Learning To Cook With Jamie Oliver’s Hotpoint Teaching Kitchen

How many of you cook your evening meal from scratch every night?

I would hazard a guess that it won’t be many of you and as research from Jamie’s Ministry Of Food shows this sadly the case for many of us.

In fact a huge 1 in 5 adults rely on takeaways and convenience food due to a lack of knowledge in cooking skills and a whopping 1 in 10 have never cooked from scratch.

For me one of my favourite lessons at school was home economics and was actually the only A I got at GCSE.

It was an outlet away from the more academic subjects that I never thrived in and it certainly gave me a great knowledge of food preparation and nutrition that has always stayed with me.

Sadly in many schools this is not on the timetable at all now and 7 in 10 people feel the rise in takeaways and convience food has been greatly affected by this.

This makes for a vicious cycle of parents then not having the knowledge to pass down to their children creating a nation with little knowledge on food at all.

I was shocked to find that 1 in 5 can’t boil an egg, a quarter struggle to cook rice and a third of the people asked lack the skills to correctly cut an onion.

For these reasons Jamie’s Ministry Of Food has got together with Hotpoint to create a fantastic teaching kitchen that is setting up in the towns where obesity and diet related illnesses are at a high.

I was asked along to have a lesson at the truck earlier this week in Selhurst, South London.

I arrived in the car park of Crystal Palace Football Club which seemed like a pretty strange place to be learning to cook.

The truck was nothing liked I expected and was in fact a spectacularly kitted out set up with high tech appliances from Hopoint and plenty of natural light to make for a fantastic area to learn new skills.


Although I would say I’m a pretty confident cook my repertoire has become pretty limited due to cooking for a large family with limited time.

To be honest the majority of my meals are prepared from scratch but I’m a bit of a one pot fan and I was hoping this lesson would open my eyes to creating something new for the family.

Any nerves I had about starting the session were soon quashed when the super friendly chefs introduced themselves and started the afternoon.

Our mission was to prepare a beautiful dish of salmon teriyaki from scratch which is one of my favourite meals but something I’ve not tried to create mysel.

Each step was shown to us and then as we went through the process ourselves there was plenty of experts on hand to help out at any stage.


I learned some great tips on food wastage and an entirely new way to cook rice that I will be trying out at home!



Children as young as 7 can go along to take part and I think this would be the perfect way to introduce little ones to the exciting world of cooking and sparking off something that could turn into a real passion for them.

The truck is in Selhurst until 16th June and you can book your slot HERE for free.

It is then moving onto Bristol, Middlesborough, Sunderland and Liverpool.

There is then an exciting opportunity for one community to win the chance to have the truck come to your town.

All you need to do is post a picture on social media showing members of your local community such as a youth group or scout troop holding wooden spoons.

Simply let them know the name of your town and why they are deserving and is the hashtag #cookforchange.

I would love to know if you decide to visit the truck and if you do what you think!

WWE Smackdown Live At The O2

I have to admit I wasn’t filled with excitement when an email popped up in my inbox asking me along to the O2 to watch WWE Smackdown Live.

However after seeing the face of my usually unexcitable teenage boy light up at the thought of it I knew that is was going to be an event that he was going to very much enjoy.

In fact it wasn’t only Archie that was full of excitement, my husband and my five year old Frankie are also massive fans which would make it a trip for all ages.

We arrived at the O2 and set off for some pre drinks where we got the chance to see some of the infamous belts and get up close to Dolph Ziegler and Becky Lynch. Sadly we didn’t manage to get a photo but it was still great to meet them in person.

We made our way to our seats kitted out in all the fantastic merchandise and I was astounded by the atmosphere that was filling the packed out arena.


People of all ages were sining, chanting and cheering as the spectacular ring entrances that were taking place and were completely immersed in the thrill of the fight scenes. Many of which were dressed as their favourite characters such as The Undertaker and Randy Orton.

Even I got drawn into the atmosphere and thoroughly enjoyed the three hour long performance that for me was a cross between a rock concert and a boxing match.

The boys sat there glued to the stage, joining in with the chants and getting super excited with each throw and slam dunk they saw.

This show really was an eye opener for me and it goes to show that you sometimes the things you think you will have little interest in can actually be a really enjoyable experience.

We all came out buzzing from a fantastic event and I would highly recommend taking a trip next time they are in a town near you.

