Time for tea in Chislehurst

So I love finding hidden gems in our local community and recently I happened to find another one!

I don’t know about you but I love a little bit of pampering and lets be honest most of the time we deserve it 🙂 I found out the Bulls Head in Chislehurst have gone through an amaze balls transformation in their old drab dining area. It is now B E A U tiful!

I went along to check out the launch of the new dining area out the back of the pub and we were treated to cocktails and cake – what a perfect combo?

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The Night

On the night we indulged in beautiful and gorgeous cakes plus lovely gin and tonics courtesy of sip-smith gin, martin millers gin and fever tree tonic. This is the best tonic ever, for those of you that think I’m talking rubbish because its all about the gin – trust me – its not. Fever tree really does mean you can taste your gin as the quinine (the strong taste you have in a g&t) isn’t as strong as in a normal tonic water. It actually compliments the gin as opposed to over powering it.

I tested a elder flower tonic water form Fever tree which went perfectly with my martin millers gin and a normal fever tree tonic that went beautifully with my sip-smiths gin. Thank you fever tree 🙂

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Additionally there was a great mixologist who had made some cocktails that I normally wouldn’t of chosen due to the whisky content but they were amazing also. I’ll include these in a later post about different cocktails so keep your eyes posted!

Overview

Anyway, I digress, the new room at the back of the pub is stunningly gorgeous. It is spot on trend shabby chic, vintage and bright due to the gorgeous skylight and all the windows looking out on to the garden. It offers a calm and trendy spot to indulge in afternoon tea. Yes, they are offering a local afternoon tea – no more trekking up to London! I totally will be taking Mummy there for a girly catch up with a cheeky glass of fizz.

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If you don’t fancy afternoon tea this room is also used as the restaurant for dinner of which the menu is diverse. I sampled the cheese fondue which included brie, camembert and blue cheese with bread, calamari which was fantastically fresh and olives with mozzarella but there is a ‘proper’ evening menu to choose from too.

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If you really feel like indulging yourself the Bull also hosts a hotel, the biggest suite is absolutely amazing with a four poster bed, seating area, bathroom with roll top bath, twin basins and double shower. The perfect place for a local romantic get away.

BH Feature Room

To fin out more and book your romantic get away/afternoon tea or just to go and have a drink in the lovely garden (that does have an outside bar) visit their website now.

 

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Would you consider the theatre for a night out?

Are you an avid theatre goer?

I must admit the truth and tell you I haven’t been to a proper grown up play for aaaaaaaaaaaages.

I did take Z to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea last summer as part of the Kids Week in the West End where kids go free and both he and I loved it.

Living in Bromley we have The Churchill Theatre on our doorstep and I don’t know about you but I wasn’t aware of all the fab plays they have there across this year which span from musicals to stand up to intense intellectual productions.

Talking of intense productions. I had the honour of attending the premier (at The Churchill!) of The History Boys by Alan Bennett, voted ‘the nations favorite play’ last year and winning endless awards it was one I was excited to see.History Boys-202

Overview

For those of you don’t know The History Boys is a comic drama which covers the summer after A-Levels where a group of boys stay on in the classroom to be preened for Oxbridge exams. It’s set in the 80’s and some may find it a little on or behind the line as it represents what happened in certain schools and places in that time period where headteachers may of turned a blind eye….

It’s a thoughtful story of the time which covers comradery, not only with the boys but with their teachers, and gives you an insight into intellectual learning where it meant more to teach life than just a curriculum.

The director Kate Saxon notes, ‘the play does not present realism…their take on sexuality too liberal for the time. There is no bullying in the group…by freeing itself of realism the play is able to take a microcosm of the time and place and allow us to see relevancies that stretch far beyond it.’

Atmosphere

The theatre was packed! Considering it was a Monday evening this wasn’t something I expected and the bar was buzzy in the interval. It may not be something you immediately think of for a night out but an early dinner, good play, few drinks before, in the interval and after it offers it all really!

