900 years of Peterborough – Queensgate Medeshamstede Medieval Village

As a self confessed history geek I am really enjoying the celebrations surrounding the 900th anniversary of Peterborough.

It wasn’t always called Peterborough though.

Prepare to be taken back in time, back to Medeshamstede, when Peterborough was born, as Queensgate Shopping Centre puts on a week-long celebration and festivities to mark the 900th anniversary of the city.

From Monday 30 July until Sunday 5 August, shoppers are invited to step into a medieval village, complete with a castle and towering turrets, in Central Square. Walk across the drawbridge, through the giant gates and into the courtyard where real knights, villagers and churchmen go about their daily lives.

 

The grand hall houses a giant banquet table, creating the perfect setting for activities to take part in, such as bread making, crown and shield making workshops, Merlin’s spell school, dressing up, stories of bravery and valour and much more.

 

Watch knights of the round table battle with incredible sword skills, listen to traditional harps and folk music, and for those that have been naughty, it’s off to the village stocks!

peterborough 900th anniversary

“Embracing Peterborough’s heritage during this special year is important to Queensgate,” said Marketing Manager, Laura Chandler. “The Medeshamstede village is a fully immersive interactive experience replicating life in Peterborough 900 years ago. From a working water mill to the peasant’s house, this is going to be a great way to show where Peterborough came from.”

 

There’s also the chance to find the king or queen of Peterborough as shoppers are invited to pull the sword from the stone.

The Medeshamstede village, the name of Peterborough in the Anglo-Saxon period, is completely free and a full schedule of events and timings can be found at www.queensgate-shopping.co.uk/whats-on.

I think this will be a really interesting and fun thing to do with the children and best of all it’s free!

 

 

Mcdonalds Grilled Chicken Wrap Happy Meal

Last week Mcdonald’s launched the newest addition to their Happy Meal options; the grilled chicken wrap. We were invited to go along to their St Pauls branch in London to find out more and to have a taster!

St Paul's mcdonalds

Mcdonalds has been working with Mumsnet over the last year to find out what parents wanted to see added to their Happy Meal menu.

Over 1,000 Mumsnet community members were surveyed with nearly 8 in 10 wanting to see grilled chicken on the Happy Meal menu. 

The wrap comes with a small tortilla, grilled chicken slices, lettuce and ketchup with tomato, onion, cucumber and if you are into that sort of thing you can now add pickles too.

I really appreciate how much choice there is now when it comes to ordering at Mcdonalds.

There are now 6 choices of main item (cheeseburger, hamburger, fish fingers, chicken nuggets, crispy chicken wrap and the new grilled chicken wrap) and you can choose fries or substitute those for a healthy side such as bag of carrots or a melon bag.

There is also a really good choice of drinks to accompany your child’s happy meal now too with milk or water both on offer alongside old favourites like the milkshakes. Another thing to point out was that I noticed that Mcdonalds have made the move from plastic to paper straws.

All of the above still comes presented in the Happy Meal box (which of course you can now convert to a little tray) with a toy or a book for your child to enjoy.

A Mcdonalds Happy Meal is a firm favourite in our house and as a parent I feel like the table service now available in Mcdonald’s restaurants is a great asset! I remember trying to juggle the tray and pushchair and it was no fun!

The fact that you can now use a kiosk instead of queuing which allows for much better personalisation of your order and have your food brought to your table while your child plays with the interactive table games is wonderful – nobody deserves a Big Mac more than a parent of young children.

This post was a collaborative one but all opinions are my own – including my steadfast love of pickles

 

Fathers Day Gift Guide 2018

As Father’s day (and the realisation that we are already nearly in June – how did that happen?!) approaches take a look at some of the fabulous gift ideas currently available on and off the high street.

Let’s do this! (even if he ALWAYS slacks off on Mother’s day)

Hallmark cards

Cards before presents and with the fabulous range from Hallmark you really cannot go wrong!

Hallmark have a range of small plush collectible toys called Itty Bittys and we all love them here – Moose chose superhero characters for his Dad. What will you choose?

Elizabeth Shaw do biscuits! Not only do they do them, they smash it! We tried the raisin and hazelnut ones and if the Father in your life likes a brew then these would make for a great accompaniment.

Oral-B GENIUS 9000

Oral-B GENIUS 9000 toothbrush in black seems to me to be a bit like a sports car for your mouth. Over 80% of people leave plaque behind because they miss a whole zone of their mouth when they brush. That can lead to cavities and gum disease in the future.

