My Family

My Family

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Mat Hatters Tea, Light Bulb Moments & Mojito with a Twist - The Alchemist has come to Birmingham!

Mat Hatters Tea, Light Bulb Moments & Mojito with a Twist - The Alchemist has come to Birmingham! 

I am so excited to say that the Alchemist is here in Birmingham and officially opens on Monday September 26 but I was invited for an amazing sneak peak last week. If you don't know who the Alchemist are then you're in for a real treat. The Alchemist are a cocktail bar & restaurant that celebrates molecular mixology, alchemy and craftsmanship. Drinks are served in all manner of vessels with theatre and panache served morning, noon and night. Changing colours, changing flavours, dry ice, hot and cold sensations and elements of nostalgia can all be found within the four walls of the menu. I have to say, it's one pretty impressive menu! There's loads of new cocktails as well as some old favourites too but even they aren't served like you're used too. Everything comes with a unique twist so whatever you order, be prepared for a show. I have never seen anything quite like this place but am so glad that's it here. It's quirky yet classy and so so much more. It's definitely my kind of place and i can't wait to go back with all my friends. It's a real show stopper.

For me the biggest show was served up with their Mad Hatters Tea. Oh my gosh, this was amazing, the sights, the smells and the tastes were all out of this world. I've never tried anything quite like this but would 100% do it again. It has the highest price tag on the menu at £20.50 but that price included Tea for Two so really it's only £10.25 a cup. You get to watch them boil it, infuse it and then pour it yourself. The smell of mint is so good, it sweeps across the bar with the smoke in such a dramatic way. I could have ordered it several times just to watch them make it all over again. The bar staff here are pretty impressive.

Seeing as I was there to check out the cocktails, that's just what I did and wow did I have fun. I tried everything from their Pornstar Martini to their chocolate topped Solero. There's really strong cocktails and lighter fruity cocktails. Cocktails topped with chocolate foam and cocktails over filled with bubbles. Some had huge balls of ice in the middle whereas some were made using dry ice. Every single cocktail was different and unusual in some way. I loved the whole element of surprise, each time I went to the bar, I just never knew what I was going to be served with. I've never enjoyed ordering a cocktail so much before.

One of my favourites was their 3.5 Oz of Happiness which comes ready made in a chilled Hip Flask which you get to keep. This is such a lovely idea as it means you then get a cool memento to take home and keep forever. Mine is now sat on my bedroom side where it will always remind me of that night and all the enjoyment that came with it which is lovely. I am so excited about this place, it has such a funky vibe with a relaxing atmosphere.

The Alchemist Birmingham is located on the ground floor of the newly refurbished Grand Hotel on Colmore Row. The location is perfect as it's just a few minutes walk from New Street station and also on Snow Hill Stations doorstep. From your first drink to your last, you won't be disappointed. The bar staff are so talented and so friendly too. They'll do everything possible to make sure you love every cocktail and have a fantastic night or day.

I had an amazing time on my visit and will so be going back with my girls when it opens.

Disclosure: I was invited to the Alchemist Birmingham's Media Event. This review is written through choice and all the opinions expressed within it are 100% honest and my own.

Jamie’s Italian Birmingham & Their Super Lunch Menu #Review

Jamie’s Italian Birmingham & Their Super Lunch Menu.

Last week I had the pleasure of trying out the brand new Super Lunch Menu at the rather lovely Jamie's Italian Birmingham. Jamie's Italian is one of those places that I've always wanted to eat at but just never actually been. I'd pictured it as a really posh place where I'd feel a little uncomfortable or out of place but boy was I wrong. It's not like that at all!

I went along with my lovely friend Emma for a good old chat as it had been ages since we'd met up. Upon arrival I loved the fact that the restaurant was really open and spacious, a real open plan kind of layout with the kitchen area all on show. The staff were really friendly and ever so helpful to us. I observed member of staff at one point  carrying bags for some ladies which was lovely. From the moment we entered, we were well looked after even though the restaurant was fully packed out with an over flow of diners at the bar awaiting tables.

The Super Lunch Menu looked fab, there was plenty of choice and the price was really good. You could choose 2 courses for £10.95 or 3 courses for £12.95 but what I loved was that you didn't have to state which one you wanted at the start, the choice was left open to see whether you fancied adding the desert option after you'd enjoyed your starter and main.

There's a nice choice of drinks, they have everything from wine to cocktails to champagne or jugs of water. We went for some lovely cocktails seeing as it was a one off lunch date but we did get a jug of water too to accompany our meal later on.

