Thursday, 1 October 2015

Review | Thule Urban Glide

For a few months now we have been testing out the wonderful sports stroller from Thule, having worked with the brand before using their Ride Along Bike Seat, we had really high hopes for this product and couldn't wait to get testing!

We were introduced to the brand just over a year ago now, and have been continually blown away by their products! The brand is designed with active families in mind to bring you products such as bike carriers, sport strollers, bike seats and luggage to name a few! Whatever adventure your family will go on next, Thule have you covered to make your experience safe easy and stylish! 

The Thule brand was established in 1942. Under the motto Bring your life, Thule globally offers a wide range of premium products for active people that allow them to bring what they care most for safely, easily and in style. It offers among other things roof racks, bike carriers, roof boxes, computer/camera/sports bags and child related products like child bike seats and multifunctional strollers. The products are sold in more than 125 countries world-wide!

"Whatever your passion, whatever your pursuit. Wherever you're going, whatever you're bringing. With Thule, you're free to live your active life to the full."

Building was super easy, even with two toddler hands playing and singing the wheels on the bus whilst spinning the wheels around..Yes it is bigger than your average pushchair but compared to a lot of other sport inspired strollers, it's definitely more compact! The front wheel is no where near as intimidating as others I have seen, which in turn makes it much much easier to fold away too!

The most surprising feature I found, was just how light it was. Looking at it you might think it would be a bit bulky to push around but in all honesty, this is easily the LIGHTEST pushchair we have ever used, which in turn makes it so much easier to manoeuvre too!

We tested it out on all different terrains including concrete, grass, bark, sand, mud and through shallow water too! Each one was just as easy as the other, not once did it get stuck, and not once did we struggle, it really is some sort of magical pushchair! I cannot recommend it enough!

Swivel front wheel for easy maneuverability, locks into place for jogging
One-handed compact fold for storing and transporting
Ergonomic handlebar with a range of heights for parent's comfort
Rear suspension for a smooth and comfortable ride
Padded seat with vented top reclines to a near flat position for on-the-go naps
Multi-position canopy for added protection with view-in roof port to see your child
Large storage compartment with zippered water resistant cover

"Thule Urban Glide is an all-round sports stroller with a sleek and lightweight design making it perfect for urban mobility or jogging on your favorite path."

In terms of comfort, it's well padded, with shoulder pads covering the straps, a fully reclinable seat perfect for nap time and enough leg room for older toddlers as well as babies. Having previously tested out other pushchairs, this one literally feels like it was made specially for Abbie, she fits so perfectly into it and has plenty of leg room still to grow into!

I have to separately mention the shopping basket for this, it is the biggest i've seen, it's sturdy, doesn't sag when full and is nice and secure too! I took my Pacapod changing bag with us, it was full to the brim and it slotted in perfectly into the basket, with extra space too! There is also an extra zippy part at the front which is perfect for the little things you need to keep handy!

So if you're looking for a lightweight, all terrain purpose built, comfortable, weather proof, smart, all age appropriate pushchair, perfect for long walks, jogging or just as an everyday pushchair, this will tick all your boxes! This is easily our most favourite pushchair to date and can't wait to take it along with us when we go away and for long walks through the woods!

For more details, visit the Thule website
For all their stroller range, click here, including the original Thule Glide & Double Stroller!


Guest Post | A Must-Try Vegan Pasta Dish!

Today I have a lovely little guest post recipe for you all, with the colder weather setting in, this is a great autumn warmer for you and the family to try! :)

 There are so many nutritious, healthy and delectable dishes throughout the world. Travelling not only lets you take away experiences from different cultures but it also allows you to try different foods that you otherwise might not have tried, from Japan’s healthy sushi options all the way to Italy’s hearty alternatives. 

Delving further into Italian food – Neapolitan food for example can be traced back over 2,800 years to the 8th century BC. Back then, there wasn’t much money around, of course – however, the locals still managed to have a nutritious diet, packed full of goodness! 

