Easy Pickled Onions

It’s coming up to Christmas and one of the things that we love in our house is pickled onions. They are just beautiful when served up with leftovers such as gammon ham and bubble and squeak on boxing day. They are also nice and easy to do and if you have a day spare a few weeks before christmas then you can get a some jars ready. You can take round as a pressie to friends when you are visiting, it’s nice to turn up with something a bit different.

I was lucky enough this year to have the help of my two boys and we had a great time sitting together peeling the onions.

Hope you enjoy the recipe and the joy of making them.

What you will need:

1kg small onions for pickling

Tablespoon of salt

800ml malt vinegar

Black peppercorns (optional)

Dried chilli flakes (optional)

Glass jars

Sieve/colander

Some little helpers (optional but lots of fun)

What you need to do is:

*top tip…. Your house and your clothes are going to smell of onions, think about what you are wearing and even consider putting on plastic gloves.

Ensure your jars are clean and sterile. I washed my thoroughly then popped in a preheated medium oven for 5 minutes then left to cool.

Now the next task is either pretty mundane or pretty therapeutic depending on how you view it. You have to peal each individual onion and gently slice off the base so that it still holds its shape but loses the tough root area.

Once they are all peeled, place in a colander and sprinkle the salt over them. Leave for 6hrs or overnight if possible. This will draw out excess water and give you crunchy pickled onions.

Rinse well in cold water and pat dry with kitchen roll.

Take your jars and pop the onions into the jars. You will need to push them about a little to get the maximum amount in and utilise the space well.

This is the time you can use some extra spices depending on your taste. I did one jar with a quarter teaspoon of dried chilli flakes to add some heat to the onions. Peppercorns are also a good addition.

When you have filled up all of your jars you can pour over the vinegar right to the top making sure they are all covered.

Put the lid on tight and you are then ready to label them.

Pop on the date, type of vinegar used and any little extra spices you’ve added to the mix.

Leave to mature for at least 4 weeks but best after 6. They should keep for up to a year unopened. Once opened store in the fridge and eat within 4 weeks. It’s home-made so times may vary slightly depending on your own preserving conditions. The main thing is…enjoy!

Click if you would like to let other people know how easy it can be...Click To Tweet

 



The Shack …. flavours of America. Review and Giveaway

As my eldest son big M has been growing up he has developed a taste for foods with a bit of spice in them. This has mainly come about because my OH loves hot and spicy and can often be seen sneezing and sweating over a curry as he defeats the chillies to become the ultimate hero. This was one of the reasons I came up with the pickled green chillies post as I had so many home-grown ones that I had to start preserving them just for him.

So, when I had the opportunity to test the new range of meals from The Shack, I jumped at the chance as I knew it would go down very well with the family.

‘The Shack’ has launched nine big and bold meals inspired by the flavours of America. They are available nationwide exclusively in Iceland, and are priced between £2 – £2.50.

The range includes these:

Penne Pepperoni and Chicken Melt, Smoky House Beef Burritos, Mac & Jack, Chicken & Buffalo Sauce Waffle, Smokey House Pulled Chicken Burrito, Smoky House BBQ Pork Wedges, Chilli Beef Wedges, The Chicken Fajita and The Ultimate Burger.

So when our delivery arrived there was much excitement about which one we would have first. Big M was going to have the first pick as he was eager to be let loose and try as much as possible. He eventually went for the Chicken & Buffalo Sauce Waffle and my youngest – little G went for The Ultimate Burger.

The meals are easy to cook and all have simple step by step instructions to follow. The burger comes with a little briosh roll and the burger is in a mild sauce with cheese and bacon. It’s an upmarket burger in a roll and went down a treat with little G. The chicken with waffle and buffalo sauce was really unusual; the chicken was nice and moist, the waffle pretty sweet and the buffalo sauce had a kick to it.

The next night I managed to get my hands on the Mac and Jack which is a luxury macaroni cheese with Jalapeno Chilli Peppers and Monterey Jack Cheese. Big M went for the pulled chicken burrito complete with dips.

The burrito was massive and a real feast for one! I also managed to share the macaroni cheese with little G. As you can see from the pictures, the boys enjoy their food!

Friday night saw big M chill out with Smoky House BBQ Pork Wedges by the tv. Just right after a hard week at school, feet up and his big bowl of wedges and pork in a smoky sauce. He gave me a thumbs up and curled up on the sofa. You don’t get much better than that from my grown up 10 year old!

