Sex & The City Brunch in London

I pulled a Sex & The City style girls brunch in September! It was my very good friends birthday and it was a ‘big’ one so a big girls day out was in order. My lovely friends allowed me to organise the whole day and seen as I had been desperate to try out a bottomless brunch at the fabulous Tanners in Bermondsey  this was my first port of call. Yay!

Tanners offer two sittings of their bottomless brunch at either 11-1 or 2-4 so we opted for the second. After sharing a cheeky ‘magnum’! of Prosecco on the train courtesy of the birthday girl we rocked up at Tanners. The venue is so fab at the top of Bermondsey Street, a now very trendy part of the world and well worth a wander on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon for drinks, eats and a gander at all the lovely independent shops plus just round the corner is Maltby Street Market, you can read more about this fab place here.

Anyway back to brunch, by the time we were sat down the whole venue which is just gorgeous and a mix of shabby chic and school room (we were sat on an old gym vault made in to a sofa), was alive and buzzing. The tables are set beautifully with croissants, granola pots and fresh juice to start. Once you’ve settled in you get to choose from one of Tanners signature burgers or signature benedicts and of course your drinking weapon, the staff are attentive and friendly without being intrusive and most importantly keep your prosecco (our choice) flowing. As if that wasn’t enough you also get to choose elderflower jelly or fizzy chocolate pot for dessert, obvs we all went for chocolate!

I genuinely can’t recommend Tanners enough for bottomless brunch for ambiance, food, staff and drink – 10 stars! Plus it’s only £35!!

The rest of our day was filled with posh cocktails.

We started with a table on the terrace of the OXO tower. The views are stunning and if you have a lovely day like we did it really is just lush. You do feel part of the ‘London Set’ lol. Their porn star martinis are to die for and come with a very cute skeleton glass which your shot of prosecco is in. I was actually taken here for my 30th and I’ve always remembered it….

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and even more cocktails at the London Cocktail Club in Covent Garden.

Needless to say we all needed a week to recover 🙂

Where can you recommend for brunch or a girlie day out?

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Twin Mummy and Daddy

Fancy a trip to the shed?

Like most mums (and dads) I’m always on the look out to do something different and exciting with the kids to keep them occupied, have fun and if possible give them some educational value so I was delighted when I learnt about the opening of a new shed in West Wickham, Kent.

A shed?! I hear you cry!

It’s not any old shed though…. Set up by Regan Anderton, author of whatiatelastnight.com and food editor for Kent Life Magazine, The Cooking Shed is an adult only or adult and child cookery school right here on my back door step.

Launched on 7th May this year, Regans idea was to set up a relaxed and homely environment where you can spend time one on one with your little one (3 years plus) or in an adult only class to learn how to cook healthy, home cooked food. She had realised that the age old premise of passing down knowledge generation to generation had skipped quite a few of us in our manic day to day lives and wanted to help people to get back in the kitchen and cooking from scratch with quality ingredients (that she sources from quality locally businesses).

I was fortunate to attend an adult and child class with my eldest Zachy (5 1/2 yrs), to learn how to make chinese steamed buns. I didn’t have a clue where to start! Upon arrival you immediately feel like you’re at the seaside entering in to a fresh, well laid out and prepared classroom. Along with 3 other mum/child pupils we all popped on our super cute Cooking Shed aprons and  were given some background into asian flavours and chinese cuisine before Regan demonstrated the first part of making our buns. Knives suitable for small people were provided so everyone could get involved with chopping and scraping and the children got really stuck in, anything with a knife is going to be a winner for my boy!  Once Regan had finished her part of the demo we continued to work hard making our dough, getting our hands all sticky and gooey whilst hers cook so you can try a bit at the end. No you don’t cook yours there and then – its even better! Once you’ve finished making your buns or whatever else you go to the shed to learn about, you get to take them home and have them for dinner! PLUS there is enough for a family of four! WIN WIN!

So not only have you had a great time with your little one doing something different, fun and educational you don’t even have to make dinner later on!

I can’t recommend the experience high enough. Regan is thoughtful, educational and fun and more importantly you know she’s passionate about food and sharing her wisdom.

So if you want to learn to cook anything from asian to italian, from shellfish to chicken find out more and get booking at www.thecookingshed.com !

