With the long weekends, come the spring and summer weddings. I had a wedding of some good friends to look forward to. With nothing to wear, JD Williams came to my rescue. I live in Jeans and tunic tops and was not sure where to start. JD Williams have a great selection of dresses with items from occasion wear to everyday.
I was very hopeful that I would find something suitable for a spring wedding. I started with a few searches in the JD Williams online store and found I could narrow down my search by colour, size, style and even occasion. I had wanted a mid length flare dress and had a shortlist of about three. One stood out and despite it being a label I was not familiar with, it kept drawing my attention. JD Williams did have brands I had heard of, and plenty of choice.
The Nightingales dress that I ordered was perfect, and I chose to add the matching shawl as you never know with British weather. I love the cotton content, and the fit was very good. JD Williams also have a large range of shoes, and many come in extra width sizes. The first pair that I chose were too big. It seems that maybe my feet are shrinking. The second pair fitted like a glove and I have been very impressed with the fit, and style. I chose flats as there is so much standing to be done at a wedding, not to mention the dancing.
I love my Nightingales dress from JD Williams, and am looking forward to taking it on holiday later this month. I think the fit is superb, and great quality for the price. The shoes have been much admired and despite not breaking them in before my friends big day there was no rubbing. I can honestly say that I have been very impressed by my first online dress shopping experience. If I’m lucky enough to be invited to more weddings I know where I will be looking first.
Disclaimer I was sent these items in return for an honest review, the words are my own and have not been altered
Admiral Young Driver program is a safe way to teach children aged as young as 5 to control a car and start the enjoyment of driving. The boy was a little nervous to try out the Admiral Young drivers programme. He needn’t have been as he had a great time.
The boy want’s to be a policeman when he is older and learning to drive will be a big part of the job if he does eventually choose this as a career. I have always wanted thought its good to learn things early so driving lessons was on my list of things to get the boy to try. We booked a 1/2 hour lesson with the Admiral young drivers at Southampton WestQuay car park.
The boy was worried he might drive over the edge of the car park. The booking in lady quickly put his mind at rest, as apparently this is a question she is asked often! There are some height restrictions for the drivers and they should be over 10 and a minimum of 1.42m tall. The boy was soon seated in the car and there are proper cushions to bring the seat height up to the correct height. I was allowed to join in as a passenger for the lesson, while dad stood at a safe distance and took pictures.
The top-level of the WestQuay car park was set out with junctions and obstacles and with other Admiral young drivers there is plenty to be aware of while learning to drive. The boy was put at ease by his instructor Barry, and within 5 minutes they had completed the pre drive checks and we were moving.
Each new Admiral young driver is given a diary which is completed after each lesson. This is a great record of what you learned as well as being something to record the steps and progress. As a first lesson the boy learnt to make pre drive checks of mirrors, seat and starting the vehicle. He then went on to control the vehicle and completed junctions and a slalom.
I was very impressed by the teaching, and the instructor moved the lesson on at the speed that each student needs. The boy was clearly in control and loving every minute. There was time to ask lots of questions and the instructor had lots of knowledge of the Skoda citigo that we were driving.
The half hour Admiral young drivers lesson was a good length for a first lesson as the boy said his legs felt a little wobbly after all the clutch control. The boy has also asked when he can have his next lesson, as he enjoyed it far more than he thought he would and I think maybe a few lessons a year at his age certainly wouldn’t hurt.
While the winter blues have us all begging for a bit of spice in our lives, I’ve investigated Bath’s top Indian restaurants that are sure to add pizzazz back to our palettes.
If you are looking for an award-winning meal, all fingers point to The Rajpoot. A favourite of many, this restaurant caters to Indian food gurus and the “extra mild spice, please” beginners. The Rajpoot offers a romantic but functional environment that can fit a work event or date night. If you are aching for a fine-dining, fully ethnic Indian food experience, the Rajpoot has what you are longing for.
For friendly service, great décor and a comforting meal, the Bombay Lounge has you covered. This place has an extensive menu that can please both vegan and carnivore, with loads of customisable options to meet your needs. If the coziness of your home has you wanting to lounge in pyjamas for the evening, have no fear: Bombay Lounge is featured on Hungry House, a takeaway app that allows you to browse through menus and have your cravings delivered to your doorstep. Bombay Lounge is also budget friendly and definitely does not compromise on quality.
