Breakfast at The Ivy Brasserie St Albans

As a mum you really appreciate those times you get to do something just for you rather than with the children. For me, with fairly limited funds, I view going to the coffee shop or brasserie with a friend after the school run as a big treat. Last week The Ivy Brasserie in St Albans invited me along to a special bloggers breakfast so I could check out their brunch menu and meet up with local blogging friends. This was lovely because now I work I don’t often get the chance to see my blogging friends and I also got to check out a new venue for those post school run treats!

The first thing that struck me about The Ivy Brasserie in St Albans was that it has been beautifully decorated with a real nod to its location alongside the luxury that you’d expect from The Ivy. We were located in the 12 seat private dining room which was just spectacular with beautiful velvet green chairs and a stained glass ceiling lantern. Its the perfect room to hire if you need somewhere in St Albans that is both impressive and quiet.

Food wise I enjoyed tea from a silver teapot and the most amazingly presented pancakes I think I’ve ever experienced. I could definitely get used to some special brunch time treats here (especially as its only a twenty minute walk from our school!).

I had a lovely time chatting with old and new blogging friends and meeting Deryane and Laura from The Dressing Room who presented me with a very exciting goodie bag! It was so nice to enjoy a little bit of that influencer lifestyle that I used to enjoy (before I went back to work) and the whole experience really brightened my day.

Husbands- if you want to treat a girl then take her to The Ivy for brunch and a shopping trip to The Dressing Room. If you don’t live in St Albans then its perfect for a day out!

Review: Molly Brown London Children’s Jewellery

As Fifi gets older she is developing her own sense of style. She’s a very different girl to me and very glamorous which is a learning curve for us both! She was asked by Molly Brown London if she’d like to choose herself some jewellery from their website and was absolutely delighted. Molly Brown London are a British children’s jewellery company that specialise in good quality simple designs.

Molly Brown Honey Bee necklace

Fifi had a great deal of agonising over what to select as she absolutely loved everything on the site. I thought this was great because jewellery is a brilliant keepsake gift for little girls and I often wonder if I’m choosing something that would be loved long term. Clearly you cant go wrong shopping on the Molly Brown London website!

Fifi chose the Molly Brown London Honey Bee necklace. This is a beautiful necklace made from silver and 9ct gold vermeil. Its adjustable so it will grow with her which makes it a perfect gift for a special occasion like becoming a bridesmaid or a birthday. I’m very jealous and Fifi loves it!

 

Usborne Books for Easter

If you have a little one you’ll know how hard it is to restrict their sugar intake over Easter. Fortunately Usborne books have come to the rescue and I think these little board books would make a great gift instead of yet another Easter egg!

For children who love the ‘That’s not my…’ series there are volumes on bunny’s and chick’s which are so adorably cute you wont be able to resist reading them. At just £6.99 each you’ll get loads of use out of these, my eldest who is ten had lots of the “That’s not my…’ books and reading them with him was such an important part of his toddler years I’ve still got them.

For toddlers that like peep through books Usborne have produced Are you there little bunny? which is so lovely that you’ll definitely end up reading it many times! It priced at just £5.99 which I think is money well spent!

Usborne books have also got lots of great free Easter activities on their website: www.usborne.com/easter

Disclaimer: We were sent these for review

Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic at The Victoria and Albert Museum

winnie the poohThis blog has enabled me to have some fabulous experiences and in many ways it has changed our lives as a family and for that I will be very grateful. However, one of the biggest treats has been the chance to visit an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum before everybody else. As a museum curator I used to work across the road at The Natural History Museum and I’d dream of visiting the galleries at the V & A without the usual crowds of people. I never thought in a million years that I’d have the chance, but this week I did and what an absolute delight it was!

 

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The children can enjoy a slide!

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Go camping in the V & A!

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Play Pooh Sticks

Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic is a completely ground breaking exhibition for the museum as it is the first time that they have attempted a family friendly exhibition. Complete with a slide, a table set for tea (or drawing), a river to pretend playing pooh sticks and some doors only suitable for kids you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Discover Children’s Story Centre rather than at the rather adult surroundings of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Recently the museum has really upped its game in terms of the staging of its exhibitions and this exhibition was jaw droppingly stunning, a real visual feast. It really is something that I could only aspire to with the exhibitions I (rarely) stage myself.

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There really is something for all age groups in this exhibition, after all who doesn’t like Winnie the Pooh? The exhibition starts with an array of Pooh related objects, some familiar like Cath Kidston’s collaboration dress some not so and more historic. You can also have a look at the teddy bears which were the inspiration for Pooh himself.

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A door for little vistors

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I loved all the child friendly activities and specially written child friendly labels

Winnie the Pooh

For me, the joy of the exhibition was the chance to actually see some of the original illustrations created by E. H. Shepard, along with A. A. Milne’s family photographs and some of the original printers proof’s. There is a real thrill to seeing the originals of illustrations you are so familiar with and which are part of treasured childhood memories.

Winnie the Pooh

Carefully chosen quotes from the book highlighted around the gallery left me felt inspired to re-read the stories again with my youngest child. In fact, the whole space was a real delight to be within.

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Sadly, my children were at school during my visit to the exhibition otherwise I know for sure that they would have loved it. I know what we are going to be doing this holiday…

There are loads of family friendly events and activities to go alongside the exhibition and you can find out more here: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/winnie-the-pooh-exploring-a-classic

 

#SPIDEYPARTY to Celebrate the Home Entertainment Release of Spider-man: Homecoming

We had a brilliant time on Saturday night hosting a kids Spider-Man: Homecoming party to celebrate the release of the movie. We put on the DVD, sorted out lots of snacks and the kids dressed up as Spider-man!

Thanks to Hasbro for this truly fabulous Spider-man: Homecoming Spider Sight Mask. The mask features moving eyes that are activated when the wearer opens their mask. We love it here and have been fighting over it ever since. Check out my husbands Instagram:

Spider-Man #hasbro

A post shared by Alex Walsh (@daddacool) on

The eldest is also wearing probably the best Spider-man costume we’ve come across, it was given to us by Rubies and i’m really impressed with the quality. They are definitely the  go to dressing up brand for us going forwards.

So, what did we think of the film? By making Spiderman younger than in the previous films this film is different to the other Marvel films because for the first time Spider-man is a proper school boy super hero. Following on from his appearance in Captain America Civil War this movie charts his rise as Marvel’s youngest and most exciting super hero. Tom Holland is brilliant as Spider-man, managing to be a proper high school geek which enables the kids watching the film someone to associate with.  It all works spectacularly well and my boys absolutely loved him.

Peter Parker’s relationship with Tony Stark provides much of the humour for the film. Some of this is lost on the kids, but as adults we enjoyed it.

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Tom Holland is Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING.

There is a great moral theme contained within the film for kids and thats the one of not being taken seriously by adults. There is a running joke where Spider-man is waiting for a call to action from Tony Stark and he doesn’t do various things because of this. In the end he goes out on his own mission, with its own consequences. This provided us with something to talk about after watching the film.

Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMING.

For once the baddie,  the Vulture, is quite nuanced, he isn’t a typical bad guy. Instead he starts out trying to protect his family and his livelihood but makes some bad decisions which leads to him becoming the bad guy.

Spider-man: Homecoming is a great movie, we all enjoyed it a lot and we’re looking forward to the next movie featuring him! You can get hold of a copy at all the usual outlets in DVD, Blu-ray or digital download. Why not have your own party and tweet us using #SPIDEYPARTY so we can see how you get on.

Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMING.

Disclosure: We were provided with the DVD, costumes, masks and other items for our party. This hasn’t influenced my review.