said I would be given a time on the morning of the ‘delivery’ when I would need to be in to sign for it.

Unfortunately, on said morning of the ‘delivery’, I was given a time slot that overlapped with the school pick up. The collection/delivery service is from DPD, and I wasn’t able to adjust or request a new time that day – so I chose the next day and hoped for a better slot then.

However, despite rescheduling, the DPD driver still arrived late that afternoon anyway – luckily after we were home from the school run. I quickly took all the covers off and that was that. So a mistake, but a convenient one so no big deal.

3 days later, I had an email saying that the cleaning had finished. There was no indication when it would be delivered back, and a couple of days later the same DPD driver arrived with my cleaning (luckily I was in). Again, potentially not ideal, but it worked out fine on this occasion.

The most important thing is were the covers cleaner? Well, yes they were. The couch & cushions are 7-8 years old, so I wasn’t expecting them to be pristine, but they were much cleaner than before.

And despite my observations about the pick up/delivery service, the fact remains that it was all immensely convenient. I didn’t have to make an annoying trip to deliver and pick up from the cleaners myself.

And that is a win in my book 🙂

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Check out  Johnson’s Click & Collect Dry Cleaning for yourself.

 

 

Dad’s Night In: Iceland’s Chicken Nuggets with Homemade BBQ Sauce #PowerOfFrozen (ad)

Like other families, we have a routine to most nights. I make our daughter dinner before my wife gets home from work. She then does our daughter’s bath & bedtime while I get our own dinner ready. On those evenings when my wife is working late or is away, I tend to make a joint dinner for myself and our daughter.

But sometimes on these occasions, I prefer to give the kid her dinner as normal, and after packing her off to bed I indulge in a treat dinner for myself. A day of parenting can be tough, so unwinding with a dinner completely of my choice – that I don’t need to select with either my wife or daughter in mind – is all I want for an evening. Ok, that and wine. And a movie.

Iceland’s chicken nuggets served with homemade BBQ sauce would be a typical dad’s night in dinner for me. It’s a slightly grown up version of a childhood comfort food favourite – only this time consisting of Iceland’s chicken nuggets and my zingy BBQ dipping sauce.

Iceland’s frozen chicken nuggets are pretty tasty, which isn’t surprising as they’re made from 100% chicken breast. Having them in the freezer is not only really convenient, it also means I can cook only as many as I need (well, ok – want) while the rest can be stored for longer. That’s all part of the #PowerOfFrozen.

While the nuggets only took 15 minutes from freezer to plate via the oven, prepared earlier was my BBQ dipping sauce. It has real oomph, but if you’re less of a garlic & chilli fan than me, you can dial those back – especially if serving to kids (this would even be too much for my chilli eating daughter).

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Most of the ingredients are available from Iceland, and are easy to find & purchase either in store or online. This makes a big batch, but it can be frozen to use at a later date – perhaps with some frozen chicken nuggets for a last minute dad’s night in dinner?

Homemade BBQ Sauce

  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies (or equivalent of chilli flakes)
  • olive oil
  • 1tsp fennel seeds (crushed)
  • 1tsp english mustard
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 50ml dark soy sauce
  • 300ml tomato ketchup
  • 250ml apple cider
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 55g brown sugar (can be light, dark, or a mix)
  1. Finely chop or blitz onion, garlic, chillies
  2. In a medium pan, fry on a medium heat for five minutes
  3. Add fennel seeds and ginger – stir in
  4. Add ketchup, soy, Worcestershire sauce, and cider – stir in
  5. Add sugar, stir in
  6. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 10-15 mins
  7. When thickened, remove from heat
  8. Stir in mustard, and allow to cool before serving
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Iceland’s Chicken Nuggets with Homemade BBQ Sauce

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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Iceland Foods. Their 100% Chicken Breast Nuggets are available to purchase either online or in store. 

Fancy £200 to invest in your child’s future? (Sponsored giveaway)

As parents we’re preparing our kids for adulthood on a daily basis. Whether it’s reading, travel, galleries, or even film & tv – we’re looking ahead to the adults they’ll become. Taking the time to educate them about the world around them is part of our investment in their future.

The other aspect of investment, is taking something small and watch it grow much bigger, whether it’s a trip to a museum sparking an interest in science, or showing them Star Wars at the right age so they grow up into a science fiction geek.

With the focus on developing their personalities, it’s easy to forget about investing in them financially as well. We need to remember there are numerous costs and challenges ahead when from when they turn 18. There are plenty of ways to do this, but my daughter’s piggy bank probably won’t cover any higher education tuition fees when the time comes.