My OH and I are going to be having the fajitas and the second chilli wedges when the kids have gone to bed and we will crack open a bottle of red. That’s one of the things that I like about this range, it’s suitable for the kids tea and fab for the grown ups tea or supper.

Iceland is really accessible and there are lots of them about so its easy to add to my shopping habits.

I am pleased to also be able to offer you a great giveaway from the lovely people at The Shack.

We have 10 selfie sticks to give away and you could be the winner of 1!

Great for the festive season when there is lots going on, here they are…

Enter using rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to UK entrants. Prize supplied and delivered by The Shack. See contacts page for guidelines.

The Shack is available in 789 Iceland stores nationwide. Have a look over at The Shacks social media sites for more information.

Twitter @ShareTheShack

Facebook ShareTheShack

 



The Season of the Sneeze! Stérimar Review and Giveaway 

It’s that time of year again when it’s getting colder, the clocks have gone back and people are starting to ask me if I’ve begun to get my Christmas presents yet. Well the answer to that one is easy enough as I haven’t just yet but it’s very high on my to-do list!

Also around now it seems as if more and more people are getting some sort of sniffles, flu and other winter type ailments. I’ve been getting the flu jab done either in boots or Asda for the past few years and as part of the NHS keep well scheme I have been promoting it with the people I work with. My OH has also started to get it done too although he hadn’t done for many years previously. For the kids, I’m lucky that little G is in the catchment age which means that he gets the free nasal inoculation at school which is happening in November in our area.  I’ve had to start paying privately for big M as he’s not in the age group which qualifies at school as it only goes up to year 3. I couldn’t bear to leave out big M and have that nagging feeling that if he got a bad case of the flu it would be my fault for not sorting something out. My mum guilt would go into overdrive. So last week we popped down to a local private hospital and paid to get it done. It was pricey but the upside was that we got a nice hot chocolate to sip at we were waiting, oh wait…the real upside was that we we’ve all now had the flu jab in some form or other and I cross my fingers that we wont get a bout of some strain or other.

But of course it doesnt stop the general sniffs and bunged up noses that the boys and us will probably have at some point over the next few months. I’ve got my fail safe products in the cupboard of Vic in the bathroom for chests and honey to make the warm drinks in the kitchen. I also like to use the nasal sprays for really bunged up noses and remember really appreciating them when the boys were tiny and couldn’t get a good sniff in our out of their noses. Bless them, it’s gotten easier as they have got bigger but I still use the sprays now which makes them giggle more than anything and they appreciate the feeling when the congestion in their noses eases.

This year I have come accross a new product to me, you may well of heard of it, it’s called Stérimar and they have a range of products which can help to relieve congestion and blocked noses in adults, children and babies.

 

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They have a great website with loads of information on how it works and who can benefit. If you have a few moments please have a look at the video below which shows how easy it is to use the sprays.

When it comes to using any sort of new product of my boys I like to really check it out to make sure that I am happy with what I am going to use. Sterimars website really does go into loads of detail and I found it very reassuring. That’s why I’ve included lots of links below so you can click around and have a look.

How to use Stérimar

Stérimar clinical studies

They also have the online Stérimar Academy – which is an online educational resource. This is dedicated to helping healthcare professionals to develop their knowledge of the inner workings of the nose, specific nasal conditions, and the importance of maintaining nasal hygiene.

In my opinion nothing can take the place of going to the GP when I am worried and I’m not suggesting that anything can replace that. As parents we all do whats best and for me, when my boys get the sniffles a spray like this has worked well in the past and I’m so pleased that I now have some in the cupboard for the winter.

www.myrealfairy.com

Stérimar have been kind enough to send me the products for review and have also made a bundle of products available which I’m very pleased to be able to offer you the 3 sprays in the range for babies, toddlers and adults in my rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Open to UK entrants only. Prize will delivered to the winners postal address directly from Stérimar. The winner will be randomly generated. Please see full policy on my contacts page. All entries will be checked to ensure they have complied with the entry requests. Good Luck!

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The Liebster Award

I was so pleased to be nominated for the Liebster Award by Ali over at Ali’s Upside Down World please go over there and check out her great blog. Thanks so much Ali:) It’s so nice to be put forward by another blogger for the work you put in and Ali is someone who’s blog I admire.

So, for those of you who might be wondering what the Liebster Award is, it’s a blogging award, given by bloggers to other bloggers to give recognition for their work. It’s designed to showcase blogs and promote their online community presence. You can discover lots of new and brilliant blogs out there from going through the list of Liebster Award winners. From the research I have done the questions you have to answer change slightly over time which I think is great and reflects the creativity of writing and passing the baton on from blogger to blogger.

