Friday, 25 May 2018

Starting school; Tips for Parents

So, are your kids starting school in September? You're probably wondering where those early years went?! It probably doesn’t seem like long ago that they were tiny little babies, right? Well, being a parent means having to be able to move with each change your child experiences and being there to help them with absolutely everything that they might need help with - whether it be putting stickers in their school shoes, name tags on their clothes or getting them sized up for their very first school uniform!

 
 Here’s more of what you should do as your child prepares for the start of school...
 
Learn to Let Go
First of all, you need to remember that you have to let go a little and trust the school to look after them. It's not always as easy as it might sound when you’re used to being the one that looks after them all day, but it’s something that you’ll grow accustomed to very quickly, so don’t worry about it too much and enjoy the time alone!
 
Focus on Finding the Most Suitable School for Them
There are so many schools out there that you can send your child to, so how do you choose which of them is best for them? It’s for you to decide on this, but it should be about making sure that the standards of the school are high enough and they have a track record of good outcomes for pupils. You might want to consider the best school Leicester High, or another high standard school that’s suitable.
 
Support Them as They Begin to Socialise
One of the most important things that your children will do as they enter school is meet other children they’ve never met before. This will give them more opportunities than ever before so far in their lives to socialise with the same kids on a consistent basis. They might find this difficult at first, so it’s up to you to support them as they discover challenges and get to grips with it all - you may make some new friends too!
 
Solidify Positive Routines for Your Kids
Your kids definitely need to get into positive and healthy routines once school begins. Their days immediately become more structured because they’re spending a certain number of hours each day at school. Therefore, you should try to make sure that they go to bed at the right time and same time each morning; and also make sure that they eat at regular times too.
 
Make it Exciting
If you can make school one of those things that your kids quickly start to look forward to, the whole transition will be so much easier for them. And when it’s easier for them, it’s also a lot easier for you as a parent too! As a parent, you want your kid to be going into school happy each morning rather than dreading it and being upset about the whole situation - let them tell you all about what they've done at the end of the day and listen to what they're telling you!
 
Being a parent when your child hits these huge milestones can be daunting and a little scary, it’s a small reminder that your child grows up fast, but rather than trying to ignore that fact, you should be embracing it and making the best decisions that will help them in the long-term.
 
That’s what being a parent is all about.
 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Planning a Children's Party

Children's birthday parties are something that for me, just completely represent what being a kid is all about! Inviting all of your friends to dance, play and eat cake is the best part of having a birthday and I love to make them special. Ever since we've had Millie, she's had so many different kinds of birthday parties - She's had small parties for friends and family, soft play parties, farm parties and your standard 'sports hall' party and so planning them can be a bit of a hefty task, especially now we have Mylo and his birthday is just 5 days after Millie’s!


For the next couple of years, I can only imagine we'll be throwing joint parties for them both in order to keep me sane and to keep them both happy - it also means that we don't have to hire 2 different places for 2 lots of parties for the same people but, it does mean there may be a clash of themes when it comes to these parties! Millie is your typical girly girl and loves anything pink, anything to do with Unicorns or Mermaids and Mylo is, well at the moment, a boisterous boy whom I can only presume will be into cars, dinosaurs and getting dirty! So, with this in mind, it's great to know that there are companies out there that can help when it comes to parties to provide everything we could want and need to make it an unforgettable day for both of the kids!




Personalised Parties is a website where you can buy pre-made party packs that include everything you need to throw a party! Not just birthdays, may I add, they have party packs on there for most occasions; Easter, Summer, Christmas, you name it - they have it! The best thing is, that you can personalise your party packs, if you choose, to include ages or names, meaning it's a one of a kind decoration just for you! Millie had a Unicorn themed party for her 5th Birthday a few weeks ago and so we got the Unicorn party pack which included 56 items (for 8 people):

x8 Personalised Unicorn party plates  
x8 Unicorn party cups 
x8 Personalised Unicorn party boxes
x8 Unicorn party hats
x8 Unicorn party masks
x16 Personalised Food flags

We also had invites and thank you cards made too and got some personalised wrapping paper for Millie which we have kept as a keep sake!

