As the mother of a 7-year-old girl, there are certain things I can’t run away from e.g playground squabbles with her classmate, tantrums when told to tidy up and of course major toy obsessions.
Thanks to the likes of Toy and Me on YouTube, Num Noms were what Santa was asked for this year. We were kindly sent a set which made Cece incredibly happy. For anyone who has no idea what they are, Num Noms are small, scented collectable toys. Today marks the release of the series 3 collection and Series 1 of the Num Nom Lights #unboxingday.
The Lunch Box Deluxe Pack Series 3 contains 13 characters and a host of new and special edition characters including an Erase-it Nom, Peachy Stamp-it Nom and Orange Pina Gloss-Up. As with most toys, they are not suitable for anyone under the age of three.
When buying toys, one of the main things I worry about is storage. I was impressed the package recycles as a storage. However, my eager beavers opened the box in such a rush they ultimately destroyed it.
Pardon my French but bloody hell #lidlsurprises. I’m the ‘chief shopper’ in my household which means I pick the clothes, the food and the appliances we buy. When it comes to our food shopping, my husband prefers we stick to the same place and for as long as I can remember, Tesco has been out go-to groceries store. However in recent months, I have tried breaking that mould and shopping around. We’ve occasionally done a ‘top-up’ shop at Sainsbury’s and get the odd bits from Aldi. With Christmas being such a special occasion, we go to Waitrose for that.
In all my years, never have I considered going to Lidl. The last time I stepped foot into one of their stores was when I was at secondary school and had a chocolate biscuit addiction. Mumsnet challenged me to buy party food from there. The Lidl Chrismas range were both great value and great tasting which left me pleasantly surprised.
To me Christmas is a time for family and a time to celebrate. I look forward to exchanging presents, eating my weight in food and watching an endless stream of Christmas movies. Since becoming a mum, I’ve found it to be even more important to me. I find new ways to make new traditions with my family and pass on old ones.
I dread slaving away in the kitchen so when I can, I slip out of having to make the turkey. Somehow, it always comes down to me. Maybe because my house is normally the central location where everyone comes to. When I can get away with not making turkey, I go for whole chicken because everyone loves it. Well, except for the vegetarians. For them, I have a wide selection of party food and snacks to compensate.
With a £25 budget , I headed to Lidl to see how much party food I could get from the Party time range. With a packed basket I headed to the till thinking I’d be told I’ve exceeded that budget. Instead, I was told I was significantly below it and had to get more things. Here are the party food I got:
Partytime 60 Indian selection, £2.99
Christmas Hand Cooked Crisps
Premium Cracker Selection, 1,79
Partytime 12 Chicken Skewers, £1.99
Partytime 14 Vegetarian Spring Rolls, £1.99
Deluxe 12 Tempura Prawns, £1,79
Partytime 10 Gyozas, £1.99
Partytime 14 Duck Spring Rolls, £1.99
With all these food and not enough mouth to feed, I invited some friends and their kids for a girls night in. In the video below, I mention how eager I was to try the Deluxe Tempura King Prawns. My, oh my they were incredible and cost only £1.89! I left them in the oven long enough for the crispy batter coating to be really crunchy. The sweet chilli dip was slight runny but tasted AMAZING. So good, I dipped a few chips in there too. These Tempura King Prawns literally flew off the plate when they came out of the oven. I’ve had to promised to return to Lidl and get some more because even the kids liked them.
Another thing that was quite enjoyable were the Premium Crackers Selection. For £1.79, you get a selection of six multigrain, whole wheat and poppy seed crackers. My nephews who are super fussy and hate trying new things loved them. As they ran around the house, they’d stop to take some and eat. It was an absolute pleasure having everyone over. It truly felt like Christmas day with all the food and people around.
The least favourite from the Partytime range were probably the Indian Selections. I’m not much of an Indian food fan so maybe I should have cooked half and save the rest for another day. In hindsight, the 60 Oriental snack selection might have been a better option or perhaps even both seeing as they cost a mere £3.99 each. The snack selection of vegetable samosas, onion bhajis and vegetable pakoras were very pocket-friendly and definitely something to serve if you are expecting a lot of people.
I cannot tell you how happy I was that all the food cooked at the same temperature of 190C. I really hate cooking frozen food that require different cooking times. Everything went straight in the oven from freezer. In addition, even for the small price tags attached to them, they didn’t taste like generic frozen foods. Each item had enough flavour to have your taste buds dancing.
My nearest store was the Woolwich branch. After a recent renovation, it nice and clean. Things are pretty easy to find and when they are not, the staff are willing to help. As someone who prefers shopping online, I appreciate all the help I can get when I have to shop in-store. As previously mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised with my visit to Lidl and will definitely be going back to get the Oriental Snack Selection and Deluxe Tempura Prawns and maybe a few other bits.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher in return for writing this post
I can’t tell you how much I love the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks. It’s no secret, I’m a matte lipstick kinda gal. When the liquid lipstick trend began, I was beyond happy. The liquid formula promised a staying power that my other matte lipstick just couldn’t provide.
I have a few from brands including Revlon, NYX Cosmetics and Stila (which I have reviewed on here). What I’ve found with the other liquid lipsticks I own is that they are quite drying and and tend to be heavy on the lips.
The Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick however is the complete opposite. It’s mega lightweight and surprisingly moisturising. The pigmentation was poor. It takes about three coats for me to get the colour showing very well. I guess this is what you get with a lightweight formula.
I have three shades Hot Pepper, Cherry Leader and Carameli melo which is my absolute fave for daily wear. Due to how sheer it is, one coat is what I’d normally. As previously stated, when I do want a statement pout, I simply add a couple more layers.I discovered that I can also wear the Rouge Edition Velvet on top of my other lipsticks to create a matte finish. This made me very happy.
For £8.99 a tube, I definitely recommend trying out these liquid lipsticks. Aside from how affordable they are, they are perfect for anyone who wants to try out the liquid lipstick trends but is put off by the drying formulas from other brands.
