Friday, 7 July 2017

Introducing the Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademark and free Just V show tickets!

Last month I was invited down to the Vegetarian Society Cookery School in Altrincham to celebrate the launch of the brand new Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademarkthis is the Vegetarian Society’s second trademark, which will complement their highly successful vegetarian one that currently certifies over 15,000 products.

Along with a small group of foodie bloggers, I was given a fabulous introduction into the world of vegan cookery in the form of the vegan toolkit workshop

A vegan feast including pasta, pastry and chocolate cake

As a special treat for my readers, I also have news about how you can get completely free tickets to the Just V show in London this weekend, read down to the bottom for full details!

This new Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademark offers the assurance of strict checks to ensure products’ vegan credentials making sure they are free from:

  • animal-derived ingredients,
  • cross-contamination during production,
  • GMOs,
  • animal testing either directly or via commissioned processes.

As well as food products, the new trademark will soon be seen appearing on cruelty-free cosmetics, beauty products and even vegan cafes and restaurants such as The Retreat Kitchen in Richmond.will carry it across their homemade range.

I've found the original Vegetarian Society Approved trademark extremely useful over the years when shopping for packaged produce and I will be looking out for the new trademark appearing in shops, especially to provide reassurance and clarity on cosmetic and skincare products.

brand new Vegetarian Society Approved vegan trademark

I've been a vegetarian for over twenty years and despite a brief dalliance with veganism during my university years, I've always had some reservations about cooking meals without dairy, being a rather fussy eater anyway, I was worried it would significantly limit my options.

Amazing vegan meringue made with aquafaba (chick pea water)

However, I am always open to trying new things and I am very glad that I did. During the day I learned some great tips and tricks, from how to make perfect vegan meringues and eggless mayonnaise to great recipes for vegan pesto, cashew cream, how to best prepare tofu and  I even discovered entirely new foods to me such as Jamaican Ackee and breadfruit.

Ingredients to make a tasty vegan Tagine

Tasty vegan chickpea Tagine cooking

Tasty vegan chickpea Tagine with aubergine and couscous

Alex Connell, the principal tutor of the Vegetarian Society Cookery School
Photo courtesy of the Vegetarian Society

Our day was led by Alex Connell, the friendly, funny and passionate principal tutor of the Vegetarian Society Cookery School. Under his expert tuition, I was delighted to discover that vegan cookery is nothing to be scared of. In fact, I have come away with so much inspiration that I am introducing a vegan day at least once a week in our house and so far the whole family has happily embraced it!

potato salad dressed with vegan egg free mayonnaise
Photo courtesy of the Vegetarian Society

After learning some basic skills in the morning, such as pureeing garlic, chopping onion and celery, as well as making pasta, pesto and mayonnaise, we each chose a recipe to follow to contribute to a wonderful vegan feast that we enjoyed later in the afternoon.

 My recipe of choice for the day was a Spicy Chickpea Tagine with Aubergine Harissa, which I enjoyed so much (despite not usually being a lover of aubergine/eggplant) that I have made it again twice already!

A vegan feast at the Vegetarian Society cookery school, cheshire
Photo courtesy of the Vegetarian Society

Vegan Toolkit course at the Vegetarian Society cookery school
Photo courtesy of the Vegetarian Society

I enjoyed a wonderful day filled with delicious food and fabulous company and I'd like to thank everyone at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School for making us all feel so welcome as well as my fellow bloggers Jenny, Nicky, Helen, Ellie, Annabelle and Emily.

You can follow the Vegetarian Society on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube to keep up to date with their latest news!

free tickets to Just V Show London 2017

As I hinted above, I also have new of a great freebie for you...

The Vegetarian Society will be at the Just V Show at Olympia in London this weekend ( 7-9th July ) and you can claim FREE tickets to the Just V Show via the Vegetarian Society website, what's more, if you stop by the Vegetarian Society stand you'll be treated to a fabulous goody bag full of samples and vouchers to take home!

