Cooking with Tilly Ramsay at Bread Street Kitchen, London


children cooking
My eldest enjoying making pizza at Bread Street Kitchen in London

My eldest loves getting creative in the kitchen, one of his favourite things to do is baking and helping make things like homemade pizza and smoothies. I also find as he is a bit of a picky eater he is far more likely to eat something he has made himself which makes family cooking a win win all round. So it was really exciting when we were asked to come along for a fun cooking session with Tilly Ramsay who if you don't know is the daughter of Gordon Ramsay and currently has her own fun foodie show "Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch on CBBC.

London adventure

So we got up bright and early one morning and took the high speed train from Cardiff to London, I've done this trip a few times with my eldest and he is such a fantastic traveller. It was also wonderful spending the whole day just with him as these moments are rare since his younger brother hit the scene. We arrived at Bread Street Kitchen very excited (and a little hungry), as expect the interior and atmosphere of this restaurant is amazing and certainly somewhere I would come back to eat in the future as everything coming out of the kitchen looked divine.

kids drinks

street food

As soon as we arrived we were hit with an array of tasty flavours and bright colours and my eldest made a beeline for the Californian Cooler Raspberry Lemonade. It also gave me a little time to catch up some friends and fellow bloggers, it was lovely to see Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog and  Nat from Style Me Sunday - do go check out these inspiring and super stylish blogs. While the mums got to have a chat and nibbles the kids were whisked off to make some homemade pizzas with any toppings they wish, they even got to help load them up into the Pizza oven.

Bread Kitchen, London

kids pizza chef

While I knew the pizza would be a hit the sweeter watermelon pizza topped with fruits and coconut flakes also went down a treat and it's something we have recreated in our home a few times since coming back from London. The kids got to finish up the session with a glittery gold star cookie, Tillys new cookbook and of course time to hangout with Tilly and ask her some questions. Her book "Tillys Kitchen Takeover" is filled with fun recipes to help kids get inspired in the kitchen and we have been enjoying following some of the recipies and cooking up a storm in our kitchen at home.

Bread Street Kitchen also offer Family Brunch and Pizza workshops on selected dates throughout Sept, Oct and November where you can sit and enjoy some bubbly while the kids get creative with some fun pizza making, the perfect way to spend a Sunday

Tillys Kitchen takeover

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Sand and Simplicity at Llantwit Major



sand bucket

Even though we have been very busy this summer holidays our main focus has been on simplicity, especially when we are home and not travelling or in the city. Personally I tend to avoid crowds, busy and over stimulating places and find that we always have the best time when we strip things back, get outside and just enjoy nature. 

A day at the beach is a summer stable but even that can be overwhelming and stressful and it's easily to find yourself bombarded by all the noise of a busy beachfront which is why we opted for more rugged and quieter parts of the Welsh coastline. One of our favourite beaches in Llantwit Major especially if you time the tide right and exposes an array of rock pools in which to spot some crabs and fishes as well as a large sandy beach and inspiring coastal walks. 

seaside fun

Welsh coastline

We headed down just after lunchtime with little more than some towels and a bucket and spade. Despite it being a dry and fairly sunny day it was Wonderfully quiet meaning the kids go run and splash to their hearts content and be as loud as they wanted. We spent a few hours wading through the shallow waters, taking in all the fresh air and building sandcastles, it's such a beautiful location its easy to feel like your somewhere further south. Llanwit Major is pretty popular with surfers and being a keen surfer myself I really enjoyed sitting and watching them, as did the boys.


Patagonia t-shirt

Besides one small seaside shop cafe there is nothing else here unless you want to walk into the town of Llantwit Major which would be around a 15-20min walk through some fields and past all the chocolate box seaside cottage you pass on your way down to the beach carpark (which is free!). We ended the day with ice-creams because I mean you have to have an ice-cream when your by the seaside and it was just one of those really simple (and cheap) days out.

beach time

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My MacBook Battery Exploded and other Life Stories



So you may have noticed it's been a little quiet on the blog of late, this is purely down to the fact earlier this month I was sending a couple of emails from my MacBook, having a work catch-up session, minding my own business when suddenly my laptop started hissing quickly followed by loads of black smoke and fire. According to the repair technicians my laptop suffered a catastrophic technical malfunction, basically the battery exploded and caused unrepairable damage to MacBook, melting a few of the keys, scorching the back and battery acid going everywhere. Many asked me if it was plugged in at the time, it was not,  it also had not been on very long and there was no warning - it literally burst into flames. It was on my lap at the time and luckily I threw it off me straight away but that meant our carpet was burnt and scorched!

