111 articles Articles posted in Review

Back to School with Smiggle (review)

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid if there was one thing which could make me feel better about going back to school it was new stationery, so when Smiggle got in touch and asked if we’d like some goodies for Sausage to make the back to school transition a bit nicer, of course I agreed! Her bundle arrived today to MUCH excitement. We were sent the following:


Smiggle Glitter Markers – £10

milk-shake-carton-scented-pencil-caseSmiggle Milkshake Carton Scented Pencil Case – £11.50

neon-watchSmiggle Neon Watch – £13.50

smiggle colour change pencilsSmiggle Scented Colour-Change Pencils – £1.50 each (£6)

smiggle scented lipstick eraserSmiggle Scented Glitter Lipstick Eraser – £2

I’m not going to lie; the levels of stationery-related hysteria were at an all time high last night. Sausage spent about an hour testing out her new gear, drawing with her pencils and colouring in with her pens. I swear, she even made deliberate mistakes just so that she could use her eraser. She was sad that her class has a no-pencil case rule so she couldn’t take them in to school with her but she wore her watch and proudly showed off the touch-activated face to anyone within earshot.

From a parental point of view, all of the stuff she was sent was really high quality (and the pencil case smelled good enough to eat!). It’s probably a little more than we’d usually spend on stationery items but the unique designs means that they felt quite special compared to ‘normal’ pens and pencils. I think they’d probably make really nice gifts for kids of Sausage’s age, especially the watch which comes in various different colours. Smiggle vouchers would probably also go down really well as just the name “Smiggle” seems to instil excitement in kids (and me, if I’m being really honest; I’m a sucker for stationary).

Without wishing to use the “C” word too much, I think a lot of the smaller items like pencils and rubbers would make really nice stocking fillers at Christmas, and I believe Smiggle also does an advent calendar which I just know Sausage is going to want.

All in all we were really pleased with Sausage’s Smiggle goodies and I know we’ll be heading to the Smiggle store, next time we’re in Lakeside. Thanks to Smiggle for our stationary stash.

Shopkins Beauty Treats (review)

If you’ve got kids, especially girls between the age of about 3 and goodness knows what, you’ve probably been acquainted with the craze that is Shopkins. These little collectables come in hundreds of shapes, from cakes to shoes to fridge freezers to lipstick, and each has a cute little name like “Lammy Lamington” and “Rhonda Ring”. Sausage, being a fairly typical 8 year old girl, is absolutely bonkers about them and has been collecting them for a while, and because BB is never one to let herself be left out, she’s even started her own little collection too. So when H&A got in touch and asked if we’d like to review the new Shopkins Beauty Treats, I knew I couldn’t say no.

Shopkins Beauty Treats

We were sent a set of stick-on earrings, a nail set, some Shopkins false nails, a set of lip glosses and a set of lip balms, all of which featured the usual distinctive Shopkins characters and branding. Because Sausage is at that in-betweeny age (still occasionally wants to play with toys but is developing an interest in make-up and other girly things) all of these bits felt like a really natural progression of her interests.

In terms of quality, I was actually really impressed. The lip gloss was a little gloopy but the colours were very  subtle, which meant she could wear them without getting that “child in a beauty pageant” effect that I hate. The lip balms were also really nice, with fruity scents and a very faint shimmer. Sausage already has her ears pierced so she didn’t have space on her lobes for the stick on earrings but, TOP TIP, they also make really cool nail stickers if your little one wants a Shopkins manicure!

The nail files were really cute and Sausage felt very grown up being able to do her own nails (and I didn’t feel like I was letting her be TOO grown up). The only minor downside was that the false nails didn’t stick very well, so although they were fun to apply there was no real lasting power. I suppose if you were really determined to get them to stay on you could try different nail stickers or even nail glue, but I wasn’t keen on putting that stuff on Sausage’s young hands.

I know it seems like a cardinal sin to mention the “C” word at this time of year, but I actually think all of the Shopkins Beauty Treats would make really excellent stocking fillers at Christmas; everything is priced below the £10-ish mark and there are other items in the range too, like eye masks and perfumes, which I just know Sausage would love.

Most of the range is available at Claire’s Accessories as well as LOADS of other Shopkins related stuff and we’d definitely recommend them for any Shopkins fan.

