Hello and welcome to Newcastle Family Life Blog which is written by Lindsay a 33-year-old mum of three who lives in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the North East of England. This blog covers our family life and days out, travel, recipes, reviews, giveaways, restaurant reviews and snippets of what family life is like with a teen and two under 5s.
In just a few short months time I will be getting married and everything is in place now for the big day, the venue has been booked for a long time, I have my dress, notice of marriage has been given and invitations have started to be sent out. We are on the final count-down to the big day and it is all so exciting thinking that soon I will be a Mrs and someone's wife!
So when I heard there was a subscription box service for us brides to be I was eager to find out more as it sounded right up my street (I love a good subscription box). Bride To Be Box is a newly launched subscription box service that celebrates the major milestones when planning a wedding. There are six boxes available, each one themed around one of the milestones in the wedding planning process. The six boxes are 'The You're Engaged', 'The Planning Begins', 'Bridal Bootcamp', 'Happy Hen-do', 'The Big Day' and 'Happily Ever After'.
Founder of Bride To Be Box Harriet Jelley says that
"Getting engaged and planning your wedding is one of the happiest times in your life and we wanted to offer a themed subscription box that would help make the bride's journey to the big day even more exciting. We personally hand-pick the products in our six boxes, combining beautiful and fun items that directly relate to the major milestones of a wedding so the bride-to-be won't receive anything that won't be useful. The subscription offers a unique engagement gift for brides-to-be."
Each box contains six items from big brands or boutique business, containing only quality items. They are priced at £34.99 each with free delivery or you can subscribe to all six boxes for £180 saving you £5 per box.
As I am nearing the end of my wedding planning journey I was very kindly sent a Happily Ever After Box to review and see what I think.
The box arrived well presented in a white box, everything was well packaged and it was a real treat to open. Inside the box, there was a Sass & Belle photo frame, wedding plaque and Mr & Mrs coaster set a Kate Loxton luggage tag and passport cover (perfect for using on honeymoon) and some happily ever after Love Heart sweeties.
I loved opening the box up to see what was inside, it is always a treat getting something in the post just for me and I love the surprise element of subscription boxes. I think these boxes would make such a lovely treat for any bride to be that you may know as you can buy as a one of surprise as well as subscribing to all six boxes.
The Sass & Belle photo frame is perfect for putting a wedding day photograph in for around the home. The Mr and Mrs coaster again is a nice item to have in the home and the heart-shaped happily ever after plaque is perfect for hanging in our home. The Kate Loxton passport holder and luggage tag will be used on honeymoon and the Love Heart sweets are a nice touch to enjoy with your future spouse (unless you eat them all on your own of course).
Overall I was really impressed with the box that I received as it was a nice surprise through the post, the items were relevant to someone about to get married and they were decent items. If I was at the start of my wedding planning journey I would have taken out a subscription as the boxes are a nice treat to help on this sometimes stressful rollercoaster of planning a wedding.
In just seven weeks time I will be getting married, the closer the wedding gets the more real it is starting to feel. We are busy arranging meetings with our suppliers and paying them off, sorting seating plans and all the little finishing touches to our day. After two years of planning, things are finally starting to come together and it won't be long before I am a Mrs. Everyone keeps asking if I am excited and truthfully I am not yet as I am missing my mam a lot at the moment.
Tomorrow is the 14th anniversary of my Mams death, she died in a freak accident when I was 21 so she never got the chance to meet my future husband or my younger children. Every day for the past fourteen years I have missed her but I have learnt to live without her and I rarely get upset anymore and can remember her with a smile. But planning a wedding without your mam sucks big time!
As a bride-to-be everything is geared up towards your mam helping you organise your big day, to look at venues, go dress shopping, pick flowers and help you get ready on the big day. However I can't do that, I have no one other than my partner to help me plan the wedding, I have no one to ask advice too or help me pick things or help me get ready on the big day and it is hard.