It’s with this in mind that I have decided to share a must-try vegan pasta dish with you. Before we begin, though – it’s worth highlighting a few facts about why vegan dishes are always a great choice. First and foremost – they’re the healthy choice. Want to avoid saturated fats, and all kinds of other dietary nasties? Then freshly prepared vegan food is the perfect way to go. And don’t just take my word for it – a vegan diet lowers heart disease risks for those who choose it. Coronary heart disease is an illness which affects millions of people around the world – and it continues to be the leading cause of death in the UK and worldwide

So, if you want to ditch the meat and dairy in place of a plant-based diet (as well as follow in the footsteps of Beyonce, Ellie Goulding or Jennifer Lopez) then why not start with this tasty dish below? 

Spaghetti aglio e oglio with sun dried tomatoes 
Ingredients – (serves 2) 

250g of good quality dried pasta 

4 cloves of garlic 

1/2tsp flaked chilli or 1 small fresh chilli (chopped) 

Extra virgin olive oil (best quality you can afford) 

Handful of fresh parsley 

Sun dried tomatoes in oil 

Salt and pepper 

Get the water up to a good rolling boil and add three to four twists of salt. This may sound like a lot but most of it stays in the water, and a little of it seasons the pasta as it cooks. Add the pasta to the water. Cook for the time it says on the packet – or slightly less if you want it to be perfectly al dente. Appliances vary though so it’s best to check on the pasta every few minutes to see how it’s doing. 

Meanwhile, chop your garlic cloves finely. Get a good liberal glug or three of olive oil into a frying pan, and drop the garlic in. (Make sure it doesn’t burn because if it does then it can taste bitter and have a bark-like consistency). Chop 6 sun dried tomatoes into smallish chunks and add to the pan long enough for them to heat through. 

When the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pan, then add the olive oil and garlic, swirling the saucepan around to mix everything together. The pasta should have a nice golden sheen. 

When mixed, transfer to pasta bowls and top the dish off with some parsley. Just tear it straight off, as chopping it will make the fibres bleed and it won’t have such a great fresh taste. 

Pasta of course doesn’t need to be consumed hot – and I find that whole wheat fusilli make a great ingredient in salad. Try mixing some of the cooked (and cooled)  fusilli with raw baby plum tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and lemon juice – just a little pepper to season, and it’s a bowl of tasty delight. 

More inspiration... 

Another inspiration comes from the cousin of pasta – the whole wheat noodle. I haven’t patented this (nor would I) but I am pretty pleased with the idea – I call it a stir no-fry. 

Here’s how it works - buy the thinnest, highest quality available. Cook as instructed, and now the fun bit. You drain the noodles, put them back in the pan (off the heat) and add in your favourite raw goodies, here are some inspirations: 

Zucchini (or courgette depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on). Surprisingly tasty. Slice them up into matchsticks, and scatter them atop the noodles. 

Avocado – this is the one raw food that just cannot be beaten for taste. I am obsessed with this stuff. Get a perfectly ripe avocado, peel, stone and cut into chunks. Perfect in a stir no-fry! 

Onion. The trick with raw onion is to be judicious in terms of the amount you use. A little bit of onion adds a springy, enjoyable flavour. Too much onion and it can overpower the dish. 

Garlic. Again, be sparing. Raw garlic in small amounts tickles the palate. Too much raw garlic and, well – you may have tears in your eyes. 

Carrot and celery – a perfect pair, especially when cut very small, and mixed. A raw soffritto – life-affirmingly fresh, and just right in a dish with some of the above ingredients. 


Monday, 28 September 2015

Abbie's Favourite Place!

When I think back to my childhood, I have such fond memories of certain places I visited, every time I stayed over at my Nan's place she'd ask where I wanted to go and it was always "The Butterfly Park", it was my most favourite place in the world, full of insects and flying things (which ironically I now run as far away from as I can), 

Abbie's favourite place is without a doubt, Longleat, we've been so much this year she probably considers it her second home! She's so much like me, she loves being in nature, loves animals and just loves to explore and run around too, being an outdoorsy active toddler is definitely the best! 

The other day we headed out for an early birthday present for Abbie, we'd driven 5 minutes down the road and she had already guessed where we were going, for the rest of the journey she was shouting "See the animals!?" over and over. 

