Showing posts from August, 2014

Dinner at Zizzi - #Review

One of the great things about living in Milton Keynes is that there are hundreds of restaurants to choose from. One that I've often walked past and thought would be a good place to go when I didn't have the children with me was Zizzi. To me, it looks like a grown up restaurant and the last time I took a child to a posh Italian restaurant, the chef looked at me pityingly because my daughter (who was three at the time) wanted cheap pasta and sauce instead of the delicious fresh pasta he was producing. So hearing that they (Zizzi) had revamped their children's menu was a revelation, children's menu means children are welcome and the new menu sounded delicious, so we decided we'd head off to review the restaurant and menu.

Big Boy and I arrived first, and our lovely Waitress asked us where we'd like to sit. The entire restaurant was empty and so we asked where she suggested and she gave us a window seat. This way, we'd have a good people watching viewpoint and …

Family Mission Statement

I was at a friends house the other day and saw a little plaque on her kitchen wall. She saw me admiring it and told me it was a quote that her Mum used to say all the time as she was growing up, that became the family motto. The one thing I remember my Mum saying when I was younger was in response to the question what's for dinner and the answer isn't a suitable quote to put up on any wall... although maybe I'll have a plaque made up as a Christmas gift for her!

There is of course a plaque that my Mum has in her home now;

And whilst it isn't really a family motto it sure is how my Mum rules her home! Luckily none of us have ever been thrown out.

It got me thinking though. I have a personal motto, a mission statement as such and Daddy and I have spoken several times about our thoughts on a Family Mission Statement, you know what we as a family value as a family, what our goals are, what our dreams and inspirations for the future are. Have you ever thought about a family…

Rainbow Braid Loom Band Refill #Review

Top Ender and Big Boy have only driven me slightly nutty with their loom bands this Summer. Big Boy has this magic ability where he can see them from miles away on the floor and has been adding them to his stash which doesn't seem to be getting smaller... despite making hundreds of bracelets, key rings and various characters from tutorials on youtube. Even Daddy has been dragged into the world of Loom bands, when he was taught how to make a bracelet over dinner one Sunday and sent back to Birmingham with his very own box to create his own bracelets!

I knew that we were going to need a refill soon though, so when I was asked if I'd like to review the Rainbow Braid Loom Band Refill pack, I said YES!

They arrived just as Top Ender went camping, so I secretly stole them away up to my bedroom and hid them in my box of goodies as I didn't want Daddy and Top Ender taking them with them!

I had to keep the bands because I'd seen the BEST bracelet that Josie posted on Facebook a…

Boy Craft Book #Review

Sometimes being a Mum to a boy is really hard. I don't mean that it's harder being a mum to a boy than it is to a girl I just mean, I was never a little boy and this is all new to me. I'm never quite sure if what I'm doing with Big Boy is right or wrong, I just pray, cross my fingers and hope for the best! Luckily, so far I don't appear to have messed up too badly.

The Boy Craft book claims that it has "Loads of things to make FOR and WITH boys (and girls)" and Big Boy and I had a read through the book picking out things that we thought that we might like to do, or in some cases that we had done in the past.

It was actually pretty wicked. Especially when I got Big Boy finger knitting because the book showed him how to do it! We may have spent a disproportionate amount of time finger knitting since them, which is lucky as Top Ender has decided she likes the scarves and that they are perfect for accessorising herself with.

The book has given me loads of ide…

Top Hat Milton Keynes Theatre #Review

As I look back on my childhood, I realise that I was a really lucky little girl. My Mum had great taste in films and music and cultured me with it. I developed a deep love for musicals (and anything with Doris Day in has me glued to the TV) and for the Theatre and just the arts in general and so before I get on with this review I just want to say thank you to her for that.

Thanks Mum.
Now, one of the films I remember watching growing up was Top Hat. It had the lovely Fred Astaire in it, who taps across the screen and into Ginger Rogers heart after a few mishaps of course. It's the sort of perfect Sunday afternoon or rainy Bank Holiday viewing that families would enjoy together and nobody would be pretending not to watch through their fingers or with a parent on remote control duty having to edit out the swearing.

The Fancy Dress Day

When the Missionaries were round for a meal the other day, Top Ender appeared in the living room wearing part of her Alice in Wonderland costume. Nobody was quite sure why, but it gave me an idea and so after explaining to the children what I had come up with we decided that we would have a Fancy Dress day.

We all decided what costumes that we would wear for the day and got dressed.

I decided to be a Victorian Maid. Mainly because it's the only costume I have in my dressing up box and also why change a habit right?! Big Boy decided to have several costume changes and be Steve From Minecraft.

Ultimate Fighter from Super Smash Brawl (I have no idea).

And Zombie Princess Peach (Again, no idea but he keeps coming back to this costume, this was taken the day his best friend moved house!).

Top Ender had a lot of costumes to choose from and decided to be Cinderella, all day (and you can see BB changed yet again into Six Year Old Boy on a Tablet).