Every magazine, film or TV show I watch about weddings features the mother of the bride being helpful and it makes me miss her more. I would love her opinion on what flowers to pick as I don't have a clue about flowers and she adored them. Every meeting we go to people mention the mother of the bride and I have to mutter "I don't have a mam, she died when I was younger" and then listen to awkward apologises.
I had to go dress shopping with my other half's family and while it was lovely they came and my future mother in law actually picked my dress, it's not the same. I wanted my mam there, plus she probably would have bought it for me saving me a fortune (jokes).
I choose to get married on her birthday as a way to remember her, as she loved a party and would have loved that I was getting married on her birthday. I don't know if that was a good or bad idea now, I hope it doesn't make me miss her more or make me sad on my big day. On one hand, it will be lovely having all our family together and to raise a glass to her but in other ways, I wish I had of stuck to my original plan and got married on a beach abroad just me, lee and the kids with no fuss.
I don't want my wedding turning into something morbid so I am not planning anything to remember her by on the day. I will get a memory charm for my bouquet which I then plan on putting on her grave but that's it, I want the day to be a happy one, not a sad one. But there will be no one helping me getting ready on the morning of the wedding, no one to calm me down or travel with the girls to the venue, no mam waiting proudly at the bottom of the aisle before I get married or to make sure my dress looks nice in photos. She would have loved sitting proudly on the top table and she would have been the first and last one on the dance floor, she would have been having the time of her life.
Just thinking of it breaks my heart.
I miss her more than ever at the moment and it is not just that I miss her but also that I am sad she is missing out. I am sad she got to miss out on being a proud mother of the bride and share these experiences with me as I know she would have loved every second of it. I am sad that she never got to meet my partner or Sophia and Jacob and my brother's girls, I am sad she died in her early 40s and missed out on so much.
I know if she could she would tell me not to be sad and to stop being silly and to enjoy myself. On the day I think I will be fine, I might shed a small tear and I will definitely be raising a glass to her and I will remember her fondly. But at the moment planning a wedding without her is hard and I just hope I am around for when my own children get married so they never have to feel like this.
Fingers crossed she will be up there somewhere looking down on us and makes the sun shine on my wedding day. Most importantly of all, she will be in all of our hearts and I know if she could she would be there with me somehow.
Now that all three children are in full-time school and the other half has weekends off work we make sure that weekends are family time. We like to have a day out somewhere but we find that we normally end up visiting the same places all of the time. So when we were recently invited along to The Gate complex in Newcastle city centre for an afternoon of family fun we knew this would be a nice change for the children. We visited with our 4 and 5-year-old on Saturday afternoon after Jacob had finished football, as the teen was out with her friends.
The Gate is somewhere that I have such fond memories of, I partied there with my friends in my 20s, I visited for first dates with my soon to be husband, I met up with friends for a cheeky Nando's and catch-up and it is also somewhere I regularly visited with my teen when she was younger for cinema trips in the school holidays. However it is not somewhere we have visited much with our younger two children (aged 4 and 5 years old), we have taken them for a few meals at Pizza Hut over the years but until recently they were too young to take to the cinema or to enjoy a relaxed family meal with.
The Gate is an entertainment complex right in the middle of Newcastle, spread over three floors it is home to bars, restaurants, an escape room, casino and even a new gaming lounge which looked like lots of fun. The top floor is home to a top of the range Cineworld cinema with a 4DX screen which we tried out on our visit.
The Gate is really easy to get to as it is just outside of the Eldon Square shopping complex and just a short walk from the Haymarket bus and Metro stations, there is also an onsite car-park at the rear (in Chinatown).
On the second floor where the gaming lounge is we noticed lots of giant games dotted around such as table football and table tennis which were free to use. We didn't get a chance to try them out as we visited on a Saturday afternoon so they were busy but we will try and have a game next time we visit as the kids were keen to have a try.
