Monday, 28 September 2015

Review - Giraffe, West Regent Street, Glasgow

It's not that often that I eat out in Glasgow City Centre with the kids. We tend to frequent the obvious family friendly chains at the shopping centres like Braehead, St Enoch Centre, Glasgow Fort or Silverburn. The thought of eating out in town with the kids stresses me a little, as I'm not sure exactly which places are child friendly! It turns out I didn't need to fret... Giraffe is easily accessible in the centre of Glasgow.

Locals may know there is also a Giraffe at Silverburn shopping centre at Tesco, but I hadn't been to either so our visit to Giraffe was an adventure! (The kids have said they had been to Silverburn Giraffe with their dad, so they knew more than me!!). I was aware that Giraffe was taken over by Tesco a few years ago, and I had in my mind that it was a supermarket café rather than a destination in itself.

My previous conceptions were wiped on arrival at the Giraffe restaurant in town. The venue, on West Regent Street, is lovely and spacious. The decor is fab and I loved the bright pops of colour in the chairs and lighting. Definitely surroundings that I'd be happy to hang out in.

We were seated in the window and ordered a few drinks - Mango Mama smoothie as recommended by our waitress for me (£3.85). The little plastic giraffes that came with our drinks were super cute and a unique touch that I haven't seen anywhere before. The kids loved them and they were kept amused playing giraffe families!

Orchard Pig, Ginger & Chilli, £2.65

It was like the restaurant had read some of my older restaurant reviews because the kids drinks were served in plastic cups with a lid, so I wasn't stressed about them spilling like a previous experience. We also were given activity/colouring sheets for the kids with crayons which was ideal. 

Food wise we ordered a mezze platter to start with mini pitta bread, halloumi skewers, falafel plus hummus, tzatziki, ratatouille, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh. The kids shared this with us, and it all was lovely.

Mezze Platter, £10.50

For mains, the kids had a salmon fillet with salad and potato wedges (£5.65). I personally loved that there was a choice for a 'grown-up' dinner for them rather than just chicken nuggets or fish fingers. The kids wolfed their meals (apart from the lettuce!) and gave their dinner a big thumbs up.

I had ordered a Thai Duck Stir Fry, and it was really delicious. Rick had Firecracker Chicken Katsu (£11.25) which he also loved. We shared some sweet potato fries too - the kids weren't keen on these but Rick & I enjoyed them very much. The dishes were presented well- I loved the grey bowl that my stir fry arrived in - right up my street!

Thai Duck Stir Fry, £10.95

Firecracker Chicken Katsu, £11.25

Sweet Potato Fries, £3.95

Grilled Salmon Fillet & Salad, £5.65
Of course we had to try dessert. The kids had the kids sundae, which of course they were delighted with! I had the Rocky Road Sundae (£5.95) and I didn't anticipate the size being so huge! It was immense, by this point I was pretty full but I managed to eat it all!! We washed down our pudding with a 'Moroccan' Fresh Mint Tea (£1.95), which along with some fresh mint it had a tea bag, so it wasn't the authentic experience I had expected, but it was still a nice end to the meal.

I was pleasantly surprised by my experience at Giraffe and thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The staff were attentive (although they knew we were reviewing the restaurant) and the food was lovely. I'd definitely go back.

The menu for breakfast/brunch looks great - Mon to Fri until noon you can have a Breakfast Burrito with a hot drink for £5! Warm tortilla filled with scrambled egg, chorizo, jalapenos, melted cheese, chipotle sauce, tomato & avocado salsa - yum!! 

We left the restaurant, the kids with their balloons, and we walked back to the car
with happy, full tummies :-)
We received a complimentary dinner in exchange for this review. Opinions, as always, are our own and are honest.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Review - Count me in 1 2 3 number chums app

Clydesdale Bank have launched a Count Me In 123 numeracy programme, designed to help engage pre-schoolers with basic maths in preparation for their transition to school. The campaign, through parents, carers, nurseries and libraries, will give children access to a range of educational resources including worksheets an interactive website and tablet app.

The number chums are three cute, fun animals... a white bunny rabbit, a cheeky looking monkey and a crocodile (or maybe he's an alligator - I forget how to tell the difference). Anyway, the cartoons are brightly coloured and I love the clean & clear graphics. Very appealing to kids (& grown-ups too!).

I like that there are printable activity sheets, so this programme is not all computer based. My kids do love their tech, but equally we love to draw and colour so the worksheets are ideal.

Screenshot of Big and Small activity sheet

As well as the activity sheets to print out, there is an online story book about Monkey's birthday party to read. For a long while we didn't own a tablet device, so it's also great that the game is accessible on a computer. Plus if you use the computer version there is a printable certificate!

Page from the Story

We downloaded the Count Me In 123 Number Chums tablet app and tested it out. 

The app is really easy to use and the kids could use the game and follow the instructions without any input from myself. The characters take you on a journey of numbers, shapes and sizes. Every time my daughter got an answer correct, there was some positive reinforcement... "yes, well done!" or "that's right".

I personally loved that it was a Scottish accent doing the talking. In the past I've downloaded a few educational apps on my phone and the accent was rather confusing, especially when trying to learn the alphabet.


My daughter in particular loved the game. She was able to answer every question correctly. However she eventually commented that it was  "a bit too baby-ish". Yes, my daughter is four (and an all important half), going on fourteen! She's definitely ready for school!!

What's missing for me is being able to advance through levels of difficulty as my two were able to whizz through the questions and did eventually get bored. Hopefully more levels will be introduced with the next upgrade.
 Overall I'd give the app a big thumbs up. I think the Count Me In Number Chums are perfect for children just starting out with numbers and for those looking to practice their skills.

