Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

Disney on Ice…The Real Review!!

Following on from Friday’s apocalyptic melt down from both little cherubs post the Disney on Ice extravaganza I have relaxed, rebooted and am now able to tell you all about it.
You should know that I will be totally glossing over the aftermath and will be painting us as the quintessential perfect family. Please allow me to reimagine the day with a rose tinted hue!
I should also point out that it is far easier for me to write this from the comfort of Virgin first class as I travel down to London for a day of hen fun. I’d be just as happy to spend the whole day on the train reading, writing and chilling on my lonesome but a gals got to do what a gals got to do. Champagne cocktails here I come, unaccompanied mum alert, it could get messy!

{Brief aside; due to the abysmal WiFi on Virgins trains I was not able to post this yesterday as planned; I know many of you will have waited in for it!! }

Anyway, back to Disney on Ice;

Disney on Ice Echo Arena, Disney on Ice review,
On Friday night, as I relaxed in the bath with Sandi Toksvig; not the actual person, that would be both cramped and awkward; she is merely one of the writers of Good Housekeeping (Yes I do read it, my mum passes on her copy to me each month in the vain hope I will transform via osmosis!) I was reassured to discover that she shares my frustrations about Disney Princesses; they all get rescued by fellas and then, quick as a flash, get an incredible frock and go on to live ‘happily ever after’ but, they do it with such a bloody annoyingly brilliant sound track and amazing animation that it’s tricky not to get swept along.

I held off for as long as I could but we are now fully paid up members of the Dinsey fan club so, when I got the email telling me that Disney on Ice was coming to The Echo Arena, I put aside all of my feminist frustrations and booked. It was expensive at £40 each (3 seats between 4 as the little little is 2) but it was their Christmas present.

It was worth every penny. I loved it. Grandma loved it.

We all loved it.

There was no weak link. It was fantastic from start to finish. In the words of Anna (she needs no introduction)

It is amazing!!!

When the dates were announced initially I missed out on tickets so, when an additional date was added I was on it like a car bonnet and as a result we had the best seats in the house. Literally, we were floor level, front row. Get them if you can.

Only the best will do!!  Front Row Baby!!

Only the best will do!!
Front Row Baby!!

DOI Audience

Mickey and Minnie introduced all of the acts and every single one was fabulous. The dancers really engaged with the children and the big littles arms must have ached from the pointing and waving.

DOI Mickey and Minnie

First up were Anastasia and Dresilla from Cinderella, followed by The Little Mermaid.  We’ve never seen the film but the performance was incredible. When Ariel traded her voice for some legs she left the ice and gave a serious display of acrobatics whilst suspended by a rope. Amazing. I know I am over using the term btw!

After a short intermission Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy were back to get us all in the mood for the next acts;

One of our favourite Disney films is Beauty and the Beast and we can regularly be found singing along to Be Our Guest in the car.
The girls eyes were nearly as big as the plates when Mrs Potts and Chip came out. We booed Gaston, cheered Belle and laughed at Lumiere and Cogsworth. Apologies for the lack of imagery but it is tough to balance a toddler, point, clap and film simultaneously!

There were scenes from Tangled- including Maximus- an actual (obviously not ACTUAL but you get my drift)

Image courtesy of my friend Fi!! Thanks Mate ;-)

Image courtesy of my friend Fi!!
Thanks Mate 😉

then the finale was…Frozen (obv!)

The rink was transformed into a winter wonderland with snow falling from the ceiling  and when Sven and Christophe came on we were all enthralled.

Prince Hans lost his footing which frankly could be karma but he carried on seamlessly. All of the performances were really brilliant and, as Grandma so eloquently pointed out there were many pert posteriors to admire! There really is something for everyone.

I realise that by booking this we are on a slippery slope, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for other events like this, I have already booked tickets for Ben and Holly and I can not wait until they are old enough for festivals and the theatre proper!!!

In May we are off to Geronimo Festival at Tatton Park (keep your eyes peeled for a ticket give away soon) and in August hope to head to either Lollibop or The Just So Festival so, with that in mind here’s my top tips for making sure you don’t miss out on the hottest tickets in town and don’t feel fleeced when you go.

1) Sign up to the mailing list for your local theatres, arenas etc and you’ll get priority booking and will be the first to know when new acts are announced.