 

Ocean Invaders At Sealife Southbank

The Southbank is one…if not my favourite place in London.

Street entertainers, a huge choice of food, and some of the most famous landmarks in London are just a few of the attractions that draw so many visitors to this area along with a whole host of fantastic attractions that are just perfect to keep the little ones amused.

A few weeks ago we were invited along by AttractionTix to have a sneak peek at the new jellyfish attraction called Ocean Invaders at the Sealife centre.

We were lucky enough to arrive before the general public which allowed us to get up close to the exhibits and have a spot of breakfast behind the scenes too!

The colours immediately caught my attention as we entered and the children’s eyes lit up as soon as we saw the huge tanks full of beautiful jelly fish.

  

There are three sections to explore that enables the children to see the jelly fish in all their beauty, learn all about them and their environments and an interactive zone that my youngest two and their lack of concentration gained a lot from. 

As everything is so hands on even my three year old was kept engaged throughout. It really offers something for everyone and even my husband and I came away having learnt something new about the world of jelly fish.

The fun doesn’t stop here though as the Sealife Centre has so much to offer and we spent a good few hours exploring the numerous exhibits.

The children loved to be able to acually touch a starfish in the rock pool area.  

They loved gazing above them and peeping through the holes in the Ocean Tunnel.

The Shark Walk was a huge hit with the boys, as was having the opportunity to get up so close to the magnificent stingrays. 

The favourite though was probably Penguin Point where they happy watched the Penguins play in their very own polar experience. 

Our day didn’t finish here as AttractionTix had a full day of fun set up for us with a trip on a river boat and a visit to Shrek’s Adventure still on our list.

They really are the place to go for hugely discounted tickets on endless amounts of attractions.

They offer such great discounts that combining more than one attraction in a day can become a lot more affordable than you would think, and Southbank is the perfect place to get the most out of your day in this way as there are so many great places less than a stones throw away from each other.

The streets of London as you all know are massively over crowded and it can sometimes be hard to take in the beauty it holds, so one way to get a fantastic look at some of Londons biggest landmarks is a boat trip down the Thames.

The children were all really excited to sit on the top deck of the London Eye River Cruise boat and look out across the water.


They spotted all the landmarks they knew such as the Shard and the Houses of Parliament and some lesser known ones were pointed out to us by the super friendly guide that talked us through our trip.


It was a relaxing and informative 40 minute trip that also gave me some fabulous photo opportunities.

The last port of call for the day was Shrek’s Adventure that we visited last year and absolutely loved.

It was the first time for my husband and he was a little sceptical about how they would managed to fit something based around a film into an entire attraction.

He was in fact proved wrong and so taken back what a great experience it was.

You are taken on a journey through the Kingdom of Far, Far Away encountering all sorts of exciting places on the way from a trip on a 4D bus to mixing potions in the very special bakery.

This interactive show sucks you in from the beginning due to the fantastic set up and highly skilled actors and actresses.

It is a place the children ask to go back to time and time again and I really don’t blame them.


We had the most fantastic day and managed to pack more in then I could have ever imagined.

There was something for the whole family to enjoy and I’m sure you have seen a least one thing here that would take your fancy.

Please let me know if you decide to visit  any of these attractions as I would love to know what you think!
*This event was put on for us by AttractionTix and this are all my own, honest opinions.

Monkey On A Plane Launch With Emirates 

Ever since the Emirates airline went up all those years ago I have promised myself a trip on them.

Time passes quickly and as with so many things in London, I push them to the back of the list due to my complacency of being lucky enough to live here.

With this in mind when I was asked along to the Emirates Aviation Experience for the launch of their exciting new book I was excited by the book launch and the chance to experience the airline in equal measures.

After a quick ride we arrived at North  Greenwich and made the short walk to the Aviation Experience where we were going to hear all about the fantastic new book launch of Monkey On The Plane.

Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre the dynamic duo behind this book have cleverly taken the ideas of a four year competition winner who’s brilliant ideas were picked to be turned into a real life  book that is perfect to spark the love of travel in any child.

The children got themselves super cosy on a selection of beanbags and listened intently to the adventures of Enrico the the monkey who was fed up with his boring life in the forest and was ready to take of on all kinds of exciting adventures.

Sarah and Philip kept the children engaged throughout with their brilliant storytelling and interactive activities that allowed them to try their hand at their own illustrations.

They were then able to get their own books signed by the authors whilst sitting inside a super cool replica A380.