If you go to the end of my post you will see the 7 tasks I need to complete in order to complete my Liebster Award and these will be passed on to the people I nominate.

So, onto number 1 which I have completed above; thanking the person who nominated you. Number 2 is the Liebster Award badge which is proudly shown in my picture header.

Number 3 is to say a few words about my favourite blog. This took some time as I have quite a few favourites so I am going to talk about one which I love and I’m going to nominate the others.

It’s Carol over at Virtually All Sorts . She has a such a good view on life and this shines through on her blog. In her own words “My blog focusses on the good and happy in life, and if it’s not all good and happy, I turn it around to see the bright side.” Carol has some great flash fiction pieces that are well worth a read and I would recommend popping over to her to have a look. Carol has also been supportive of my writing and I’m glad to have her as a blogging buddy. Thanks Carol!

Number 4 is also tricky. I think that it’s pretty difficult to think of some facts about myself which wont make me sound too odd but here we go….

  1. Today I’m wearing odd socks  and I squeezed my sock coated feet into flip flops to hang out the washing…classy!
  2. I’ve got an underactive thyroid.
  3. Blogging is my new chocolate.
  4. I still eat a hell of alot of chocolate so I guess I blog a fair bit too.
  5. I can’t save money, I spend every penny I earn, but I’m not in any debt.
  6. I keep forgetting I’m in my forties.
  7. When I eat strong cheddar cheese the hairs on the back of my neck go up and my neck tingles.
  8. I cannot abide celery…
  9. or the sound of polystyrene, it makes my mouth water.
  10. I am amazed and very pleased that you read to the end of this list, well done:)

So I have been thinking who to nominate and who I love to read. I would like to make it clear that being nominated by me comes with no pressure to do it, it means that I love your blog and think you deserve to know that:) Complete if you wish and feel free to copy and paste the rules from this post.

Kathleen Aherne

Jen – Practical by default

Ashley Geeky Mama

Kim Northumberland Mam

Andrea and Paul Topsy Turvy Tribe

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  3. Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers.
  6. List these rules in your post.
  7. Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

 



It’s A Winner!

The online world has made it so easy to enter competitions and you also get some instant gratification that your entry has been received. Back in the day when I was a child we had our saturday morning programme ‘Swap Shop’ and we would wait all week for it to come on our screens. Then if you wanted to enter a competition you had to write the answer on a postcard, post it and wait until the following saturday to find out if you had been lucky and won. Just imagine all of those huge mail bags full of slips of paper, it seems crazy now to think that all over the country people were walking down to their postbox clutching their ‘hopefully’ lucky entry ticket. Fast forward to now and look how easy it is. Click of a button and you’re in it to win it, amazing!

I was doing a little research a couple of months ago on how to host a competition on my site as I thought it would be something fun to do. Now, I don’t know if this ever happens to you but I normally start out with one thing in mind and then the internet lures me somewhere completely different! This time wasn’t so bad but I did find myself entering a whole host of different competitions on different sites and platforms. The thing is, a week or so later I had an email and I had actually won something; a £50 voucher from first choice lighting. Now this isn’t a sponsored post, I have put the link in there because a) I actually won and I’m still over the moon! and b) I was really pleased by the lovely emails I received from Amy who contacted me about my win.

lamp www.myrealfairy.com

One of my winning lamps!

I ordered the most stylish lamps I’ve ever owned and it all came out of the blue from that whirl of entering a few weeks ago.

Since then I’ve been having about an hour a week entering different competitions and giveaways and guess what…I haven’t won again! But..I do keep trying:)

I have also really enjoyed hosting the competitions on my site and they have been so successful that I’ve even put in a new menu header on my blog so they can be found easier. Have a little look if you have time. There are loads of ways to host competitions and giveaways and I’m enjoying using the different programmes to make this happen. This is one of the fun sides of blogging for me, finding out new ways to enhance my blog and to bring something fun to my readers. I will follow this post up over the next couple of weeks with one which lists the sites to promote the competitions and the different methods that are available to use.