My abhorrence for the cold whether can only be tamed by dousing myself in hot drinks. I love coffee but I’m partial to tea. I don’t really mind what type of tea but Peppermint is normally my go to. The fact that not only does it keep me warm but it also possesses health benefits makes it a win in my book.
The new matcha range from Pukka Herbs is absolutely amazing. Matcha tea is a type of green tea in a powdered form. It originates from Japan, where it’s best known for its use in tea ceremonies. It is the oldest and most premium form of green tea. Unless you’ve been under a rock recently, I’m sure you’d have come across the hundreds of matcha recipes doing the rounds online. Its become the magic potion for clean eating. Some of its benefits include Improving metabolism and supporting weight loss, Maintaining bone strength and healthy mouth and fresh breath.
I’ve truly enjoyed drinking the Pukka Herbs matcha tea range, particularly the Mint Matcha Green. It great for when I need a midday pick me up during a long working day. I’ve been trying to be more conscious about what I eat recently so I was happy to see that it’s organic and fair trade.
Try Pukka Herbs’ new matcha tea range; Ginseng Matcha Green, Clean Matcha Green and Mint Matcha Green. For more information, check out: http://www.pukkaherbs.com/
What do you do after a long day of attending press events? Go get food of course! Situated on Wardour Street and just a stone throw away from the ever so popular Ham Yard Hotel sits Jackson Rye, a cafe, restaurant and bar all wrapped in one. With four locations already and a menu bound to satisfy everyone, I think this American style location is perfect for group dining.
Jackson Rye came as a recommendation from Ronke, editor of Brown Beauty. Whilst it wouldn’t be my first choice, I was glad I made a visit on this day. The staff were really accommodating. Going above and beyond with a smile on their face. We arrived just in the nick of time to take advantage of their lunch set menu. For a mere £14.95 you can enjoy a three course meal. The menu boasts appetisers like Pulled Pork Cups and Pumpkin Soup, mains like Avocado and Ricotta Salad as well as mouthwatering deserts.
As with any American style restaurants I visit, the first thing I asked our waiter was “do you serve sweet potato fries?” To my delight he replied “Yes”. Promptly, I order the Buffalo Wings for starters and Buttermilk Chicken Burger as my main. My friend Tee from STWF Blog ordered the Salt and Pepper Squid along with Smoky Rye-glazed Pork Ribs. Ronke however couldn’t keep her eyes of the steak so she got that with a glass of Pinot (fancy).
I can’t speak for the others but I have to say I wasn’t impressed. Although the chicken wings were the right balance of crispy on the outside and juicy the inside, my burger was “drier than a camel’s asshole in a sandstorm.” I had a taste of Tee’s Salt and Pepper Squid and wished I’d ordered it. The house sesame and lime sauce was fantastic.
Overall, I would rate Jacksn Rye a 7/10. The decor features comfy cushioned bar stools and blogger worthy tiles which ties together beautifully. The ambience is exactly what you’d expect from a central London location on a weekday evening. When we arrived, there were loads of spaces to chose from but as we left, there was a clear reduction.
What do you do when your skin is crying for help? Every now and again, our skin needs some TLC. Recently, I’ve found that mine has needed more than its fair share of it. The stress of wedding planning, leaving one job and starting another and long haul flights have taken it toll on me.
I had a period where my skin looked and felt amazing. When this happened I tried everything in my power to keep it that way but alas it didn’t. Me being me, I didn’t note down what I actually used to make it that way. Thanks to my day job, I get to trial new products all the time it was really difficult to pin down the culprit that caused my break out.
Eve Lom TLC Cream is an ultra-rich face cream that penetrates the skin’s barrier to provide much needed moisture to dry skin. I started using this moisturiser back in February when my skin suffered from that dry, tight feeling. When I stopped, I noticed a difference, hence why I’ve gone back to it. I used it during the day after a shower, then at night after cleansing. Though you get better results when you used at night. The formula is on the thick side and slight oily.
If you are not into using moisturisers ( but you really should be), I wouldn’t recommend this Eve Lom TLC Cream as a starting point due to the price and application process. However, if you are big into beauty then this is for you. Not for everyday use but when your skin needs tender, love and care.
As a parent, there are certain situations that leave you jumping for joy. Recently, this child of mine has left me feeling all kinds of proud and the only way to express the sheer joy I felt was to jump for joy!
Since turning 7, this little madam has gone from strength to strength. She amazes me in ways that are indescribable. In her recent SATs, I was proud to hear how well she’d done. The idea of children her age being tested was one I disagreed with greatly but non the less I encouraged her to do her best. I’m not the type to put pressure on her because, well that is wrong. The little encouragement I provided and the effort we put in her homework has definitely reflected in her abilities.
School is not the only place she amazes me. At home, she is an incredible sister albeit sometimes impatient. However today, it’s her sense of style that has left me jumping for joy. For Easter, which feels like yonks ago now, we were offered the chance to pick an outfit from Next. With it being so close to her birthday, I put the powers in her hands – as Paddy Mcguiness would say. The outcome? Great actually. We browsed through the endless selection on the next website and this is what she picked – the Pink Jewel Trim Shift Dress and Pink Cut Out Sandals.
I was so chuffed and maybe slightly surprised with her selections. The dress is the perfect blend of dressed up but not in an OTT way. With wedding season upon us, I’m sure we’ll get a lot of wear out of it. I also loved the sandals. I have been searching a similar pair for her younger sister. It’s also available in black which I’m considering for myself as we are going on holiday soon – however its constantly sold out!
Liquid lipsticks have created a big wave in the beauty world. Every brand from MAC to Revlon have dipped their toes in the water. I’ve tried my fair share, however Stila’s variant is the most expensive so far at £16 for a tube. The brand recently added five new shades to the already pretty strong collection of Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks and I got my hands on two to try.
Bacca is a berry toned shade that somehow manages to blend the goodness of a red and a pink together. I was really excited to try this shade. On my skin dark skin tone, one coat dries into a magenta colour which I’m so excited to wear in this summer.
