The BiB Awards 2017 Are Open And I Would Love Your Support

Two years into blogging and I think I can finally now say that I now know exactly what ignites my passion to keep writing…photography.

When I first started my blog I floundered around not really knowing what I wanted to focus on and was forever worrying that I didn’t have a niche.

Still this far down the line the title family and lifestyle really does suit me best and the topics I cover are as irratic as my life and this is what I love.

I would be bored writing about the same subject all the time and as they say ‘variety is the spice of life’

One thing that has stood firm through the though is my passion for photography, in fact I would say my love grows for it by the day.

I’ve not had any formal training and that is something that is still on top of my wish list but my aim had always been to try and capture those moments be them good or bad so they they are recorded for a lifetime to come so they are never truly forgotten.

If you read my blog I hope that you have enjoyed scrolling through my images on my posts and over on Instagram which is something I have a pretty large addition too!

I really hope that you love looking through my photos as much as I enjoy taking them and I would love you to take a few minutes to click on the link below and cast a vote in the photo section for me.

It would be a dream to get nominated and here is a big thank you for taking the time to read this post and hopefully give me a vote.

BritMums

Date Night With Gousto

The more children we have and the older I get the less I can be bothered to make time for a date nights with my husband.

This is a huge bone of contention in our house as its something thats very important to him so we have to find a little bit of compromise.

Food is a big love for both of us so the perfect way to spend a little time together without the stress of going out is taking an evening or two away from the chaos of family meal times and preparing a meal for just the two of us.

This is however pretty time consuming so when we were asked to sample some meals from Gousto I thought this would be a great way to save some time and forethought in our very limited amount of alone time.

Gousto is so quick and easy to use. You simply need to log into their site, chose the size of box you require and select which meals you fancy from a varied list for the week ahead.

The box is then delivered directly to you door with all the ingredients carefully weighed out and prepared ready for you to follow the easy to use recipe cards that are provided alongside your food.

First up for us was a sticky chilli beef burrito with a lime mayo.

 All I needed to do was to grab the bits I needed that are all listed in words and pictures for you on the sheet and get on with the cooking.

The rest of the week we got to sample a curried chicken and sultana rice with a spicy kick that was complimented perfectly by the sweetness of the dried fruit.

Sea bass on smoky chorizo chowder that teamed a gorgeously creamy chowder with the crispy skin of the melt in the mouth fish.

And finally a chicken, red pepper and lemongrass curry which bought a completly take on rice for me.

Meals can become something of a chore at times and the ability to pick something you might not ordinarily choose really opened my eyes to recipes that I would usually consider to time consuming to prepare.

If you are looking for something to take the monotony out of the weekly meals plans, need something that is a great time saver or simply fancy trying something a little different then I highly recommend you give Guosto a try.

*we were given this Gousto box for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinion.

 

FEGO Banstead:A Eatery Perfect For All The Family

FEGO Banstead:A Eatery Perfect For All The Family

How often do you walk past a restaurant or cafe and immediately dismiss it for not being ‘child friendly’?

For me this is something I do regularly with my brood, as lets face it eating out with small children isn’t always the most enjoyable and stress free experience.

For a while now I have passed by FEGO in Banstead gazing in at their stunning decor and  scrumptious looking cakes longing for a few childfree hours to while away my time.


It looked far to pristine to take my motley crew into and the thought of them in there would bring me out in a cold sweat before my feet passed the threshold!

With these thoughts still firmly in my mind when I was asked along to visit FEGO I was more than a little apprehensive as to how they would cater for us.

We arrived at FEGO on a busy lunchtime during half term and were greeted with a smile and shown to our table near the back of the restaurant that was buzzing with a great atmosphere and full of a real eclectic group of people…including children!

The menus were brought over and I was happy to see there were a good range of different meals without the menu being large and over bearing. We were also welcome to chose from the breakfast menu even though we were there for a late lunch.

I love flexibility in restaurants as lets face it a stack of warm pancakes are welcome at anytime of day!

There is something to cater for all tastes from full english breakfasts to delicious salads, juicy burgers to pizzas and so much more.

The boys were kept amused with the colouring sheets while waiting for their burgers that they picked from a great selection that offers something a little different to the usual chip heavy childrens menu.


I opted for spicy scrambled eggs that were a tasty combination of eggs, cheese, avocado and tomatoes with a fiery kick of jalapeño and my obligatory soya latte.

