A #QBlogger Festive Feast With Queensgate Peterborough

If I was making a top 5 list of my favourite things about Christmas I think festive food would definitely be somewhere near to to top of it.

We all have our must haves of course; turkey, sprouts, mince pies.. but what about fresh ideas this year? Last week I found myself at a gathering of bloggers (what would that be called? a flock? a bevy?) all excited to try out what treats are on offer at Queensgate this christmas

Pret a Manger

Thick slices of Norfolk free-range turkey breast on malted bread with a dollop of slightly tart port & orange cranberry sauce. Served with Pret’s herby stuffing – made with beautifully seasoned minced pork, streaky bacon and apricots. Topped with crispy onions and fresh baby spinach. The Pret Christmas Lunch sandwich is back (at last!)

Meet Melvin, Pret’s gingerbread, icing and marshmallow-headed snowman. He’s only here for Christmas so enjoy him while you can.

Marks and Spencer 

Marks and Spencers’ food range always hits the spot! I loved the Gold Creme Brulee Liqueur, M&S Mince Pies and a Festive Sandwich selection which comprised of Turkey Feast, Brie and Grape, Prawn and Smoked Salmon and Ham Hock and Golden Beetroot Piccalilli.

Handmade Burger Co

handmade burgers

The Handmade Burger Co served up some tasty samples. My absolute favourite was the Avocado and bacon Chicken Burger – original HBC burger relish, hand crushed avocado, smoked bacon, mayo, lettuce, tomato & red onion

I also LOVED the Halloumi fries. Comfort food at it’s best!

Carluccios

This was my first taste of food from Carluccios and I thought it was lovely! I tried the Pere e Gorgonzola (Pears & gorgonzola served with radicchio, green beans and walnuts, tossed in a lemon dressing)

The Carluccios festive menu is available until the 3rd January. 2 Courses for £17.95

Lakeland

Celebrate in shimmering style by adding a sprinkle of this absolutely fabulous PopaBall Raspberry Prosecco Shimmer to your prosecco and sparkling drinks, and gaze in wonder as your glass is transformed into a silky, iridescent shimmering treat.

 

A tantalising mix of creamy white chocolate infused with natural peppermint oil, hand-swirled with contrasting, decadent dark chocolate and then finished with a winter snowfall of crushed candy cane, once tasted peppermint bark is never forgotten.

Hotel Chocolat

Hotel Chocolat always has a great range of gifts for Christmas and if you are buying a gift for me (I am looking at you, family) then you really cannot go wrong! The Christmas Box Luxe is a work of art and whoever thought of making a jam roly poly chocolate is an utter genius!

John Lewis

The John Lewis cafe is a great place to stop for a coffee and a cake (and to people watch if you get a good table) and they really do know how to do cake! My favourite is the bakewell cake!

Christmas is about spending time with family and feeling festive. If you fail at this then make sure you have these gin baubles on hand. One of these and everything will start to look very festive indeed!

 

Sleeping Beauty Pantomime at Key Theatre Peterborough

We had never taken the children to a pantomime before so when we were kindly invited to watch Sleeping Beauty at the Key Theatre we were happy to accept! 

I have been to see other productions at the Key. However, as much as I love the theatre I don’t get the opportunity to go as much I would like to. I am definitely intending on changing this in 2018! Call it a resolution if you like. 

p

We awoke on the morning of the pantomime to find that overnight the snow had settled covering our street in a blanket of white. As beautiful as the snow looks it’s not really practical when you have things to do.

I did wonder whether the pantomime would go ahead at all but one look at twitter and it became clear that it would take more than a bit of dodgy weather to stop this show. 

key theatre

The show must go on

We got to theatre a little later than planned thanks to a bit of trouble with the parking machine. Parking at the theatre is chargeable. 

Collecting our tickets from the box office was simple and the queue was thankfully a fast moving one. We hurried to our seats and waited excitedly for the show to begin! The Key Theatre do have booster seats available but thanks to its gradient seating and the small person in front of him, Moose didn’t need boosting.

key theatre

As any parent of large age gap children knows, it is sometimes difficult to find an activity which entertains both children at a similar level. The pantomime can definitely be added to that (short) list. 

