Caribbean Flavours at Turtle Bay

When we first found out that we were going to be reviewing Turtle Bay, my first thought was how happy Husband would be as he’s a HUGE fan of Caribbean food. My second thought was “will the kids cope with the spice?”. It has to be said, my kids aren’t total chilli wusses, BB has been asking for sriracha on her food since she was about 2 and Sausage copes with things like hot wings, so I figured we’d just see how they fared – besides, there was a kids menu to choose from.

Turtle Bay Collage

The Turtle Bay we visited was in Chelmsford, just outside the High Chelmer Shopping Centre and in a nice location with an outdoor seating area. The first thing you notice about Turtle Bay is just how vibrant and beautifully styled the whole place is. From the bright colours that scream Jamaica to the wall of guitar amps and the reggae playing in the background, the restaurant felt themed in a way that managed to avoid the pantomime-y feel of other themed restaurants.

We did the usual ‘sit down, peruse the menu, give our drinks order’ and were informed that cocktails were currently 2 for 1, so mine and Sausage’s virgin cocktail orders meant we’d be brought two drinks each – quite a bonus and one to remember next time we’re out for dinner and I’m not driving!

While we were waiting for our food, we were given colouring stuff for the girls, but also a Connect4 game, which made the time between ordering our food and it arriving pass really quickly. Not only did we love the fact that the kids were catered for, we loved the implication that this wasn’t a place where kids had to be seen and not heard, that they were allowed to have fun and be kids.

BB ate from the kids menu, and her main arrived at the same time as our starters, which worked well as she’s a SLOOOOW eater! Serving it this way meant that by the time we’d eaten our starter and mains, she was just about finished too.

Caribbean Flavour at Turtle Bay

In terms of the food, here’s what we ordered:

 I’m not going to bore you with a description of every single morsel of food that we ate (ALTHOUGH, the prawns I had for my starter were TO DIE FOR, and I said to husband that I could quite happily have eaten it ten times over), but every single one of us loved all of our dishes. The jerk chicken and ribs were SO beautifully seasoned and spiced, not so much that it blew your head off, but just enough to make you feel warm down to your flip flops. Husband’s curry goat and my ribs were so tender, the meat melted in your mouth and all of the desserts were perfect and sweet, after such a savoury meal.

The meal was, in fact, such a resounding success, that the whole family declared it the best place we’ve ever reviewed, and we’ve been to a LOT of restaurants in the last eight years! Unless you’ve got kids who are exceptionally fussy with what they eat, please don’t think you can’t eat as a family at Turtle Bay because there are plenty of dishes which cater for those with more delicate taste buds, and everyone else gets to enjoy the deep flavour of Jerk wonderfulness!

It would also be an amazing place for dinner and drinks with friends (not least of all because the cocktails are 2-for-1!), and the decor and atmosphere would really lend itself to relaxation and socialising. All in all (for three starters, three mains, a kids meal, four desserts, four virgin cocktails, two pints of Red Stripe and a soft drink) our meal would have cost £82.60, which I think is excellent value.

As we were leaving, the manager mentioned to us that a new Turtle Bay is going to be opening in Southend, which is even closer to us, and all I can say is, I really  hope he’s correct!

Post contains affiliate link.

Learning from the Successful: 5 Weight Loss Tips from Women Who Have Managed to Shed More Than 100 Pounds

Photo by Justyn Warner on Unsplash

Losing weight can be hard, a lot of people struggle with it. But the good news is, it’s not impossible; not even remotely. Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration to see the light that awaits you at the end of the tunnel. So, we did a bit of digging to find out what successful people do to shed off that much weight and decided to share five of the tips we learnt.

  1. Set a goal and break it down into small milestones

Weight loss is a journey towards one big goal. But you don’t want to bite it whole as one big morsel. Instead, it helps to break it down into several, small, easily attainable milestones to motivate you with each completion. Skip the elevator, for instance, on your way to the office today, then make it a routine to use the stairs for the rest of the week. Once this milestone is complete, you’ll have gained some good knee power to hit the treadmill, get into jogging every morning, and more. Frequency and consistency, and not intensity is what yields progress.