2) When Aunties, Uncles, Grandmas, Grandads and God Parents ask what to get the children for birthdays, Easter, Christmas, consider asking for tickets to the next event they’d enjoy. They might even offer to take them…

3) Get a loyalty card such as the ATG theatre card and save on all the booking fees. If you go to more than one or two performances a year it is well worth it.

4) Take your own snacks. Do not try to justify the £7 it costs for a drink because you get to keep the cup. £4 for candy floss with a cardboard Olaf head?!

5) Blindfold your kids on entry and exit to add to the occasion. A happy side effect of this game is that they won’t see all of the stuff that they are selling; no one needs to spunk £10 on a cup, a swirly light thing or plastic horse. You really don’t.
A double bonus here is the money you save on tat is money you can spend on the next years tickets plus, you’ll save on Big Yellow Storage fees in later years 😉

Have you been to Disney this weekend? I’d love to know what you thought…

Have a wonderful week.

Muma.

XxxX

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Everything’s Premier but the price?! OR; a post that makes me sound a bit ‘Hopkins’.

There’s a school of thought that when you have children nothing needs to change.
In my PC (pre child) days I was one of those people. I believe the word is, in hindsight, delusional.
Delusional for me on quite a few levels as it happens.

I envisaged that we’d be globe trotting like good’uns as soon as the babes were dry- why I expected this when we were too skint to holiday much when it was just the two of us is a mystery, but I have always had some pretty high ideals!
Like the posters say; dream big and all that.

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I envisaged that both myself and my children would leave the house looking serene and polished with hair pulled back into a thick, glossy, swinging ponytail. I look which, frankly, I have never pulled off. Even when I was only in charge of one birds nest barnet.

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I envisaged my life would be yoga, lunching and weirdly minimal wiping up of sick and snot and vom. It’s not quite turned out that way and I do know how lucky I am to have a part time job, two gorgeous girls, a wonderful husband and a happy family life so don’t roll your eyes at me too much. I realise things are far from dire straits.

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However, I did not, not ever, envisage that I’d be dining on Valentines Day in a Brewers Fayre before falling asleep pre 10pm in a Premier Inn family room…no I was all about Mr and Mrs Smith boutique B&B’s, White Company sheets and adjoining rooms…
Clearly someone told me that child rearing and lottery wins were basically one and the same thing!

They’re not.

I have no idea why I’m like this; I was raised like a regular human with a love of The Little Chef, Harvester and Beefeater- anything food related really (except beans)
Perhaps my experience as a nanny for the well heeled has given me a misplaced sense of what’s normal!
Anyway, if you are still living in the same fantasy world in which I reside- despite having no pension to speak of or private fortunate to secure my old age, rest assured, the real world is pretty ok too and this is how I know…

Our Valentines Adventure to The Premier Inn…

I appreciate that everywhere looks a little bit shit when it’s cold and grey and you haven’t had a valentines card but I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn to say the sun would really have to be cracking the flags to brighten up the retail park and surrounding docks that we drove through to reach our destination of The Premier Inn North Shields!

We walked in and were greeted with a real North East welcome- hooray, people that actually seem happy to be working and interacting not only with the public but with children.
Dean and Anne were quick, efficient and friendly.

Our room was a really great size and, when the big littles first words were
“This is amazing, It’s just like Ibiza!”
My heart melted a little.

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I relaxed in the bath whilst the girls chatted to me and Mr L made some Twinnings tea…plenty of tea bags- take note The Grove!!
Perfect.

We headed over to the pub to meet our friends for dinner and again, the staff were really brilliant- orders taken and divided into families to prevent hassle when paying the bill.
Speedy service and no mistakes but, because I knew we were in a place designed for families I wasn’t panicking every time the girls spoke; which they didn’t really because they were too busy in the soft play.
Small gripe here; why does all soft play seem to have inaccessible areas which kids can post rubbish into but the cleaners can not reach to clean.
I don’t want to be asked to retrieve a ball or toy or a raisin from a minging concrete floor covered in fluff, dust and other kids haribo. It’s grim, end of.
Happily, the bits the children are messing about in are totally fine which is more than I can say about many of the other soft plays I’ve endured enjoyed.
The toys and activities I (for once) remembered were redundant and it was brilliant to see the girls holding their own on the slides and tunnels. When the big littles hairband fell out 3 boys all decked out in Newcastle shirts clamoured to be the one to return it.
Ah- young love!

