The Polish Bakery:Review

There was a big knock at the the other day which lead to a cheery man at  clutching a bag of goodies from The Polish Bakery.

I have to admit I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to Polish cuisine so I wasn’t to sure what to expect in my parcel.

The Polish Bakery has been running since 2003 and produces handmade bread, buns, rolls, cake, doughnuts and even birthday cakes with authentic recipes and ingredients directly from Poland.

My parcel included a loaf of their premium white bread, rye bread with prunes and a delicious cheesecake.

Frankie who has multiple allergies was over the moon that he could eat the rye bread and claimed the whole loaf to himself!

It was a perfect combination of ingredients and the juiciness of the prunes added a really good soft  texture to a drier style of bread.

The premium bread was beautifully soft and kept for much longer than most fresh breads.

I saved the best for last with the delectable cheesecake. There was in fact a bit of an argument over the last slice!

The cheesecake looked more like a tiramisu and was a delicious creamy cake with a delicate chocolate taste.

I didn’t imagine their products to be that different to the style in British bakeries but I was very pleasantly surprised and will certainly be going back for more!
*collaborated post

Hunting For The Yeti At Riverhill Himalayan GardensĀ 

Wooded pathways, stacks of branches, and plenty of mud are just three of the things that make my lot happy and luckily enough they are plentiful at Riverhill Himalayan Gardensin Kent.

We had our first trip there last week and on the way I had a car full of bemused children trying to work out why we were off to the Himalayas by car!

Upon arrival whe picked up our maps at the kiosk and I grabbed a seat outside the cosy looking Riverhill Cafe that I had earmarked for later in the day.

I planned a rough idea of where the day was going to take us while the children took up residence in the ‘Toy Shed’ that made the perfect play area to keep the little ones amused while the adults have a sneaky piece of cake.

I had put a little to much faith in the wonderful British weather and arrived with a summer dress and flip flops which probably wasn’t the best attire.

Fortunately though they are fully prepared here for the unprepared such as myself and have a lovely little area they you can borrow a pair of wellies from.

We headed into the woods where the children all climbed to their hearts  content until we came across the fab adventure playground.
There were climbing walls, slides, tree houses and so much more to explore and they all spent a good hour here enjoying all it had to offer.

Ready to explore some more we entered the woods again with a pit stop for some den building before we made it to Little Everest Viewpoint.

The view from the top was stunning and the perfect place to stop for our picnic.


Refuelled we headed back down the hill towards the hedge maze.

I’m not a huge fan of mazes and tend to freak out a little if I can’t see an exit. Luckily enough the hedge maze is low and was easy for the children…and me  to navigate.

The rain decided to come and say hello so we decided to take cover in the activity tent where they all got the chance to make their own clay creations.

With an unusual calmness from my lot I took the chance to grab a coffee and some delightful carrot cake from the cafe whist they created their masterpieces.

Scattered throughout the grounds were lots of interesting sculptures with the huge scaffold tube sphere being a real pull for the kids.

Our final stop of the day was the stunning gardens full of wonderful flowers, an abundance of fruit and veg and hidden wrought iron gates that are always some thing I love.

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens was an absolute treat to discover and we will need another visit very soon as we didn’t manage to find the illusive yeti who is said to be hiding in the woods.  
*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest options.

Jamie’s Italian Guilford:Review

I am a little ashamed to say that even though I have been a huge fan of Jamie Oliver since his ‘Naked Chef’ days I have never set foot in to one of his restaurants.

His immense passion for food and will to share this with every walk of life is one of the things I love about him and I know this love and passion will be passed into all his restaurants.

We were recently asked to go along to Jamie’s Guilford branchto see what we though which was a very exciting prospect for me.

A short drive into Guilford lead us to a quirky shaped building that homed Jamie’s Italian.

We were shown upstairs to our table in the brightly coloured restaurant that had had an industrial feel softened by glimpses of rustic Italy.

We had the youngest two with us which is always a challenge when eating out as their attention span leaves a lot to be desired.

Luckily as soon as we were seated the boys were given activity sheets and fantastic viewfinders that they could chose their meal from…these were a hit with the big kids too!

The children’s menu was a great mix of the usual suspects mixed with dishes such as fish stew and gnocchi which is really refreshing to see as not all children like a plate of beige food for every meal!

Oscar went for the baby beefburger which was served with a portion of sweet potato fries and a delicious salad.

Frankie had a bit of a harder time in choosing as his multiple allergies were a little hard to cater for, but our waitress worked round them and was able to alter the happy chicken lollipops that were also served with sweet potato fries and much to Frankie’s excitement a salad in a jar that he could shake himself to cover with dressing.