  1. Make physical exercise part of your life

Cardio exercises can be such a quick way to burn fat. Lifting weights at the gym (or even at home) with the help of a trainer will help you not only lose fat but also build the power to work out more and shape up into the look you desire.

Make it gradual and fun. Your workouts can be as simple as taking a 15-30-minute walk during your lunch breaks. Just be sure to do it even on rest days. Taking a hike or yoga class on weekends or holidays should be ideal for women.

  1. Start with one small lifestyle change at a time  

Starting small, one-step-at-a-time, is the order of the success game. Ideally, you want to avoid anything that would set you up for discouragement. It could be about the amount of sugar in your diet that you want to cut, or the sedentary lifestyle that you want to change first. Challenge yourself to replace the soda with water. Success. Take on another challenge: Swap the regular rice with brown rice. Success. Drop the white bread for turkey sandwich made from slices of whole wheat bread with mustard…

  1. Stock only healthy foods at home

When you can see carbs in sight, you’ll want them. And since carbohydrates like pasta are known to create brain-altering cravings, the best way to avoid their temptation is to make sure you won’t be seeing them every time you open the fridge or kitchen cabinet. Just don’t stock foods that you’re trying to avoid.

  1. Eat smaller portions more frequently

Instead of doing three large meals a day, switch to five to six healthier alternatives every day. You could carry stuff like protein bars or nuts with you to eat whenever you want a meal. This can effectively help you avoid the temptation to settle for a quick snack on your way home.

Wrap up

Whether a health scare or preferred piece of clothing is your motivation, you may hit a plateau in your weight loss journey that can feel like all hell breaking loose. Just never give up. Refer back to these tips and keep the effort going – success will come eventually.

Travelling in the U.K. #ExploringCheshire

If there’s one thing that Husband and I have realised this summer it’s that we want to do more stuff as a family all year round. We put so much pressure on ourselves in the holidays to pack in the days out and activities that we’re all a bit burnt out and the holidays seem to disappear in the blink of an eye. We decided that if we did more stuff for the rest of the year, there wouldn’t be a big rush in the 6-week break and we could enjoy it all a bit more.

We’ve vowed to travel more within the UK and see more of our lovely isles, and one place we’d like to go is Cheshire. It’s a great county with so much to offer (and it helps that it’s home to a lot of players from our beloved Liverpool FC!), and the lovely folk at Laurus Homes have made a really interesting infographic to show some of the best parts of the area:

Cheshire

Here are some of the places we’d love to visit:

Blue Planet Aquarium Ellesmere Port

Blue Planet is the largest aquarium in the North West and you can view Europe’s largest collection of sharks through our captivating 71-metre underwater tunnel – you can even swim with them! It’s also home to over 100 living displays and thousands of marine creatures from around the world, so you’re bound to find something fun for the whole family!

Nantwich Jazz, Blues and Music Festival

These days, I’m a bit too much of a lightweight for the intense environments of most music festivals, but one which showcases the best jazz and blues sounds right up my alley!

McArthur Glen Cheshire Oaks

The only thing I love more than shopping is getting a massive bargain and this retail park in Cheshire is a designer outlet, home to shops which give massive discounts off of designer brands!

Where in Cheshire would you love to visit?

5 Great Tips to Organise Your Kid’s Room

kid's roomThe summer vacation is great for your kids but not always so great for their rooms. Being stuck inside all day whining almost always ends in mess and clutter and dealing with this can be even worse when you see the state it’s in. So here are 5 great tips on how to organise your kid’s room without giving up on first sight:

  1. Sort, Store and Simplify

If your kid’s room is lacking in storage, buy some boxes or shelving. You could even ask them to go with you to choose something they like so they’ll be more inclined to help you (see point 4 and this article by Gtech on getting your kids involved with cleaning). Sort through all the mess and divide into subject piles (e.g. one pile for games, one for books, one for clothes, etc.) and then store accordingly.