The Boojon Tandoori
Named one of England’s best curry places, Bath’s The Boojon Tandoori is a local hotspot. Although traditional curry is winning the title at this location, the menu option ranges from poppadum’s to pilau rice to vegetable Jalfrezi. The Boojon Tandoori boasts quality and quantity without forfeiting your newly established budget for 2017: most dishes are in the £5-£9 range.
Meat lovers, you will love Bengal Brasserie off of Milsom Street. Locally known for the most succulent chicken and lean lamb, this restaurant has a beautiful interior and top-notch staff. For vegetarians, do not fret: Bengal Brasserie also offers a generous meat-free menu to please everybody at the table. If you are in a hurry, takeaway options are available here (and at a 10% discount on weekends!)
The Eastern Eye
For a glamorous dine-in experience, I recommend The Eastern Eye. With beautifully decorated murals on every wall and domed ceilings, you will quickly be transported out of Bath and into another world. Voted restaurant of the year for the Southwest Region, The Eastern Eye has an extensive and detailed website that promotes its many features and offers a history lesson on the beautiful building. The menu is user-friendly and offers a variety of options included a lovely buffet. For those seeking the full Indian food experience, The Eastern Eye is where you want to be.
Over the summer we had some great family days out including attending the GoFestevent at the University of Surrey venue. Coming from a seaside town it was great to spend some time away from the Coast. GoFest is in its second year and is the brainchild of founder Paul Farris. His idea is to inspire families to spend more time together, get healthy and find new activities.
We were invited to attend the weekend long event and being an active family already we were up for a challenge. We were able to book up to 4 activities in advance, with more available on the day. Activities started from 9am on the Saturday and included well-loved sports as well as some I had never heard of.
Our first stop was some family relays and obstacle fun, followed by an athletics masterclass with Olympian Roger Black. This was my highlight of the day as the boy learnt how to improve his running style, and set up for a sprint start. Roger was great with all the kids, and even stopped for a quick picture afterwards with the boy.
My next booked activity was Wall Ball, it sounded fun, and turned out to be a very energetic sport. We were treated to a one to one lesson followed by practice and a demonstration from the current UK champion. The boy bought his own wall ball, and we have since had a few family matches while on our family holiday.
Time for Mum and Dad Dragon to take a breather as the boy took part in a Free Running session with a Flair Gymnastics club. He had a great time and took part for a full hour. He learned some new moves, and was the only person to finish the class as the others dropped out. It was great for the boy to try out Free Running as he has wanted to try this for some time. Now I’m on a hunt for a local club.
We finished our GoFest day with a game of Dodgeball against another very competitive family. Girls verses Boys, and the Girls won. GoFest had plenty for us to take part in, as well as stalls, charity’s, and local clubs to chat too. A huge TV screen with coverage of the Olympics and we didn’t miss out on any of the medals during the day. GoFest ended with demonstrations of sport and dance, with live music and continued into the Sunday with more opportunities to try something new.
GoFest takes place in the summer at the Surrey Sports Park, part of the University of Surrey. With use of the Surrey University sports venue and grounds there were watersports, in the pool. You could use the university’s amazing climbing wall or join in with local clubs with the more recognised sports of football and tennis. There was far more than we could fit into the day, and we will defiantly have to come back next year for some more #GoFestUK fun.
Disclaimer, we were invited to attend the event in return for a review of our day.
Confessions of a summer parent, yes we have all been there! The moment when a game of hide and seek turns into Mum sneaking off for hidden bar of chocolate, or is that just me?
I start off in week one of the summer holidays fresh, ready to tackle the world. With my weekly planner, a mixture of days booked, and exciting activities planned. Baking, working together, meeting friends. You know the kind of things.
Week two we have started to get into the bad habits of late nights, irregular meal times and too much screen time. The boy wants to spend his days on the computer, yes its minecraft. Things not quite going to plan, and lack of summer sunshine never helps.
