My Family

My Family

Sunday, 23 April 2017

#SilentSunday 23/04/2017

Silent Sunday 23/04/2017

Silent Sunday with MummyConstant

Fun For All at Hatton Adventure World .. A Guest Post from Granny.

Fun For All at Hatton Adventure World .. 
A Guest Post from Granny. 

So Thursday, I was on Granny duty with Lily, Ryan and their little cousin Evie. 
Their ages vary quite a lot which left me wondering what we could possibly do that would keep a 10 year old and a 6 and 5 year old all entertained. Luckily for me, I had been given tickets for Hatton Adventure World nearby so we packed a picnic and off we went.

Hatton opens at 10am so we arrived just after and parked really easily as there was plenty of free parking. When you arrive you walk through an attractive courtyard with lots of tempting craft shops which unfortunately the kiddies dragged me past but I intend to return to visit them soon. The grounds are large and open and laid out with a tempting array of activities. We had been given a timetable leaflet on arrival of set activities that started at 11am, so we took a look around the animal park which had lots of cute baby animals, hundreds of guinea pigs and a large section of exotic animals like spiders and snakes. 

Ryan and Evie loved being able to hold a snake while Lily and I hid.

At 11am it was time for the Easter egg hunt organised by a very huggable Easter bunny. There were plastic eggs hidden in a large grassy field and for each one found and there it could be exchanged for a real chocolate egg. We found the maximum of 6 eggs and were rewarded with a big handful of delicious eggs that of course would be eaten after lunch!!

There was so much to do, we spent some time driving diggers around a lovely track surrounded by fields of goats and donkeys. Next up, it was time for a puppet and magic show in Hattons own little theatre. It was great fun for both the children and adults alike, with lots of puppets and funny tricks. Lily was ecstatic to be chosen to help a naughty bunny do some tricks on stage and was rewarded with a balloon of a bear on a unicycle. 

After all that, we headed for lunch. There are a couple of restaurants if you want or as we did there are masses of picnic tables to eat your own food. Food took a second place as the kids would take a bite then run off to a huge sandpit or a quick bounce on the trampolines. There are slides, swings, climbing frames, the kids didn't know what to go on next.

After lunch we were panning for gold and all got a medal for finding 10 pieces each. We were at the small fairground for an hour, it has three rides, two bouncy castles and a large blow up slide, we could have been there longer but we wanted to see the indoor play area.

The indoor area is in the same building as one of the restaurants and the food looked very tasty and good portion sizes from what I could see. The kids loved it. There are three slides of varying steepness so all ages are covered along with lots of crawling and climbing areas. 

It was all very clean and well maintained. By now we had been at Hatton for more than 6 hours and the kids had not stopped running and playing all day, it was time to go. But not before a quick stop at a lovely sweet shop on the way out for a treat for on the way home.

I have to say that I have not mentioned half of the activities available at Hatton, we just did not have the time  to do everything in one go so we're planning to return as soon as we can.

It was a smashing day we had together, days like this make me so happy to be a Granny.

Disclosure: Guest Post by Granny .. Fiona Churchley.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

When we Found La Pineda. We Found our New Happy Place ..

When we Found La Pineda.
We Found our New Happy Place.

This time last week we were lying by a beautiful hotel pool in sunny Spain enjoying our Easter Holiday as a family. When we were searching online for our perfect family holiday we had no idea where we wanted to go but after a few hours searching the web we found a place that none of us had heard of before, a small town called La Pineda in Catalonia Spain.

If it wasn't for the deal finder on On The Beach, we never would have found it at all.

Everyone's heard of the main Barcelona Airport but not everyone's heard of the newer, smaller airport called Reus just 1 hour away from it that cost us less than half the price to fly to Barcelona and ended up being much closer to where we were actually going to so it was a win, win situation for us. Our hotel in La Pineda was then just an hours bus ride away.