If you're throwing a standard party then it's a great pack to give you everything you need to line the tables! You can used the party boxes as treat boxes or fill them with sandwiches and snacks for each child that comes - doing this means you won't waste any food either! It was great to know that everything was on theme and we didn't need to get much else to cater for the guests, just the important bits like the cake and sweets! We got the same pack but in a different theme for Mylo's birthday and this was personalised by having the number 1 on everything - unfortunately, we didn't end up throwing him a party but we used the plates and cups for a BBQ we had at home the following week! You can check out all of their party themes here.







As for actual decorations, Unicorns are everywhere so it wasn't difficult to find some bits however, rather than getting them all separately and wondering if they would arrive on time, we were kindly sent a party pack from Pinnable Parties which included everything we could have dreamed of to make Millie's party the best Unicorn party EVER! Pinnable parties hope to provide you with everything you need to make the perfect 'Pintrest inspired' party at one set cost, meaning you're not scouring the web endlessly looking for confetti filled balloons or unicorn head-pieces - they have lots of different themes available and can work to your budget! Our unicorn party box came full of:
Unicorn head pieces

Balloons
Unicorn party poppers
Happy Birthday bunting
Unicorn bunting
Paper tassel bunting
Unicorn paper cups
Unicorn serving plates
Cutlery
Candles
Unicorn Party bags and pre-made party bag fillers
Confetti

It was so easy to know that we had everything we needed to decorate the house and the venue for her birthday party in one place and we simply took the box along with us and decorated the room within half an hour! Everything was setup and ready to go and she loved it! Get in touch with Ami who runs Pinnable Parties if you'd like to find out more on what she can offer you!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Flight Advice: How NOT to miss your flight this Summer

“This is the last call for passengers X, Z and Y. Please proceed to the gate immediately.” We’ve all been there and it isn’t a pretty sight. The false smiles from airline staff; the stares from disgruntled passengers; and the realisation that the holiday was almost an absolute flop. Missing a flight is one of the worst feelings in the world, so why are we so blasé about the whole experience? People, your time sipping cocktails on a beach is on the line! Hopefully, the last sentence should be enough to make you see sense.


With summer fast approaching and holidays being booked left, right and centre, you can grab some amazing summer deals over on Groupon which give you top Holiday Extras discounts on flights, hotels and package holidays. If you're looking for a quick weekend escape you can find those too, but make sure you follow these tips to make sure you don’t end up regretting planning their trip properly and missing their flight:
 
Book A Hotel
Not just any hotel – one that is on the premises. Savvy businesses such as the Marriot work well with airlines around the world and, this is a huge plus for fliers. By booking into a Courtyard airport establishment, you can save the embarrassment of missing out on expenses paid holiday. The grounds are feet away from the landing strip, so there is no way you won’t be there on time. I know what you’re thinking: what about the cost? Well, a room totals around £50 for a night, roughly the amount for a taxi.
 
Make Use Of Lounges
I’m by no means a luxury traveller, although I would love to experience it more often if possible! However, as a Mum, I understand that getting two kids and a boyfriend to the gate on time is a tough job. So, the two-hour rule is by no means in effect. If anything, it’s a one-hour-and-a-mad-rush-through-security job. Anyway, the kids won’t last in an airport for 180 minutes, right? Maybe not, if there is a lounge. Usually, there is free food, drinks (alcohol) and entertainment included within the price. It’s fun for all the family at a low cost of £15-£25.
 
Get Through Security Quicker
We would all love to miss out the queues and head straight through to the duty-free section. Of course, it never works that way as there is always a line at security. Thankfully, it is possible to get through faster than usual if one is prepared to be organised and make sacrifices. For example, pack everything in your hand luggage in order of what will stay in and what will come out. Anything electronic has to go through the scanners in a separate tray so they should be at the top. It’s a small timesaver yet it works. Desperate people must ask kindly to jump the queue.
 
