Sunday, 14 September 2014

New TK Maxx Store at Pipps Hill Basildon

Hello everyone!  So a few weeks ago (not sure how many to be honest) I was invited to the new TK Maxx store in Pipps Hill, Basildon.  I was super excited as it is local to me and I haven't been to a TK Maxx in ages.  Before this store opened the nearest one was Southend and I don't go there as much as I'd like to as the cost of parking is ridiculous.


As this was the day of the grand opening of the store I got there quite early.  Thank god my dad acted as my taxi as David unusually was playing up. When we got there, there was already quite a few people.  I felt kind of VIP as I got to have a preview of the store before it opened.  I'm so glad I was able to as once the store opened it got SO busy!  This perhaps was helped by the fact TK Maxx was generously giving out £10 gift cards to the first 500 people.


When having a look around I was SO impressed.  I literally haven't been impressed by a shop as much as I have with TK Maxx.  There was loads of space for prams and wheelchairs and the lighting was amazing.  Everything was set in colours which made the shop look so beautiful.  


Once the store opened I managed to look around to hunt for some bargains.  I must make it clear that all TK Maxx's are different so they never have set brands in store.  You can find a mix of small brands and big name brands though for VERY good prices.  I was given £50 from TK Maxx and I wanted to see how much I could get for my money. So what did I manage to buy?

£7.99

£14.99
£7.99
£7.99

£2.99
£7.99 not bad!
I got a mixture of stuff, mostly clothes to help with the colder seasons.  I also got some briefs as David is currently (kinda) being potty trained.  It's a slow start but something.  The garden chair?  Well I couldn't resist it was only £7.99! Needless to say I'm impressed with what I got especially the sets of clothes and garden chair.  Infact a lot of the toys I saw were good prices.  I will be back though for myself, the homeware stuff was so beautiful and their salon range was a girls dream come true.


That's it for this post.  Hope you enjoyed reading.  Hopefully I'll be able to do lots more posts now that my son is nursery.  Peace out and until next time.


Friday, 12 September 2014

Pizza Express | Autumn and Christmas Menu 2014

So about a month ago I was invited by Pizza Express to their Christmas Event.  This was to preview their A/W 14 and Christmas Menu.  Now I'm not going to lie I am (was) a Pizza Express virgin.  This event made me question why I hadn't ever been!  The food was amazing and to my arrogance (probably due to the fact I was late) it wasn't until after I came home that I realised I ate Gluten Free and Vegetarian options.  In a way though that is a good thing as they were ALL tasty.


I was late to arrive at the new restaurant located near London Liverpool Street. When I arrived I was warmly welcomed and drinks and food were already being passed around. I can't remember how each individually tasted but what I can confirm is that they were all tasty and have converted me to a lover of Pizza Express.  There new menu is packed full of new food and some old favourites.  To start off with new drinks will be introduced Bollinger Champagne and blush cider. 


The first Starter on the list is Arancini Provola which is vegetarian. They are baked risotto balls with spinach and a provola cheese centre. they are served with a spicy arrabbiata sauce. You also have pork and pancetta croquettes 


The next new starter is the Melanzanine which is vegetarian and maybe GF but you'd have to check. It is a mini al forno dish of layed aubergine, passata, mozzarella, basil and gran moravia cheese.  Another starter that will be making a return is Pizza Express's famous cheesy dough balls.


For the mains there were 3 pizzas and a calzone.  The first picture which I did not get a picture of was the Aubergine Gluten Free pizza called Melanzane Romana.  I do not re-call what it was called but it was very tasty as I ate it within seconds.


This is the calzone. It is much like a English cornish pasty only Italian style, tasty too.  This one is filled with spinach, ham and pepperoni.  It just bursts with flavour. 

  
Next we have the Festiva (vegetarian).  This was made up of brie sauce, mozzarella and leek with a generous amount of rocket placed on top (as you can see).  This was my least favourite as I felt as if I was being fed like a rabbit.  They also had Anatra, a pulled duck version of this pizza with hoison sauce instead which perhaps would of tasted better but I did not get to try that sadly.


Next up is the Mare Rozza pizza  It was very light I felt and was one of my favorites.  Toppings included chunks of smoked salmon, prawns and broccoli. The final pizza which I failed to get a picture of was my most favourite and I think everyone elses too was the Carbonara Pizza.  Basically Carbonara in the shape of a pizza, so think egg, bacon and well just haven!

Finally we finish with the deserts. As a woman with a sweet tooth my god I was in hevaen! I got to try most of the deserts that night I ended up brushing my teeth twice that night just incase.  So what have they brought to the menu?

