Thursday 20 December 2012

FUN & FROLICS: Silly Festive Fun (YB)

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly and all, so I was messing around with the free Elf dances on JibJab and turned me, Paul, David, Liz (my Mum), Latisha (my sister) and Yasmin (my sister) into elves :D I decided to share it with you all to give you all a laugh :D

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Thursday 29 November 2012

FUN & FROLICS: I Am A Robot (YB)

We entered a competition last month that required us to do our best impression of a robot and here's what we did...

This is me as a robot. I made my outfit myself :P

Sunday 25 November 2012

COMPING: Twitaculous For Twitter Competitions (YB)

Have you heard of Twitaculous yet? If not, get yourself over to and read on to find out more about it...

Well, even if you have heard of it, something you may not know is that it is made by my husband, Paul. I had not wanted to publicly let everyone know right away as both I and Paul wanted people to come to an unbiased opinion about it.

Paul does coding/programming, whatever you want to call it and I suggested a while back to him that he should make something like this. But it wasn't until a few months back that he actually decided to make it.

Twitaculous lists Twitter competitions and makes it easy for you to see all the competitions on Twitter and retweet them straight from the Twitaculous website. You can also enter competitions that require you to post an answer to enter and also competitions that also require you to 'like' their Facebook page to enter too. And, did I mention it is a FREE to use service?

It also tells you when you last retweeted the competition and how many times in total you have retweeted so you can keep track of how often you have retweeted. It also tells you which competitions are limited to one retweet only so that you do not get disqualified from the competition.

He has had some excellent feedback from companies regarding the site and service offered and companies are happy for him to be listing the competitions, meaning you can rest safely in the knowledge that companies won't get annoyed with you for entering the competitions through the Twitaculous website.

Other features include the ability to hide tweets that you don't want to see again (competitions that you don't want to enter or that only allow you to enter once for example), add competitions to your favourites (so that you don't forget to retweet regularly) and the you can see when a competition ends and sort them by time ending.

You will find UK competitions, you can rest safely in the knowledge that you won't be entering competitions from outside the UK and that way you know if you win, you will get your prize (other sites do not seem to check their listings and often post US competitions that aren't open to the UK).

Any of my friends will know that I am excellent at finding Twitter competitions and I share all of the ones I find with Paul to post on Twitaculous, so if you know how many I find and enter, you will know it is well worthwhile going on Twitaculous to enter them as there are a lot.

Paul updates the site several times daily with new competitions as well. You can find the Twitaculous Facebook page at and the Twitaculous Twitter account at

Paul is working on new features too, such as the ability to see who you are following and when they last tweeted, enabling you to quickly unfollow those who are no longer active.

Whilst Paul isn't a comper like me (though he does enter some competitions irregularly), he is dedicated to this site and with my help I think it could be something very useful for all of us compers. If you haven't tried it out, please give it a go and do let us know what you think (comment on here and I will pass on the messages to Paul).

REVIEW: Go Ape! Course & Clothing (YB)

I was given the opportunity to do a review for Go Ape! of both their course and their new clothing range.

Now, I'm no good with heights, so instead, I got Paul (hubby) and David (son) to actually do the course and picked clothing for them to review as what better way to taste their durability than for them to wear them on the course, right? Paul got a t-shirt and David got a hoodie.
Boys Go Ape Hoodie - costs just £20

Mens Plank Charcoal Tee - costs just £8 at the moment (normally £18)

Their clothing is very good quality - you can visibly tell they are made well. They have a great range of clothing for men, women and kids and also a great range of accessories too.  You can see the full range and order online at

Paul and David went along to the Delamere, Cheshire Go Ape! course on Saturday 17th November. I wasn't 100% sure if David would like it or not, but apparently after some initial reluctance, he got on with it and enjoyed it so much he wants to go back!