Dining In The Gate
There are lots of dining options in the Gate with a Wetherspoons, TGI Fridays and Za Za Bazaar world buffet on the ground floor and a Pizza Hut and Nando's on the second floor. There are also a few bars that serve food too such as Tiger Tiger. As we were dining with the children we opted to dine in Nando's which is always a firm favourite in our house.
Despite being busy we were seated after a short wait and the kids were giving colouring sheets and crayons to keep them entertained whilst we waited for the food to arrive. Service was quick and friendly and we did not have to wait long for our food, which is always a blessing when dining with young kids. The children ordered off the Nandinos kids menu which was only £5.95 for a main with two sides and a drink.
Sophia ordered a plain chicken burger with side of chips and corn on the cob and apple juice to drink. Jacob went for the chicken breast strips with sides of garlic bread and corn on the cob and apple juice to drink.
I am a creature of habit and always order the same thing when we visit Nando's lemon & herb spiced grilled chicken burger with peri-peri chips and spicy rice (£9.95).
The other half had the hot double chicken wrap (£13.25) with peri-peri chips and coleslaw sides plus a portion of grilled halloumi (extra £1.50). We also got a couple of refillable oft drinks to cool our mouths down from the hot sauces we added to our meals.
The 4DX Cinema Experience At Cineworld
After our meal, we headed upstairs to the Cineworld cinema to watch the new Avengers film End Game on the 4DX cinema screen. I used to visit the cinema in the Gate loads back when it was Empire cinema (many years ago) but haven't been since Cineworld took over and I have to say I was impressed. The whole lobby area was transformed with twinkly, sparkly flooring that my 5-year-old was amazed by, and a giant curved screens showing movie trailers that captivated the children's attention. There was also a Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's counter and plenty of counters to purchase cinema tickets.
We went to see End Game which is a 12a, I was a bit worried that my kids would be too young for this film but as my son is a huge Avengers fan we decided to let them see it. There was a tiny bit of swearing in the film which the kids didn't even pick up on, my 5-year-old found one part of the film a little scary but my little boy loved it and was in his element.
It was our first time trying out the 4DX screen and I was not sure what to expect if I am honest but we loved it and it was a whole new cinema experience. The film is in 3D so you are given glasses to wear to watch the film with but also the seats move throughout the film, there are blasts of wind throughout the film and flashing lights and even squirts of water hit you through the film. The extra features definitely made the film more enjoyable. The kids absolutely loved the experience of moving seats and water and wind machines, although they were just old enough to get in as it is not suitable for under 4s.
We had a really lovely afternoon at The Gate, I was impressed with the changes that have been made to The Gate recently and we found it so family-friendly with lots of families enjoying meals, the cinema and the games area. I was a bit worried it would be full of drunken people watching the Newcastle match in the bars downstairs and while the bars were busy the dining and cinema area was very family focused.
On Twitter, The Gates name is Good Times The Gate and we certainly had a good time at The Gate, I can see us visiting a lot more as a family in the near future.
Just like that, another month is over, April was a month full of illness (again), lots of wedding planning and a few nice family days out. Now that the weather is getting a bit nicer I am hoping that we get a break from illness and we can crack on with getting everything sorted for the wedding and enjoy some family time in the sunshine. May is always a good month for us as it is Sophia's birthday and she will be six soon, which is crazy as in my head she is still about three. So here is a look at some of the things that I loved in April 2019.
1.) School Holidays
I love when it is the school holidays and I have all three children at home, it is lush having lazy mornings at home and a break from the school run. We did not do a lot during the school holidays as Sophia had a really bad sickness bug which lasted almost a week and which she passed onto Jacob. We had a few days out, spent some time with family and the children enjoyed playing out in the garden most days.
I love Easter, we don't do a lot but it is nice that nowhere is open so we spend the day at home together. We always have fish and chips from the chippy on good Friday and roast lamb dinner on Easter Sunday. The children get far too many chocolate eggs and we watch films and eat yummy food and it is just nice having family time together.
