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Simple Fun with Aldi Mamia #MamiaDaysOut

Aldi mamia picnic I have to be honest with you, dear readers – I am one of those Mums…the ones who go into mourning when their kids go back to school. Yeah, the girls bickered almost constantly for six weeks, but I feel lost when Sausage isn’t here, and Burrito Baby really misses her big sis. The only good thing is that I get to spend some quality time with the littlest one. Throughout the six weeks holidays, we tend to pack in as much as we can for Sausage before school starts again so between her birthday in early August, weekly pony club, visits here there and everywhere, the holidays are very Sausage-centric and BB largely just gets dragged along for the ride!

When the guys at BritMums got in touch and asked if we’d like to take a look at the Mamia range from Aldi, I knew that BB and I could have a lovely afternoon of simple fun, just the two of us, which would be the perfect antidote to a crazy summer and three weeks of missing Sausage all day. We’re lucky enough to live in a beautiful little hamlet tucked away in a rural corner of the South East which means we’re literally spoilt for places to have a picnic, so BB and I packed up our basket (and our hiking poles!) with our Mamia goodies and headed out.

Walking the path round to our picnic spot, BB and I sang nursery rhymes (Miss Polly Had a Dolly is her absolute fave at the moment) while we walked and soon found a secluded little spot next to the river with some cover provided by the trees. The farmer was out doing some ploughing, so we watched him making his way, back and forth across the field, with his legion of seagulls following for the seeds and worms which get turned out of the earth as he goes.

BB is learning her colours at the moment so while we ate we enjoyed a game of “where can you see…” where I ask her to point out things of a certain colour. The colourful blanket we took along with us really helped, as did the bright packaging for the Mamia goodies, such as fruity rice cakes and pouches of fruit puree (absolutely PERFECT for a picnic as no spoon is needed!).

Even before we were asked to try out these Mamia goodies, we’ve long been devotees of the Mamia nappy range. BB is currently potty training herself (she’s made it perfectly clear that she’s doing it all HERSELF and that she doesn’t need to be taught by anyone else!) and the Mamia Easy Pants are absolutely perfect for us. They enable BB to pull them down herself when she feels the need to use the loo but they’re really absorbent too, which means I don’t have to worry about leaks if she falls asleep or forgets to use a potty. Whenever I see a new mum asking which nappies to use, I ALWAYS recommend Aldi ones – we pay £1.85 for 18 which is significantly cheaper than the leading brands and I genuinely believe them to be of a far superior quality, even at such a low price. aldi-mamia-rice-cakes

I think the thing that I love about Aldi, and especially the baby range, is that the prices just seem to be far more reasonable than anywhere else but without a compromise in quality. I find that, in ‘cut price’ shops you can get a bargain but the food will be really unhealthy or stuffed full of unpleasant ingredients, but Aldi gives me peace of mind that I can save money without having to worry. Most of their juices and flavoured waters are low or zero sugar, their meat is all well-sourced and the fruit pouches I mentioned above are 100% organic and contain no thickeners, no added sugar and no preservatives – just one example fo their dedication to quality.

Once BB has finished her snacks, she decided it’s time to get wandering again. She’s a little obsessed with blackberries at the moment; I think she’s amazed that we can pick something off of a bush and eat it, and we’ve got an absolute ton growing near us right now so we’re foraging on a regular basis. We stop to asses our crop on the way home and decided they need a couple more days until we come back to pick another load.

blackberries

I love nothing more than spending time with both of my girls but getting an opportunity for some one-on-one time with BB was great and I think we’ll have to make a picnic part of our weekly ritual while the weather allows. Thanks to Aldi for sending us such a lovely treat for our afternoon of fun!

(As an afterthought, it’s also worth remembering that Aldi is having its next Baby Event starting on Thursday 22nd September and I guarantee you’ll be able to pick up some really impressive bargains!)

(This post is an entry for BritMums #MamiaDaysOut Linky Challenge, sponsored by Aldi Mamia.)

Eat Like a Horse at The Hungry Horse!

A couple of weeks ago, we were lucky enough to be invited along to The Travellers Joy in Rayleigh, our local Hungry Horse restaurant to sample their fayre and we took my lovely mother-in-law with us again so that I could offer the opinions of three generations of Crammond. We visited on a Monday afternoon and was surprised by just how lively the atmosphere was inside and were warmly greeted before being seated in a circular booth, which was perfect for fitting all of us in, as well as the buggy.

For starters, Sausage and I decided to share a plate of nachos, which were loaded with cheese, guacamole, salsa and jalapenos. There was also the option to add beef chilli, but we decided to keep it light. There was plenty to go around and the four of us all ended up tucking into the nachos! Husband went for the Chicken New Yorker Batons, which consisted of chicken, BBQ sauce, cheese and bacon inside filo pastry, served with a BBQ dip and were a very light choice, perfect if you have a smaller appetite. MIL decided to leave the starter and go straight for the mains as she’s got a fairly small appetite…which was about to be seriously tested!

For our main courses, Husband went for a fully loaded burrito which comes as a 12″ flour tortilla with Mexican rice, peppers & onions. Packed with shredded iceberg lettuce, grated cheese, salsa, sour cream and jalapeños, you can also choose from BBQ pulled pork, spicy chicken, rump steak or smoky bean chilli if you want a veggy option. Husband went for the pulled pork and was presented with a meal which would probably have fed two people adequately! Sausage opted for the kids meal which has a whole load of options to choose from, meaning they don’t have to end up with the usual nuggets and chips (although that’s exactly what she chose!), and Sausage was most impressed to find that they served authentic Heinz Alphabetti Spaghetti as a side option!

MIL chose the cheese, onion and potato pie which was served with chips, peas and gravy and was more like an enormous pastie than a pie, but she absolutely loved it and despite her best efforts to clear her plate, MIL was ultimately defeated by the huge Hungry Horse portions! I opted for the 14oz rump steak which was served chips, onion rings, buttered whole green beans, a flat mushroom and a grilled tomato. I ordered my steak rare, as I usually do – I’m pretty fussy about steak and find that it can be really hit and miss in the UK; usually, if you order rare you end up with something that’s medium rare and if you actually order medium rare, it turns up almost cremated. I was massively impressed when my huge slab of steak turned up properly rare! It was cooked to perfection and well seasoned, and the side dishes were excellent – some of the best chips I’ve had in ages!

By now, Husband and MIL were well and truly stuffed, but Sausage and I soldiered on (mostly because we’d caught sight of the very enticing dessert cabinet!) and ordered a slice of the Mars Attacks gateaux to share. The piece of cake that turned up was mind-bogglingly huge and could easily have fed all four of us! In fact, despite our best efforts, Sausage and I fell at the final hurdle and had to admit defeat halfway through our afters.

We were all really impressed with the food at the Hungry Horse and were aware, as we were ordering, that everything on the menu seemed to be pretty good value. However, I’ve just added up how much our meal would have cost, minus drinks, and I’m blown away to discover that the whole lot would have cost just under £38! That’s starters for three, mains for four and dessert for two, and all of our portions were really large. In fact, I was so surprised by the cost that I went back and added it up twice, just to be sure.

I can wholeheartedly recommend Hungry Horse and especially the Travellers Joy in Rayleigh, for the atmosphere, friendliness, excellent food, huge portions and brilliant value for money and am really pleased to know that there’s somewhere local we can go for a nice family meal which won’t cost the earth…and that gateaux alone makes it well worth a return visit!

Go HERE to find your nearest Hungry Horse.