Our Family Lunch at Giraffe (review)

GiraffeThis summer holiday has been a bit of a culinary eye-opener for us in the Mum’s the Word house as we’ve been reviewing different restaurants each week and this week’s meal was at Giraffe. Giraffe’s strapline is “Freshly cooked food for everyone served to the sound of great music. Guaranteed to make you feel good!” so we took the girls and MIL with us again to get a good overview of how well they cater for all ages.

Technically, Lakeside is our closest Giraffe but we opted for Chelmsford for a bit of a change of scenery and I’m glad we did. It’s right in the middle of the high street and super easy to find, plus it’s right by the river which was lovely on a sunny day. In fact, it would be a really nice location for an early evening drink and dinner, so next time we go I think I’ll leave the kids at home and just go with Husband.

On the way there, Sausage (who’s recently got her first mobile phone and uses ANY opportunity for a good Google-up!) decided to read the menu to MIL to give her an idea of what she could choose and I think it made MIL a little wary, given that she prefers slightly plainer food and Giraffe’s menu is full of things with exotic sounding ingredients. However, once we got there and she had a chance to read the menu for herself, I think she realised that there were plenty of things she liked.

The kids menu doesn’t have starters but the adults ordered starters and we all ended up sharing, which is something we do anyway as we’re a bit like a wolf-pack, letting each other tuck into our grub. MIL had a garlic flatbread, Husband the chicken gyoza with sweet chilli dipping sauce and I had the Tuscan lamb meatballs.


Giraffe - Starters

The girls took a great liking to MILs flatbread; luckily it was HUGE so we all had a bit and there was still some left at the end! It was really nice, soft in places, crunchy in places, just garlicky enough without being overpowering. My meatballs were truly delicious, lightly spiced lamb (which you’d expect to be fatty but really wasn’t) in a rich tomato sauce which was almost like a stew. Serving it with a warm tortilla was perfect as it allowed me to mop up all the sauce afterwards! Husband’s gyoza were the real star of the starters though; the dumplings were lightly fried, so they were just crispy but still soft in the middle and the nouc cham sweet chilli sauce was flavourful and sticky, just how it should be. Husband and I didn’t find it spicy but MIL found it a little hot for her taste, so if you’re not a fan of any sort of heat they might be one to avoid.

For our mains, the girls chose from the kids menu with Sausage opting for a cheese and tomato quesadilla while BB went for a chicken wrap. Husband had the jerk ribs and sweet potato fries, MIL had the chicken Milanese and I had a chilli beef burrito.

MainsGiraffe - Mains

One thing I liked about the kids menu is that it actually offered some really diverse dishes. Sure, there are burgers and fish fingers on offer but there are also noodle bowls, grilled salmon and salads. I think we’re long past the era where kids are served bland, uninteresting food while the adults tuck into a culinary delight so it was refreshing to see some nice options for kids. Sausage really enjoyed her quesadilla (she’s a huge fan of all things Mexican) and BB loved her wrap (which I had a nibble of, for science, and found really fresh and tasty), although she couldn’t eat it all.

Husband’s jerk ribs were a hit; the meat itself was deeply seasoned although both Husband and I commented that they could have stood to be a lot spicier as there was none of the heat that we usually associate with jerk, however they were still very pleasant. I’m not a fan of sweet potato but his fries were a hit with everyone else! MIL actually really enjoyed her main after being worried about not finding a dish she’d like and said that the potatoes were especially nice.

If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t a fan of my burrito. There was nothing wrong with it, per se, and it was exactly how you’d expect a burrito to be, but it just wasn’t to my taste. The sour cream was a nice addition but the mince beef mixture inside was overwhelmingly smoky and I really didn’t like the pink onions which seemed halfway between raw and cooked, but not one or the other.

Dessert was what I was REALLY looking forward to. I’ve never tried churros before but spend enough time on hipster food websites to know how trendy they are and I’ve been wanting to have them for AGES…let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed! Sausage and I both had the churros, her from the kids menu and me from the adults and we both seriously enjoyed them. The chocolate dipping sauce was really rich and almost bitter but the perfect accompaniment to the sweet, crispy dough; a very indulgent end to our meals.