The Play

It had me listening intently at times, honestly, trying to keep up, it had me feeling sad and feeling happy. Evoking emotions like a rollercoaster and it made me realise that a lot of the olden days in teaching had a magical quality to them regarding the passion of old school teachers. The team of school boys bounced off one another easily and the play ran through perfectly. Hector (played by Richard Prior) managed to endear himself to me even though he was the one person acting inappropriately…

As is quoted again by the director ‘Bennet helps us along; the lessons are far reaching. Not only do they cover life, love and death, the extra-curricular lessons are equally enlightening.’

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The History Boys runs until Saturday 2nd May at The Churchill Theatre. Find out more and book your tickets here PLUS quote ‘HISTORYPACKAGE’ and receive a Band A seat, program and drink for £25.

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Champagne Afternoon Tea Anyone?

Days out for Mummy & Daddy are important now and again to help you reconnect with your partner and remember that you do have your own personalities.

Recently the other half and I had a gorgeous day out at Vertigo 42 in London. It was a christmas present bought for us by the ‘kids’ (very generously 🙂 )

Food

Lovely range of sandwiches including salmon, ham and cucumber.

Two cakes each, one a chocolate caramel and the other a lush passion fruit number.

A scone with clotted cream and jam.

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Drinks

A glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne and some Earl Grey for me.

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Overview

A circular venue with AMAZING 360 views of London, we were lucky with a spectacularly sunny Spring day so you could see for miles. The staff were attentive but not intrusive. One tip I received from my Mum who had been the week before was to ask for your tea when they deliver your champagne so you have it with your food.

This was bought on a voucher offer and for £30 for two was stunning value. Afterwards a wander round the City and a couple of drinks in Leaden hall Market which was bustling with the after work crew made it a lovely day out.

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A Day Out with Thomas

Always looking for ideas of kids days out?

Recently we visited Thomas, yes, the one and only, Tank Engine.

There was a lot of anticipation of the big event so we were up and out early doors. We attended the event at Kirklees Light Railway in Yorkshire as we were visiting family in the area at the time and were very lucky they had discovered it was on the same weekend.

Activities

On arrival there was lots going on:

Platform rides on your favorites including Mavis, Toby the Tram and Thomas

(a quick back and forth out of the platform and back again).

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Platform Ride - TObyt1

Face Painting in an old train carriage

Face Painting

Donkey Riding

Donkey Rides

plus a bouncy castle and activity centres that offered the chance for children to colour in pictures and make crafts!

The staff were in Thomas uniforms and the Fat Controller was striding around looking stern (which he was – but that’s another story!)

7The main ride runs from Kirklees to Shelby around a 15-20 minute journey. Our train was actually pulled by Douglas rather than Thomas which was a little bit of a disappointment for  our eldest but seen as Thomas was doing a platform ride it was ok and meltdown was narrowly avoided!

Additionally, a note to take heed of,  we went to a ‘light railway’ so the trains and carriages were on the miniature side, this isnt made overly clear on the website although it does mention it.

Their promotional video shows a normal size carriage so make sure you choose the relevant venue if this is the option you would prefer.

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Overall

Zachy enjoyed the day and even his little sister now plays with his trains and picks up his books to read so I would say overall it was a success. Honestly for the cost of the ticket, a lot was included as all the above was at no extra cost and you could easily make it a whole day out with everything on offer.

Each venue offers different activities and different prices so check out their website for more info: http://www.dayoutwiththomas.co.uk/

 

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Family Fever
toddlerapprovedtuesday

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

Is the new fad diet working?

So I’ve done 5:2 diet since the beginning of the year and although I swore to you that I would update you on my progress I must admit to my demotivation.