For Starters, we both choose the Silky Pate Bruschetta which was amazing! Emma and I agreed that we both love pate and always tend to go for the pate option when we eat out. I loved the fact that it came all in one piece, the bruschetta came ready with the pate on. There's no messing or fiddling about trying to spread your pate on top as it's already done for you which was fab. The Italian chicken-liver pâté, pancetta, vin santo & Parmesan was so good! The pate was so light and fluffy yet had so much flavour, I really enjoyed every bite. Not only did it look amazing on the plate but it tasted just as good as it looked.

For Mains, Emma chose the Penne Alla Norma which is a freshly made pasta dish with a spicy Sicilian tomato, aubergine & leccino olive sauce, finished with Bella Lodi & baby basil. She loved the pasta and commented on how well cooked it was. She loved the flavours and said that the bowl size was really good too as it wasn't too small or too big either. Emma really enjoyed her dish and felt happy eating it knowing she'd gone for a 'healthier' option filled with fresh vegetables which was packed with goodness and flavours.

I, on the other hand went for the Italian Steak & Fries which consisted of a beautifully marinated skirt steak which had been flash-grilled & then served with garlic butter, aged Parmesan, slaw & fries. This one does come with a £3 supplement fee on top but it is so worth it. The portion size was really big, my steak was delicious and that bucket of fries was plentiful and great too. I didn't manage to finish all of my main as there was plenty of it but I really enjoyed what I did eat. The steak was cooked Medium Rare which was a little pink for me but I still enjoyed a good two thirds of it which is amazing as normally I wouldn't eat my steak like that. The steak was cooked as it should have been, it was juicy yet firm. I did add a side of mayonnaise as I like a bit of sauce with my steak but that's just me. Overall it was delicious, the fries were really tasty with a bit of sea salt added to the top of them.

Last but not least came Desert. Emma was feeling a little too full but I soldiered on and went for the Epic Brownie. It was a tough job but somebody had to do it and take one for the team. The Epic Brownie looked so good, I could see lots of them around the room so I guessed that it was one of their more popular dessert choices. It came out looking all gorgeous with it's grand tower design on a plate. Served with proper chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream & caramelised popcorn - Eek! I was in dessert heaven, it had everything that I loved all on one plate and I really enjoyed every spoon full.

Emma and I had a wonderful afternoon at Jamie's Italian Birmingham and would definatley go back again. The Super Lunch really is super! You get a great meal and great service for the price so yes, I would happily recommend it to all my friends and family. If you've ever wanted to visit your local Jamie's Italian, the now's the time to do it. The Super Lunch Menu has lots of choice with a really low price. It is very popular so restaurants may get busy so maybe think about booking in ahead like we did to ensure you get a table at the time you want. Emma and I loved our food, our drinks and the whole atmosphere really.

Disclosure: I was invited to dine at Jamie's Italian Birmingham to try out their Super Lunch Menu for free but all the opinions expressed within this review are 100% honest and mine.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Tonka Tough Mothers - Mission 1: Tonka Steel Range #Review

 Tonka Tough Mothers - Mission 1: Tonka Steel Range

I'm delighted to announce that Mummy Of 3 Diaries are now, Tonka Tough Mums. 

TONKA originated in 1947 in Mound, Minnesota originally created and manufactured by Mound Metalcraft (manufacturer of garden implements). For almost 70 years, TONKA trucks have been the undisputed kings of the sandbox. Built on the notion that “a toy shouldn’t break just because a child plays with it,” they’re strong, sturdy and long lasting. Back in the '70s, TONKA even had an elephant stand on one, just to prove their point.

Tonka’s Steel range is a long standing classic. Tonka Steel is the perfect way for kids to enter a whole world of construction play. These rough and ready vehicles are made from real steel and include a variety of cranes and trucks to choose from, plus chunky tyres mean going off road won’t be a problem. Best of all, they are guaranteed for life!

Over the next few months we're going to be testing out lots of exciting new toys from their toy range. Our first fun assignment is to test out two toys from their Tonka Steel range. 

My little man Ryan (6) is my main Tonka toy tester as he's most suitable for the job. 

First up we have the Tonka Classics Steel Quarry Dump Truck, perfect for carrying all those heavy loads. It's built to last and maneuver through the deepest of quarries. It's main features are it's Steel Construction Free-wheeling Truck Moveable bed which is perfect for dumping. Every little boy loves playing 'Builders' or at least my little boy does. If he's not filling his Dump Truck with toys, he's filling it with his foot as he scoots down my hallway. Ryan's played with this truck for weeks and has put it through some tough loving play. He's stood on it, thrown it, loaded it and pushed it. The truck is still standing and working well. It's a tough little truck that feels like it's made to last. Ryan loves playing with it in the garden.