Giraffe - Dessert

MIL had ice cream and chose one scoop each of vanilla, chocolate and cherry which was an inspired choice. The cherry ice cream tasted like actual cherries! BB had a kids brownie which came with ice cream (beware, the brownie is HOT! and will burn little mouths if eaten without caution) and polished off as much as she could manage. I think Husband was the winner again with dessert choices; not usually one for mega sweet food, he pushed the boat out and chose a banana waffle split. I cannot emphasise enough how delicious it was. The waffle was chewy and the butterscotch sauce was like a liquid Werthers Original on the plate! Husband’s one minor complaint was that the banana could have stood to be cooked just a little more.

I also need to give an honourable mention to the drinks: Sausage had decided on a “Hippy Hippy Shake” smoothie (pineapple, passion fruit, mango, banana, pomegranate juice) before we even got there and BB followed suit, both of which got polished off in about three seconds. Husband had a strawberry smash which was literally some smashed up strawberries in a glass, topped with soda and mint, and it was SO refreshing! I went for the Orchard Pig Sparkling Apple and Elderflower and enjoyed it so much that I immediately started Googling to see where I could buy more! All a really nice alternative to the usual soft drink offerings.

Aside from a couple of very minor glitches, I think our Giraffe experience was really positive. The staff were incredibly polite and helpful (activity sheets and crayons for the kids are ALWAYS a winner) and the actual setting of the restaurant was really pleasant. We enjoyed the food and all commented that it’s definitely somewhere we’d eat again. Thanks so much to Giraffe for being the place that I finally lost my churro virginity. I’ll remember it forever…

Strada – A Date Night Gem

It’s not often that Husband and I go out for dinner, just the two of us…in fact, I’m struggling to think of a single time it’s happened since Sausage was born, so when Strada asked if the two of us would like to come along for dinner, I got very excited! Our nearest Strada is at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock and it’s right next to the lake, so it was the perfect setting for a relaxed evening meal.

We were given the choice of where to sit and although it was the hottest day of the year so far, we chose to sit inside – the outside area was already filling up when we arrived a few minutes before 6pm and by the time we left it was absolutely heaving, whilst inside was almost empty, so we definitely chose well. We got situated and were brought our drinks plus a jug of water for the table, which was much appreciated in the heat.

I wasn’t drinking alcohol because a) I was driving and b) I’m on strong antibiotics for the hideous tooth situation so I opted for a San Pellegrino Limonata, which is basically the most refreshing thing on the planet. Husband had a glass of Primitivo, a full-bodied red (which I said smelled like Christmas in a glass!) and although it was on the pricey side, Husband was impressed enough to be looking it up on the internet on the way home to see where he could get a full bottle for me to try when I’m able again.

So, onto the food!

Because Strada is Italian, I wanted to go for things which I felt were quintessentially Italian, so for starter I opted for the bresaola while Husband went for the antipasti, both of which were incredible. The beef carpacchio part of my bresaola was so, so tender and flavourful and the combination of parmesan, rocket and balsamic reduction were to die for. Husband’s antipasti (which I may have sampled…!) was just perfect; little nibbles of different flavour and textures, cured meats combined with the freshest pesto and mozzarella – I almost wish I’d opted for the same.

Strada - Starters

For our mains, we both decided that we were in the mood for seafood after such a meat-based starter so Husband had the sea bass while I had the seafood risotto. I’m going to make a confession here; I’ve never actually tried sea bass before…until now. The fish was served with thyme roasted fennel and herby potatoes and was a perfect choice for a hot evening as it was light and summery but full of flavour. The bass was served ‘canoed’, which meant that it’s gutted but left on the head, so there were still a lot of bones in it, which made it a little bit of a faff to eat, but Husband didn’t mind; it’s just worth bearing in mind if you aren’t a fan of bones.

Strada - Mains

Seafood risotto is one of my favourite dishes and it’s not something I’ve ever been brave enough to cook myself so it’s always a treat when I have it in a restaurant, but it does mean I’m quite fussy about it. Strada’s seafood risotto was really top notch. The risotto itself was creamy and absolutely packed with tiger prawns, mussels and squid and had the slightest kick from a hint of chilli, a very welcome element to cut through the creaminess a little. The seafood was all very well cooked (I’m often a bit wary of squid as it can be rubbery, but this wasn’t rubbery in the slightest) and the fresh parmesan which was grated over the top at the table added a lovely edge to the overall flavour.

