Did you Cut your Spending this Christmas?

I have been reading all sorts of articles over the Christmas period from those about gift ideas for various members of the family, great party food ideas and more.  Some of these were found online and some I found in my inbox.  One that caught my interest covered spending over the Christmas season.

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An online voucher company recently did a survey and discovered that 42% of those asked have tried to save money this Christmas.  It’s not surprising Christmas is an expensive time of year and it’s hard especially when you have little ones not to feel that you should get them the latest toy that they really want and have been on about for the last month and a half.  With our desire to make Christmas as special and magical a time as possible for children and loved ones some really do get a little spend happy it’s easy to get swept up in the Christmas buying frenzy that seems to happen and sometimes we might swipe the plastic a little too much it’s easily done as by not physically handling cash it can make you a little less aware of what you are spending resulting in quite a few cases in accounts being overdrawn as we venture into the cold January months.  I wrote a post in November titled ‘Save this Christmas and Enjoy a Happy New Year’ which I hope some of you managed to read and this gave some great tips on how you could save money for this Christmas as well as begin working on saving money for the next.

The company that carried out the survey that caught my attention was none other than My Voucher Codes which I frequently use and you can see the full survey ‘here‘.  The great thing about this particular company is that savings are not merely restricted to Christmas time although saving money at this expensive time of year is of course great.  These guys like many other voucher services allow you to save money on a whole array of products /  services from holidays, dining out, shopping for clothes, jewellery, beauty products, the list goes on.  I will be using vouchers to help save me money over the year and might even buy a few Christmas gifts on the way to reduce the load for next Christmas.  I’m quite excited to see they link to the offers on the buyagift page where I plan on making the most of discounts and go on a few of the experiences yet again.  The gift and occasion page is one to keep an eye on for those needing gifts over the year or want to get their Christmas shopping for the coming year finished early.  At the moment many of the stores they list are offering up to 50% off so if you want to grab some bargains why not go take a look.

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Have fun shopping x

Do you use money saving voucher sites like these and which do you use?

My Top 5 Sites to Help Save You Money and Get Freebies

I have been using a range of sites to save money over the last few years and it occurred to me just the other day that you guys might also be interested in hearing about them too.  We all love to cut costs in order to save more money but it can be quite hard to figure out where exactly can you get the best deals available.  Having had a bit of experience over the years (I do have 3 children so being savvy comes as part of the package) I wanted to share with you all a few of my favourite websites and apps that can help save you those precious pounds.

Here are My Top 5 Sites to Help Save You Money.

Money Saving Expert

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Martin Lewis is a consumer champion and has now also become a familiar face to many since appearing regularly on national TV and in the press sharing his various money saving tips. Back in 2003, he set up a website called MoneySavingExpert.com, which has 15 million visitors per month and I’m one of them.

On his website, Martin and his team advise on how you can cut costs in practically every single area of your life. It’s a great idea to sign up for its weekly money saving email list and they also have some apps you may like as well. The Local eBay Deals Mapper, for instance, will display ‘pick up only’ deals in your area. These tend to be cheaper since a lot less people bid on them. If you need to travel by train you might also want to check out Tickety Split which is a handy tool which tells you when it’s less expensive to by two tickets for different parts of a journey instead of buying one directly.

My Supermarket

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I’ve used this on numerous occasions.  If you’d like to save some cash on your weekly shop but aren’t quite sure which supermarket is the least expensive My Supermarket is just the website for you. You can create your very own shopping list, and it’ll work its magic telling you what it would cost in Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, M&S, Aldi, and Waitrose so you can choose the cheapest option.

TopCashback

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If you haven’t ever used a cash back website such as TopCashback when you shop you’ve definitely been missing out. It’s easy to sign up for a free account and then whenever you go do some online shopping, whether you’re buying groceries, an electrical item, a new outfit, a TV package or even renewing insurance, you can click on the merchant link at the TopCashback website. The merchants reward TopCashback for sending a customer their way, and they pass on part of that commission to you.  So basically you sort of get paid to shop, sounds good doesn’t it!

Voucher Codes

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If you wanna shop savvy, check out VoucherCodes.co.uk, alternatively you can download their app. There are literally thousands of money-off vouchers for the best retailers and even restaurants always good to know if you love shopping or are a foodie like me.  These allow you to save cash whether you shop in-store or online.