The food was standard pub grub with pasta, salads, burgers and meats from the grill and the Dennis the Menace inspired kids menu went down well with our girls; what’s not to love about spaghetti Bolagnaise, ham and pineapple pizza followed by jelly and ice-cream?!

Walking back to the hotel (is the Premier Inn a hotel?!) meant we could both have a drink though the fact that the little little seemed to wake every hour between midnight and five made us grateful we hadn’t filled our boots.

I suppose we could have complained about the noise and claimed a refund thanks to the ‘Great Night’s Sleep’ Guarantee but it would take the Mickey slightly given that only noise we heard was from someone we willingly brought along!

We bought breakfast on the day and we were impressed that it was made to order; something else they didn’t do at The Grove! Kids eat free too and ours certainly made the most of that with fruit, cereal and toast to sustain them.
Mr L had the works and I had two boiled eggs which were soft but not snotty. Lush.

We headed off to gorgeous Patricks Christening at 10ish but could actually have stayed until noon which is pretty generous (and unnecessary if you’re with the bairns!)

I’ll level with you. It was a wicked way to spend valentines. I loved it, probably because when it’s quality time with the fam it doesn’t really matter where you are- cue a little bit of sick in your mouth!
I’m looking for reasons to book another break at a Premier Inn, Lenny Henry tells me there’s many an excuse; I think I’m finally coming down to earth and happily, I feel a lot more chilled out here.

What or where have you been pleasantly surprised by- are there more hidden gems we need to wake up to?

Have a Happy Monday.

Muma. XxX

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One for You, One for Me (A Saturday Book Review #6)

WOO HOO! It’s Saturday, THE WEEKEND. Grab a cuppa and chill out!

Obviously, if you’re a parent it doesn’t quite spell a day off but occasionally  you get big fat treat days like today which shall henceforth be known as

Lion King Day and cocktails in town with my Besties Day!

Mr L is happy because his bro is visiting and the World Cup is on. In short, It’s all good in the hood!

I am really pleased that so many of you are enjoying this little book review feature. As I have said before, I think that encouraging a child to take an interest in books and reading is so important and, on occasion, I allow myself to daydream about future Saturdays when our little family will relax in companionable silence reading…HA HA HA!!

Anyway, for the time being we are still very much reading together and this is what’s been a hit this week…

One for You: My BIG Readalong Fairytale Book (from M&S) if I was smart, this would be an affiliate link…it isn’t! Books for under 5's

This is yet another of our old faithfuls- a brilliant collection of 8 classic fairytales which have been abridged so they are just the correct length for toddlers. Another gift (people are so generous aren’t they? THANKS Tricia and co!) and a book which has a very long shelf life. Initially you can look at the pictures together and read the story together. In time your child will begin to remember the story, point out different parts of the pictures and perhaps recognise (or know by memory) some of the written words. Eventually this will become them wanting to read the text and that’s it, job done. Get yourselves a paper and look forward to your weekends of bliss!..perhaps!

Anyway, The pictures are big and bold and the text is large and clear. My only recommendation might be for the pages to be slightly thicker but, on the flip side, we always have sellotape and kids need to know how to treat books so it’s not a big thing M&S, don’t change it on our account.Books for under 5s

The ‘read along’ element comes from the fact that on each of the right hand pages there is a sentence for your child to read and, at the end of each story there are some questions which enables your child to point out key characters and begin to recognise words when linked with pictures.

Marks and Sparks have a really good range of read along kids books including traditional tales, nursery rhymes etc. They’re definitely worth a look. I’m a big M&S fan across most of their ranges- not so much mens wear if I’m truthful, all seems a little cord slacks and deck shoes but- well worth a look for all things kids I reckon (and underwear…I love their underwear!)

 

One for Me: The Skeleton Cupboard; The making of a clinical psychologist, By Tanya Byron.

Last year, I heard Dr Tanya Byron speak at Blogfest and frankly, I developed a bit of a girl crush on her. If you read her biog from Blogfest, it shouldn’t be hard to see why:

Prof Tanya Byron

Tanya is a consultant clinical psychologist who specialises in child and adolescent mental health. She’s written three parenting books, has a weekly column in The Times and the Saturday Times, and published the ground-breaking Byron Review into children, young people and digital media in 2008. Earlier this year she launched C4’s Bedtime Live – and she also co-writes comedy with Jennifer Saunders (including The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle, BBC2) – now, you didn’t know that, did you? 

