Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Staying Safe this Christmas

We are very much looking forward to “shutting up” for Christmas. The end of the working week signals the end of the working year for us. Kids are off school, we have a little break planned and lots of brilliant family time pencilled in over the festive period. Of course there will be lots of food and drink consumed – slimming will have to be put on the back burner until the New Year I’m afraid – sorry Slimming World!

Christmas is also a time where we can all let our hair down and have a drink. It’s great to celebrate Christmas with a few special drinks over Christmas and New Year, lovely to let your hair down and enjoy the time of off work – a little festive break. Usually we visit our parents on Christmas evening and share a few drinks. However, we always walk round and walk back. We are lucky that they do only live around the corner so it is easy for us to do this. However, if we lived any further away, we would make sure that we got taxis. Drinking and driving is never worth it. We just have a zero alcohol approach when it comes to driving, so at Christmas, we adopt a zero driving approach when it comes to alcohol! Sounds simple, but a car can be a deadly machine and getting behind the wheel of a car after consuming one to many would just be far too dangerous and a stupid decision that could ruin many lives.

The Co-Op have designed this designated driver finder to encourage people to be safe and sound this Christmas. Definitely worth a go if you can't decide which of you is to drive - go on, give the wheel a spin.

Please make sure that this year as you celebrate Christmas you keep safe. If you are drinking then make sure that you do have a designated driver – a taxi is perfect, then you can all have a little tipple knowing that you are safe.

Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Co-Operative insurance. All words and views are my own.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

#ManicMumday with Toby Carvery

I was challenged tonight to have a night off cooking and visit our local Toby Carvery. Such a tough challenge, I know, but someone's got to do it!

I cook from fresh most nights, even on weekdays when we're working - we are just in the routine, or on the hamster wheel, whichever! Warren cooks about once a week when I am in late from work, the rest of the time I tend to do the cooking. This is fine, but now and again you do just need a night off - you don't appreciate how much effort it is after a day's work to get in and cook and clean up afterwards -  so I was more than happy to take on this challenge! Every day is a ManicMumday for me, as you can imagine!

Our local Toby Carvery is in Aintree just a short drive away. We hadn't took the girls to a Toby before and they love roast dinners so I already knew that it would be a hit with them. Staff were very friendly and helpful and all in the Christmas spirit with their jumpers and antlers - the kids thought it was great. The restaurant itself is spacious and ambient, bit of music in the background and generally a chilled out atmosphere.

When we were seated the kids were given colouring-in sheets and crayons and we set to looking at the menu. They do have a Christmas menu out now with a choice of two and three courses for a set price. We thought that these looked fab, and we decided to have roast dinners each. Warren had his upgraded to a King Size for an extra £1.50 and because Rosie is under three staff gave her a bowl and a spoon so we could share our food with her. Rosie is a good eater at times, bu
t at others she just picks, so it can end up being a waste of money as well as food, so we were grateful for the bowl!

We each took turns to get our food. At the Carvery you can have any of the four meats; pork, gammon, turkey or beef with a Yorkshire pudding. Then you can select your own veg and condiments. The vegetables were sprouts, carrots, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese and a choice of two mashed potatoes. If you still feel hungry after your meal you are allowed to go back for extra vegetables, but we had already piled our plates the first time around so we didn't do this. We did add lots of gravy and tucked in to our meal.

Plates piled high!

That's one way to eat a Yorkshire pudd!
We really enjoyed our meals. Rosie didn't eat much, but she is just at that age. I think sometimes her teeth trouble her and she doesn't feel like eating. Alice, on the other hand ate lots and even stole some of our food too! It was great to see her enjoying her food and having a good time.

Child selfie!
We managed to squeeze in room for dessert. The dessert menu is great - plenty of choice and great prices too. We decided on the Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Sundae and the Cherry Chocolate Torte with whipped cream. We all shared and just dug in. I barely had time to take a photo of or desserts - they all swooped around them as soon as they landed on the table.

We had a lovely night. The food was tasty, good value for money and we really enjoyed the restaurant. Staff were particularly helpful, our waitress Steph made a fuss of the girls and all the staff were friendly and seemed really happy. It does make a real difference. For five of us with two kids meals, two adult (one of them King Size) two desserts and drinks for all of us, the bill was just over £40. I think this is excellent value for money and we will definitely go back again.

Thanks Toby Carvery for this very tough challenge!! :)

Toby Carvery have also offered any of readers a free ice cream sundae when they visit. Here is the voucher below - I do highly recommend them and hope that you enjoy your visit.