Frankie’s allergies were catered for brilliantly and not a scrap of their burgers were left on either of their plates.

Crispy fresh chicken breasts served in soft rolls with plenty of salad and juicy, homemade beef burgers would be hard to resist.


It wouldn’t be a meal out without a sweet treat to finish it off. The boys went for a bowl of creamy blueberry ice cream and a sticky waffle covered in vanilla ice cream and sumptuous chocolate sauce.

All my preconceived ideas of this restaurant were quashed the minute I entered the restaurant.

The staff were all warm and welcoming, the food was beautifully presented and a delight to eat and the decor is simply stunning.



FEGO has something to offer the whole family from grabbing a quick pastry to a cosy date night with a cheeky cocktail or two.

There is so much more that I want to try such with their infamous ‘coffee in a cone’ being top of my list.

*collaborated post.

A Dogs Purpose Screening

A couple of weeks ago I got to have some much needed one on one time with Izzy when we attended the screening of A Dogs Purpose at Picturehouse Central in Shaftesbury Ave.

Izzy is a huge dog lover and has aspirations of owning her own kennel when she gets older, so you can imagine her excitement when she realised we were going to watch a film that is based around her favourite fluffy animals.

Inside the theatre we were given ‘pic&mix’ sweets that were cleverly served in dog bowls, cleverly in keeping with the theme.


Izzy was beside herself as we realised it wasn’t only humans that were there to review the film but a whole host of dogs that had been invited along too; in fact she got to cuddle the insta famous Boo French Bulldog sisters, Coco and Boo the whole way through the screening.


A Dogs Purpose brings to the big screen a loving and devoted dog that has had a bit of a rough start to life until he is saved by his new owner Ethan that he enjoys many adventures with both good and bad until the sad moment finally that all animal owners dread and I had already preemted would happen in the film.

It then takes a real twist and sees him reincarnated over several decades coming back as different dogs that show him very varied lives.

I won’t spoil the ending for you but lets just say it was something I certainly wasn’t expecting.

This film took us through every emotion imaginable and we were in fits of laughter one minute and shedding tears the next.

It shows the huge bond between mans best friend and their owners and has got me thinking that it might not only be cats that have nine lives!

 

Bob The Builder Switch & Fix Bob:Review

Bob The Builder has graced our screens for many years now and all of my children have love to watch his adventures.

My youngest is a huge fan at the moment so when we were asked to try out the new Switch & Fix Bob I know that he would be the perfect tester.

I love a toy that allows children to use their imagination to its full potential and Switch and Fix Bob did just this.

The cheery looking Bob comes kitted out with everything he needs to do what he does best.

He is suitable for children aged 3+ and is available for RRP £19.99.

His trusty tool belt holds a jackhammer, saw and auger drill bit that rotates until you come across the bit that you need for the job simply by pressing down on Bob’s safety helmet.

 Once the bit is selected another press on this hat will release the bit so he is ready to get on with the job at hand. it also activates flashing lights and familiar phrases from the show that made Oscar’s face light up as soon as he heard them.

Each bit is translucent so once it is attached to Bob’s drill and pressed against a firm surface it lights up and makes construction sounds just like the real thing.

Oscar had a brilliant time selecting the right tool for the job and moving around the house and garden pretending to sort all those little jobs that Daddy hasn’t got around to doing!

As I said earlier this toy is great for imaginative play, helps with the development of fine motor skills by switching around the drill bits and allows you to have a talk though the importance of safety around real tools with the clever addition of a safety visor for Bob to wear.


Bob kept Oscar engaged for a good while and the set up is simple so its a toy he can easy go to for independent play whenever he feels like it.

He was a real hit in our house and I would love to know if this is a toy your little ones would enjoy?

*We were given this toy for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

 

 

Planet Hollywood:A Whole New Meaning To Family Friendly

As my family grows so do my nerves when it comes to eating out.

I love nothing more than us all being round a table where I haven’t had to cook and talk over what we have all been up to, but the problem is the vision of serenity in my head is usually replaced by a chimpanzees tea party!

A few weeks ago we were in London and had a pit stop at Planet Hollywood.

It’s somewhere I’ve not visited since I was a teen and was eager to find out how they would fair with family dining.

The smiles started as soon as we got through the doors and they were coming from the children as well as the super friendly staff.

The boys were hugely excited to see a real life power ranger costume standing proud  in the entrance whist my eyes were drawn towards the yummy looking cocktails being prepared at the bar.