3.) Everything I Never Told You Book
I read Everything I Never Told you book by Celeste Ng (Little fires everywhere) this month and loved it. The book reminded me so much of The Lovely Bones and I could not put it down, I was hooked and read it in a day.
4.) Umbrella Academy
I finally got around to watching The Umbrella Academy on Netflix after hearing people recommend it and I really enjoyed it. I didn't think I would enjoy it as I am not really into superheroes and things like that but I really liked this show and hope a second series is out soon.
5.) Jump 360
During the Easter holidays we were invited along to Jump 360 Newcastle which is in Benton and it was good fun. The girls enjoyed it and it was something different that they could enjoy together (they are 5 and 16) as it is often difficult finding things that are suitable for both of them.
6.) Wedding Planning
As the wedding is getting nearer we have been ticking more and more things of our huge to-do list. This month had a final meeting at our venue and paid all of the day time food and drinks off, we picked all of our venue decor and cake flavours. We picked our rings up from the jewellers and I had my first dress fitting and got all my accessories for on the day sorted. I am starting to feel a lot more organised and can't believe how fast the wedding is coming around.
7.) Hen Party
This month I had my hen party which was good fun, 15 of us went out and I laughed so much. It was a surprise so I didn't know what I was doing but we got a limo into Newcastle, had a meal at an Italians where I got serenaded by a man with a guitar and then we went for cocktails and drinks. I was out from 1pm to 1am and I was actually fine with no hangover or anything the next day. It was nice to catch up with friends and family and have a night out for a change.
8.) Warmer Weather
I have been enjoying the warmer weather the past few weeks as the children have really enjoyed playing outdoors in the garden. We have been able to get outdoors more and I always think the warmer weather and sunshine makes everyone feel happier too.
9.) Winning Streak
At the weekend the other half got a scratch card and won £1000 which is perfect timing with a wedding to pay for. He got a £1 scratch card and won £5 so he got a £5 scratch card and won £1000, I didn't believe him at first as I don't buy scratch cards so haven't got a clue about them. Was a bit of a nightmare to cash it in but he finally managed and the check is now in the bank.
10.) Holiday Planning
One of my most favourite things to do lately is looking online for holidays, I must look every single day. We are hoping to go away in September but we haven't decided where yet, but I really fancy Greece as I have never been before and it looks beautiful. We are also planning on going to Cyprus next May half-term for Sophia's birthday. I have spent hours online looking at hotels and TripAdvisor reviews, I really need to hurry up and just get somewhere booked.
So those are some of the things that I have enjoyed recently, how was your April? I would love to know in the comments below.
Catalogues for children's clothing are a real deal. It's a great and convenient way to shop without dragging your young ones to the stores to try on clothes. In this arrangement, you just order whatever product you want at the comfort of your home. These catalogues sell clothing for both girls and boys with some even selling maternity wear for mum and clothing for babies.
Furthermore, you will find other kid's items including gifts, toys and home decor in some of them. The following are some of the best catalogues for children clothing out there.
1.) Lands' End
The Lands' End kids catalogue is a free children's clothing catalogue selling classic and modern clothing editions. It avails accessories, active-wear, shoes, swimsuits, jackets, dresses, pants, tops, sweaters and outwears just for your little ones. Requesting for a Lands' End catalogue is very simple in that you just fill out a form with your address and name and then wait.
2.) Garnet Hill
This kids clothing catalogue sells clothing for boys and girls of all sizes. Here, you will find shoes, accessories, swimwear, dresses, bottoms and tops for boys and girls and toddlers. You will also find gifts by recipient, price and occasion.
CWDkids catalogue for children's clothing provides you with the latest or modern fashion in several styles for boys and girls of all ages. Navigate through its pages to find shoes, bottoms, tops, sleepwear and swimwear. This catalogue is known for quality clothing that is easy to wear and hard to wear out. Kids will really like the modern styles the clothing presents.
