Monday, 30 March 2015

Dining in with Mr Flavour

Once upon a time during our pre-baby life, we ate out all the time. I'm not even kidding, I very much doubt there are many restaurants or cafes left in Sheffield or the Peak District that we haven't tried. And when we didn't eat out, we had takeaway. I live slap bang in between the two best roads in this city for food so finding something awesome for tea is never hard.
When Emilia came along however, we predictably soon found ourselves with a lack of funds and a lack of energy. This resulted in our passion for dining out soon becoming more of a treat than a regular thing..... probably rightly so, though!

When I found out about about 'Mr Flavour' recently, I knew it was something that I had to try out. Mr Flavour is a brand new business in Sheffield which describes itself as 'the restaurant that comes to you!'. I was keen to see if the food delivered would have that wonderful restaurant style quality (and make me feel like i'm dining out, even if i'm sat in my pj's at the dinner table! #tiredmummyproblems). 

The meal for two that we were presented with was the "pressed shoulder of lamb with rosemary crushed potatoes, confit garlic & aubergine puree, sauteed courgettes and grape chutney". It was delivered to our house on Saturday afternoon in a takeaway style bag which held all the components for the meal along with a sheet of super simple instructions. 

Inside the bag all of the components for the meal are freshly pre-prepared and vacuum packed with clear labels and use-by dates.... 

Once Emilia was in bed, we cracked open a bottle of something fizzy and got to work on putting the meal together. I can't fault the instruction sheet provided and the equipment needed for the meal was so minimal that there was hardly any washing up afterwards. I was also very impressed that once our oven had pre-heated, the meal was ready to serve within 20 minutes.

We very rarely cook meat at home so i'll admit that having lamb was quite a treat! The smell of it cooking was incredible and I was so excited to see how it would turn out. 

The back of the instruction sheet gave some superb tips on how to arrange the meal beautifully but I really don't think that food presentation is included in my set of top skills so I chose to bypass that and plonk it all on the plate ready to be enjoyed!   


I was impressed that the meal was so easy to put together that I was dubious if it would actually taste any good. But I was wrong, it was absolutely stunning and the portion size was fantastic. The lamb was divine, so tender and an absolute dream to eat when paired with the garlic and aubergine puree and the grape chutney. The vegetables were equally delightful and complemented the meat magnificently. 

We really enjoyed the meal and I wouldn't hesitate to order again. The quality and freshness of the ingredients were incredible and the process of putting the meal together was really quite enjoyable. It offered us something a little different to our usual takeaway meals but at the same time provided a novice cook like me with the means to make a gorgeous meal in less than half an hour. It's a perfect treat for busy people (or knackered mums like me!) and I imagine that it would be equally enjoyed by more experienced cooks and foodies too!

In addition to a changing menu that offers a restaurant style dish along with a more rustic dish, you'll also find a range of many more staple products from 'Mr Flavour's Larder' including sauces, purees and dressings. 
Everything on the menu is surprisingly really well priced. I was really surprised when I found out that the meal we had was priced at £8 per head. I'd willingly pay more for a meal like this and really did expect that the price would be higher! 

Mr Flavour is initially delivering to the following postcodes across Sheffield - S7, S8, S10, S11, S17 & S18. For more information and details on how to order, please hop over to twitter.

Disclaimer: I was sent the meal in exchange for this review, all words are my own.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

What's on my bedside table - The minimal edition

Bedside tables are surely one of the biggest clutter magnets in the home, am I right?! I'm super militant about keeping mine clean and clear. It's really easy to let things pile up bedside your bed and I truly believe that keeping your sleeping space clutter free will result in a better nights sleep.

I've seen 'what's on my bedside table' posts floating around for a while now so today i'd like to share what I keep on my side of the bed!

Our actual bedside tables are super cheap Ikea Hemnes ones in white. We bought them along with a bunch of other cheap furniture when we first moved in and it was always our aim to replace with good quality, long lasting furniture further down the line when we could afford it. They are lasting us pretty well though, i'm surprised by how sturdy they are so we'll be keeping them for a bit longer! 

The one and only thing I keep on my bedside table is my Cath Kidston limited edition Roberts Radio. If you know me then you'll know music is my thing so it's super important that I have access to it in every room of the house. I really love the design of the radio and it's useful in that it has iPod connectivity too.