 Being a Times Bird, I like to imagine that she and Caitlin Moran sometimes hang out together putting the world to rights. I’d go for a beer with them if they asked.

Anyway, when Mumsnet sent an email looking for people to review her latest book, I absolutely jumped at the chance. I am so glad I did. I LOVE THIS BOOK (and not just because of the crush thing!)

In an attempt to do a proper review, I stuck post its to pages where there was something I wanted to relay to you, quotes or scenarios or descriptions but in the end it became a total waste of sticky, luminous paper.

The book is divided into 6 chapters each of which introduces a fictional character and their individual stories and history. They also describe how Tanya felt throughout her training, how emotionally challenging it was and how woefully under prepared she felt at times. The stories are an amalgamation of the experiences Tanya had and the people she met during her training but none are based on specific individuals for obvious reasons.

Each of the chapters can be read as ‘stand alone’ stories so, if you only get snatches of time to read then this could work well for you but, be warned- they might pull you in. These not real, but real, men, women and children will engage with you and make you will them better. I thought that (whilst I obviously wish that these stories didn’t exist) it was very well written and a compelling and emotional (not in a cry on the train sort of way, more a sort of sadness that people experience some things) read.

I empathised most with chapter 2, Imogen’s story. Having worked closely with many children and young people over the years I absolutely know what she means about the responsibility you feel, the bonds you forge and the guilt you feel when something can’t be ‘fixed’. It reminded me of more than one of my kids.

Each of the chapters gives a really vivid insight into some of the stuff that goes on for people every day and the ways that they try to cope with things. Of course we all try to present our best selves when we head out of our front doors every morning. We smile and converse and do all of the day-to-day stuff because really, very few people actually want the honest answer when they ask ‘how are you’. This book gives an insight to what happens when the pretence slips away, when the mask cracks and when people need help. It is thought-provoking and beautifully done.

I don’t know if this book was of particular interest to me because I am inherently interested in psychology and the brain and the idea that some of us are a little bit ‘chicken oriental’ and others of us are regular, clever people with properly functioning brains. In the epilogue, which I particularly like, Tanya is so empathic and warm and clearly remains so very caring and committed to those with mental health issues. I am so, so very grateful that there are people like her out there that, despite their time ‘in the field’ dealing with really difficult situations, they still have the desire to inform and educate and encourage debate to try to make us a society that cares a bit more.

Verdict; If you are interested in people and want to feel reassured that there are still people in vocational roles that deeply and truly care about the people they work with, read this. It will make you think about the way you view people and society and we should all try to do a bit of that from time to time.

Happy weekend my dears.

Loads of Love

Muma.

XxxX

I am linking up again with MammaMummyMum so, if you like all things literary, check it out by clicking the badge.

MamaMummyMum

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Love the Little Things, you know you want to!

Morning All,

I am hoping that you’ve all dragged yourselves through the week with minimal vomit, snot and bodily fluids spilt? We are still in the midst of potty training so I can’t profess to keeping entirely clean this week but we’re getting there!

This week has sped by for us because we only arrived back from our little break late on Monday night- if you’re looking for a super-douper stay cation then you could do worse than check it out. In fact, check it out anyway, it’s sweet (if I do say so myself).

Right, I haven’t got time to faff around today- I’ve got a to do list as long as Stretch Armstrong, (Lances more popular brother) so lets get down to the business of the day shall we…What do I love this week? I’ve put them in a handy list below…

READ: So, you know the holiday I keep banging on about? I read a ruddy paper!!! Yup, my sister and cousin took the girls out for a couple of hours and, after I’d had a cheeky little snooze, I read about the D Day commemorations. I love the story about the guy who sneaked out of his care home wearing his medals and basically ran away to France. I think that is fab and it’s good to know that there is still a little bit of the fighting spirit that helped Great Britain win the war.

HEARD: Well, sadly this evening I have heard an inordinate amount of crying- absolutely no idea why. Not a clue. Perhaps the girls overheard me say how well they usually sleep. Perhaps they wanted to watch the opening ceremony of the World Cup but whatever, tonight I have been up and down more than a brides nightie. The other thing I was going to put in this bit was our new Babies go Coldplay CD. It is ace; Coldplay in lullaby format is so lovely and it is what finally got the girlies to sleep tonight. If you are sick to the back teeth of nursery rhymes, you need the babies go range in your life…

Guess when I bought it?! Annoying this game isn’t it!