We stayed at 4* Hotel right across from the beach called the Hotel Palas Pineda. Although the reviews of it aren't that great online, we had a wonderful stay and loved it. Friendly staff, fresh food and free flowing drinks that you could enjoy all day long without a worry or care in the world. Wine for Mummy, Beer for Daddy and endless cups of Coke, Lemonade and Chocolate milkshakes for the kids. I could have lived at that poolside bar quite happily forever. We did actually spend most of our days relaxing and playing by that pool, it was perfect so why move away from it. The sun was shining all week, basking us in a delightful 22/23 degrees heat. The bar was just 20 steps away and the toilets were also close (you'll understand if you have small children who need to pee 500 times a day).

Across from our hotel was the La Pineda beach which was so clean and sandy. The tide was always in and the water wasn't too cold. The sand was soft and silky smooth and the space was plentiful for playing on or relaxing on, whichever you prefer. The beach was much wider than most I've been too providing lots of space for all even though in April it was very quiet so we got much more space that we actually needed but it was so nice.

Behind the beach was a row of shops, restaurants and so much more and just down the road (a 10 minute walk) was the Aquopolis Water Park which was sadly closed when we went as it doesn't open until May but it did open for the weekend we were there for a special dolphin show which we went to see and I have to say it was well worth the 7 Euros we paid.

Every day was so perfect, no cooking, no worrying and no stress. We really did have an amazing week together. Yes the kids were constantly asking us 'what we're doing next' but at least they were never bored. I mean, who can get bored of playing in the pool or at the park or on the beach. There was always activities to join in with too, we playing Bingo, Mini Golf, Hockey, Darts, Aqua Aerobics, Dance classes and so much more. The entertainment team were so much fun and although they didn't all speak that much English, were ace!

On one of the days we took the bus down to the Harbour to find a boat trip for the day. We ended up on a Catamaran on a 3 hour trip which was fantastic. Music played, drinks were flowing (free again) and the children gazed over the sides at the beautiful blue ocean. Sailing on the open sea is so magical, it's always been one of my favourite things to do and now I'm happy that my children all feel the same way and loves being out at sea too.

In the space of 1 week we'd gone from never hearing of La Pineda to completely falling in love with it. It really did have everything we wanted and needed. Beautiful beaches, gorgeous weather, a short flight (just 2 hours from Birmingham) and so much more. 

I think we've found our new Happy Place!

So much happened in 1 week, my children gained the freedom they craved and actually left my side for more than 10 minutes and made lots of new friends in the process. Mummy got to enjoy a glass of wine or two in peace without my name being called a 1000 times a day and Daddy got to watch his children so happy and free. It was just perfect in every way!

Our Easter holidays may be almost over but our dream for adventures is not. I know we will go back one day which says a lot as we rarely ever go back to the same place twice but for a family holiday, La Pineda had everything we could have wanted to have a terrific time.

So, it's not Goodbye La Pineda. It's just .. Until next time ..

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Hallmark is Bringing Disney to Life at Tesco with their Beautiful New range of Disney Cards. #Review

Hallmark is Bringing Disney to Life at Tesco with 
their Beautiful New range of Disney Cards. 

You're never too old to be a Princess and with the very exciting new range of Disney cards from Hallmark now available in Tesco stores, you can feel just like one no matter your age.

Lily loves all of the Disney Princesses although her favourite at the moment is the beautiful Belle from Beauty and the Beast as the film has just had a big movie re make. It was her 10th birthday a few weeks back and we had our very own Beauty and the Beast Party using a whole selection of goodies that we received from the lovely people from Hallmark and Tesco. We were lucky enough to be sent a wonderful Princess Party Bloggers kit from them which was full to the brim of all sorts of goodies. From party table ware to balloons. Tiaras and wands to yummy sweets and of course a whole selection of their brand new cards.

The cards are beautiful and come in so many different varieties. There are cards for Mummies and Daddies, cards that contain puzzles and even cards that contain keep sake books. All of the cards are so lovely, I know if I got one for my birthday, I'd be very happy.

Take a look at some of the new Disney cards I received below, they're all amazing.