 Oral-B’s most premium brush ever, it features a new handle design, longer battery life, an LED SmartRing customisable in 12 colours, and a Travel Case that not just charges your toothbrush, but also your smartphone.

hotel chocolat dipping box

Hotel Chocolat Dipping Adventure. Look at it. I mean really, it sells itself. Snack heaven and yours for less than £30.

willow and stone

Willow & Stone

This is the perfect wine to take you from spring to summer and beyond. Best served chilled, over ice, with soda water or as part of a summery cocktail, it’s a great accompaniment to barbeques, outside occasions or bank holiday celebrations.

What’s more, the fizz varieties come with a re-sealable ‘zork’ meaning the fizz will stay fresher and fizzier for longer.Currently stocked in Co-Op and B&M, the Willow & Stone  range is excellent value with the white and rosé priced at £3.99 and the rosé and white fizz priced at £4.99.

raf100

RAF 100: The Official Story celebrates and commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the Royal Air Force. Officially endorsed by the RAF, and with unique access to their historic archives, the world-renowned broadcaster James Holland uses photographs and documents to tell the story of the people, planes and missions as never before.

The Everlast notebook provides a classic pen and paper experience, yet is built for the digital age. Although it feels like a traditional notebook, the Everlast is endlessly reusable and connected to all of your favorite cloud services.

When you write using any pen from the Pilot Frixion line, your writing sticks to Everlast pages like regular paper. But add a drop of water… and the notebook erases like magic.

 

The YubiKey combines hardware-based authentication and public key cryptography to eliminate account takeovers. Simply tap the YubiKey NEO to your NFC enabled device or insert into a USB-A slot and authenticate with a touch.  YubiKey authentication is four times faster than typing a One Time Passcode and does not require a battery nor network connectivity so it is always on and accessible.

Sweet hamper

Retro Sweets for the win!

This delightful hamper available to personalise from Giftpup may be small in measurements but it is bursting at the seams with all of your favourite classic and retro sweets.

living dna

What is more personal than learning about your ancestry? With a gift from Living DNA, your dad can learn all about his ancestry and explore her personal DNA results.

The Nextbase 312w dash cam is a great gift for the motoring Father. Not only can they lower the cost of insurance premiums, they provide peace of mind with studies showing that motorists feel safer – and drive more safely – when they own a dash cam.

Socks are always a popular choice for men. Why not treat his feet this Fathers day to a gift set of Ralph Lauren socks from Mainline Menswear  If your Father is into gardening then the Von Haus 1600w lawnmower would make a great gift. It makes short work of lawn work and you can get yours from Domu

The Ruck backpack from Speck is great for organising the man in your life. Not only does it have 9 pockets, it is really comfortable to wear and large enough to hold a laptop too

Who doesn’t love a man in a suit? Dobell have a massive range of stylish and affordable menswear this Fathers day

This Varta torch is crazy bright.

Seriously. It is brilliant for power failures, camping and sending your Dad up into the loft first to check for spiders and/or monsters. You can get one here The Epsom XP900 printer is stylish, not too large and prints up to A3 making it the perfect choice for Fathers day for printing all of those memories you have made together. 

The popular Intimately Beckham eau de toilette spray for men opens with notes of bergamot, grapefruit zest and cardamom, with a heart of violet, nutmeg and star anise, rounded off with a base of sandalwood, patchouli and amber. With a deep, woody aroma, it’s a fragrance that’s sure to turn heads. gilette razor

Gillette Fusion5 ProGlide Chrome Edition razor features 5 anti-friction blades for a shave you barely feel, and a chrome effect handle that lets you shave in style. With FlexBall technology, ProGlide responds to contours and gets virtually every hair. The Precision Trimmer on the back is great for hard-to-reach areas such as under the nose and sideburns. One men’s razor blade refill equals up to one month of shaves.

What better way to start the day than with this Batman egg cup and toast cutter from Find Me A Gift. No matter how old the Dad in your life is, he will love this quirky gift

When you open this card you will find a selection of 12 miniature chocolate bars. Your Dad taught you that sharing is important and of course he leads by example. So with this gift from Thortful, everyone wins!

 

Spring at Middletons

Returning to a restaurant at which you have previously had a wonderful meal is sometimes a dicey prospect. The stakes (I so wanted to type steaks to be punny but I wouldn’t subject you to that) are already so high that any mistake will be highlighted and memories of amazing meals past easily forgotten.

So it was with a little trepidation that I accepted an invitation to return to Middletons on Bridge Street, Peterborough to sample their new Spring 2018 menu.