Strada - Dessert

Dessert was an absolute delight. I opted for the tiramisu because I’m a bit of a fan of anything coffee flavoured while Husband opted for the golden polenta cake. My tiramisu was exactly as you’d expect it to be; sweet and soft with a strong coffee flavour, the perfect end to the meal for me. Husband’s polenta cake was probably the exact opposite of my dessert in many ways; grainy and textured rather than soft and creamy, zesty and spiced opposite my rich and velvety, however we both agreed that it was one of the nicest desserts we’ve ever tasted, and promptly came home to find a recipe so that we can try making it at home!

In terms of the bill, by my calculations it would have come to £67.60, which included three courses each, Husband’s large glass of wine, my two soft drinks and a bowl of marinated olives for the table, which I really don’t think is too bad at all. There is also a “Classics” menu which offers 2 courses for £10.95 or three courses for £13.95 every single day between 12pm and 7pm, which means that you could effectively have a three course meal for two for under £30.

The thing I liked about Strada is that their menu isn’t ridiculously massive, but each dish they do, they seem to do VERY well. I also like the fact that they have dishes which are very traditionally Italian, but they also do dishes like burgers and plainer pizzas, so dining with a fussy eater needn’t be a worry. The one and only area where I would mark them down SLIGHTLY was the cost of drinks – Husband’s glass of wine was £8.15, which is a little steep in my opinion, but we often find the alcohol to be higher priced in chain restaurants, so I guess it’s to be expected. Other than this minor thing, we had a really lovely evening; the staff were incredibly polite and friendly, stopping by to offer their suggestions while we were perusing the menu, the setting was really pleasant and the food was enough to make Husband say “we’re definitely coming back here again!”.

Thanks to Strada for having us – we’ll be back soon!

Review: Simply Be Women’s Clothing

For me, clothes fall into categories; things you need and things you want. Just recently, having found myself down a dress size, a lot of stuff has ended up in the need column because lots of my old clothes are now a little big. I’m not a natural shopper for SO many reasons; I don’t really like actually being in shops because I just get more and more disheartened when I can’t find anything I like and I never seem to be able to find anything I like when I’m under pressure so shopping from home is far easier for me.

Just recently, I’ve been trying to find a pair of well-fitting sports leggings to wear when I exercise and it’s been tougher than you’d think, probably because I’m a bit fussy. I can’t stand it when leggings aren’t elasticated enough to stay up properly when you’re moving around or when they get baggy knees after a few hours. I also, compared to the rest of my body, don’t have massive legs, so lots of brands come up okay on the waist but baggy in the legs – not a good look! A while ago, Simply Be asked if I’d like to try a pair of their leggings and also choose a few other bits from their range, and obviously I said yes! If you’ve seen my Instagram this week, you’ll have seen a few of the garments I chose:

Simply Be Ripped Skinny Jeans

Simply Be Light Grey Split Back Top

I also chose a shirt and some basic vests:


Weirdly, I haven’t got a picture of me in the shirt…I say “weirdly” because I’ve basically worn it to death since I’ve had it! Husband and I went to London last Friday to see one of our favourite comedians, Bill Burr, at the Hammersmith Apollo and the ripped jeans and t-shirt were the perfect outfit; comfy enough to sit in for a couple of ours (plus 4 hours driving and the stress of car trouble, but that’s another story!) but the little details like the ripped effect on the jeans that the split back on the t-shirt made it feel a little bit more than just a jeans and t-shirt.

Miraculously, the leggings are also a really good fit. They stay up without needing to be constantly hauled up at the waist and I wore them all day long without ending up with baggy knees, which is basically all of my boxes ticked!

I’m really impressed with the quality, sizing and also the prices of Simply Be clothing; all of these bits came to £92, which I don’t think is bad at all for 5 tops and two pairs of bottoms. I’d definitely recommend Simply Be if you’re looking for a good shopping experience from the comfort of your own home, high quality clothing at decent prices and some really pretty choices.

Our First Wagamama Experience

WagamamaOne thing that we love to do as a family is eat out, especially at places we’ve never tried before, so when Wagamama offered us the chance to go along and try their menu, we were really excited. Despite the fact that we’re all Japanophiles, with a shared love of their food and culture, we’ve never been to Wagamama before so yesterday was a whole new experience for us.

As soon as we walked in, the thing which struck me was the actual style of dining; the tables were set up into long rows of benches, rather than isolated little islands in the dining area which is the usual English way. It was different in a “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto” kinda way, but something which I really loved.