So we have Christmas Pudding or Honeycomb Cheesecake, Chocolate Tartufo, Snowball dough balls and some other old favourites.  I couldn't take pictures of everything there was so much going on but needless to say you'll be spoilt with desserts that's for sure.





That's it for this blog post.  The Autumn menu launches on the 7th of October with the Christmas menu shortly following on the 11th of November.  I know I'm going to be booking my table when the new menu comes out will you?




  

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Review | New Ryvita Tin & Pumpkin Seed Flavour

Hello everyone! So a pretty unusual review today on the blog but it's about the new limited editon tin Ryvita have just brought out.  Now Ryvita's are a god send in the Candyfloss household.  David doesn't really get on well with sandwiches.  Don't get me wrong he loves toast and pretty sure he likes bread but he doesn't get on well with sandwiches.  He'll take out the filling and then won't eat the bread or eat half of it and then before you know it's on the floor....very frustrating.


It's also good for my "diet" (okay yes not been strict but I'm happy either way at the moment).  There's plenty of room in the tine fitting a whole packet of Ryvita's and a bit more.  The design itself is very simple yet effective.  Now I'm not art expect but I'm guessing this is in a similar style as Art Deco?  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  The lid goes on nicely and it secures it put it's not too hard to get off.  That means it keeps the Ryvita's from going stale.    


Because of the colours it will easily fit in with many kitchen styles and won't look so ugly on a window sill so there is no reason to hide it away in the cupboard.  This style is in fact designed by the award winning Ben De Lisi.  As well as the pictures I have posted with what I've had with Ryvita I also dipped it in soup which is divine!  What are your favourite toppings for Ryvita?



Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Review | Quorn BBQ Event

Hello everyone!  So a few weeks ago I attended a Quorn BBQ event in London.  I invited my brother along with me as he is vegetarian. Even though I am a meat eater I do love Quorn.  I've only ever had their mince and chicken but I really enjoyed them when I've eaten them.  I was really happy to get invited as it gave me the change to try out more of their range. I had to bring my son David along too as it was on a day I have him for contact.  I thought I would take advantage of this and so me and my brother took him to the science museum.  He had lots of fun and loved the cars and trains.  He spotted them out straight away which I was pleased about.  After exploring the rest of the museum we went down to the basement where they had their "garden".  I wish I went down their sooner as David loved it and I don't blame him.  It was amazing and well I wish I could of had the water play section in my back garden.


Anyway more about the event.  When we arrived we were welcomed with a friendly reception.  We were given a press pack and a bunch of vouchers for drinks.  Normally I would of introduced myself to everyone but I had David with me and understandably he was being difficult. It wasn't his fault though as obviously he wanted to run around and touch everything.


Whilst we networked and waiting for the BBQ to start we were given a glass of pimms and snacks were laid out on the table.  It was very relaxed, as we were near the airport too we were able to show David planes....he now points at every plane he sees in the sky ha ha.


Quorn had laid out a lovely table of food for the BBQ as well to put on our plates.  I took some cocktail sausage to try and bribe David some what in to keeping quiet as he was being rather loud.  I managed to eat one myself this time as well considering my brother normally tells me I can't have any when I'm round the parents house.  I can see why he wanted them all to himself now as they were lovely!


It wasn't long until the chef started cooking the quorn sausages and burgers.  They had marinated the burgers with some special sauce.  I don't know what it was but my god it was amazing!  The only way I could explain it, was that it was like ribs with rib sauce had been mushed together into a burger.  Oh my god, it was to die for.  David stole most of my burger sadly.  I can't blame him though it really was that tasty.



Please excuse the bite marks as I nearly forgot to take a picture as I was enjoying it that much ha ha.  They also had sausages.  These tasted much different from the cocktail sausages but still packed with flavour.


They also served up some trifle for afterwards which was lovely.  I think quorn is always ignored as a healthy alternative but infact it's great if your on a diet you don't have to be a vegetarian.  Weight Watchers even have it included in part of their healthy and filling plan.  Quorn was nice enough to give us some recipe ideas that I might in the near future have a go at.  If you would like me to post the recipe's with feedback as to how easy it was to cook etc, please let me know.

Just before I finish this post I'll leave you with this fact about Quorn that may just surprise you.

"*Quorn Mince, Quorn Meat Free Chicken Pieces and Quorn Standard Sausages are a nutritionally healthy protein source. Protein contributes to a growth in and maintenance of muscle mass.