We tried to not go to the shops or do any…

Imagination Pooh Stick Racing

One of our favourite things to do when it isn't raining is Pooh Stick Racing. You know from Winnie the Pooh stories, where they drop a stick one side of a bridge and then race to the other side to see who's stick comes out from under the bridge first? We've sort of blogged about it before, when we went to the REAL100 Acre woodsbut we've noticed lately that this isn't really a good thing to do as with lots of people doing it, it means that the rivers get blocked up.
So on our last trip to a river with a bridge over it, we played imagination pooh stick racing!

We all dropped our sticks in the water and looked to see who's came out first.

We kept a running commentary going, detailing just what each stick was doing and how it was positioned.

It was just as much fun as real pooh stick racing and seeing as it was a draw between all four of us it meant a lot less snide looks!

On The Table in 30: Baking - Parragon Book #Review

Big Boy, Top Ender and I all have a sweet tooth. Actually that isn't quite true, it's not a sweet tooth as such it's just that like most Mummy Bloggers and their families all of us love cake and would gladly eat cake for all our meals. We know however that this isn't really something that we should do and so we only eat cake occasionally and as the cakes that we normally make take a bit of time to make, bake and cool before being iced and then finally being able to be eaten it's becoming even less frequent that we're baking together.

I was interested in this book, because from the looks of the pictures on the cover and the blurb on the back I was going to be able to create some fabulous baked treats that if we teamed up and did as a family activity, we'd be able to enjoy within 30 minutes of starting baking and I'm sure that the children and I would LOVE this, as we'd be able to bake and eat in the same amount of time that our attention span lasts!

Easy Sewing with Bostik

Every time I get my new craft box from Bostik Family Craft Bloggers Network and Craft Merrily I get excited, that maybe this month will be the month that I have a fab idea that nobody else has. And as you know this never happens. Sob. Before I show you what the Children created, I need to show you what I created, because nothing says I need your approval more than putting myself ahead of my children.

I've had a new phone for a few weeks and I've been really worried that because it doesn't have a cover that goes over the screen, that it's going to end up being scratched. Daddy has told me that this is stupid and that of course it'll be fine, because it has some magic kind of covering on the screen, but I decided to put some of my talents to good use and create a little pouch for my phone to live in, when it's in my handbag. 
I absolutely love it.
It was really simple to make, I simply sewed together two sides of the bag a little of 2/3 of the way up, turned the …

I'm Not Going Outside

I realised something yesterday. I never have to go outside again if I don't want to. Everything I need to do I can do quite easily from the comfort of my own living room, and if I wanted to I could do it in my pants. Take yesterday for example...

I ordered a jigsaw from Argos and had it delivered by Shutl, instead of walking with Big Boy the 1.5 miles to Argos (or B&Q which is across the road from Argos) to purchase the jigsaw and then the 1.5 miles home again. The delivery fee was well worth the no hassle from BB for having to walk there and back.

I placed an order for my weekly grocery shop online. That way I didn't have to struggle with the shopping in a Taxi or on the Bus or wait until Tuesday when I finally have the car back (as Tops and Daddy have it in Devon for a long weekend). I also didn't spend any extra on things that I didn't need.

I ordered a film through Sky TV for BB and I to watch, but then again that's nothing new I don't even know if vide…

Mexican Week - Chilli Con Carne AKA Night Five #Review

I knew that I was going to have a problem with dinner tonight. The children have complained all week about the spice levels of the foods and they were all mild. How on earth was I going to get this Chilli Con Carne past them? Especially when they both know full well the story of the first time I had Chilli Con Carne (Hi Auntie Tracey!) and how I reacted to the spice level. I know you want to know the story, but let's just say that the October 1987 weekend of the big wind that knocked out most peoples fences etc was also the weekend that my sister and I ate CCC for the first time and we didn't react well and neither of us ate it for many many years after.


I decided that what I should do was make the Chilli and then before serving it to the children (and me) add a healthy dollop of yoghurt to cool the spice level right down.

It worked.

The Children however didn't love it, as it was still too spicy for them. Top Ender managed to eat more of it than Big Boy but it was …

A Staycation With Big Boy

This morning, Big Boy and I saw off Daddy and Top Ender on their weekend of camping. Big Boy and I are too much creatures of comfort to go camping. If we were to go camping, we'd need to go glamping or get a much bigger tent. Daddy and Top Ender are quite happy to live for a few days in the pop up tents, but Big Boy and I like to be able to stand up without sticking our heads through fabric! After we had waved them off, twice as they forgot something and had to come back, Big Boy and I sat down to breakfast.

We decided that we'd spoil ourselves this extended weekend of our staycation, so I made pancakes and accidentally covered them in cream and sprinkles.

After breakfast we watched a film together (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2), read a few stories in a book (Stories for Children), did a spot of colouring (various from a colouring book) and we did all this before Big Boy played a bit of Minecraft with our old neighbours (who now have the internet at their new home). 