Ricco, a brownish toned red took my heart and ran away with it. During the winter, it was my go-to shade although it did leave me looking washed out sometimes.
The colour pay off and pigmentation of these liquid lipsticks are absolutely incredible. One coat is all that is needed, however the option of building it up for a bolder look stands. Often, products are given names they can’t even live up to. However, the Stila Stay All Day liquid lipstick was definitely aptly named. I can apply it in the morning and by lunch time, it’s still in place. The formula is exactly what I look for in liquid lipsticks. It dries really matte but is not ridiculously drying. But its still best to moisturise lips before use. The packaging means it can be applied like you would a lipgloss but get a lipstick finish without all that glossiness.
The doe foot applicator makes applying with precision a hard task. With ‘Ricco’ being such a deep shade, I find the need for a lipliner. I often go in with MAC’s ‘Chestnut’ lipliner before and after application and still I get a somewhat messy finish.
The Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask has become a staple in my skincare routine ever since I tried it early last year. My skin has the tendency of looking extremely dehydrated whenever I don’t drink enough water.
This tends to be more obvious on my face. I get patches of dry skin around my cheeks, nose and upper lips – sometimes around my eyebrows too. Regardless of the type of product I put on my face be it a moisturiser, a primer or even my foundation, my skin manages to drink up every liquid possible. Essentially, leaving me looking patchy by the end of the day. I especially suffer from this during the colder months and early spring.
My most recent bout was about three weeks ago. I tried every moisturiser in my stash but nothing got rid of the dryness. In fact, my face began flaring up due to how sensitivity. I forgot I had a spare tube of the this magic potion hidden away.
Enriched with avocado and apricot kernel oils, the Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask works to replenish moisture and is perfect for dry skin types. As recommended on the packaging, night time is the best time to use this produc. As we sleep, it quenches the skin’s thirst whilst creating a reservoir for the next day – however, on occasions, I have used it during the day when I know my skin needs an extra moisture shot.
I use this mask twice a week but as the weather gets warmer, I’ll cut back to once we week. After the first night, I always find that my skin looks and feels better. I get the best results whenever I apply it after cleansing, when the skin is still slightly damp. This is because skin absorbs more hydration when it’s moist and pores are still open.
I’ve said it numerous times that I have a weakness for sweet potato fries, well you can add Pizza to that list. The thought of pizza leaves my mouth watering so much it would create a flood in The Sahara desert.
At work, we have a thing ( well I think we do. It could possibly all be in my head due to my pizza obsession) called Payday Pizza. You guessed it! It’s basically when we order pizza on payday. Well , last week payday was looming and I couldn’t stop the constant thought of pizza creeping up in my mind. I even had a spring in my step as I went back to work after being off sick. It was great to have something to look forward to – PIZZA! That was until my colleague who recently joined Slimming World announced she was going on a diet.
My dreams were shattered. The walls around me began to come crashing, air disappeared from my lungs. What is life? I thought. Like a miracle, an email popped into my inbox from the pizza gods ( if ever there were such a thing ) offering a visit to Wedges Issue Pizza. With just a quick glance at their website, I replied YES! YES! and YES! Like the lady in the herbal essences advert.
Because we’d already be out of office for a super fun launch event, I asked my friend aka my boss Keeks to come with me. What happened during our visit is now a blur. We ate, we drank and laughed to our hearts content. Everything about Wedge Issue Pizza is what I look for in a restaurant. Cosy ✓, Good Food ✓ Great Vibe ✓ and an amazing service!
Pizzas at Wedge Issue Pizza are all named after places in London. I remember ordering The Soho Pizza (N’duja sausage, peppers, chilli, mozzarella, San Marzano tomato sauce). Being from South East London, I was upset that all the places the pizzas were named after were in east London so I added chicken and jalepenos to make it slightly south. Perfect combo I know. Keeks, my date, fancied the Dalston with added mushrooms.
I’ve had good pizza but as of right now, this is the best I’ve ever had. Know why? It’s the simplicity of it. All their pizza’s are made from dough which is proofed for three days, with a sauce made solely from crushed San Marzano tomatoes.
If you plan to visit remember All starters, soft drinks, beer, and wine are half-price between 3pm and 6pm!
One of the perks of my job is that I get to hear about and try out products even before they’ve launched. This month, one of the products to land on my desk is the new Bumble and bumble Bb Curl Range.
Bumble and bumble is a hair care brand that I’ve always heard good things about but never tried. The Bb Curl collection has been created to replace the current Curl Conscious range and consists of six products. “Whether it’s loose and free, or used as a starting point to create a variety of looks—up, half-up, twists—curly hair is always so stylish. This new Bb Curl collection will change the lives of curly girls.” said Laurent Philippon, Bumble and bumble Global Artistic Director
I got out the range bar the conditioning mousse – the result was so good that I had to share.
Bb Curl Sulphate-free Shampoo – I have a thing for shampoos that don’t strip my hair – that is why I loved this shampoo. The Bb.Curl sulphate-free shampoo worked well in cleansing my hair from product build-up. It contains Bumble and bumble’s HydraSculpt Blend™ – a cross-linking polymer that blends styling benefits with moisturisation so that each curl is controlled and hydrated.
Bb Curl Custom Conditioner – It’s no secret that I love a good multitasking product but I’m not going to lie, this one confused me. In the last year or so, I have grown to love co-washing by hair, it’s a great way to keep moisture in my hair for longer. On the odd washdays, I might use shampoo followed by a leave-in but more often than not, I co-wash. This Bb Curl Custom Conditioner can be used a leave-in, co-wash or rinsed out. When used as a co-wash, its apparently meant to remove product buildup while retaining moisture. But when used as a leave-in, it hydrates, detangles, and leaves hair manageable. I’m still trying to figure out how this works and if I like it.
Bb Curl Defining Creme – My hair loves a good defining crème and this one is just lush! Ideal to use before air-drying hair – I like the defined curls it created on my hair. It’s also infused with the Bumble and Bumble HydraSculpt Blend™; as well Brazilian oils which are suppose to help keep hair moisturized and shiny. Unfortunately I didn’t feel my hair was any shiner after using this product.
