Easter with a difference at Hotel Chocolat – A Review

I haven’t been aware of Hotel Chocolat for that long, a few years maybe since a store opened up in our local shopping centre, but they’ve quickly become a firm favourite with just about everyone!

I think this is because of the innovate nature of the brand. I know being different and experimenting with flavours in choclate isn’t new, but it IS new to the masses. Before Hotel Chocolate, this was probably confined to the exclusive chocolatiers or posh department stores. But now it’s all on our doorstep, which is pretty darn good!

We love nipping into our local store and buying little treats, and their Easter treats are utterly amazing!

The Egglet Extra Thick Easter Egg Hotel Chocolat

This gorgeous Egglet (above) looks so luxurious and indulgent doesn’t it? The egg is extra thick chocolate with these beautiful mini eggs inside which are filled with praline and other meltingly soft centres.

Milk Chocolate Eggs & Soldiers hotel chocolat

Or how about this ‘Eggs and Soldiers’ creation…. I love what they’ve done here, so funny and different!

Chirp Egg

This ‘daffodil’ inspired egg with the Easter chicks and bunnies is brilliant.

Choc Cross Buns

As is this Hot Choc Buns set…. how delicious do these chocolates look?

Anyway, I could go on and on, they have so MANY wonderful creations, you can see for yourself by looking on the Hotel Chocolat website - they are amazing!

We were lucky enough to be sent something seasonal to review. I was given a choice and chose the Caramel Milk Chocolate Egg Sandwich as I thought this would go down quite well with my young children.

When the box arrived I was surprised to see it wrapped up so beautifully. A gorgeous black and white box with a gorgeous gift bag inside…. felt like I was opening something very special!

hotel chocolate easter

Very stylish packaging!

My Girl had been pestering me non stop to open it so in the end I let her open it when we had her friend round to stay.

Egg Sandwich Hotel Chocolat

I have to say I was surprised by how small the Egg was when we took off all the packaging, although it’s better that way so the children can eat it all at once without having to go back to it later, which of course they never want to leave it for later!

Once opened, the ‘Egg Sandwich’ came in two halves. I gave one half to the girls and the other to my twins, without first devouring a bit myself of course!

Hotel Chocolate Easter

The whole Egg Sandwich concept was a novelty. It was rather intriguing and fun to see what it was going to feel and taste like!

The chocolat was delicious and the crispy caramel gave it an extra sweet twist.

Suffice to say the Egg Sandwich didn't last very long at all!

Suffice to say the Egg Sandwich didn’t last very long at all!

I am off to the Hotel Chocolate store right now to purchase a special Easter treat for each of my children…. hope I get something nice too :)

I was sent the chocolate Easter Egg Sandwich for free, in exchange for an honest review.

CBeebies Live – The Big Band – A Review

If you haven’t already seen this show or booked tickets yet… DO IT while you still have time!

We took our three young children last week and they had a blast! It’s a fun filled roller coaster of laughs and entertainment for your little ones AND YOU! (I have to admit I loved it just as much as my kids, if not more!!).

We went to Wembley Arena for our show which is a great venue. When you go and see shows, sometimes there’s big queues to get in and it’s all a bit hectic but here everything ran smoothly. We had to pick up our tickets at the box office which was easy and everyone was calm and relaxed even though we were running late!

CBeebies Live Big Band Tour 2014

Just picking up our tickets. We had great seats and could see the stage and cast so clearly! My twins had a light up accessory to wave around which we bought on the way in! Kids can’t resist these things but the ARE a rip off price wise! Similarly if you want sweets and chocolates it’s always best to take your own.

The show kicked off with the whole ensemble singing a song, then Rastmouse took to the stage singing ‘Don’t Worry be Happy’ which was brilliant. The whole show was about the ‘cast’, your CBeebies favourites, trying to put together a ‘Big Band’ and it follows their quest to find all the musical instruments they are going to need!

CBeebies Live

After Rastamouse, on came Mr Maker who sang ‘Build a House’ which was fun and got all the kids in the audience joining in too! He then found someone playing a guitar for the ‘band’! We were treated to a brilliant Saxophone tune followed by the Zingzillas who came to the stage through the audience which the children loved!