 

They still had plenty of room for pudding and Frankie was extremely happy with his strawberry and mango lollipop whist Oscar went for the more indulgent warm chocolate brownie that much to his delight was topped with popcorn.

 

Darren and I went for the Super Lunch which is a great value set menu where you can chose from a good variety of dishes and have either two or three courses.

The greediness in me went for the three courses while Darren only opted for two.

Pate is on of my favourites but I can be a little fussy with it. I wasn’t disappointed and the creamy chicken liver pate that covered the crispy bruschetta and made for the perfect combination.

I’m not normally a burger fan but the Gennaro’s Chicken Club caught my eye and I was really glad I went for it.

The soft brioche roll was filled with succulent chicken, crispy pancetta, spicy mayo, rocket and juicy tomato.

If you are a follower of my blog and have read my restaurant reviews you will know that my husband is a creature of habit and calamari and steak are choices pretty much every time we dine out.

Jamie’s Italian had a little twist on the usual calamari and was instead a selection of battered fish and squid that have been coated in a delicately spiced fennel flour and served with a sharp garlic and lemon aioli.

The steak was a little different too as it had first been marinated then served with a garlic butter, crispy fries and a beautiful purple slaw that set off the meal wonderfully.

The children full and happily playing I endulged in Jamie’s favourite lemon polenta cake which was served with cream and a fruit coulis.

The texture the polenta gave the cake was a good change to a traditional sponge style recipe but I could have done with a little bit more of a lemony kick.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our first experience of Jamie’s Italian from the warm welcome to the delicious food.

I think the real pull for me though was the attention to the children’s menu that was not only vast and full of variety but allowed the children to get hands on with their choices and preparation of the meal which I always find is key to encouraging them to eat and try new things.

If you have been inspired to try Jamie’s Italian out for yourself then from now until the 31st August one child eat free with every paying adult so it’s the perfect time to try it out.

Toys Galore With Cars 3

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months you can’t have missed the hype the has surrounding the release of Cars 3.

We were lucky enough to go along to a screening recently which left us all buzzing from the return of these lovable characters to the big screen.

Along with new film releases always comes a whole host of merchandise that children are drawn towards to keep the movie alive once they return home.

Ordinarily I’m normally a bit of a meanie when it comes to things like this as they are often gimmicky toys that fail to keep my children’s attention for more than five minutes!

However Cars 3 has bought with it a fantastic range of toys that have kept my boys occupied for hours on end which is nothing short of a miracle if you know my youngest two.

Lego is always a big hit in our house and the Cars 3 Junior Easy To Build version that is aimed at children aged 4-7 has been a fantastic addition to our collection.

The easy to follow instructions and recognisable characters make it a toy that Frankie can happily return to again and again and get the satisfaction that he can create it all by himself.

At this time of year I am always looking for toys that are easy to take on trips out to keep them amused on long journeys or when I need to try and keep them busy while we are having a meal.

This is where the mini racers and figural crayons are perfect.

The cars can be easily raced up and down in smaller spaces and crayons are always a go to, to let them get creative.

The quirky design of the crayons with the name and figure of each car was a real delight and they have also been used as race cars an several occasions too!

We have been thinking a lot about getting things ready for ‘back to school’ and one thing I like to do is get key rings for their book bags so they can be easily recognised and hopefully not lost within the first few weeks.

These super cute soft keyrings are the perfect way to adorne any book bag…or sneak onto your own keys if you are anything like my husband! 

If cuddly is your thing then the squishy Guido is the one for you. He has in fact  paved the way to become top choice for a bedtime cuddle here.

I have saved the best for last though which comes in the form or a remote control Cruz Ramirez car.

It is the perfect way for children to try their hand at becoming a racer themselves with an easy to use control pad that has simple manoeuvres for even the youngest of children to get to grips with.

This car has given them hours of fun and more than a few arguments about who is going to drive it!

I would love to know who your favourite character is from the new film and which one this fantastic toys would be on your little ones list.
*We were given these toys for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Foraging For Fruit With Fruit Shoot

We are well into the summer holidays now and I’m sure that I’m not the only one that is finding it tricky to find activities to keep the little ones entertained without spending a small fortune.

For those of you that are regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of getting outside and letting the children run wild in the open air.

We have such immense beauty all around us and for me it is hugely important to let children explore this and use their imaginations without the use of technology which can so often get in the way.

One thing I’ve not thought much about doing though is using my time outside to forage as a family, so when Fruit Shoot set me the challenge to do some foraging as a family I was extremely interested in giving it a go!

For those of you that don’t know what foraging is, it is basically searching for wild food.

It’s always something that has interested me but I have also been a little apprehensive as I have always feared my lack of knowledge would lead me to eating something I shouldn’t!