One way is to invest is a Junior ISA. This investment account – which will hopefully grow over time – cannot be touched until they are 18, and it is a tax free way to save and invest for your child’s future.

If this sounds of interest, Orbis Access are offering one lucky reader the chance to have £200 added to their Orbis Access Stocks & Shares Junior ISA – please see the giveaway below.

On top of that, they are also offering a Christmas gift to anyone who opens a new Junior ISA with them, of matching your first investment by up to £100. Please see here for more info.

So now is as good a time as any to invest in your child’s future. But please do remember that the value of your investments may go down as well as up!

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The £200 Orbis Access Junior ISA Giveaway

Orbis Access

Competition terms and conditions

• There is one prize of an investment to the value of £200 made into a Junior ISA Account opened with Orbis Access (UK) Limited. The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered and as a result and accordingly an account must be opened in the name of a child who is eligible for an Orbis Access Junior ISA Account in order to receive the prize.

• The prize draw is open to all UK residents aged 18 years or over, except employees of the Promoters, their families, agents or any third party directly associated with administration of the prize draw.

• The prize draw is free to enter and no purchase is necessary.

• The opening date for entries is 8 December 2016 and the closing date is the 31st December 2016. Entries received after this time will not be considered.

• To enter the prize draw an entrant must follow the instructions provided by Gleam.

• Anyone using multiple Twitter accounts to enter will be ineligible.

• This prize draw is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

• The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries by Gleam.

• The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with their email address within 14 days or a new winner will be chosen.

• The winner’s name will be available on request.

• The Promoters reserve the right to replace the prize with an alternative prize of equal or higher value if circumstances beyond the Promoter’s control make it necessary to do so.

• The decision of the Promoters regarding any aspect of the prize draw is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into about it.

• Participants are deemed to have accepted and agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions upon entry.

• The Promoters reserve the right to refuse entry, or refuse to award the prize to anyone in breach of these terms and conditions.

• The Promoters reserve the right to hold void, cancel, suspend, or amend the promotion where it becomes necessary to do so.

• Winners may be required to participate in publicity related to the prize draw which may include the publication of their name and photograph in any media.

• Personal data supplied during the course of this promotion may be passed on to third party suppliers only insofar as required for fulfilment/delivery/arrangement of the prize.

• The prize draw will be governed by English law and entrants to the prize draw submit to the jurisdiction of the English courts.

• The Promoters are Hillcrest PR Limited of 58 Croydon Road, Caterham, Surrey CR3 6QB (Registered in England, company number 8044861) and Orbis Access (UK) Limited of 28 Dorset Square, London NW1 6QG (Registered in England, company number 8138002). This is a joint promotion.

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This is a sponsored giveaway in collaboration with Orbis Access.

PHOTO CREDIT: 401kcalculator.org

Windomatic: Daddy’s Little Cleaning Helper (Ad)

Dads – do you ever find there just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything? After you’ve got your kid ready for school, taken them there & back again, got the shopping, washed dishes, done laundry, made breakfast & dinner, and whatever else you do to keep the family ticking over (like blogging!) – some jobs are just too time consuming to even contemplate – so you tend to ignore them.

In our house, dirty windows are something I tend to ‘forget’. We could of course hire a window cleaner, but as we’re on a single income it seems a little unnecessary. Also add to the list of jobs I like to put off is cleaning the bathroom, especially the tiles and mirrors.

One day, perhaps we’ll add it to the list of chores the kid can do for her pocket money. But in the meantime, my wife – who works full time – will eventually have had enough and do them herself.

Vileda WindoMatic Window Vacuum Cleaner

Vileda offered me the chance to try out their Windomatic, which is sold as a ‘Window Vacuum Cleaner’, for streak free window cleaning. But you can use it on more than just windows.

You see, it’s cold and wet outside (it is winter after all), so I decided to put it through it’s paces indoors. Because this shouldn’t really be described as a window vacuum cleaner, but a water/liquid one.

It’s battery operated, and takes 6 hours to fully charge. All the liquid is collected in a compartment inside the device, that can be easily removed and cleaned.

Firstly, I used it on the bathroom tiles post shower – worked a treat getting all the water off.

I then used it on condensation heavy windows, which not only sucked up the moisture but gave them a bit of a clean too. This worked well on both steamed up bathroom windows as well as general condensation on other windows in the house.

But wait, there’s more. When you have kids – or even clumsy adults – in the house, spilled drinks are common place, as is getting out the kitchen towel to mop them up. Well, you can use the Windomatic for that instead.