**Based on a 75g serving size."

Don't forget to subscribe to me over at my youtube channel as I'll be doing a vlog on this soon as well.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

42 days of Summer Challenge

Hi everyone!  So summer is pretty much over well it feels like that way anyway.  There is still plenty of fun to be had though and so down below I've listed some activities that you can do with you and your family.  Some are free but some of them also cost money.  Some of the activities might include places that are in Essex (aka near me) but I'm sure their are familiar alternatives all across the UK!

1. Don't let the rain bring you down put on your wellies and go jumping in the puddles
2. Make mud pies!
3. If the weather is REALLY bad make it a peppa pig day.  Watch Peppa Pig then do both the above and any other fun activities you can think of when watching it with your child (depending on their age of course)
4. Go on a nature walk.  With Autumn just around the corner you could collect stuff use it for art later on.
5. Water Fight!
6. Buy a family sized pool so you can sit down and enjoy it as much as your children!


7. Sundays don't have to be boring.  If your children are at a good age why not try making some afternoon tea snacks with them.  Don't forget to invites the best teddies in town though!
8.Massive Ice Sensory! Hide objects and explain to your children what is happening as the ice melts.
9. The beach! Du'h!
10. Science Museum
11. Good old fashion play in the park


12. Back garden teddy bears picnic.
13.Any kids festival near you?  You should check them out sometimes they can be great fun and not badly priced either!


14. Visit a zoo!  It doesn't have to be a massive zoo either if your tight for cash try to search for smaller ones.  
15. Visit a farm! 
16. Theme Park.  (Try looking for 2-1 deals for these)
17. Play with sidewalk chalk


18. MAKE sidewalk chalk
19. Play dough too whilst your at it ;)
20. Try and say no to TV for one day. (it's easier then you think)
21. Or if it's horrible outside have a movie day with homemade popcorn and healthy snacks! 
22. Leave the grass to grow a bit and before you cut it and paint it! I know it sounds odd but it's great fun I promise.
23.  Teach your child how to tell the time using the sun.  It's a great learning experience for perhaps both of you.
24. Bubbles!
25. Fill your paddling pool up with water and put a slide going into it (come on I must not be the only one that used to do this as a child)
26. Do the same above but pretend the slide is the plank and play pirates!
27. Make fruit skewers and ice lollys
28. Play some football 
29. Play Tennis then afterwards eat strawberries and cream mmmmmmmmmm.
30. Go to the cinema (the Odean have special toddler and children shows for only £2.50!)
31. Pretend your garden is a zoo.  Prehaps you and your family can pretend your zoo keepers/animals.  They could even feed you fruit ;).  The bigger the better so invite all the people you can! 
32. Camping doesn't have to mean going away that far.  why not camp in your back garden that way if your children get too scared you can always restore back to the bedroom!
33.Save lots of cupboard up from your packaging and then chuck it all in your garden and let the kids go wild! 
34. Climb up the biggest hill in your town and see if you can spot your house! (If you have one)
35. Go to a butterfly enclosure. Talk to them about all the colours you see.
36. Go crabbing.
37. Hellloooo bike ride!
38. Feed some ducks


39. Go on a totally spur of the moment random road trip!
40. Turn your living room and garden into an animal hospital.  
41. Try and bring your children's favourite book to life.  Use play dough or set up different stuff in the house/ garden.  Many people have done it before with "the hungry caterpillar" and "we're going on a bear hunt" so just try with another story.
42. Go to a local fruit market and let your child pick out what they want then make a fruit salad for dessert that day!

Wow that was actually a lot easier then I thought.  I hope you managed to get at least a few good activities out of them.  Now along side this I was given some BN biscuits.  I DID have a lovely picture of them.  Sadly 1. My SD card broke and 2. my SD card reader is now not working! Urgh!

It was a tough job having to eat biscuits with David ;).  We received the Raspberry and chocolate flavour but I noticed they do them in white chocolate! I haven't brought the white chocolate flavour yet but it is on my list. Me and my friend clare couldn't help but sing the old theme tune. "BN BN do do do do BN BN do do do" you all know you wanna sing it.  Anyway they were really great just like I remembered.  David obviously have the sweet tooth loved them as well.  The only problem I would say I thought of was that in lunch bags yeah they would great to have (though no doubt they would be banned at most schools now a day *sigh*) BUT the packaging makes this a little difficult.  I think it would be better if each biscuit or perhaps every 3 had it's own separate packaging so it's easier to store?  I dunno what do you think maybe it's just me.

Anyway that's it for this weeks blog sorry it's a bit delayed bloody SD card reader! ARGH.


