Having fun at The Brewers Fayre Twirl of Hay in Chester

New Fun Factory at The Twirl of Hay in Chester

New Fun Factory at The Twirl of Hay in Chester

On Sunday I was invited to a local Brewers Fayre restaurant to celebrate the opening of their new Fun Factory. We have dined at Brewers Fayre many times, but had never visited the Twirl of Hay restaurant which is in Chester. As with most Brewers Fayre the restaurant was located next to a Premier Inn. We were welcomed into the restaurant by none other than Dennis the Menace. After the obligatory photos with him, we were shown through to the Fun Factory which is at the back of the restaurant.

The play area has undergone a refurbishment with the new Beano theming throughout.  You will also find the characters across the children’s menus and also in ‘The Den’ where kids parties can be arranged. I was really impressed with the whole area, and the theming really appeals to both boys and girls. There was a large soft play area, and I honestly thought my soft play days were over having a 9 and 12 year old. But my 9 year old and her friend spent the best part of 3 hours in there ! I liked that all ages had been thought of as there is a separate toddler section, toddler play cars (that my 9 year old nearly got stuck in lol) and also baby walkers.

There are plenty of tables and chairs in the soft play, and there were a good range of drinks and snacks for both children and parents. Well a visit to a soft play wouldn’t be complete without a huge coffee and slice of cake. The opening times seemed reasonable with it being open till 8pm (Sunday – Thursday) and 9pm on a Friday and Saturday. As well as playing the children had their face painted and went in The Den for arts and crafts.

I would not hesitate to recommend the brand new Beano Fun Factory. The décor is fresh, appealing and great for children and adults alike.

We were also treated to a 2 course meal which everyone enjoyed. Thank you to Brewers Fayre for inviting myself and my friend and our 4 children. We had a lovely few hours at The Twirl of Hay. 

Our food choices at The Twirl of Hay in Chester

Our food choices at The Twirl of Hay in Chester

Losing my nan

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I have written this post in my head about 10 times, but when it comes to putting the words down its so much harder. My nan passed away in the early hours of Monday. She was the incredible age of 90, and in the past few years she had been diagnosed with cancer. Up until her late eighties she had never really suffered with ill health, and she put this down to teaching yoga. She taught yoga years before it became the trendy exercise for the yummy mummies to do. Infact the last time we took the kids to visit ‘older nanny’ earlier this year, she was sat up in bed showing the kids her yoga moves. She was 90 !!! I think if I attempted this, I would have surely passed out.

She managed to stay in her own home until late last year, when she moved into a nursing home. I know it was such a difficult time for her, leaving the house she had lived in for over 50 years. The nursing home was a wonderful place, filled with lovely staff who all had a soft spot for my nan. On Sunday I went and saw my nan for the final time. She was asleep, and I stayed with her for over 2 hours. She never woke up again and she died peacefully in her sleep during the night. For years my nan had always said she wanted to slip away in her sleep, and I am glad she got her wish.

She was an incredibly strong lady who had been a cook in the women’s air force, been a labour councillor and set up a social club from scratch. She was hardworking and opinionated. I think I have a little of her opinionated  nature in me, just ask the husband !

I was her only grandchild and I am proud to have called her my nan for 41 years.

Love this picture of 4 generations that was taken a few years ago

Love this picture of 4 generations that was taken a few years ago

I am linking up with the lovely Lorraine from theuncheshirewife.com for Talk about it Tuesday

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Dress Dad Competition

Dress up dad

My daughter is a typical girl who loves to dress up. What she loves more than dressing up is seeing her parents wearing ‘funny clothes’. She fell about laughing when the husband and I went to a recent fancy dress party. So when I heard about a ‘Dress Dad Competition’ I knew it would be right up her street. I told her she could have free rein to use any clothes in the house. I was surprised when she headed off to find the Halloween fancy dress box. I was told to leave the room whilst she ‘made up’ daddy. I had visions of all the other dads in the competition dressed up in smart suits, and here is our entry

Our entry for the Dress Dad competition

Our entry for the Dress Dad competition

Yes she had dressed daddy as a ‘mad scientist’ which is quite ironic as he is actually a scientist (and no doubt mad at times when he has deadlines to meet). We uploaded our photo to instagram using the #DressDadComp to be in with a chance of winning £100 of shopping vouchers. The closing date for entries is 20th June 2015, and then voting begins on the 21st to the 28th June 2015.

So get the kids dressing the dads tomorrow, and don’t forget to upload it to instagram with the #DressDadComp.  Have fun doing it and good luck.