Here is Paul's review of the actual Go Ape! course:

I took my 10 year old son, David, to the Go Ape Tree Top Adventure. After an almost disastrous cancelled train on the way. We eventually arrived at Go Ape in Delamere, one of their 28 locations in the UK. Children are allowed as long as they are 10 years old or over and at least 1.4m. There is a maximum weight limit of 20.5 stone. When you book a session you will be with up to 14 other participants.

After signing a short form about being responsible for David on the way around the course we were all given a harness. They were dead easy to put on and the staff helped everyone and checked they were all put on safely. The harness was relatively comfortable to wear. They were able to store my bag while we were going around the course as it would have been in the way.

Before you get started on the main course there is a short opportunity to see how the parts of your harness work. Then there is a very scaled down version of the types of obstacles you will encounter. There are 3 things on the harness; 2 carabiners, which are clips which climbers use, and a zipline pulley. They were all easy to do and after doing it a couple of times you can easily do it one handed - which is good if you are up a tree and holding on tight!

The course is made up a several parts. Each part has a ladder to initally get up into the trees followed by a series of obstacles. The course is entirely safe as you are constantly connected to a safety line. Even the ladders have a safety system whereby if you were to slip you would not fall.

Clipping and unclipping between each obstacle was a little tedious but we soon got used to it and it became automatic. The obstacles themselves varied between things like wooden platforms to balance across, ropes to pull yourselve along with, a tunnel to climb through, a 'Tarzan' style rope swing. At the end of each section you attach your pulley to a zipline and let gravity get you to the ground!

I was worried that David may have 'chickened' out of certain things but I was very impressed that he gave everything a go. It would have been impossible to avoid one individual obstacle most of the time as when you get into the trees, the course is fairly linear and you have to get to the zipline at the end. There were a couple of times that you could choose one route or another.

Between each section of the course there is a short walk to the next bit. The sections are easy to find by following the arrows. As carrying stuff on the course would be impractical there is water available before each ladder.

I loved the whole experience, I am not too bothered by heights, I don't imagine that it'd be much fun if you are bothered by them. David is usually not so keen on heights but he did all the obstacles, he took a bit of encouragement on the first couple but after that he just got on and did it all and seemed to enjoy it very much. It was suprising how safe I felt half way up a tree. Mostly I didn't even feel the need to hold on to anything.

My favourite thing on the whole course was the really big zipline at the very end. It was a bit higher than the others and quite a bit longer. You built up loads of speed and it was great!

If we were going again I think I would wear a different coat, probably a 'hoodie' or similar as I found my coat got in the way of the the safety harness. 

As well as the Tree Top Adventure they also do several other activities:
- Forest Segway is an hour of driving an all-terrain Segway through a forest.
- Forest Biking is exactly what it sounds like, cycling along trails through the forest.
- Tree Top Junior is for children aged 6 to 12 years old. Adults can either join their children or let them get on with it by themselves. It has the added advantage that the younger kids don't have to attach and detach their safety lines between obstacles.
- Night Time Forest Segway is just like regular forest segway but, as if that isn't exciting enough, it's done in the dark!”

And this is David's review of the Go Ape! course:

When me and my dad went to Go Ape I found it really fun, and most of the equipment was fairly easy to use.

I found Go Ape quite fun because I was just about the right height but maybe being taller had some advantages.

Here are my opinions on each of the activities:

Zip Line: At first on the bigger Zip Lines I was a bit afraid but when I finally gave it a go it was really fun.

Trapeze: I loved this because you had to stay on the beam line without falling off because it was hard to get back up, luckily I managed to not fall on any parts of the course.

Visit the Go Ape! website for more details on their adventures and locations -

Monday 19 November 2012

REVIEW: Fellowes Powershred DS-1 Shredder (YB)

In this day and age, protecting yourself and your family is as top a priority as ever, but now there are even more things to protect yourself against. One of those things is identity theft.

While it has never happened to me personally, it is a massive threat and there are simple things people can do to prevent it.

The main thing you can do, is shred important documents and letters and old credit/debit cards. The Fellowes Powershred DS-1 shredder if is perfect for just that.

The shredder cuts things in a cross cut pattern (security level 3) and can cut up to 11 sheets at a time. It has a patented SafeSense technology as well, that means the shredder will automatically stop shredding if it detects hands touching the paper entry. An electronic sensor surrounds the shredder’s paper entry and shuts down the machine immediately when it comes in contact with the energy field created by humans and larger pets.

Set up and operation are really straightforward. Whilst it does come with a manual, it's so easy to use, you probably won't need to look at it - I didn't! Setup took like 30 seconds. Out the box, plug it in and you're ready to go! All you've got to do is switch it on and put the paper in it and it's shredded! You really can't get much simpler than that. Then you can rest in the knowledge that no-one is going to be able to steal your details. There's a reverse switch in case something isn't feeding properly or you suddenly spot you're shredding something you need as well. It automatically stops when it has finished shredding, but if you start to feed paper, it senses it and starts up again. It has a long 4-5 minute continuous use before it shuts down allowing you to keep shredding for longer.

I must say, I think the shredder is very stylish - it's not an eye sore to have in your home - it's a nice black with a stylish 18L mesh pedal bin. The bin pops out easily to allow you to empty the contents too.

You can see a video of the Fellowes Powershred DS-1 Cross-Cut Shredder in action here.

All of my important documents and letters now get shredded without any thought.

Thursday 15 November 2012

WIN: Goodie Bag 15/11/2012

I won a goodie bag from Activinstinct on Facebook on 15th November 2012. I received it on 16th November 2012.

I'm really pleased with my goodie bag win, it's got some fab keyrings in and a couple of torches too :)

WIN: £20 Sainsburys Gift Card 15/11/2012

I won a £20 Sainsburys gift card from Friends of Glass on Facebook on 15th November 2012. I received it on 19th November 2012.

This will come in handy to get a few things in for Christmas! I can't believe how quickly Christmas has come around again!

Tuesday 13 November 2012

WIN: Signed 'The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas' Book 12/11/2012

I won a signed copy of the book 'The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas' from @TescoMagazine on Twitter on 12th November 2012. I received it on 21st November 2012.

Sad, I know, but I actually read this myself! Now I've just got to find someone worthy enough to give it to!

Sunday 11 November 2012

FUN & FROLICS: Hallowe'en Fun (YB)

A bit late for posting about Hallowe'en, I know, but I'd wanted to do this post, but I've been busy and only just got around to it...

Well, this year, David was a glow-in-the-dark skeleton thanks to the win I had with Morphsuits on Facebook.

David in his glow-in-the-dark skeleton Morphsuit
He's 10 now, so he wanted to go trick or treating for the last time this year, but he also wanted an Hallowe'en party with his party goodies he won for his writing competition at 'Ghoul School' from Woolworths last year. So we decided he could go trick or treating on Hallowe'en, but that we would have an Hallowe'en party for him on the 2nd November, the Friday after Hallowe'en, that way the kids wouldn't have to be in bed too early like they would on a school night.

Anyway, David went trick or treating with his 10 year old Auntie (my sister) Latisha, who dressed as a vampiress. It was a dismal night actually as it was raining a lot and was very cold. I didn't go as my teeth had been hurting a lot and I didn't want the cold to aggravate them, so Paul went with my Mum (Liz) and my other sister, Yasmin around with the kids.

They got a fair few sweets and goodies. The kids being as mad as they are, decided to trick or treat in an Indian takeaway. 15 minutes later, they apparently came out with a bag of poppadoms!! That's got to be the oddest treat I've ever heard of!!

When Paul and David got home, they were extremely soggy. I think I could have make a bucket full of water out of their clothes and shoes!

Main thing is, David had fun and enjoyed his final trick or treat Hallowe'en and got lots of goodies to pig out on!

So, next up was Friday and the late Hallowe'en party. It was for David and Latisha and we said they could each invite 5 friends. None of David's friends turned up and only 2 of Latisha's :( They all had fun together though.

Leda (as a witch), Jade (as a witch), Latisha (as a vampiress) and David (as a skeleton)
We had some fun stuff lined up for them and I definitely think they enjoyed it. We had the party from 5pm until 8pm and we actually ran out of time to do everything planned! We had them work in pairs to wrap each other up in cheap toilet rolls as a 'Mummy' and then the team that did the best won sweets.

Next up, we had some 'ten-pin bowling' Hallowe'en style... We used 10 butternut squash as the pins and a small pumpkin as the bowling ball. They all had fun doing this and it was very funny to watch as well!

Next up, we went for the scary bit. With all of the lights out, we got them to all sit together on the couch and told them a story of a small wooden box we found in the garden on Hallowe'en and challenged them to guess what we found in it. We handed them a latex love filled with cous cous and had them guess what it was... It was a hand... Then we handed them a moist sponge and asked them to guess what it was... It was a brain... Then we handed them some mop head string and asked them to guess what it was... It was some hair... Then we handed them 2 hard boiled eggs (shell removed) and asked them to guess what it was... It was eyeballs. Finally we handed them some cooked spaghetti and asked them to guess what it was... It was some intestines! We scared them quite well! Well, David and Jade were quite brave, but Leda and Latisha were all screamy scared which was quite funny :D

Then it was time for some food. I'd made some spooky, scary Hallowe'en themed cupcakes as well as chicken sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, sausage rolls, cheese & onion rolls, cocktail sausages, scary jellies (three layer, different colours containing jelly eyeballs and jelly body parts) and crisps.

My graveyard cupcakes, severed tongue cupcake and spider web topper cupcakes

Next up was pi├▒ata. This took them a long time to actually get into it! They showed a bit more enthusiasm in the bashing at it when we told them to imagine it was the teacher who was most mean to them at school :P There eyes lit up once they finally got it open and loads of sweets poured out. After we scared them earlier, they thought it was going to be filled with something yukky!

That was all we had time for as it was then 8pm and the parents were coming along to pick up the kids. We had also planned to do what I'd call 'duck apple' but hubby would call 'apple bobbing' but we just didn't have the time. They all seemed to have fun with is most important. We gave they goody bags filled with little toys and goodies to pile their sweets in too and take home.

After that was the adults party, which in the end, we decided to make just a small thing - family and close friends. We were originally going to go for a bigger party, but decided not to in the end.

It was just me, Paul, David, Liz (my Mum), Yasmin (my sister), Latisha, Carol, and Ricky.

Me (Little Dead Riding Hood)

David (skeleton), Carol (witch), Liz (black cat), Yasmin (zombie), Paul (vampire) and Latisha (vampiress)
We just had a few drinks, played some pumpkin bowling. David and Latisha had fun wrapping up Paul and Carol in toilet rolls and turning them into a 'Mummy' :D

                                Mummified Paul
Mummified Carol
The living room was a tip the next day - toilet roll everywhere! But it was all in the name of fun, so, oh well!

Thursday 8 November 2012

WIN: Theron Gaming Mouse 08/11/2012

I won a Theron gaming mouse from the HardwareHeaven website on 8th November 2012. I received it on 20th November 2012.

This looks like a very impressive gaming mouse, can't wait to give it a go!

WIN: Beard Head 08/11/2012

I won a Beard Head from Beard Head UK on Facebook on 8th November 2012. I received it on 12th November 2012.

This my look rather unusual, but I think it's brilliant! I look forward to showing it off!

COMPETITION: Win A Care ITCHeze Winter Sun Holiday Set

‘Cool Down’ in the winter sun with Care ITCHeze...

Win prizes to help you and your family keep your cool in the sun.

While most of us can’t wait to hit the beach on holiday, for many the sun and heat brings with it irritated, itchy and dry skin. Care ITCHeze (which retails at £7.49 in  Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Wilkinson’s and Sainsburys from October) is a brand new non-messy cooling spray perfect for dry skin conditions such as prickly heat. It has a breakthrough patented technology called ‘OsmoCare’ that rehydrates and moisturises skin by drawing water from the inner layers to the surface. To find out more visit

To celebrate soothed skin, Care ITCHeze would like to offer My Random Blurb readers sunshine prizes to help keep you and your family cool in the sun. Each set is worth over £30 and contains a sun hat, bamboo fan and a large beach towel.