Bb Curl Anti-Humidity Gel Oil – I read the description of this product before using it and was instantly excited to try it. It sounded as if it was made for my hair. “Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil that helps loosen and lengthen wound up curls” I mean, YES PLEASE!! The formula is not one I’ve come across before – the hold of gel and the nourishment and shine of oil? Intriguing. This gel is amazing at holding twists in place. I’m partial to twist outs so anything thing that can keep my twists in place is welcomed.
Bb Curl Pre-style/Re-style Primer – Hands down my favourite from the range. Why? Well, for one it’s a multi-use product. Secondly, it’s filled with UV inhibitors to protect hair against the drying effects of the sun. With summer approaching this is a must-have for all curly-haired ladies.
Any natural hair maven can attest to the fact that curly hair can be unpredictable. A beautiful twist out can easily turn to an undefined ‘fro come the end of the day. The Bb. Curl range is great at keeping hair well styled all day. Me likey!
Neighbourhood – an aptly named restaurant in the heart of East London’s latest neighbourhood, The Olympic Village. Following my visit to the newbie eatery by Faucet Inn in Stratford, I understood straightaway where the name comes from. The decor was tasteful with floor to ceiling windows bringing in the rays of sunshine, bold coloured furnishing that’ll make leave you feeling incredibly blissful. Each table was equipped with fresh plants that helped create a feel-good atmosphere. With provenance at its heart, the food was everything you’d expect from what can be dubbed as the local pub.
Meat lovers rejoice, the main menu created by Head Chef Blair Macan and Executive Chef, Vagner Matos is right up your street. It features a Robata Flame grill that carefully prepares grilled offerings like whole roasted chicken, lamb, steak and ribs. Veggies, fear not options like the Robata Grilled Aubergine with Pepper, Portobello Mushroom and Sweet Potato or Corn Burger with Sweetcorn, Polenta, Manchego, Chilli + Coriander Patty, Beef Tomato and lettuce might tickle your fancy
To prep our tastebuds for the mains, friend and I ordered the Spicy Mac ’n’ Cheese made with Shredded marinated rotisserie chicken and tabasco cheese sauce as well as the BBQ Pork Hash made with Shredded pork, sweet potato and crispy red onion. I have to say the Mac and Cheese was the best I’ve ever had. It was the right mix of crispy yet creamy – I absolutely enjoyed it, so much so that I’ve bought ingredients to try make it at home!
For mains, I ordered what I always do when I see it on a menu, Pork Ribs and Chicken combo. However, my friend who doesn’t eat pork, played it safe and asked for a chicken burger made with Buttermilk Chicken Breast, Beef Tomato, Gem Lettuce + Ranch Dressing. To our disappointment, these did not arrive in a timely manner. We waited and waited before our meal arrived almost 30 minutes later. I’m not huge on complaining and neither was my friend so we stayed quiet and delved into the food in front of us.
Bar the Mac and Cheese from the smaller plates menu and the rustic cut chips, it was truly unfortunate that the rest of our food was not as tasteful as the decor. I was saddened by the fact that my combo meal was not served with chips and I had to keep digging into my friends. On the day I assumed my meal was only served with slaw, however after perusing the menu again online, all I have to say is where were my chips?
I read somewhere that the menu at Neighbourhood was created to be enjoyed with friends and shared in groups – this couldn’t be any truer. As we sat feasting, a group of eight or more arrived to tuck into some lunch time offering. I kept peeping at their table trying to suss out the meals they opted for. I was so besotted with the games table at the entrance. There were so many to chose from and sofas to sit on and while away time with friends or family.
We noted that the venue is still at the learning stage so hold no fault to them. At the end, the manager was kind enough to come over and apologise before we left. That definitely put them in my good books. Whilst Neighbourhood may not be my first choice for meal out – simply because it’s not in my neighbourhood ( see what I did there) if I’m ever in the area, I’ll be sure to head there for a drink. The large bar played host to a range of drinks from cocktails and artisan beers to selected international wine list.
Neighbourhood, Celebration Avenue, East Village, London, E20 1DB
In case you didn’t get the memo, skate culture is in! Kids all over the world are donning their best skates in all different shapes and sizes and hitting the streets. Back to the Future predicted that hoverboards were going to be a big trend however, it didn’t warn us that kids of all ages would want to partake in the trend. Brands like Heelys have made it accessible to kids as young as four!
For christmas, some of CeCe’s closest friends asked for some sort of item associated with skating. One was a skateboard and the other a swegway ( look it up! ). Myself and the other parents were stumped on where to get these somewhat obscure items from. The delight we all felt upon discovering Skate.co.uk was unexplainable. The family owned business has been going strong since 2007 when they started off just selling Heelys.
Heelys are a shoe type with removable wheels embedded on the sole. They are a fun and revolutionary way to get around. Kids nowadays are obsessed with them – mine included. Skates.co.uk are the only place I’ve come across that sells a wide range of these shoe from high top variations to one wheels or two wheels. In addition to the shoes, they sell everything from shoe laces, spare wheels and tools you need as well as a Heelys bag.
As a fashion loving mummy, I feared that spending almost £50 on a pair of shoes that she can’t always wear would be ludicrous – but I was wrong. We’ve managed to get a lot of wear out of them. The black and pink pair make style an easy task. They can be worn with jeans, skirt or whatever you wish.
Like any parent, I was worried about injuries that may come as a result of wearing Heelys – so far so good. When not in skate mode, the waffle grip keeps the trainers planted to the floor.
I really like the fact that on Skate.co.uk, shoppers are able to shop by recommended age, size or even type. Heels are recommended for ages 4+ so size start from UK 11 which is EU29 (correct me if I’m wrong)
Good food and great service – that’s what I look for in the restaurants I visit. On Saturday after I attended the first ever Afternoon Tea in Ankara with Temi Otedola, followed by a date with the hubby at Rocket Bishopsgate. Date night for us is a rare occurrence especially a kid-free one so it’s safe to say I was incredibly excited. I love eating out and I love him so the two combined left me feeling major butterflies.