From the moment that Fairy PD walked out onto the stage both Bess and Moose were hooked. I had been a bit apprehensive that 135 minutes would be a bit much for Moose to sit through but he was utterly transfixed by it all. 

theatre

Carabosse (the bad fairy) was a surprise hit with both of the children. When asked who his favourite was, Moose said the bad fairy because he liked shouting BOOOOO. Bess loved her Taylor Swift parody. She really was a fabulous character and probably my favourite too!

135 minutes could have been a bit long

As I said previously, I had my doubts. To be honest I wasn’t sure MrG would like it. He is quite grumpy about these things and has said in the past that he doesn’t really “get” the appeal. Even he was laughing at the carefully constructed adult jokes which flew straight over the children’s heads and although he did say he felt like there was a lot of music (no less than 15 songs) I caught him humming along… 

In the interval Grandma Chicken (not a panto character, just a nickname for my Mum created by Bess which stuck) bought some goodies. We were pleasantly surprised that the prices for snacks were really very reasonable. The children had a pack which cost £3.50 and contained; popcorn, fruit shoot, packet of buttons and a pot of ice cream. I had some popcorn £2 and a bottle of coke £2. Moose ate his in the correct way by tipping the chocolate buttons into the popcorn. He gave me his ice cream as (and I quote) “it was too cold”. Kids are odd. 

There were also flashing wands and swords available. I decided not to buy one as Moose hadn’t spotted them and I was pretty sure him having one would result in some kind of injury (to someone else) but they too were not badly priced at less than £5 each. 

 

If you haven’t booked tickets then I think you should

It’s a very traditional family friendly panto with the usual audience participation and funny lines to shout.  The Panto follows the story of Aurora who is cursed at her naming ceremony by Carabosse (the spurned former fiance of the King) and is sent to live with the 3 good fairies as their niece until her 18th birthday to escape Carabosse’s curse. There to help along the way was Jingle the Jester. 

The cast were all fabulous! Jingle the Jester and Queen Iona Trumpet especially were very funny. I was really impressed by the set and costumes too! It all felt really polished – Bess wasn’t sure whether Carabosse getting the giggles was part of the show but it was amusing nonetheless.

We found the show to be fun, engaging for all ages and really a great way to introduce the children to the theatre. I will feel a lot more confident taking Moose to future productions. 

Will we return? Oh yes we will!

queen igotta trumpet

Disclaimer: We were given tickets to watch the pantomime in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

WIN | GIVEAWAY 2 Family Favourite Games from Pass The Pigs

Christmas in our house is about sharing time together. Sure, this does mean that I am swigging Bucks Fizz for breakfast but after I have made sure to record the stuff I have absolutely no chance of watching in peace on the day itself I love to play games with the family. 

Our go to has always been a certain property related board game but given last year which ended with MrG and I not speaking for quite some time after some pretty ruthless hotel buying we have all agreed that we need to find something a bit different. Pass the Pigs may just fit the bill and I have a set of 2 (original and party) for 1 lucky winner!

Pass the Pigs is so easy to play. Simply throw the 2 piggies up in the air and see how they land. Compare the pigs landing positions with your scorecard and earn points. The first to 100 wins.

Pass the Pigs comes in a handy travel case, pop into your bag and you are ready for a game anytime. So, if you are traveling to see family it’s the perfect entertainment on the go. Pass the Pigs Party are ideal for when you want to play with family and friends at Christmas.

Pass the Pigs

Hours of fun are guaranteed with this exciting Pass the Pigs game. Perfect for taking on the road, the Pass the Pigs game comes in a handy travel case, so there’s never a dull moment to be had!

Pass the Pigs is a game of skill for 2-6 players, it comes with a handy carry case, 2 pencils, 2 pigs and a pocket-sized score card.

Suitable for ages 3+ and available for £9.99rrp.

Pass the Pigs Party

The version for party animals! Now there are EIGHT pigs in the game to play with. Roll your piggies to try and be first to match the position on your card. Get bonus points if you do it on your first go! Be the first to rack up 100 points. £14.99rrp.