CBeebies Live The Big Band

Lots of fast paced fun. Nina from Nina and the Neurons was fabulous, she found some drums! My Girl was thoroughly enjoying the show.

After the interval, the show sprang back to life with everyones favourite – Mr Tumble!

Mr Tumble CBeebies Live

The utterly mesmerizing Mr Tumble! My twins were looking forward to seeing him the most!

Mr Tumble CBeebies Live

There was audience participation in Mr Tumbles section of the show with some lucky volunteers being plucked from the crowd for lots of silliness, games and laughter!

CBeebies Live Tour

Mr Bloom took centre stage who was lovely to watch and lots of fun. He was joined by a keyboard player while some of the cast sang ‘The Ugly Bug Ball’ which is childhood favourite of mine! The full ensemble then joined for lots of singing and dancing at the end, finishing off with some real singalong numbers!

I have to say I love watching Katy Ashworth too, she’s captivating on the stage, so animated and full of energy!

By the end the audience on the floor seating area were all up on their feet, dancing!

CBeebies Live

Everyone was on a real high when the show finished!

We had a great day out at the CBeebies Live show, and even though the ticket prices might put some off, it really is a one off treat and so worth it to see the look on the childrens’ faces as they watch their much loved presenters and characters from their favourite shows in real life,.

Next years CBeebies live show, touring next Easter 2015, is going to be a Justin and friends spectacular which I think will be brilliant, so if you can’t make the last few dates of this years production, start saving those pennies for next year! You won’t be disappointed! :)

I was sent complimentary tickets for the show in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own.

 

Project 365 and Diary Update – Weeks 14 and 15

As you can see from the title of this post, I missed last weeks Project 365, I was just so busy! I’ve also missed the link up to this weeks Project 365 too over at The Boy and Me, but I WAS away so I have an excuse but still, it’s annoying! I don’t want to give up though, I just need to get back on track, so I’m going to write up my last two weeks now and hopefully get linking back in with everyone else next weekend!

It actually doesn’t matter, these things happen and as long as I’m still cracking on with my ‘Photo a Day, Every Day, For a Year’ project then it’s ok….. and I am.

So. Week 14 kicked off with Mothers Day. I was quite spoilt, not in the receiving of gifts department, but I had a lie in which is a luxury in my household, then my daughter brought me flowers and breakfast in bed – a full English – prepared by her (with a little help from the OH, maybe!).

Day 89 – Mothers Day. Didn’t take many pics so have to make do with this one of H in mother in laws garden. Cousins there too so garden a bit messy with strewn clothes and toys etc…
Day 90 – My girl riding a bike that the OH brought in. She has only just learned to ride really as she has never likes them and has had no interest in riding a bike before!
Day 91 – Teen and girlfriend have been together for a year (with a small breakup in between) and he wanted to buy her a gift.
Day 92 – Twins playing a game that we were sent for review.

Teen had a hospital appointment at the Fracture Clinic to have his temporary cast taken off, more X-rays and the permanent, light weight, fibre glass cast put on. Doctor informed us that the wrist was actually broken in TWO places and not one as they originally thought. Poor Teen, no wonder he was in agony. The Doctor also mentioned that judging by the gaps between his bones, he still has a LOT of growing to do! Bloody hell!! Considering he’s almost 6ft tall now that’s slightly worrying!!!

Day – 93 – The cast is on. I’m surprised how many colours there are to choose from in the fibre glass cast material! Every colour you can think of… Teen chose red but then decided to put his artwork to good use and transform himself into Iron Man! (I know!).
Day 94 – A party for the twins.

Day 95 – Saturday – We went to see CBeebies Live at Wembley Arena! Was lots of fun.

Here endeth week 14. Now onto week 15 and the start of the Easter holidays for us in the South East.

Day 96 – Sunday 6th April – Another day, another party. This one was pretty cool, it was a dinosaur hunt adventure party. This photo shows my boys and their friend who is in the same class as them, but twice a big lol. Bless my little lads!

Day

Day 97 – My Girl painting one of the twins hands.
Day 98 – At the Natural History Museum.
Day 99 – My girl and her friend sharing a Hotel Chocolat Easter egg!