Next up we have the Tonka Steel 4X4 T-Rex edition which is a tough off roader 4X4. Get ready for lots of non-stop adventures with the Tonka Steel T-Rex vehicle! Equipped with a tough, steel body and fully working suspension, you can imitate the same adventures any real-life Tonka T-Rex goes on! Ryan loves taking it out in the garden on 'Safari' adventures. It drives great on all surfaces; wooden floors, carpets, rugs, pavements and grass.

Both of the Tonka Steel toys are very well build and made to last a lifetime. They're nice and big for proper chunky play. Ryan loves playing with them, they're a great way to get his imagination flowing as he sets of on his crazy adventures around the house and outside.

We have just two of the Tonka Steel range but you could collect them all if you wanted to. I suppose the more you have, the greater the fun and the more interaction you will get.

Ryan loves both of his vehicles' and gives them a firm thumbs up for being fun to play with and tough enough to last even when he's played rough with them which is fantastic. The Tonka Steel toys are proper boys (or girls) toys as I'm sure some little girls would love them just as much as my little boy does. They're really good fun and look pretty cool too.

Tonka will be hitting Argos Online this month!

Disclosure: We received the our Tonka Steel samples for free but this review is written using our own opinions, photographs and thoughts which are 100% honest. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Addict A Ball - The Addictive 3D Maze Puzzle that Will Drive You Crazy! #Review

Addict A Ball - The Addictive 3D Maze Puzzle 
that Will Drive You Crazy! 

Meet Addict A Ball, the crazy puzzle ball that has been driving us all crazy this past few weeks. Originally it was sent for Chloe, my 13 year old to review but it's become quite a novelty in our house. It's not just Chloe who's been playing with it, Lily, Ryan, Daddy and I have all been having a go. None of us have cracked it yet but that hasn't stopped us trying.

The Addict A Ball 3D maze puzzle contains 138 numbered stages of spirals, drops, swinging arms, flips and slides. You can choose one of three different start positions before you try to work your way  around the maze. It's very tricky though as one wrong move and the ball will fall off meaning you have to go back to the start and start all over again (which happens an awful lot) You'll either love this puzzle or hate it, it's one of 'those' toys.

Ryan (6) hardly ever puts it down, he's always hiding in a corner of the room somewhere trying to complete it. He's obviously got much more patience than the rest of us here.

 The Addict A Ball measures 19cm in diameter making it a good size to hold in your hands. It's super light weight to hold so your arms don't get tired easily and made quite strong as Ryan has dropped it quite a few times and it's still in perfect condition which is a plus point.

The puzzle maze is really tricky as the maze goes all around the ball, meaning you have to turn the ball around, upside down and in all possible directions to follow the numbers around. At some points it's quite hard to see where the ball is when it disappears into corners or holes but generally it's lots of fun trying to master it. I have to hold my hands up and admit that this thing drives me nuts so I've given up even trying. I find myself getting a few numbers in (like to number 7) and then falling off. I find myself wanting to throw the ball out of the window to somewhere far far away where it can never be found again but luckily for it, Ryan loves that ball so I just couldn't do it to him. Ryan and that ball have become best buddies. If it's not in his hands, it's somewhere not too far away from him. He's crazy!

If you like puzzles or mazes or just quirky balls then Addict A Ball is one for you!

Disclosure: We were sent our Addict A Ball sample for free for the purpose of this review but all of the opinions expressed with it are 100% honest and entirely my own.

SEA LIFE Blackpool - Our #Review

SEA LIFE Blackpool - Our Review 

Last month we were stayed over night in Blackpool on our Merlin Adventure (We visited all seven Merlin Annual Pass attractions in two days). Our last stop on our adventure was at SEA LIFE Blackpool which was exciting as we've only ever been to our own local Sea Life centre before (Birmingham) so we were interested to see who similar or different they'd be.

SEA LIFE Blackpool is right on the sea front so it's easy to find, you can't miss the giant signs outside. Once inside there's lots of Creature Zones to explore. We got to touch Star Fish in the Rockpool and see the Octopus in the Atlantic Depths. We saw Stingrays in the Quayside Zone and spotted Zebra Sharks in the Stingray Adventure. We found Nemo (Clown Fishes) in the Kingdom of the Seahorse and saw Turtles in the Rainforest Adventure. We went on a Shark mission through the underwater Ocean tunnel and played games in the Jurassic Seas. There was lots to see but it was very busy inside as it was raining when we went. There were lots of people around so we had to be patient when waiting to see into the tanks but that was OK as the crowds moved along quite quickly.