This post was commissioned by the Vegetarian Society. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dressing as The Demon Dentist for World Book Day

Demon Dentist dress up costume for world book day boy

World Book day is almost upon us for another year and this time I had the challenge of finding a costume that met the approval of my rather fussy nine year old. Although he wanted to join in with the day and demonstrate his love of reading, he sees himself as too 'grown up' for the supermarket dress up costumes that his younger sister loves. The contents of his wardrobe don't exactly lend itself to adaptation either, unless of course he decided to go as a football player!

So when the lovely folks at Pretend to Bee  offered to send us their Mad Scientist Lab Coat to create a World Book Day costume with, Ben had an idea that involved a head torch and a bottle of ketchup...

Making a world book day costume with ketchup and a lab coat

Ben is a big David Walliams fan and you may remember his extreme reading challenge last Autumn when he had to read in an interesting location. His book of choice was The Demon Dentist and it was this that had given him an idea...

The Mad Scientist lab coat from Pretend to Bee arrived quickly and was a good fit for my tall 9 year old, with it's simple and unisex design with pull apart velcro fastening at the front. I could see it being a fantastic base for a multitude of costume ideas from Crazy Scientists, to Doctors and of course Dentists...

Mad Scientist lab coat costume from Pretend to Bee

Although the The Demon Dentist herself, Miss Root is a women, that doesn't mean that Ben couldn't be his own version of the terrifying tooth tackler!

Getting ready to squirt Ketchup

So we teamed the lab coat with a disposable dust mask (available from most DIY stores- a surgical mask would be a good replacement but we couldn't get hold of one of these) and his camping head touch then got out a bottle of Ketchup!

I've got to say that I did have fun standing in our yard squirting my 9 year old with ketchup, although my neighbours probably think i'm nuts! (If they didn't already!)

Here is the finished result ready for tomorrow, he's really pleased with it, what do you think?

Boy Dressed in Simple The Demon Dentist Costume for World Book Day

What's more is the ketchup should easily wash off the lab coat so it can be used again for different costumes and role play which makes it great value.

What are your children dressing as for World Book Day tomorrow? I'd love to see some pictures, do tweet me to share them at @mymummyspennies.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

LEGO Batman Movie takes over LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester

LEGO Batman poster

The caped crusader has landed at one of our favourite places for a family day out, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester! 
Superhero. Crime-fighter. Master Builder. LEGO Batman™ is all of those and so much more!
The North West's own LEGOLAND has been taken over by The LEGO® Batman™ Movie Days from 10th February until 12th March, including half term!
LEGO Batman movie days at LDC Manchester

You can meet Gotham City’s Caped Crusader to celebrate the release of the Warner Bros. feature film, which includes photo ops with the scene-stealing star, a fun scavenger hunt with prizes and LEGO Batman™-inspired LEGO build activities!
We visited last week and had lots of LEGO Batman Themed fun!
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Factory tour

We started off with the factory tour, which both my children have done countless times, but they still love it and especially enjoyed the special Batman passwords and the limited edition LEGO® Batman™ Movie brick they each got at the end!
We then walked straight on to the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride to zap some skeletons and save the Princess and Baby Dragon, there were no Batman extras here but it was still lots of fun and my 9 year old was chuffed that he got the highest score!


Next in was in to MINILAND, which had been well and truly taken over by LEGO Batman and the villains! We'd been handed a fun LEGO Batman mark and a scavenger hunt card on entry so we got to work searching for the clues and solving the riddles! The children had an awesome time spotting all the characters hidden among the familiar LEGO structures and did a great job finding them all.

Just as we came out of here, an announcement told us that LEGO Batman himself had arrived and was ready for some meet and greets so we wandered over to the Party room, and joined the short queue to meet him and get a photo. An official photographer was present to take photos you could later purchase but they were happy for us to take our own pictures too. My six year old delighted in giving LEGO Batman a big hug!