 

Rainforest Cafe Review

So far we’ve had a pretty chilled summer holidays. Given the fact I’m still working and of course the great british summer, it’s tricky to go full on with days out but last week we took a visit to London to the theatre (more on that in another post) and visited the Rainforest Cafe afterwards.

I’d popped in here last year and stayed just for a drink in the bar as there were no tables available to dine but Z had loved all the animal noises from around the ‘jungle’ and sitting on the bar stool that are shaped like the legs and bottoms of various animals, giraffes, zebras, lions, complete with tails. With that in mind I’d tried to book online the previous week but it was showing up as fully booked so we took a chance and walked in hoping that they would have some tables on stand by and for once it actually paid off 🙂

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Experience

One of our party had had a birthday a week before so they gave her a big birthday sticker and showed us to our tables. We were sat by a big monkey in the trees that freaked the kids out first of all when they saw his eyes move but soon calmed down when we told them it was just pretend. Shortly after when it started jumping around and making monkey noises another freak out ensued but after the initial shock they both enjoyed it immensely every time it went off!

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There are different animals all over the restaurant including bigger monkeys and elephants that move and make sounds at set intervals plus a thunder storm here and there. There is a brilliant ‘pond’ with fish ‘swimming’ on the floor that move when the kids step on them and of course the delightful character Cha Cha, a giant frog that cuddles all the children.elephants

The childrens ‘Rascals’ menu is £12.95 which includes a main, dessert and drink and although a lot more expensive than your normal high street childrens menu you expect it due to the experience surrounding you. Adult meals range from £10-£20, my friend had a prawn linguine and I the pulled pork burger. With some ‘experience’ restaurants the food can suffer but overall it was of a good standard and the portions were a great size and taste.

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The staff were attentive and accommodating, replacing a spilt childs drink and providing our birthday girl with a rendition of Happy Birthday from our fellow diners whilst standing on a chair with a candle in her dessert 🙂

Overall

The kids thought it was magical and really enjoyed it and lets be honest thats what it’s all about isn’t it?

7/10

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Slow & Steady or Fast & Furious??

So I ‘ve finally come to a conclusion on my weight loss journey, it’s better to stick with slow and steady over a short quick fix!

Yes I know I can hear you all telling me that I should of known better and we’ve all known that for years but you can’t blame a girl for trying! Last week I did the chemical diet and lost 7lbs in four days. It felt pretty amazeballs let me tell you but it was hard work. PLUS it pretty much all goes back on within a week. Boo.

So it’s back to sticking with slow and steady as I mentioned and continuing with the 5 : 2. I’ve been following this mainly since January 2014 off and on after I had my last child and in total have lost 20 lbs.I still have a way to go as I would like to lose another 20 lbs to get into the healthy BMI range.
I’ve started exercising again too so you can find out how thats going in The running returns…

This week I’m sharing a dinner option for you :

Easy Crispy Chicken from The Hairy Dieters at only 299 calories

Ingredients :

150g White Bread (about 4 slices)
4 tsp Dried Oregano or Mixed Herbs
2 tsp Sea Salt
25g Parmesan Cheese
4 tbsp Low Fat Yogurt
1-2 tbsp Plain Flour
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts, (about 160g each)
Ground Black Pepper

Method :

  • Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  • Place the bread on a large baking tray lined with parchment and toast until pale golden brown. (I actually bunged mine in the toaster for a blast)
  • Remove crusts and tear bread into large pieces, put in a food processor and blitz into crumbs.
  • Tip these into a large bowl with herbs, salt, pepper and Parmesan.
  • Place the flour in one bowl and the yoghurt in another.
  • I then banged my chicken with a rolling pin to flatten it a little although it doesn’t tell you to do this.
  • Take each breast and dip into the flour, then yoghurt, then the crumbs and push lightly so you have a thick coating.
  • Repeat with all breasts.
  • Place the chicken breasts on a tray lined with grease proof paper, for extra crispiness spray with fry light and then bake in the oven for 20 to 30 mins.

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Some of the tastiest healthy chicken I’ve had. I may go lighter on the salt next time but have a go and let me know what you think.

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Sim's Life

Dining out in a Cafe…???

Ever thought about dining out in a cafe??

I’ll be honest, it’s not something I would jump for joy at the thought of. But and that’s a big BUT, I would now!! Well certainly at this little gem!

I visited Marcos of Hayes on a Friday night for an informal get together with the school mums and was pleasantly surprised.