Stay Focused
Picture the scene. Everyone is through and there are plenty of minutes left on the clock. Great, time for a well-deserved liquid lunch and a bit of shopping. Although it’s fine to start the holiday at the airport, don’t forget to concentrate. According to frequent fliers and airline workers, people who miss flights are inside the lobby ready and raring to go. Still, they daydream and forget that there is a plane to catch. Don’t be a dummy – be aware of your flight time and gate number!
 
Have you ever missed a flight? If so, what are your methods for airline punctuality?


 

Monday, 7 May 2018

Food Review: Bistrot Pierre Spring/Summer Menu

If you’re a reader of my blog you would have seen that back in October, we went over to Leicester to take a look and try the food at Bistrot Pierre - you can read more on that review here. A french styled restaurant hidden in the cobbled streets just 5 minutes walk from Leicester's busy shopping centre, Highcross. It’s a very chic yet casual restaurant, completely inspired by the cute cafes and restaurants in France and with new items added to the menu for the Summer season, it’s a great time to head over and see what they have to offer! Perfect for everyone; families, couples, dates, there is an array of food waiting to be tried and from 2 amazing menus!
 
You can choose to dine:
 
Prix fixe Lunch 3 course for £13.95


Spring evening prix fixe 2 course dinner £14.95
Menu enfant £6.95 Main, Dessert + drink 
Spring A La carte Menu 
Soiree Gastronomique which is a 6 course set dinner available on selected dates 
Diner et van 3 course for £27.95 + specially selected wine with each course 
Also, get your hands on a FREE DRINK using my code LBPBWKSB
(Terms and Conditions apply see here)
 
 

 


Starters

We decided to go with some items from the A la Carte menu as there was much more choice on there compared to the set menu, however we were happy eating from that as the food sounded lovely! Before we ordered ours, we had the kids food ordered just so it could be brought out as soon as possible and they actually had theirs before we got our starters which is incredible if you have kids - the worst thing is waiting for them to get their food! 

All tables come with french bread and butter and you can have as much as you like - just ask for more when your basket is empty. For starters though, we got the Assiette Méditerranéenne which is a sharing platter of all of the nibbles available on the menu including Chorizo, Olives, Camembert, tapenade, sun-dried tomatoes, houmous and parfait - its the perfect starter for anyone who loves light and yummy food! 

There are 6 new additions to the starters though so theres a lot more too choose from if that doesn’t sound like your thing, options include:

Calamars (Crispy fried squid) 

Fritôt de Brie (Deep fried Brie)
Cassolette de moules (Mussels)
Salade de canard (Crispy duck)
Asperges (Goats cheese salad) 
Soupe de poisson (Fish/Shellfish soup)

bistrot pierre leicester

bistrot pierre leicester

Kids food

The childrens menu is great value for money as it includes their Main, Dessert and a Drink so you won’t waste money on things that you don’t know if they’ll eat! Millie is a massive fan of Macroni cheese so when she knew that was available, she didn’t need to know anything else! Mylo eats big meals now too so we also got him a kids meal which was Chicken breast and they both loved it! All of the childrens meals are served with fries and cucumber/tomatoes unless you ask otherwise. 

The other meals available for the children are:
Burger
Fish Goujons
Omlette
Ham and Cheese Toastie 

They then both had pudding - Millie had Warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and Mylo had Strawberry ice cream Coupe which came with marshmallows and meringue (I actually had the bigger version for my pudding as it looked so good!) 

The other puddings available are:
Crepes
Choice of Ice cream

bistrot pierre leicester





bistrot pierre leicester


A la Carte Menu

As I said, we went for meals from the A la carte menu as there was just more choice, you can see the full A la carte menu here and the Evening 2 course prix fixe menu here - as we had quite a light starter, we both fancied something that was meaty and would fill us up, being torn between the 9oz Rib-eye Steak and Médaillons de porc, Adam decided to go for the Steak which came with a choice of 2 sauces - Garlic or Peppercorn. He had it served with side salad and a portion of fries and was cooked Medium-Rare: absolutely perfect. 

