Chi Kitchen:Review

Ordinarily if someone asked you to come along to have lunch at at a department store I’m sure you wouldn’t be filled with excitement.

Admittedly when I was asked along to a review a restaurant inside Debenhams, Oxford Street my imidiate thoughts were curled up sandwiches in plastic wrappers and serve yourself coffee.

Upon arriving at Chi Kitchen this couldn’t be further from the truth.


With a completely separate entrance at  the back of the store as well as an internal entrance that welcomes you straight into a super cool champagne bar that overlooks the sushi preparation area, it wasn’t like anything I had experienced before.

The attentive staff saw us to our table and talked us through the vast menu that is a real voyage through South East Asia; offering dishes from Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Korea.

My husband who is a real sushi lover opted for the salmon and tuna sashimi and California rolls.


The presentation was absolute perfection! The fish was served on a bed of perfectly handcrafted vegetables with clouds of billowing dry ice.


I opted for prawn dimsum and Thai green curry.

The dimsum were light and airy balls of perfection they just melted in the mouth.


The curry was the perfect blend of creaminess with a spicy kick that wasn’t to over powering.


I don’t normally go for puddings in Asian restaurants as I’m normally a bit disappointed with the small choice and factory supplied choices that are normally on offer.

Chi Kitchen however didn’t fall short in this area and it was at tricky choice between a passion fruit cheesecake and a mango creme brûlée.

The brûlée won and the crispy topping hid a delightfully creamy centre that I didn’t want to end.


Our meal was a complete experience for all the senses and completely smashed my preconceived ideas of superstore dining.

It is certainly somewhere to try whist out and about shopping or somewhere to make more of an evening of which is on our list to do next time!

A Magically Messy Afternoon With Persil And Beauty And The Beast

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few weeks you couldn’t have missed all the hype that has been surrounding the release of the new Disney film ‘Beauty And The Beast’.

A true Disney classic that in my mind would be hard to be recreated; so when we were asked along by Persil to a screening at The Mondrian Hotel on Southbank I have to say I was certainly more excited than Izzy…well just, to see how it would be played.


Upon arriving we were welcomed into a dimly lit room that just shouted “be our guest” at me with a table filled with beautiful gold candelabras and deep red roses.

It was definitely a table fit for a room full of little princes and princesses.


Lots of hungry tummies were filled with plates of scrumptious food and with a little bit of room left they got the chance to get creative and decorate their very own cupcakes.


As you can imagine after all that fun there were more than a few sticky fingers and faces around which if your children are anything like mine tend to get wiped on the nearest object, which is usually a cuff or more often than not my trousers!

This is where my good friend Persil comes to the rescue, and believe me I have put their washing products to the test over the years.

Persil have collaborated with Disney for the release of Beauty And The Beast and are giving away a £5 Disney Store voucher with every purchase of 22 and 38 wash Persil capsules.

This in turns means happy parents and happy children!

 

Full to the brim and eagar to get into the cinema we all took to our seats and were in for a very special screening indeed.


Izzy face lit up the minute Emma Watson took to the screen and I was immediately drawn into the familiar songs and spectacular cinematography. 

However it was not your run of the mill cinema viewing as at pivotal points during the film the cinema came alive with bursts of confetti, feathers and much more cascading over the audience to make it a truly interactive experience.

I left the hotel with a tear in my eye, snow in my hair and a head full of memories that Izzy and I will never forget.

The Teletubbies Turn 20!

Teletubbies
It must have been around this time of year twenty years ago when I was going in elbows first to get my hands on the sell out Teletubbies soft toy at my local Woolworths store for my newborn, that had absolutely no idea when an impact these four cute and cuddly characters were having on a nation of preschoolers.

It’s hard to believe that they have graced our screen for such a long time and although they have had a few changes over the years they have kept the ability to capture the hearts of over a billion children spanning over a hundred countries.

All of my children have fallen for their charms and you can imagine the delight on my youngest ones faces when I told them we were going along to celebrate their twentieth birthday and take a sneak peek at the new series that is set to hit our screens on the 13th March, with a special birthday show on the 31st March.

I arrived at The Riverfront on The Southbank on the Sunday morning with two super excited boys just itching to meet their favourites!

Before the screening we were treated to a yummy brunch whist the children ran wild in the soft play area, created masterpieces, got their faces painted and watched in awe as a magician covered children in a humongous bubble.

Teletubbies Teletubbies The Riverfront, Southbank   

Sufficiently full and a little worn out we headed to the cinema where a hub of excited children were donning their party hats in anticipation of the arrival of the ‘real’ Teletubbies!

Teletubbies Teletubbies  

Chris from Cebebbies took to the stage to introduce the larger than I expected characters and there were gasps and cheers from the entire crowd.

Teletubbies
After joining in with the new ‘Big Hugs’ song that includes a lot of bottom bumping…a big hit with my potty minded children the Teletubbies left the stage for a rest and we were treated to a viewing of the new series.