We arrived promptly for our 8:00pm reservation. Even though it was a Saturday night and the restaurant is bang in the middle of Liverpool Street and Shoreditch, to my relief it wasn’t busy at all. I had read somewhere online that customers were the business-types that’s why I picked a Saturday.
Our waitress, the lovely Francesca appeared to take our drinks order. I opted for a classic mojito and hubby asked for water. What a bore I thought, only to later realise he had been drinking and didn’t want to drink some more. It might surprise many reading this but at at the tender age of 25, I’ve never been drunk. I drink yes, but I have too much self control to actually get drunk. However, on Saturday the one drink I had led me to the brink. After two sips, I could feel things were changing. I assumed this was because the drink was too strong but hubby corrected me saying it was because I was drinking on an empty stomach. What a rookie mistake.
For starters, I ordered Thai Spiced Crab Cakes served on cucumber & daikon radish ribbons with pickled ginger & lime zest and my date went for the Panko Crumb & Coconut King Prawns With warm green & yellow zucchini ribbons, red chilli & mango dressing. We liked both but preferred the Thai Spiced Crabs. The lime zest and pickled ginger provided the right kick our taste buds required for the culinary experience.
I love an eclectic menu. The idea of going to a restaurant and having the ability to order a variety of cuisines is the type of thing that fills me up with joy ( no pun intended ). At Rocket, my culinary experience can be likened to a roller coaster ride, good ride might i add. One minute I was digging into Thai Spiced Crab Cakes and the next, pizza with smoked mozzarella, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes & fresh basil leaves also known as N’duja, Cherry Tomato & Prosciutto on the menu.
Being the type of man that he is, hubby felt somewhat adventurous and ordered the house special. Sirloin Steak and Teriyaki Prawns with apple, ginger and mango salsa, lamb lettuce and toasted sesame seeds. Doesn’t that sound mouth-watering? According to him, it was. It’s all he has been talking about since our visit.
With the disclaimer that all their desserts are homemade, there was no way we could resist. After eating what felt like the entire menu, we decided to have some ice cream – you know the icing on the cake… the cherry on top. With three scoops to choose from, we order two scoops of pistachio and one scoop of vanilla ice cream. Best decision I’ve made this year.
I’d give my experience at Rocket a 5/5 – It rarely happens but when it does, I’m elated. I loved everything about my visit from the table we were sat to the understated decor and the presentation of the food was impeccable!
According to new research, the average UK adult only manages five hours of sleep per night even though the recommended amount is almost double that! If like me you dream about catching the recommended about of zzz then I think I might have found the potion to help you do just that.
THIS WORKS sleep plus pillow spray is a ‘natural remedy that helps restore healthy sleep pattern.’ It contains a blend with lavender, naturally encapsulated to gradually release aromatherapeutic benefits as you sleep. Its said that the scent prompts alpha waves in the part of the brain that aids relaxation, resulting in a restful night’s sleep.
It’s only recently that I noticed that I had an issue with sleep. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I was an insomniac, but I can say, I found it hard to shut my eyes. I envy those who nod off instantly upon their head touching a pillow. On a good day, I’d get in bed at say 10pm and wouldn’t sleep off till an hour or two after that. I also found that I’d wake up in the interval and struggle to return to sleep. This truly sucks when you have an early start the next day, say school run or work.
I’ve always been fascinated by this works – their minimal packaging, rave reviews and values have left me wanting to try one of their products. I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t skeptical about trying this product but alas like the name of the brand suggests, ‘this works’. A couple of spritz of this on my pillow and I’m able to sleep through the night. I don’t use it every night but I have noticed a difference on the nights I do.
So stop reading that book, put your phone on airplane mode and spritz on your ticket to la-la land.
‘Hydrate’ is a word we hear and see a lot of in the beauty industry. From the hydrating serum to the hydrating lip balm. Today, I present to you the tinted hydrating gel cream by bareMinerals. When a colleague recently declared her love for this product to me, I knew I had to try it – especially as an advocate of the Sleek BB Cream!
The amount of people suffering from Coeliac Disease, diary intolerance and other forms of food allergies is on the rise. Both my husband and youngest daughter Amelia are diary intolerant. This has led us to make the switch to other types of milk like Almond and Soya. We’ve also considered going gluten-free but its taking a wee bit longer.
I was more than happy to review Kirsty’s Chilled Ready Meals when I was approached. I’m not going to lie and say I enjoy cooking everyday. There are many days when I just want to shove a meal in the microwave and have it ready it minutes. However, doing this often means relinquishing taste amongst other things.
Kirsty’s is a range of ready meals free-from gluten, wheat and diary launched in 2012 by Kirsty Henshaw. The company’s aim is to produce high quality, delicious and allergen free alternatives to a range of food products.
I was sent three Kirsty’s Chilled Ready Meals to try. Spanish Chicken with Brown Basmati Rice, Beef Lasagne with a Rich Bolognese Sauce and Pork and Herb Sausages with Sweet Potato Mash. If you’ve been reading my food spots then you know exactly which meal I had first. My weakness for sweet potato is slowly becoming a problem now.
The Sausage with Sweet Potato Mash is packed in two compartments. One side contains the sweet potato mash and the other for the sausage and gravy. Directions suggest microwaving the meal for 4 minutes in an 800Watt microwave but I added an extra two ( just in case ).
The aroma that filled my kitchen thanks to the gravy was astonishing. I was upset to discover that upon taste, the sweet potato mash was rather bland. However, when mixed with the gravy and eaten with a slice of the sausage, it was delectable. The gravy was just how I like my gravy to be. Not to salty, well seasoned and oniony!
One of the things that makes me really impressed with Kirsty’s ready meals was the shelf life. Apparently their long shelf life is down to the fact that they steam cook their meals in their packs to lock in nutrients and flavours. Refrigerated meals can be kept up until their use b dates whilst frozen meals can last up to six months.