Macbook exploded
You can see where it melted and burnt our carpet

The thing is it couldn't of happened at a worst time! It took two weeks to sort a replacement despite it being under warranty and having extra insurance and I had so many deadlines, two of which were time sensitive and it meant I lost a substantial amount of income because of it. This is the one major downfalls of being self employed and working freelance. The thing about working on a MacBook Pro is it's very hard to cross over to a PC, everything I needed was on the cloud, the photo editing software I use needs a lot of space and a fast laptop as well as the video editing software.

I cannot change it now, I have to move on, brush my shoulders and get on with it and try and catch up all the work that has piled up over the past few weeks. This has also made me reflect on the small and amazing things that have happened lately and despite problems relating to work and the stress that caused, life in general has been good and. want to celebrate that so here are a few of my favourite bits from the past month.

happy list

1. We had our child-free first night away in more than 2.5 years! We stayed at the Aaron Wise Serviced Apartments in Cardiff and enjoyed some yummy cocktails at Bar44, it was great!

2. I have been getting creative and enjoying some new dishes with the HelloFresh Flavour Generator and loved the Sweetcorn Fritters with Avocado and tomato salad

3. I cannot believe my eldest is going to be 7 next year! How is that possible

4. We enjoyed a wonderful day full of good food, crafts and getting close to some animals at the Big Welsh Bite Food Festival 

5. One of the highlights of our summer was spending a weekending in London, taking in the West End and an amazing stay at The Radisson Blu in Leicester Square

6. As usual the boys and I have been having loads of adventures and making the most of our National Trust passes.

7. We recently spend a weekend under canvas at The Just So Festival, one of our favourite festivals in the UK

8. I have been trying to practise some more self care and enjoying breakfast each morning. I am especially loving this new limited edition Dorset Cereal Spiced Apple and Carrot Muesli - so good and tastes like Autumn in a bowl.

9. The two are so funny. This summer we have all got bikes, well in my toddlers case he has a trailer and it's been so much fun.

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Perfect night away in Cardiff with Aaron Wise Apartments


short hair

I love being a tourist in my own *adopted* city of Cardiff so being invited to come and check out the newly opened Aaron Wise Apartments, in the centre of Cardiff, I couldn't wait. 

It's rare having a child-free evening in the city and it's been a while since I have been right in the heart of Cardiff later than 9pm. I was really excited to not only to enjoy some good food but also stay at the luxury Aaron Wise Apartments which look out across the river Taff and only a stones through from St Mary's street and an abundance of eateries and bars.

Aaron Wise

Serviced apartments

Serviced apartment Cardiff

The apartment was really easy to find and you are sent a secure pin to access the building, there are a few different one and two-bedroom luxury apartments to choose from, we stayed in a one bedroom and it consisted of a spacious lounge and kitchen area, separate double bedroom with luxurious linen, large flatscreen tv, plenty of storage and space to set up your laptop, en-suit to this is a very stylish bathroom. Personally, I love serviced apartments as you get the best of both worlds in terms of the comfort of a hotel but amenities of self catering and spacious living areas as well as the option to stay in or go out to eat. There was also a fantastic communal outdoor area perfect for eating al fresco and socialising.

The little touches always make a difference so it was really nice to see some Prosecco waiting as well as a well stocked coffee machine and Elemis toiletries and soft bath robes. The apartment was so comfortable we were tempted to order a Deliveroo and stay in but I'm glad we decided to head out and enjoy a few cocktails.


Serviced apartment Cardiff

200 Degrees Cardiff

I had a bit of a lazy morning, relaxing in bed watching some breakfast TV and savouring the calm which we so rarely have these days. Then I decided to take advantage of being in the centre of town and headed over to one of our favourite coffee shops 200 Degrees for a morning Cortado and a cheeky pastry before returning to normality and my two boisterous boys.

These apartments are great for those looking for a little breakaway, they literally have everything you need with a fantastic location to explore the Welsh Capital.

Thanks to Aaron Wise for inviting me, words and opinions 100% my own. 
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Food and so much more at The Big Welsh Bite



Earlier this month was the The Big Welsh Bite, an annual Welsh Food festival held in Pontypridd Park each year and while we of course expected loads of great food there was also a whole lot more on offer. So my eldest and I set off with our bikes on the Taff Trail to Ynysangharad Park to find out more and of course tastes a few local delights.