4.) Hanna Andersson Catalogue
The Hanna Andersson catalogue for children's clothing features really amazing clothing for babies, boys and girls. It is in here that you will find the latest swimwear, sleepwear, bottoms and tops for your children all at very affordable prices.
When you are searching for children's catalogues you need to think about what you are trying to achieve. For example, age group and finance options. Everybody knows that buying new clothes can be expensive so it is always good to shop around and find the best deals and finance options possible. Luckily catalogues and other retailers have started offering finance options to customers, whether it is pay monthly, pay weekly or buy now pay later. There are lots of options to choose from but it all depends on your credit rating. If you have bad credit then only certain retailers might offer you finance options so I would recommend looking into some at www.catalogues247.co.uk if this is the case but remember to always check the APR and terms and conditions before signing up to any credit stores.
Time really is flying by as it is now just two months until I get married, having booked our wedding two years in advance it feels a bit surreal to now think it is just a matter of weeks away. This month has been a bit stressful, we haven't heard back from some of our suppliers and we still have quite a lot to pay off as I booked loads of little extras we don't really need but which I like. I was feeling really overwhelmed by it all but I am feeling much more positive about everything now. The closer we get to the wedding the more things are happening, it feels like every day we have something wedding related to sort out at the moment.
What We Have Done This Month
This month has been super busy wedding wise, at the start of the month the other half went on his stag party to the races and then out in Newcastle. I was expecting him to come home in a drunken state but he wasn't too bad, he was home by 8pm and came in and fell asleep on Jacob's bedroom floor. I also had my hen party last weekend with 15 of my family and friends and it was good fun, we got a limo into Newcastle and then went for a meal and drinks.
We had a meeting at our venue earlier this week to go through timings and how things will run and we paid all of the day time food off. I feel a bit better after speaking to our wedding coordinator as he will take care of everything on the day. I also booked a venue dresser this week who will do all the centrepieces, chairs and things, which is one less thing for us to worry about.
I had my first dress fitting yesterday which I was nervous about as I couldn't remember what my dress looked like. When I first put it on I didn't like it but once they pinned me in (it needs some alterations to make it smaller) I felt happier. I also bought my hoop for under my dress and a veil and practised waking in my dress - it is harder than I imagined.
We have all of RSVPs back for the day time now so I need to do a seating plan this week and get a table plan and place cards sorted.
Still To Do
With only 8 weeks to go there is still so much to do, we need to meet with our photographer, videographer, DJ and florist. I need makeup and hair trials and to book my beauty treatments in, I also need to buy my perfume and jewellery to wear on the day. The groomsmen all need to go for a suit fitting this month and we need shoes for all of the children.
I have some little bits still to buy such as confetti, sweets, gifts etc. We need to settle on songs, as we still don't have a first dance song or ceremony music. We have to pick our vows and have a meeting with the registrar a few weeks before the wedding and we also have a rehearsal booked at the venue a few days before the wedding.
There are probably lots more things that I have forgotten about, I have to do lists all over the place. But I am feeling more positive and organised than I did last month. So that is where we are at with the wedding planning at the moment. I have been so laid back all the way through planning but I am regretting that a bit now as I still have all the little bits to sort, but whatever will be will be and I am sure it will all work out fine in the end.
If you are married how did you find the final few weeks?
In just two months time I will be getting married and I am really looking forward to spending time with all of my friends and family and I really want to create a nice day not only for us but also for our guests too. We have picked food that hopefully everyone will like, we have a DJ and entertainment booked to entertain our guests, we have an amazing photographer to capture the big day and we have a brilliant wedding coordinator who I trust will make our big day run smoothly. So now I am busy planning lots of little finishing touches that our guests will enjoy.
One thing that I knew I wanted as soon as we started planning a wedding was a candy buffet, so the children (and adults) could enjoy some yummy treats as they danced the night away. Candy buffets are so popular at weddings these days that I think it is kind of expected of us to have a one, originally we were going to have a sweet cart but they can be rather pricey and I have already blown our wedding budget - oops! So I decided to create a sweet table instead as they are much more affordable.