With Autumn well and truly here, and a breeze on the day, I dressed Abbie up in her gorgeous new dress from Mamas & Papas, some plain white tights, her super posh Russian doll styled coat (which was actually bought for her just after her first birthday, and fits her better each year somehow!), and of course, after a night of rain, her much loved Peppa wellies!

I've said this before but the girl has no fear, she now goes straight for the big climbing parts of the playground, she tries everything and never shows any fear, I love how she is such an outdoorsy kinda girl, it was exactly how I was growing up too!


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Recipe | Halloween Treat Ideas!

Somehow in just a few days, it will be October again, I don't know if it's getting older but time seems to go faster with each year that passes! But with October, comes Halloween, some people love it, others aren't interested, but if you have little ones, it's a great excuse to go all out and re-live your childhood (well mine anyway!). This is the first year we will be doing things with Abbie, some dressing up and making some delicious treats together! I can't wait!

Try not to stress about all the things you think you need, it's actually pretty simple, obviously sweets are one of the top things you need, we now have more kids around our little area so won't end up eating it all ourselves this time! Grab some multipacks of little chocolates, and when it comes to baking, go for the ready made mixes and frosting, so much easier and super yummy!

With Abbie in mind, i've brought together a bunch of recipes from around the web, perfect for little hands to help with, easy on your pocket and super fun to make! How i'm going to resist making any of these before Halloween, I have on idea! Wish me luck!

Click the titles for direct links to the recipes! :)

Ok, do I really need to convince you to make anything that contains brownies? Probably not. But these are so so adorable and super easy to make, anyone can do them! This recipe is used with pre made products too so don't worry about having to make it all from scratch (unless you want to of course!), get the little ones to pour the frosting on and the marshmallows for the perfect halloween treat!

Cupcakes are one of the easiest things you can bake, with so many different flavours and decorations, they are so customisable (is that a word?), cheap to make and always a family favourite! These ghost cupcakes from My Baking Addiction are so adorable and easy to make, just whip up a batch of chocolate cupcakes, top with some yummy frosting and some edible paper eyes and you're all set! 

One of the easiest yet most delicious things you can possibly make, i've made a few types in the past including my Oreo Bark earlier this year! All you need is a few ingredients and some creativity with your toppings! For Halloween this year, I am going to be making a retro and old fashioned sweets style bark, ordering my yummy treats from and creating my own version of the Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations Bars, yummy!

How adorable are these? So so easy to make and definitely a messy one which the little ones will love, create your own spooky characters and decorate using paper eyeballs, oreos, sprinkles and just about anything you fancy! I can see Abbie absolutely loving the dipping in chocolate part! If you can't find different coloured chocolate bits, just add some natural food colouring (I recommend gel) to  melted white chocolate to get your desired colour! These are a definite must have creation for this year, biting through the chocolate crunch into the gooey marshmallow, yum!

If you're a bit of a budding crafter or fancy doing something a little different, these awesome pudding cups are definitely a must try! Just a few ingredients are needed and a little imagination from your little ones and you can create whatever pudding cup you want! For a little change why not substitute the chocolate for Angel Delight? Top it off with halloween themed sprinkles and mini marshmallows too? Mmm!

For other fun recipes, check out these awesome links below!

Leftover sweets after trick and treat night? Make up a batch of cupcakes or cookies, spread over some buttercream and sprinkle them on top, quick, easy and great for sharing with the family!

If like me, you're a bit of a wagon wheel lover, melt some white chocolate and give the wheels a chocolate bath before leaving to set, then go ahead and decorate with sprinkles, googily eyes and other halloween inspired decorations! Bite inside to reveal the yummy marshmallow and jam layers! YUM!


Friday, 25 September 2015

Review | Brewers Fayre Restaurant

We were recently invited over to our local Brewers Fayre to test out the menu and see what we thought! Neither of us had been before so were interested to see what it was all about! We had a browse on the website to have a nosy and to check out the menu, then read up on some other reviews before heading off! 

We arrived a little earlier than planned but staff were friendly and accommodating, showing us to our seat and quickly fetching a highchair for Abbie! Charlotte, our waitress was lovely and checked on us throughout our meal to make sure everything was ok!