Day 100 – Enjoying the garden in the nice weather.
Day 101 – Driving on the motorway visiting my Dad, my Girl drinking my Costa!

Day

Day 102 – Saturday 12th April – Minecraft. All my children have been playing this together, on various devices but together in the same game! Baffles me!

 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Disney on Ice – Worlds of Fantasy

When it comes to ALL the family watching a film together at home, it’s not always easy picking out one that everyone will be happy about watching as all four of my children have quite large age gaps (apart from the twins!) so it usually ends up being something Disney, because everyone loves Disney films right?

I think we know every animated Disney movie and all the characters like we know our own family! Each time a new film is released you can’t actually believe it could be better than the previous ones.

I remember when Beauty and the Beast came out, many moons ago, I thought it was truly amazing but that nothing could be any better than The Little Mermaid which I loved and still love today, as does my 8yr old daughter! But it was… there’s always some new, magical twist in the animation that makes the films so mesmerising.

My daughter watches those two movies, as well as Pocahontas, Enchanted, Tinkerbell, Tangled and more recently, the utterly brilliant Frozen, over and over again. While my twins love Planes, Cars and Monsters University and Teen has always had a soft spot for the Toy Story films!

In fact we could all watch ANY of the films at any given time. They are classics.

So of course, going to watch an actual LIVE Disney production is always going to go down well, especially when it’s Disney on Ice! This is an absolute must for any Disney fan and they have their new show on the road RIGHT NOW.

The Worlds of Fantasy production promises to ‘take families on a whirlwind tour of contemporary and classic Disney tales, whisking audiences away to four magical locations on an action-packed tour led by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse!

AND WE HAVE TICKETS!

We are so excited to see this show. The last Disney on Ice we went to was a few years ago at the O2 in London, think it was the Disney Princesses, I only took my daughter as my twins were too young so it will be great to take them for the first time.

I know they’re going to love it.

I’ve read that the captivating ice adventure will take Disney lovers across the auto-racing terrain of Cars, Andy’s bedroom for some Toy Story 3 fun, under the sea with Ariel from The Little Mermaid and into Tinker Bell’s mystical Pixie Hollow. Mickey Mouse embarks on an adventurous journey with Minnie Mouse to uncover each world of fantasy, but the plan goes awry when their cherry red roadster unexpectedly breaks down. Although Donald Duck and Goofy try, it takes the assistance of the coolest Cars on the ice to get the pistons firing again.

Worlds of Fantasy offers the perfect combination of elements for fans of Disney On Ice.

“From the contemporary feel of Cars and Toy Story 3 to the timeless quality of The Little Mermaid and Tinker Bell, audiences will see four completely different Disney worlds brought to life,” says producer Kenneth Feld. “All of this provides a value that is truly unparalleled in the world of live family entertainment. More than ever before, there’s something for everyone.”

Here are some interesting facts from the show:

• Each life size car took 2,000 man-hours to build.

• Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy is the first show featuring Tinkerbell’s story live on ice.

• Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy features choreography by Emmy Award®-winning choreographer Sarah Kawahara and lighting by Emmy Award®-winning designer Peter Morse.

• It takes over 12 hours to set up the show in each new market.

• 13 production trucks are used to take this show from city to city.

• There are 79 different paint colours in the show.

Ariel and Eric copy

Its sounds and looks pretty spectacular. The above picture has been taken from the show!

We cannot wait to see it next weekend, it’s gonna be amaze-balls! We are going with a friend of mine and her children so even more exciting for all the kids.

The Worlds of Fantasy show began it’s UK tour on 5th March 2014. It’s already visited some UK towns but there are still dates to go so hurry up and book your tickets now, your children will love you forever!

Wembley Arena, London 17th – 20th April 2014
Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff 23rd – 27th April 2014

To learn more about Disney On Ice, log onto www.disneyonice.co.uk or visit them on YouTube and Facebook.

 

We have been sent complimentary tickets for the show, in exchange for an honest review.

 

A Perfect Day

I am a stay at home Mum.

I know that recently I started a job two days a week, during the school hours, which I wrote about here, but I still consider myself to be a stay at home Mum because that’s what I’ve always been and my job slots in between the school hours anyway so theoretically I’m still at home when my kids are :)

And now, at this time more than any other, the school holidays, is when I’m at my happiest.