I can highly recommend Kirsty Ready Meals if you are suffer from gluten, wheat, dairy and nuts. Furthermore, can also recommend these meals if you are looking for quick and easy meals, yet healthy meals. You can find your nearest Kirsty’s stockist by clicking here.
I hold very fond memories of Cafe Rouge. The first time I visited the restaurant was when I started my job with LOCOG in 2012. It was a team lunch for us to get to know each other. Since then, I have become a regular thanks to Tesco Clubcard! The Cafe Rouge Children’s Menu has had a revamp and I was invited along with other yummy mummies for a trial. You all know my love for food so of course I said yes!
CeCe is exactly like me. A complete and utter foodie. She was so eager to eat that day it was funny. She ordered the Poulet Ohh La La along with a glass of lemonade. For Amelia, I ordered the Poulet Goujon which came with chips -and a glass of pineapple juice.
Before their mains arrived, the kids were giv, en their starters which was bread with tomato sauce and some veggies. Like the polar opposites that they are Cece enjoyed the bread whilst Amelia enjoyed the veggies!
I liked the fact that the kids meal came with some sort of vegetable either as part of their starters or the main meal. I find it hard to get my kids to eat a range of vegetables but whenever we visit a restaurant, they manage to.
To celebrate my sister in law’s birthday which was the week before, I asked her to tag along. For starters, we ordered Fougasse A ’L’ail aka tear and share garlic bread with warm garlic butter. Before I continue let me just use a few words to pay homage to this bread. Pizza Express watch out! Your garlic dough balls have some fierce competition!
I am that person that regularly visits the same restaurant, orders the same thing even though I’ve browsed the menu for ages! This time, I wanted to try something different. I’m trying to be unpredictable and spontaneous so I ordered Loup De Mer for my mains.The meal was everything and then some! Each ingredient worked together to create party in my mouth. The seabass fillet was well seasoned inside and out.
The kids menu is really affordable and filling for little tummies. For a mere £6.95, they get starters, mains, dessert and a drink. Our visit was absolutely pleasant and I look forward to the next time I visit. To find out more about the new children’s menu at Cafe Rouge please visit their website.
Mummy, I want to be a… , Daddy I want to be a…. If your child has ever uttered that sentence with their chosen profession at the end. Be it a doctor, a firefighter or even a journalist then you as a parent may be looking for ways to encourage and educate them about that profession. That’s where KidZania come in. A child-sized city designed to teach children life skills in a fun and engaging way.
Kidzania is an educational attraction new to London but already established in numerous places including Tokyo and Lisbon. The concept is slightly confusing and admittedly scary but when you understand it, I tell you, you can’t help but love it. There are over 60 real life role play activities to chose from.
Prior to arrival, I had no idea what so ever what to expect. I invited my friend along whose daughter was the same age as CeCe ( Six ). When she requested more information, I wasn’t sure what to say. All I could come up with was that it’s entertainment venue for kids. What she gathered from that was that it was soft play.
Together, we drove from South East London to South West London. Underestimating Saturday traffic meant we arrived late and missed the tour of the place which meant we were left lost and confused. It’s still a pretty new venue. Yesterday, was in fact its 1 month birthday in city.
To my surprise, I was pleased with the whole experience. Kidzania is located at the swanky Westfield London next to M&S and equipped with all the directions needed from the the parking lot up to the airport style entrance to the venue. Upon arrival, we were greeted enthusiastic staffs who helped book up in, provided our boarding passes, and a high tech bracelet which worked as a tracking device ( Lost kids is a thing of the past ) and a way to track activities on the day.
KidZania operates the same way as an amusement park. You spot a ‘ride’ you want to go on and you queue up for that ‘ride’. Outside there is a notice, telling you how many people can go in at a time, how much Kidzos it would cost ( or sometimes earn ) and how long it would take. I thought this was really handy in explaining to the little one about patience and waiting their turn. At the entrance, the kids are also given 50 KidZo, which they can use to ‘pay’ things in KidZania be it food, or to enhance themselves career-wise.
CeCe and her friend chose to learn how to make smoothies at Innocent Smoothie Kitchen and chocolate at the Diary Milk making session. They also had a go at doing grocery shop at the Supermarket. Popular experiences include the Capital FM Radio room, wall climbing and styling session at the H&M store. Whilst downstair is jam-packed with activities for the older kids ( 6 and above ).
Upstairs, was also filled with activities for 4 and younger. Due to a last minute change, I had to take Amelia with me. I was worried there wouldn’t be much for her to do but in fact there was. She was able to play in the Early Learning Centre which she thoroughly enjoyed. There was also a music room as well as an arts and craft area which she could have tried.
KidZania is aimed at children aged 4 – 14 and although I was pleased with the experience that my six year old had, I have to say its definitely more for the older kids. Say those aged nine and above. I also think the venue may work pretty well as part of a school trip. Parents can leave kids aged seven and above whilst they shop around in Westfield or relaxed in the wifi equipped parents lounge.
I was really pleased with the facilities at the location. Toilets were conveniently located. I was caught off guard by the air plane style toilet. There was even a Mothercare nursing room for parents with younger ones to breastfeed, warm meals and change a nappy.
Whilst there have been mixed review about KidZania, I have to say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It’s an amazing way to encourage learning and get kids to think about their future. I recommend a visit for parents with older children. For more information, please visit their website.
“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event and have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”.
What do you do on the hottest day of the year? Go to a pub for lunch of course! Yesterday, temperatures in London peaked as high as 36C making it the hottest day in a decade. I was invited down to The Salisbury Arms a while back and thought yesterday would be the perfect day to attend.
The Salisbury Arms is a newly refurbished pub on Hopper Road, in the suburbs of north London and literally a 1 minute walk from Winchmore Hill station. They are open 12pm – 11pm Monday to Friday, 10am – 11pm on Saturdays and 10am-10:30pm on Sundays. The pub boasts a courtyard and front garden ideal for hot summer days.
