Monday, 27 April 2015

Cake and Bake show ticket offer

I've been to the Manchester cake and bake show a couple of times, it's always a great day out.  This year they have four on; Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Harrogate. If you like baking then I'd definitely recommend going to one.

The cake and bake show have offered bloggers a discount ticket code to share with their readers, details to follow.


The Cake & Bake Show, in association with NEFF is an experiential live event for baking and cake fanatics. The event is set to turn up the heat with 4 new exciting shows in Harrogate, London, Manchester and Edinburgh. These events have capitalised on the popularity of all things baking and host the perfect mix of live demonstrations, expert classes, market stands, live competitions and so much more to develop your home baking hobby! Book yours before 12th June and save £3 on tickets!

 

PLUS! See and meet renowned baking stars, patisserie experts and the industry's best cake decorators. From demonstrations on the Super Cake & Bake Theatre in association with NEFF, to do-along classroom sessions and book signings - there will be lots of opportunities for you to learn from the best! Tickets are now on sale! Just quote CAKE-BAKE3 when purchasing to receive £3 off tickets!” 

*Offer valid on any full price advance tickets only. Offer ends 12.06.15. Ticket terms and conditions apply. Information correct at time of print.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Eating out with small children

A few years before having children I once had a twitter conversation on why I thought children should eat out in child friendly places, those geared up to cater to families, leaving 'proper' restaurants for grown ups. I didn't like the noise, or mess, I was trying to enjoy my meal, if I wanted child chaos I'd be in my nearest McDonald's.

Now I have my own little people, has my opinion changed?

No.

Although I'm more tolerant of children now, and I understand that noisy, wailing children aren't misbehaving because they're brats, with rubbish parents - it's because they're hungry/tired/bored... But if I go to eat out on an evening then I still prefer there to be no under 5s me. So I can enjoy my meal in peace, undisturbed.

I've mellowed slightly on lunchtimes and early evening - but only really in places that cater to children. 

I often feel that eating out with our kids anywhere can be a waste of money - they don't eat the food, I don't get to eat mine, it's completely stressful trying to keep them entertained before the food comes, a drink is ALWAYS knocked over the table. I don't find it enjoyable at all!  On the rare occasion we've been to somewhere I'd class as not child friendly I've felt very out of place, and quite stressed, worrying we're disrupting other diners.

I understand the argument that children need to learn to behave in different social settings, and learn 'the rules' of eating out, but I don't think they need to do it somewhere that isn't geared up for them. I don't think it's fair to the other diners to inflict my noisy, grumpy, impatient children on them.

I'd like Daisy and Phoebe to eat out with us, but I don't feel like we can go anywhere 'nice' that the pre-child me would have been irritated by children being there, ruining my meal.

So what's the answer, stick to Pizza Hut until they're 7, or rarely eat out? 

In my perfect world, restaurants would have family nights, from 4-8pm, a couple of times each month, where we can go knowing there will only be other families, where people will be tolerant if one of my children has a meltdown when their food hasn't arrived quick enough - or if they have a little wander about. Where it isn't the end of the world if most of it ends up on the floor - and nobody looks at me like I'm a crazy person for picking all the food up myself, on my hands and knees. (I really wish I had a mini dustpan and brush for my handbag).

Oh, and I would like the children's food to arrive lukewarm, so they can eat it straight away, and my food isn't left to go cold while I break apart pieces of theirs, frantically blowing on it, to cool it to a reasonable temperature. I've never understood why places send children's food out with it being as hot as the sun?!

I'd like there to be enough high chairs, I'd like there to be baby changing, and I'd like mini portions of the adult menu, not chicken nuggets!

But it's just a dream, and I'll be eating in Pizza Hut for the next ten years....

I must add that I do have a friend who has eaten out with her little one, and has never felt the need to go a child friendly chain, has never used a children's menu, and her son eats anything and behaves beautifully. So maybe that's the answer? To perseve, never giving in to going to the child friendly chains? To go often enough they learn the 'rules' of eating out from a very early age? 

What do you think?

Would you take an under 5 out to dinner to a 'proper' restaurant?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Debbie & Andrew's 97% pork sausages

I was kindly sent a pack of Debbie & Andrew's Harrogate 97% pork sausages to review. http://www.debbieandandrews.co.uk/our-food/harrogate-pork-sausages

 They arrived in a cute cool bag with a little recipe book, a nice touch.