Disclosure: We were invited as guests to visit Toby Carvery and were supplied with a voucher to cover the cost of our visit. As always, all words and views are our own.

Children's Winter Shoes

Winter shoes for kids can be a bit if a pain to buy. Our kids can be quite fussy with their shoes and we can try two, three, four pairs on before they settle on what they want. We're quite keen on getting shoes that we know will last them through the winter, anything else would be asking a bit much seeing as though their feet seem to grow very quickly!

Our girls absolutely love jumping in muddy puddles, just like Peppa Pig and so we tend to use wellies for winter. There are some lovely winter boots out there for kids at the minute and we did consider buying them some for this winter. We looked in Liverpool town centre last week as we are off to Belgium very soon - it is going to be quite cold and I was keen that the kids had boots to stay warm. However, when we thought on - we realised that they still have their wellies. Bright pink wellies that they absolutely love. I have decided that this year I am going to buy them a few pairs of socks to go under their wellies, and we are going to go jumping in puddles in Belgium!

Alice actually threw a bit of a strop the other day because I wouldn't let her wear her pink wellies for school. Nightmare times. However, I managed to coax her into her school shoes, so all was fine in the end. Wellies are brilliant. We even went to Crosby beach in them earlier in the year.

Alice in her wellies!
So, next will be new shoes for spring I suppose. But we don't need to think that far ahead yet. Brantano have designed a little guide for picking out winter footwear for your little one. Definitely contains a few good tips.

For now, we're sticking with our wellies!

This post was written as a collaboration with Brantano. All words and views are my own.

Garden Design

I know winter is not really the time to be thinking about gardening, but before we know it winter will be over and it will be time to start thinking about the outside of the house. We have never really been in a position to do any serious thinking about garden design. However, we have realised that this coming new year will be different for us and we are going to try and make a real effort with both gardens.

The back garden is basically just a decent lawn, we have a shed and some herbs growing. Ideally I would like to have a nice border around the edge of the garden with some plants and flowers growing. I love climbing ivy and I really do appreciate using the herbs that we have grown in the garden. We had strawberries and spring onions growing one year, so maybe we could pick that up again. I have also been looking at wooden play-houses for the kids, I think they look great and can also double as a little storage area for toys.

We do have a small paved area at the back door that I would also like re-doing. I think that decking would be great but I am not too sure our garden is big enough but I would still bear it in mind. I do like thinking about plans for the garden, but of course, the reality is that I have enough on my plate inside the house to be too concerned about the outside. Warren is the one who usually gets stuck in with the garden, I think I have picked up the lawnmower once in my life – but it’s not like I haven’t got enough to be getting on with!

Fun in the garden in summer!

I am looking forward to thinking about the garden next year though. It will be nice to have a spruced up garden all ready for summer – I’m sure that Warren can’t wait to get his gardening gloves on…. !

This post was written in collaboration with PR. All words are my own.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

We're Geronimo Festival Ambassadors!

You might remember last year we went to Geronimo Festival at Tatton Park. We had an absolute ball - there was so much for the kids to see and do. We loved the activities, all of the CBeebies characters that we met and we just had such a cracking time. We have been invited back as Ambassadors again next year so we are really looking forward to it again!

This was us last year, enjoying fun in the summer sun!

Next year the event is going to be at Tatton Park on 29th and 30th May. We absolutely can't wait. I know it might seem a little early getting excited for summer in winter, but we can't help it. We had such a lovely day!

You can check the line-up and purchase tickets from Geronimo Fest here. As an ambassador I'll be providing you with ticket updates, line-up announcements and other information so watch this space!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Giveaway: Bratz Snowkissed Doll

I have a great giveaway here to celebrate the famous Bratz photobooth which is coming to intu Trafford Centre this Saturday 5th December. The photobooth is great to get you in the festive spirit - the booth contains lots of winter themed Bratz props so your can take loads of cool festive pics! Best of all, it's free. 

I know my girls will absolutely love this. Once you have visited the booth and had your photos taken head to Facebook.com/BratzUK and tag yourself in your picture for a chance to win great Bratz prizes including a hamper of Snowkissed goodies. You can also check where the Bratz will be heading to next.  Definitely a great way to start off the festive period.

To celebrate this, I also have one Bratz Snowkissed Doll to give away here. To enter fill in the Rafflecopter form below. I have a short turnaround on this so that you should get it in time for Christmas. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

The prize is one Bratz Snowkissed doll and will be sent out by PR, blogger assumes no responsibility for non-receipt of the item. Giveaway open to UK entrants only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours of the giveaway ending.

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