Logitech Ultrathin ipad Keyboard Review & BigBang iPad Cover Giveaway

logitech ultrathin ipad keyboard review

I like to think we are quite on top of technology in this house – Even Tara can teach us a thing or 2 about using our phones. The one item we didn’t own was an iPad keyboard though. I tend to either use my phone or the big MAC, as typing on the iPads was just too much of a faff. When I was asked if I would like to review a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard, I wasn’t sure how well it would go down. We already had Violet’s iPad mini in its own case and I was loathe to take it out. But we gave it a go anyway and right from the word go, LOVED it! The novelty hasn’t worn off even a few weeks later – We haven’t resorted back to using her old iPad cover as paired up with the keyboard, we feel her iPad is well protected.

This keyboard has transformed evenings – for doing quick jobs, like online googling and online shopping, we can now happily sit in front of the TV instead of feeling like I’m constantly at work at my desk. We are now travelling to Leeds 3 times per week with synchro and up and down to London for England Talent training – Millie is finding the keyboard invaluable for keeping up with her studies (and Minecraft of course!) I’m really looking forward to getting on the train to London with it in a couple of weeks, instead of having to lug about the laptop. A winner all round!

logitech ultrathin review

Now to the technical stuff … The keyboard itself attaches magnetically to the iPad which is easy to do. You can also adjust the angle that you are working at to eliminate sun glare. The keyboard is obviously than a traditional PC keyboard but the keys are sufficiently big enough to enable you to type freely. A few weeks in, our keyboard is yellowing slightly at the top – but this is more likely to be due to my dirty monkeys using it with sticky fingers than anything else. Logitech promise a 3 month battery, we have not been using it that long yet but will feed back as we go along. We are promised that it is ‘Thin & Light’ which did make me concerned that it might be too flimsy but we were pleasantly surprised and continue to be so.

I’m happy to be hosting a giveaway for another of Logitech’s products, the Big Bang iPad Cover – This can be for either iPad Air or iPad Mini (The winner will be asked to specify which product they would like). Retailing at £49-£59 this product will protect against even the toughest of children’s wear and tear.

Made from shock absorbent material and liquid repellent, it would survive even in my house! At only 16mm this iPad case is a lot more slimline than other cases but extra reliant against accidental bumps, scratches and dropping.

I have found this very short YouTube video which sells the Big Bang far better than I can – I defy you not to laugh!

To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter instructions below – Please note, to qualify the blog comment needs to be at the bottom of this post, not in the Rafflecopter widget. Sorry UK entries only – Entries close at 11.59PM on April 16th 2015. I will inform the winner within 4 days. You will be asked to provide a postal address for your prize to be sent to. This will not be used for any other promotional activity.

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Disclosure: We were sent a Logitech Ultrathin for the purpose of this review – All opinions are true, honest and correct at time of writing

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Cool Layer Cakes Giveaway – Foodie Friday

cool layer cakes giveaway

A little different #foodiefriday than usual, not a recipe but a giveaway of a book that I highly recommend. Cool Layer Cakes by Ceri Olofsen, is a book that is suitable for bakers wanting to expand their cake repertoire. There’s a good mix of recipes, decorations and some more intricate sugarcraft – well it looks intricate, but actually it is more than achievable for most bakers.

The book itself is bright and fun, with easy to follow instructions. There are cakes to appeal to adults and children, boys and girls. I particularly like the camouflage cake, the colours of which could be changed to suit the party theme.

camouflage cake

Other cake tutorials contained in the book are: The famous Rainbow Cake (pictured on front cover), How to make a Piñata Cake, and an intricate Battenburg type (perfect for a Minecraft lover?). You can learn how to make sugar roses and other sugar flowers, brush embroidery (which is so much easier than it looks) and mini stacked cakes.

cube minecraft cake

I have 1 copy of Cool Layer Cakes to giveaway. Please follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter – UK entries only please. The competition closes at 11.59PM on Sunday 12th April 2015. When you leave a comment, please do so at the bottom of this post, rather than in the rafflecopter widget, otherwise it won’t count.

