Archive for the ‘Competitions’ Category

Healthy Halloween Treats Competition

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
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We aren’t daft at Sykes Cottages; we’re well aware that Halloween and healthy don’t go hand in hand – especially when it comes to the kids. With the spoils of the trick or treating, it can seem like all kids eat over Halloween is sweets. We’ve decided to see what we can do to change this by launching our Healthy Halloween Treats competition. We’ve asked a select group of bloggers to see if they can create an alternative to the usual sugary fare that will still keep kids happy. This isn’t an enviable task; we all know how much the little ones love their sweets, but the ideas we got back were fantastic. From snail porridge to spiders web pizzas and many more gruesome delights, take a look at our healthy Halloween treats and see what you think.

The Entries

the mummy diary

The Mummy Diary’s eyeball cupcakes and spider bites

Niki at Play and Learn Everyday put together some healthy pumpkin cookie bites using oats, honey and pumpkin purée, and she also made some fantastic pumpkin teething biscuits so even the younger children can get in on the Halloween fun. Then there was Ellie at The Mummy Diary who came up with some delicious looking banana and chocolate chip cupcakes, complete with an eyeball topping (maybe not quite so delicious looking), and also some spider bites made from a healthy and easy to make fruit and nut mixture.

hijacked by twins

The spiders web pizza from Hijacked by Twins

We also had a brilliant entry from Tina from Trials and Tribulations of a Brummie Mummy who made some mini pizzas made to look like witches hats, spookily shaped Halloween sandwiches, chocolate witches fingers and the classic toffee apples! Next up was Kirsty from Hijacked By Twins. She whipped up some pizzas with a spiders web topping made from carrot strips and olive slices, as well as some creepy banana ghosts and a batch of delicious looking mini pumpkin pies. Another top idea came in from Donna at Red Head Baby Led. Donna turned an ordinary pack of oranges into some fantastic miniature pumpkins complete with a sugar free jelly filling and of course some scary faces carved into them!

married to a geek

Married to a Geek’s fruity blood bath

Then there was a particularly ghastly graveyard scene produced by Angeline at Daft Mamma! Featuring a witches cauldron, pumpkin patch, gravestones and even some slimy eye balls made from grapes, it’s one that’s sure to get the little ones tucking into their five a day over Halloween! Simone from Married to a Geek went all out with her entry making strawberry ghosts, a goblet full of ‘Devil’s Drencher’ and marshmallow eyeballs, and she even threw them all together to make a fruity blood bath! Then there was Louisa from Eat Your Veg who produced two cracking recipes. First up was her mini orange pumpkins with a blood sorbet (don’t worry it was just frozen raspberries and honey) and also a cauldron full of blood soup served up with Halloween inspired cheesy toasts.

mummy memories

A spiders web cake from Mummy Memories

Up next we had Mary-Kate at Mummy Memories who made a healthy version of a classic chocolate cake using a natural sugar alternative. The cake was topped off with a homemade peanut butter icing and a scary spiders web made from YoYo Bears and raisins so there’s plenty of fruit in there too! Otilia from Romanian Mum came up with two devilish desserts, first up was a set of cake pops featuring pumpkins and ghostly faces followed by her own take on the Bruce Bogtrotter cake from Matilda with an extra creepy Halloween topping! And finally we had Louise from A Strong Coffee. Louise made a selection of creepy delights that the younger kids would enjoy. From a ham sandwich disguised as a spooky spider to some snail porridge, and even a witches brew with ogre’s eyes made out of kiwi fruit, what more could you want?

 Our Runner Up

Now came the hard bit as we were given the difficult task of picking out a winner and also a runner up to the competition. As you can see all of the entries were fantastic so it took some real deliberation amongst the increasingly hungry team here at Sykes HQ however there were two that we kept going back to. Just pipped to the post was Louise from A Strong Coffee. We absolutely loved her spooky spider sandwiches, and thought that the use of kiwi fruits as ogre eyes were fantastic!

spider sandwiches

A Strong Coffee’s Spooky Spider Sandwiches

 The Winner

This meant that our winner of our Healthy Halloween Treats Competition was the entry from Louisa at Eat Your Veg. They looked, and sounded, suitably terrifying and were full to the brim with copious amounts of fruit and veg – all in all the perfect Healthy Halloween Treat!

mini pumpkins

Mini Pumpkins with blood sorbet

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Blood soup and cheesy toasts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there we go, hopefully you’ll agree with our choices but make sure you keep your eyes peeled for any future competitions that we’ll be running. We’d also like to say a massive thank you to everybody who took part! All of the entries were brilliant and they’ve certainly inspired all of us here at Sykes HQ!

Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Competition: Discovering Autumn’s Best Bits

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
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AutumnBB_Large

Photo Blogging Competition: Autumn’s Best Bits

Whether you like crunching through leaves, wrapping up warm or sipping on one of the season’s popular hot drinks we want to know about it! Show off your autumnal photography skills in our newest competition to be in with your chance of winning £400 to spend at John Lewis!

To enter this competition, take a picture of what you think is autumn’s best bit, put it into a blog post and tell us why it’s your favourite thing about autumn! Once you’ve published your post, tweet the link to us @SykesCottages or send us an email including a link to your entry. Don’t forget to include a link back to this page in your post, so that your readers can enter, too!

Autumnal Bench

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

image via Flickr

 Terms and Conditions:

Eligibility

  1. This competition is open to any blogger located in the United Kingdom or Ireland and aged 18 and over.
  2. The competition is not open to employees of Sykes Cottages or any agencies or group companies related to Sykes Cottages.
  3. The promoter and Host of this competition is Sykes Cottages and can be reached via email at autumncomp@sykescottages.co.uk
  4. Using a false name or address for this competition will lead to the entry being disqualified.

Entry

  1. Entries to the competition can be made by emailing the blog post entry to autumncomp@sykescottages.co.uk or by tweeting the blog post @sykescottages
  2. All entries will be acknowledged within one working day of their submission.
  3. All entrants must include instructions on how to enter the competition, or a link to instructions, at the end of their blog post. Eg. “If you would like to enter Sykes Cottages competition to win £400 worth of John Lewis vouchers then simply head over to…”
  4. Only one entry per blog, multiple entries will not be counted.
  5. Entries made using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be disqualified.
  6. By entering the competition entrants accept that their entries will be shared across Sykes Cottages’ social media platforms including, but not limited to, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, The Sykes Cottages Blog and Instagram.

The Prize

  1. There will be seven winners in this competition. With the first place prize being £400 of John Lewis Vouchers, second place being £100 of John Lewis vouchers and five further prizes of smart phone camera lenses
  2. This competition is in no way affiliated with John Lewis, the John Lewis Partnership or it’s subsidiaries
  3. Prizes are non-transferable, non-refundable and there is no cash alternative available.
  4. Prizes will be sent to the winners home addresses

Timing

  1. Competition opens at 12 noon GMT on the 7th of October 2014.
  2. Competition closes at midnight GMT on the 17th November 2014, any entries sent after this time won’t be counted

The Winner

  1. The winner of the competition will be chosen by a panel of judges at Sykes Cottages and this decision is final.
  2. The winner will be chosen and notified on or before Friday the 21st of November 2014.
  3. Once we have heard back from the winners we will then post their names on the Sykes Cottages Facebook and Twitter account.
  4. Details of the winner can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address; Sykes Cottages, Lime Tree House, Hoole Lane, Chester, Cheshire, CH2 3EG
  5. The winner may be required for promotional activities and by entering the competition accepts that their name may be provided or published as per the terms and conditions.

Data protection and privacy

  1. Any personal data relating to entrants will not be disclosed to a third party without the individual’s consent (other than the winning entry). Data relating to entrants will be retained by the Promoter and Competition host for a reasonable period after the Competition closes to assist in operating competitions in a consistent manner and to deal with any queries on the Competition.
  2. Information provided to enter the competition may be used, shared or published or used for publicity in a digital format and includes your name, your location and/or profile picture.
  1. By providing the Competition host with your personal data you consent to the Competition host sending you marketing emails.
  2. If an Entrant does not wish for their personal information to be used for marketing purposes, a request to remove consent for personal information to be used for marketing purposes should be submitted in writing to the Competition host.

Liability

  1. Nothing in these terms and conditions shall exclude the liability of the Promoter or the Competition host for death, personal injury, fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation as a result of its negligence.
  2. The Promoter and Competition host accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the Competition or accepting the prize. The Promoter further disclaims liability for any injury or damage to your or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation in or downloading any materials in connection with the Competition.
  3. The Promoter reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this Competition with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of the Promoter in all matters under its control is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
  4. The Promoter shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control. Such circumstances shall include, but not be limited to, weather conditions, fire, flood, hurricane, strike, industrial dispute, war, hostilities, political unrest, riots, civil commotion, inevitable accidents, supervening legislation or any other circumstances amounting to force majeure.
  5. The entrant completely releases Facebook from any involvement in this competition.
  1. The competition is not sponsored, associated, organised, endorsed or administered in any way by Facebook.
  2. Information provided as part of the competition is not provided to Facebook.
  3. The Competition will be governed by English law.