  1. Make it easier to put away, harder to get out

Shelving is a great way to do this as your kids may not be able to reach the shelf so they won’t be able to take out everything at once. Also consider getting storage solutions that offer padlocks or child-lock technology. This will force your kids to ask you for which toys they want rather than cluttering up their whole room with unused toys and other mess.

  1. Label, label, label

When you’re sorting through the different piles, make sure you store things in boxes or draws that are clearly labelled. Having a colour coordinating system could also work for you (e.g. the red box is for books, the blue for games, the green for dolls and so on). Labelling will also make it much easier for you when it’s time to clear up the mess from around the house or your kid’s room. theartofcleanliness.com has a great post on a closet organiser system to make your kid’s closet much easier to keep tidy; you could label each section of the closet for even clearer organisation.

  1. Bring the child into the process

As I mentioned before, you could ask your child to come with you to choose some storage they like (e.g. boxes with their favourite characters on them) or make cleaning a game. However you decide to bring them into the process, it’s important to get them started in helping you. You could even offer a reward at the end if they’ve done a good job.

  1. Build a maintenance routine

This will help you stay on top of things without the mess getting too hard to control. Set out a weekly cleaning schedule and allocate a day to organising your kid’s room. This is a good habit to get into especially if your child is also getting involved. See this maintenance checklist by Lowe’s Canada for the monthly maintenance you shouldn’t be avoiding.

See more ways to keep your kids busy on mumstheword.me.

Play More and Win a Sudocrem My Little Adventure Pack!

One of the reasons that we moved to our little house in the countryside, back in 2015, was so that we could spend more time outdoors as a family. Living in a very suburban area meant that we were constantly surrounded by noise and pollution, our garden was overlooked by about 100 other houses and to get anywhere even vaguely quiet or secluded, we’d need to drive a fair way.

Where we live now, there are less than 15 houses in our entire village and we have a lovely big garden for the girls to enjoy, as well as public footpaths leading through the countryside, right on our doorsteps. It means that screen time has been massively already reduced this summer, with the girls choosing to play outside in the paddling pool, riding their bikes, or walking with me and Husband when we take Maureen out (which hasn’t been until about 9pm in this heat!)

We’ve teamed up with Sudocrem to get involved with their latest campaign to get kids outside. As part of the campaign, they are encouraging parents around the UK to nominate a nursery and give them the chance to help improve the nurseries outdoor play area – just click the link to go through the the page for nominations. 

They said: “Children are spending more time indoors than outside and they are missing out on exploring the natural world around them. In fact, research found that 1 in 9 British children have not visited a beach, park or forest in twelve months, and on average, a British child only spends 4 hours a week playing in the great outdoors. [1]This is why Sudocrem set up the award-winning Play More campaign, an initiative designed to encourage parents and children to get back in touch with nature and explore the greatest playground on earth- the outdoors. As part of the campaign, Sudocrem carried out a survey which asked 200 children between the ages of 4 to 8 years old to identify some of the creepy crawlies in Britain. The survey revealed that 9 out of 10 children (89%) were unable to recognise a butterfly even though there is an abundance of native British insects, with around 27,000 insect species calling the UK home. Moreover, 51% didn’t know what a Bumblebee looks like. And, surprisingly, 1 in 3 (29%) didn’t realise that bees make honey[2].

Children are not only unable to identify some of the most distinctive insects, but they are also missing out on the adventure which comes with playing outside in a natural environment.  Over half of those surveyed (59%) admitted that they had never climbed a tree, 89% didn’t know what a Buttercup was and 77% couldn’t identify a Sunflower. Are children losing their sense of wonder and adventure?

According to children’s TV presenter and naturalist, Chris Packham, who’s an ambassador for Play More, parents should be encouraging their children to get outside and explore the natural environment around them. “I was very fortunate when I was a child because I was encouraged to interact with the outdoors- looking under rocks and searching under logs and hedges to find creepy crawlies. If you just open your eyes, you’ll see that there is an incredible natural world out there waiting to be discovered”.”