You can find out more about the competition, run by Fashion Beans, from www.dressdadcompetition.co.uk

Spending the weekend with the tween

Its not often we get the chance to spend a large amount of time with just 1 child, but last weekend it was just us and the tween. Katie was off to cub camp for 2 nights, which meant we only had to parent 1 child for the whole weekend. A weekend of not stepping in to break up arguments/play fighting. Ah bliss. Of course we would miss the little lady, but I was really looking forward to spending time with just the tween. As is the natural progression to becoming a teenager, I would know that one day he would roll his eyes at spending time with ‘the parents’. So I was going to grab this opportunity with both hands.

The little lady off to cub camp

The little lady off to cub camp

Prior to the weekend we didn’t make any plans and figured we would go with whatever Morgan wanted to do. Friday went totally pear shaped, thanks to a jack knifed lorry on the M56, which saw me stuck on the motorway for nearly 3 hours. This resulted in Katie being dropped off to camp 2 hours late. The evening was sponsored by gin and a Sainsburys curry.

We all had a lazy Saturday morning around the house, and then we went to a nearby village pub for lunch. It was lovely to sit there chatting away to the tween. There were actual words being spoken and not the usual grunts. I saw glimpses of how much he is growing up at the moment, and I can’t believe in 2 months he will be a teenager. After a leisurely 2 hours in the pub, we headed to Cheshire Oaks. Morgan wanted some hooded tops and I came away with a bag full of Molton Brown goodies for £13.00. How I love outlet shopping.

You know its a 'posh' village pub when they serve you sugar lumps

You know its a ‘posh’ village pub when they serve you sugar lumps

From there we called into our friends for a coffee and a catch up. Morgan happily sat there chatting away as we reminisced about our holiday we all went on last year. Upon leaving our friends we decided to head to the cinema to watch Jurassic World. I knew Morgan was dying to see it, and after purchasing the tickets en route, we had 10 minutes before the film started. We were soon in our seats and watching the film. It was nice that Morgan wanted to sit in the middle of us, and not on another row/cinema ! We got back home just after 9pm after going out at 12pm. It had been a brilliant day with Morgan, and I could tell he had enjoyed spending time with us without his sister. We ended the day sitting in our PJs eating McDonalds.

On the Sunday we mainly chilled out around the house. At 3.30pm it was time to pick the little lady up from cub camp. She was understandably tired, grumpy and smelling of camp fire. Nothing a good bath and an early night would fix. It was nice to get my little family back together, but equally it had been lovely to spend the whole weekend with the tween. And not a grunt or a slammed door in sight !

No picture of the tween so you will have to make do with me

No picture of the tween so you will have to make do with me

 

 

 

Dare to Dine Event at The Trafford Centre

Most people who go to the cinema indulge in some popcorn, a fizzy drink or some pic n mix. But last week my husband and I enjoyed a film, and an amazing 11 course food and drink extravaganza. We were invited to The Trafford Centre’s ‘Dare to Dine’ event.  In the run up to the event we literally had no idea what was in store for us, other than we were to meet in the Ambar at 6.30pm. The Ambar is next to the Odeon Cinema, so we had an idea a film and some sort of meal would be involved. We were welcomed into the bar with a glass of champagne and given the following menu

Dare to Dine menu

Dare to Dine menu

Dare to Dine menu

Dare to Dine menu

The ‘Dare to Dine’ event was an exclusive showing of the film, 20 years after it was released. Food and drink would be served at the exact time the lines were delivered in the film…. plus a few surprises thrown in. And if you hadn’t guessed which film we were seeing…… Pulp Fiction. *whispers* I have never seen this film. Husband has seen it a few times, and we were both really excited for the night ahead.

We were led into the cinema and sat in our allocated seating. The lights were dimmed and the film started. Even though I had not seen the film before, I still recognised most of the music. Not long into the film and the first line was delivered

“You know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of ketchup?” . The fantastic waiting on staff quickly brought out a box of French Fries with mayo courtesy of McDonalds, and a very refreshing Kronenbourg.

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“Mmm, this IS a tasty burger !” and oh MY yes it was. Next up was a Big Kahuna cheeseburger with pineapple courtesy of Five Guys. Hubby is a huge burger fan, and we will definitely return to Five Guys.

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Time for more meat “Douglas steak – bloody as hell”. Sizzling steak skewers from Las Iguanas.

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“I got to know what a $5 shake tastes like” A gorgeous and creamy vanilla shake from Ben and Jerry’s at The Odeon.

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“A shot in the heart” Adrenalin cocktail from the 360 Champagne and Cocktail bar.

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“I’m gonna order a big plate of blueberry pancakes, with maple syrup” Pancakes courtesy of TGI Fridays.