The last time we went to the Big Welsh Bite was when my eldest was a toddler and the new lido had yet to be built so I didn't really know what to expect this time around. Despite the on and off heavy showers in between moments of warm sunshine, it was wonderful to see such a good turn out for an event that helps showcase local and independent food and homemade goods.

As we had planned our day to arrive around lunchtime so our first thought was to find a bite to eat, after having perused what was on offer we started out with a Vegan Oreo milkshake made with almond ice-cream and it was amazing! We followed this up with a wood fired pizza from Ffwrnes and topped it off with some locally baked Welsh Cakes, fairly indulgent I must say but one must try things at a food festival.

Feeling a little fuller we decided to go and see what else was on offer and of course the first thing that caught my son's eye was the small farm animals on display including a very cheeky little Shetland pony who loved being fed apples, as well as some friendly sheep who seemed to enjoy all the attention from the children. There were also an array of chickens, ducks and even a turkey as well as rabbits and guinea pigs for children to gently hold.

Just a few meters away were birds of prey on display which we both found fascinating, there is something very interesting about seeing owls and hawks so close up and throughout the day they did falconry talks and displays. Dotted around the site were small fun fair rides for children as well as games, we enjoyed throwing rope hoops over the cut out farm animals and my son like racing through the mud on the go carts. Both the play park and Lido were also open making it a very family friendly event with loads for children of all ages to do.

On the other end of the festival was the wellness tent as well as information stands of local businesses and charities and there was a really great sense of community with lots of activities for children to do undercover when the rain would come in. We also had a chance to see some very impressive model planes, some of which were pretty big and I never knew there was a local group that builds and flies them.

As the day went on I went in search of coffee and was delighted to see Outpost had a small stall, one of my favorite independent coffee shops from Cardiff. Before heading off we decided to stay and watch the Lamas agility display which was fascinating because I really never knew Llamas could jump so high and it ea interesting learning all about them and their adopted home in North Wales. We easily spent a few hours here and both my son and I really enjoyed it, there was so much to see and do, the organisation was really good and it's great to see small towns put on such fantastic free events like The Big Welsh Bite, cannot wait for next year.

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Moving? Here are some budget saving tips



Moving at the best of times can become quite expensive, especially if you are moving to a new part of the country. Having done a fair amount of moves myself, including moving fro Edinburgh to Cornwall in my pre-child days I have learnt a few things along the way. The good news is that you don't have to settle for the originally calculated price tag. There are many ways to reduce the cost of your move by using substitutes, doing price comparisons or doing some of the work on your own.

Lighten the Load

For many people, just the thought of emptying their house can bring on a feeling of anxiety as it's simply such a big task. If you've lived in your house for a number of years chances are good that you've acquired a lot of items along the way. In order to get a written estimate from movers that's as accurate as possible you need to decide what you want to keep and what you're willing to part with.

If your new home is in a different style or era to your current one you may need to to consider leaving behind or selling some of your furniture and purchasing new pieces when you arrive at your new place. Start by removing everything from your storage areas such as the basement, attic, and garage, as they are likely to be the places where unneeded items are stored. Then go room by room to see what you really want and don't really need. Once you have them sorted out then you can remove them from the inventory list you'll provide the movers and think about getting rid of them. You could even list unwanted goods on sites such as Gumtree and Ebay and use some of the profits towards the move, as well as decluttering in the process, a win-win all round.


Hiring movers

Not all movers offer the same rates, so it's very important to shop around. Make sure that they have a good reputation and find as may reviews about their company as possible. It's also important to note that there are times throughout the year where the rates can climb by up to 25%. This generally takes place during the summer months from May through September when it's peak time for moving. If you are able to schedule your move prior to or after these months you can save a fair bit of money. If you have no choice but to move during the peak season, then at least schedule the move for the first few weeks of the month and on a weekday. Cross country movers will provide you with an estimated cost of doing the move. Just remember that if you decide to increase the number of items you are taking, that the cost will go up. If you only have few items to move with you from Edinburgh to Cornwall, hire a man and van in Edinburgh instead of the full service of a moving company to save on costs.
Stay on top of the move

Hopefully, you have a month or at least several weeks before you have to move. This will give you enough time to get your things organised. In order to make the unpacking at the other end easy, you'll want to do one room at a time and label each box with a black permanent marker. This way when you arrive all you need to do place the boxes into the appropriate room and unpack them. This tip is really key in keeping a move as stress-free as possible