Best of luck to everyone who enters.

strawberry cake

My featured post from last week’s #FoodieFriday entries is Wheelie Good Meals with his Chicken, Pek, Leek & Sage Leftover Pie – Celebrating British Pie Week, this was Richard’s first ever pie and what a success it was. Brilliant step-by-step picture instructions. Congratulations!

chicken leek sage leftover pie

Our other entries were just as marvellous:

foodie friday roundup

1.I absolutely love these top ten tips for Mashed Potato from Tales from the Kitchen Shed – I will never bung the salt in at the last minute ever again!
2. Bakewell Junction has been using up Lemon Curd with her ever so perfect, Meyer Lemon Bars
3. Happy Blogiversary to the Cream Baker with her Chocolate Chiffon Cake
4. This Stunning Spiced Sausage Stew from Wheelie Good Meals would go down very well in our house
5. Making good use of leftover chicken is Wheelie Good Meals again with Leftover Chicken Tikka Masala
6. Beautiful colour in Herbs, Spices & Tradition’s Mango Jam Jelly – Would brighten up any dish
7. I’d be proud of this marbling if I were Eileen from Et Speaks From Home – Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake
8. I found Foodie Quine’s post on brushing up her food photography fascinating – Its something I have definitely tried harder with this year but there’s still work to do!

A huge thanks to everyone for entering – Don’t forget to add all your food links while you are entering the book giveaway. There is no theme and all food is welcome as long as you display the badge and link back to this post. I will be sharing like mad this week – Please feel free to spread the word about #FoodieFriday and lets get plenty of people joining in. Each post is commented on, pinned, tweeted and Google+ed. The linky is open until next Thursday morning.

Casa Costello
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Eisberg Non-Alcoholic Wine – Blog Anniversary Giveaway #1

Eisberg Wine Giveaway

Its fair to say our weekends are slightly out of the ordinary – We do not often manage to make nights out but like many others, enjoyed a drink at home on either a Friday or a Saturday. Dermot has to work on Saturdays and now I drive Millie to Leeds (1.5 hour journey) every Saturday for 9.45. This is in addition to being in the pool in Manchester on Sundays at 7am.

You can’t do all that driving (and sitting besides a hot, sticky pool) with a hangover – The legal part of driving under the influence aside, there’s just no way I would survive having a thick head.

Like most women, when I was pregnant I tried all manner of non-alcoholic drinks – They were fine, but just that …nothing special. I was recently sent some Eisberg Non-Alcoholic wines to try and thought I’d give them a go.

The first thing that struck me was they still smell like wine. You get that kick in the back of your throat and not that empty, disappointed feeling. The beauty of Eisberg wines is that they are made in the same way as regular wines, just with the alcohol taken out at the very end of the process. Even better, the fact that they are only 34 calories per glass means that you don’t feel you are consuming too many empty calories either.

wine giveaway competition

As part of my series of giveaways celebrating Casa Costello turning 7, I have the full range of 4 Eisberg Wines to giveaway to one lucky winner.

All you need to do is follow the Rafflecopter instructions below (Don’t forget to leave a comment at the bottom of this post rather than in the Rafflecopter widget) Giveaway closes 11.59pm Wednesday 1st April 2015. Sorry UK entries only.

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Eisbery Non-Alocholic wine giveaway

We're going on an adventure

NibNibs Snack Review & Giveaway

nib nibs cheese snacks giveaway

I always think at this time of year, you want your snacks to be really tasty. There doesn’t seem to be the same excuse for leisurely feeding your face … even though it is a strictly diet free zone here!

Over Christmas I was sent a selection of Nib Nibs Cheese snacks – Billed as being From Yorkshire With Love they are a selection of both full size and mini cheese straw nibbles.

I’m not a massive cheese lover but even I enjoyed the Mini Cheese & Chilli Nibbles – Not too hard to eat but with a satisfying crunch. The rest of the Costellos have enjoyed nibbling their way through the range with our compulsory Onion & Garlic Dip. The snack pots are really handy for taking out and about.

Available in 4 flavours Cheddar Cheese, Cheddar & Spicy Chilli and Cheddar & Cheeky Onion, Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper flavours – Nib Nibs are ‘Premium baked British Nibbles for the most discerning connoisseur’ produced in North Yorkshire. I love supporting up & coming, local producers – One of my intentions this year is to find and use more food producers with something a little different.