I love it when my children are off school. My youngest, my twins, only started school last September so I’m still getting used to not having my children around me 24/7. I don’t like it, so you can imagine how much I love it when I have them back again during the holidays.

A perfect day to me could involve many different things; being with family (especially my Dad), a fun day out, seeing friends, a proud mummy moment, …. but honestly and truly, the moments when I’m feeling most content and happy is when I have my children right here with me, by my side, doing nothing but snuggling up together.

I had the perfect day/perfect moment yesterday actually, and I said it out loud to my kids, as I often do, to remind them how happy they really do make me.

On Tuesday I took the kids into Central London, we had a fab day, taking in the Natural History Museum…. my twins have been learning all about dinosaurs at school this last term so they wanted to see the ‘real ones’! I had Teen with me, which was unusual, he didn’t want to come with us but I insisted as I wanted us all to be together. We made our way round the the Tate Modern after the museum as Teen is doing Art GCSE coursework at the moment and I thought it might be inspirational. In fact we were all bloody knackered after walking miles, but it was still a great day.

The following day, however, was the day I’m talking about. We did nothing. A full day out in Central London really takes it out of me now so all I wanted to do was be at home and recuperate.

We had a movie day. All five of us, myself and my four wonderful children. Again, it’s unusual to have Teen with us as he’s at the age where he’s usually doing something different to the rest of us, but he was staying in to study so joined us too!

We had the blinds and curtains closed and had a ‘cinema’ room, we watched Disney movies all day starting with Planes, then Frozen, then Monsters University, then Tangled…. we snacked, we laughed, we cuddled, we played and it was perfect.

At one moment I had both my little twins laying on me, snuggling up to me and I was in heaven. Having their little bodies clambering on me, the sound of their giggling, the smell of their hair… just having them close to me was my idea of a perfect moment.

I felt utterly happy and content. A lot of things stress me out on a daily basis but here I was, surrounded by all my babies, feeling completely relaxed and perfectly happy.

I told my children how happy they make me, how beautiful they are, how lucky I feel and how there was nothing in the whole world I’d rather be doing than being there with them.

A perfect day.

Linking up with The Prompt over at Mum turned Mom…. A Perfect Day….

mumturnedmom

Easter Bunnies and Giveaway with My 1st Years

Easter is still a magical affair in our household, what with having young children around, it’s a bit like Christmas and Santa but with the Easter Bunny instead! My children BELIEVE!!

They think the Easter Bunny brings their eggs, or at least, he hides them and they have to hunt… it’s very cute.

Chocolate eggs and Easter Bunnies are what it’s all about and these are the things kids want the most of during this period!

We have our very own, real life Easter Bunny at home. Our pet white rabbit. He belongs to my daughter and he is gorgeous!

Day 77 - I thought this was a great shot of our little white rabbit! It's so hard to get a pic of him as he is always moving

This is our little boy…. enjoying a grassy snack in the garden, isn’t he cute?

Over the years my children have been bought various fluffy toy bunnies at Easter time… Relatives too usually turn up with at least one bunny, as well as the chocolate eggs obviously!

Buying a present, rather than or as well as an Easter Egg is becoming more popular. For the older child, a teenager maybe, they may prefer a gift instead, or money even, to buy what they want. And definitely the very young children in the household don’t need an abundance of chocolate.

I think that most parents wouldn’t buy Easter eggs for babies so buying a little gift is the preferred option. If you are visiting friends or relatives with young babies over Easter, you may want to take something special, a keepsake maybe.

The beautiful personalised baby gifts from My 1st Years are just perfect, every item is absolutely delightful, and would make an ideal gift for any baby.

Personalised Baby Gifts

The online boutique is simply stunning and has THE most beautiful collection of gifts to choose from, you really must head over the website and see for yourself!

There is an enchanting array of personalised items for your little one. I don’t know about you but I loved seeing my new baby’s name in print on ANYTHING… it just felt so exciting and special, so to receive a beautifully made item of clothing with their name on or a cute little personalised teddy as a gift was amazing!