WOW FreeStuff

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WOW FreeStuff is one of the biggest freebie sites around offering up to 10 freebies a day straight to your inbox as well as offering free stuff on their Facebook, Twitter feeds and website. They only offer UK free samples and they have a great range of perfume samples, beauty samples and lots of free food and drink samples.

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So what are you waiting for guys check out these sites!!!

Love Fragrance Sales? Then you MUST Read This!

I have been thinking about Christmas shopping for a little while now and don’t hate me for saying this but I started about 2 months ago just getting a few items in here and there.  Anything that relieves the pressure of shopping for Christmas helps as I have so many people to buy for.  I was considering getting some fragrances in for some of my nearest and dearest and thought to pop over to the Love the Sales site as the last I mentioned them in a post I remembered they had a perfume sale and of course who doesn’t love a bargain.  It’s shocking really but you can get up to 75% off!!!!

I searched ‘Fragrance Gift Sets’ on the site and found a huge selection starting from 99p and covering ladies, men’s and children’s gifts.  Read on to find out how you can get even bigger discounts in November than those I have found on the site already.  These guys check the prices of a range of sites to provide us with the best bargains from those compared.

These gift sets are great for little ones and can be given as part of a birthday present or a stocking filler, here are some of my favourites from the site.

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Clockwise from the top left;

The Smurf (Smurfette) 3 piece gift set junior – 64% off now £4.

Disney Princess Belle eau de toilette which is very popular every year and ALWAYS sells out (trust me I got caught out a few years back, disaster!) 50% off making it £2.50 (what a bargain, I might need to buy at least 5 or 6 of these!).

Smurf (Gutsy) gift set with 57% off making it £3.

Last but not least the Smurf (Smurfette) 3 piece gift set junior with 57% off – now £4.

For the ladies I thought these gift sets looked great.

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There are so many gift sets to choose from it was hard to decide which I will buy but these are in the running.  I especially loved the designs on the gift boxes which were all very pretty.  From top left going clockwise we have;

Daisy Dream (perfume is 50ml) 16% off now £46.95

This fresh and floral fragrance will help the wearer hang on to the memory of summer that bit longer.

Prada Candy 15% £45.99.

This sounds lovely “The fragrance is all about Peony, with top notes of of joyful sorbet Limoncello, sparkling fresh. At the heart of the fragrance is a majestic bouquet of fresh peonies, with the base of musk, benzoin and caramel.”

Dahlia Noir L Eau de Toilette gift set 50% off now £25.

I was quite attracted to the sweet floral fragrance of this one.  The combination of rose and neroli work well together giving a gorgeous sweetness that is quite addictive.

Nina gift set 10% off now £36.95

I have one of the other Nina bottles which I simply must tell you all about but that will be another blog post.  These are very popular as they all smell lovely and have a sweet and feminine fragrance.  I love the addition of the Lime and Amalfi Lemon in this particular perfume to give it that freshness and the bottle is gorgeous.  I am know people collect these as they are beautifully designed.  It’s great to see that so much thought has gone into the product as a whole.

Ok so that’s us ladies sorted or at least for now, how about the fellas in our lives.  I have a fair few aside from the husband so I do tend to buy at least 5 or more male gift sets each Christmas and sometimes more over the year too.

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From top left going clockwise we have;

Paco Rabanne I Million gift set (fragrance 100ml) 35% off now £37.95.

This is really popular with the guys I know and I am guaranteed to keep them happy if they get one a a gift at anytime of year.  It has a mix of fruity, floral and spicy notes.

Issey Mikyake (125ml) 11% off now £50.99.

Another popular fragrance with the guys I know.  I love this one the most out of those they wear with its gorgeous fresh fragrance.  I might need to wait a little longer as I always buy the gift sets of these which I am sure will be on their way shortly.

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Christmas gift set 13% off now £36.95.

This iconic scent is a classic and one that most men will have and it comes in a pretty bottle too!  I love that these guys are keen and already have their Christmas gift set out ready for us early birds to snap them up.

Calvin Klein Eau de Toilette mini gift set 52% off now £28.99.

This looks like a great selection and for this price it’s a bargain.  It comes with 4 popular fragrances so you can mix it up a bit as we all like variety.

The great thing is that not long from now we have two super sale days coming up!!!  Those who are into sale shopping will probably know what I am about to say but for those that may not have had their coffee yet or are experiencing that awful after food lull brace yourself you will be wide awake shortly.

I am of course referring to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales!