The Aviation Experience is the perfect place to experience the trill of flying whist on terra firma.

As well as being able to sit onboard a plane the can climb inside the cockpit and try their hand at being a pilot, get up close to the Rolls-Royce engine, take in all the information in the interactive displays or climb on board on of the simulators that get you as close to flying a plane as possible.


Next up we were ready to take to the sky onboard the airline.

I have to say that although I really wanted to experience this I’m not the best with heights!

Sweating palms and shouting at the children to sit still and not even dare to stand up we slowly climbed to the top and made our way across the river.


Once I hit the top my nerves settled and I was able to enjoy the trip and point out all the famous landmarks to the children with the help of the onboard guide.

With thoughts of travel firmly in the little ones heads our journey home was spend reading their books and planning all the places they would like to visit themselves.

If you have a trip abroad planned soon or you just want your little one to have a little more knowledge of the wonderful world of travel then Monkey On The Plane is available to download ‘here’ .

I would love to know what you think.

Family Friendly Shopping With Whitgift And Centrale Shopping Centres

I have had a love for shopping since before I can even remember. I loved trawling the shops with my Mum as a small child and spent every Saturday looking at the new clothes that were hitting the shelves as a teen.

As my family grew though my love for shopping dwindled.

The stress hits me as soon as we get in the car with the anticipation of how the children are going to behave.

They usual don’t disappoint and by the time we hit the first shop I have already had a toliet request, a need for imidiate food and the dreaded ‘how much longer’ question.

Last week we were asked along by Centrale and Whitgift shopping centres to see what they had to offer in the way of family shopping.

First port of call was Build A Bear which is always a winner with my children.

Children get the opportunity to select a bear of their choice from a huge selection, stuff them full of fluff using the super cool machine and dress them up in an outfit of choice.

This whole process is done with the help of the friendly staff that make it even more special by adding games and activities to do along the way.

Next stop was Zara which was always going to be a little trickier as it wasn’t going to be nearly as much fun as building your own bear.

Zara is my favourite high street shop as it covers something for the whole family, is bang on trend and is very reasonably priced. 

To take the boredom out of clothes shopping I let him have his own little catwalk show and have a hand in choosing an outfit for me too.

Kids need to feel included and I know how hard this can be but by giving them a little responsibility can go a long way.

The last treat was a trip to Weenies kids club in Whitgift Shopping Centre.

Right in the middle of the shopping complex was a whole area dedicated to littlies.

To join in with the activities you must be a member that is easy to subscribe to online and completly free. The sessions can then be booked within minutes by using the Centrale PLUS app.

Once they are signed up the have access to all the session that are put on during the holidays and on selected weekends throughout the year, plus discounts on a number of retail outlets for parents and children.

Frankie was able to get up close and personal with a huge array of animals from chicks to frogs, snakes to rabbits.

There were crafts to join in with, story competitions to complete and face painting fun.

I really was astounded by this event. The friendly staff keep the children engaged throughout the whole session and they got so much out of it and for absolutely no cost.

I came away from the day with a fresh new outlook on taking the kids shopping.

Whitgift and Centrale offer a complete package for families and with a little bit of forethought and planning it really doesn’t have to be the nightmare I always imagine it to be.

*collaborated post.

The Art Of Brick:DC Super Heroes

Lego is a toy that from my experience all children love. It allows them to be creative, use their imagination and helps heaps with their fine motor skills.

For my youngest two mixing Lego with superheroes would be the perfect combination and that is exactly what has been done with The Art Of Brick:DC Super Heroes.

The extremely clever artist Sawaya has teamed up with DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. to recreate DC characters, vehicles and the environments they are found in out of over 2 million Lego bricks. 


We were all astounded with the intricacy of each and every sculpture that the boys found very hard to keep their hands off of. In fact only my youngest two could have a kerfuffle in the middle of the exhibition…coming close to taking out a huge container filled with carefully sorted bricks!


Sticky fingers are however allowed to wander at the end of the exhibition where there is the chance to create your own masterpieces, grab a snack or play on some Lego themed video games.

I’ve not spoiled the exhibition by including lots of pics in this post as it lovely to see them first hand.

Tickets are easily purchased online and there is the option to by on the door but I wouldn’t leave it to chance.

We were there for about an hour in total so the entry price is a little high in my opinion, but it really is a sight worth seeing.

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