I am offering one lucky reader the chance to win a selection of Nib Nibs products by entering this simple compeition – Please follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. The competition closes on Wednesday 28th January – Sorry UK entries only.

The winner will be notified as soon as possible after the random draw has been made and Nib Nibs will be responsible for sending out your prize once a postal address has been supplied.

Best of luck everyone! Happy nibbling x

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Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar Giveaway

hotel chocolat giveaway

I’m not going to beat about the bush – I’ve got a brilliant giveaway for you. Who doesn’t like a chocolate Advent calendar – especially a Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar? – Even my Mum has been known to partake (although she still has a traditional Advent calendar too!)

I’ve worked with Hotel Chocolat on quite a few occasions and have always been really impressed with the quality of their chocolates. This calendar contains the obligatory 24 cut chocolate sculptures in luscious 40% milk chocolate – perfect for all the family.

This calendar has a RRP of £12.50 but you can win one just in time for advent by following the Rafflecopter instructions below:

The Terms & Conditions: Sorry UK entry only. The Rafflecopter widget will close at 11.59PM on Tues 25th November 2014. I will contact the winner within 48 hours to get your postal details.

hotel chocolat advent calendar

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Disclosure: I was sent some Mulled Wine Minidomes as a thank you for hosting this competition. We are half way through the box and absolutely love them – Wonderfully strong taste of port – There is no way these will last until Advent!

mulled wine mini domes hotel chocolat

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Little Crackers Juice Drinks – Giveaway

little crackers juice giveaway

Well half term is over and hasn’t it flown? Its back to school for us tomorrow which means back to packed lunches. I have to admit we got into a rut of boring ham sandwiches towards the end of term – I have great plans for exciting pasta and potato dishes in the run up to Christmas. Violet was lucky enough to try some Little Crackers juice cartons at the end of last term though which made a pleasant change for her lunch break.

Little Crackers juice cartons are from The Cracker Drinks Co. and are 75% pure juice with a splash of water. They contain no artificial additives which I really like and come in 4 different flavours,

  • Orange & Lemon
  • Apple & Raspberry
  • Blackcurrant & Cherry
  • Pear & Vanilla

I pinched one of the Apple & Raspberry flavours and really enjoyed it. They are not too strong for even little Toddlers, which makes them perfect for car journeys for all of my 3 too.

I have 4 packs of juice cartons (3 cartons in each pack) to giveaway to one lucky winner which by my reckoning makes 2 weeks of packed lunches and a weekend snack too! Little Crackers Juice Cartons have a RRP of £1.99 for a 3 pack.

juice carton giveaway

Simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter:

Please note: Please leave a blog comment at the end of this blog post, not on the Rafflecopter form or it cannot be counted as an entry (Sorry!). I check all entries to make sure they are valid. The giveaway ends on November 16th at 11.59pm. Sorry UK entries only.

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What to Bake & How to Bake It: Baking Book Giveaway

baking book giveaway

This book has a completely different feel to other baking books – Both in its content and the actual texture of the book. I was intrigued as soon as I opened my copy – Its a substantial sized book – If you gave someone this for a gift, they would feel they had got a decent present. A hard back with a matt cover and hand drawn pictures on the outside.

So what about what’s in it? The book is described as containing ’50 easy-t-follow recipes for all home bakers. Every stage explained with step-by-step photographs’. These step-by-step photos are what stick in your mind when you have been reading it. Very uncluttered and perfect for those bakers who are never quite sure what texture a substance should be.

tarte au citron The wonderful Tarte au Citron[/caption]

The recipes themselves are good homely bakes – There are the usual suspects, Victoria Sandwich, Seriously Chocolate Cookies and a wonderfully yellow Tarte au Citron that can form part of your baking repertoire. Even the more elaborate and fancy recipes all contain ingredients that are likely to be found in a home baking cupboard or easily found in most supermarkets – 3 flavours of macarons, 4 types of cupcakes, wonderful seasonal recipes like the Chocolate Hazelnut Log and Cranberry Stollen. At the top of my ‘to bake’ list form the book is the Strawberry Meringue Cake (see pictured below)

strawberry meringue cake

The book is divided into 5 sections, Introduction (This is rather a long intro but very handy if you are new to baking), Simple Family Baking, Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea, Special Bakes and Desserts & After Dinner. I’m a bit of a sucker for a bookmark ribbon and this book has 2 – For someone who regularly takes their cookbooks to bed, these are invaluable.