To be in with a chance of winning one of 2 sets, just enter the competition using the Rafflecopter entry form below. The competition ends on 30th November 2012 and is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 years and over.

COMPETITION: Win A Limited Edition Friends Prize Pack

Who isn't a fan of Friends? It's one of the longest running American comedy shows and one almost everyone remembers! Do you all remember the escapades of Ross, Joey, Chandler, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe? Well now, to celebrate the release of Friends: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set on 12th November, you can win yourself a limited edition Friends prize pack containing two oversized cappucino mugs and a picture frame just like the one on Monica's door!

Warner Bros. Pictures is proud to announce the release of Friends: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set November 12th 2012; along with the 30 Days of Friends: Trivia Challenge Blog App and Video Player!

Come back here every Thursday to see a new Friends mashup clip in the video player below.

For your chance to win the fab limited edition Friends prize pack, just enter using the Rafflecopter entry form below. Competition is open to UK residents only and will close on 30th November 2012.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Where Is Technology Really At?

It never fails to surprise how naive people are in believing that technology is really at the level it appears to be?

For example, some people would choose to use Freenet in the belief that they can do it free from prying eyes, such as the government - they believe it is somewhere you can really have freedom of speech, but I would have to argue that the government is way, way ahead of the technology available to consumers, though they wouldn't make it known for obvious reasons, and therefore if they want to know what you're up to, they will find out regardless.

Freenet is a de-centralised network of computers that people can connect to and access and publish websites and stuff anonymously, or so their users believe...

What if Freenet was set up by the governments to catch out those saying stuff they don't like and keep an eye on them? What a perfect idea that would be - make it sound like it's safe, but really, it's the first place they look to find threats. I guess they'd just ignore people they thought were just "nuts" or conspiracy theorists (so long as they felt they posed no threat).

When you think about technology, aren't you surprised things haven't progressed a lot further since the first flickers of technology? I mean, we have gone a long way, but I believe, realistically that we should be far further progressed than we are.

Monday 5 November 2012

Created By Extraterrestrials (YB)

I think we were created by extraterrestrials...

eople have very different ideas about where life on Earth came from. From the big bang theory to God creating man, my theory is a little different however...

What if we were an experiment by an alien race? A lot of people are so naive as to think that in this vast universe, amongst the many galaxies, that we are the only intelligent lifeforms. Stop kidding yourselves. If we are here, there are other intelligent lifeforms about, and some of them have to be a lot older and a lot more advanced than we are.

We were either created by aliens who just wanted something to do or maybe as some sort of experiment, but nonetheless, I believe extraterrestrial beings made us.

There are lots of abduction stories - some are obviously faked, but some are hard to refute. And if so, what if it is just the beings that made us coming back to see how we are progressing and alter us where they feel necessary.

Now, I'm guessing most people would see this as a violation of ones self, because we are intelligent beings. But we use even intelligent animals to experiment as we believe we are more intelligent than them so it's our right, so if they are way more intelligent than us, then maybe they believe they have the right to experiment on us in the same way.

Now, I've heard the big bang theory and how life on Earth developed from thereon, but I do not find that a plausible explanation - I think people that questioned the word of the Bible, simply ended up coming up with this as an alternative scenario.

As for God, and one man who made Heaven and Earth (and all things on it) in 7 days seem rather far-fetched? I mean one person apparently did all of this? He'd either have to be more super than Superman or a major magician to have worked that miracle. Besides, I think most people who believe in God, see him as a celestial being. Celestial - man of the stars? In which case, does that not in itself make God an extraterrestrial?

I think a group of extraterrestrial scientists came up with the idea of our creation. And that we did not evolve from apes, cavemen or neanderthals and instead they saw flaws in them and developed their genetic make-up until they reached us? And they are still working on making better humans - if you ask me they have a long way to go before they get it right...

