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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Crafting with Epson & Disney

So the summer holidays are officially upon us and like many parents I’m keen to make sure we have lots to do. Yesterday whilst big bro was at gym club me and my mini me did baking for the first time with our gorgeous personalised baking set, you can check out some pics of that on my instagram, it all went surprisingly well!

As Florence is turning 3 in October I thought it was time we went to our first blogger event together so a couple of weeks ago we trotted off to the Disney Store in London for a meet up with Epson in conjunction with the new film out this summer Finding Dory. We were met by Elsa and her a lovely crew who had put on a lovely breakfast and then spoken to by Bobbie from Disney who explained they were always keen to make sure parents had a great new film to look forward to. Disney had hooked up with Epson for this to offer even more great ideas for things to do with the kids over the summer period. (Did you know most parents run out of ideas after 3 weeks and on average spent £1500 during the summer holidays?!?) Neil from Epson then took the stand to explain how the world of print had declined in recent years but Epson had come up with an innovative package to ensure users didn’t have to worry about how much they printed, how colourful the subject was or how often they printed. Introducing the Ecotank printer….

 

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The best thing about this printer is it comes supplied with ink to run it for 2 years and when one bottle needs replacing they are only £8… In comparison a normal printer would consume 70 cartridges over this period!

The lovely Alice from More than Toast then stepped up to demonstrate how to make some ‘dorygami’ 🙂 and explain that with the new printer safely installed at her home it was a great tool for the kids to find pictures to print and colour in and how she didn’t have to worry about printing pages that were full colours or other such worries that we all had with our old printers. She also found that whilst sitting and doing these crafting things with her little ones that they tended to just chat and reveal lots more about their lives than if asked specifically about one thing. This resonated a lot for me especially trying to tap into Zachys feelings about mine and his dad’s separation so this is definitely on the agenda…

Once Alice (and Neil from Epson) had created their wonderful origami whales the rest of us bloggers were set to work on making some great crafts. There really was some truly fab creations (most bloggers had no kids with them btw..) Flo and I on the other hand set to work on the 0-3yr market and she did a fab job of making some great pictures that she was super proud of 🙂

We had such a fab day and I can’t wait to try out this fab new printer and go to watch Finding Dory so keep your eyes peeled for all that exciting stuff to come 🙂

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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 !

 

Running fake??

Prior to the birth of my second child in October 2013 I would generally just run a 5k Race For Life once a year but after having Flo and deciding I needed to shift my baby (and pre-baby!) fat I decided running would be the answer. Cheap, easy to fit in and the ability to do it at the drop of a hat.

2 1/2 years later and I still manage at least one run a week of between 5 and 10k so I’m pretty chuffed. I’ve managed to loose a lot of weight and I feel good about my body and health.

So why do I still feel like a fraud??

You know what I mean, I don’t class myself as a ‘runner’. Why do we, as mums/women always put ourselves down? Anyhoo that is a point for a completely different post that will come soon enough.

Luckily I was contacted by the lovely Trespass who could see through my insecurities and see me for the runner that I am and I need to thank them for that, because by having a ‘real’ brand get in touch and have belief in me I have actually realised i have belief in myself! Is that hollow? I don’t think so. It’s purely support. Support for me, mums and all of us who are trying to better ourselves and get back to who we were before children (YOU KNOW THE ONES THAT WE LOVE DEARLY – OBVIOUSLY!!) but who take up all our time!

To the point in hand! I had been thinking for ages that I needed a running jacket, I would often go out with a fleece cardigan or a hoodie on, only to get too hot 10 minutes in to my run but because of my earlier discussed insecurities of not being a ‘runner’ I couldn’t warrant the need for a ‘running’ jacket.

WELL!!!! Can I just say! If you run 1k or if you run 20k you NEED a running jacket! The weather is up and down as we know and the thing I didn’t know about these said ‘running jackets’ is that they love and protect you whatever the weather! If it’s cold they will keep you warm, if it’s warm but a bit nippy they take the edge off and even though you get hot and sweaty whilst you run you won’t feel it with one of these bad boys on!

PLUS who can deny you a HOT PINK jacket?! ( apologies for the cheesy picture LOL! )

To purchase my beautiful jacket click here

 

 

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Do your kids steal your skincare??

Now I know I haven’t harped on about it enough recently (!) but as some of you might know I won an award at the mum and working awards last month (working parent blogger of the year!!)