These sausages are dairy, gluten and wheat free. 

We opted for a simple meal to try them with, with mash and beans.

They cooked well, not leaking fat/water. They didn't fall apart, or stick to the foil either.

The sausages had a pleasant meaty flavour, I expected them to have more of a fatty taste with them looking so plump, but they didn't taste fatty at all.

I feel quite bad that we didn't do anything 'fancy' with them, but sometimes mash and beans just hit the spot.

We'd definitely purchase these in the supermarket, and I'd like to try the other flavours. Look out for them in ASDA, Morrisons and Tesco. 






Monday, 2 March 2015

Recent Eats - end of February

The last two weeks of February flew by.  The only place I've eaten out was grabbing a bite to eat from Fish& who are currently in Trinity Kitchen.  I opted for the lobster mac and cheese - delicious.  I also indulged myself in a super quick espresso stop at Bottega Milanese, not sure the other customers were very impressed with my double buggy, but I needed caffeine and I needed to stop to feed my hungry baby.

 lobster mac & cheese

  
my first ever espresso

Other than lunch out on Friday our only other eating out has been a picnic in our car when we went to Dalby Forest last week.  It's been a couple of weeks of eating Slimming World friendly meals, and then ruining the effort of those by eating loads of chocolate and drinking wine.  Not sure where I left my self control and willpower, but I could do with them returning to me...


 defrosted berries and fat free yoghurt - the juice that comes off the fruit as it defrosts is the best bit

 Chicken and potato curry with peas and sweetcorn

 cauliflower rosti pie - recipe from this months Slimming World magazine

If I didn't have the wedding coming up I think I'd be ready to throw in the towel on Slimming World, I'm not sure it's ever going to work for me, I'm constantly yoyoing up and down with gains and losses.  I'm finding being exhausted from lack of sleep just makes me crave sugar, likewise feeling upset, I just want to binge on chocolate for that quick fix rush from the sugar.  But then I have to deal with the guilt of eating it.

I had no idea that it would be so much harder to lose the baby weight after my second baby.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Danepak reduced salt bacon



I was sent some Danepak reduced salt bacon to review. The bacon is 30% less salt than the standard version - as far as packaged bacon goes I'd definitely buy this again.  Obviously it isn't in the same league as bacon from the butchers, but it isn't meant to be, it is a vast improvement on the Aldi bacon we've had recently though.

In terms of taste, you can taste from the first mouthful that there is less salt in the bacon, I often find supermarket bacon too salty, particularly if I'm going to use it in a meal the whole family is eating.

I used my bacon in an omelette, cauliflower 'fried' rice and we shared out the remaining in sandwiches.

I'd buy this again, over the other supermarket bacon.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Recent eats - first two weeks of Feb


Over the last two weeks I've eaten a few stir fry meals, lots of soup (butternut squash and red pepper shown above), a sausage and puy lentil stew (I loved it, everyone else hated it), cauliflower fried 'rice' and stuffed mushrooms.

In celebration of valentines day Daisy and I made double chocolate heart cookies, and Phil and I had an M&S dine in meal.  The wine was the star of our meal, Wave Break Pinot Grigio - absolutely delicious, we'll be stocking up with more of that.

I also bought some Essy & Bella chocolates, these are dairy, egg and gluten free. I always imagine "free from" products as being tasteless, these definitely are not. I bought pink peppercorn and sea salt, lime and sea salt and ginger bars, and got Phil a heart lollypop. Our favourite was the lime one, we love chocolate lime sweets, so this was a perfect bar for us to share.

So far this month I've eaten out with the girls at Little Tokyo in Leeds, fantastic as always, and will be heading into Trinity Kitchen for a Fish& fix next week.

Slimming world wise, I got slimmer of the month for January - 8.5ibs off, but have totally gone to pot and gained 3ibs last week! I'm expecting another gain this week after all the wine and food we've had this weekend. Need to give my head a shake, and stop snacking.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Recent eats - slimming world meals

I've been back at Slimming World for a while now, but didn't really get my head back round it until January. I lost 8.5ibs in January and was my group's slimmer of the month.

Although I'm expecting a gain this week (biscuits, chocolate, toast...) I am really enjoying being back on plan.

I eat lots of soups, omelettes, pasta and rice dishes and try to eat as much 'speed' fruit and veg as I can. I've even had a go at egg 'wraps'.













What's your favourite slimming world meal?