Mexican Week - Fajitas AKA Night Four #Review


I LOVE Fajitas. Seriously I do, I love Veggie ones, I love Chicken ones, I love Steak ones, the Fish ones, the PUDDING ones (I'll put a recipe up at the bottom of this post, trust me you'll LOVE them) and my absolute favourite, the Fried Breakfast ones.

The children however seem to think that if you are going to have Fajitas there are only two or three things that can go in them.

Meat, Chicken or Fish.

Plus, you can't serve them with any form of seasoning, no matter how mild because as we all know seasoning is the quickest way to add any flavour to food and that is bad*.

So the fajitas I made for the children were a little... lacking.

How boring do they look? My fajitas which I accidentally ate before remembering I hadn't taken a picture of were red and green and yellow, with onion and peppers and chicken and huge dollops of guacamole (I LOVE ME SOME GUAC!).
It didn't matter though. The children loved theirs as much as I loved mine and we were all happily sit…

Mexican Week - Enchiladas AKA Night Three #Review

All week the children have complained that the food I'm giving them as part of Mexican week is too spicy, so last night with the Enchiladas I kinda covered them in the Sour Cream sauce to tone down the spicy level.

Plus I thought it looked cool.

It worked. Actually, I didn't have any sour cream on my meal and ended up squirting a load out because the meal was too spicy for me! The children didn't quite finish theirs, as they thought it was a little too spicy but they loved the whole idea of the sauce and cheese being inside and outside the wraps (which they do love).

I don't think that if we had the Enchiladas again I'd use the seasoning mix, but then that kind of spoils the whole point of having them!

We were sent everything but the meat and cheese by Santa Maria for the purpose of this review.

Watching The Clouds Go By

One of the things that the children and I like to do when we are busy doing nothing, is watch the clouds go by. Sometimes you will find us sitting out in the garden looking up at the sky just watching the clouds pass by overhead. We went for a walk at a lake and decided that as it was such a lovely sky that we should spend some of the afternoon just watching the clouds go by.

We sat down on a blanket (which I've taken to keeping in the car for moments like this) and giggled as we tried to find shapes in the clouds. We decided that this one below was a turtle chasing after a hare, which led the children to retell the classic fable and act it out whilst we sat together.

We weren't quite sure  what these clouds looked like, but we just liked the way that they looked. Big Boy decided that this was the sort of scene that he would paint if he were a famous painter, whilst I suggested we write a poem together about the scene.

It was sitting back round on the far side of the lake that…

Mexican Week - Meatballs AKA Night Two #Review

Our second night of Mexican, saw us eating Mexican Meatballs and Rice. I decided to do a side dish of Lemon and Cheese Tenderstem Broccoli (honestly I love the stuff) which everyone agreed was lovely, although Big Boy did say his Meatballs were better!

The great thing about this dish was that even though it was Mexican, thanks to the "spicy" sauce that the meatballs had over them, it wasn't that spicy and was what my children think of as a "normal" meal.
It was ridiculously easy to make, it tasted lush and I'm looking forward to the rest of the weeks dishes! What Mexican dish do you hope we eat?

We were sent the food by Santa Maria. Thanks guys!

A Walk Round The Lake

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but one of the things I love the most about living in Milton Keynes is that there is never a shortage of lakes to walk round. My favourite lake is on the estate known as Furzton and I wish I knew why it was my favourite lake, I just know that it is! After dinner, Daddy suggested that we go to Furzton Lake for a walk. So we bundled into the car to drive the short distance to the lake (but far enough that we need to drive!) to go for a family walk.

It was a glorious evening with plenty of people walking, cycling and jogging round the lake. There were plenty of families who were just like us, enjoying the late Summer sun and some time together as a family. 
As we walked round the lake, we took turns walking with each other. Sometimes it was Tops walking with me, whilst Big Boy walked with his Daddy. Sometimes, Daddy walked with me or with Top Ender and sometimes we all walked together. We had lots of conversations about lots of random things, Bi…

Mexican Week - Tacos AKA Night One #Review

Thanks to our lovely friends at Santa Maria who sent us some lovely Mexican food products, we decided that what we really needed to do was have a week of Mexican food. Luckily, Santa Maria are so clever that they already have gluten free products and so we started off the week with Daddy and had Tacos.

This did lead to Big Boy deciding that it was Tuesday instead of Sunday (IT'S TACO TUESDAY! NOT TACO SUNDAY!) and deciding to watch The Lego Movie (AGAIN, but at least it wasn't Frozen again!) whilst Top Ender and I disappeared out to do some service.

The shells had had a little breakage in the packet, so instead of stuffed Taco shells, I had everything in a big old heap on my plate. I have to say I quite liked it like this and might be tempted to eat it again like this in the future!

Are you a Mexican food fan? What is your favourite cuisine?

We were sent the sauces and shells to review, they're tasty!