The bedside table has one slim drawer and here is what I keep inside it....

.... a small Orla Kiely box housing hair stuff (bobby pins/hair bobbles) and a pot of my favourite hand cream, "Helping Hands" by Lush. Being a mum to a toddler means I am forever washing things and my hands get dry so it's nice to keep this available to use just before bed. 

I literally keep nothing else in my drawer and the the shelf below is always kept clear! 

So, that's my bedside table! What do you keep on yours?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Enjoying spring days with Joules

The beginning of spring is just about here. Evenings are lighter, days are ever so slightly less chilly, daffodils are opening up everywhere you look and those winter coats are hopefully now banished until October. 

Emilia's current spring wardrobe appears to consist entirely of beautiful pastel and rainbow candy colours. I love that she's becoming quite involved with the process of getting dressed recently. It's amazing seeing her become a little lady trying to put her legs in the right holes and excitedly pulling on her wellies ready for a day out! She doesn't always get it right but I absolutely adore her determination!

We have reached for her beautiful new Joules clothes on many occasions recently as we are such a fan of their impeccably well made clothing and ridiculously cute designs for young children. She squeals with delight every time she notices the guinea pig on her socks and I just can't get over how adorable she looks in her bubblegum pink quilted jacket.

The jacket is just perfect teamed with wellies for a romp in the countryside and i'm looking forwards to lots of days spending time outdoors with her over the next few months!

How cute is this cat top? I want one in my size please!

*I was sent all of these products for the purpose of this blog post, all words are my own.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Less But Better - A Few Thoughts

I think we are getting somewhere with our little (ok huge!) decluttering mission. We are starting to see little corners around the home that feel quite peaceful to look at. We've sold, donated and handed on so much already but i'm now quite accepting of the fact that this is big and it isn't going to happen overnight. 

It took us years to build up this stuff, it's going to take just as long (if not longer) to let go.  

I like that we have floor space in our bedroom now. I like that the forever unused rocking chair in the corner has gone. I like that our bedside tables are clear. I like that our drawers are neat. I like how everything is becoming easier. It feels great and the more we do, the better I feel.

I'm so inspired to continue with this!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Bluestone Wales - Day Six

Our last morning in Bluestone, blue skies and no rain at last! 

On departure day the barriers at Bluestone are lifted at 5am to allow for guests to leave early if they needed to. We were in no rush though and the 10am check-out time was ideal for us to get ready on our final morning. 

Once we were all packed up, Ben went to return the golf buggy and bring the car down to the lodge. We loaded up and headed for the exit. The check-out process couldn't have been more simple, it really was a case of just dropping off your car hanger and key cards into the box at the barrier. That was it! 

Our stay at Bluestone passed so quickly but we managed to squeeze in quite a lot during our stay and make some lovely family memories. It was really nice to get to see Pembrokeshire after so long and to try something new. We've stayed in many, many holiday resorts across the UK but this was the first time we've tried anything activity based and we've not stayed anywhere before in the UK with so much to do on-site. We absolutely loved all of the facilities and at the same time really appreciated the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere of the resort. 
We especially loved how much there was for a 1.5 year old to enjoy too! There aren't many places that cater so well for really young children. It's really quite a special place to take a child! 

After leaving Bluestone, we decided to spend the rest of the morning in Saundersfoot which is a small and very cute seaside resort situated between Tenby and Amroth. I spent many a holiday here when I was a child so I wanted to visit before we left, if only for for the sake of nostalgia! 
We browsed the little gift shops, strolled around the town and bought homemade cakes and sandwiches to eat on the beach before we set off for home. 

Pembrokeshire, it was really good seeing you again! 

We were given a five day stay at Bluestone in return for this review but all words are my own.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Bluestone Wales - Day Five

Thursday was another rainy day so after a bit of a lazy morning we headed out for a bit of swimming at the Blue Lagoon.

The view from our lodge - still lovely even in the rain!

The Blue Lagoon is a huge indoor water park featuring a wave machine, lazy river, outdoor bubble pool, slides and much more. The building is heated by biomass with warmth being provided by the nearby energy centre. Best of all, it is completely free for all guests staying at Bluestone!