For those of you who aren’t local, Hayes is set just outside Bromley, Kent. It’s villagey and a lovely community to live in, I know I might be biased but there we are. Not so long ago the local cafe changed hands and became Marcos of Hayes. I popped in with my bud Regan from What I Ate Last Night to sample cake and coffee (which was gorgeous by the way!) and met the new owner; Marco (funnily enough!). The cafe has been given a makeover and has the mixture of Italian deli and comfortable coffee shop down to a tee.

Anyway I digress, an added string to the bow was the introduction of evening meals on a Friday and Saturday night and Sunday lunches, obviously on a Sunday! It works on a BYOB basis meaning an evening meal out with friends or the other half doesn’t have to break the bank.

Atmosphere

The cafe is lovely upon an evening, soft lighting, checked table clothes and a mixture of diners. It was relaxed and comfortable, the perfect place for an intimate dinner or casual catch up.

Food

The evening menus are a 3 course set menu priced at £26.95 at the time of my visit.

Starter: Antipasto

Gorgeous olives, sundried tomato’s, cured meats, artichoke, mozzarella and bread.

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Main : Sea Bass

Stuffed with prawns, crab meat and herbs in a tomato sauce, served with vegetables and sauteed potatoesmarco3

Desert : Carrot Cake

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Drink : I took along a bottle of Prosecco that was kept chilled in the fridge.

It was all absolutely beautiful. I could not fault anything and the portions were a perfect size. There is lots more to choose from on the menu that my fellow diners sampled and looked scrumptious but I guess you’ll have to pop along and have a look for yourself 🙂

Overview

If you are looking for a reasonably priced meal in a comfortable and relaxed environment with quality food and ingredients, this is it.

The staff are attentive without being annoying, they readily keep your wine topped up (if you’ve taken it) and the food was served in a timely manner where we didn’t feel rushed.

Would I recommend it? Yes

Would I return? Yes Yes!

Find out more and book on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

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The Little Life of Ickle Pickle

My big boys 1st Valentine

So I explained what Valentines Day was to my eldest today (he is 4) I told him it’s all about telling special people in your life that you love them. Even though you love them all the time it just reminds you to make them feel special and do something nice for them and more importantly to tell them that you love them.

He instantly decided he HAD to send his friend Rosie a card and make her some cake. *Bless!

So initially we decided we would make a card but once we were in the high street and whilst Mummy was choosing Daddies card he saw a lush little card with a big sunshine and a diamond heart which said you brighten up my world whenever I see you. Pretty apt for Z and Rosie  as they have known each other ever since Z was born and he is always SUPER excited to see her.

Next we made some shortbread because we could cut it in to heart shapes:

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Then we had to make some cakes as he needed one in a ‘princess case’ :

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This is what they turned out like: (with some dodgy decorating from me!)

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Then he wrote out his card very carefully and drew a pic on the envelope.

Luckily I had some little gift bags which are ideal for cakes and sweets so we packaged a cake and a biscuit in there:

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This is the finished article. My big boys 1st Valentine 🙂

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Honestly my heart is bursting!!

Hope you all have a lovely Valentines 🙂

xXx

Christmas Cake Recipe

I’ve built a tradition in my house and amongst family and friends that I make Christmas cakes as part of their Christmas presents so I thought I’d share my recipe with you here:

400g raisins
400g sultanas
200g currants
100g glace cherries cut in half
150 ml of rum

Steep the above in the rum over night or a couple of days.

175g Stork Margarine
175g Dark Muscavado Sugar
4 Eggs
1 Orange
300g Plain Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 heaped tsp of Mixed Spice

Method:
Preheat the oven to 150 C/130 C fan/Gas Mark 2
Cream the sugar and margarine till fluffy (or as much as your arms can handle)
Beat in the eggs then add the zest and juice of the orange.
Sift the flour, mixed spice and salt and fold in with a metal spoon.
Mix in the fruit.
Grease and line a 20 cm/8 inch square tin. (sometimes I use a deeper round one but cook for longer)
Turn the cake in and level the surface.
Bake for approx 2 1/2 hours.
Use a skewer in the middle to see if cooked (if no cake comes out)

Tips:
Leave plenty of time for the cake to mature before xmas.
Make sure you don’t open the oven in the first 2 hours as it needs level amounts of heat.
‘Feed’ the cake with rum (2 TBS) every 2/3 weeks.

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El and Baby A

 
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