I knew there was only 1 real choice of companion for this endeavour, my brother Steve (aka Steak King). His love of meat is the stuff of local legend.

steak king

The New Spring 2018 Menu

Looking at the menu it wasn’t instantly clear which were the new additions. Help was on hand in the form of our enigmatic waiter, Mark. After a short tour of the new menu we learned that as well as a few new meal choices on the main menu such as the spicy chicken wings, a big focus had been put on introducing some fabulous vegetarian options such as the Goats Cheese and Veg Tart which looks very tempting. There is also a vegan option which is the Pesto Gnocchi. I cannot emphasise enough how much I enjoy Gnocchi so this was great news for me. 

Another new feature at Middletons is that hey have now introduced a Gin Bar to the drinks menu.  It features 10 carefully selected gins, ranging from well-known brands to more up-and-coming flavoured varieties. Steak and Gin, does it get any better than that?

What we ate

Something I like about Middletons is that they do like to keep you hydrated. A bottle of complimentary water is usually with you soon after being seated and they are very good at replenishing it without being asked. 

For starters I chose the Chicken Liver Paté. I really love paté but it isn’t something I would think of putting together at home so when I see it on the menu I am always keen to order it. It was a really generous portion which arrived with plenty of warm sourdough and butter. 

Steve had the Mussels which were as he put it “spot on” and which arrived with a good supply of sourdough and freshening wipes. 

 

For my main course I opted for the Seafood Mixed Grill which consisted of Sea Bass fillet, salmon fillet, chilli prawns, calamari and lemon all served alongside my choice of side which on this occasion was new potatoes (I was at least trying to be vaguely healthy). It was all really lovely and just the right portion size. I especially enjoyed the chilli prawns and the sea bass – extra points on the crunchy sea bass skin. It was a tasty alternative to steak.

Steve ordered the steak (of course) and after next to no deliberation decided on chips to go with it. His steak came with a field mushroom and tomato and was beautifully cooked – I don’t believe I have ever been disappointed with my Middletons steak, it’s what they do best. 

We both really enjoyed our meals. I must admit that thanks to Middletons set menu I have returned more times than I can count. With masses of choice and 3 courses for £9.99 (even on a Saturday!). As well as the option to not only book your table online but pre-order your food too. Well, you can’t really argue with that. 

Our meal was paid for in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Royal Wedding with Amazon Handmade

This is a collaborative post.

It’s fair to say that I am not really a royalist but I do like them. Especially Harry and William. But especially Harry. I admire the work he has put into the Invictus games and I think he seems like a pleasant bloke. Meghan is going to make a great addition to our Royal family too what with her work as a UN advocate as well as other work supporting various charities. They make such a good match!

I work with lots of couples as part of my day job creating personalised cake toppers – you can read more about that here. 

One of my favourite moments in the process of making the toppers is when I first see what the bride will be wearing.

Of course whatever Meghan decides to wear will look beautiful (have you seen her!?) and I cannot wait to see it! I might even have a go at making a topper of them!

On Saturday, the day of the Royal wedding, I will be settling down to watch it on television with Bess, my daughter. I quite like the thought that some day this will be a marker in our history. In her history.

wedding table

Perfection is in the planning

If you are planning a little party of your own or are looking for a gift for a wedding this year, Amazon Handmade’s new Wedding Shop has got you covered. Just click on this link to find your perfect gift: www.amazon.co.uk/handmadewedding  

I really like sourcing things from small sellers. As a sole trader myself I know how much that support counts. When you buy something from a small seller you really are helping them to put food on their table. Amazon Handmade is a great website for finding those kinds of sellers and they have a vast array of wonderful gifts.

wedding cake bunting

This personalised Prosecco glass is the perfect gift for anyone who likes their bubbles. You could even splash out on a pair of them for the happy couple.

I believe I am correct in saying that as a British person I was (like all British people) instilled with a love of bunting at birth. We all love the stuff. This Cath Kidston print bunting is exactly the sort of thing to wibble the stiffest of upper lips and as such it makes an excellent gift choice.

Confetti is a big deal. A lot of venues now either try to discourage or in some cases have banned the use of paper confetti. This confetti however is made from biodegradable rose petals. A must for weddings this summer and it smells divine too!

Bess does love a crown. I blame myself for the most part. Elizabeth is rather a regal name after all. We love this Princess crown headband and I have a feeling it will be in use on Saturday and long after.

Who doesn’t like to feel like a princess – especially when the newest of ours has such a clear passion for making young girls feel empowered.