I have linked to each for anyone wanting to be alerted to the best deals on each of these days, I accept all good quality chocolates, perfumes and gift vouchers as forms of thanks lol.

During these two day I plan to make the most of the Perfume Sale and get loads of Christmas gifts in.

Whose with me?

Rucoletta Napolitan Eatery Restaurant St Pauls

A friend recently bought a voucher off Wowcher for a set meal for two at Rucoletta Napolitan Eatery in St Pauls.  St Pauls is a lovely location with a good range of restaurants and shops in the area and of course not forgetting St Paul’s Cathedral.  At night the Cathedral looks even more beautiful with the pretty lighting.  This was just a stone throw away from where we were to eat that night and we planned to take a little stroll around the local area after our meal.  When we arrived we were led through the restaurant and then upstairs.  The restaurant looked quite simple and it looked a little crammed downstairs but, on reaching the first floor we were greeted by a room that looked like a conservatory with a glass roof.  It was far airier and brighter than downstairs so a tip for anyone that visits, request a table upstairs!  Clearly a popular restaurant the upstairs began filling up quite quickly after we arrived.  The waiting staff were all very good and we watched as they flitted too and fro serving clients and taking orders.

The size of the set menu was reasonable and we chose our starter and main after a quick study.

For starters:

Polpettone el Sugo

Veal and beef meat loaf stuffed with baked ham, mozzarella, parmesan and covered with tomato sauce served with sautéed mixed peppers with black olives and capers.

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A nice sized starter with lots of flavour. I thought that roasted peppers included were a nice addition adding extra colour and flavour to the dish.

Crostone alla Pizzaiola (V)

Melted smoked mozzarella in tomato sauce and oregano served on toasted home made bread.

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It tastes as good as it looks.  It had a lovely rich tomato flavour and is a delicious starter perfect for vegetarians.  A great start to the meal that will boost your lycopene intake which is an added bonus! (fights wrinkles).

For the Mains

Carbonara Napoletana

Spaghetti with egg, pancetta, garlic, fresh chilli, extra virgin olive oil, parsley and parmesan cheese.

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I was looking forward to this not having had a carbonara in a restaurant for quite a while.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The portion was good, the picture doesn’t do it justice at all.  Full of flavour and with a nice kick from the chilli this is a dish I would definitely eat there again.

Last but not least the dessert.  Some might say this is the best part of the meal.

The Italian classic Tiramisu 

dsc01071This was delicious!  It vanished extremely fast and we barely spoke whilst we ate this.

All the dishes were well presented.  The food arrived at the table hot and we didn’t need to wait long for staff to come over once hailed.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable meal and we were surprised to have found it on wowcher but at the same time very pleased.  They have the deal again for a 3 course meal for two from their set menu for £20 a bargain in my eyes.  Hurry on over before it expires.

My score 4 / 5

Rucoletta Napolitan Eatery

6 Foster Ln, London EC2V 6HH

Ask Italian, Gloucester Arcade, London

When you think of Ask Italian restaurant what immediately springs to mind?  It’s a chain, the food isn’t all that great.  Ok, so chains can have a bad reputation but in my experience the key to finding one that is good is location.  Yes just like purchasing a property the quality of a meal in a restaurant can be influenced by where you have it.  Head off to an affluent area and the chances are the meal will be better as customers will be influenced by how good the meal will be.  Bad restaurants in a these areas won’t last long thankfully.  Last week I went to the Natural History Museum with the little ones and a friend.  Whilst we were there we began to get peckish so decided to look up local restaurants and discovered there was an Ask Italian located nearby at Gloucester Arcade.  I had been looking specifically for restaurants that take Tastecard as meals out in London can get pricey the more people there are in the group.  This restaurant had been awarded 4 starts by visitors on TripAdvisor where as many others in the area were either 3 or 3.5 stars so we were confident the food wouldn’t be too bad.  We phoned in advance as per the conditions of use for the card and arrived to be seated quickly by staff.

It wasn’t long until we decided what to order and we were all very pleased that the food arrived at the table quickly.  We had asked for the children’s pizza the Stomboli (Pepperoni) to be served with the starters which they did.  The children didn’t hesitate to dive in.  They enjoyed this and polished it all off faster than normal thankfully.

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For the adults the Calamari starter (a portion each).  As described on the menu this arrived golden and crispy but I’m assuming this had been frozen in battered form.  The batter was not seasoned enough for my liking although the squid was quite soft.  My eldest daughter however had some and ended up eating half of the portion.  Not a problem I was saving myself for the pizza.