 

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

The Sykes Cottages Haggis Championships 2014

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
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Are you a bit squeamish when it comes to the ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race’? No? Well you’re in the minority according to a survey that we ran with the Great British public just a few weeks ago. Amongst questions exploring peoples’ opinions on holidaying in Scotland, we asked whether or not they would order a haggis dish if they saw it on the menu of a Scottish restaurant. When we got the results back, almost two thirds of people replied saying that they wouldn’t and this didn’t sit quite right with us! After all, haggis is one of our national delicacies and so we decided to see if there was anything that we could do to change this, which led us to launch the inaugural Sykes Cottages Haggis Championships!

We turned to the food blogger world to see if anyone could think up an alternative to the classic haggis, neeps and tatties that would change people’s minds, and the response that we got was fantastic. An amazing array of dishes came back; brunches, dinners, you name it we got it. From the Italian inspired right the way through to a touch of Indo-Scottish fusion food and they all looked delicious! Sadly we were given the unenviable task of picking a winner from the ranks so why don’t you take a look through the entries and see if you agree with our choice?

The Entries

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Hodge Podge Days’ Haggis Brunch

First up was Harper from Crumbs and Petals who decided to turn the traditional Burns Night dinner on its head and came up with a recipe that would be perfect for a glorious summer afternoon, her Haggis and Vegetable skewers which can be cooked either under the grill or out on the barbecue if it’s a nice day! Then we had Jane from Hodge Podge Days who, rather than going down the typical dinner route, decided to produce a hearty, haggis themed brunch where the main attraction was accompanied by a beautifully poached egg as well as a home-made potato cake, something that would definitely get you up and running in the morning!

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Vohn’s Ulster-Scots Pasties

Agata from Bark Time decided on a more healthy approach and cooked up a “Haggis in the Hole” with a sweet potato and potato mash and a side of steamed vegetables. Whilst Chloe, the Nine Grand Student, went all continental with her entry and rustled up her haggis carbonara for us that was both easy to put together and looked delicious. On the other hand Vohn, from Vohn’s Vittles, went back to her Irish roots with her Ulster-Scots Pasties, a Scottish take on the classic Ulster Pastie using haggis in the place of the the traditional sausage-meat mixture, and she even tracked down a locally sourced beer that she used in making the crispy batter!

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The Weegie Kitchen’s Haggis Samosas

Then it was the turn of Mairi in her Weegie Kitchen. She decided to use the influences of the Asian communities in the hustling city of Glasgow and came up with her Haggis Samosas, that are perfect either as an afternoon snack, or accompanying a plateful of curry. Next we had Cheryl from The Glasgow Scullery. Cheryl really went above and beyond the call of duty in getting people to try haggis out and produced what can only be described as a two course haggis bonanza. The first course was made up of her Haggis ravioli complete with a port wine reduction and then it was time for the pièce de résistance, a beef and haggis wellington served with haggis bonbons and a potato rosti!

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Ananyah’s Haggis Bonbons

I think that everybody here at Sykes was expecting The Edinburgers to come up with some kind of haggis inspired burger and so we were all a bit shocked when instead they produced their haggis and goats cheese filo parcels that go down a treat with some chilli dip! Then there was the entry from What Claire Baked. Like the Nine Grand Student, Claire turned to the continent for a bit of inspiration and came back with her “Great Haggis Lasagne” the perfect comfort food for a cold winter’s night. Our final entry came from Michelle over at Ananyah, who put together a couple of stunning dishes that were designed to be the perfect introduction to haggis. First up were her Haggis bonbons with a garlic and chilli dip, followed by some haggis won tons with a home-made red wine and wholegrain mustard sauce.

The Sykes Cottages Haggis Champion 2014

So after much deliberation we finally managed to pick our winner, and the illustrious prize went to The Edinburgers! We loved the imagination behind their dish of haggis and goats cheese filo parcels and thought that the flavour combinations would work brilliantly, especially with the locally sourced chilli jam.

haggis and goats cheese filo parcels

Our Winner – Haggis and Goats Cheese Filo Parcels

We’d just like to say a massive thank you to all of the people who set aside some of their time to take part in the  competition, we wish that we could have picked all of them as winners! And if any of you reading this fancy having a go at the recipes listed above then don’t forget to take a look at the bloggers’ posts where you’ll find everything you need to know!

Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Family Friendly Homemade Ice Lolly Recipes

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
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The good old British summer has arrived, and we are being absolutely spoilt this year. With temperatures in the twenties and more sun than you can shake a bucket and spade at, it’s fair to say that it’s been a scorcher! Now, the best thing to quell the summer heat is an ice lolly or other sweet treat, but these can be full of sugars, e-numbers and other nasties. We wanted to bring you a selection of fantastic homemade, family friendly summer ice lolly recipes that you can rustle up in no time. We brought in a crack team of creative family bloggers who took on our challenge to create unique, family friendly, ice lollies and the results were pretty delicious.