 Not only are the cards gorgeous but if you buy any Disney card from Tesco before the 21st May 2017 you can pick up a competition leaflet to design and win your very own Princess Dress for you and a friend. Every Princess dreams of owning their own princess dress and now they can. Just colour in the template to design the dream dress of their choice and then email a photo of it in to win. It's all very simple and lots of fun. What a lovely competition.

We can't wait to use all of our Disney cards for our upcoming birthdays. 

Anyone who receives one of these cards is sure to be happy as they are just so lovely. 
Although I must try not to keep them all for myself which wouldn't be hard to do.

Disclosure: We received our Princess Party Kit and selection of Disney cards for the purpose of this review but all opinions expressed are 100% honest and entirely my own.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Brand New ROBLOX Toys Review #ROBLOXToys

Brand New ROBLOX Toys Review.

I can hear you all now, asking, What is ROBLOX? Well, ROBLOX is the best place to Imagine with Friends. It's a large user-generated online gaming platform that contans games created by it's users, ROBLOX is the #1 gaming site for kids and teens. 

Every day, little virtual explorers head to ROBLOX to create their adventures, play games, role play, and learn with their friends in a family-friendly, immersive, 3D environment.

ROBLOX has just released a brand new toy range here in the UK and we are very excited to have some of them here to show you. They may be little but their play value is huge!

We were sent a Mystery Box, a Lord Umberhall Figure and a Work at a Pizza Place set. 

There are a total of 40 figures to collect and lots of exclusive virtual items to unlock. 

Each toy or set comes with a code for a virtual item, which can be redeemed online. Each Mystery Box also contains a virtual item code as well as a mystery figure which makes for a very exciting moment when it's opened. I mean, everyone loves a surprise, don't they.

Each ROBLOX fiugure can be mixed and matched as all the parts of the body are interchangable. You can swap faces, heads, legs, accessories and more. It's great fun.

The Work at a Pizza Place set is my absolute favourite as it comes with tiny little pizza's just waiting to be delivered. There's so much fun to be had with this set, especially for pizza lovers like us. Ryan and I have loved playing with this set as it just brings out the best play stories. The other characters are great too but everyone loves pizza so this one is ace!

Lord Umberhall is a very grand figure, he's a little scary but comes with a great set of out stretched wings and a powerfull sword. Ryan loves the fact that he has no face under his dramatic helmet. He says he doesn't have a face as he's from the depths of hell - eek!

The ROBLOX figures are great for playing with and really do open up a whole new world of creative play. The stories they can create with them are truly endless and lots of fun too.

Both Ryan and I are now fans of ROBLOX and look forward to collecting more of them.

Disclosure: We recieved our ROBLOX toys samples in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

1 Tesco Delivery + 1 Jar of #Dolmio = A Tasty Mid-Week Family Meal! #ThankGoodness

1 Tesco Delivery + 1 Jar of Dolmio =
A Tasty Mid-Week Family Meal!

Take 1 Tesco delivery + 1 jar of Dolmio Bolognese Original Sauce + Mix it up with 3 hungry children on a school night and what do you get? ... A quick thinking Mummy with an idea!
We all love Spaghetti Bolognese in our house BUT my I have two fussy eaters who, for some strange unknown reason don't like Mince meat but do like Meatballs, go figure!
So, when I was challenged by Britmums and Dolmio to create a 'balanced mid-week family meal that results in clean plates' I knew just what I was going to make. My very own version of home made Spaghetti and Meatballs is always my 'go too' recipe when I don't have much time but want to make a good old fashioned, healthy meal for all the family to enjoy.
My Spaghetti and Meatballs can be made in less than 30 minutes and tastes great.
Spaghetti and Meatballs Ingredients:
  • 500g of Mince Meat
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Jar of Dolmio Bolognese Sauce
  • 2 Mushrooms
  • 1 Cloves of Garlic
  • Mature Cheese
  • 1 Packet of Wholemeal Spaghetti