From the start, I knew that I wanted retro sweets that remind me of my own childhood and that all of our guests would be familiar with, after all, you have to have a bit of nostalgia at a wedding. Swizzels Matlow is that brand, home to classic sweets such as Love Hearts, refresher bars, Palma violets and drumstick lollies - perfect wedding sweets.
They also make great wedding favours too as you can get personalised Love Heart sweets and also giant sized Love Hearts, Palma Violets or Fizzers and get them personalised with your guests' name which not only makes fun place settings but also doubles up as wedding favour too and at only 60p each they are a bargain.
The Swizzle Matlow website has a whole section on wedding sweets, with favours, wedding love hearts and a candy buffet selection. As you are ordering direct and in bulk, the sweets are really affordable too, I got a 5kg bundle for £24.99 and we had loads of sweets and filled up 8 glass jars with the sweets.
The 7kg Candy Buffet bundle consisted of 1kg of each of the following sweets
Fruity Pop Lollies
I also got some personalised Love Hearts which have our names on and were £10 for 50 rolls and I think are a lovely personalised touch to our candy buffet table. You can personalise them however you want, we just opted for the words Just Married and then Mr & Mrs our married name. I can't wait to see if our guests notice our married name on them. I think that they are the most perfect sweets to have at a wedding, everyone loves Love Hearts and the messages inside can be rather cute and romantic.
We got glass jars from Home Bargains and Asda to display the sweets in which were really inexpensive and we also got some cute paper sweet bags and sweet scoops so our guests can create there own mix up at the candy buffet. We originally planned the candy buffet for the children but I think that the grown-ups will enjoy it just as much as the children, I imagine some of them will be like kids in a candy store quite literally.
I am really starting to get excited about our wedding now and I can't wait to see all of my guests enjoying the candy buffet and reminiscing about old times.
I just need to make sure I hide the sweets so that the kids and my other half don't eat them before the wedding!
Which is your favourite Swizzels sweet?
Disclosure I received these sweets free of charge and was also compensated for this post.
On Friday afternoon we headed to Jump 360 Trampoline Park, Newcastle which is actually located in Benton, North Tyneside. Jump 360 is in Bellway industrial estate which is near the big Asda supermarket and Round the Twist soft play, Jump 360 is clearly signposted and is situated near the back of the industrial estate. There was plenty of free on-site parking and a bus stop just a few minutes walk away (although I don't know which buses go pass - sorry).
My teenage daughter has been wanting to visit Jump 360 since it opened a couple of years ago, she is a huge fan of trampoline parks (after spending many years having trampoline lessons when she was younger) and has visited sister venue Inflatspace which is just along the road in Walkergate. So when we were asked to come along to review Jump 360 I took my teen and her friend (both aged 16) and my younger daughter aged 5, I couldn't take my youngest as the regular sessions are for ages 5 and over, they do however have Jump Junior sessions available for younger children.
Arriving at Jump 360 we had to sign a waiver on one of the computers near the entrance, everyone needs to sign one before being able to jump. The children were also fitted with a coloured wristband and a pair of trampoline socks which were available to buy for around £2 if you didn't have your own. There was plenty of lockers to store belongings in and a few changing rooms, lockers needed a £1 coin which was refundable. We then headed to the briefing room to watch the safety demo before heading to enjoy the trampolines for an hour.
Jump 360 Newcastle was huge inside and there were lots of different zones, we visited on a Friday afternoon during the school holiday's at around 3pm and it was not busy at all however the earlier sessions looked busy. The children managed to get on everything with no wait times at all, I noticed that there was a lot of staff dotted around the trampoline park and each zone seemed to have staff stationed there.
Interactive cardio walls
Ninja assault course
There is also a cafe area with lots of seating which is slightly raised so that parents can watch, although younger children do need to be supervised.