You’ll be pleased to hear I finished my 30 day ab and squat challenge in January. I started the plank challenge in February and managed to get through till about the 20th before it fell by the wayside. This was around the time that I really started to fall off the weight loss wagon!! I have been maintaining by 5:2 but if I’m honest with myself I have been eating atrociously on the non fast days! Consequently I’ve been stuck at my weight since last public weigh-in post and felt ashamed to tell you all!

On a more positive note I have completed the majority of my Physio on my broken toe so am hoping to start running again this week….

This week I have decided to do the ‘chemical diet’ also known as the ‘egg diet’. It’s super strict and you can only eat whats on the list and at certain times but it is only for 1 week and I really wanted to give my body a little push before jumping back on the 5 : 2 wagon!

i have taken this from lots of sites around the web although I think predominantly it came from a Netmums forum : The basis of this diet is chemical. If you follow the diet to the letter for one week you should lose 14 pounds (and possibly up to 20 pounds)

Day 1 Breakfast 1 slice dry toast and grilled tomatoes
Lunch Fresh fruit (any amount)
Dinner 2 hard boiled eggs, salad, grapefruit

Day 2 Breakfast Grapefruit, 1 boiled egg
Lunch Roast chicken (any amount) & tomatoes
Dinner Grilled steak and salad

Day 3 Breakfast Grapefruit, 1 boiled egg
Lunch 2 boiled eggs and tomatoes
Dinner 2 Grilled lamb chops, celery & cucumber

Day 4 Breakfast 2 slices dry toast, 2 poached eggs
Lunch fresh fruit (any amount)
Dinner 2 hard boiled eggs, salad, grapefruit

Day 5 Breakfast 1 slice dry toast, 2 poached eggs
Lunch 2 poached eggs & tomatoes
Dinner Fresh or tinned fish and salad

Day 6 Breakfast 1 boiled egg, 1 glass grapefruit juice
Lunch Fresh fruit (any amount)
Dinner Roast chicken, cabbage, carrots

Day 7 Breakfast 2 scrambled eggs, grilled tomatoes
Lunch 2 Poached eggs& spinach
Dinner Grilled steak & salad

NOTE

Abstain from anything not mentioned.
Eat only what is shown or do without.
No substitutions allowed.
No eating between meals
No alcohol
No butter milk or fat

No salt

Drinks = black tea, black coffee, lemon tea, grapefruit juice, tonic, soda or water only
Salad = lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and celery only

DO NOT DIET FOR MORE THAN ONE WEEK AT A TIME.

Here’s Day 1-3 lunches:

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So far I have lost 4 lbs in 2 1/2 days, I’m only doing it till Friday so I promise I’ll let you know how I get on through Facebook & Twitter on Saturday morning. 🙂

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Sim's Life

“The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should. Ever set foot in the deep dark wood.”

We adore the Gruffalo and Gruffalo’s child in our house and read them all the time.

Although I’m at work this half term 😦 After a lot of hint dropping, then blatantly asking in front of Z, kindly Grandma and Grandad took big Z to the Gruffalo’s child trail at Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest in Kent.

I’ve been meaning to go since they did the first round of the Gruffalo last year and meaning to go all winter to the Gruffalo’s Child, with it ending at the end of February I was over the moon that he got to go.

Once you arrive there is an activity pack to buy (only £2) where you have to go and spot the pictures around the trail and write down the letter to spell out the word, a picture to colour in and other fun goodies plus the bestest sticker ever (Z’s words!) He soon ditched his scooter with Grandad in favour of walking around spotting everything and having his picture taken with the big man himself…

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Once I finish work this week we have the Circus to look forward so I look forward to sharing that with you.

What are you up to this half term??

 

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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

Guilty. Why are we always guilty?

I’ve been so quiet on my blog recently….

Let me explain. (without trying to whinge!)

The last 2 weeks have been a tough one. My childcare regime has been turned upside down and we now don’t have a nanny anymore, (it was a share – I’m not that posh/rich! Lol) when she was here it meant I could leave the house at 8am on my workdays with the kids in any state (dressed/undressed, eaten/not eaten etc) This changed for one reason or another and now Mon – Wed are manic!