how to bake a chocolate log

What to Bake & How to Bake It has a RRP of and can ordered here. I was given my own copy of the book for review and let loose with my own thoughts!

baking book giveaway competition

I have one copy of the book to giveaway – Perfect for a Christmas present, or you could just keep it and bake your way through the book – It would be easily done! Just fill in the Rafflecopter details below (Please remember to actually leave a comment on this blog post rather than the Rafflecopter widget – Otherwise your entry won’t count).

The closing date is November 4th 2014. The lucky winner will be chosen at random and contacted for their postal address to be sent the book as soon as possible after the closing date. Please reply within 5 days – Sorry UK entries only. Good Luck and Happy Baking!

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Win 1 years subscription to OK! Magazine

magazine subscription competition

Now I know I talk a lot about wine and gin, but even I have an alcohol free night sometimes. My mum isn’t a drinker either so we always have some soft drinks in for such occasions. I first tried Shloer 13 years ago when I was having Millie – I have to admit it has got a lot better since those days! The flavours seem more interesting and not as empty as they once did. I have even been known to make alcohol free cocktails with Shloer – The recipe for my take on an alcohol free Bellini is HERE.

non alcoholic bellini cocktail recipe

Shloer have an offer on for the next 8 weeks (from 15th September onwards) to win a free copy of OK! Magazine with every promotional bottle of Shloer bought – RRP £2.25. There’s 3 sparkling flavours to choose fromL White Grape, Red Grape and Rose and the promotional code can be found on the label of promotional bottles. Simply enter the code each Friday at www.shloer.com/ok to enter (Terms & Conditions can also be found here).

For Casa Costello readers, I’ve got something even more exciting – Simply fill in the Rafflecopter details below for a chance to win 1 years subscription of OK! Magazine – You can fill some parts in once per day for even more chances to win.

The competition ends on October 9th and the winner will be chosen at random and notified within 5 days. The lucky winner will have 1 week in which to provide their details to enable the subscription to be set up. Sorry, UK entries only! Best of Luck!

Julie's Notebook #WinningWeekends linky. Supporting British Bloggers.

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Book Giveaway: Deliciously Decorative Cookies

decorated cookies book giveaway
I’m well know for my love of books – Cookbooks, Cake Books, Reading Books – they are well and truly taking over the house! This book is one of the best I’ve seen so far though – I’m so pleased to be able to share a giveaway to WIN ONE OF 3 COPIES OF DELICIOUSLY DECORATIVE COOKIES!!

Not the easiest of book titles to say but absolutely jam packed with tips, pictures and ideas for beautiful cookies.  Whether you are new to cookie decorating or experienced, this book has something for you. Each page has tons of pictures, the writing is tiny meaning that they can fit so much more content in the book than other decorating books.

cookie decorating book giveaway

There are clear to follow tutorials and great ideas for presenting your cookies. For anyone that likes to give edible gifts, this book is a must!

There are plenty of quick cookie creations if you are pushed for time and more challenging projects for leisurely afternoons.

how to make owl cookies

There are some short cuts – I like that the author, Fiona Pearce doesn’t presume that everyone wants to bake every biscuit from scratch – sometime you just want time to decorate.

There are tips for using edible pictures and icing sheets which are easy to come across now and Templates and Recipes at the back of the book if you need them.

perfume bottle cookies

To enter to win one of 3 copies of this lovely book, follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. The winners will be chosen at random as soon as possible after the giveaway ends on Wednesday 1st October. The winners will be asked to give an address that their book will be sent to – The publishers are responsible for sending the prizes out.

All entries will be checked. Please make sure you have left your contact details. All winners to have provided address details within 7 days of winners names being posted. Sorry, UK entries only.