 Chop the vegetables up really small so that the fussy little people don't notice them and grate some cheese for later on. I do all my prep at the beginning so that once I get cooking everything is ready to throw in quickly and then I can tidy away ready to serve when ready.
Pull off small portions of the Mince meat and roll it up using the palms of your hands, pressing it quite firmly to help it stick together. I didn't add anything to them so they're still just Mince meat but now in the form of meatballs and not itty bitty bits of meat like before.
Now that your meatballs are all ready to go, pop a frying pan on to the hob to heat up adding just a little bit of oil to shall fry them. Whilst you are doing that, fill a large sauce pan with boiling water and add a little salt ready to add the spaghetti into in a few minutes time.
Pop the meatballs into the frying pan and cook for around 10 minutes or until they're cooked all the way through. I the took them out of the pan for a moment and poured the oil away so that we didn't have a greasy sauce. Return the meatballs to the pan and pour over the Dolmio sauce. Add in the finely chopped vegetables and garlic and stir. Leave to warm through and finish off cooking for another 5 minutes of so or until the pasta has finished cooking so that it can all be served up together. The idea is that the pasta cooks at the same times as the meatballs are in the sauce so they get time to soak up the flavours.
 Once everything is ready you simply pop your spaghetti onto a plate and place a few meatballs on the top. You then add a spoon or two of the sauce and sprinkle a little cheese to finish off. We also added a small piece of garlic bread on the side of the plate too, yum.
There you have it, our Spaghetti and Meatballs Dolmio Special:
Mmm, Yum. What a delicious, mouth watering family meal. I had 4 clean plates that night and lots of lovely full tummies. The picture shown above was my portion, the kids did have smaller ones but it was a great meal, everyone had plenty to eat and left the table full up.
It's so simple to make and takes less than half and hour and it's healthy too!
Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g sauce is 100% natural. In each jar, you’ll find at least 10 juicy diced tomatoes, a dollop of tomato puree, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs including basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water and nothing more. In fact, a jar provides a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each and that’s before you add any further veg to the meal!
This post is my entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio.

Our Rusty Rivets Twitter Party! #RustyRivetsUK

Our Rusty Rivets Twitter Party!
Last Thursday (March 16th) we hosted our very own Rusty Rivets Party. A huge box filled with lots of fun craft materials, activities and goody bags arrived to set us up for a fantastic fun filled party. As well as partying at home, we also joined in on Twitter to share our fun and thoughts on the two brand new episodes that we were all watching together, it was all very exciting. It was a little manic as always but also lots of fun too, the children loved it.
Our first game to play was a Memory Game involving cards with pictures of the characters on. We had great fun playing this as it's a nice simple game to play. We've been playing pairs since they were little so this one was perfect for them. We did have a few tears from the loser but lots of smiles from the winner, oops. Aw well, we can't all win every time.
Our next activity was to Create a Robot using some of the craft materials we had been sent. We had cardboard boxes in different sizes, lots of pipe cleaners, cups, plates and all sorts. They had great fun creating their Robot who they named Robert (no surprises there).
He's quite small but they didn't want a big robot apparently, they wanted a robot who could get into small places so he could hide from the bad guys when he needed too easily.
Next up was a little quiet time for me, the children got to Colour Activity Sheets for ten minutes whilst I set up the next activity. Colouring is great fun as everyone can join in no matter their age. It did get quite serious as they wanted to have a Best Picture competition but it was just for fun as I didn't have any prizes toward them but they didn't mind.
Once they'd finished their pictures it was Treasure Hunt time! I hid six numbered Rusty Rivets picture cards throughout the house for them to find. One was in front of the TV whilst another was in the kitchen, they had lots of fun working together to solve the clues to find them them all. Treasure Hunts are very exciting and sure got them all excited here.
We had a few things left over from our craft supplies so the kids wanted to make some other things. They had a go at building some 3D shapes and came up with this sweet constructed tower which I thought was pretty good. It stood up on it's own and everything - awesome.
Finally, we gave our guests their rather cool Goody Bags and said our goodbye's.
We all had a wonderful afternoon and loved watching the show together. Rusty Rivets is a fun show that the kids really enjoyed watching. It's really inspired the kids to be more creative and get involved with building things. It's been a pleasure to take part. My kids love the show so I'm sure they'll continue to watch it from now on quite happily, hooray!
Visit Nick Jr for more Rusty Rivets activities, fun and games.
Disclosure: We were Rusty Rivets Party Hosts in Association with UKMumsTV and Nick JR.

Monday, 20 March 2017

1580 - There's a New Contemporary Indian Dining Restaurant in Town. #Review

1580 - There's a New Contemporary
Indian Dining Restaurant in Town.
Last week I was invited along to a brand new Indian in Sutton Coldfield called 1580 Restaurant along side lots of other great Birmingham Bloggers for our annual meet. It's a great little place located on Chester Road and right around the corner from my house. From the outside it looks very posh, it's lit very well and has a great authentic theme of black and gold. Inside there's a continuing theme of good lighting, comfy seating with a touch of fine dining. You feel very welcomed, the staff are all lovely and very friendly. Everyone is welcomed in with open arms. I was made to feel at ease very quickly and settled in just fab.
The name, 1580 comes from the year Sir Francis Drake brought Spice to the UK. You can see this inside as there are several beautiful paintings of ships on the walls and also lots of other little nautical touches throughout. The d├ęcor inside is all very charming and fresh.
As there was a large group of us we didn't get to try the full menu but we did get to try lots of lovely dishes from a set menu that was served on sharing platters for us to share with our new friends. It was a great way to break the ice and really made for an interesting evening.
The Starters for me were the real show stoppers as the Masala Cone Poppadoms were amazing! I'd never seen Poppadoms served in cones before but wow, were they great. They were served alongside three accompaniments: onion, tomato and chaat masala. Each one was delicious and really tasty. I could have quite easily eaten lots more of these.
Next up we tried some of the other Starters:  
For our Mains we were served up a selection of curries including:
  • Bater Curry (Quail Railway Curry)
  • Murgh Tikka Masala (Chicken Tikka Masala)
  • Pot Pepper Lamb Curry
Each dish was lovely and tasted really good. I was happy with everything that I tasted. I would like to go back for a whole meal to see what it's all served like when you dine in as a paying customer. The taste and flavours were all there, I just though the presentation of the mains wasn't as pretty as the Starters had been but being served them to share may have been the cause of that so that's nothing major to worry about really. The food was good!
At the end of the meal there was one more little show stopper. Your waiter brings over a little dish with a white towel in and pours water over it making it expand before your very eyes until it grows into a full sized hand towel to clean your hands which was pretty cool.
Overall, I had a really lovely night and enjoyed the meeting lots of new people. The service was very friendly and the food was delicious. What more could you ask for when dining out?
As I live so local, I am planning a return visit real soon, so I'll let you know how I get on.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Jakks Nintendo Plushes are just the Cutest! #Review

 Jakks Nintendo Plushes are just the Cutest! 

Just look at him, isn't he just adorable? Just a few weeks ago the world went crazy with the Nintendo Switch launch which brought the much loved Mario characters back into the limelight. I grew up playing Super Mario on the original NES, boy did I love that game.

Just a few months ago we bought a Nintendo Classic Mini so that we could show the kids the kind of games we used to play. It's been a great success too as the kids are now loving the old retro classics that we used to love. It's been great fun playing them together.

Mario and Luigi have always been popular in our house but when the kids saw the this adorable new Luigi plush from Jakks Pacific they went a little crazy but not as crazy as me. The kids get so many wonderful treats through the post but this one's mine - all mine!

He's an adorable 7.5 inches tall and oh so soft and cuddly and cost £9.99. 
There are three in the set to collect Mario, Luigi and Yoshi too. 

Luigi is here to stay, by my side for ever and ever (or at least until one of the kids gets hold of him and steals him) but I love him. He's so soft and he looks just the like character on screen does. The details are fantastic, his outfit is spot on and his little hat is just too cute. 

Who was your favourite Super Mario character?

Disclosure: I received my Luigi Plush sample for free in return for an honest review.