I’ve also virtually met some great online compers who really know a thing or two about how to seriously go about it. One of them is Tracey and I first saw her online when she entered one of my competitions. I saw on her twitter page that she focused completely on entering and sharing competitions. She agreed to contribute to this post and I’ll hand you over to her now where she will tell you a bit more about it…

“I’ve been entering competitions for the last 5 years or so and soon found out that I love entering blog competitions the most. I have won lots of amazing products over the years including my highest value win a designer double bed & mattress worth £1,500. I don’t have a favourite win because I truly love everything I’m lucky enough to win whatever the cost of the prize.

My top tip is to be organised, find a competition website to enter competitions from, my favourite is Competition Database for it’s sheer ease and speed of entering and being able to customise the website to what competitions you want to enter. Then go free-style and search yourself for competitions. Usually ones that have not been picked up by competition listing sites have fewer entries.
I have shared blog competitions on competition listing sites, I tweet every blog competition that I come across so please feel free to follow me and enter from my tweets”.
You can follow @Tracey_Peach on twitter to see more and maybe strike it lucky.

So, go forth and see what’s out there to win, most of all enjoy it!



Casemade – Review & Giveaway – Phone and Tablet Cases

Wow today was such a good day, first off, the sun is still shining even though we have just jumped into November and secondly and as a real bonus, my gorgeous new iPhone 7 leather case turned up courtesy of Casemade. I have teamed up with them to promote their #giftacasemade campaign which I am proud to be part of.

 

 

 

casemade www.myrealfairy.com

The cases came beautifully packaged which is always such a plus for me, I love to take my time over opening my new buys. It’s probably still the child in me but it does make a difference to how I feel about gifts by post.

casemade www.myrealfairy.com

For me I had chosen a brown iPhone 7 case as I have just upgraded and treated myself to the newest release. It’s one of my treats and it really deserves a great case. I had looked around but alot of the cases out there where pretty cheap looking and felt like they had been rushed into production. The casemade one is very different. It fits very well and the texture is very easy on the hands. It looks stylish and I think that phones now are worth looking after and this case pairs well with the feel of the iPhone.

As part of the #giftacasemade campaign I also have the iPad case for my OH as quality means alot to him and buying him anything is normally a real struggle. He will only have something if he has researched it and is satisfied it will fully meet his needs. Luckily this does so Christmas is now that bit easier!

casemade www.myrealfairy.com

casemade www.myrealfairy.com

The founders and designers are Toby and Alex and they are committed to providing great customer service and have the personal touch to their business.

Over time our range has grown. All cases in the range follow two core principles –  simplicity of design and the use of high quality materials. Toby and Alex

You can catch up with them over on twitter @CASEMADE

Please also check out their website case-made.com

case made details www.myrealfairy.com

As you can see here from their site they have made a point of making sure their customer service is spot on, feel free to contact them and say hi!

As part of this promotion I am delighted to be able to offer you a chance to win an iPhone 7 case in the colour of your choice in the giveaway. It’s a great prize – Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to UK entrants. No cash alternative. Please see full policy on the contacts page. Casemade will be responsible for sending the case direct to the winner within the UK. Thanks!

Look out for their sign:casemade

 

 

Disclosure: I was gifted the products for the purpose of carrying out this review. All thoughts and words are my own.



Prosciutto di San Daniele & Grana Padano Review & Giveaway

We love our food and drink within our house and what’s better than great tasting food with that extra touch which makes it special.

You can only imagine how pleased I was to get the opportunity to taste and review the amazing Prosciutto di San Daniele & Grana Padano cheese. To be able to tell you about it is a real pleasure.

The great folks behind Prosciutto di San Daniele & Grana Padano have also been generous enough to provide a fabulous prize of a tray of Prosciutto di San Daniele & a large chunk of Grana Padano, this also comes with a special cheese knife. You can see how to enter this competition further down the post.

When the box arrived it looked great and I enjoy unboxing so much, I always take my time when I’m looking forward to something like this.

 

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The Prosciutto di San Daniele and Grana Padano Cheese have been recognised by the European Union as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products since 1996. What this means is that they have to respect the strict Production Specifications to achieve the PDO designation. It is only reserved for products that come from a strictly defined geographical area and are produced using distinctive processing techniques steeped in the history and tradition of that place. A PDO logo guarantees high quality, authenticity and traceability.

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There are so many great recipes to use Prosciutto di San Daniele and Grana Padano in. For our supper we sat round our table at home and as you can see from the photos above, we enjoyed the food in a simple clean manner which let the flavours come through naturally. We accompanied the meal with fresh tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar and some basil from our windowsill plant and some fresh bread. It was delicious!