David Walliams and Rohelle Humes have been addded to the already star studded cast and it’s not just the voiceovers that have had new additions.

The Teletubbies have been treated to a brand new play area called the Hidey Hub that homes the Tubby Bounce, Tubby Slidey, Tubby Uppy Downy and Tubby Spinny.

It’s a great new area that was a big hit with my two, especially the Tubby Slidey which is a seemingly never ending slide…what child wouldn’t love that!

The changes don’t stop there as we can also welcome the Tubby Car that sees them all driving around in their super sweet car that cleverly has a steering wheel for each of them.

The Tiddly Tubbies also play a big part in the new series and I have to say I love them as much as the children do.

Unbelievable a cinema packed with under five’s was left in silence.

This is a hard audience to crack and the Teletubbies did it with no problem at all which just goes to show that the magic that was created with them twenty years ago is a winning combination and is a real testament to the writers they Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa and Po are still going strong today.

I would love for you to tune in on Monday 13th and let me know what you think.

Teletubbies

Peppa Pig’s Surprise:Review

For me Christmas and the theatre go hand in hand and if you feel the same as me and want to take your family from as little as babes in arms then I trip to see Peppa Pig’s Surprise at thePhoenix Theatre is a must.

Walking into a sea of toddlers hop, skipping and jumping around the theatre with flashing lights in hand I knew this was gong to be a noisy affair!

The lights then dimmed and the familiar sound of the Peppa Pig theme tune came from the stage and the audience was silenced apart form a few gasps of delight.

Peppa and George have a new friend called Daisy who is a bubbly character with an infectious smile who helps to keep the children engaged throught the whole show.


Peppa and George spend the whole show going about their everyday tasks whist wondering what their big surprise is going to be.

There is plenty of muddy puddle jumping and even a chance to sing along to a Peppa classic – The Bing Bong Song.

The show is extremely interactive with singing, bubbles to catch and plenty off water to dodge!


The ever changing scenes keep things at a fast pass for restless eyes with an underwater neon one being a firm favourite.

Although the storyline is not based around Christmas there is a really lovely festive treat at the end that I won’t spoil for you.

Peppa Pig’s Surprise brings you over an hour of thrills and spills and allows a huge favourite TV character to come to life in front of your eyes.

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

The Snowman:Review

I don’t know one person that doesn’t know and love the story of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.

It has been a Christmas favourite since I was a child and I have passed the love of it down to all my own children.

When I was asked along to the Peacock Theatre to see this classic on stage I had high hopes for what I was going to see, but also hoped it wouldn’t ruin the magic of the tale by swaying to far from the original storyline.

We walked into the theatre and sat down in front of the stage that was covered with a projection of continually falling snow that caught the eyes of the children immediately.

The orchestra then kicked in, the curtains raised and so the story began.

The first half was the ever familiar story of the little boy who excitedly catches sight of the snow falling and hop, skips and jumps into the garden to create his very own snowman that magically comes to life in the dark of night.

The snowman is welcomed inside by the boy and the pair get up to lots of mischief from dressing the snowman up in his parents clothes to riding a motorbike round the garage whilst trying not to wake his sleeping parents.

All of this is performed beautifully and had my youngest two transfixed on the stage.

The first half finished with the Snowman taking his friend by the hand and flying him into the sky to the classic sound of ‘Walking In The Air’ which had the audience enthralled and excited for what was to come next.

The second half was padded out a little with the journey to the party at the North Pole incepted with a battle between the Snowman and the evil Jack Frost who is trying to capture the beautiful Ice Princess.

The upbeat second half is full of excitement and lots of humour added by the chucklesome Father Christmas and his super cute reindeers.

This two hour long ballet kept my attention lacking youngest two mesmerised and the look of wonder in their eyes completely melted my heart.

This quintessentially British story has been bought to life in a truly magical way and is the absolute epitome of Christmas.

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

Father Christmas At The London Transport Museum

For as long as I can remember a trip to Covent Garden at Christmas has been a must.

I love the beautiful lights, the majestic tree, browsing the many shops and having a cheeky glass of mulled wine.

I do however hang my head in shame at the fact I’ve never taken the children to the London Transpost Museum.

So when we were asked to come along and visit Fathet Christmas there I was more than happy to take the children to see the main man himself whilst checking out what the museum has to offer.

We arrived a little early so got the chance to have a look round the museum out for a while whilst finding clues on the Elf Trail sheet we were given.

The children immediately scampered off to climb aboard real life buses and trains, pretend to drive a tube train in a fantastic simulator and really got into character by donning some fabulous outfits.

To be honest they had to be prized away when it was time to head over to Father Christmas as the museum is such a hive of activity.

We were greeted with a beaming smile from a train driver whos hat was festively wrapped with fairy lights and was standing amongst Christmas trees and a snow covered floor.