WATCHED: I give it a Year. (Whilst I was on holiday!)

Oh my word- Utter crap.  Please don’t watch it. Stephen Merchant, I am disappointed in you. I can not believe that it is from the writer of Borat- there are absolutely no chickens in suitcases here. DREADFUL. Don’t give it 5 minutes!

I give it a year film

WORN: So, you know that holiday that I keep banging on about? I wore a swimming costume .Bright red. All very Special K! I also had cause to wear sunglasses and flip-flops!! WOO HOO! I love the summer. Prefer Autumn but Summer’s cool too.

MADE: Urgh, it feels like this week all I have been doing is making list after list after list. Blogs, work, life etc etc…Someday I’m going to add the following to the list:

Hire a PA/Butler/Housekeeper/Chef. I can not wait for that day!! Come on lottery…

 

AND FINALLY: You Know that holiday I keep banging on about? I bought this for absolutely no good reason!

Today i will be as happy as a seagull with a stolen chip

Fab hey?

Happy Weekend People!!

Until next time.

Muma.

XxxX

Thanks to Morgana for hosting this link up- why don’t you click the link and read some other posts….

Love the Little things butwhymummuwhy

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Cards, chickflicks and Chill Factore Love the Little Things #lost count tbh

Morning Ladies and Gents, I am writing this feeling pretty chipper! I am over my Miranda/Bridget Jones moments yesterday which were, what I call, embarrassing but I am totally, over being rescued from an escalator during Waterloo Rush hour. Totally.

miranda

You said it!

You said it!

Bloody heels!  Now I am simply looking forward to my loooong weekend. In fact, it is possible that as you read this I am still in my PJ’s- possibly filling my face with a croissant!

So- what have I been up to this week? Quite a bit as it goes- read on! Read the rest of this entry »

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Fox Hunts, Fajitas and A foolish Footballer; Love the Little Things #10

Good Afternoon Everybody! I’m hoping you read that in a sort of sing-song way as if you were responding to a teacher like you had to back in the day before it went all first name and casual?!

How the devil are you? I hope that you’ve enjoyed a short week and half term has been kind despite the weather?

So, we all know where this is heading don’t we; that’s right kids, it’s time for Love the Little things, my rock and roll run down of the week so take a load off, grab a cuppa and enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

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The Gods Honest Truth about Morrisons…

Right then, I was given the dosh (see how and why here), I’ve done the shop so now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and give you the Gods Honest Truth about Morrisons…in my humble opinion.

At the serious risk of sounding a little bit Hopkins…I am not usually a #MorrisonsMum. There, I’ve said it. I had a preconceived idea that it would be a little bit erm…I don’t quite know how to spell what I am currently doing with my face but, basically, I thought I was above it. You have not misread that. What a horrible, hideous, snobby individual I am but; at least you know that you’re assured of my genuine opinion anywhere on this blog. Always.

So, now that’s out in the open, first thing on Saturday we, the family all, headed off to the New Brighton Morrisons. It’s next door to a casino so Mr L and I briefly toyed with the notion of going in to swap the vouchers for gambling chips but, as the kids were with us, that was a non starter.

We were able to park really easily in a parent and child space and Mr L went off to get a trolley. Here is my first gripe; Why do you have to pay to borrow a trolley. I hate that. It makes me feel like the shop doesn’t trust me. Keep and open mind Muma, keep an open mind…

Anywho, we headed into the shop which was really lovely and light and found ourselves on ‘Market Street’ straight away. The fruit and veg looked fantastic and there was plenty of everything.

We've got the place to ourselves!

We’ve got the place to ourselves!

We stocked up on watermelon, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas and satsumas and then started on the veg for our Sunday roast. I was surprised by how quiet the store was but, it made for a really stress-free and easy experience for us. The big little was able to walk around and pick up the ingredients- here she is doing her best ‘Chandler’ smile with her carrots.

CARROTS!!! Big Bag 45p.

CARROTS!!! Big Bag 45p.

As regular readers will know, I ain’t much of a chef but, I do have a couple of go to recipes, one of which is Jamie Oliver’s Fantastic Fish Pie. I completely forgot how much fish I should be getting but thankfully the lovely Christian was on hand and happy to help me.

#MorrisonsMum

The Fish Counter

#MorrisonsMum

Nothing fishy here- just the lovely Christian!