Save money on supplies

Moving companies sometimes offer to sell you boxes and even offer to pack the items up for you. Instead, do the packing and purchasing on your own. If you have the luxury of a months' notice before your move, you have plenty of time to contact local retailers and acquire boxes from them for free. In addition to saving on boxes you can also save by wrapping your collectables and fragile items up with towels, newspaper even coffee filters, instead of having to purchase bubble wrap and brown paper. The two categories together can drastically reduce the expense of your packing.

fresh flowers

Sell unwanted goods

As I mentioned earlier any unwanted items try and sell to help save you even more money. It's so easy to do this online but you could also do a car boot market, just remember to price items for a quick sale so you take as little back home as possible. Anything that doesn't sell you can donate, give way or schedule with your garbage company for an extra pickup.

Moving can become very emotional for you, your spouse and your children. By taking a lot of the stress out of the move due to careful planning, you'll have time to talk with your family and get them excited about all the new places they will see and the new people they will meet. Just make sure you do your research and hire reputable movers and are willing to do some of the labour on your own, then the rest will all come together.

Associated Post 
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Creative Meal Planning with HelloFresh



Flavour Generator

Let’s talk family friendly meals for a moment, I know it’s exhausting right, getting the balance of quick, creative and tasty meals the kids will actually eat as well as hit the spot for adults as well. As the cooking lies completely on my shoulders it can be quite hard putting together a meal plan that fits into my busy life of juggling looking after the kids, working from home, trying to get the house ready to sell and provide nutrient packed meals for my boys.

I love to cook but lately I have been time pressured more than ever but I refuse to opt for ready meals which means I need to be as organised as possible when it comes to supper time and have meals that are quick to prepare. I’m really grateful that my children in most respects eat a well balance diet, they love broccoli, carrots, olives, hummus and are happy to dig into a big bowl of stir-fry, regardless there are some weeks were I just draw a blank with what to cook.

ripe avocado

Never fear however because HelloFresh, the people behind those wonderful healthy meal boxes have put together the Flavour Generator and its’ perfect for those days when you have an idea of what feel like but lack inspiration. We are big fans of Mexican food in our house as it’s a great way to sneak in more veggies in for your kids and often have wraps and quesadillas but would like to try something else. So I opened up the app and it gives you a variety of choices for what you feel like, I opted for Mexican and felt like something a little tangy. I clicked the generator and up popped two of my favourite ingredients - lime and chilli and three different recipes, all equally mouth watering but I decided to go with the quickest one which was Sweetcorn Fritters with Avocado, Tomato & Feta salad - bliss.

lime and sweetcorn

With one quick click the easy to follow recipe was downloaded and I folded this up into my weekly shopping list, what I loved was that it used normal ingredients, nothing hard to find or too expensive. The instructions were really straightforward and I actually had the meal ready in just under the 25mins it said it would take which was a big win for me as I am all about quick recipes which two hangry children running around the house this summer.

fresh salad

Of course you can also modify the recipes slightly, for example I left out the coriander from my fitters only because I know my eldest doesn't like coriander and it really didn't impact on the overall taste too much. I also liked the different flavour combinations from the lime in the fitters to the honey drizzle on the salad, which worked really well.

We all had a lot of fun planning around with the Flavour Generator and seeing what would come up on each foodie whim we had, its certainly been useful when I have lacked ideas for the weekly shop and it’s so easy and straightforward I am hoping John might even have a go making a meal, well I can dream anyway.


In collaboration with HelloFresh, thoughts and opinions 100% my own
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A weekend exploring London's West End with Kids


London adventure

I still remember like it was yesterday my own excitement as a child heading into London to see Starlight Express on the West End with my parents, it was a big deal and I was captivated from start to finish, it is one of my favourite childhood memories and I was thrilled to be reliving this experience with my kids.

We boarded the train early in the morning and I'm not sure who was more excited, me or the kids about our trip to the Capital, either way I knew it was going to be a fantastic weekend away and  wasn't wrong. As soon as we arrived at Paddington station we made our way to the Lyric Theatre in the West End, picked up our tickets and stood in line as the atmosphere started to build as more families joined. August is the best time to introduce the wonderful world of theatre to your kids as it's Kids Week in London, a month long initiative that allows kids to go to an array of West End productions for free with a full paying adult.