All the children had great fun, bouncing on the trampolines in the main court and jumping onto the huge airbag or into the foam pits. Jump 360 seemed to have a real party atmosphere to it with loud music, flashing disco lights and it was really appealing for teens. My teen enjoyed the bucking bronco and battle beam area, although my 5-year-old was too small for these.
Ninja assault course
The place that they enjoyed the most was the Ninja assault course, it is sort of a cross between the TV show Ninja warriors and a really fun soft-play area. There are two lanes and you race against your opponent to see who can complete the course first, you have to climb over ropes, scramble through a foam it, whizz down a slide, race around a track and slide down a fireman's pole.
There is a height restriction in place on the Ninja assault course of 1.2 meters, the staff did measure my five-year-old Sophia and said she was tall enough to go on it however she did struggle a bit and she took a bit of a tumble on the very steep slide, so I would say it is more suited to older children as my teen really enjoyed it.
You get an hour of bouncing and when your time is up an announcement will come over the loudspeaker saying people with a certain colour wristbands time is up.
All three children seemed to enjoy themselves, whilst my five-year-old had fun and wants to return I do feel like Jump 360 was better suited to older children simply because of the height restrictions. However, younger children will still be able to take part in some things and have fun bouncing away on the trampolines.
As well as the regular bounce sessions which we attended and costs £10 per person for an hour there are also other sessions available. Such as Jump Junior for toddlers aged 1- 5 which cost just £5 per person. Jump Teen sessions are available and cost £10 for a two-hour bunce session which runs on the first Friday of every month. There is a Jump Late adult session, Jump Fit exercise sessions, additional need sessions and family sessions. Check the website www.jump360.co.uk for session times, prices and to book.
I am sure that it won't be long until my teen and her friends are re-visiting Jump 360 as they all had such good fun, she said it was like soft play for big kids and I think that sums Jump 360 up perfectly.
I love a good roast dinner and being typically northern we have a Sunday roast every single week as you can't beat fluffy roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and lashings of thick gravy. However sometimes when we are busy we just don't have time to cook a roast so we often find ourselves heading to Toby Carvery as it is somewhere that all five of us enjoy, even our very fussy eater of a five-year-old! Plus we always find it really good value when eating out as a family of five.
Last Saturday we went shopping at Kingston Park and we decided to head to Toby Carvery whilst we were there. We normally head to the more newer Toby Carvery Shiremoor as this is closer to where we live, however before it opened we were regulars at the Kenton branch as I used to crave them when pregnant with Sophia, so I was keen to see if things were as good as I remember.
We arrived around 2.30pm on a Saturday afternoon and it was fairly busy, however, we were greeted straight away at the entrance and showing to a table in the dining area. I noticed that the restaurant had a bit of an update since I last visited about five years ago and everything looked more modern yet still welcoming. The dining area and bar area were very clean and there were lots of staff dotted around serving customers, first impressions were good.
We decided to all order a carvery, after all, it is what Toby does best so why order anything else. Myself, other half and teen ordered refillable soft drinks which we helped ourselves too and the little two had blackcurrant squash which was served at the table.
The thing I like the best about Toby Carvery is that they always have a choice of four roast meats, Turkey, Gammon, Pork and Beef and they always serve giant homemade Yorkshire puddings. Arriving at the carvery counter we had a bit of a wait as the chef had disappeared to get more meat (I think) and there was a bit of a queue in front of us. Now I honestly love Toby Carvery and we often pay to visit ourselves but I have to admit on this occasion I was a bit disappointed as the meat was really fatty, the beef and pork had huge chunks of fat on the top, so much so that the kids couldn't eat it. The mash had run out and no one had refilled it and the only vegetable dishes on offer was roast potatoes, a potato bake, onions, peas, carrots and cauliflower cheese and there is normally more choice.