I took note of these top tips from foraging expert Fergus Drennan before heading out which really put my mind at ease:

  • Before setting out in any foraging expedition remember to make sure you know they the fruits you will be looking out for. Never pick and eat anything if you’re not sure what it is – some plants are poisonous and can make you ill.
  • There is no dress code for foraging, you could wrap up in thermals or wear practical things like waterproofs and wellies. Don’t let wing and rain put you off, it’s all part of the elemental experience! Foraging can get a little messy, so it’s probably not a great idea to wear your best shoes.
  • Avoid collie ting all the fruit you can see as other creature rely on them for food too. Blackbirds and pigeons absolutely adore ripe mahonia berries and young foxes will eat fruit such as cherry plums!
  • Collect seeds and plant them to help you identify plants. You could even create a dedicated wild food plant area in your garden or pots of the garden is small.
  • It is also worth checking which plants are rare, threatened or protected by law (even if they are edible) in The Wildlife and Countryside Act. The Woodland Trust also has great tips and advice for foraging. 

Armed with our pocket book which would hopefully give us some tips we headed off in search of some free food.


We searched high and low and found some mushrooms which I still wasn’t brave enough to pick and some beautifully juicy blackberries that the boys were more than happy to gather.

All this foraging was thirsty work so we sat back and grabbed a Fruit Shoot whist chatting about what fruit combinations would be their favourite if they could pick some flavours for themselves out of fruit they could find.

Frankie decided on watermelon and strawberries, although I’m not sure we are going to be able to find any watermelon locally to us though!

All of this fruit picking got me thinking about what we could do with our stash and I think there is going to be some jam making coming in the next few weeks so keep an eye out!

*collaborated post

PJ Masks Have Landed At Oxygen

Oxygen in Croydon has become a bit of a regular haunt for me and my youngest since its recent opening, with us regularly  taking part in the toddler sessions that are aimed at little ones aged five and under.

I mean what could be better than an hour of running and jumping around a huge trampoline park when you are three years old, and of course for us parents tiring them out for an hour is always a huge bonus.

When I was asked along to try out their new PJ Masks Jumping Adventures I knew it was going to be a huge hit with my youngest two.

We arrived and the boys were handed costumes which they happily doned to transform themselves into thier favourite PJ Mask characters Gekko and Catboy.


Trampoline socks on and safely briefing done we made our way into the main area where the boys bounced, dived and lept to their hearts content.


What set this session apart from the usual toddler sessions though was the addition of lots of games put on by the super friendly staff that have really got into the spirit of things by dressing as the characters too.

The boys joined in with groups leaping across the trampolines and loved rushing to see how quickly they could move the balls from one trampoline to the other.

Extremely warn out they made their way to the cafe area where I enjoyed a much needed coffee while they made masks and coloured in PJ Mask themed sheets.

If this sounds like something that your little ones would enjoy then these sessions are running until the 5th September and by using the code PJMASKS at the checkout you can save yourself 20%.

*we were asked along to this session for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Tea With A Tiger At Paradise Wildlife Park And Red Letter Days

I always thought that when I came to days out in and around London I was pretty clued up to most things due to my inability to stay and home and my want to discover new and different places with the children.

The other week however this theory was quashed when I was invited along for Tea With A Tiger with Red Letter Days at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire. 

After a short train ride I was greeted at the station by the super friendly wildlife park driver that gave me a very informative trip to the park itself.

I actually couldn’t believe that this zoo had been here for so many years and it was the first time had ever heard of it.

A largest group of bloggers were all slowly gathering together over coffee and a chit chat before we headed out on our guided tour of the Big Cat Teritory.

On the way we passed a number of other animals such as the big camels and zebras to the smaller penguins and super cute meerkats that were a huge hit with everyone!


We arrived at the Big Cat Teritory when we all tried to spot the magestic creatures while taking in all the information being feed to us by our enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide.

The zoo is famous for its big cats and I can see why as there are so many to see and not just the usual lions and tigers that you might expect. There were lessen known animals such as an ocelot and a beautiful snow leopard that was certainly my favourite.


With my head buzzing form all the information I had been taking in we made our way up to the Tiger Treetops when you can get a fantastic view from above the enclose.

It was now time for tea and the fantastic tearoom that had a huge glass frontage just perfect to spot the big cats over a yummy bite to eat.


For me this experience was a fantastic opportunity to really get up close to these beautiful creature but for the more daring there is also the opportunity to book a animal feed where you can get just about as close as possible to a lion or tiger and it really is something I would love to do.

I was really taken with Paradise Wildlife Park and all it has to offer, and with the addition of a newly opened adventure playground this is firmly on the top of my list for a visit over the summer holidays with the little ones.
*I was invited to this event by Red Letter Days and they are all my own, honest opinions.