In fact, all the staff we encountered were really lovely. A real bonus. Another gripe for me are surly shop assistants; the clue’s in the name people, if you’re not happy to assist, perhaps the role isn’t for you?

The Britmums Brief said that ideally we should include a cost per serving in our posts so, being the geek that I am, I have totted up the cost of the fish ingredients (see the pink highlight on the receipt) and it works out as around £1.60 per adult when you take the store cupboard ingredients into account which, I think is pretty good as it’s not a meal you’ll have every day. If you fancy making it, have a swizz here for the details.

FANTASTIC FISH PIE, jAMIE OLIVER

That’s a hearty portion isn’t it!

The big little requested that we made meatballs and spaghetti like Lady and the Tramp so we dutifully got all of the bits and bobs for that too. They worked out to be really economical at around £0.65 per serving (blue on the receipt). I’ll write up the recipe for them in a different post but I can happily report that they were a rip roaring success.

Like a Muma used to make!

Like a Muma used to make!

 

#MorrisonsMum

Mmmmm Thanks Morrisons!

I felt that I needed to buy some staples for the local food bank given that I had been fortunate enough to basically be given £80 so we got:

  • 1 family bag of pasta
  • A 4 pack of tuna
  • A 4 pack of baked beans
  • A large box of rice crispies and
  • A packet of chocolate digestives

All of that came to £11.74 which isn’t super cheap but not unreasonable either, they were all branded items too. (yellow on the receipt) and I was able to drop them in the trolley in the store so that was super easy.

#MorrisonsMum

Foodbank trolley at the store exit.

I really liked the New Brighton store, it stocked clothes (we bought 3 sleepsuits for £6- total bargain and they are lovely too) toys, home-ware and also has an ‘excellent’ cafe (according to Mr L who had an emergency post Bubbles Soft Play visit once…I think there may have been a code brown situation) the goods in the cafe are the same price as in the store, not marked up. I think that’s brilliant.

So, that’s it folks. Muma Leary took on Morrisons and, though I didn’t find any significant difference in the bill compared to Tesco or Sainsburys I thought that the quality certainly compared really well and the experience was a positive one. In fact, I have only one complaint; Unfortunately one of the things Morrisons didn’t seem to sell was humble pie which I really need a massive serving of if my experience was anything to go by. I was really impressed and would be more than happy to make them our supermarket of choice- even more so if they had a rewards card….any plans Mozzers?

Lots of Love,

Muma.

XxxX

Yes, that is a whiteboard. Yes I did used to be a teacher. Yes I pity my husband.

Yes, that is a whiteboard.
Yes, I did used to be a teacher.
Yes I do pity my husband.

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Bootcamp & Biscuits (A Squidges Review) #WinningWednesday

Man alive, I am in bits.
I went to Bootcamp yesterday morning and ever since I have been walking like my legs aren’t mine. I am aching from just under my belly button (which, in itself is now only distantly related to where it once belonged) right down to my ankles. My ass in particular has had better days but, I guess, no pain no gain hey…please say yes and assure me that incredible results are just days away!

Well, incredible results would be just around the corner if I was not writing this whilst chomping on some Squidges cookies.
I have to, I was sent some to review. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it!

Nom Nom Nom

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan on shopping locally, shopping independently and supporting small business whenever you can.
With that in mind, I was more than happy to chow down on some cookies made practically on our doorstep. Not literally, that would be weird and very likely have hygiene implications but, they are homemade on the Wirral. Nice.

Firstly, let’s just have a brief aside to deal with the whole issue of the word ‘cookie’. Some people are of the misguided opinion that cookie is just an American term for a biscuit.
It isn’t.
A biscuit is your stalwart coffee break snack. Something as ordinary as a Rich Tea to dip into your beverage of choice. They can be as highbrow as those ones wrapped in golden foil and found only in a purple box and only at Christmas. But even they will never be cookies.

A cookie is an entirely different beast and a Squidges Cookie is something very special indeed.

The tube of delightfulness arrived via Royal Mail just two days after I’d exchanged emails with Katie and, as soon as I opened it I was impressed by the packaging. There was a handwritten note which would obviously be personalised if it was a gift. A cute touch.
I would have been more wowed if the outer packaging had been more in keeping with the thick white cardboard tube and lovely blue ribbon. Brown paper and marker pen writing didn’t set the right tone for me but that is incredibly picky. (Since giving Katie my feedback she has decided to change this so I am well impressed- good choice!)