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“Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I wouldn’t know cause I’d never eat the filthy mummyfluffer !” Pumpkin Pie Martini courtesy of TGI Fridays. This was SUCH a nice cocktail

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Not only were we treated to such an amazing experience, the whole team came in during the famous dance scene and danced along in the aisles. Great effort by them all.

After the film we literally had to be rolled out. The whole night had been amazing. The team have to be congratulated on getting the food to us, more or less at the exact time the line was delivered in the film. No mean feat I can imagine. Also a huge thanks to the following who supplied the food and drink on the night, and The Odeon and Ambar.  All of the below are located in the Trafford Centre.

McDonalds

Wetherspoons

Five Guys

Las Iguanas

Ben and Jerrys

360 Champagne and Cocktail bar

TGI Fridays

Nespresso Boutique

Millie’s Cookies

My husband and I are still talking about the evening nearly 1 week on. I have a feeling that on our next visit to the cinema, a bucket of popcorn just won’t be the same. A huge thanks to the Trafford Centre and Carousel PR Manchester for such an unique event as part of the Big Treat event. THANK YOU.

The beautiful Trafford Centre

The beautiful Trafford Centre

Our extended weekend

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This weekend has been an extended one as hubby and I had a night away on Thursday night. The minute I finished work we were on the M56 heading to the Trafford Centre. I had booked my favourite Premier inn at the bargain cost of £39.00, and we were quickly checked in and the bags were in the room. We had planned to go to the local David Lloyd for a swim, but I received an email inviting us to a fantastic event at the Trafford Centre. Well it would have been rude to turn it down as we were already there. I will do a separate post about the event and all I will say is WOW. We had an amazing and slightly surreal night. After the event we wandered back to the hotel and did what I love…. people watching at the hotel bar. Around 1.00am, after a mixture of too much alcohol we literally fell into those heavenly Premier Inn beds.

The next morning, after a hearty full English breakfast and a hot shower, we were ready to hit The Ideal Home Show which was at Event City. We headed straight for the main stage where I knew Martin Lewis  was on at 12pm. He is definitely a hero of mine, as since I discovered his website more than 7 years ago, we have literally saved thousands of pounds. His talk was informative and afterwards you got to meet him, and yes I was first in the queue.

Afterwards we wandered around the various stands, gazing longingly at the hot tubs and the gorgeous garden furniture. There were Smeg fridges to admire and beautiful fireplaces. There was of course plenty of stalls from homeware, beauty and lots of delicious smelling food. As we were just about to leave we bumped into the ‘even more handsome in real life’ George Clark. After a picture with him, we headed over to the Trafford Centre for a look round the shops before heading home to see the kids.

The rest of the weekend was spent catching up on washing, gardening jobs and the food shop. I love having the chance to go away for the night with hubby. We are really lucky to have my Mum as our main babysitter, and we try to get away for a few nights during the year. You definitely need it in the busy world of parenting.

Children’s clothing at Matalan

untitled (15)Katie is at an age where she is starting to notice fashion. Gone are the days where I ponder her wardrobe for a carefully matched outfit (usually involving pink and glitter). She is moving away from the character clothing she has worn for most of her life, and developing her own style. So when I was invited to the Head Office for Matalan, I knew this was an event Katie would LOVE.

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The event gave us the opportunity to meet some of the buyers who are responsible for clothing, accessories and footwear for children. We met in reception at 11.30am, and were shown to a large room. Following an introduction we were invited to visit the various stands. We headed over to sleepwear where Katie was given lots of nightwear to try on. The buyers were interested in seeing the actual fit of the clothes on the children. As Katie is 9 the age range is 8-9 years and 10-11 years, so she was given a mixture of the 2 sizes to try on. She loved trying on all the different sets and giving her opinion to the buyers on whether the clothes were comfy, too tight, too big etc. The ladies were lovely on the sleepwear stand and seemed really interested in what the children thought.

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The next stand was dressing up, but sadly Katie has grown out of this so we moved to the girls clothing stands. She loved seeing all the up and coming trends that will be hitting the stores soon. She was given the opportunity to look at pictures of different clothing, and put stickers on the items she liked the most.

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We then went and looked at the different school shoes Matalan offers. Katie and I had to choose which shoes we would buy for school, and thankfully we picked similar designs. I enjoyed chatting to the buyer, who didn’t realise that some schools won’t allow the ballet style pump shoes (our school being one of them). Aside from chatting and visiting the stands, there was a colouring competition for the kids and refreshments laid out.

Katie was given a goody bag to take home, as well as some bags, a hat and a sleepwear set which she was very excited about. We don’t usually shop in Matalan but after seeing the quality of the clothes today, we will definitely visit a store soon. Thank you to Matalan for inviting myself and Katie. We had a lovely day at your Head Office.

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