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Again my friend and I ordered the same, the Salami Misti pizza.  This comes topped with Milano and finocchiona salamis, pepperoni and smoked prosciutto, roasted red peppers,  caramelised red onion and Grana Padano.  Now this was nice!!!  Both of us were pleasantly surprised at how nice the pizza was.  The combination of topping went well together and we really enjoyed it.  I plan to make my own version eventually at home with my pizza stone.

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Needless to say we would revisit the site again especially as I have a Tastecard so we were able to get buy one get one free on the starters and two of the main dishes.

This restaurant is located at:

Gloucester Arcade
24 Gloucester Rd
Kensington
SW7 4SF
020 7835 0840

Do you have a Tastecard yet?

Top Tips for Haggling when you are on Holiday

Are you off on holiday this year?

Are you planning on going shopping at any markets?

Do you know how to haggle?

Having had many years of experience in this field I thought I should share what I have learnt over the years for those that may not have had much practice in the art of haggling.  I’ve been haggling since I was a mini person so now even my mum gets me to haggle for her when we go away together.  It can be great fun and very satisfying to get a great discount.  And no it’s not cheeky, many market holders in countries such as Spain for example expect people to haggle so they actually hike up their prices in preparation.  Those that do not haggle are often caught out paying a third or even double more than what an item should have cost.

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Here are my top tips for haggling:

You should find they work pretty well.

* Make sure you have a range of notes / change on you in advance.  Change some at your hotel if you need to before you go out.

* It needs to be a place you can haggle ie. a market.

* Have a look around before you decide on an item.  If there are similar items on other stalls ask them the price then experiment with haggling with them first.  You don’t want to offend the person on the stall with the item you really want now do you!

* Offer a fair price, don’t try to discount the item excessively unless other stalls will go down that amount.

* If you have offered a fair price, initially stand your ground.  Brits are known for giving in easily when it comes to haggling and some stall holders take advantage of this knowledge.

* Mention that another / other stall(s) have the same item / similar for less.  Using your knowledge against them can be a valuable tool, don’t let them think you can be fooled easily.

* If they are still not budging offer to increase the amount by a little.

* Still no joy?  Flash your cash.  Don’t show more than the amount you are offering or the stall holder may not budge on the price.

* How are we doing?  Any lucky yet.  In some cases walking off helps, I have had numerous stall holders follow me down the market walkway saying “ok, yes I will do if for that price”, or something along those lines.

* Make sure you barter for something you actually want, it’s pointless for you and the stall holder to start the bartering process then you change your mind after the stall holder has caved and said they will sell for a lower price.  I’ve seen people do it and it’s not fair after all the effort!

Have fun!

Why Early Orthodontic Treatment is Important

Some of you will be surprised to hear that my children have never been to the dentist before.  I have always promoted good dental hygiene at home making sure that the children brush their teeth twice a day, once in the morning and again prior to turning in for the night.  I try to limit sweets (to a degree) and don’t really allow fizzy drinks at home to help me protect their teeth and keep them healthy and strong.

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Both my girls (ages 6 and 7.5) have a great looking set of teeth (Mr Squishy is still working on growing his milk teeth).  The girls have not lost any of their milk teeth although I am sure this will happen eventually and in my opinion it’s a good thing for obvious reasons.  Now that the Summer holidays are rapidly approaching, oh no!!!!!  I am beginning to prepare a list of things that we need to do during this period.  Top of my list, visit the dentist.  I wanted to get the children used to the dentist before losing their teeth as I am noticing some of their friends who have lost teeth have adult teeth that are not growing straight and will be in need of dental assistance in the near future.  Although I can influence the number of cavities and work to avoid these myself I can’t influence the girls teeth and whether they grow straight.  Having gone through the turmoil of introducing one of my daughters to the optician and finding she needed glasses during the last holidays I wanted to take them on a dentist visit whilst there wasn’t anything to worry about so that their initial visit is a pleasant one.  The last thing I need is to be dragging three children to a dentist kicking and screaming as that would be impossible, one child alone doing this would be hard enough.

With glowing recommendations my attention focused on one particular dental practice ‘Hampstead Orthodontic Practice’.  Established in 1994 this dental practice has build up a reputation for its innovative approach to dental care.  They aim to give all clients an exceptional level of care in a friendly comfortable environment using the most effective treatment, state-of-the art-materials and the latest in computer technology.

