Sunday, 30 August 2015

Review: Brewer's Fayre Winwick Quay

We were over the moon to be invited to Brewer's Fayre in Winwick Quay. We love finding new places to eat with the kids. As you know we have the three of them so for us as long as they are happy, we are happy too. The main things I look out for at a restaurant with children are a) the menu - do they have a good kid's menu? b) Is there something for them to do? Rosie is at the "runaway" stage and so if there is a play area or other activities available then we might be able to keep her entertained long enough for her to eat! I also think about value for money - times are tough for most families and if we do take the kids out to eat we want it to be worth our money.

We were made to feel very welcome with the kids at the restaurant. We were seated with plenty of space and there were balloons, colouring books and hats for the kids. This meant that straight away the kids had something to do. I don't know about you but our kids have been a little bit on the "lively" side these past couple of weeks. I think that they are fed up with the lack of routine now and it is coming out in their behaviour! So I for one was very glad for the children's colouring books!!

The Kids Menu

We really loved the kids menu. It has a Dennis The Menace theme and there are different options available depending on whether you want a main and dessert. Alice picked macaroni and cheese with garlic bread, Emily picked spaghetti bolognaise and Rosie picked pizza. All of these came with a side salad and looked really lovely to eat. Our kids mix and match and bits of macaroni were swapped for bits of pizza - there was no food left at the end - always a good thing! The portion sizes are really decent - Emily is 12 and ate the full portion of spaghetti bolognaise. She sometimes orders from the adult menu, but she ends up not being able to eat it all, but the kids portions here are quite generous so it was just about right for her.

Our Food

I was being good having gained weight last week - I picked a healthy bacon and chicken salad. There was no fat on the bacon, which is ideal for me, so I counted it as Slimming World friendly, which is always a bonus for me! Warren had to nip out on an errand, so I chose him a mixed grill. This looked great and I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit jealous of his plate!

The girls ordered two desserts - these were on offer at 2 for £2.50 so you can't argue with that at all. They had ice cream with raspberry sauce and an apple betty - which was an apple and caramel cake served with hot custard. Needless to say there were no leftovers at all!


All of the staff were friendly and really looked after us. As I said, Warren had to run out on an errand and his food arrived a bit before he got back. The staff offered to keep his plate warm, but he was back before it cooled down anyway so it was all good.

Play Area

There is also a small play area outside of the restaurant. The kids spent about twenty minutes outside once we had finished our meals. As you can see they had a great time!

All in all I would recommend this restaurant. It is excellent value for money with plenty of money saving deal available. Some of the main meals are two for £10 so to feed a family of five this would be a great option.

The cost of our food was covered in exchange for this review. All words and views are our own.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Important Measures To Keep Children Safe Online

 This is a guest post.

The internet can offer vast opportunities for young people, who are learning about themselves, their peers and the world in general. Not only does the world wide web offer infinite amounts of information, which can be positive from an educational perspective, but there are opportunities to socialise with friends, meet new people, play games and download entertainment content.

However, there are also significant risks associated with the internet, and these cannot be ignored. Used maliciously, or irresponsibly, it can be a very dangerous tool. As such, it is crucial to take whatever steps necessary to keep children safe online. This is a role for parents, teachers, service providers and professionals working in child protection jobs - everyone has to contribute to the effort.

The NSPCC [] has 
identified six major risks for minors using the internet. These are: 

- accessing inappropriate adult content 
- ignoring age restrictions 
- befriending or communicating with strangers
- grooming and sexual abuse 
- sharing personal information
- gambling/running up debts

It is important to account for each of these risks and take steps to protect young people who are still finding their way in the online world.

Protecting children online

One of the first things responsible adults should do is talk to children at an early stage and explain the dangers of the internet. Conversations or lessons about online risks should be held regularly, in order to reinforce the information and ensure children are aware of the issues. In a 
survey conducted by the (ISC)2 Foundation , 68% of minors said their parents never check what they do online. This is an obvious cause for concern.

Adults can help children use the internet responsibly by exploring the web with them, helping to guide their use. Setting rules and boundaries provides a framework for responsible browsing, while parental controls can be used to filter, restrict, monitor or report content. 

Following a 
speech made by the prime minister David Cameron in 2013, the UK's internet service providers have delivered new tools to help parents protect children from harmful content. Adults need to learn how to use these defences, to activate privacy settings and utilise reporting tools effectively.

It is important for adults to know who children are talking to online, on message boards and on social media networks. (ISC)2 Foundation found that 22 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds have met up with somebody they first came across online, so there are risks are children being duped by impersonators. Some degree of supervision is always advisable, with early intervention crucial to 
tackling sexual offences against children.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

For Emily, Aged 12 Today - Our Adventures

Emily is 12 years old today. 12. How time flies.

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. I was 20 years old. A very young 20, I'd say. I liked smoking cigarettes, lip gloss, drinking halves of lager in night clubs and staying out all night dancing. I remember buying a cheap pregnancy test as I'd felt a bit strange for a few days. I did the test in work in the toilet, the two pink lines staring up at me, were they lying? I flushed the loo and walked out of the building in a daze, half-excited, half-dizzy. A bit of a mess.

When I sat back at my desk I phoned my cousin. "Can you get me a Clear Blue? - I'll give you the money when I get to yours." Clear Blues were £10 - a lot of money back then for someone like me on a low wage. I got the bus to my cousin's flat. I didn't open the test right away. I was certain that the first test had been lying, it was faulty - it was wrong. We sat on the floor of my cousin's flat, gossipped, ate take-away curries, drank Lambrini wine and smoked Lambert and Butler's.

Once taken, the test was positive staring back at me, the blue + sign clear as day. A big bright positive.

I laughed.

You see, from that night onwards. That strange, bewildering night - I decided that I was going on an adventure. Something quite new, something quite exciting, scary, exhilarating and even magical was going to happen. I was going on an adventure, and once you were born, we were to go on our adventure together - as mother and daughter.

How far we've come, Em. Just me and you for the first few years.

I remember how you used to gurgle at the sight of me. You used to wake up in the cot next to me, arms and legs wriggling, big smile on your face, big beautiful dribbly gurgles for your Mummy.

I remember when we bought our own house and you had your own room. You had your dummies (doh-dees) until you were four and liked to brush your nose with the one that had the most fluff on. ("Fluffy-One Dode")

You went to nursery while I worked and your best friend was April. One day I picked you up and you both ran up to me and sang "Don't you wish your girlfriend was-a-hot like me DON'TCHAAAA!"

You went to school and in the first year your teacher told me she had never known a child like you. She said you were so funny, intelligent and such a character. This same teacher still asks about you, even though we live miles away now.

When you were 5 we met your Dad. We went on a "family date" to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. We had dinner in a pub. I'd dressed you in white and green, and you ate bolognaise and got it all over your top.

We went to Liverpool a few times on "dates" too. You liked to dress up in "Boy's Stuff" and wouldn't dream of wearing a dress. You loved that we were all cool with whatever you wanted to wear.

When you were 6 you saw your Dad get down on one knee in the park opposite the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Then at 7 you were the beautiful bridesmaid at our wedding.

And now, wow... how the time has flown. It is not just me and you on our adventure. We are part of something much larger. You now have two sisters, Alice and Rosie, and more extended family members than we can count. We live in a busy home full of love, life, laughter. (And a few tears and tantrums along the way, of course.)

And so, our adventure continues. We're a long way from where we began, 12 years is a long time. Our adventure is like a snowball Em, it gets bigger, faster, stronger. We collect our memories along the way - we stay close and we take care of each other. Our family is everything.

Happy Birthday my biggest girl. We love you all the world. x

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