We received an iPad mini from Clydesdale Bank in exchange for an honest review. As always, opinions are our own.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Holiday Preparation - Swimsuit Shopping

It's not long now until we head to Portugal for our first family holiday. I literally cannot wait - it's going to be amazing!!

However I'm feeling slightly disorganised as I haven't really given much thought to the holiday packing until now. I needed a swimsuit - it's been forever since I've been on a holiday in the sun! I decided to head to House of Fraser in the hope that they would have something suitable. I struggle to get swimsuits that are long enough as I'm pretty tall (just under 6 foot!). The sales assistant recommended I try on a Biba swimsuit and I ended up buying one! It's a gorgeous black swimsuit with gold detail on the straps. The ruched material over the tummy area makes it flattering for my mum tum. 

My bathroom scales had broken and I've only just replaced them. I stepped on the scales & was so disappointed to find that I've put on nearly a stone and I'm back where I started in Nov last year. I was doing so well and was happy with my size but then I got so busy at work and stopped going to the gym classes. I've a few weeks to get back on track and try to tone up a little before the holiday!! The one area that I'm just not happy with is my thighs. Perhaps one of these wrap things that you can get done at a spa might help as a quick fix? Has anyone tried them?

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Disney on Ice - Fit to Dance

Disney on Ice and EBC Education have created a new programme called "Fit to Dance" encouraging children and families to create their own stories and turn them into dances using inspiration from Disney on Ice shows.

As a family we have loved watching the Disney on Ice performers take to the stage, particularly Anna and Elsa, and bring the Disney tales to life. It's exciting to now be able to follow the same creative process at home to choreograph our own routines. My two little ones do love to put on a show!! 

We were invited to meet two of the Disney on Ice performers recently at the UK Theatre School. My son wasn't overly keen, but I reminded him that Star Wars is now part of Disney and he was more interested. I didn't need to worry because when we arrived he was his usual confident self chatting away to all the grown-ups. We had brought with us two of our friends that are similar ages to my little ones and they were all a little hyper to start with.

We gathered round into a circle to decide upon our story... a tale of some our favourite toys who got left outside in the garden one evening and had to find a way back to their owners bedroom. The kids had great fun deciding on the characters and the plot.

We then worked with the Disney on Ice skaters to bring our story to life. The kids were very active and there was lots of excitement as we pretended to creep through the grass, climb up a rope and cheer when we got to the end, working with the skaters to convey all the different emotions. We then had our faces painted and we put on the show to all the grown-ups!

The online resources for the Fit to Dance programme are excellent, particularly the videos of the performers - they really help bring the ideas and concepts to life. I think it's great that both male and female members of the cast are involved too, this will encourage some little boys who may be less inclined to participate. My son was adamant that he didn't want to join in, but then when our session started he was loving it! For older children the footage of the cast could also prove inspirational and perhaps give them ideas for future careers. 

How amazing is this floor at the UK Theatre School!!

Disney on Ice is returning with World of Enchantment from 25th September to January 2016 visiting Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and London.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Travel - Starting a Journal

It's now under a month until our first family holiday to Portugal with ClickStay. I am super excited!!

One of my tips for travelling with children was to start a travel journal. It's something I did as a child and I'm keen for my little ones to do the same. My journal was a hard-back A4 notepad, but I've seen some fab looking travel journals online.

I've have come up with the following ideas with the help of my sister. We do love stationery shopping!! Some are a bit more grown-up, but would be ideal if a family wanted to start a journal as a group. 

My Travel Journal: A Journal for 5 Family Vacations, age 5-9 years
£7.14 from

Personalised Children's Travel Journal
£9.95 by Sukie at

Just in Case bear notebook
£7.00 at Paperchase

I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious Minded
£8.29 from

£9.80 from

Then we of course need some stickers and other bits and pieces to help decorate our journal...

£1.26 plus shipping

£1.20 plus shipping

£3.00 at Paperchase

Thursday, 10 September 2015

TimeOut Glasgow

If you haven't spotted already, I've started writing for the TimeOut Glasgow blog.

So if I've been a little quiet here, it's because I've been doing a bit of writing elsewhere.

Here's where you can find me... Glasgow Mummy at TimeOut Glasgow

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Recipe - Warm Artichoke Dip

It's been a while since I hosted a 'bring a plate' night at my house. It's a great way to get my busy mum friends together for dinner without anyone having to do all the work. We literally all just bring a plate of something, and we end up having a great selection of dishes and desserts.

The first night I hosted was at my old house, and it was when my good friend Ailsa was still in Glasgow (she emigrated to Australia nearly three years ago... I miss her & her brood so much!). Anyway, I digress. Ailsa made a more-ish artichoke dip that was just delightful. It was so easy to put together and yet tasted/looked like she had made a huge effort.

Well, I was flicking through the Sainsbury's magazine yesterday and stumbled upon a Warm Artichoke Dip recipe that looks pretty much the same as Ailsa's one... so I thought I would share it with you. I think I'll make it this weekend.

Warm Artichoke Dip


1 x 400 g tin artichoke hearts in water, drained
100 g mayonnaise
100 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Olive oil and thyme leaves to serve along with a fresh Focaccia bread or similar.


Preheat oven to 200 deg C (fan 180 deg C, gas 6).

Blend the artichokes, mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese in a food processor.

Transfer to an oven proof dish.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve with toasted Focaccia drizzled with olive oil.
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