By week three, and you can throw the planner out of the window. Mornings are spent with long lazy lie ins, and afternoons gardening, cleaning and catching up around the house. While the boy spends too much time on computers and tv, I try to tempt him away.
Week four and its time for a change. We like to go away, and Dad dragon has booked a week off. I however have a confession and haven’t managed to find anywhere reasonable priced to stay! Whoops. Resulting in a grumpy husband and a staycation. I quickly get my thinking cap on and prey for good weather, the odd ice cream and trip to the beach, I manage to save the week.
Entering week five and already the panic has set in. Do the shoes fit? Wjat happened to your PE kit? Is it still at school? Where can we get those bits of uniform? Ah yes I had forgotten all your school trousers have holes! So its time to get the iron out and the name labels on order.
By week six we are on the home straight, and this is where my confessions of hidden chocolate come in. The boy however has sussed out my hiding places and can hear the crinkly sound of an opening wrapper. Like lightning he can intercept me, with a well placed “where’s mine?” and before we blink its the new school year.
I love the summer holidays, the best days are the ones that are unplanned. The days where we get on our bikes and see where the wind takes us. As a family doing silly things and often free activities are the ones, which have the fondest place in our memories. I am lucky, I get to spent the whole summer with my boy, there are good and bad days, but when he goes back to the school routine, there is a big gap. He is already going into his last year of primary school, so my summers are running out. I had best get the planner out and hiding the chocolate ready for summer 2016.
This post is an entry for BritMums Confessions of a Summer Parent Challenge, sponsored by Anchor
Kidzania is a new and different day out in the Westfield’s shopping centre London, and one the boy has been pestering me to take him too since it opened earlier in the year. This weekend we decided that Kidzania was going to be our Christmas day out and treat (instead of a Santa visit). I have seen so many pictures from other bloggers and friends who have visited and was hoping that we wouldn’t be disappointed.
Kidzania is found in the top levels of the Westfield shopping center in Shepherds Bush. We found it easy to drive, with only a small amount of London traffic to negotiate. The car park was easy to find, and I thought quite reasonably priced at £9.50 for the whole days parking. Kidzania is a town where the kids are in charge, and with around 60 different occupations for kids to take part in there is defiantly something for everyone. The first thing that struck all of us was the theming, from the entrance where you are greeted and instructed to take the escalators to the airport where you book in, and start your Kidzania experience. The whole entrance has an airport feel, and something that certainly made me smile.
Once you and your children have been checked in and been tagged, you are given your map of Kidzania, money (KidZos) and you enter the town. This is where it is up to the kids to make their own story. The boy was a little daunted as he entered the indoor town, which started off feeling a little dark, but was beautiful lit for Christmas. We stopped off at the Job center to have a chat and get our bearings. The boy then wanted to head straight for the police station (the only job he wanted to do) I did think at age 10 this might all be themed a bit too young for him, but actually he really enjoyed it after the first experience.
Each job in Kidzania has a board outside, telling you what age recommendation, what type of job, age, salary and what sort of skills might be needed as well as a rough length of time. The boy looked worried as he was dressed in his uniform, and then sat to watch a fun instruction video. Parents can see their kids through large clear windows but are told not to enter each of the buildings/rooms. There are a few experiences adults can join in like the theatre, but are encouraged to let their kids work on their own for most of the jobs. The boy on completion of his instructions was lead off to help out at a fire situation at the local hotel, and was in his element with crowd control. This was a great start to our four hours in Kidzania, and while on his Police job, he spotted a delivery courier, and a security guard job. Both of these roles are great ones to start with as they involve visiting other shops and buildings to deliver and collect packages. This is great for finding your feet and spot other places you might like to try.
The boy quickly decided on the music academy, as well as taking a university degree so that he could earn more money. Once you have collected 75 KidZos you can open a bank account and get a credit card, there was a long queue, but the boy was keen to bank his earnings. Next the boy was happy to just go off and find experiences of his own, and we could have reclined in the adult lounge but chose to watch from the mini benches around the town. The boy tried shop work, bell ringing, air conditioning, animation and even recycled paper making. he managed to fit lots into his time.