Although stating the obvious the best time to receive orthodontic treatment is as a child.  It is best to identify any issues and begin treatment at early stages to prevent problems later on.  Early orthodontic treatment can be started on children as young as 7 a good idea when you think how self conscious they will be in their teens.  My girls are already taking note of their appearance and are very self conscious.  I  would hate for my little ones to have to go through having to wear braces when they are older.

Where required treatment normally lasts from 8 to 12 months and can be used to correct problems such as overbites, underbites, crowded and protruding teeth.  Early treatment of these may negate the need for future treatment.

The American Association of Orthodontists suggested that children attend their first orthodontic screening by age 7, perfect timing for my eldest then.  During our first session they will evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships to detect any possible overbite, underbite, or overcrowding issues.  If treatment is required then we will receive a personalised treatment plan which may include fixed or removable children’s braces.

Why is Early Orthodontic Treatment Important

1. Overbite or underbite can be corrected early before issues arise.

2. Issues with crowded teeth and unerupted teeth can be addressed early.

3. Reduces the need for tooth removal.

4. Helps reduce the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth.

5. Allows for facial symmetry by influencing jaw growth / development.

6. May reduce the need for braces during teenage / adult years.

7. Treatment time is reduced when issues are addressed early.

8. Overall costs are reduced with early treatment.

The dental practise of course also treats adults and they offer a range of cutting-edge orthodontic treatments some of which can reduce orthodontic treatment time by up to 50% so a great way to save money too.

 Hampstead Orthodontic Practice offer interest free payment plans with flexible monthly or quarterly payment options over a 24 month period to help spread the cost of treatment where required.

I’m planning on booking the girls in for their first visit soon and as an added bonus Hampstead Heath is nearby so we can have a full blown day out with a dental visit followed by a picnic and run around in the park.

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Want to know if your child is a candidate for early orthodontic treatment and children’s braces?  Why not contact Hampstead Orthodontic Practice today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

This is a collaborative post.

Busaba Eathai Leicester Square, London

Busaba Eathai has been enticing people to try their fabulous Thai food at one of the most well known Foodie Festivals The Taste of London for years and I have been meaning to try it for longer than I remember but for some reason I have never managed to.  Finally this weekend I made it and boy did I wish I had gone along sooner!!!

From the exterior you could be fooled into thinking that it was just another London restaurant.

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But as you step between the large wooden doors you are greeted by a golden Buddha, the scent of burning incense wafting through the air and Gerbera floating gently on a shallow bed of water.

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The relaxing and calm atmosphere entice you in.  The appearance of the restaurant represents a Thai casual dining venue with its large wooden benches and tables with ample room to give dinners a fuss free relaxed and comfortable eating experience.

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As we entered we were greeted warmly and shown to our table.  There are also seating areas facing windows to allow for a more private meal should you prefer.  There you can gaze out at the passersby and maybe even spot a passing celeb, very possible as it is literally just a stone’s throw from Leicester Square gardens and the Odeon Cinema.  They also have some other sites dotted around London as well as Manchester and Liverpool.

The menu is clearly set out with explanations of each dish and special menus for certain times of the day clearly marked.

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They have a good selection of dishes to choose from and icon / signature dishes are clearly displayed.  Dish types include soups, noodle dishes; stir frys, curries and rice dishes.  A range of snacks and side dishes are also available.

I was please to see that they had a children’s menu.  The children’s menu also has some fun activities to keep them entertained whilst waiting for their food.

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There were numerous dishes for the vegetarians among us and I was also informed that any dish that included meat could be made vegetarian should the diner desire.

 Gluten free, nut free and vegetarian options can also be found on the menu.

Just a quick note, all small and large dishes will come out when ready so what one might perceive as a starter may come with the larger dishes.  If you want to have them separated all you need to do is ask, nothing was too much for the fabulous guys that were on site when we visited which added to the overall experience.

Whilst we waited for our food to come we enjoyed some prawn crackers served with sweet chilli sauce and some wok tossed cashews with chilli and salt.

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Starters / small dishes

Thai Calamari with Ginger and Peppercorns

This is the most popular dish on the menu and it is obvious why when you bite into the firm, thick yet tender pieces of squid with a thin batter coat that adds to the flavour but doesn’t feel at all greasy.  The gorgeous flavour of the fresh ginger with the delicious secret sauce and peppercorn (the peppercorn was not overwhelming) had chopsticks diving back in for second and third pieces.  This moreish dish is a must try for any newbie, you can thank me later.