One of the categories, won by none other than Caprice herself was sponsored by the absolutely lovely Marili who has her own children’s skincare and bath time range so I was super happy to be asked to have a little try of these bad boys!

In my lovely delivery I had these wonderful body washes and a face wash.

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How cute are they?! I was in love as soon as I opened the parcel! I think the packaging is lovely to look at but not only is it visually appealing to mummies and children alike but it is quality packaging. Now that may sound snobby but how many children’s ranges have really nice pump action bottles??

The smells are amazing. My youngest one desperately wanted to eat the caramel and honey (which could be a little bit of an issue 🙂 ) and the strawberry and honey is equally as yummy. Def my favourite! It leaves their skin feeling soft and them smelling good enough to eat !

Additionally there is a face wash, which to be honest I may have to steal myself as my kids aren’t too big on that and usually only let me get them with a wet flannel if i’m lucky but also some beautiful smelling and looking lip balms. image

Now you may think lip balms?! For kids?! But both my boy and girl loooove stealing mine! So it is fantastic that they can have their own. Yes, you do have the issues of them squishing their fingers right through the middle when they first get them but it’s doesn’t take long for them to be taught to be gentle and I must say I just loved (even more than normal) giving them a kiss when they had it on!

Additionally they are all paraben free and organic! – Win win in my book!

Find out more at Marili Skincare

Dreamboats & Miniskirts at The Churchill Theatre

I went to see Dreamboats & Miniskirts at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley this week. It is written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran who are the team behind well known tv series such as Goodnight Sweetheart and Birds of a Feather to name but a few.

For those of you who don’t know this is the sequel to the well known Dreamboats & Petticoats. I personally hadn’t seen this musical before but it is still touring after having its debut at The Churchill in February 2009! I was a little concerned I wouldn’t know what was happening in the sequel but needless to say I didn’t need to worry as it drops in all the necessary information within the early stages of the play.

The Story

Set in 1962-1963 the story follows on from Laura and Bobby’s musical success some 18 months before but shows them being torn apart by the fact that Laura is more successful as a sole act than Bobby. Bobby rejoins his youth club band and they tour the country looking for musical success.

Dreamboats and Miniskirts UK Tour - credit Darren Bell (6)

The amount of fantastic songs throughout this production is brilliant, I found myself tapping, singing and nodding along to every single one including classics such as, House of the Rising Sun, It’s in his kiss, Twist and shout and more. All the cast have fantastic voices, my favourite being Anna Campkin who plays Donna who’s singing and acting was natural and seamless. Also to note are the saxophone players, Chloe Edwards-Wood and Laura Sillett who play alongside a fantastic Trumpeter Joseph Hardy, this trio worked tirelessly all night with their excellent playing and acting.

Overall

I must admit to find the story line a little ‘loose’ and some of the acting fairly ‘stage school’ but the numerous well known songs, the casts tireless singing and musicality really do make it an enjoyable production.

Dreamboats and Miniskirts is at The Churchill until 10th October. Get your tickets here.

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Mum & Working Finalist!

The judges have spoken! Celebrated, expert business-mums including Jacqueline Gold, Chief Executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox have revealed their finalists in the prestigious mumandworking 2015 Awards as supported by babyworld.co.uk – and I’m amongst them!

This exciting awards programme celebrates the champions of flexible working – showcasing those businesses, associations and individuals (mums and dads!) who are demonstrating how a fulfilling career can be balanced with modern-day family life – enjoying and managing parenting and working – together.

The awards will be held at RBS, 280 Bishopsgate – in the business hub in the City of London – today and are judged both by public vote and by an impressive panel of judges – leading business women and mums who understand all too well the challenges and the rewards of juggling work and being there for your family.

VIP speakers also include Annabel Karmel MBE and Caprice Bourret.

My first category is ‘Flexible Employee of the Year’ and this category is here to ‘demonstrate how flexible employment can bring out the best in individuals for the benefit of their employers, families and customers’. Many working mums already know that we give 110% through our work as many of us feel we have more to prove than others to retain our jobs.

I’m super thankful that I work for such a great company, RIG Healthcare, who have supported me since becoming a mum and enabled me to change my career direction from a sales person to a marketing executive. They ensured I got the right training by sending me on insightful courses and then sponsored me to achieve my Diploma in Digital Marketing from the prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Many Mum’s choose different paths but for me I couldn’t not work, don’t get me wrong I take my hat off to all you SAHM’s but for me that’s even more hard work than holding down a job! It might be a mad rush in our house, it might not always be sparkling and I might not do as much crafts and outings with my kids as others do but I appreciate the time I have with my them and also feel that I retain some of my own identity outside of being a mum.