Emilia had heaps of fun playing with the water fountains and the wave machine, she probably would have liked to stay all day if we had let her! There are wet and dry cafe and bar areas within the Blue Lagoon complex serving a range of sandwiches, snacks and drinks if you did want to stay all day. Upstairs there is also a really well stocked shop selling souvenirs and a good range of swimming gear for adults and children in case you had forgotten to pack anything!

For lunch we purchased some sandwiches, wraps and snacks from the bakery in the village and took them back to our lodge to eat. The food was edible but certainly nothing special, we were left a little bit disappointed with what we had. I had read some good reviews about this place so maybe the food and drinks are different if you eat inside the bakery? 

After lunch and a rest, we headed back to the Adventure Centre as we had not properly explored the downstairs area yet. Here you'll find a giant countryside themed adventure playground with activities for all ages. There is so much to keep everyone entertained here from an indoor climbing wall to a amazing Lego wall, a bouncy castle that even adults can go on and a fabulous soft play area for smaller children. We spent quite a while in here and Emilia's favourites were definitely the bouncy castle and the ball pool. It's a lovely space to spend a bit of time and as with all Bluestone facilities, it's completely free entry for the duration of your stay. 

As it was our last evening in Bluestone, we wanted to crack on with the packing so instead of dining out we decided to treat ourselves to a takeaway from the village. You can find the menu either through the Bluestone website or by using the interactive service on your television in your lodge. 
The takeaway delivers right to your lodge and delivery is free on orders over £20. I opted for a 'Carolina' pizza which was huge and consisted of chicken, onions, tomatoes and peppers on a BBQ base. It was lovely and really would have been big enough to share! Ben chose the homemade chicken korma which was served with basmati rice and again it was a really generous portion.

Our meal in the lodge that evening was a lovely, peaceful way to spend our last evening at Bluestone!

Bluestone Wales - Day Four

On Wednesday we awoke to the sound of heavy rain on the roof of the lodge. We weren't too bothered though as we had booked a 'messy play' session at the Adventure Centre for Emilia that morning so we would be inside anyway. 

We headed up to the Adventure Centre in our golf buggy and got there just before the session started at 10am. The theme of our chosen session was 'space rangers', but there are lots of different themes throughout the week so it's easy to find an appealing session at a suitable time for your little one.

Inside the room was five tables of messy fun. Aprons are provided if you need them but we came with our own long sleeved apron and dressed Emilia in some old clothes before we went in. In addition to the messy tables, the instructor was also making balloon animals which Emilia really loved playing with! 
We all got super messy and it was really good fun. My only complaint is that the room was very crowded, hot and chaotic. Emilia got quite overwhelmed by the noise and so we had to take her back to the lodge after just 20 minutes to get her cleaned up so she could have a rest! 

When we were all cleaned up, we headed back to the Adventure Centre for a bit of lunch. Upstairs you'll find the Wildwood Cafe which is basically the Bluestone version of Rainforest Cafe; lots of twinkly lights, dark woodland setting and plenty for kids to look at! 

We really enjoyed our lunch here and found it very reasonably priced. We had baguettes which were served with crisps and salad and we all shared a portion of chips. 

Afterwards we headed to the circus room which you'll also find upstairs in the Adventure Centre. The circus room is a peaceful little haven for small children and we really enjoyed our time in there. There was lots for Emilia to play with and the room was large enough for her to have a good run around. There are plenty of sofas around the edge of the room so it's also a good place for parents to relax a bit! 

In the afternoon, we all went back to the lodge so Emilia could have a nap before heading out for an early tea. We chose to dine at the Knights Tafarn which is situated in the village and is super easy to find. 
The Knights Tafarn is your county inn style eatery serving regular pub meals and local beers. Service was quick and the food was really good. I opted for the chicken balti whilst Ben had the trio of Preseli gold sausages served with creamy mash, green beans and seasonal chutney. Emilia had a bowl of penne pasta bolognese though she refused to actually try any of it! Ben said it was good though! 
Emilia was quite grumpy so we didn't manage to order any dessert which is a shame because I really had my heart set on sticky toffee pudding and ice cream!

After our meal we discovered the treetops adventure playground which is just above the village. It's great for small children and Emilia enjoyed spending time on the slide and dipping her wellies into the stream. We played there until it began to go dark before heading back to our lodge for the evening.