I have always seen Enfield as this really far place especially from my neck of the woods but getting to Winchmore Hill from Woolwich Arsenal was incredibly easy. I got the South Eastern to London Bridge, then the Northern Line to Moorgate where I then boarded the Great Northern to Winchmore Hill. My overall journey time was about 1 hour 20 minutes.
I visited with my friend who travelled from East London. She too found the journey there easy. She got a bus to Islington & Highbury Station where she hopped on the Great Northern to Winchmore Hill Rail Station. We arrived literally minutes after the pub opened at 12pm. I ordered a glass of Pimms ( #pimmsoclock ) and she opted for a coke. Both were served chilled, perfect for the sweltering heat.
When it came down to what to eat, there we so many possible choices From your traditional pub food to platters to share. Before my visit, I peaked at the menu on the website where I noticed that they served one of my favourite food ever. Sweet Potato Fries! So I already knew I wanted some. I initially want to order the Chargrilled Chicken Burger with avocado and pulled pork as my toppings, but when my friend chose this, I changed my order to Southern-fried chicken with fries, summer slaw and house dip.
To my disappointment, I was later informed that they’d ran out of Southern-friend chicken, so once again I changed my order. This time I played it safe by going for fish and chips. On the menu this meal was described as ” sustainably caught hake in a cider batter with puree pea, tartar and chip shop chips. The fish was just how I like it. Dry and crispy on the outside but moist on the inside. A spritz of lemon and it was a party in my mouth. I wasn’t keen on the pea puree though. It was more mushy than puree and I didn’t like how dry it was.
Being the greedy pig that I am, I also ordered a side of Mac and Cheese. It was meant for Amelia and my friend’s daughter to eat but they chose to eat from our plates instead. The mac and cheese was out of this world. Everything was just right. It was served in a small ramekin but somehow the portion was perfect. The top was not overly dry, and the middle was nice and creamy.
I was amazed at the quality of the food served. I always expect pub food to be of mediocre quality but what I ate at The Salisbury Arms was far from mediocre. Everything was impeccably made and definitely of high quality.
If you are a local, in the north London area or surrounding, I would definitely recommend a visit to The Salisbury Arms. The staff were cheerful, the venue was spacious, prices were pocket friendly and there was a car park. I was besotted with the decor. Long cushioned sofas, like the one we sat on makes dining with friends a comfortable a experience. There were tables for two next to a grand fireplace for chilly date nights.
As a mother, finding a family friendly restaurant is like finding money in your handbag that you forgot you had. At the Salisbury Arms, the tables were wide, there was space to keep pushchairs next to the table or any extra baggage. We sat the an airy area of the pub called the Oak room
The only thing I wasn’t pleased with about my visit was the length of time it took to get served. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a friendly female staff who took our drink order and then gave us a food menu. We placed our food order and our meal arrived between 15-20 minutes. However, after this it took a while before someone came back. I’d say this is down to two factors. One it is a pub and traditionally you are meant to go to the bar for service. Secondly, the time of the day we went. They had literally just opened and possibly not every member of staff was around.
For more information and booking enquires, please visit their website.
You can visibly see from my blog images and Instagram feed that my photography has improved by miles. How I achieved the is really simple. I have embraced little tips and tricks to leave my images visually appealing to the eyes.
Nowadays we all share our lives online be it by video, writing or photo. We strive to make it look enviable on Instagram, Snapchat or any other photo/video sharing social media platform there is.
Today, in conjunction with Three UK and blogger/photographer Jodie Humphries I will be sharing tips that will make your images look like a pro took them. So whether it’s your food images, your kids or even your holiday snaps that you want to looking professional I have tips for it. Whats more is the tips Im’m sharing are or mobile photography.
Photographs are for preserving memories or creating a visual of a situation. By editing, you are enhancing that visual, helping your brain to recall that moment. You don’t need an expensive camera to do this. Your phone, whatever it may be can be used to capture great moments. The photos in this post were all taken using an iPhone 6!
5 Mobile Photography Tips by Jodie Humphries.
Clean your lens. I have to admit this is not something I used to do until Jodie shared it as part of her tips. I always just take pictures, assuming the lens is cleans
Use with your feet. We are all guilty of using our devices to zoom in when taking pictures, but that facility is only for photographic emergency. For better image quality on mobile, it is best to walk up to the subject.
Learn what you’ll tweak. Sometimes, images just need a bit of tweaking to make them pop. There are a wide range of apps available on mobile devices that can allow you to edit the exposure, contrast etc of images.
Be quick on the draw. Knowing the shortcut buttons and using burst mode can be a game changer when taking pictures of kids.
Lighting. Though the last on the list but by no means the least. Getting organised and always using natural light will make your pictures look much better.
Other things you can do when taking pictures using your mobile phone is to have a work flow. Try shooting multiple images which you can later review and edit. Try and get creative when it comes to editing. Think about what caught your eye and edit the picture to make the most of it.
At the Mobile Photography Masterclass with Jodie Humphries, I introduced to a couple of mobile editing apps that I now can’t do with out. The apps were Snapseed and PicTapGo. These apps making taking and editing pictures so much easier. I don’t have to constantly rely on getting on the computer to edit anymore.
On the day of the masterclass, we were provided with an iPhone 6 which has officially been added to my wish list. It is so much handier than the iPhone 5s which I currently have. The camera on the iPhone is is also much better than Apple’s previous versions. Thank you to @ThreeUK for inviting me to the Mobile Masterclass. I had so much fun getting #picperfectwiththree.
Three has been rated the best network for iPhone by iPhone users and you can view their selection here. Now enjoy the images!!
There is something mesmerising about rose gold. The soft blush tone on a watch, a handbag or in this case a necklace just captivates me.
A couple of weeks ago, Jewel Street got in touch to ask if I’d be interesting in reviewing their site. My answer was of course a resounding yes! For those who may not have come across the site before, let me give you some back story. Jewel Street is an online marketplace for jewellery designers. in 2013, the site was presented with the Professional Jeweller’s Hot 100 Trailblazer award.