We then wandered back to the LEGO Racers: Build & Test area where as well as the usual vehicle bits and bobs there were lots of special Batmobile pieces available ad a competition to build your own Bat themed creation with 25 bricks or less! My nine year old carefully constructed his entry (which he got a special pop badge for) while my six year old just enjoyed building lots of cars and sending them down the ramps! The children would have happily spent hours in this area if we'd let them!

While we were there we also popped into the 4D Cinema to watch The LEGO® Movie™ 4D: A New Adventure, built a cute LEGO Raccoon  Master Model Builder’s workshop, drove around the LEGO CITY: Forest Pursuit driving adventure (kids only, unfortunately!) and built skyscrapers on the fun earthquake tables!

As we were getting ready to leave we headed through LEGO City Builder and entered the Batcave! (formerly Ninjago training camp) 
Here there was a fabulous Batman wall mural made of individual LEGO bricks that everyone could help create, along with a Batman laser challenge and this is also where the children exchanged their scavenger hunt entries for a cool pop badge and certificate.

You do need to bear in mind that some parts of LDC are currently closed for renovation (as they are going to launching some pretty exciting new things including a LEGO® Ninjago City Adventure play feature very soon!) so there is less to do than you may have experienced on earlier visits, but  for our family the LEGO BATMAN activities more than made up for this and we spent a good few fun filled hours in the centre.

If you have a LEGO BATMAN fan in your family, then it's definitely worth a visit during this event. Do make sure you find a good offer, such as buying a cut price combo ticket online or using the Mcdonalds Happy meal half price voucher!

Don't forget you can read about some of our previous visits to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, here and here.
Are you a Fan of LEGO Batman? Have you seen the Movie yet?

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Top tips for the perfect Family Movie night!

When the nights are dark and cold, there's something really comforting about snuggling up under a blanket with the family and watching a good movie or two.

To celebrate The LEGO Batman Movie hitting the cinemas this weekend, the lovely folks at Warner Bros have asked me to share my top tips for a perfect family movie night.

Dress up as your favourite character for LEGO movie night

Choose a theme!

Kids love a theme, so why not go all out? Get them to choose a movie or even a genre and dress up, do some crafts together such as making Batman masks or draw pictures of their favourite superheros.

Prepare snacks together!

A great tie in to the movie night theme is to prepare some themed snacks together! Why not bake a decorate some LEGO cupcakes, make sandwiches shaped like LEGO bricks or   Or even just colour in some cardboard popcorn holders?

Get Comfy!

Why not make movie night extra special by making a den to watch it from? Get together some bean bags or couch cushions on the floor cover in blankets and snuggle up together!

Turn off the tech!

It an obvious one but sometimes it just needs to be said, switch off your phones, laptops and tablets to get into the spirit of family time and watch the movie with your children. It may not be the most exciting thong to watch for grown ups but at least you'll be ale to chat to them about it fterwards and they'll kow you were paying attention!

And Enjoy!

With these tips you should be all ready to enjoy your next family movie night, have fun! We'll be enjoying a LEGO Superhero movie night this weekend and making some LEGO themed snacks to enjoy together...


I'd love to hear all about your perfect family movie nights! Do share your tips in the comments below...

Win a fabulous LEGO Superhero movie bundle over on Twitter

Twitter giveaway terms and conditions

  • This giveaway is open to UK residents only.
  • ONE winner will be chosen by a random number generator and announced on @mymummyspennies Twitter account, they will also be contacted by direct message on twitter.
  • If they do not respond within 28 days another winner may be chosen.
  • Your details will be passed to Warner Bros and will not be passed onto any third parties.
  • The prize will be sent directly to the winner from Warner Bros.
  • The company reserves the right to substitute the prize for one of a similar value if the stated prize is not available.
  • Entries using any automated process to make bulk entries will be disqualified.
  • Competition starts on 02/02/2017 and ends 11/02/2017 11.59pm.

Disclosure: We received a DVD bundle in exchange for writing this post.