AD/ Dining with the kids: Your key tips for a stress-free experience

As anyone with kids will testify, the days of calm, romantic candlelit dinners are long gone. Chaos tends to ensue and for most of us, the experience becomes a race to get out of the door with as few hiccups as possible. For most parents, this is something that tends to go on for a few years. Sure, there are enjoyable parts, and nothing is quite as rewarding as having a family meal, at a restaurant, without anything going awry.

Today is all about helping you get to that stage. If you happen to have young children, read on to find the best ways to dine out with them on a stress-free basis.

Location, location, location

Remember we spoke about those candlelit settings? Well, if you have chosen such an environment, there is a high probability that it’s not going to be a suitable place for the kids. The last thing you need is to “change” an atmosphere, you need to slot straight into the setting you are stepping into.

A walk around many of Covent Garden’s restaurants will reveal many restaurants that provide the perfect environment for kids. More often than not, you need to target those places which already have kids in and are more along the informal lines. This article provides some of the factors you should be looking towards when assessing a restaurants’ child friendly qualities!

*stock image*

Timing is everything

There are a couple of strands to this next point. Firstly, the last thing you want is to be waiting in a queue with the kids. As we all know, kids hate queuing, and this gets everything off on a bad foot.

Then, there’s the people-factor. The equation is simple, the more people around, and the busier a restaurant, the more things that can go wrong. The solution is therefore simple; simply skirt away from the peak eating periods. These are typically between 12pm and 2pm and while it might not be possible to avoid these times entirely, try and tag onto the start or end of them to make things a little quieter.

You need to provide your own entertainment

In some ways, this links to the point we made about locations. After all, some child-friendly ones will provide coloring and other activities which will make your plight oh-so-much easier. This is something that you should never guarantee though; make sure you bring your own “supplies” to counter the boredom-factor and increase the chances of everything going smoothly.

Try and opt for familiarity

While familiarity can sometimes be perceived as being boring, at times boring is safe.

There is nothing wrong with experimenting with food and this should always be applauded when it comes to children. At the same time, going to new environments and changing the menu can open up problems. It can sometimes be worth sticking to the “tried and tested” methods, to avoid any restaurant drama! If you really want your little ones to try new foods whilst out and about, consider doing it with smaller, complementary side dishes to get started.

Laura x

*This post is sponsored*

Continue Reading

Spicing up mealtimes with Capsicana

I’m not a big cook at home, I’ll be the first one to admit. I can cook at most about 3 meals whereas my husband makes the majority and he absolutely loves cooking. One of our favourite food types is Mexican so when Capsicana got in touch to offer us a couple of their products to try out, we were more than thrilled to give them a go.

We received the Mexican Chilli & Honey Fajita Kit as well as the ultimate refried black beans and couldn’t wait to get tucked in.

*gifted items*

The first thing on the menu was chilli beef tacos using the refried black beans. We had crispy taco shells at home anyway so it was just a case of making up the mince mixture to go inside and cutting up a load of salad to add to each taco. We absolutely loved the tacos and the black beans were incredibly tasty.

The following week we then made fajitas however rather than frying up the chicken as recommended, we decided to slow cook the chicken whilst we were at work all day using the honey and chilli sauce from the kit. I loosely shredded the chicken once cooked and let it sit in the sauce for 15 minutes before dishing up. I also bought a pre-packaged salad (for ease), cut up tomato and created the salsa as recommended on the box, and grated cheese.

The fajitas were absolutely incredible and the chilli and honey sauce had the right amount of kick to it without being too hot. Even my husband really enjoyed the sauce that came in the kit.

Overall we were blown away by how much we loved these products and since trying them, I’ve spotted them in my local Sainsburys. We will 100% be purchasing these kits again in future as they genuinely spiced up our usually favourites and added a little extra oomph for us.

Laura x

*Post contains gifted items*

Continue Reading

Our New Build Journey

Now we have been in our house for 15 days, I thought I’d start sharing the whole new build purchase process with you and also some truths about it all. It’s only right to start from the beginning so here goes…

Right at the beginning of this process (November 2018) we had ummed and ahhhd about whether we wanted to move and with 2 new build developments on our doorstep, had also spent many an hour looking at the show homes. Finally we concluded that we were in fact interested in one and started scoping out the perfect style of house.

Originally we had looked at a David Wilson Bradgate which was a gorgeous 4 bed detached house. We then discovered that Avant homes (the other development in our village) had a similar house in the Pendlebury. We were in a tricky situation as we were able to look round an almost finished Bradgate however there were no Pendlebury’s we could view without travelling over an hour away.

We went with our gut feeling about the houses and based on what Avant offered vs David Wilson and eventually settled on the Pendlebury.

Avant Pendlebury: photo credit

After initially spending a week discussing things with the bank and also having valuations done on our existing house as we wanted to part exchange, we eventually reserved the plot we wanted 7 days later. The reason we chose the plot was because it had a lovely big garden and was also directly across from the park in the centre of the development. The development itself only has around 120 houses compared to the David Wilson one across the road with over 200. This was part of the reason we chose Avant because we didn’t want to be in such a huge development.

At the time of us reserving the house, it was only in the very early stages of build so had a couple of rows of bricks if that. It was really hard to picture the house above from just a site with a few bricks but we couldn’t wait to see the build take shape and eventually be in.

We were set the expectation that it would be completed somewhere between March to May 2019 and we completed on 28th June, so in the grand scheme of things only a minor delay relay. I have heard stories of people being delayed 9 months before so you can imagine what went through my mind when they started to advise it would be delayed.

I would say until the house properly began looking like a house, it felt like it took forever and then things suddenly started to happen however it took from 15th November (ish) to 5th March to get to roof stage below.

I won’t share anymore at this point in regards to the home buying journey as it would be super long but my next post will be all about choices inside the house so hopefully you will be excited to read that one.

Laura x

Continue Reading