We’d checked out the menu online before visiting and the girls knew what they wanted, but Husband and I ummed and ahhed for a while because everything on the menu looked so tasty. We were given plenty of time to decide and Husband ordered a rather exotic looking juice in the meantime. (Kale, apple, lime and pear, in case you’re wondering and it just tasted so GREEN!).

In the end, the girls chose a mini chicken yaki soba and a mini chicken cha han, both of which were really tasty. One of the things I really liked was that each dish was made of super fresh ingredients and were bought out to us as soon as they were ready, meaning no-ones meal was left to sit under lights while we waited for the rest. I also loved the kids chopsticks that we were given which kind of slot together and made it loads easier for the girls to use.

Husband and I ended up opting for the shirodashi ramen (him) which was slow-cooked pork belly, marinated in bulgogi sauce in a noodle and reduced chicken broth with dashi and miso, topped with pea shoots, menma, spring onions, wakame and half a tea-stained egg while I went for the Wagamama ramen which was grilled chicken, barbecued pork, prawns, chikuwa and mussels in a miso, ginger and chicken noodle soup. topped with half a tea-stained egg, menma and spring onions.

I’m not going to lie; I think mine was genuinely one of the nicest things I’ve ever eaten. The noodles were tender and the broth was fairly simple but the pork belly was unbelievably tasty and the mussels were like little bombs of flavour throughout the dish. I’ve never had wakame before and actually thought it was squid while I was eating it, but it’s kind of like a Japanese equivalent of a crabstick, but formed around bamboo…apparently! Husband really enjoyed his too; his broth was spicier than mine with a really rich, warming flavour and the slow-cooked pork was, again, super tender and flavourful.

I think the thing that we liked the most about our Wagamama experience, although it’s hard to narrow down because it was a delight from beginning to end, was just the fact that it was something different. Don’t get me wrong, we love a burger and all of the “usual” choices in family-oriented restaurants, but it was SO nice to consider different flavours, textures and ingredients, especially for exposing the girls to new things. It was also a lot healthier than your average restaurant lunch; my Wagamama ramen totalled about 700 calories for the whole bowl, and given how full I was I thought that was pretty reasonable. In fact, we were all too stuffed for dessert but next time we go to Wagamama (and there WILL be a next time!), that banana katsu is MINE!

Our bill, for 2 adult mains, 2 kids meals, 1 adult fresh juice, 2 kids fresh apple juices (and I’m not exaggerating when I say this – it was the freshest apple juice I’ve ever tasted…it was literally like someone had crushed an apple into a glass) and a Coke Zero for me came to £37, which I have to say is really reasonable. I certainly don’t begrudge a lunch bill like that when it’s being spent on huge portions of fresh, super nutritious food which is cooked to order.

I think I could quite comfortably say that Wagamama is now a favourite eatery for all of us in the Mum’s the Word house and somewhere which will definitely be on our must-visit list for our next shopping trip. Thanks to Wagamama for having us and for converting us to their way of eating.

Family Lunch at TGI Fridays (review)

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Last week we were invited along to TGI Fridays to sample their food and get involved with their summer kids challenge, where they can complete three activities for a free ice cream sundae, as well as being in with the chance to win a family holiday. As we’ve done in the past, we took my lovely MIL with us to give us her opinion on the food, so that you get a well rounded view from a two years old up to a…person who’s a bit older than two (it’s rude to divulge a lady’s age, after all!).

We planned our lunch around a trip to Ikea because the restaurant is right by our nearest store, but we were done with our shopping an hour earlier than planned. However, a quick call to the restaurant and they were more than happy to accommodate us earlier than our original booking, which was a lovely bit of positive customer service. As we were seated, the girls were presented with an activity pack and they also had someone making balloon animals, which delighted my two no end.

The Food

We took a little while to choose as there was so many tasty looking dishes on the menu. In the end, we all shared a starter of potato skins loaded with cheese and pulled pork, then for our mains both girls went for a hotdog and chips from the kids menu, MIL had a Classic American burger, Husband had the chicken and shrimp with with creamy mash and seasonal veg, and I had the FRIDAYS® RIBS in BBQ sauce with a skewer of spicy grilled shrimp.