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Soft Shell Crab

A perfect example of how the dish should be made as the crab was not greasy and it was perfectly crisp and tasted lovely.  The accompanying sauce with garlic pepper, chilli, spring onion and oyster sauce added extra flavour and heat to the dish.  I do love soft shell crab and this was a great version.

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Main Dishes

 Children’s

Chicken Fried Rice

This is the perfect dish for children that are not very adventurous.  The portion is enormous, both my girls could have shared it as a main meal.  My little one loved it but only managed to eat about half of the portion which was good going for her.

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Pad Thai (Children’s)

A great dish for little ones this was not spicy like the adult version and again was a very generous size.  There are plenty of prawns to keep little ones happy and these were a nice and plump as you can see from the picture.

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Adults

 Tom Yam Goong

Full of flavour this delicious soup combines coconut, lemongrass, galangal, king prawns and glass noodles topped with fresh, fragrant Thai basil.  This soups is not only filling it also tastes amazing and is one of the most popular dishes featured on the menu.  Fresh ingredients are used to make this and all the other meals available.

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Sen Chan Pad Thai

 This is similar to the classic but with additional extras of crab meat and green mango.  The combination of sweet, salty and spicy flavours work well together.  Make full use of the lime as this adds a burst of flavour from the fresh lime.  Having tried this version I would say the mango is a necessity which should be an ingredient added to all versions of Pad Thai it really tastes great.

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All meal portions were generous and each of us felt comfortably full at the end of the meal. As part of the children’s meal there was an option of vanilla or coconut ice cream.  Both children enjoyed the later and us parents tried our best to resist but failed miserably.  In our defence it was very good.

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You can eat a large meal here for about £20 or less per person depending on the time you dine.

 Busaba Eathai is the sort of restaurant you will want to revisit over and over so you can work your way through the varied menu as well as enjoy your favourite dishes again and again.

 Fancy trying this great restaurant?  Want a discount?  If you download their app you can get £5 off your first bill and further rewards as for regular app users!!!

Rating 4/5

We went along to Busaba Eathai as guests.  All views expressed are our own.

 

10 Simple Car Checks you can Easily do Yourself

Having written a post recently about payment options when purchasing a car I thought I would follow this up with a post about car maintenance.  As a mum it’s important to me to make sure that our car is suitably maintained for safety reasons primarily but also because I have 3 children and if something happened whilst out and about it wouldn’t be a pleasant experience as I learnt the hard way not that long ago.

I went to collect my girls from school.  On returning to my car with Mr Squishy in his pushchair and the girls on either side I discovered my tyre had gone down.  After looking in the back of the car I realised my husband had yet to return the spare after getting it changed as we had discovered it had a nail in it a few weeks back.  As if that wasn’t enough he had also ‘stolen / borrowed’ my tyre pump. Cue the violins.  I was stuck at school with 3 children the older two complaining mummy I’m hungry (seriously do they not get fed at school!) with no spare and no means to pump up the tyre to at least get me home.  Thankfully Mr Squishy was enjoying the excitement and was quite happy watching the chaos in front of him.

Did I mention I am not a member of any of these car rescue service so had to call the daddy rescue service instead.  All the while in my head was oh no we have to get the homework done and the kids fed, bathed, relaxation time and then in bed early enough so they get a good night’s sleep.

With daddy rescue on its way I set to work getting the girls to start their reading and then even made it to the spellings before daddy arrived to save the day although I could have done it myself with the correct tools.  On arriving home ‘the husband’ was tasked with getting the tyre fixed or replaced asap before the following days school run.  Thankfully I was saved the task of changing the tyre as I have struggled with this in the past.  For me it’s like taking the lid off a jar for the first time and frankly I would rather avoid the hassle and embarrassment.  I did a search online to include in this post (aren’t I super helpful) and came across a company called Point S who are simple to use, just type in your tyre size or if you don’t know it your car registration number (lol, I must admit I don’t know this either, thankfully it’s on the car).  Then you just select the centre located closest and reserve your tyres.  I was drawn to this company for various they offer a good service, they have locations nationwide, there is no messing about with the price (I have no patience for that) and also I thought you might be interested to hear about their win a car competition which I noticed whilst looking at their site.  Apparently you can win a Fiat 500, details can be found instore so get down to your local one to enquire.   How exciting!!!!!  Anyway I’m digressing from my post so back to it.