There was a matter of minutes to wait before we were shown through but we still managed to have a quick play with the huge train set that was there to occupy busy fingers and a big box of festive hats were delved into to really get into the festive spirit! 

Father Christmas was sat in his throne with this sleigh stacked with presents resting next to him.

He gave the children a very warm welcome and even managed to coax number five out from under my coat for five minutes!

The children couldn’t wait to unwrap there pressies that were fittingly wrapped in lovely London transport style paper.

The boys were both over the moon with their trains and number three couldn’t wait to get her snap watch on!

The fun didn’t end there for us as we headed over to the ‘All Aboard Family Playzone’  the children played for well over an hour in a fantastic area filled with a small soft play area for tiny ones, small scale buses and taxi to climb in and drive and train sets that the boys were very taken with.

The last pit stop for us was the shop on the way out.

I’m never a fan of shops attached to museums as the selections are normally limited, lack thought and are over priced.

I was however more than plesently surprised with the shop here – even if you weren’t visiting the museum I would highly recommend a peruse of this gift shop as it was stacked with so many different, well priced gifts that I could have got so many great buys that I know would have been very welcome under our tree!

 My favourite items though had to be the beautiful and very different Christmas decorations that I would have loved to have purchased if my husband’s beady eyes hadn’t have been on me!

Having a trip to Father Christmas here offers you much more than just that as the museum itself has so much to offer.

If you have little ones that love transport and would love a Father Christmas trip based round that then this is the perfect place to go.

He is only there for a limited time so get booking your place now before he head back home on the northern Line North Pole Express.

My Top Festive Days Out

I start planning for Christmas as soon as the children go back to school after the holidays in September!

Yes I know that is completely bonkers but it really is my favourite time of year and I like to squeeze as much as I can into the month of December as possible.

I have put together a list of some of my favourite days out that you might like to try for yourselves, and a couple that I am due to visit over the next few weeks so keep an eye out for what I think!

Father Christmas At Painshill


This is top of my list as it is the most magical Father Christmas I have ever seen.

You walk though the beautiful grounds of Painshill in Cobham, Surrey that is bought to life with pretty lights leading you to the crystal grotto to find Father Christmas himself.

You can enjoy a mince pie and a warm mulled wine while you wait to be taken in to the most stunning setting I’ve ever seen.

There are still a few spaces left for weekday visits but this is a must to book early.

Christmas Afternoon Tea At sketch


During the summer I had a trip to sketch to try out their afternoon tea and were blown away by the whole experience.

The food and surroundings were equally as wonderful and the quirkiness of it all was a big hit with the both of us.

Christmas has now got the restaurant in a big way and the entrance alone is something worth going to see. 

The Snowman


A couple of weeks ago we went to see the fabulous ballet of The Snowman. I will have a full post up on this very soon, but all I will say is if you want to introduce your children to the wonders of ballet of simply want to witness what I can only describe as the epitome of Christmas in a beautifully performed show then this needs to be seen.

Bocketts Farm


Bocketts is my favourite farm in Surrey and Christmas brings an extra sparkle to it.

You can still walk around feeding the animals, watching the pig races and taking a tractor ride but you also have the opportunity to visit Father Christmas in his hay barn and take part in fun extra activities the farm has put on for the festive season.

Southbank


It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to Southbank for me.

The hustle and bustle of the London crowds mixed with Christmas markets, fairground rides and skating always gives me such a Christmassy feeling inside.


Hobbledown 


A couple of days ago I took number five along for lunch with Santa at Hobbledown where he got to meet Santa, decorate a gingerbread man and have his lunch.

This is unfortunately only on for a limited time and how now finished but there is still plenty going on and a trip to Santa who by the way always has a fabulous outfit would be a lovely day out. 

Chessington World Of Adventures

Winters Tail at Chessington is a really lovely day out that we have done many times.

A selection of rides are open to enjoy as well as the Sealife centre, Santa is there to visit and each year there are different activities to try.

If you want to make it a really special trip then an overnight stay in the hotel would make it a wonderful Christmas treat.

Priory Farm


Priory Farm is fabulous at anytime of year and at this time of year their famous discovery walk takes on a Christmas theme, there is a little train ride on the visit to Santa, the shop is stacked full of wonderful food, gifts and decorations and the cafe is a must stop for outstanding eats.

London Tranport Museum


Now this is a place that I would not associate Christmas with but we have been invited along this weekend to visit Santa as he finishes his journey on the Noth Pole Express. 

As well as this the children can take part in a quiz as you wander around the museum.

It sounds like something very different and a transport fans dream! I can’t wait to let you know how it goes.

Afternoon Tea On B-Bus


Imagine being able to eat a yummy afternoon tea sitting on an old routemaster bus whilst taking in the sights of London.

This is exactly what the B-Bus has to offer and I will be sampling this for myself soon. 

This really sounds like the most wonderful way to spend a Christmas afternoon.

I would love to know if you try any of these places out and what you think about them.