Mini Ninja At Yo Sushi – Boxpark

I am very lucky that all of my children bar one are open to try pretty much any food that they are introduced to.

This has opened them up to experiencing a wide variety of different cuisines with sushi coming pretty high up on their list of loves.

Trying to make it for ourselves though is something even I haven’t attempted so when we were asked along to Yo Sushi at Boxpark, Croydon I was as excited as the children!

On a Tuesday and Wednesday at 11am during the summer holidays Yo Sushi is running their Mini Ninja Sushi making masterclass aimed at children aged 5-12.

Being as unorganised as always I hadn’t looked at the recommended age range and in fact went along with Oscar(3) and Frankie(5) and Izzy(11).

Our super friendly Sushi maestro sat the children down and got them kitted out in their hats and gloves in preparation to get creating.

They were all given instructions sheets on how to make Maki, Salmon Nigi and Crab Handrolls.

These weren’t neeeded as the children were shown step by step how to make each piece and there was plenty of hands on help if neeeded.

Usually the attention span of my children is limited to cupcakes but amazingly they sat through the whole hour without a fidget or a moan.

Once their boxes were filled with yummy sushi made by their own fair hands there was a quick game of who could move the edamame beans the quickest which was great to burn off a bit of energy.

At the end of the session they were awarded a certificate for all their hard word and given a bag to take home their sushi and the rolling mats they used so they could have a go again at home.

My lot however couldn’t wait to get home to eat so we sat for a while eating there creations whilst I sampled some delightful pork buns that I will certainly be returning again for.

There is still time to get you litttle ones booked in at several different locations around the country and it has certainly come highly recommended from us!
 *Collaborated post 

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

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.

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

Pizza, Prosecco and Live Music At Pizza Express

Pizza Express is always top of our list when it come to eating out as a family.

Their lively restaurants and good food make the perfect combination for us and brings us back time and time again.

It is however very rare for me to visit without the children, so when I was asked to come along to the newly refurbished Pizza Express Live in Holborn with a group of lovely bloggers then I was very excited to see what kind of a night I had in store.

At the far end of a extremely busy restaurant I spotted a table with lots of ladies and lots of cameras and I knew they was were I needed to be heading.

After a full on day of running around town this evening was just what I needed to relax and catch up with some familiar and some not so faces.

We were soon introduced to the manager who had a fun evening planned with us starting by getting a little messy!

Pizza making is something I have looked on from afar in Pizza Express, leaving it down to the children to get creative, but it was going to be my turn to don the white hat and get stuck in.

We were talked though each and every step and I can tell you forming a pizza base is way harder than it looks!

Bases swirled and twirled we added our topping and whilst they were cooking we had some time to chat over one…or two glasses of Prosecco!

So far the evening had been a lot of fun but I was still none the wiser as to why this beautiful new restaurant had the addition of the word ‘Live’ to it.

This all became apparent when we were shown to the middle of the restaurant and lead down the metal swirling staircase to the basement into an area that I would never have imagined seeing in a Pizza Express restaurant.

It was more like an über cool city members club with dark wood and plush velvet, sutble mood lighting and delicate glass wear.

This fabulous new area is set to be the place to come for top live entertainment 7 nights a week as of September.

Acts such as Martin Kemp and Mica Paris are a few faces set to take to this stage along with a whole host of other familiar names.

For me this evening really turned my thoughts on Pizza Express dining on their head and from having a very narrow minded outlook on what they have to offer I can now see that this would make a superb venue for a date night or a night out with friends.

I am hoping to have another visit in September to see the venue in full swing and soak up the fabulous atmosphere that I know it’s going to to create.  

*collaborated post

Everdine:Healthy Eating Straight To Your Door

We are halfway through the year now and I’m sure that the majority of those healthy eating resolutions fell by the wayside months ago.

I know that mine have been pretty on and off and I have to say that aside from my terrible lack of willpower a large part of me failing is due to lack of preparation and misjudgement of portion sizes.

Being on the go continually means that sometimes I don’t get myself together enough to prepare a healthy, home cooked meal and I find myself reaching into the freezer for the old faithful nuggets and chips.

Don’t get me wrong the children are always over the moon when this happens but is really not good for my waistline and tends to then lead to the whole ‘well I’ve eaten badly so I will carry on’ attitude and before I know out I’ve packed away a whole pack of biscuits!

What I need is something nutritious and filling that I can prepare in a short space of time, so when Everdine got in touch with me to try out their home delivery meal service I was egar to find out how they would measure up.

Their healthy and nutrious meals are created by Mitchelin star chefs who go to great lengths to prepare gourmet meals that can be stored in the freezer to take out as and when needed and ready in around 10 mins.

You simply need to choose from a 8 or 12 meal option that can be delivered weekly or monthly and your delivery arrives to your door in a sheep’s wool instillation to make sure it as perfect as possible for you.

 

I had a mixture of classic and vegetarian options from things such as pulled beef ragu spaghetti and paneer of sweet potato kofte biryini to rainbow vegetable pad Thai and Cajun blackened salmon.


I’m ordinarily not a fan of microwave meals as they are full of rubbish and you end up with an unrecognisable lump that you need to pour into the plate.

Everdine meals however are full of flavour, and beautifully presented. They are in fact the closest to home cooked I have ever seen in a ready meal.

They were packed full or flavour and were surprisingly filling with a burst of flavour in each mouthful.


I used my meals over the course of a couple of weeks and stuck to healthy meals for the rest of the time plus regular exercise and managed to loose just over half a stone.

At just over £6 a meal I will certainly be keeping a stock of these in the freezer for those last minute meals in a bid to keep this weight loss up.

*I was given these meals for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Prezzo #LaFamiglia Challenge 

Meals times are a battlefield in this house and there is always some sort  of issue that turns what should be happy family time into something less than enjoyable.

If we are eating at home or out there are no exceptions and the only difference to being out is that my stress levels increase as I am all to aware of everyone else around us.

For me the biggest problem is waiting. I have the most impatient children and having to wait between courses is something they are not to keen on.

This is where the La Famiglia from Prezzo is a fantastic option and something we could wait to try out for ourselves.

We were asked to take up the #LaFamiglia challenge with Britmums and were more than happy to take up the challenge.

We headed of to our local Prezzo in Reigate and were settled by out super friendly waitress who immediately kept the little ones amused with a spot of colouring.

 

While the little ones were busy creating I looked over what La Famiglia had to offer.

The set meal consists a large sharing bowl of pasta and there is the choice of the classic spaghetti bolognese, spicy penne arrabbiata or a penne alla rusticana.

Two mouthwatering garlic breads, two side dishes of either fries, oils infused fries, mixed salad or rocket salad.

And lastly four soft drinks with the option to swap for house wine for an extra £7 and not forgetting pudding, there is either the choice of ice cream or sorbet.

The meal is aimed to feed two adults and two children so even with a large family such as mine at the great price of £30 for  everything if we order double it would still work out a great deal cheaper then a meal out ordinary costs us.

Whist we chatted over our drinks it wasn’t long before our pasta arrabbiata and garlic bread arrived.


The children loved that they were able to help themselves to as much or as little as they wanted and to me this saved the whole argument about everything being eaten.

Pretty full there was of obviously sill room for desert.

There was a great selection of ice creams and sorbets to choose from but the salted chocolate sounded way to tempting for any of us to pass up on.

I would highly recommend trying out this great addition to Prezzo’s already fantastic menu.

The relaxed atmosphere and family friendly vibe put me at ease whilst we were there and I think tun would find it hard to beat the quality of food at such areasonable price.