 

  •  8 small plastic piggies (four pairs)
  •  Deck of 30 cards
  •  Carry case

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review/Giveaway Vremi Baking Cups and Apple Slicer

Moose attends pre-school from Monday to Thursday. During those days I try to get lots of work done. Sometimes that means working with clay, sometimes it means writing. I am lucky that I love my work so it doesn’t really feel like work at all. Friday though, is our day. Moose and I have the whole day to ourselves to do whatever it is that takes our fancy. I absolutely love our time together and I am trying to push all thoughts of it coming to an end next September out of my mind and just enjoy these moments while we can snatch them.

This week Moose asked if we could make lunch and bake some cakes. It just so happened that I had received the Vremi baking cups and apple slicer to try out so I figured it would be a great idea.

We decided to start with cake

This was entirely Moose’s idea but I didn’t put up much of a fight. We had a Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles cake mix in the cupboard so that seemed the obvious choice. If you know me, you know about my lacking baking skills… Surely not even I could mess up a box mix though!

Moose had great fun making the cake mix and spooning it into the silicone cases. Of course, I appreciate I am late to the silicone baking cup game, this was my first experience of such a thing. I eyed Vremi’s claim of them being non stick with a healthy amount of suspicion. I was however delighted to read that they are dishwasher safe!

Vremi’s set of 24 Nonstick Silicone Baking Cups come in pink, green, blue and yellow and I love how bright and fun they are. Incidentally, the cups did not stick to the cakes at all and emerged from the dishwasher as good as new. There is no going back to paper for us now. 

Slice slice baby

While our cakes cooled on the rack we turned our attention to preparing lunch. Moose loves cheese, apple and grapes with crackers. He is really fussy sometimes so it’s a relief when he requests normal food. 

The Vremi slicer comes with 3 sets of blades designed to cut mango, apple and potato (into chips). I am usually a knife kind of a girl so this too was a bit of a revelation. I honestly thought that this would be one of those faddy gadgets which I would use once and then leave languishing in the back of a cupboard (I am looking at you candyfloss machine). The big easy grip handles means that small (and big) hands go nowhere near the sharp blades so it’s great for when the kids want to “help”. 

I like apples but I have a weird aversion to eating one whole. This handy little gadget though has upped my apple intake by a surprising amount! The kids too. We seem to much prefer to eat pre sliced apple. I am yet to try the chipper but I do believe it will be a game changer

Fancy winning these two great products yourself? Enter via Gleam below: (Ends 17/12)

Win the Vremi Silicone Baking Cups and Apple Slicer #6

Compulsory School Age – to wait or not to wait

After a lovely chat with Mooses “ladies” at preschool about how he is getting on I was feeling less apprehensive. Moose is doing really well at preschool and has made some great friends. He is right where he should be for his age.

boy and a fence

His age is the problem.

He is an August baby and that means that he is due to start reception aged just 4yrs and 3 weeks. I know that there always has to be a youngest child but I feel/felt really sad to think that he will be that child. That it will put him at a disadvantage before he has even begun.

Physically I don’t think we will have a problem. His dad is 6ft2 and Moose has always been big so he will probably look quite average alongside children who might be anything up to 11 months older than him.

The bits I worry/worried about though is the little things. Things like getting his uniform on and off for PE. Putting his coat on to go out to play. Being able to write as well as and be able to hold a pencil for as long as his peers. His little fingers still being too clumsy to be able to keep up.

boy and tablet

It was for those reasons that I seriously considered keeping him in preschool for another year and starting him in reception when he is 5.

He wasn’t due until September. If he had just stayed put he would be going to school in 2019 and I wouldn’t have worried (alright, maybe a bit)

Problem is that it would be quite a fight to delay his start because everyone I have spoken to has told me that he would have to start in year 1, not reception. I don’t want him to miss the social connections kids make in those first few months. Applications for school need to made by January 2018 for a September start so I really need to get my skates on!

Seriously, how can I be more clueless with my third child than I was with my first?! Why is there not more information made available to parents about this? 

Did you delay your child until they reached compulsory school age? Tell me about it by leaving a comment.