I have also devised this recipe which is for our meal this weekend which is here below and I cant wait to serve up…enjoy!

What you will need is:

100g Prosciutto di San Daniele

30g Grana Padano

200g Fresh pasta such as Pappardelle

45g Lightly toasted pine nuts

Olive oil

Saucepan, pasta drainer, large bowl for serving and finally, a good appetite!

This is an amalgamation of the ingredients so cook your preferred pasta until al dente or to your own personal taste. Drain and place in your large serving bowl. Tease out the strips of Prosciutto di San Daniele and gently work through the pasta. Sprinkle over your toasted pine nuts, trickle olive oil over to give a glossy finish and lastly be generous with the Grana Padano cheese. Serve up hot and steaming – Buon Appetito!

Enter here to be in win a chance to win the same package as you can see in the first photo of Prosciutto di San Daniele & Grana Padano.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow their traditions by going to visit them on their websites at:

www.granapadano.it

www.prosciuttosandaniele.it

Also on Facebook: Prosciutto di San Daniele & Grana Padano

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Look for the stamps of authenticity.


I was given the products to review for the post, all views and opinions are my own.

My illicit affair….

You’re on my mind so much of the time

But then that’s ok, I created you, you’re mine.

My eyes glaze over when people talk

as I drift my thoughts towards you…

It’s what happens now, it’s what you do.

For you are always here, silent in the background…

I won’t desert you though, you’re a new love I’ve found.

You know I have to be careful, not let you take over, make too much noise

I have my other loves , my family, my man, my boys

I see others online and for a moment I crave

But I come back to you, write some more and then press save

They flash at me and wink

Giving me tips on how to be, sometimes they make me think.

Myrealfairy  post after post, never late…

I’ll take you out, care for you, write and create.

For now I’ll keep you half hidden in your own world wide kingdom

My beautiful blog…. myrealfairy.com

Giveaway Tickets for Country Living Magazine Fair – London and Harrogate

You may of seen my recent review of The Wrapper the reusable sandwich and snacks wrapper. Well some fabulous news is that Shona the designer of The Wrapper has offered us 4, yes 4 tickets to attend the Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair where she, along with lots of wonderful homes and interiors designers are exhibiting their products.

www.myrealfariy.com
The Wrapper

For the London Christmas show we have 2 tickets for the for either the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 13th November 2016.

For the Harrogate Christmas show we also have 2 tickets for either the 1st, 2nd or 4th December 2016

There is loads to do at the event where you can spend your day finding amazing unique gifts which include handmade decorations, homeware, and artisan food. There will also be organic beauty products, one off pieces of jewellery and fashionable winter wear for those who want something a bit special.

You can enter in each of our Rafflecopter giveaways below….Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be contacted within 24hrs of the end of the giveaway and must confirm their acceptance within 24hrs before the prize will be offered to the second person picked at random by Rafflecopter. This short timescale is due to the date of the shows. 

Please pop over to Shona to say hi if you are able to go, she will be at stall F15 at the London show and stall B107 at Harrogate.

For travel details to the London venue, click here

For travel details to the Harrogate venue, click here
cl2                    www.myrealfairy.com

You can find your questions answered here  regarding planning your day.

Don’t forget to check out Shonas great designs on her website Re Wrap It she is very talented and her design is perfect for homes everywhere.

It looks to be a great event and one worth following.

 



Halloween Pumpkin Carving

It’s that time of year again to go wild with the face paint and walk the streets in search of sweets and mischief. One of the best traditions in our house has been the pumpkin carving. This is totally the domain of my OH and since he has just finished, I’m so proud of him I couldn’t resist the urge to showcase this years offerings…

The evening started with the humble pumpkin…

Halloween pumpkin carving www.myrealfairy.com

A couple of years ago we brought a pack with all the carving tools in it. It was obviously the OH setting the scene for him to get serious!

The preparation has started and all of the insides are taken out. Sounds gruesome but it’s definitely in the Halloween theme. He uses the stencil for the main shape and marks out the outline.

Halloween pumpkin carving www.myrealfairy.com

Before we know it, the unveiling is upon us and look….

www.myrealfairy.com

Oh yeah, not just one, but two! the Prince of Darkness is joined by the Spooky Spider.

www.myrealfairy.com

I love them and the kids think they are fab! They will sit outside our house on Halloween with candles in them and let people know that we are joining in the fun.

How is your Halloween going so far? Do you love to get into the spirit of it, if so how do you celebrate?

If you have any links to your carvings, please share in the comments section.