They’ve given us one of their gorgeous Sudocrem My Little Adventure Packs to give away to one lucky reader.  The kit is worth £40.00 and includes:

– Play More t-shirt
– Play More sun hat
– Bug Pot
– Frisbee
– Butterfly Net
– Magnifying glass
– Trowel or fork

To be in with a chance of winning, leave me a comment below telling me your favourite place to get outdoors with the kids. You’ve got until midnight on 31st July 2018 to enter.

T&Cs: winner will be chosen at random. Winner will have 48 hours to provide me with their postal address once contact has been made. If winner doesn’t respond within this time a new winner will be chosen. No cash alternative offered, prizes supplied and sent by PR company for Sudocrem. Mum’s the Word accepts no liability for supply of prizes.
[1] According to a government report, ‘MENE: A pilot for an indicator of visits to the natural environment by children- results from years 1 to 2 (March 2013-February 2015)’.
[2] National report conducted by Sudocrem, April 2018.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes with LloydsPharmacy #LetsTalkDiabetes

Some of you may know that I’m a Type 2 diabetic; I’ve written about it a few times before but it’s not something I talk about at great length, probably because it’s just become a part of my life now. My diabetes started when I was pregnant with Sausage and never went away once I gave birth, probably due to the fact that I struggle with my weight and I have a family history on one side.

Anyway, type 2 diabetes is one of those condition which doesn’t need to take over your whole life, but it does need a certain amount of management to make sure that your sugar levels are not affecting your health in other ways. Unmanaged diabetes can cause heart problems, stroke, infections and other issues, so ensuring that your levels are correct is important, so when LloydsPharmacy asked me if I’d like to go along to one of their branches for a Medicines Check Up, Cholesterol & Heart Check and Blood Pressure testing, I thought it would be a great opportunity.

Lloyds Pharmacy

When I got there, I was greeted by a lovely lady who took my blood pressure and checked my cholesterol and blood sugar levels – it’s a super simple process which needed just one finger prick to get the blood for the sensors and it’s over in less than a second. She also took my blood pressure in both arms to ensure she was getting an accurate reading.

Once the results were in, I was handed a chart which showed my results, and as it turned out, my blood sugar was a little high at that moment (probably because I was slightly stressed out), as was my blood pressure, but that’s normal for me as I get what they call “white coat syndrome”. My cholesterol levels were interesting; my LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) was borderline – not great but not a worry, either.

My HDL (the “good” cholesterol) was actually a little bit low, and it was explained that I could stand to increase this by eating good fats like coconut oil, avocados and other things, which in turn will reduce the amount of bad cholesterol, too! Based on all of my results, I was told that my chances of having a heart attack in the next ten years was 6%, which may not sound high, but it’s a number that I’d like to dramatically reduce.

After my results were in, I was handed over to the pharmacist who came in to do my medicines check-up, and this was where it got really interesting for me. I take several different medications to manage different conditions, but one of the medicines that I take for my underactive thyroid should be taken half an hour before any other food or medication, but in the 12-odd years I’ve been taking it, I’ve NEVER been told this! I also learned that, not only have I been taking my diabetes medications at the wrong times of day, I also should have been taking it with food each time. I’m a HUGE fan of the NHS, but sometimes the lack of time they’re able to spend with each patient means that things can get lost in communication, exactly like this. I was also given a Type 2 diabetes support pack to take away and read at home, containing lots more useful info for managing my diabetes. You can download the support pack here.

LloydsPharmacy Diabetes Support Pack

I can’t believe how much I learned in one short consultation and my medicine routine has changed completely now. I’ve spaced my pills totally differently so that hopefully they should have a better level of effectiveness when I take them and I’ve booked myself in for a repeat health check with LloydsPharmacy in 3 months to see if there has been any improvement with my levels. I’ll be eating more avocado, too! If you’re concerned about any health issues or management of any existing conditions, I can totally recommend a trip to LloydsPharmacy.