The menu is your typical pub grub sort of food (my personal favourite), mixed grills, steaks, pies, salads and burgers! There is something for everyone on the menu and a special kids menu too featuring Denice the Menace and Gnasher! I do think this menu could have more available for littler ones, Abbie is a big fan of pasta so a nice penne dish would've been perfect!

Having read reviews previously we knew we had to head up to the bar to order our food, rather than having someone come to us, but I think it would be nice to be told of this in the restaurant, just for those who didn't know. 

Ordering was quick and easy, it then arrived super fast which was amazing, anyone with little ones know how much of a relief it is when this happens! Although Abbie was in a pretty good mood anyway, it meant she wasn't getting restless, as an anxious person it was reassuring and made me relax a bit more!

I decided to go for the New Yorker Burger described as "A beef burger and streaky bacon, topped with melted cheese and our burger sauce. Served with crunchy coleslaw and chips". 
I was pleasantly surprised with my meal, it was super tasty, the burger itself was perfectly cooked, the chips were chunky and homemade like and the coleslaw was creamy and tasted fresh!

Anyone who knows me knows my love of Oreo's, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try the Oreo Cookie Pie; Chocolate pastry tart filled with a layer of rich caramel, topped with toffee mousse and finished with butterscotch and Oreo cookies, then served with squirty cream! Just reading that makes my mouth water, it was exactly what it says, scrumptious, indulgent and the perfect finish to a lovely meal!

Ben went for the Chilli Cheese Dog ; "Spicy chilli with melted cheese, jalapeƱos and a drizzle of tomato sauce, this is definitely a hot dog. Served with chips and crunchy coleslaw". 
It looked so delicious, just like the picture online and was actually a lot bigger than we expected! Not a problem for Ben, the more the merrier ha ha. 

For dessert Ben chose the Treacle Tart, which was made with a delicious shortcrust pastry, with golden treacle and served with vanilla flavour ice cream! The smell was incredible when it arrived and it was quickly devoured before I could even try a piece :(. Ben said it was probably his favourite dessert from a restaurant though!

For Abbie I decided to choose the Poppin' Chicken, which came with chips and salad, she's not a very fussy eater so I probably could've picked anything for her! As soon as it arrived she stuck straight into it, and surprised us by eating most of it! For dessert I knew she would love the fruit salad, a bowl full of orange, apple and grapes, she wolfed it down in no time at all!

What impressed me the most was how the food looked just as it does online, so well presented and portion sizes were generous too! I honestly don't have any negatives to say about our experience, everyone was friendly and attentive, the place was spotlessly clean, the food was lovely and we left happy customers :)

Check out the website for the latest meal deals and offers too, including;
 During weekdays, between 12-6.30, you can take advantage of 2 main meals for only £10! For more information on this deal, click here and follow on twitter too!

Overall we would definitely recommend the Brewers Fayre to friends and family, and can't wait to head back to try out some of the other food options too!



Monday, 21 September 2015

Tips | Moving In Together

Deciding to move in with eachother is a rather big step, it should come naturally and should be thought through lots, not just if you realise you'll actually annoy the hell out of eachother but can you actually afford it? There are so many things to think about, planning beforehand is a must, building up a good credit score could be the key to your application, although not essential, it definitely makes the seller more confident and can reassure them, you can get your credit report here if you're not too sure what it is!

Then there's the rent or mortgage costs but all the bills, shopping, furniture, plus all the costs of running your car(s), I'm not trying to put you off, honestly :), but from our own experience it can be hard to budget! We coped well up until my maternity pay finished, then suddenly we were on one income and ended up in our overdraft, we actually had a feature in Mother & Baby Magazine where we discussed our finances and what helped us budget can read our feature here...Here are some tips to help you save some money!

Work out your budget
When making the decision to move in together we sat down and wrote down all our incomings and all our outgoings to see what it covered.. You can find deals online where you can combine the cost, such as using the same company for all household bills, it can reduce the price by quite a lot and you can usually get a fixed rate for a few years too! The same goes for cars, they aren't cheap, paying the tax, along with the insurance & petrol, but there are certain specialist car insurance out there to help you save money, perfect if you both have cars & even if one of you is a new driver, they have certain policies to help reduce the premiums too! Once all the big things are worked out you can work through what money you have left, this will pay for food, furniture and even those little treat nights!