However the food that we did have was really nice, the roast potatoes were really crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, the turkey was really tasty and the Yorkshires were as nice as always. The service was also really good too, our server was really friendly with the children and the service was quick.
For dessert, the little two ordered the Make Your Own Sundae, dairy ice cream, meringue pieces, honeycomb pieces, fruit salad flavour crunch, a wafer and a choice of sauce; Jacob went for the Scillian Lemon sauce and Sophia had chocolate. Despite being a kids pudding, I thought they were really generous portions and the children really enjoyed them.
My teen ordered the apple, blackberry and redcurrant crumble served with custard and the other half went for the Scillian Lemon sundae. Desserts arrived promptly and were the perfect way to end our meal.
We were in and out of the restaurant in just over an hour and a half it was fairly busy the whole time we were there. The service was really good, the restaurant and bar area looked really nice and clean and the toilets were also very clean. It was a shame that the food on the carvery was not topped up but the food that we did have was nice. Our bill for three adult carvery, two child carverys, two children sundaes, two adult puddings, three refillable drinks and two soft drinks was under £50 which I think is really good value.
I am sure we will be revisiting Toby Carvery again soon, I just hope next time they have some mash.
Disclosure We received a complimentary meal for the purpose of this review, all opinions are my own.
My 5-year-old daughter Sophia is horse crazy (just like I used to be), she dreams of owning her own pony someday and loves to play with toy horse and ponies and have riding lessons. So she often watches Spirit Riding Free on Netflix, a TV show about a young girl called Lucky and her horse Spirit. So when I found out that there was a range of Spirit Riding Free toys by Flair I knew these would be a big hit with fans of the show. We were sent some of the toys to review, so read on to see what we thought.
There are five items in the range, we were sent four of the products to try out. The products are
Spirit Classic Horse & Stable set (£24.99)
Classic Sounds & Action Horse (£19.99)
Spirit Deluxe Feeding Set (£59.99)
Spirit Riding Free Doll & Horse (£15.99)
Spirit Blind Box (£4.99)
Spirit Classic Horse & Stable Set £24.99
This was Sophia's favourite as it is a stable, horse and lots of accessories. The set comes with a 7'' horse inspired by the show, it has a lovely soft mane and tail that children groom as it comes with grooming brushes. The stable fits the horse and has a handle on top for ease of play and the side opens to create a playset. It comes with accessories, such as hay bale, mucking out rakes and spade, tack, grooming brush, tack box and stickers. Sophia has had lots of fun playing with this set, pretending to look after the horse and it is great to use with the other sets.
Spirit Riding Free Doll & Horse set £15.99
There are a few different horse and dolls to collect from the show we were sent Prudence and Chica Linda. The doll has fully poseable arms and legs, perfect for riding and taking care of the horses. I liked how this set came with the horse and rider as it a great little playset to encourage imaginative play. You can also get Lucky and Spirit and Abigail and Boomerang.
Classic Sounds & Action Horse £19.99
We were sent Spirit horse and he came with a grooming brush, trophy and rosettes. He has a button on his back which when pushed makes him stamp his front leg, you can also move him so he rears on his hind legs. He makes realistic horse sounds and if you pet his muzzle he will respond with noise.
Spirit Bling Bag £4.99
These are small blind bag type toys, it is a box shaped like a stable that contains a small horse figure. You don't know which horse you have until you open your box, we were sent two sets and we ended up with two of the same horses, Chica Linda. The box turns into a little stable for the horse to stay in.
What We Thought
Sophia really likes these toys, she has played with them a lot over the past few days making up games. She really likes all of the sets, although the stable set is her favourite due to all the accessories it came with. As a parent, I like that these toys represent the tv show and are not too expensive and that all of the pieces can work on their own or together. If you have a fan of the show or even if you just have a child who likes horses then I am sure they will enjoy these toys.
You can buy the Spirit Riding Free toys now from Smyths and Amazon.
Disclosure we were sent these toys for the purpose of this review, however, all opinions are my own.