I didn’t get to actually cleaning the windows, because it was cold and wet (winter eh?), but having used it around the house this way I have no doubt it would do a bang up job.

My biggest issue with the Windomatic is that it makes these jobs so much easier that I might actually have to start doing them.

I hope my wife isn’t reading this…

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The Vileda Windomatic has an RRP of £49.99.

We were sent a Windomatic free of charge, for the purposes of this sponsored post in collaboration with Vileda.

Boxing Day Movie Ideas, Matched with Iceland Party Foods (ad)

Once again, dad’s gone to Iceland. This time I went to the party food section.

Like many, we tend to consume a fair amount of party food this time of year. Iceland’s frozen range is a very convenient way to have these on hand should you be entertaining – or just looking for snacks to whack in the oven to eat while watching a movie.

While Christmas may be a time of goodwill to all men & all that, to me it’s also a time for kicking back and indulging in food and movies. Boxing Day is a particularly good day to just veg out as a family.

Looking at the Iceland range of party foods, I thought some of them would go perfectly with some of our favourite movies.

1. Tempura Prawns & Chicken Gyoza with the films of Studio Ghibli

studio-ghibli-food
(Lightsaber chopsticks optional)

To go with the Japanese Tempura Prawns and Chicken Gyoza, the films of the legendary Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli would be a perfect match. They are required viewing in our house, and we have pretty much all of them on hand to offer up as an alternative to Disney.

Food is always an important aspect of them, and my daughter and I are always intrigued by the delicious dishes the characters are often preparing and eating – whether it’s the bento breakfast made by Satsuki in My Neighbour Totoro, Shizuku’s school lunch in Whisper of the HeartPonyo‘s love of noodles and ham, or the daily feasts prepared in From Up On Poppy Hill.

Even the horrific scene of Chihiro’s parents eating so much they turn into pigs in Spirited Away has some mouth watering looking food. Having these Iceland party snacks on hand to enjoy while watching will at least stop you coveting this animated food so much.

chihiros-parents-turning-into-pigs-spirited-away
From ‘Spirited Away’ (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), directed by Hayao Miyazaki, © 2001 Nibariki

Anyway, speaking of pigs…

2. Party Sausage Rolls, Mini Pies, and Toad-in-the-Hole with BabeAnimal Farm

babe-animal-farm-bacon-pie-sausage-roll-toad-in-the-hole
Porktastic party food

Some may find this pairing a little twisted.

I loathe Peppa Pig, probably as much as my daughter loves it, and I frequently remind her that the ham she loves to eat so much is actually from dead pigs. But we do love pork products in our house. I found it hard to choose which porky Iceland frozen party foods to pick, so I chose a few – Mini Toad-in-the-Holes, Chicken & Bacon mini-pies, and the classic Sausage Rolls.

But what to watch with it all? Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest a binge watch of Peppa Pig.

A great counterpoint to the cute humanised Peppa Pig are the machinations of Napoleon and his acolytes in the the 1954 cartoon version of Animal Farm.

Many would think that this movie – based on George Orwell’s infamous allegory of the Russian Revolution and the Stalinist era that follows – is unsuitable for a 4-year-old (or older) child. I would disagree. It’s also worth noting that the film is rated U.

Also rated U, centred around a pig on a farm, and based on a book by a famed English author is the 1995 film Babe. It’s a delightful tale of an orphaned piglet who upsets the natural order of the farmyard by training to become a sheep dog – a sheep-pig if you will.

In his own way, Babe is a bit of a revolutionary. I quite like the idea that he grows into the old major of Animal Farm – so while the happiest way to view these movies is to end with Babe, ending with Animal Farm is the most satisfying.

And what better food to accompany these two porky farmyard tales than these porky party treats.

3. Breaded Cheese Selection with Wallace & Gromit

wallace-and-gromit-food-wensleydale-breaded-cheese-iceland
Breaded cheese – including Wallace & Gromit’s beloved Wensleydale

For the breaded cheese selection, there was only one pairing it could be – especially when I spotted one of the breaded cheeses was Wensleydale.

Yes, Wallace & Gromit (who are only in one film to date, the 2005 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) love cheese and Wensleydale in particular – though quite what they’d make of it mixed with apricot, and melted into a breaded parcel is another matter.

Also in this selection of breaded cheese bites are Mozzarella with Red pepper & Jalapeño, plus Camembert with sweetened onion.

I’d recommend a bit of wine or spirits to go with this one. And why not – it’s Christmas after all…

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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Iceland Foods. Their full range of party foods are available to purchase with ease either online or in store.