I had no idea that I was in a second category ‘Working Parent Blogger of the Year’, I’m up against stiff competition here inc the lovely and gorgeous Vicky from Honest Mum plus many more!

So wish me luck and Good Luck to all my fellow nominees today! I’ll fill you in on what promises to be a fab afternoon soon!

http://www.mumandworking.co.uk/2015/awardsfinalists

 

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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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Lost my name books.

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Have you heard of these books? If not, why not?

They are simply BEAUTIFUL!

The personalised books cover the story of a little boy or girl who funnily enough has lost their name. The child goes off on a magical journey trying to find out what their name is and meets lots of lovely creatures, people and animals. As they help out these characters they kindly give him or her a letter they don’t have any use for. At the end of the story the little boy or girl discover what their name is and settles safely back down in their room.

The illustrations in these books are beautiful and hold a wistfulness about them that reminds me of when I was little. Zachary received one of these gorgeous books earlier in the year as a present for being a page boy at my cousins wedding, what a great idea! I had seen these advertised on Facebook and was desperate to get one for him so when he unwrapped it I was probably more excited then he was!

Upon settling down to read it he could easily tell me what each letter was on the journey but was also learning new words and was being able to identify new creatures he hadn’t heard of before like a Yeti for example! Fun, interesting, beautiful and educational!. He was so engrossed in the story that he had no idea what letters we were collecting on our journey and when we got to the end and shouted out ‘Wow, that boys got my name!’ he was super chuffed 🙂

I now have one for Flo, although she is only 22 months old she absolutely adores her books. As the pictures are so colourful and gorgeous in this she is captivated by them. I like to think they will both have fond memories of these when they are older and come to cherish them forever.

As you can probably tell I loooove these books, the fact they are personalised, magical and beautiful all at once makes them a must buy.

So next time when you’re stuck for what to buy for a new baby, a christening, a birthday, a xmas, a thank you or a just because present, think of this. A definite keeper 🙂

Personalise your book now at www.lostmy.name/

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#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

What a great time in Memphis! (the Musical!)

I went to see Memphis the musical last week and all I can say is AMAZEBALLS!

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An all singing, all dancing, quality London hit Musical I haven’t stopped raving about it to anyone who will listen to me..! I’ll stop you now if you’re thinking it’s a musical about Elvis – it’s not. The brief synopsis is about a love story between an underground black singer, Felicia, and a white DJ, Huey, who wants to help her get a record deal and promote ‘black’ ‘r n b’ to the masses on the middle of the radio dial.

Set in the 1950’s when segregation was still in full swing in America it touches on many poignant issues with racism, coloured people not being able to have high class jobs, coloured music that isn’t allowed to be on mainstream radio, mixed race relationships being illegal,  Felicia and Huey both getting beaten up because they are seen out in public together,all of which, for me who has a black partner and mixed race children is unimaginable.

The story gives a great base to some AMAZING singing and dancing, I literally was blown away and forced into the back of my seats with the quality of these actor and actresses voices and moves! Usually starring Beverley Knight as Felicia I was quite disappointed to find out that her understudy was covering on the night we attended but I had no reason to be. Rachel John’s voice and acting was fantastic and I had no reason to thing that she shouldn’t/couldn’t do this role every single night. Playing the lead male Huey was Matt Cardle, winner of the X-Factor. I must admit to having some reservations about whether the lovely Matt could pull it off but I’m pleased to say I think he did really well. I loved him on X-Factor and so it was a treat to see him live, his voice isn’t a traditional theatre power house voice but he hit some great notes, sang all the songs beautifully and I really bought into his character.

The whole cast were fantastic, the danced and sang for their lives throughout the whole performance and probably all deserve a mention however Huey’s mother Gladys played by Claire Machin had my partner and I in stitches. She really stand out in her portrayal of a hard nosed irish/american catholic white mother. Her comedic timing and intentionally ‘bad’ dancing was brilliant.

The atmosphere here is hard to describe, at times I had goose bumps, at others I had tears in my eyes and through most of it I just wanted to get up and dance!

I highly recommend this musical and am sure you will love it as much as I do, so get yourself to the Shaftesbury Theatre now before it finishes in October!

Find out more Memphis the Musical Tickets

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