According to Diabetes UK, there are 1.1 million people in the UK with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and LloydsPharmacy is on the hunt to find them! They will be visiting a city near you to offer FREE type 2 diabetes screenings as well as lots of useful information, advice and support. Click here to find your local event.

Find Money You Might Not Even Know You Had!

MoneyWith the summer holidays just days away, a lot of us will be thinking about how we’re going to afford all of the days out and activities that we’ll be wanting to do with the kids. It would be nice to be able to do a different thing every single day, but with the best will in the world, that’s just not in the budget for most of us. There might be, however, some money hanging about that you didn’t even realise you had, and we’ve got some suggestions of how to find it:

Outstanding PPI?

It’s hard to believe that anyone could still have any outstanding PPI claims with all the reminders on TV, radio and in the papers, but there are still a whole bunch of people who still haven’t claimed. It’s a simple process that could see you entitled to hundreds, even thousands of pounds!

Old Accounts

If you’ve changed bank accounts over the years, there could still be accounts in your name, laying dormant, with money in them. Write to the bank who you were once with and ask for details of any old accounts and you could be in for a surprise windfall!

Premium Bonds

If you’ve got Premium Bonds and haven’t seen much of a return, you might actually be better off cashing them in for an injection of cash now, rather than hoping they’ll come up long term. If you are hoping to win the top prize you probably need to know that the odds of winning £1million are 1 in 35,926,766,878. So I wouldn’t count on a payday anytime soon.Even winning the lowest prize of £25 is a 1 in 24,500 chance!

Pension Plans

If you have a pension plan that you don’t pay into any more, it’s worth having a look at the terms, as some plans will allow you to release the funds early, before the term is up. Have a think about any plans you may have paid into and contact the companies to see if it’s possible to withdraw the money. a

Cash Around the House

This one might be slightly less lucrative, but still worth a try. Gather up any old purses, handbags, wallets and money boxes and pillage them to see if there’s any cash that you forgot about. My kids own about 20 money boxes each and have managed to gather together the cash for some desperately needed toy on more than one occasion!

Don’t forget, the PPI deadline is 29th August, so you’ll need to get your act together if you think you might be entitled to claim!

Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep HygieneAlthough I’m not someone who very often struggles to get to sleep (Husband is often in awe of how quickly I fall asleep after my head hits the pillow), I do often awaken feeling as though I haven’t had a very good night’s sleep, and I think a lot of that is to do with my lack of sleep hygiene. If you haven’t heard that expression before, it’s nothing to do with going to bed dirty! Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. Here are a few changes that I think I need to make in order to improve things:

Devices

As much as I have grand ideas about putting my phone or laptop down well before bed so that the blue light doesn’t affect my circadian rhythm, I’m also an absolute terror and very rarely do. There are, however, apps and programmes that you can install on your devices which offer blue light protection. They alter the tone of your screen ever so slightly to stop too much blue light being absorbed by your eyes.

Routine

At the moment, my bedtime routine is usually “fall asleep on the sofa until Husband wakes me to to get into bed”, and it’s not great because my sleep cycles are interrupted. Often, I’ll wake up after being asleep on the sofa and feel too wide awake to go back to sleep, OR I’ll get back to sleep but feel like my alarm is going off about five minutes later. Getting in bed when I’m ready to sleep instead of sofa surfing would be much healthier.

Bed Hopping

I’ll be honest, it’s a rare night when I don’t end up in bed with Burrito Baby instead of sleeping in my own bed and although I still love snuggling up with her, it’s probably not conducive to a great night’s sleep! We often wake up too hot, or because one of us is snoring, so I need to try to maintain an “everybody in their own bed” system!

Eating Late

I’ve always been a late-night snacker, enjoying a bit of supper with Husband once the girls are asleep, but going to bed on a full stomach isn’t good for you. I get a lot of acid reflux when I eat late, which wakes me up several times a night, so imposing a ban on eating after a certain time would probably do me a big favour.