My 1st Years has some gorgeous little Bunny items too so to celebrate the Easter period I have teamed up with them to offer one of my lucky readers a stunning personalised white baby blanket with a tiny bunny print running through it and cute little bunny ears on! The personalised writing can be chosen from three different colours; grey, baby pink or baby blue.

Personalised Velour Bunny Hooded Baby Blankets

This beautiful blanket retails at £25.

At My 1st Years, each and every gift you buy comes with a FREE gorgeous gift box which really adds that all important wow factor.

gift box

And at the moment, with every gift that’s purchased via their Easter collection, they are very generously donating £5 to the bunny sanctuary… A bunny is for life, not just for Easter :)

Even though the competition is Easter related, I’m going to run the competition slightly longer to give you a bit more time to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get Ready for Summer with Sainsburys

I love Sainsburys. Our area has all the main supermarkets in ‘hyper-market’ sizes, we are quite spoiled in that respect but I’m always drawn to the smaller Sainsbury’s to do my weekly shop. There is a large one with clothes et all but I like the smaller one because it’s so much easier to get round, I mean, who wants to spend HOURS traipsing round?

Supermarkets are like fashion stores, they have seasonal ranges and right now, new to a Sainsbury’s near you, they have just started to roll out their Spring/Summer ranges, and I was lucky enough to be invited along to their launch event to get a first glance at their lovely new goods.

Held on the South Bank in London, the venue couldn’t be more appealing, and the same goes for all the goodies on show.

Firstly lets talk about the Easter merchandise. Every year when I shop at Sainsburys at Easter time I love to look down the seasonal aisle for all the kids craft collections because they are ever so cheap and cheerful and are a fun way to keep the kids occupied over the school holidays!

easter craft toys

So many lovely Easter arts and crafts goodies including a flower press, lots of ‘make your own’ toys such as a kite (I want this), a princess castle, mobiles, and all under a fiver! There are sticker books, painting activities and these super duper individual jelly moulds which no kitchen should be without… £6 for a pack of 8, so cheap and fab for lunchboxes!

These fabulous Easter bonnets are perfect for little girls to decorate

These fabulous Easter bonnets are perfect for little girls to decorate

Of course, the most important thing that Sainsbury’s does best is the FOOD. And when we think of Spring and Summer it’s all about al fresco eating and that means……

Yes… BBQ’s!!

If this table of delights doesn't make you long for summer I don't know what will......

If this table of delights doesn’t make you long for summer I don’t know what will…… Everything you see here can be purchased in Sainsburys from April 2014.

 

We got to taste most of the food and these Top Dog sausages were succulent and so tasty. With a variety of flavours including Chorizo and Curry, which I can say are absolutely delicious.

We got to taste most of the food and these Top Dog sausages were succulent and so tasty. With a variety of flavours including Chorizo, chilli and Curry, which I can say are absolutely delicious, they are perfect for the BBQ! The bread here too is new in many different flavours, like cranberry and orange….

sainsburys bbq range

British pork pasties and sausage rolls and honey roasted salmon fillets are another delicacy!

One of the more fascinating stories of the day was that of the cheese. Sainsbury’s resident cheese expert was on hand to tell me all about their new Slate Cavern Aged Chedder, which has an amazing story, the origin of which is in Wales. Sainsburys use the Welsh slate cavern mine to mature the chedder 2000ft down. It gives the special cheese a fuller, dense flavour and is very difficult to replicate.

sainsburys

And here it is……

Next, on to the cake table. It was very inviting I must say. Lots of tempting treats for your little ones here with these fun cakes and biscuits….

How adorable are these new designs? The last pic here are cakes for the grown ups :)

How adorable are these new designs? The last pic here are cakes for the grown ups :)

Sainsbury’s are having a big push on their new salad ranges for Spring/Summer 2014. Salads have been doing extremely well and they are now introducing a type of ‘pick and mix’ where you can purchase little add ons to your salad like nuts, dried fruits which are uber healthy and cost as little as 50p a scoop! There’s also lots of new salad dressing too…..

We got to try (again) the salads and dressings,

We got to try (again) the salads and dressings and I have to say these two dressings were dee-lish-ous!!!! The sweet chilli and coriander being my favourite.