Absolutely beautifully packaged.

Absolutely beautifully packaged.

Anyway, once I’d torn off the wrapping I could immediately see I was on to a good thing; they smelt delicious, they looked fantastic; really fat and juicy and not too perfect. You could certainly tell they’d been handmade freshly as opposed to baked en masse by a machine. So far, so good. I hope you’re salivating reading this?!

And so, on to the taste test…I was sent 5 Oat, Honey and Raisin cookies which Katie suggested would be a good variety for for the whole family. Not too sweet, no chocolate etc.
They were big, moist and absolutely delicious.

Get in my belly!

Get in my belly!

I had every intention of allowing the girls to have a taste one. I honestly did but, after I’d given one to my mum, one to Mr L and had one myself, there were only two left and, as much as I love my children, I just didn’t think that they would be able to appreciate or articulate, how utterly amazing they were so, having given up chocolate and caffeine and most other things that offer me any iota of joy (food and drink wise) for lent, I made the decision to keep them for myself. I don’t regret it.

Katie, who launched Squidges in January of this year, recommends putting a cookie in the microwave for 20 seconds and then serving with a dollop of ice cream as a full on dessert.
I absolutely agree. These cookies are not something to be mindlessly munched.
They are too good for that. They are a genuine treat and need to be really savoured and enjoyed whether warm with ice cream, or with a cup of tea and a magazine and blissful silence.

All of the ingredients used in Squidges are sourced from local companies (obviously not the chocolate) but the butter, the flour, the eggs, the milk and so on are all from Cheshire or North Wales so basically, if you are reading this in Cheshire or North Wales or round about,  it is almost your civic duty to buy some to help improve the economic outlook for local businesses!

I’m not going to lie, at almost £15 a pop (including delivery), Squidges Cookies are never going to become a habit but that is not the aim.
They are meant to be a thoughtful gift for someone special and, with the lovely touch of a handwritten note with each order, they really do fit the bill. You couldn’t fail to be pleased if someone ordered some Squidges for you. (please read between the lines here Mr L!)

Squidges are going to be selling at local food fairs over the course of the year so I would recommend making a beeline for her stall if you see it and trying some of the eight varieties of cookies on offer currently, the next one I fancy is intense chocolate but that will have to wait until Easter Sunday (and, for someone to order me some!)

And now on to the best bit…Katie has very kindly given me a tube of her luxury cookies as a #WinningWednesday prize. The winner can either keep them for themselves (recommended!) or can opt to give them as a gift to their very own someone special (direct route to heaven).
To be in with a chance of winning this Mother’s Day competition please leave a comment below stating your name or visit the competition via the Squidges Facebook page The competition closes on Wednesday 26th march at 6pm to ensure there is time for them to be delivered for Mothers Day but, you don’t need to be a mum or even plan to give them to a mum to enter, everyone’s welcome!

Right, that’s all for now folks, I’m off to shake the crumbs off my sheets and get some shut-eye. Yep, that’s correct, I have been eating them in bed. Very naughty. But very nice!

Hey Bert!

Hey Bert!

Muma.

XxxX

Disclaimer

Squidges sent me these cookies for review. Though I like to think that they are calorie free they in fact are not But they will be worth every last mouthful, I promise!

9 Comments »

#WinningWednesday- Canvas Design Review

They say a picture paints a thousand words and I couldn’t agree more.

I love a good photo and can be transported back to specific times and occasions, right down to the sounds, smells and feelings just by casting a glancing at an old snap.
That’s the power of a picture.
An afternoon of well-intentioned sorting can pass in a blink if you happen across a box of these precious rectangular memories.

I sincerely wish I was better at photography and I would love to take an evening class to improve. It’s on the bucket list along with The New York Marathon and renovating a property. Read the rest of this entry »

36 Comments »

Love the Little Things #4

Yo Yo Yo!! I am hoping that you are smiling today? I am and it is mainly thanks to the following things…

READ: We can not get through a day without reading at least three books in this house. When the big little was born and I was on maternity leave I was so worried I would turn into a onesie wearing, daytime TV addict that didn’t let us get into TV at all. This was a mistake of epic proportions as now, on a cold, wet, windy day when all you want to do is snuggle under a duvet and watch a film, I am required to read!! Annoying. I am going to persist with the film thing, whats not to love about some TV, a babychinno and a lovely snuggle? Read the rest of this entry »

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