Caffeine

I’m a bit of a caffeine junky, and I definitely feel the difference in my sleep quality on days where I’ve had more than usual. A lot of people I know switch to decaf after 6pm, and I definitely think that this could be something which would help to let me get a better quality of sleep.

What’s your sleep hygiene like? Do you have a strict bedtime routine? Leave me a comment below.

The Things You Can do Online Without Leaving Home!

OnlineWhen I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my Nan, and I remember a lot of her days seemed to be a real slog. Instead of going to the supermarket for one big shop, she’d go to the butchers, the greengrocers, a general shop for cleaning stuff and cupboard essentials and then to Marks’ for what she called her “bits”.

Then came anything money related, which meant a weekly trip to the Post Office to get her pension and pay some bills, then to the building society to pay money into other accounts…it’s truly mind boggling when you consider how much we do online from home these days! It got me thinking about things I never thought I’d be able to do from home…

Socialising

I don’t know whether this one is a good thing or not, but I personally love the fact that I can still interact with my friends without leaving the comfort of my own home. Social media means I can keep in touch with friends and family who I might not see from one year to the next, which is a truly wonderful thing in my opinion.

Gambling

I won’t lie, I do love a flutter every now and again and being able to go to a live casino online without even having to get out of my pyjamas is a bit of a novelty! Watching the spin of the roulette wheel on my screen is such a thrill, and it’s even better if I win!

Banking

Just recently, Husband and I sold a phone on Facebook and were paid in cash, which I took to the bank to pay in and it occurred to me that it was the first time in about three years that I’d stepped foot inside an actual branch! Husband and I do all of our banking online, usually through a phone app and rarely need to go to the bank in person.

Shopping

Just as with the bank, my trips to a High Street are few and far between. I avoid the shops as much as humanly possible and MUCH prefer shopping online…although the amount of returns that I have to do are too darn high sometimes!!

What do you do online that would have been a massive chore for your parents or grandparents?

Keeping the Kids Entertained This Summer

keep the kids entertained this summerEven if you’re going away this summer, there’s a good chance that you’ll have at least a month at home, which you’ll be wanting to fill with activities for the kids, keeping the dreaded cries of “MUUUM, we’re BORED!” at bay for as long as possible! There are loads of things that you can do across a variety of budgets, which will fill their summer nicely, and this is just a few of them:

Pony Camp

If you live near a riding stable and have kids who love animals, find out if they’re doing any sort of pony camp during the summer. Last year, Sausage went to a pony camp one day a week for the entire holidays, and although it wasn’t cheap (we paid about £25 per session), it meant that even during quiet weeks, there are at least one day with guaranteed fun! Our stables bought all of their Horse Nutrition Products from Spillers, so we knew they were well cared for.

Shopping Centres

Take a look at the shopping centres near you; many of them have fun days for kids all the way through the holidays, with various characters like Chase from paw Patrol or Anna and Elsa from Frozen turning up. They’re generally free or very cheap, and give you a chance to pop into town for an afternoon of low-cost fun.

Pick Your Own

The nice weather means that you’ll be wanting to get outside as much as possible, and a PYO farm is a lovely bit of wholesome fun for the whole family. You generally only have to pay for the fruit you actually want to take home with you and the kids get to spend a few hours doing something which is about a million miles away from screen-time.

Fun Classes

Okay, so I’m not suggesting you get them doing school work in the holidays, but there are a few different places you can take them where they’ll get to learn something fun. YO! Sushi do awesome sushi making classes for kids, which we tried last year and the girls ADORED, but you’ll also find stuff at your local library, like coding classes, which your kids might enjoy, and again, they’re usually pretty cheap.

Litter Picking

This summer, Husband, the girls and I have decided that we’re making it our mission to go litter picking at least once a week. We live in a beautiful rural spot which is popular with dog walkers and cyclists, but we see an alarming amount of trash and mylar balloons when we’re out on walks. We figured, if we pick up as much as we can, we might offset some of the damage, doing a good deed and spending time together in nature at the same time. It might not be hugely glamorous, but it’s free and we’ll get a nice warm glow for having dome something for the environment.