Schwartz Meatball Pasta Bake

Recently I was lucky enough to win a selection of Schwartz herbs and spices from @SchwartzCooking on twitter and I couldn’t wait to try out the nice selection they sent me. One of the packets they sent me was this limited edition Meatball Pasta Bake.  I love pasta so I thought I would give this a try, it certainly looked simple enough to make.

I following the instructions on the packet and gathered together the ingredients. I needed meatballs, an onion, a red pepper, pasta,  a tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, water and grated cheese. Luckily I usually have most of these in my cupboards anyway.

I preheated my oven to 200°C  (400°F, Gas Mark 6). I choose to use pre-prepared meatballs but you can also make your own using mince.  First you need to heat the oil in a pan, then fry the meatballs for a few minutes until they are brown. Add the onions and red pepper and cook till they are soft.  The contents of the recipe mix are then blended into 1/4 pint of water and added to the pan along with the tin of tomatoes, tomato puree and the pasta. The mix is then brought to the boil.  Once it is boiling you pour the lot into the casserole dish, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and bung into the oven for 25 minutes. I love the sort of cooking you can bung into the oven and leave, its perfect after a day at work as it allows you to get on with other things.

This is how it looked when I removed it from the oven and I have to say it smelled lovely.  I then put it onto plates and served it to the family.

The plates were cleaned and they said it was really nice. I have to say I really enjoyed it, the recipe mix adds a nice flavour to the tomato base and it was really simple and easy to make. I shall definitely be trying this one again.

For more information see

RRP 0.49 per packet

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Stargazer Beauty Shake and Bling Challenge

I recently saw on twitter that Stargazer Beauty had launched the Shake and Bling challenge aimed at bloggers. As I love a challenge I said I would like to get involved. They sent me four of their lovely nail products and the challenge was that I had to create a design on my nails using these products and show you all what I came up with. Please bear in mind that my artistic skills are limited but I did have a go.

I could choose the four shades of the products I wanted and this is what I chose.

Stargazer nail polish shade 130Stargazer nail polish in shade 130 which is a blue shade reminiscent of evening skies.

Stargazer glitter shaker in gold, which is glitter you can add to nail polish while it is wet to make a unique look.

Their nail art pen in black which you can either use as a brush or a pen to define interesting designs on your nails and finally Nail Gems

which can be added to your nail with a dab of glue to create a different look.

I had plans to create a look which featured a night sky with stars in the background  a full lit moon and a haunted house, which was probably a bit ambitious given my drawing skills.

This is how it turned out

The  black line at the top is meant to represent a bat flying over the house. I think it has ended up looking a bit more like a chinese symbol but I am happy with to for my first attempt. I can see I am going to have great fun trying out the effects to see what else I can come up with for the future. The nail polish so far as lasted really well and I am going to be rocking this look for a while.
You can find more information on the products on their website:

and they are on twitter @stargazerbeauty

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Games for Christmas from Paul Lamond Games

Paul Lamond Games have a load of board games which would be great for  Christmas so if you are looking for gift ideas this is a place to start. They kindly sent me a couple of these games to review which I will be doing shortly, but I thought I would give you a quick overview of the new games as they do look fun.

Games for teens and Adults

QI Board Game

You must have watched QI, the show on BBC 1 hosted by Stephen Fry, its a highly successful quiz programme, which has been a favourite amongst viewers since 2008.  This game brings it into the home, so you can take part in this hard panel game with your friends and family. The game is for 2-6 players and is suitable for ages teen to adult.

RRP £19.95

Fatal Attraction

Harness the power of magnets to outwit your opponents. Each player must fill the boards, but beware the force of the magnets can be used against you as well as for you. Can you use the magnetic force in your favour?

This is for 2-4 players and aimed at age 14 and over.

RRP £17.95


A classic Peruvian dice game which will make liars of us all! This game was played in the Pirates of the Caribbean film and has celebrity fans from Stephen Fry to Sienna Miller and Richard Branson. Its a versatile and addictive game which means its suitable for family fun, drinking games and after dinner entertainment at dinner parties.

