Monday, 26 September 2016

Holiday Rememberings

It's now a month since we came back from our holiday in Normandy and to be honest, I'm home sick for France! The food is incredible - it starts with baguette and croissants at breakfast time, followed by a lazy lunch in the sun, numerous coffees and then the inexhaustible supply of moules frites in the evening. Kir royale with dessert... what an amazing holiday. We were lucky enough to be staying on the beach front in a small town called St Aubin, we've never stayed anywhere before that wasn't in the middle of nowhere, so it was wonderful to be able to walk to cafes, boulangeries and restaurants as well as along the five mile promenade. Swimming in the sea, walking on D Day beaches, using metal detectors to hunt for war memororabilia (not my idea of fun) that kind of thing. Ah, it's no wonder I'm home sick for France.

But before we set off on the long drive, we were lucky enough to receive a fabulous kids suitcase from the guys at icarhirecarinsurance, something to make our journey just a little bit less stressful, and a bit more fun.

Fun suitcase with lots of fun things inside
Fun toys!

Inside the suitcase was a kids game, bubbles, a camera, travel pillow, fun game pack and more!

Car bingo
I loved this fun game for the car, what a great idea! And definitely helped pass the time during the SIX HOUR journey down to Portsmouth. Man that took a while.

Cute tag
Really cut was this tag attached to the case, we'll keep this for ages and use on future cases.

It's a great idea having a travel pack like this for journeys, it literally only feels like five minutes until the kids start claiming they're bored - with five hours to go, it can feel like a LONG time.

The port

Mont St Michel
This was one of the first things we saw in France - what an amazing view it was. And facing it zillions of amazing restaurants all selling oysters for peanuts. Heaven.

D Day findings
Of course all the boys wanted to know about was the D Day stuff. Part of me liked the fact they were interested in history. Part of me was in despair at their obsession with war.

Beach running
Baby girl spent the whole holiday trying to run into the sea. She took exception to being told she couldn't and every time we restrained her from running headlong into huge waves, she acted like we were the most terrible parents ever and had a huge melt down. Fun!

Fun breach times
But the best thing is that we finally had a bit of chance to relax. Ish. We sat down occasionally and got full nights sleep each night. with three young kids that's as good as it gets. But the food, I will never forget the food... France I want to see you again soon!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

#MamiaDaysOut Challenge

For quite a while now, we've been huge fans of Aldi, especially since one came to be built in our home town around a year ago. I was quite skeptical at first, but after a few trips round where I managed to buy a whole week's shop for less then £40, and I was converted. We still use other supermarkets, but I would say the bulk of our food comes from Aldi. We've been especially impressed with the baby products, especially the nappies which are a great low cost alternative to Pampers.

Anyway, we were lucky enough to be sent a cute hamper full of goodies for our youngest child, which is especially handy as we've already got a fun Halloween game planned using the hamper basket!

Fun hamper,  great excitement when it arrived.
When we opened the hamper, we were thrilled to see a huge selection of baby goodies, including rice cakes, a multitude of healthy fruit pouches and pots, and a water based fruit drink. Basically everything you'd need for a fun day out when it's tricky to prepare baby good on the move.

Hamper full of Aldi Mamia baby goodies
So on Friday, we put the food to the test by taking our baby out to quite a posh restaurant in Harrogate called Drum and Monkey as it was my birthday. Baby girl was really well behaved thankfully, as it was one of those restaurants with a low ceiling and was generally really quiet and full of elderly retired people. Not usually the sort of place we take baby, but the food was pretty amazing and I was lucky enough to have lobster. It was my birthday after all. However there wasn't anything really suitable for baby to eat - even the pasta had chilli in it, but luckily we had our Mamia food! So all was well.

Baby girl enjoying her Mamia fruit pot
From all of the pouches and pots, our daughter definitely preferred the pots over the pouches - I guess she's maybe a bit old for the pouches and the pot is a bit like a yoghurt - but less likely to end up in her hair. All of the food is 100% organic, so there's every reason to be happy about it, like our girl was here. I love the fact that these pouches and pots can just be packed for days out, holidays, or just going to the park to keep baby happy and healthy. Perfectly easy and a fraction of the price of other pouches like Ella's Kitchen - and just as nice.

Later we used the Aldi nappies and thought they were great especially in terms of the value they give. I would say that Pampers are longer lasting and don't require changing so often, but they are also double the price, if not more!

We will definitely keep shopping at Aldi as it offers great value for money and great quality products too. I just wish they did home shopping!

“This post is an entry for BritMums #MamiaDaysOut Linky Challenge, sponsored by Aldi Mamia

Friday, 9 September 2016

Review - Anchor Inn, Gargrave

We love eating out as a family, and it's one of the few things we do REALLY well. I'm a believer in eating together as a family and MAKING those children talk to us - even if they really don't want to! So I was delighted to be invited to try out the new menu at The Anchor Inn, Brewers Fayre in Gargrave last weekend. 

The pub itself is very warm and welcoming, it's quite nostalgic in the sense that it reminded me of eating out with my own parents as a child, which is no bad thing. The pub itself actually has a soft play area which our children raced over to as soon as we got there, there was no charge for this, it was just part of the pub. The kids menu was spot on for our three young 'uns, and we ordered bangers and mash for our 5 year old, cod tastic for our 8 year old, and spaghetti for our 1 year old. I thought value for money was excellent, and drinks, although an extra charge, are refillable as many times as you like which is ideal when your children drink everything in about thirty seconds like ours seem to do.

The adult menu is typical pub fayre and I thought very good value for money. Best of all, if you order two glasses of wine, you get the rest of the bottle free! So that's what we did. Though I would like to add that as this was a lunchtime, we took most of the bottle home.

The wine was amazing! And so much better than I was expecting. Were it not for the children I could very easily have drunk more than one glass for sure.

The kids food arrived very quickly and was enjoyed by all, especially our 1 year old. We've been to a
few restaurants recently that try to do fancy things for children and it never words. Just keep it simple I say.

Banger and mash.

We ordered steaks as I like to order things that I know are going to be cooked fresh. They could perhaps have done with being on a hotter griddle, but the taste was lovely, and very good value too.

Delicious steak!
Now for desserts, now these were really special. Our kids LOVED them!

Brownies and strawberries with chocolate dip - yum!

Make your own face!

Ice cream sundae
All in all I thought it was a great place for a family meal on a cold and rainy Saturday. Value for money wise, five meals, five drinks and a bottle of wine came in at around £50 which is amazing in terms of what we received. One thing I  haven't mentioned was the service - the staff at the Anchor Inn were lovely and couldn't do enough for us, they were polite and welcoming and also speedy - very important when you have young children. They were obviously well used to families and totally understood the whole process of eating out with small children. Definitely deserving of a mention.

I will definitely be going again!

I received a £50 voucher in order to pay for our meal, but all thoughts are my own.


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