Kidzania has two levels, places to get a spot of lunch or a snack, and there are food related experiences for the kids. KidZos can be earnt with various occupations or spent in the shops, banked or saved for fun treats. The boy was keen to save as much as possible and was keen to see how much he could earn in the four hours. He wanted to have 100 KidZos in his bank account, saving them for a future visit. I think its safe to say that the boy had a great time in Kidzania and later on the way home said his favorite part was being a police man. I think the biggest smiles were when he had his one to one drum session, which would normally have a class of about 8. Kidzania was not overly busy on our visit, so very little waiting or queuing. The other stand out experience was the pit crew, where the boy had to work as a team and change a tyre on a racing car. He was super speedy and he and his partner managed a super quick time of 21 seconds.
Kidzania is suitable for kids aged 4-14 and once they are over 8 they can be left to explore the city for themselves. Safe that your kids cant leave and are safe with plenty of staff members about if they have any problems. This is perfect for those parents who want to get their shopping done at the Westfield shopping center which has a great selection of high street and specialist stores. Ticket prices start at £29.50 for kids 4+ with adults starting at £16.50. there are online discounts, and other deals. To find out more about Kidzania visit the website, twitter and Facebook pages, where you will find the latest deals. If you fancy finding out how much fun the kids are having at Kidzania then join them on Thursday 17th December 7pm to 11pm for their Adult only experience, something I think Dad Dragon and I would love to do!
Disclaimer we were give admission to Kidzania in return for an honest review, the words remain ours and have not been altered.
Little Cracker Juice drinks are a perfect handy lunch boxed size drink perfect now that the boy is back at school, and we were excited to find out what the new flavours would taste like. Little Cracker drinks are 100% natural juice with a splash of water, and with no added sugar are great as one of your five a day.
As before the boy was not keen on the pear and vanilla flavour, and we think this is a little of an acquired taste, but the new flavours were a hit. Especially the cherry and blackcurrant as these are two of the boys favourite fruit flavours. Little Cracker Juice drinks are perfect for lunch boxes, now that the kids are back to school and are available for RRP £1.99 for a pack of 3 cartons.
If you would like the chance to try out Little Cracker’s Juice Drinks for yourself then I have a nice little giveaway for you, simply complete the Gleam app below for your chance to win a pack of each flavour of Little Cracker’s Juice Drinks
Disclaimer, we were sent a selection of Little Cracker’s Juice drinks to try the opinions remain ours and have not been altered.
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Bubble Bum Booster Seat is a great product, and one I have been truly impressed by! from the moment I saw the fun packaging and cleaver design. I thought it was a product worthy of Dragons Den, when I found out that it has already featured on the Irish version of the show, it was no surprise.
Bubble Bum has already won its fair share or awards, and in my opinion rightly so. This booster seat is going to be perfect for our holiday and removes some of the worry for parents traveling abroad with kids. Despite the boy being 9 now, he is still too short to be traveling in a car without some form of booster seat. The Bubble bum is perfect to give him the extra height to fit the seat belt properly, and despite the boys initial reluctance to want to try out the Bubble Bum he has found it a very comfy car seat.
Bubble Bum car seats are available directly from the website as well as Halford stores for RRP £29.99. With all the relevant safety testing, (United Nations ECE Regulation R44/04 for safety for both Groups 2 and 3) handy carry bag, and positioning clips. Bubble Bum is possible better than my current heavy plastic booster seat. The Bubble Bum has a simple twist valve, making it easy to inflate and deflate even for someone with little puff, and weighs just 0.5kg when deflated.
The boy said that he thought at first that the Bubble Bum might pop under his weight, I told him this is unlikely, and he should give it a try. He found it super comfy and the only thing he was not so happy about are the seat belt clips. I think the clips are great as you know the Bubble bum is not going to move whilst in use. Younger children might not be able to undo the clips, but the boy had only a little problem with them, and once used to them no problem at all.
The Bubble Bum booster seat comes in some great colours, neon, pink, and the cool black which we chose with a silver piping which is a great touch and matches my car seat. Bubble Bum is suitable for kids aged 4 – 11 weighing 15kg to 36kg, and is perfect not just for holidays but short trips, or even packing the boy off with his grandparents. The video on the Bubble Bum website shows how versatile the seat is especially useful if you have to pick up friends for an after school play date, or even just for a short trip in a taxi.
