Easter at Queensgate – Moose & Bess’s First Qblogger Event

When I was asked whether I thought my darling offspring would be up for coming along to an Easter event I knew it wouldn’t be a hard sell. The opportunity was one I suspected that they would jump at the chance to attend. I was (as ever) right.

Along with Jaymee and Sabina we enjoyed an evening of some serious (ish) chocolate sampling. Here is a small selection of what is on offer for you this Easter at Queensgate, Peterborough

Hotel Chocolat

Hotel Chocolat is one of my most favourite shops in Queensgate at the moment. I love their seasonal ranges and Easter is no exception. Bess said she loved the Elizapeck Chocolate eggs (£6 each or 2 for £10) and I thought the Egg on Toast was a great buy (£2)

Carluccios

Ok so setting aside that I always forget that Carluccios has a shop in the restaurant (I blame baby brain – he is 3 so I will be milking this excuse until I can no longer) I was really impressed with what they have to offer! We loved the Half Dozen Chocolate Hens’ Eggs (£10.95)

Lakeland

Kids love marshmallows. I don’t know what happens to us as we grow older to make us forget how good they are but marshmallows are manna for (most) children. Lakeland have a lovely big jar for £6.

John Lewis

John Lewis can always be relied upon to deliver the goods and this Easter is no exception. I absolutely loved the hanging eggs (£2.50). So pretty! Moose adored the chick basket (£3.50) and was thrilled to be able to take it home. He has been carrying it around ever since and I know it will feature heavily on Easter Sunday.

M&S

I really love the M&S Easter range this year and was lucky enough to get a guided tour of one of their new stores – you can read about that here

My favourite is the burrowing bunny egg (£15) but I also loved the hand painted eggs and the Percy Pig egg (who doesn’t love Percy?)

What Did The Kids Think?

Bess was really impressed by the visual impact of the Butlers easter egg from John Lewis (£12.50)

Moose hasn’t left his chick basket alone yet but he also really liked the fill your own carrot crackers from John Lewis (£10). We all agreed they were a really unique idea.

I think I might be a bit addicted to the City Chocolate Caramel Bunnies from Hotel Chocolat (£6 for box of 16)

I think if this was a democracy then John Lewis would take the top spot but luckily it’s not. Hotel Chocolat are my winners for creating such cute characters as Elizapeck.

Thanks for having us Queensgate, we had an eggcellent time!

M&S Foodhall Opens in Bourne

I really like Bourne town centre but as I usually stay close to home for shopping I was unaware of its charm until this week. I was invited to come along to the opening of the Burghley Shopping Centres latest addition – an M&S foodhall.

A great start

Store Manager, Isabel Meyer, marked the opening with her 50 M&S colleagues – many recruited from the local area – by cutting the ribbon at 10am and welcoming the first customers into store.

By the time we arrived the store was full of happy customers making the most of their new store.

Lisa Stevenson was the first customer through the doors and lives in Bourne. Commenting on the opening she said: “I found out about the opening and had to come down – I’m here with my daughter and the store is lovely. It’s so busy and it’s great to have an M&S Foodhall on our doorstep.”

Spend it well

I love that when you shop at M&S you are assured a great quality product. As part of our tour around the store Rory told us that wherever possible M&S always do their best to source in season produce locally.

M&S offers something for everyone from their Gastro to their Taste products to their ‘Made Without’ gluten/dairy free range. Incidentally, all M&S sausages are gluten free and most of their fresh meat is traceable.

 

Click and Collect

With three quarters of online M&S customers collecting in store, customers at Bourne can use M&S’s popular Click & Collect service. Really helpful to have this service now available locally. This provides the option of having M&S.com Clothing and Home orders delivered to the store the next day, free of charge

Find the store

The Bourne M&S Foodhall is located at Burghley Shopping Centre, Bourne, PE10 9EG, and opening hours are from 8am – 8pm Monday to Saturday and 10am – 4pm on Sundays.

Outside the store there is a car park offering 2 hours free parking and a bus station just a short walk away.

 

Mothers Day Gift Guide

I am very much in favour of any excuse for my children to adorn me with gifts. This year Mother’s day falls in the same week as International Women’s Day – if that’s not enough of a reason to show the most important woman* in your life how much she rocks then I don’t know what is. 

Here are some fabulous ideas for gifts for you to surprise the Mum in your life (if you live with a Mum who is not YOUR Mum then you still have to shop for her. I don’t make the rules) 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

The Echo Dot is an excellent choice. Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms and more. Available from Amazon (and that means next day delivery if you are a prime member) and currently priced at £39.99 **

The Makery Craft Kit – Embroidery Hoop is a cool kit that provides you with all the bits and pieces you need to create a scrummy new decoration for your favourite space. Just choose a letter and stitch away! If your Mum is even a teeny bit creative, this is the gift for her! **

Most Mums like a tipple now and again.