And last but not least of the lovely things to get a look at were the things that one needs for a glorious sunny day in the garden and the beautiful kids clothes they have arriving in store very soon.

Sainsburys do a fantastic collection of outdoor toys too, they are concentrating more this year on the traditional wooden toys that not only look more stylish than their plastic counterparts, but last longer too. Of course they still have the brightly coloured toys that children love so much as well!

Sainsburys do a fantastic collection of outdoor toys too, they are concentrating more this year on the traditional wooden toys that not only look more stylish than their plastic counterparts, but last longer too. You can buy a pack of three games in one for as little as £12! Of course they still have the brightly coloured toys that children love so much as well and they should be in the stores just after Easter. Don’t forget your garden furniture, yes you can buy all of that from Sainsburys, and your suncream… Sainsburys do a fab value range so no need to go anywhere else, everything you need in one place :)

I’ve just read that Britain is set to experience a ‘six week scorcher’ starting towards the end of April and through May… so what are you waiting for? Better get prepared…. summer is on it’s way!

 

 

Teenagers at Next and Gift Card Giveaway

I don’t think there’s a single person in the Country that doesn’t shop at Next, especially if you have kids. Always something suitable whenever you nip into the store for any occasion, and the Next Directory catalogue is always an enjoyable experience to browse with a cuppa whenever we get 5 minutes… I especially love to peruse the homewares pages, dreaming of new things for when our home is finally finished with building work! The website too is extremely stylish and very easy to navigate, making shopping at Next so simple, however you choose to do it!

I use the Next Online Directory often, and not just because they have a lot more choice, or that they deliver the next day (which is amazing isn’t it?), but because I have a Teenager!

My 15 yr old son always wants new clothes, he’s at that age where a) he’s growing at a rate of knots and b) he has a busier social life than me so doesn’t want to be seen wearing the same item of clothing TOO often!! Get HIM! I too would LOVE to be wearing something new every time I left the house but unfortunately, unless I win the lottery, that’s never gonna happen!

It’s difficult to find clothes for kids once they reach a certain age. Many shops either think kids suddenly fit into adult clothes from age 8 or their clothes for the older child are so frumpy and unfashionable that no child would want them anyway!

Not so at Next.

I love that all their fab clothes can be bought in bigger sizes. It can be difficult to know what to buy for the older child as they don’t want babyish and they definitely don’t want to wear the same type of clothes as their parents, teenagers are often awkward and contrary so having somewhere easy to buy up to the minute, high fashion clothes for teenagers is a god send.

My son is very tall for his age so he’s in the last child sizes now in Next (16) and he does wear mens clothes too, but lets face it, we pay adult prices for adult clothes so it’s much more economical to buy clothes from the kidswear department ;)

He’s very picky, but with Next I can be sure he will like pretty much anything. He ONLY wears Next school trousers for example… if I so much as dare to buy him a pair from anywhere else I will get that look that says…. ‘what? You actually expect me to wear those?!’

These are the ones he likes, this picture doesn’t actually do them justice but they’re smart jean style trousers that don’t look ‘schooly’ and they fit him beautifully:

Teen is very into skinny jeans at the moment, rolled up to show his socks and trainers (?) and I recently bought him this pair…

The chinos range is also a big hit with Teen, he has a few pairs… well they ARE so reasonably priced!

The extensive shoe range at Next too means he is sure to find something he likes. They do all the branded trainers etc which is obviously very important to a teenager, in fact Next have a large number of branded clothes too for the label loving adolescent! We buy Teens school shoes in Next, albeit from the Men’s section as he’s a size 10, but the kids shoes do go up to size 8 which is great.

nike

If you don’t use the Next Directory or the online store, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the childrens clothes come in larger sizes because in the high street Next stores they stop at age 12 but there is so much in the older childrens range and like I said, a LOT cheaper than buying adult sizes. There’s also the option of spreading the cost, making the purchase of a pair of trainers like these, which most teenagers are into right now, a bit more bearable!

On that note, here at mummy Endeavours, I am giving away a £50 Next Gift Card for you to spend in store or online, so why not enter via Rafflecopter for you chance of winning!

Black Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway