Fruit Shoot in one form or another had been around since 1823, isn’t that amazing? They have continually adapted and improved to meet the needs of kids and their juice now available in 3 different ranges and 25 different countries.

 

Fruit Shoot is made with real fruit.

And did you know there’s real fruit in every drop of Fruit Shoot and each and every one is filled with multi-vitamins. Fruit shoot don’t add any sugar, artificial colours or flavourings at all.

That’s pretty fabulous isn’t it!

It’s really nice to know that what we are giving our children to drink is healthy. As much as they like sweet treats we do have to make sure that they have a low sugar diet and that fruit and veg form a large part of that diet.

It is lovely to use natural ingredients when cooking for your kids and to know that you are filling them up with the good stuff.

Working with family recipe author and Great British Bake Off star, Holly  Bell, Fruit Shoot has created recipes inspired by the ingredients in Fruit Shoot core range and I have had a go at recreating these.

I made gorgeous apple and blackcurrant cupcakes inspired by the apple and blackcurrant Fruit Shoots.

Fruit Shoot inspired baking

 

 

Spiced apple & blackcurrant cupcakes

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 175mls oil (sunflower, groundnut, rapeseed – anything flavourless but beware extra virgin olive oil as it has a strong flavour and not everyone likes it in baked goods)
  • 180g muscavado sugar
  • 170g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 160g grated apple (cooking or eating)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinammon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 150g blackcurrants, fresh, dried or frozen

 

Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with large cupcake cases or muffin cases. Once the oven has preheated mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until there aren’t any lumps or traces of egg yolk visible. Pay particular attention to the sugar as it can sit in lumps. Stir through the blackcurrants carefully. Spoon into the cases evenly and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until well risen and a toothpick comes out of the middle of the centre cupcakes clean. Cool on a wire rack out of the tin.

 

I also made some fabulous raspberry and banana flapjacks from Holly’s recipe to celebrate the summer fruits fruit shoot.

 

 

Banana & raspberry no refined sugar flapjacks

Makes about 16, but depends how large you cut them

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 150g dates
  • 70mls boiling water
  • 85g dried figs
  • 40g dried apricots
  • 160g oats
  • 100g raspberries

 

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 2 and pop the kettle on. Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm tin.

Peel the banana and break into pieces. Place in a jug with the dates and boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes and in the meantime chop the figs and apricots into 1/2 cm chunks using scissors. Use a stick blender to blitz the banana mixture to a fine purée, being careful not to spray yourself with boiling water.

Combine the puree, oats and chopped fruit in a bowl until well mixed, carefully stir through the raspberries, then press into the prepared tin. Bake for 30 minutes until the edges are starting to brown and the top feel firm. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack then cut with a very sharp knife once cool. Store in a tin for up to 5 days. Freeze, well wrapped for up to a month. Defrost at room temperature before serving.

 

It’s totally possible to eat well and have sweet treats that are healthy.

 

Let me tell you about the 3 different Fruit Shoot ranges:

Fruit Shoot core range contains no added sugar. Any sugars present are naturally occurring from the fruit juice from concentrate that is in every bottle. Each 275ml serving contains from 2g to a maximum of 2.5g of sugar (the equivalent of around ½ a teaspoon) depending on the flavour.

Fruit Shoot Hydro contains zero sugar.

Fruit Shoot My5 range contains no added sugar – sugars present are naturally occurring from the 75% real juice that is in every bottle.

 

It’s My Thing campaign

Earlier this year Fruit Shoot launched It’s My Thing, a campaign that celebrates real kids doing what they’re passionate about and champions their self-expression and individuality.  My daughter ‘thing’ is tennis.

And it so important she keeps hydrated when she plays.

Fruit Shoot supports parents who want their kids to have the freedom to discover and indulge in their passions (their ‘things’) and not feel pressured to follow an expected or set path. They want to celebrate kids who are doing their thing and encourage parents to let their kids have the freedom to express themselves. I love this video they produced.

It is so healthy for kids to do their own thing, have great nutrition and be active.

Great job Fruit Shoot!

 

 

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What do you normally get up to on a weekend?

We like to relax, have fun and eat well and that usually entails quite a bit of spending. We tend to justify this by saying how hard we have worked all week and how we deserve a treat.

The treats add up though and weekend relaxing can prove pricey.

We were challenged by Scottish Friendly to embrace the art of saving and see how we got on with a ‘no spend weekend.’

 

Our usual weekend

At the weekend we like to go to the cinema. With tickets for 4 of f us plus popcorn, drink and petrol we are talking at least £45 for this. Sometimes on a Saturday we will have pizza take out for tea too which can cost up to £25.

 

Sundays are often lazy days and may include my OH taking my son to play football with his club and me taking my daughter and a friend swimming which can cost about £10. I always have a coffee and a treat of some kind whilst I wait for them.

 

So nothing too extravagant on the surface that equates to £80 spent on just chilling.  This adds up to around £320 a month if we were to repeat this each week.  Yikes.

That would total £3840 a year.

Wow!

That is such a  lot of money to spend and such a useful amount to save.

 

Our no spend weekend

I thought ahead in regard to our no spend weekend and asked the children for some ideas too. I scoured Facebook for free events and I checked our store cupboard supplies. None of this took much time or effort at all.

So what changes did we make?

Instead of a movie we simply watched a DVD we loved and had some home-made popcorn from our store cupboards.

Instead a of a takeaway for saturday night tea I just made our own pizzas and my daughter made some chocolate jazzes as a special treat.

 

 

These were fun to make and eat.

Instead of swimming with a friend I managed to find a free 4 week Karate class for my daughter and her pal. I took my trusty flask with me instead of raiding the cafe.

I also managed to find a fantastic Green Festival on in Nottingham that was free to enter and full of fabulous activities for the kids to get involved in which cost nothing. They tried their hand at spin art, making leaves and creating storytelling cubes.

 

 

 

I am amazed how much fun we had on our no spend weekend. This is definitely a challenge I am going to set myself regularly.

There is so much to do that is free.

Other ideas I had included:

 

Board Games

Museums

Art Galleries

Local parks

Nature Walks

Crafting

Baking

Seeing friends

Free concerts

Bike riding

Playing tennis in the park

Taking a friend’s dog for walk

and really this list could go on and on.

 

I am delighted to be £80 better off after this weekend and we still had  a fantastic time!

If you pop over to Scottish Friendly blog you will find loads more tips on making great savings as a family.

It is a lot less effort and a lot more fun than you think having a no spend weekend.

Why don’t you give it a try?

 

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I have been participating in a savvy shopping challenge with E.ON who have recently conducted some interesting research into the UK’s shopping habits. Did you know people spend more than an hour a week shopping around for better deals, saving on average £660 a year?

Gosh that’s a lot of time isn’t it!

E.ON set me challenge to see if I could save time and money by following some savvy savings tips.

For one week I had to log what I normally spend on food, necessities and the odd treat.

For the second week I was given £100 and challenged to see if, by using some savvy shopping tips, I could save some money (and time.)

Here is how I got on:

 

Week 1

£112 on food combination of Morrisons, Coop and M&S

£20 on branded toiletries from Boots

1 takeaway £25

New school stationery £10

Cakes for Great Grandma and me! £3

Coffee and cake at swimming £3.50

Friends birthday gift £25

 

Yikes that was not a cheap week. Total spent –   £188.50

 

Week 2

I meal planed and I did all my shopping on one go online so I was not tempted by displays and BOGOF offers £75

I made most of what I had already and picked sweet peas for Grandma from our garden rather than bought cakes £0

I bought non branded cleaning products from a bargain store £5

Friend’s birthday gift – handmade card from the kids and some home made cookies plus a baking book £5

No coffee and cake at swimming  £0

Bassoon strap – I shopped around and picked one up for £13 instead of £25

 

A much better week  in all  with £98  spent.

 

Oh my goodness I saved £90!

I did this by being thoughtful, shopping around, opting for handmade, abstaining and meal planning and buying non branded. I am impressed with myself!

I could probably do even better with food if I cooked form scratch but we have been having the house decorated aso needs must!

Wow that is a big saving.

It is amazing how enlightening it is to write things down and to just incorporate the simplest of savvy shopping tips into your week. What a massive saving.

 

Even more savvy shopping tips…

Finance expert Jasmine Birtles has some brilliant savvy shopping tips which I totally plan on incorporating into how I shop. Her tips include:

Haggle! Research from E.ON’ has revealed that almost a third (32%) of people believe it’s harder to get a good deal when shopping now than it was five years ago. But there are still clever ways to get a good deal, Jasmine talks about logging off just before you buy. E-tailers will often then send you a discount code or give you the opportunity to explain why you didn’t buy…a prime opportunity to haggle. Jasmine also suggests bulk buying, buying out of season and being clever with coupons.  All fabulous tips!