West End with kids

Being Julia Donaldson fans it seemed only fitting that we took the boys to see What the Ladybird heard, a wonderful and gentle introduction to stage adaptations that captured the imaginations of both my 2yr old and 6yr old and provided an hour of music, dance, laughter and intrigue. The show was seamless from start to finish and the performances were excellent. The Lyric Theatre itself makes for a beautiful setting as it retains so many original features and is really quiet breathtaking inside. We left the show all on cloud nine, still lost in the story and magic of it all.


Burgers London

After the show we stopped in a Burgerista, a gourmet burger bar only a few meters away from the theatre for a delicious veggie pesto Halloumi burger before heading over to Leicester square and the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire hotel which looks right out onto the square and fountains and only a few minutes walk from all the Theatres in the area. 

Of course the fountain was of huge interest to the kids as lots of children were having fun running in and out and getting completely soaked but with huge smiles on their faces, with no exception for our boys. Luckily the hotel was only a few steps away and with such a quick and welcoming check-in we were upstairs in no time with them in dry clean clothes. I really just want to point out how lovely and accommodating all the staff at the Radisson Blu are for families, while we checked in there was a small table with sweets and fruit infused water which kept the boys occupied for a moment before they were present each with a small Lego gift.

Radisson Blu hotel

Radisson Blu suite

As we were staying as a family the hotel had upgraded us to a more spacious junior suite which offered us more than enough space and made for the perfect base for exploring the West End. We also had a wonderful view across Leicester Square perfect for people watching as well as being only a stones throw away from all the action. The room was luxurious but also child-friendly and it was really nice to have a moment to relax on the sofa with an espresso before heading out again. 

We decided to make the most of the location and jump in a taxi for a 5 minute trip to Covent Garden and The Transport museum as both of the boys are obsessed with trains and the underground. We visited this museum about 3 years ago and even since then its improved in terms of providing lots of space for young kids to play as well as some new interactive displays which provided hours of fun.

Transport museum

London transport museum

After a busy day in the capital it only seemed right to end it with a bang and somewhere really special  to sit down and eat so we jumped back in a taxi and headed back to the West End and the very popular Planet Hollywood. I had never been to Planet Hollywood but with John being somewhat of a film buff and it's just been voted as the most child friendly restaurant in London for the 3rd time in a row we knew it would be good. From the moment we arrived we were well looked after from our friendly and welcoming server and I was really pleased to see not only did they have plenty of vegetarian options but also a great mix of indulgent and healthy dishes as well as some eye popping desserts.

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood London

The atmosphere in Planet Hollywood was electric and the kids loved dancing to the music in their seats as well as exploring the restaurant and discovering all the film memorabilia with our favourite being the hand prints and seeing if any of our hands fit those of the Hollywood elite. 

The food was also really good with our eldest opting for a margarita pizza which he gobbled down, our youngest had pasta although all the excitement had got to him and he fell asleep in the middle of supper! John had a steak and I went for the sizzling vegetable fajitas which had all the trimmings of sour creme, guacamole and hot and spicy portobello mushrooms and roasted veg. We ended the evening with a big sharing ice-cream sundae and left felling very full and huge smiles on our face. 

Radisson blu

After a restful night sleep we woke up early and took things slow with a nice long bath for both the boys before heading down to breakfast. One of our favourite things to do is to try out the breakfast at a hotel and the Radisson Blu has to be up there with one of our favourites. The staff were attentive and fantastic with the kids and the selection of cereals, freshly baked breads and pastries along with smoothies and bircher muesli were great. My son dived straight into a big bowl of Greek Yogurt with chia seeds while we waiting for some cinnamon French toast and Mexican scrambled egg and avocado

Mexican scrambled eggs

breakfast bar

After a quick check out and being able to leave our luggage safely at the hotel we headed back out to make the most of the morning. We headed over to the Natural History Museum which is a firm favourite with my eldest but because of half term it was busier than usual so if you are planning to go leave early to avoid the queues. We enjoyed some down time exploring the wildlife garden where they were doing some pond dipping as well as seeing inside a beehive before making our way back to the hotel and back to Paddington station. 

London adventure

Selected theatre shows are free for kids throughout August for #kidsweek with a full paying adult. Check out their website here for more details – We were invited by Kids Week to spend the day exploring the West End and enjoying one of the shows for the purposes of this review but all opinions are our own.

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