WIN: MAOAM Headphones 05/11/2012

I won some MAOAM headphones from MAOAM UK on Facebook on 5th November 2012. I received them on 17th November 2012.

Yet another fab win from MAOAM!

WIN: Bonfire Night Treats 05/11/2012

I won some Bonfire Night treats - (3 bottles of wine) from @VirginWines and (red cashmink scarf) @TMLewin on Twitter on 5th November 2012. I received the wine on 6th November 2012 and the scarf on 8th November 2012.

The cashmink scarf is gorgeous and is now my new number one winter accessory! And I'm looking forward to the wine, but I only drink on special occasions, so maybe a bottle on New Year's Eve, then I'll need a bottle to get me through my 30th birthday (not looking forward to feeling more 'old') and then the other bottle will be reserved for our 13th wedding anniversary in February :)

RECIPE: British-Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Yorkshire Pudding, Rice & Beans

OK, I decided to try out a new twist to one of my own recipes and I'm going to share it with you all. Regular readers will know about my Jamaican jerk chicken, rice and beans recipe from a past post earlier this year, but I decided to give it a new twist to combine it with an old English favourite in a quick and easy way...

400g diced chicken (1)
4g allspice (1)
70g salt (1)
20g garlic powder (1)
25g sugar (1)
2g chilli powder (1)
2g ground cloves (1)
4g thyme (1)
6g ground black pepper (1)
10g cayenne pepper (1)
3g ground cinnamon (1)
3 tbsps pineapple juice (1)
4 Aunt Bessie's frozen Yorkshire puddings
2 cups of long grain rice (2)
400g tin coconut milk (2)
400g tin black eye beans (2)
1 small onion, finely chopped (2)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (2)
1 tbsp sunflower oil (2)
1 cup water (2)
4 scotch bonnet peppers (2)
¼ tsp thyme (2)

Mix together the allspice, salt, garlic powder, sugar, chilli powder, ground cloves, thyme, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper and ground cinnamon in a large bowl until all combined.

Your dry jerk mix should look like this.

Add the pineapple juice and mix to a thick, but workable paste.

After you've added pinepple juice, your paste should look like this.

Add the diced chicken to the bowl and mix it in to coat the chicken thoroughly.

When you mix the raw diced chicken with the jerk paste, it should look like this.

Place on a baking tray in the middle of the oven at gas mark 6 for approx. 20-30 minutes until cooked thoroughly.

If the jerk chicken comes out to dry or the taste is too hot for your tastebuds, add a splash of extra pineapple juice as soon as you've put it on the plate.

Put the Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire puddings in for the last 4 minutes of cooking - they're so fast to cook!

Put the coconut milk and sunflower oil in a large pan and bring to the boil.

Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic, followed straight away by the thyme, tin of black eye beans (inc. juices) and cup of water and bring to the boil again.

Lower the heat to a low-medium heat and simmer. Rinse 2 cups of long grain rice (do not use easy cook rice), add to the pan and stir thoroughly. Place the Scotch Bonnet peppers on top (do not stir in) . If you like it as spicy as possible, do like me and add 5-6 Scotch Bonnet peppers instead of 4! Cover tightly and leave on a low light for approx. 30 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated. Try not to remove the pan lid unless necessary until at least 30 minutes have passed.
This is what it should look like just before your cover it.

When the rice is cooked, it should look like this.

Place the Yorkshire pudding in the centre of the plate and add some jerk chicken. Next, put the rice out around the Yorkshire pudding. Serve with hot pepper sauce. Enjoy!

Your finished food should look like this.
This is a nice quick meal to prepare and you will probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboard if you cook regularly anyway. Preparation takes about 5-10 mins and cooking time is a maximum of 30 minutes with minimum attention required during cooking leaving you to get on with other things!

I'm taking part in the BritMums and Aunt Bessie's #HalfTermFood linky challenge and this is my entry.