I am so indecisive when it comes to eating out and usually have to look before we arrive so that I have plenty of time to choose but all of it sounded so good, I knew whatever I chose I’d be happy with and I was torn between the new Poulet printanier (chicken) or Epaule d’agneau (moroccan Lamb) and so I got the Lamb on the recommendation of our lovely waiter. It was probably the best bit of Lamb I’ve ever eaten and it came with a gorgeous sauce and giant cous cous with vegetables and roasted potatoes on the side. 

The other new options to choose from are:
Salade de poulet £12.75 (Grilled chicken and Avocado salad) 
Salade de canard £13.50 (Crispy duck salad) 
Poivron farçi £9.95 (Stuffed peppers + mushrooms) 
Loup de mer £14.95 (Sea bass) 
Croquettes de poisson £12.95 (Fish cake)


bistrot pierre leicester


bistrot pierre leicester


Desserts

As I said, the kids had their puddings included in the price of the childrens meal and Millie went for the brownie and we got Mylo the Strawberry ice cream which was topped with fresh strawberries, cream, marshmallows and meringue. We aren't usually ones to go for a pudding as I sometimes prefer to have a starter but we saw the options and had to have one! You can see all of the desserts here

Adam decided to go for the Creme Brûlée and I had the same as Mylo but just a bigger portion! It was so yummy and could have eaten it twice! 

The new options to the dessert menu are:
Mousse au chocolat £5.50 (Chocolate and Hazelnut mousse) 


Sundae au chocolat et cerise £6.25 (Chocolate ice cream sundae) 

It’s such an underrated place to eat and we love going back here! The food is absolutely perfect and the service is impeccable and of course, if you have children, they’re great with kids too and have everything they could need! When you arrive, the menu also doubles up as a colouring book so they’ll be entertained for the whole meal! But, if you’re without kids and want a treat, they have an extensive wine menu where you can try some amazing french wines and enjoy the luxury of the restaurant and it’s french feel. 





bistrot pierre leicester



*This meal was kindly gifted to us for review purposes

Friday, 4 May 2018

How to use props in Photos

Everyone is raving mad about making photographs ‘instagrammable’ and doing everything for ‘the gram’ but how can you make what is a boring flat lay look like something that should be in an interior magazine? Props. It’s all about photo props! Being a blogger, props are both the life and soul of a photo, something that helps a simple image stand out amongst the rest but can also be something that makes you poorer than a pauper!

 It’s great to stock up on props including trinkets, jewellery and cute mugs but you’ll find yourself with an ever-growing collection that you only make use of every so often. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing but more about making the most of what you’re buying and using for different purposes!

My blog photos have definitely improved over the years and this has led onto my social photos doing the same! Over on my Instagram, I like to share a mixture of life and beauty images, not forgetting what Instagram was set out to be in the first place (a way to share instant memories) but I know that over time, people have become picky with what they like to see and more and more people like the ‘well-arranged’ style photos instead of a quick snap and upload so I take my time to do these alongside the natural ones. 

 I like to grab bits and pieces to go in images that look good aesthetically but are also great to be used as a purpose like copper or wire baskets, trinket dishes, photos and prints, pots and containers and vases – these are all great props but you can also use them when you’re not taking images as decorative objects and features at home. I love to use photo frames too, the little instax-mini ones are fab as they’re easy to store and are a great feature!


If you’re on the hunt for props or even some décor for your home, take a look at ESPIRIT, as they have some gorgeous pieces that would be great in photos or on your dressing table. Be savvy with what you already have around the house and remember, not everything has be used for what it’s made for! Plant pots could make great snack holders, glasses could make cute, tiny vases… 

Throws and blankets are also a great thing to have lying around as they make great backdrops or flat lay pieces. This beautiful grey patterned blanket from ESPIRIT would look lovely over the back of a chair but easy to whip off and use as a flat lay backdrop for an Insta pic! Use your imagination and you’ll find you will be able to do much more with a lot less of what you already have!