I have been so impressed with the Bubble Bum, that I have been showing it to some of the Mums, I have always been thoughtful of when the boy travels in cars as having had a small car accident before the boy was born I know how important seatbelts and car safety are. The Bubble Bum is already for its holiday to Florida in a months time, and I have popped it in the suitcase already, and I know even though the boy is at the top end of using a booster it will be a very useful seat, maybe even replacing the one in my car which is used for short journeys.
Find out more about Bubble Bum on their website, Facebook page, Twitter and other social media or have a look and see how Bubble Bum inventor Grainne Kelly did on Dragons Den for yourself.
Disclaimer we were given this product for the purpose of review, the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.
Actimel for Kids is a great new yoghurt drink perfect for kids lunch boxes or simply used as a healthy snack, with three flavours, and a space theme, we were interested to see what the boy thought.
We were invited to a cookery school in London to get inspiration for school lunches, and the boy was excited to see what he could create. We arrived in plenty of time to see the Actimel team setting up our cooking stations before being treated to some fun space themed snacks. Eating planets made from Melon, and star-shaped tortillas was fun. The kids certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves and with plenty of the New Actimel for kids to wash the snacks down, plates were soon empty.
Soon it was time for us to have a go at making some Funky Lunch creations with Mark Northeast creator of the book with the same name. Our first challenge was to make some flying saucers. With crackers, cheese, tomatoes, olives, and cucumber all foods I would keep in my fridge at home. With basic instructions covered, we were free to make our individual creations.
I was amazed at the boys creativity, and he really did enjoy the challenge of balancing crackers on cucumber legs. He also loved carving cheese with a knife. Soon we had an assortment of cheese carvings with a slight Minecraft theme. Our next challenge was a space monster sandwich. This simple sandwich would be perfect for a lunch box or treat, and the boy was enjoying himself so much he was still constructing his creation even while the other family’s had moved on.
We say plenty of the children enjoying not only creating fun food, but the enjoyment of eating their creations. Even the boy who can be a little fussy at times, cleared all the food, and even offcuts from his plate. Inspired by his creations for Actimel for kids, he has been making sandwich cut outs at home. Even going as far as wanting to make his own lunch box creations.
Actimel for Kids is a great little yoghurt drink, and something the boy has enjoyed with his breakfasts this week. The boy enjoyed all three flavours, Strawberry, Raspberry and Vanilla with Strawberry being his favourite.
Each little bottle of Actimel for Kids is packed with yummy yogurt, billions of L.casei live cultures, delicious fruit purée* and essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and protein. Actimel for Kids is also free from artificial flavours, preservatives and colours.
Why not have a look at the Actimel for kids website for inspiration for your little ones, find out about A.C, Ti, and Mel, and add some funk to your kids lunches! For some lunch inspiration have a look at this video of Mark, and Sophie as they give you some great healthy lunch ideas.
The Sky Studios experience is easy to find at the main entrance to the venue, and is open for anyone visiting to enjoy. This one is not just for little kids, but the BIG ones can join in too! It didn’t take long before the boy and Dad were having a go at football skills. I must say there was no chance of me kicking a football that high, but both the boys had a good try. There are fun prizes if you do score a goal, or even three.
Next we tried out the basketball, and to our surprise (but not his) the boy scored three baskets in a row. The boy was rewarded with a Sky Water bottle, which he was very proud of, and plans to take to school with him. Both Dad and I managed one basket, not bad, it was great fun trying, but no plans of becoming sporting stars for us!
Next we headed into the Sky Studios, where you can get involved in some other sporting activities. You have the chance to voice your very own news article, pose for a winning photo, all which you can download from the website when you get home.
We all enjoyed having a go at Golf, none of us could get near the green. Racing Formula one cars was fun, and playing football was ok. Our only disappointment was that the boy couldn’t race on the bikes as they were for over 16’s only. We did all love seeing how quick our reaction times were. It looks easy simply hitting buttons as they light up, but this was more of a challenge than we expected.
We had a great time at the Sky Studios experience, and the boy would only have enjoyed it more if there had been some fencing for everyone to try out!
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