Healthy

Making Healthy Ice Lollies

Whilst all of these fantastic homemade recipes are far healthier than the pre-packaged ones you would find in the freezer aisle of your local supermarket, a few of our entrants really did put health first, with some delicious results! Hannah from Mums’ Days got a little sneaky with her recipe, by creating a ‘Hidden Veg’ ice lolly, which is an ingenious way of getting a few more veggies into your children’s diet. Clara and Kirsty over at My Two Mums made a deliciously healthy Summer Berry Lolly which contains blueberries, raspberries and strawberries – yum! Lynsey and her daughter from Mum, That’s Me created incredibly refreshing Strawberry and Watermelon ice lollies whilst Ethan and Niki from Play & Learn Everyday created both Strawberry Purée and Apple Juice Ice Lollies as well as Blueberry and Vanilla Yoghurt lollies.

Family Favourites

Homemade Family Favourite Ice Lollies

Our team of bloggers came up with some fantastic ice lolly recipes that were reminiscent of family favourites, new and old. The family over at Clearly Bex created a delightful version of Fabs, complete with chocolate and sprinkles! Nikki from Stressy Mummy kept her recipe simple, but in no way plain, with a deliciously refreshing Raspberry and Lemonade ice lolly; perfect for those hot sunny days we’ve been having! Michelle from Mummy 2 Monkeys got really creative and turned the challenge into a guessing game; filling each of the moulds with a different flavour (including Pepsi, Lucozade and strawberry water as well as wine and beer for the grown-ups) so that everyone could have a guess at which was which! Jodie and her little ones over at Life with Pink Princesses created something that reminded me of one of my favourite childhood treats; mini milks! Milkshake powder and milk is mixed together and frozen to create an ideal calcium-filled treat that everyone will love.

Indulgent

Indulgent Homemade Ice Lollies

As our super blogging team know, for the purpose of a balanced diet, we all need a bit of a naughty treat every now and again. As such, we received a couple of entries that will give you your chocolate fix whilst being absolutely delicious! It was a family effort over at Actually Mummy, where these Crunchie Banana Cream Ice Lollies were created. Laura from Chez Mummy made some utterly delicious sounding chocolate and caramel lollies that featured as the perfect dessert, before settling on a simply refreshing cloudy lemonade ice lolly.

… The Winners Are

Homemade Ice Lollies

As you can see, choosing the winners for this competition was a really tough choice. Each entrant had fun and showed creativity in creating their ice lollies. In the end, there were two winners. First place going to Hannah from Mums’ Days for her ingenious way of getting little ones to eat more veggies, and second place to Laura from ChezMummy! Despite some mishaps in the kitchen, Laura really got into the spirit of the competition by getting her kids fully involved in creating and making some delicious creations.

A huge thank you to our super ice lolly making team for taking part in the competition and for really getting involved! If you want to have a go at any of these ice lollies then take a look at each bloggers post for the full recipes.

Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Romantic Scotland: A Blogger Competition

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
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We recently conducted a survey to find out people’s opinion of Scotland as a holiday destination. We were shocked to find that only 5% of the 2,390 people asked would consider taking a romantic holiday or honeymoon in Scotland! We know from personal experience that Scotland is a fantastic destination for lovers and even wrote a romantic guide to Edinburgh but now it’s your turn!

Picture via Flickr

Picture via Flickr.

To help convince our readers to take a romantic break in Scotland, and for your chance to win £350.00 worth of Sykes Cottages vouchers, we’re asking you to write a blog post all about Scotland telling us why you think this northern destination is romantic. All you need to do to enter our fabulous competition is follow this five step guide…

How to enter

  1. Write a blog post telling us why you think Scotland is romantic. This can include information on Scotland’s history, attractions, landscape or even your personal experiences in the country.
  2. Include instructions on how to enter the competition at the end of your post so your readers can join in too. These instructions can be in your own words or you could include a link back to this post.
  3. Nominate three blogs to take part in our Romantic Scotland competition either at the end of your blog or through twitter (if nominating through twitter please use the hashtag #RomanticScotland).
  4. Follow @SykesCottages on twitter and tweet us using the hashtag #RomanticScotland to inform us of your entry. Eg “Hi @SykesCottages I have just entered your #RomanticScotland competition”
  5. You will receive an acknowledgement tweet within one working day of your submission.

The competition closes on August 10th so make sure to get your entry in before this date! We will be announcing the winners on August 15th and will be in contact with them shortly after regarding their prize.

Bellow you will find terms and conditions for the Romantic Scotland competition and we ask that you read them carefully before entering. Once you have read the terms and conditions you’ll be ready to start writing so good luck, we can’t wait to hear all about your romantic Scotland!

Terms & Conditions

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nicole.westley

By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.