E.ON have got seem pretty savvy savings tips going on too. They recently launched their Cap and Track 1 Year tariff which is a new dual fuel, fixed monthly Direct Debit tariff, which tracks the average price of all energy tariffs on the market and is priced below the market average. The tariff offers customers the simple reassurance that their energy prices will be tracked against the market average and that their bills won’t rise above those the cap they signed up to for the duration of their contract, but could fall further.

How fabulous is that? That’s the kind of savvy savings I like!

So over to you…do you have any savvy savings tips?

 

 

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Life changes as do our needs and, at some point, we have to adapt.

These changes sometimes happen slowly as the years progress and we have more physical limitations due to ageing. Other times due to accidents, illness and disability needs can change pretty quickly and we need to make adjustments in our mindset and in our environments speedily.

Simple adjustments to create an accessible home

This can feel a scary task.

Creating an accessible home can look like an overwhelming task and fills most of us with dread. Where do we start? What do we do ? Oh my goodness won’t this just cost huge amounts of money?

Don’t be daunted. Making a home accessible is often a matter of simple adjustments and there are so many products around these days to make life simpler. This list wont be conclusive but hopefully it will inspire you with ideas if you need to make adjustments to make your home, or that of someone you care for, more accessible,

Doorways

Doorways can be widened to accommodate wheelchair users and ramps (both portable and permanent) are no longer a big job to fit. Grab rails in doorways can also help. Non slips mats can help prevent slipping on icy days. Grippers on steps can do the same. Keeping a supply of sand and grit at the house for colder weather can also help prevent falls on drives.

Lights

Lights and doors need their handles and cords moving to the the right level for  wheelchair users. Alternately, apps can be used to open them if this would work better. Being able to operate lights from bed might be very useful.  Lights on a timer could also be beneficial, these are simple to set up and timers plugs are inexpensive. There are lots of options.

Garden

Raised beds and clear wide pathways are easier to maintain for older gardeners. Rails and artificial grass may also be of benefit. Lots of seating and low maintenance plants will help too. Gardens are so health giving it is important to keep them as accessible as possible.

Bathroom

A walk-in bath can be an absolute blessing to someone with limited mobility and can keep bathing accessible. They have some wonderful types of walk in baths now that can enable full bathing through the push of a button. Room to move, bath boards, raised toilets and grab rails all add to the accessible bathroom.

 

 

Lounge

On a really basic level just removing rugs can help with accessibility and the reduction of falling risk in a lounge or hallway. Lo tech and high tech solutions both have their place. Chairs that raise you up can  be extremely practical and a simple grab stick can be one of the most useful aids ever.

Kitchen.

Microwaves at an accessible level are really helpful and one of the safest ways to cook. One cup kettles save pouring and lifting and are a safer option than regular kettles.

 

As you weave your way around your home there are so many creative ways to make it more accessible and many of the adjustments are pretty straightforward.

Rather than see accessibility as a problem you need to embrace it as a challenge.

Our homes can adapt to our changing needs.

 

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John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ has been adapted into a children’s picture book with the help of Yoko Ono, renowned French illustrator Jean Jullien and backing from  Amnesty UK.

I just love John Lennon. He is one of my heroes. He stood for peace and love and he was a determined activist, he made bold statements and took bold actions to advocate for his beliefs, And he wrote that song , That amazing song Imagine.

How many times have you sung Imagine?

I have sung it countless times and I just love it. This beautiful song makes me think about unity, peace, sisterhood and the taking down of barriers. Messages we need to heed, especially in present times, when there is talk of walls and borders being reinforced, refugees being rejected and terror and political division. The world needs to talk about unity and peace and be proactive. John’s message is still so important.

Created for Amnesty, Imagine follows one little pigeon on a journey to spread peace around the world, to every bird no matter what their shape or size. The bright and joyous pictures paired with Lennon’s moving words inspire the reader with hope for a world at peace.

The book is truly lovely and I won’t spoil it for you by divulging the story, it’s only short but it is uplifting, beautifully illustrated and deserves a place on every child’s bookshelf.

My daughter is 10 and just loved this book and it got us talking about many things, about oneness, about division and about living for today.

How wonderful is that.

It really is a touching book. A lovely gift idea for Christmas or just because…

Never have we all, child and grown-up child, needed this more, the words and the song in our hearts, lifting our spirits, giving us hope, and determination too to find the road to understanding, conciliation and peace.’ – Michael Morpurgo

You can purchase the book here for £12.99

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