This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at http://bit.ly/1mRpMCL

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Review | Printed.com business cards

Hey everybody! (hey doctor nick)

So I've been thinking for a good old while that I really need to get some business cards for at least one of my blogs.  I've been to a lot of events and people have given me theres and they are so pretty etc.  It's a really good thing to give to PR's too as they can put you in their contact book so much easier as well.  I was strolling through the internet as you do anyhoo and BAM hello opportunity to review business cards...well of course I said yes!  However it was with a company I had never heard of before called Printed.com.  I went on their website straight away and it look really simple and easy to use.

Now I could just show you the business cards with my design on it and have done with this review (seriously they look fabulous just you wait).  Instead though I want to talk about their customer service, sorry I meant their AMAZING customer service.  Now I have dealt with a lot of customer service in the past some good experiences some bad.  However I'd like to make a new category "Unicorn service" in translation epically amazing customer service, because lets face it unicorns are amazing (and they do exist, you can't tell me they don't!). 

10 points if you can point the mistakes lol
So why was this customer service amazing? Well first off I designed my own business card in photoshop. I then sent it to be printed....I didn't proof read it. I only realised this though when they came in the post I looked at them and then proceeded with crying and banging my head against a wall (not literally).  I sent them back feedback but I said to them "don't worry though it's my mistake I'll still use them"  I was really shocked though when they told me to edit them and they would print them off for me again!  They went an extra mile and they really didn't have to!

I then went to edit them in photoshop but I got told it was the wrong size.  This confused me because they accepted the print first with spelling error and text colour errors but there was nothing wrong with the size.
Either way the smart thing I should of done was to download their template so I got the size right. They were VERY patient with me and after many phone calls and emails we got it right yay!


They came in the post after only a few days delivery seemed very quick. So this is what they look like Ta-da! As you can see they have rounded edges I'm sorry but to me everything looks better roundddd.  I love the quality of these cards and they came in cute plastic boxes so they are easy to carry around.  They feel quite thick as well like a train ticket or maybe a bit more.  I hope you like them as much as me and if you don't poo you cause their mine anyway ha ha.  

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Dry Like Me post 1 | Our Adventure Begins

Hi everyone,  so a few weeks ago I was contacted by Dry Like Me to review their Early Stage pads.  As David is communicating more now I thought now would be the perfect time.  He tells me when he goes a poo and he shows lots of interested in the toilet.  So come on a (hell like) potty training with me.  It hasn't been easy with David although he has good communications skills as he doesn't yet understand what it means to actually go to the toilet so this will be part of a series and you can follow me through my ups and downs


Dry like me have organised a Potty Training Live Programme.  Each week they post brilliant tips and guides on how to battle the war that is potty training.  So what do you need before you even think about starting and what are the signs that you can start with your little one?  Don't worry I'm going to answer all of those.

The signs

  • Good communication skills - can let you know their thirsty/want a drink etc.
  • Confident physical skills - able to walk up the stairs
  • Being able to follow direction - i.e can be shown how to wash hands.
You can also watch this cute little video from Dry Like Me which is a less boring way of learning how to know if your child might be ready or not.

So what do you need?

below is a shopping list with all the stuff you may or may not want to buy.  I honestly wished I saw this list sooner as I was very un-organised at the start which really isn't like me.  If your only training in the day don't worry too much about the mattress protector though it's always good to have anyway.
  • A potty of course! (du'h!)
  • A toilet training seat is also good to have incase your little one wants to take the big leap straight away.
  • Dry Like Me Pads (that does without saying right?)
  • lots of pants (or boxers, for me the pants/briefs had no where near enough room!)
  • wipes
  • rewards or stickers (I think in the early stages a big clap and yay is good enough with maybe a colouring book.  The rewards can become more regular like star charts when you think he/she's getting the hang of it.)

So how did our first week go?  Well actually not that good.  I brought boxers and briefs for David as the briefs looked sooooo small anyway.  I turned out to be right even though they were 2-3 years, ridiculous. David still hasn't learnt bowel control so I'll be taking the next step when he comes back from his fathers.  Writing down when he has an accident (aka when he wees).  When I started potty training I only did a "pants session" in the morning.  I know Dry Like Me advice that you keep them out of nappies completely but I felt like this was best for me.  Though I'm moving from nappies to pull ups.  I shall keep you updated and fingers crossed we get somewhere.  I do have to stay strong though as I know it can take 4-6 months. I'm very impatient so I think I'll find this hard but I just have to stick to my guns.  Until next time bye!