We were seated in a booth which is always a bonus for me as the children love them and it’s easy to keep them pend in.

Our lovely waitress took our drinks order and handed us the vast menu to mull over while the children got on with some colouring and drinking their very special squashes.

The menu really does offer such a huge variety from steaks to pizzas, pastas or noodles. What really stood out for me though was a complete section devoted to gluten free dishes.

Eating out with my husband and Frankie is a bit of a minefield and both the menu and staff here made us feel completely at ease and helped us order safe meals for them both.

Waiting for the food wasn’t a problem at all in Plant Hollywood as there was so much to take in.

We were actively encouraged to walk round the restaurant and take in all the memorabilia it had on show, there was a dj booth that you could send your music requests to and you could even get a message sent to the restaurants screens for the whole restaurant to see.

The children were gobsmaked that a message had been sent asking them now their morning at Peppa Pig had gone, and loved watching out for their faces to appear on screen as the camera spanned the restaurant and stopped on certain tables that really made them feel like a star.

The food arrived and I didn’t know what to try first. The boys had opted for the gluten free nachos whilst I went for the blackened shrimp and Darren choice the crispy calamari.

For many ordering nachos wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary, but for Frankie and his huge list of allergies this was a special moment for us all and his face lit up as soon as they hit the table.

My blacked shrimps were wonderfully succulent with just the right amount of seasoning and I didn’t want them to end.


If you are a follower of my blog you will know that my husband doesn’t deviate much from his favourites so calamari is always his first choice. 

He was more than impressed with the crisp batter that made way for the tender calamari beneath.

Next up came the mains where the boys chose burgers and chips from the children’s menu, I had the lemon chicken and Darren went for the sirloin steak.

The boys portion was the perfect size although they were still pretty full from the huge nachos.

My chicken was beautifully tender with a crispy coating that I smothered with a gorgeous sticky sauce that had a little sour kick to it.

 

My health contious husband swapped his fries for fresh green beans that complimented his juicy steak perfectly.

Almost fit to burst I couldn’t resist pudding.

The classic knickerbocker glory was brought over and I never thought I was going to get through it!

  

However my eyes weren’t bigger than my belly and I had no trouble polishing it off.

Our experience from start to finish was outstanding. The staff were friendly and attentive and engaged with the children thoroughly the whole meal and didn’t mind at all when Frankie covered the table with a drink within minutes of arriving.

I would challenge anyone to not find something to suit their tastes on the menu and if you want to change it up a little they are more than accommodating.

But I think it was the atmosphere that really won us all over. There was a buzz as soon as you put your foot over the threshold and this remainded the whole way through our visit.

Planet Hollywood awoke all our senses and was a feast for our eyes as well as our tummies.

*we were gifted this meal for the purpose of the review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Dinosaurs Invade London At Jurassic Kingdom

Who would have thought that tucked away in a suburban part of town there would be grand Georgian house with stunning grounds homing a whole host of dinosaurs!

Last week we went on the hunt for them and wasn’t disappointed.

After a more than a little fraught journey to from South London we made it to Osterley House in Isleworth, which a a stunning National Trust property with acres of beautiful land that is just perfect for hosting Jurassic Kingdom which is there from now until the 17th April.

It is accessible by public transport but a long walk from the train station for little legs or a short bus journey but the buses are only scheduled every 20 mins which was a long wait for my impatient children.

The car park however is huge and free to National Trust members of £7 all day.

Time slots are available to book easily on line for the event and I would suggest you allow yourself plenty of time as there is lots to see and do.

The Jurassic Park style entrance paved its way into the attraction itself which has you following a path through the grounds spotting dinosaurs as you go.


Some are static but the majority have moving limbs and sound effects which the children loved.

It is a far more interactive experience than I had imagined and there are dinosaurs that you can climb onto, a sand pit that lets the little ones try their hand at becoming an arciologist and digging out bones and an education tent where you can sit and watch a short show that explains a little more about dinosaurs.

As far as eating goes the places is perfect for picnicking as there are so many great places to pitch up. There is also a small selection of fast food stands where Izzy count resist the churros!

The children also has a great time making us of the National trust facilities which are always a winner by tree climbing, den building and swinging on the rope swings.

All in all it is the perfect day out for dino fans and even those that aren’t so keen could easy make us and enjoy everything else Jurrasic Kingdom has to offer.

*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Country Kids