RRP £17.95

Games for Children

Meerkat Mayhem

The Meerkats are in danger, can you save them from the dreaded Cobra? You need to save your meerkat before the cobra strikes or lose them forever! This is a great game for improving co-0rdination and dexterity. It’s for 2-4 players and is aimed at age 6 and above.

RRP £10.95

Make-over Friends

This is a new addition to the Paul Lamond multi award-winning Chimp and Zee pre-school range of games and puzzles.  It’s a craft activity set featuring three dolls that need to be decorated and displayed on a doll house panel, it comes with colouring sheets, stickers, ribbons,beads and wool to help in this task.  Easy to set up and explain, it can be reused again and again. Suitable for age three and above and can be used alone or with friends.

RRP £9.95

On Safari

Another game from the award-winning Chimp and Zee pre-school range of games of puzzles, this is a safari craft activity. There are three jungle friends to make up and place on a display panel, plus colouring sheets, stickers, a palm tree andwool to help dress up and decorate. The animals can be reused again and again. Great for co-ordination, dexterity, imagination and colouring, it is aimed at ages four and above and can be played alone or with friends.

RRP £9.95

Pretty Ponies

Another craft activity set from the award-winning range of Chimp and Zee games and puzzles, this one introduces three cute ponies to style and display on a stable display. It comes with colouring sheets, stickers, ribbons, beads and wool to use in dressing up and decorating the Ponies. Once they have been decorated they can be played with again and again. Great for co-ordination, dexterity, imagination and colouring skills it can be played alone or with others. Aimed at ages three and above.

RRP £9.95

What’s up?

This is a “What’s on my head?” game which encourages the use of imagination. There are four categories of card – people, sports, transport and animals. These are shuffled and placed in the centre of the table. Each player wears a card holder on their head, and places one of the cards, unseen into the holder. They then have to ask the other players a series of yes or no questions to work out what picture is on the card on their head.  This is great fun and helps the develop questioning skills. The person who identifies the most correct cards wins. Aimed at age five and above and suitable for 2-4 players.

RRP £9.95

You can find more information on the website at

Other reviews you may be interested in:

Meerkat Mayhem

Meerkat Mayhem from Paul Lamond Games

I was recently sent a copy of Meerkat Mayhem from Paul Lamond Games to try out and see what I thought of it. The game is based on the well know animal, the meerkat. They are tiny, tenacious and sociable animals who rarely face danger alone. Now they are facing the dreaded cobra and have to escape!

This game is aimed at children aged six and above and can be played by two to four players. The game will increase co-ordination and dexterity whilst being fun to play.

When you open the box you find the game board, the cobra and a selection of meerkats.

Setting up the board is simple, you just push the cobra into the two  holes in the green socket. This causes the  little trapdoors on the board close and the holes are then covered. Each player chooses a colour and is given five meerkats. Each player places a meerkat on the trapdoor in the colour they have chosen.

The players then take it in turn to spin the spinner on the board. If the spinner lands on a colour the person who chose that colour  gets to pull out the cobra. This causes the trapdoors to open and the meerkats to fall. The object is to catch the meerkats before they fall though the trapdoor and become the property of the person who pulled out the cobra.  If the spinner lands on a meerkat the person spinning can take one meerkat from any other player. The winner is the person who gains ten meerkats first.
The game is really easy to understand and you can get it set up and begin playing really quickly. Although the game is simple it requires a lot of co-ordination to catch the meerkats before you lose them.  All the family had great fun with this game, my son soon started pretending he was going to pull out the cobra when he wasn’t and having a good laugh when he fooled me. The game also came out when his friends came round and they played happily with it for quite a long time.  Overall it is better with four players but less can play successfully as well. We found this to be a really enjoyable and fun game.

RRP £10.95
For more information see the website at:

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Games for Christmas from Paul Lamond Games