My younger two enjoyed looking at all the fishes and sea creatures but I think my eldest (13) got a little bored. For younger children SEA LIFE Blackpool is a nice trip out but maybe not so suited to older ones. We spent around an hour inside checking out all the zones and things to do. We collected stamps on our way round and hunted for Dory signs too which earned us a cool Pop Badge and Medal when we'd finished which we claimed from the shop on the way out. We had a nice time at SEA LIFE Blackpool, it was a great adventure out of the rain and did keep the younger two entertained for an hour or so which was what I wanted. One thing I liked is that on the way out, there is a Crazy Golf play are next door are which you can pay an extra £1 to have a go at. This added extra play and extra fun for us.

Entry to SEA LIFE Blackpool is charged at a fee: Adults £17.50 Children: £14.50

The Pirate Crazy Golf was free for us as we used our Merlin Annual Pass which was an awesome added bonus which we wasn't expecting. My three love playing crazy golf so we happily had a game. The course was set over two levels and set out like a pirate adventure. We loved playing and really enjoyed our family time together. Daddy beat us all as usual but we still had fun playing. It was quite busy inside but everyone waited their turns and we moved around the course with ease. Having a group of five did mean we seemed to be slowing others down but most people didn't seem to mind too much (luckily for us). 

Our morning at SEA LIFE Blackpool and the Pirate Crazy Golf was enjoyed by all. Blackpool is so far away from where we live so we're so glad that we got to visit and enjoy their attractions. I'm not sure when we will be going back but if we do, we'd do it all over again!7

Disclosure: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors 2016. This review uses my own photographs, views and opinions which are 100% honest and entirely my own.

Our First Time at Madame Tussauds Blackpool. Check out our #Review

Our First Time at Madame Tussauds Blackpool. 
Check out our Review.

We're all complete Madame Tussauds newbies here so when we visited Blackpool last month we just had to go see what all the fuss is about. I've heard great things about it and seen lots of great pictures and selfies, so armed with our camera phones we were ready. 

Madame Tussauds Blackpool is home to lots of my favourite celebrities (in wax form obviously) but most of them look so life like that you'd think you were seeing the real person anyway. We got to see so many familiar faces inside, from TV favourites Ant & Dec to Pop Star Peter Andre. The one thing I really loved is how each celebrity wax work is set out in it's own life like scene which really brings their lives to life. There's so many great photo opportunities, you'll just want to have your photo taken with them all. We took over one hundred photo's so I couldn't possibly show you them all. Instead I've picked out some of my favourites and the children's favourites too. Who knew taking photo's was so fun.

We loved that there's something for all ages as even my eldest Chloe (13) had fun posing for pictures. She loves Jeremy Kyle and being silly with Shrek. It's not very often I get her to smile in her pictures any more so it was lovely to see her actually enjoying herself a little.

Lily (9) had great fun posing with her favourite chef Jamie Oliver and loved being apart of her favourite TV show with Ant & Dec in the I'm a Celebrity Get me Out of Here set. She loved meeting One Direction, Justin Beiber and Ed Sheeran. I think her highlights were standing next to a real life Princess and almost eating poor Gingerbread Man from Shrek. Out of all three of my children, I think Lily got into it the most, as you can probably tell.

Ryan (6) didn't recognise most of the celebrities but that didn't stop him from joining in the fun. He created his own fun, posing in the Festival bus, Hiding with Sooty and Sweep and showing us all how he'd behave if he was a Prince. He had more fun making silly scenes than getting serious pictures. He loved the Shrek, he too tried to eat the Gingerbread Man.

I don't often get in on the photographs but even I couldn't resist that day. There were so many cool celebrities everywhere you turned. I got to do the Mobot with Mo Farah, Join the Royal Families line up and give Shrek a huge hug. I may have sneaked a picture with Olly Murs and Peter Andre in too but why not, they were just standing there looking at me.

We spent around an hour and a half inside Madame Tussauds Blackpool. It was quite busy as it was raining outside but that didn't really matter as people waited their turn to take their pictures. There were some crowds at some parts but we found simply waiting a few minutes for people to pass was the easiest thing to do, then we were free to be all alone with them.

I can happily say that our very first visit to a Madame Tussauds was a huge success. Everyone had a great time and we all had lots of fun being silly with the wax works. It was fun to relax and just enjoy being silly for a while, it's been a while since we'd done that. I loved it and think the children did too. We may not get to go back for a while but we will always have our photograph's to look back on and remind us of all the fun we had.

Entry to Madame Tussauds Blackpool is charged at a fee: Adults £16.50 Children: £13.50

We are Merlin Annual Pass holders so we didn't have to pay anything as entry is free with these. Madame Tussauds is just one of the seven fantastic attractions you can visit with your Merlin Annual Pass in Blackpool. We got to visit them all during our stay but you'll have to check out all our posts individually to see how we got on with the others.

Disclosure: We are Merlin Annual Pass Ambassadors 2016. Our review is written using our own pictures, words, thoughts and opinions which are 100% honest and my own.