We all really enjoyed the starter; the pulled pork was really tasty with the accompanying sour cream and one large serving was enough to allow us all to have a taste without ending up too full before our meals. The girls hotdog and chips were actually HUGE portions; there are two kids menus to choose from, one for smaller peeps and one for the bigger kids. The hotdogs came from the bigger menu and although we knew it would be way too much food for Burrito Baby, she had her heart set on having a hotdog. They were really tasty and well cooked, and both girls really enjoyed them.

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit of a greedy so-and-so and often have eyes too big for my belly, and when we eat I often go for the biggest meal on the menu. I erred on the side of caution on this day and went for the half rack of ribs instead of the full rack and I’m SO glad that I did! Along with the fries, onion rings and prawn skewer it was MORE than enough food for me, even with my huge appetite. The ribs were incredibly tender and the meat melted away from the bones, while the accompanying fries were probably some of the best I’ve ever tasted, with perfect seasoning.

Husband, on the other hand, wasn’t massively impressed with his food. He said that his chicken was moist and well cooked but was a tiny portion and the shrimp were okay but the sauce was basically just sugar syrup. He did say that the mash was tasty but the veg wasn’t to his taste – his “seasonal” veg was basically pan fried broccoli and bell peppers, which seemed a slightly incongruous addition to the meal.

The real winner of the day was MIL; she chose the Classic American because she wanted something quite simple but she actually described it as “probably the best burger I’ve ever eaten”. She had the same well-seasoned fries as me and thoroughly enjoyed her meal. I’ll be honest, by the time we’d finished our starter and main we were all FAR too stuffed for afters so the girls didn’t manage to enter the challenge, but it’s a great idea for kids, especially to get them active after consuming a huge meal!

The Bill

One things which I felt was a slight downer was the cost of drinks; Husband had a pint of Samuel Adams and it was £5.28 per pint; obviously it was early in the day so we weren’t there for a boozy experience, but it would have seriously bumped the bill up of we’d both been out for an evening. As it stood, a shared starter, two kids meals, three adult meals, a pint and a half of Samuel Adams plus a Coke Zero for me and a mini milkshake for the girls and our bill came to £79 – definitely not the most expensive meal  but more than the average we’d usually spend on a casual lunch.

In terms of the actual service we received, I genuinely can’t fault it. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful, our food order was taken and served promptly, our table cleared straight away and we didn’t have to do advanced semaphore to the waiting staff in order to signal for our bill! All in all, we had a great lunch, the food was mostly brilliant and everyone had a nice time. It’s probably a bit too expensive to be a regular place for us to visit, but it’s perfect for a treat or special occasion.

Thanks for having us, TGI Fridays!

Review: Kung Fu Panda 3

Ever since Sausage was 3, we’ve been taking her to the cinema and make a point of seeing all of the new films that are released for her age range. The original Kung Fu Panda was released in 2008, the year that Sausage was born, but we made a point to watch it on DVD when she was old enough to appreciate it, and it’s been a firm favourite ever since, as is the sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2. This year, Kung Fu Panda 3 was released but we didn’t make it to the cinema to see it, so when Dreamworks offered us a copy to review, ahead of the official DVD release, we jumped at the chance!

The third installment sees main character Po, the hilarious and loveable panda voiced by Jack Black, make the transition from student to master in order to train a whole gaggle (I’m not sure of the correct collective noun for pandas!) of little pandas to become martial arts masters…but they aren’t exactly easy to teach!

I’ve got to admit, although I’m a huge fan of the first two Kung Fu Panda films, I was a little bit reserved about the third. Often, by the time this many sequels are released, the stories can be a little…turgid, and they have a tendency to feel like an attempt to cash in on a beloved franchise which, from an adults point of view, can seem a bit cynical. I needn’t have worried though as Kung Fu Panda 3 is just as fun and humorous as the first two iterations.

kung fu panda 3

The voice cast of the movie definitely helps; as I mentioned above, Jack Black voices main character Po and he has a truly inimitable style which I think is loved by young and old alike. His humour can be described as ‘silly but occasionally salty’ which means there’s enough in there for the adults to appreciate as well as the young’uns. The legendary Dustin Hoffman also lends his talent, along with J.K. Simmons and Bryan Cranston, proving that there’s nothing low-budget about this sequel.