Let’s face it, you are probably part of the reason why. I have inherited my Mum’s love of a particular brand of irish cream beginning with B and ending with Aileys and I don’t often stray to other creamy drinks because well, it’s a massive brand for a reason right? 

Wrong. The Carthy & Black Yorkshire Cream from 31Dover is superior in every single way. I would try to make this one of those balanced reviews where I give you the negatives of the thing I am throwing an opinion out about but I can’t. It’s heaven in a glass. Buy it here. **

If the Mum in your life is a blogger you cannot go wrong with stationary and this one is something special. The Art Deco range from Castelli sympathetically infuses the gold foil embossed design and luxury features for a sumptuous stationery accessory. The dotted ruled paper format is printed on ivory coloured pages finished with black page edges and rounded corners for a stylish finish.**

Stick with me on this. This apron from Handmade At Amazon really would be a great gift for the Mum who is often to be found in kitchen rustling up family meals. It’s neutral colour makes it a great fit for any decor. Also, you don’t have to worry about sizing.. 

Last but not least. Just be there. Go and pick up some flowers if you like (carnations happen to be my favourite) but to be honest 99% of Mums will love that you made the effort to give her a hug. Obviously pressies are nice though! Happy Mother’s Day!

 

*If you did not emerge into this world out of a woman then of course I will concede that perhaps someone else is more important. Anyone? No? Best go get a card then!

**Item received in exchange for inclusion and my honest opinion

A snowy week

As you know we don’t get a lot of it so when it snows here (especially here in the flat plains of the fens where it rarely ever settles) you can forgive us for getting excited.

This week has been disrupted by the white stuff. Bess enjoyed 3 glorious days of school closure but Moose’s preschool remained open throughout. This week for him was one where Moose and his friends were allowed to attend preschool in fancy dress.

Unfortunately for him, he managed to come down with something which meant that he missed out on a day. He did manage to make good use of his superhero wardrobe – which is becoming pretty extensive thanks to my weak will and the Matalan sale.

Moose has loved the snow of course.

I have loved seeing the snow through his eyes. That magic of seeing the world as your children see it is one of my favourite things about having mini humans around.

I really hate driving in the snow so much of our week was spent on foot. We headed outside to play in the white stuff a couple of times. I learned that my son is much like me in that we love the snow to look at but 5 minutes of being wet and cold is more than enough for the both of us.

He did find it hilarious to pelt me with snowballs though.

By Friday I was itching for the snow to melt and for some kind of normality to resume. G decided to travel down to his Mums with the children to give me a bit of time to myself. Something which NEVER happens.

It was so lovely to spend some time just relaxing at home without anyone else to worry about, reading my book and really just having a good rest!

 

 

3 ways with Rustlers #rustlershack

Bess and Col are always in the fridge.

Honestly, I sometimes cannot believe how much they get through and of course they only ever really want crisps or chocolate. Our rule is that they can help themselves to fruits or vegetables but the other stuff they need to at least try to go easy on!

It’s not just the health aspect which is obviously important but the cost too! As well as those things though it is important to me that they get involved in the kitchen and help out with the preparation of their meals to educate them for the future.

I was recently asked to get involved with the #Rustlershack and try to create a tasty family friendly meal using as a base the Rustlers Southern Fried Chicken burger. I decided that this would be a great thing to do with Col and Bess

This is what we came up with!

Bess chose the ingredients for her creation. Rustlers are known for their burgers microwaveable qualities but Bess wanted to be different. She went for a toasted bun and chose to oven bake her chicken (so it would be crispy) and then she added a grilled pineapple ring and grilled halloumi – salty sweet perfection! She served this with some crunchy vegetable sticks and a glass of cold milk.

Col’s approach was to create what he called the champion of burgers! Again opting for the toasted bun and baked chicken combination to get the best possible texture he added a hash brown, spinach leaves, some cheddar and onion rings along with some BBQ sauce to make a magnificent tower of chicken goodness (his words) and he served that with chips because he is a growing boy!

I have a confession

When it came to my turn I didn’t really fancy a burger. I decided to opt for a salad (both kids rolled their eyes) and I was so glad I did!

I sliced the bun and tossed it in a pan with a little olive oil and garlic powder.  Meanwhile I microwaved the chicken and made my salad of leaves, tomato and avocado. I placed the sliced chicken to the dish and used the burger mayo as a salad dressing. It was hands down one of the tastiest lunches I have ever knocked up in less than 5 minutes!

This was great fun to play around with new ideas for dinnertime and it was great that we could all add our own unique ideas to really make the meals our own. If you would like to get involved you can grab a twinpack Rustlers chicken burger from Tesco!

This post is an entry for Britmums Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge, sponsored by Rustlers