Our routine now consists of getting up, dressed and out by 7.30, dropping off my eldest at a friends and my youngest at nursery. Is she cross or is she cross?! Crumbs the last 2 weeks have been emosh, to come and find your 16 month clinging to the baby gate looking super sad sticks in your mind and you start wondering if you’re a bad mummy.

You try and rationalise with yourself, lots of parents leave their kids, YOU left your eldest kid when he was even younger than her but it still hurts and still leaves you feeling down. Why is being a parent so guilt tripy all the time?!

So my real question here is WHY do we always feel so guilty?!

We feel guilty for not spending time with our kids

We feel guilty for only allowing our kids to spend time with us!

We feel guilty for not taking them to groups

We feel guilty for side lining them coz of their siblings

We feel guilty for going to work

We feel guilty for not being crafty enough

We feel guilty for not doing more baking

Are we put in to this mentality from day one?

Guilty for not breast feeding long enough (if at all)

Guilty for not bonding quick enough

Guilty for finding it hard?!

It seems we are doomed from the start on a never ending cycle of not being good enough. Not being a super mum.

Well peeps. It’s stops here!

You are great, you are the best and you are doing the best you can do with the funds and time you have.

I feel bad this week for putting my baby in nursery but I know she will be super sociable for being there and that will give her a good footing for the future, on the flip side if your little ones are at home they are receiving fantastical time with their mummy or daddy and that will also give them fantastical qualities for their independant lives. Ultimately we all do the best we can with what we are given, so let’s stop feeling guilty all the time and just enjoy them! Coz before we know it they’ll be our age asking themselves the same questions.

xXx

Family Time

Last week was a lovely one 🙂

I’m still filled with warm and fuzzy feelings. I had my best friends birthday, a day trip out just with Mummy, my favourite Auntie and Uncle came to stay from Friday to Sunday, it was my Dad’s birthday on Saturday and we got to see my brother and his wife and my gorgeous niece and nephew.

Family, family family.

To start at the beginning….

Thursday:

Gorgeous turkish dinner at Havet in Bromley. This is amazing, I’ve blogged about it before here, Turkish-conkers-keith-lemmon, albeit a snippet. It didn’t let me down and we ended up across the road at The Barrell and Horn also detailed in the above post. – Not that I’m a creature of habit or anything?!

Friday:

Mummy and me went to The France Show at Olympia. This was a show with all things France. Admittedly I got jealous on Level 2 at all the lovely french properties for sale but Level 1 had lots of delights such as duck confit baguettes, crepes, sausages, cheese and one of my favourite bakers from Ropewalk in Bermonsey – Comptoir Gourmand which is a fast-growing traditional French patisserie company who had lots of tasty treats including these gorgeous meringue.

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I also picked up an amazing mixer/soft drink named Pimento. A ginger, chilli tonic which I have become quite addicted to with Gin and even on it’s own 🙂

pimento

Saturday:

We went for a good run around at High Elms which is a lovely parkland and wood estate near mums, they have an eco visitors lodge where the kids made a collage picture whilst we looked at the history of the estate. Once we’d spent some energy we went on our trip to Frankie & Benny’s. Now I’m not one to moan (ok I did but…!) these chains aren’t really my thing to be honest but with 4 children in tow and majority rules this is where we went.

Overall it was OK. From a Tried & Tested and Toddler Approved side of things I would say all the kids had a great time so I won’t whine on. They had a kiddies pack to complete, their own menu with plenty to choose from including pizzas, pastas and burgers, this included a drink and desert and lots of balloons. The waiter did really well considering there were 13 of us!

The evening saw us all vegging after a manic day and watching Hot Tub Time Machine, hilarious very easy watching film starring John Cusack. If you haven’t seen it then do.

Happy Days!

Family Fever
Toddler Approved Tuesday

 

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