The good thing for us about this film is that it’s also really visually spectacular which means that Burrito Baby enjoyed it too; we tend to all go to the cinema together theses days as she’s really well behaved, but the films which really catch her interest and keep her engaged are the ones which look bright and colourful, something which can definitely be said about this film! The version that we watched was the standard 2D version but I can safely say that I think it would also look amazing in 3D, so if you have the opportunity to watch it this way, I’d definitely recommend it.

All in all, we really enjoyed Kung Fu Panda 3 and we’ll definitely be watching if they make a fourth installment!

DreamWorks Animation’s KUNG FU PANDA 3 is out on Digital HD on 4th July and on Blu-ray™ and DVD on 11th July.

Pink Clove Plus Size Clothing Review

A little while ago, a company called Pink Clove got in touch and asked if I would like to select an outfit from their New Arrivals range. Given the fact that I recently had to throw a load of clothes away which were either too big or had holes in them, I said yes! They asked me to pick three items and this is what I chose:

Pink Clove

The Pink Clove Plus Kyra Belted Duster Coat, the Pink Clove Plus Alice Shoestring Cami Vest in Grey and the Pink Clove Plus Izzy Utility Ponte Combat Trouser in Black.

All of the items arrived really quickly and were nicely packaged, which I think is really important when you’ve spent money on new clothes as you want them to feel a little bit special. The coat and trousers are actually made of a heavy jersey-type material, which means that they’re soft and comfortable, but because they’re well cut and detailed, they don’t look like loungewear. The vest impressed me, too; the material is quite heavy which means that it hangs really well. As a plus-size woman, it’s a real fine line between finding garments which hide all of my lumps and bumps and not looking like I’ve just draped myself in a one-man tent!

All of the items wash up really nicely – being the classy lady that I am, I wore the vest out to Sunday dinner the first time I wore it and managed to spill a huge splash of gravy down the front. Given the light grey colour, I was convinced that the gravy would stain but it actually came out on the first wash and looked good as new. As much as I like clothes to look nice and be stylish, the practicalities like this are really important too as I need things to be functional as a busy mum of 2.

Something else I liked was that actual cut of the clothes. Often, brands make ‘plus size’ versions of their styles without really taking into account different body shapes. Plus-size bodies aren’t just SIZED differently, they’re often proportioned differently in different areas and it felt like the Pink Clove clothing really took this into account. A lot of my weight is carried on my chest and tummy and the Pink Clove top and jacket seemed to fit really well in these areas.

All in all, I would definitely recommend Pink Clove to my plus-size readers and will definitely go back next time I need to buy some well-fitting, good quality clothing.

I Just Love It Whisky Gift Set Review

I think it’s fairly safe to say that everyone has someone in their lives who is tricky to buy for. Mine is my Husband. My ‘very good at buying gifts’ Husband, which makes my job so much harder around Christmas and birthdays because you can guarantee that he’s bought something amazingly sentimental and perfect for me (like the Teddy Ruxpin I’d been coveting for 25 years that he bought for my last birthday)! Enter ‘I Just Love It‘, a website which makes personalised gifts for people who can be a real pain to buy for.

I noticed they had a whisky gift set, which is labelled as a Fathers’ Day gift, but is actually perfect for Husband for Christmas. He’s a huge fan of whisky, with 16 year old Lagavulin being his usual tipple of choice. However, this gift set contains a whisky which is distilled on the island of Islay, one of the inner Hebrides, somewhere that Husband has been planning to go for a few years, so it seemed serendipitous to see it in the set.

Here’s the info:

Exclusive to I Just Love It, this Father’s Day Whisky Gift Set includes single malts from three of Scotland’s most famous whisky regions, including a limited release from one of Scotland’s sadly closed distilleries. Presented in a gorgeous hand-finished gift box with a personalised sleeve, it’s the ultimate way to compare and contrast the different characteristics of single malt from the Scottish Island, Speyside & Islay regions.

The set itself comes beautifully boxed with a personalised sticker on the outside which you can add your own message to and really is a lovely looking gift.

The set also comes with tasting notes and a tasting mat, allowing the recipient to really get involved with the whisky sampling process (rather than just glugging it down before it hits the sides!!).

The set costs £29.99 (plus P&P) and makes such a lovely gift for anyone with an interest in whisky, or even a complete beginner who you feel might appreciate learning about whisky and its origins. The girls and I were really impressed and can’t wait to give Husband his pressie!

Thanks again to I Just Love It, who sent us the set for review purposes.