Jewel Street stocks some amazing jewellery designers many of which can’t be found anywhere else. I was offered the opportunity to pick one item but because of the amount of brands stocked, I truly was spoilt for choice. I was torn between this Moon Necklace By LuCy Q, a designer whose pieces I have had my eyes on for ages. Or to go for a now sold out Shiny Wishbone in Rose Gold Necklace by Astrid and Miyu. In the end, simplicity won because I chose the Astrid and Miyu necklace which I have been wearing every chance I get.
The site is really easy to browse. The women’s department is separated into clearly marked sections like New In, Material, and Collection. For example, if you are after rose gold earrings you’d simply click on rose gold under the material section.
I am currently into dainty pieces that are all about their simplicity. This necklace is just that a simple yet statement piece. When worn, it sits below the collar bone. The chain is a 30.5cm long cable chain. It goes so well with my Primark Bracelet and Rose Gold Daniel Wellington Watch!
For more information on Astrid and Miyu or to check out the other designers available on Jewel Street, click here.
I am a sucker for fruits, especially tropical fruits. Growing up, I particularly likes Mangos and Papayas. However, recently, thanks to my new found love for juicing, my go to fruits are Bananas and any sort of berries. Strawberries and Blueberries are a firm favourite though. I have also developed a liking towards Pomegranate although the whole seeding hassle makes me reconsider. Hence why I leaped at the chance to review POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice.
Pomegranate is a superfood known for its health benefits. The fruit contains high levels of anti-oixdants, Vitamin A, C and E and its a good source of Fibre.
POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice is apparently the only brand to be producing 100% pomegranate juice. Their juice is made using pomegranates from their own orchard in California. The new 190ml size is ideal for drinking on the go and contains one and a half pomegranate from their orchard.
I like the taste of the juice. I do have to say it is slightly strong but also sweet. I preferred drinking it when it was mixed with a little water. It have a distinct ruby red colour with no added sugar or artificial colours.
There are a wide range of recipes and cocktails to try out on the POM Wonderful website. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice is available to buy from Waitrose and Whole Foods.
This month, as members of the Parragon book buddies, we have been sent this book titled Round Like a Ball.
Round Like a Ball is a 10 page book about shapes. It compares all the basic shapes we come across on a daily basis. E.g round like a ball, square like building bricks and triangles like cheese. Each shape is filled with a bold attention grabbing patterns/colours that is bound to grab a child attention. It has flip out pages that encourage interactivity and enhances their sense of touch. The book is written in short simple sentences to help with language development.
Amelia is currently obsessed with us reading to her. She does this thing where she wants you to read one book over 10 times, whilst doing that, she wants us to be tapping on the pages as well. After the first, second and third read, I get really tired.
She particularly likes books with flip out pages so this book is always a favourite. However, I have resorted to hiding it. Why? Because her tiny little fingers has a tendency to unintentionally rip books up. I really love the soft yet striking pastel colours on this book. It matches their room Perfectly.
By now my love for food is no longer a secret. I have shared some of my favourite recipes with you ( like this and this), I have reviewed restaurants ( like Sticks n Sushi ) and today, I have yet another review. Last week, I headed down to the new Ed’s Easy Diner in Islington with my sister-in-law for a spot of lunch.
With over 30 diners in the UK, 6 BBQ and Grill and a shake stand, the restaurant group is a highly recognisable one. Just a stone throw away from Angel Station, located next to a Vue cinema, the O2 Academy and in the heart of Angel Shopping Centre, the new restaurant is the perfect pit stop. With an opening time of 9am till 10pm Monday to Thursday and extended on Fridays and Saturdays there is a meal for all times of the day.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a member of staff who advised us to get a lift to the 1st floor because the ground floor of the restaurant featured only bar stools. Not ideal for lunch with a baby in tow. The restaurant is beautifully decorated. Very 50’s American diner-esque with colours are like red, black and white. The seating options includes chair and tables as well as booths. We chose to sit in a booth and added a bold red coloured high chair to the edge of the table for little Amelia to sit.
The menu was jam packed with so many options, I was truly spoilt for choice. There were burgers ( 16 altogether ), hot dogs and sandwiches and even salads. I was particularly fascinated by the fries section of menu. Everything sounds rather tasty. I opted for a Chilli Dog whilst my sister in law ordered the Classic Burger with Cheesy Fries.
I have a serious weakness for sweet potato fries. I ask for a potion whenever I see it on a menu. I have tried on numerous occasions to make some at home but its just not the same. The crispiness is never there. When I saw it on the menu I got so excited and almost ordered some. But I held back and thought Joy, try something new, so I did. I tried the Atomic American Fries. The word atomic perfectly describes this meal. It arrived with five different sauces with varied tastes. My favourite was the cheddar cheese sauce. The Jalapeno jelly tasted sweet, the sour cream was very creamy and the guacamole was amazing! I wish instead of chunky fries, it was served with french fries. That would have really created a party in my mouth!
Our choice of drinks was pretty basic. In hindsight, I should have tried something else. They had so much on offer including iced tea, milkshakes and wine. I chose a glass of Coca Cola and my sister in law chose Fanta. She did note that the Fanta was sweeter than usual restaurant Fantas. A bit like the ‘ Nigerian Fanta’ which she loved.
Gluten – Free is all the rage right now. If you happen to be one of the unfortunate people who suffer from Coeliac Disease and have to stick to a gluten free diet then you’d be happy to know that Ed’s Easy Diner is the first burger chain to be accredited by Coeliac UK.
Overall, I would give the restaurant a thumbs up! I loved the decor and the abundant options on the menu. This particular Ed’s Easy Diner is still brand new ( opened 3 weeks ago ) so everything is of course still pretty clean. I like the fact that the kitchen can be seen my customers. Its very spacious, my Quinny Buzz 3 pushchair could move around without obstruction. The toilet was big and equipped with baby changing facilities! If you live, work or happen to be in the area do give it a visit. I guarantee you will find something to leave your taste buds fill with joy! For more information please visit http://www.edseasydiner.com