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Marshmallow Brownie Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes – The Great Chocolate Bake

Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes

I’m not one to be defeated easily. My poor track record with Brownies has never sat well with me. When I was asked by Dr Oetker to enter their Great Chocolate Bake competition, I knew exactly what I was hoping to achieve. As soon as you mention the word ‘Brownie’ people turn to mush, mmm’ing and aah’ing. Well, I wanted them to do that over my recipe too – and by jove! I might just have got it!

Dr Oetker are challenging home bakers to come up with the ultimate chocolate cupcake – they sent a bunch of us some delicious ingredients and off we went. The prize is a fabulous trip to New York … and obviously the satisfaction of knowing I’ve finally cracked Brownies!

I’ve heard about S’mores for ages now but don’t quite fancy the cracker part of the recipe – so I came up with the Marshmallow/Brownie combination – I also wanted an extra dimension so went for it and added a Ferrero Rocher for decoration too.

The recipe and instruction for making the Brownies is below – I only filled the cases 1/3rd full – they don’t rise too much but the last thing you want is them spilling over. Once you have spread your frosting over them and added the Ferrero Rocher they are quite tall anyway. They are really rich – believe me, no-one will moan about the case not being full!

Before going in the oven ...

Before going in the oven …

I’m not going to lie, these are not pretty cupcakes when they first come out of the oven – the melted marshmallow oozes into the Brownie and it is impossible not to get a dip in the middle. As long as you know that is going to happen though, it is easily fixable.

marhsmallow brownie

Bear with … It gets prettier!

I added a marshmallow frosting – I didn’t want to start adding too many flavours by mixing a dairy frosting. Marshmallow frosting is super simple – just melt some mini marshmallows in a pan slowly and spread over the cupcakes. Beware, it does set really quickly though – you can add a teaspoon of glucose syrup if you want it to stay runny for that little bit longer.

The Tulip Cupcake Cases are an ideal way of disguising any rough edges on your original cupcake case. I bought mine but they are easy to make too – Tutorial coming soon! I finished with a pale pink ribbon to match the marshmallow frosting and added the Ferrero Rocher and I was done! Yum!

Marshmallow Brownie Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes – The Great Chocolate Bake

Cook Time: 19 minutes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Marshmallow Brownie Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes – The Great Chocolate Bake

Ingredients

  • 150g Dr Oetker Fine Cook's Chocolate Dark
  • 150g Dr Oetker Fine Cook's Chocolate Extra Dark
  • 250g Unsalted Butter
  • 185g Caster Sugar
  • 250g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • One large marshmallow for each cupcake plus one bag Dr Oetker Mini Marshmallows for the frosting
  • One Ferrero Rocher (unwrapped) for each Cupcake

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the Cupcake Tray with the cupcake cases.
  2. Break the chocolate into small chunks and add with the butter to a medium sized pan.
  3. As soon as the butter and chocolate have melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the 2 types of sugar until combined.
  4. Add one egg at a time, whisking continuously - make sure that the mixture is cool enough to prevent the eggs from scrambling
  5. Add the flour and cocoa one spoon at a time and mix in using the figure of eight method until just combined
  6. Fill each cupcake case 1/3rd full and place a large marshmallow in the centre of each. There is no need to press down.
  7. Bake in the centre of the oven for 18-20 minutes.
  8. Remove and allow to cool.
  9. Just before decorating, add the mini marshmallows to a small pan and heat slowly - do not allow to boil.
  10. As soon as runny, spread a tablespoon of the mixture over the cooled cupcakes - I used the multi coloured Marshmallows and the frosting turned pink. If you use the white ones, you can add a small amount of food dye to match your colour scheme. Work quickly, they soon set!
  11. Add a Ferrero Rocher on top and place the cake inside a Tulip wrapper - Instantly transformed!
http://casacostello.com/2013/10/15/marshmallow-brownie-ferrero-rocher-cupcakes-the-great-chocolate-bake/

For more information on Dr Oetker Baking range go to http://www.oetkeronline.co.uk

Disclosure: I received no payment for entering or promoting this competition. I did receive a Chocolate Hamper with some ingredients to use though. I had complete free reign on which recipe I used and made this one up. I highly recommend these cupcakes but take no responsibility for any growing waistlines!