Second hand furniture

Sure it would be nice to have the spanking new corner sofa you spotted online the other week, but is it a necessity? You can look at local buy and sell websites where people are super generous, just because something's been used before doesn't mean it can't be used again, you can get some real gems if you look in the right places, our first sofa was second hand, it wasn't the nicest looking thing but once we'd got a couple of throws and some fluffy cushions it looked cosy! I know a lot of people have this idea that second hard = dirty, sometimes yes, but once you know the right places to look, you could kit out your whole home! We were given lots of bits for our house, microwave, sofas, bookcase, cabinets, storage boxes & rugs, it saved us a shed load of money!

DIY your current furniture
This night not be for everyone, but as a big fan of the shabby chic style that's currently in, I would literally buy a toilet roll holder if it was in that style and probably be charged an arm and a leg for it too, but it's so easy to just do it yourself, you might need a big tool like a sander, but in some cases just some sandpaper, some wood/metal paint and a paintbrush and you're good to go! Transform your bed or night stand, maybe even create your own wall art too, the possibilities are endless and you'll be able to say "ahh yes I did that" when guests ask where it's from! If you want to go all the way, get some pretty fabric too and a staple or glue gun and get creative, you could save yourself rather a lot of money!

Sell what you don't need!
It's amazing the amount of bits and bobs you collect over the years, from those 5 dresses still with the tags on you bought a few years ago to the hundreds of DVDs you haven't watched since you were 15, there is someone our there that would be more than happy to take it all off your hands, and in the process, you get some money in return to get some new bits for your home, it's win win! Places like eBay & Gumtree are great for getting rid of your unwanted possessions! Whilst your packing up your room or house, decide what you really need and what you don't, make three piles, keep, throw away,'ll be surprised just how much you could make! Add them to an auction site or even have stall at a morning boot sale, sure you might not sell all of it, but you know what they say "one persons trash is another persons treasure"...

What are your tips for saving money?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday Abbie!

I can't believe we are here again so quickly, you are now 3 years old and I can honestly say, this year has been the best so far! You're not just a toddler any more, you're a proper little girl, you are very much an extrovert and love people, you are really talking loads now, it's so nice to have conversations with you, you are super polite and bloomin hilarious with the things you come out with sometimes!

You are so good with your food, you will try just about everything and usually eat everything on your plate, your favourite foods are currently pasta, cheese, apples, pancakes and kinder eggs as your treat! 

We had a massive get together for your first birthday and a party for your second, but this time we kept it simple and just saw a few people, its ended up being more of a weekend birthday than just the day! Yesterday you came downstairs and got all excited seeing your balloons and presents set up, but nothing can sway you away from your routine, and you refused to open anything until you'd had your breakfast! After all the fun of unwrapping, we had some quiet time before heading off to the park for a run around, you looked gorgeous in your new dress  Your absolute favourite toy so far is your Duggee teddy, he talks, sings and also makes a great bedtime comfort apparently, you snuggled up close and fell asleep with him :)

 Next year you are in for something much bigger! :) Its crazy to think you could start having your earliest memories soon, my earliest memory was when I was 3 years old, I guess we'd better start parenting you properly now eh? :P

You are such a little character now, always performing songs and your favourite tv programmes, you love making people laugh, just today you made Daddy & I sing and dance along to "If you're happy and you know it...", in front of Nanny, Grampy and Auntie Hope! 

Your sleep is still on and off but the past few weeks have been AMAZING, you slept through every single night for 11 days, no wake ups in between and no stirs either! Mummy really appreciates that ha ha.

Your memory is amazing, out of no-where you will say something that happened a few weeks ago or even months, if we are driving around you recognise where we are and say whatever you remember, the other day we headed off to Longleat and you knew almost straight away by shouting, "see the animals!"

I could talk about you for ages and ages but this blog post will never get published, so i'll leave it there for now, but here are a bunch of photos from birthday no3! You were well and truly spoilt rotten once again, such a lucky little girl!

We love you so so much, you make us so proud every single day! :)
Love Mummy & Daddy!

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