Having decided to take matters into my own hands I decided to take more responsibility for the basic maintenance of the car.  It can’t be that hard can it?

Well actually no, basic car maintenance is super simple and you can even cheat a bit lol.  This is a quick list of what you need to do.

 10 Car Checks you can Easily do Yourself

1. Check car tyre pressure.   By checking this weekly you help to reduce fuel costs, it also makes driving easier.  You can check this at petrol stations and they generally have a guide to help you.  Alternatively find out what the pressure should be and get your own gauge it’s so much easier.

2. Check the tread depth.  Again simple as most tyres come with tread wear bars built into them.  The legal limit for car tyre tread depth is 1.6mm but needless to say the deeper the tread the more grip you have.  Take a look at this useful video for information about part worn tyres.  It goes without saying buy new NOT part worn.

 

3. Check your oil level.  It’s super easy to do I learnt when I first started driving.  If the level is too high or too low it can affect the engine.

4. Check the coolant level, again important as it affects the engine.  Information as to where this is should be in your car handbook and it is thankfully simple to do.  Not confident about it, Halfords or your local garage can show you how to do this for a small fee.

5. Check windscreen wash levels.  It is a legal requirement that the windscreen system in the car works and you need to make sure you keep it topped up.  Not sure how you can do this at your local garage or Halfords for a small fee.  My suggestion, go to Halfords, buy the screenwash and then get them to show you what to do so you have some ready for next time and know what you’re doing.

6. Check the windscreen for chips (not the variety that can be paired well with vinegar).  These can be repaired if caught early but if you leave it too long may develop into a crack and then the whole windscreen will need replacing (a costlier process).

7. Check your windscreen wipes are cleaning and not smearing the screen.

Don’t worry I’m almost finished!

8. Make sure your toolkit is in the car.  If tyres are removed by forgetful husband’s nag at them to put them back lol (asking nicely also helps as well as bribing not to feed them if they don’t do it).  I would also suggest a tyre pump (electric), emergency triangle, jack and wheel removing tools.

9. Check lights regularly.  Make sure firstly they are working and secondly they are not caked in mud or anything equally yucky to reduce light flow.  Quick story, my car was covered in bird poo once, as in ¾ of it was covered when I’m guessing a flock of geese or herd of elephants flew over.  I really wish I had a photo right now it’s one of those things you need to see to believe!!!

10. Check the car bodywork and get rust treated asap as like a rash it likes to spread.

For those a bit nervous about doing any of the above mentioned checks as I mentioned both Halfords and your local garage will show you how to do them.  My suggestion go would be to Halfords as they are good with this sort of thing, I have visited them to buy can light bulbs and had them fit the bulbs for me.  Learning how to do this yourself will of course reduce the risk of problems occurring such as my experience and also save you money in the long run.

Have you had a bad experience like mine before? why not share your story with me and my readers.

 

Tomato, Mixed leaf, Lentil, Feta and Olive Salad

It’s salad season!  Thousands of us are trying to get into shape to look great for our holidays or for weddings etc.  It can be boring if you’re not sure what works well with a bowl of mixed leaves but there are so many salad variations that you need not worry.  This is one of my favourites and is also very healthy at the same time.  Why?  Well it has ingredients that help detoxify your body, boost collagen in your skin to help make it look younger, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, stimulate the breakdown of fats and reduce fat storage and so much more so push aside those processed meals, don’t go out for lunch and eat foods containing ingredients high in fats, sugars and salt make your own lunch and live healthier lives whilst also saving some money in the process.

My recipe is not only super easy but also quick and tasty so take your health into your own hands and give it a try.

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 medium chicken breast

35g mixed leaves

20g feta

2.5 – 3 tbs green lentils (cooked)

20g sundried tomatoes bite size pieces

10 -12 pitted Kalamata olives

Method

Place a chicken breast on a piece of foil and fold over the edges so it’s like a tent.  Place in a fan oven for 25-27 minutes at 200 degrees.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little so it doesn’t burn the salad leaves.

Wash the salad leaves and place on your plate / bowl.

Break up the feta and sprinkle this and the lentils over the leaves.

Throw in the sundried tomatoes and olives.

Slice the chicken and add this to the salad.

Enjoy!

DSC03064How many of you are turning to salads for help in slimming down?