Friday, 24 February 2017

Gilmore Girls, Creepy Books and Chicago... #LittleLoves

Thank goodness it's Friday!  This week has been so hard.  The first week after half term always just seems that little bit more difficult; I think after enjoying not having to get up and out it takes a bit of adjustment and the kids have seemed really tired this week as well which hasn't helped.  

To say we are looking forward to the weekend would be an understatement!

This week I finished Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osborne; you can see the full review here and there's a nice giveaway running as well.  Basically it is set across the two world wars and into the 1950's and is a family saga.  It touches on quite a few things and I thik it reads more like a group of snapshot moments rather than a novel but I did enjoy it.  I also started (and am so close to finishing) I'm Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork which has to be one of the the creepiest books I've read in a while.  It's a Nordic thriller and is quite dark, but I'm really loving it.  If it ends as well as I think it might, it will definitely be a new favourite.

I've been feeling quite rundown this week so I've been having early nights, going to bed right after the kids; watching an episode or two of the Gilmore Girls and then reading for a bit so I haven't watched much more than that.

Going sideways a little with this one and I'm going to say that we made a fuss of my Dad.  It was his birthday over the weekend so we went down to the East Midlands to spend some time with my parents.  It was a really lovely, chilled out time and the kids absolutely loved it.  I've made a resolution that we are going to try and get down there this year more often than we did last year as it's so important to spend time together as a family.

Who would have thought we'd be digging out hats and gloves again this week?  We have been right in the path of Storm Doris so Thursday particularly was rough.  Think me, chasing our recycling down the road where our bin had blown over and watching as our trampoline was slowly blown to pieces.  It was a good excuse though to come home and stick our pyjamas on after the school run and cuddle up watching Trolls.  Yep, still a firm favourite here.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and book a flight to Chicago.  I have become quite good friends with some other Youtubers and we were talking about a meet-up so I decided to go along.  I've never been to the US and I'm very excited (and nervous).  This week we've been chatting about accommodation which has suddenly made it seem very real and now the nerves and excitement have gone up a notch.  I can't wait!

And Lastly...
I know I've mentioned my Youtube channel a fair bit recently but it's probably the social media platform I've been putting the most effort into building and I am now only 1 subscriber away from 900!  It's probably my favourite platform at the moment and I love challenging myself to be creative with our videos and I feel as though I've got a real little community over there now of people who love to chat after watching my videos and share life together.  Getting such a positive response just makes it totally worthwhile.  I'd love to have broken the 900 mark by the end of the month so let's see!

Have a great week all!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

PizzaExpress, Formby ǀ Review

Living in such a small place it is always exciting news when you hear about a new restaurant opening nearby.  We love to eat out as a family but finding different options to try which are also family-friendly and not a 45 minute drive can be a little tricky unless we want to go to the same place each time!

So when we were invited down to visit the new PizzaExpress restaurant which has just opened in Formby you can bet we were down there like a shot.

The restaurant is located right in the heart of Formby and we visited on a Thursday evening; we were warmly greeted on arrival and although the restaurant was incredibly busy and we had a little wait for our table, it was fine and it gave us the opportunity to have a quick look around at the decor.

In keeping with the fact that Formby is on the seafront, the restaurant has been decorated in a nautical style, with reclaimed timber planks making up the counter areas as well.  We adored the sailor-style hats which Meg and Eli were presented with on arrival too and thought it went with the style of the restaurant perfectly.

Our waitress was Megan and she was very attentive throughout our meal, introducing herself to us and the kids, asking their names and engaging with them the entire time we were there.

The PizzaExpress menu is fairly extensive and we had a hard time choosing what we wanted!  I was impressed with the variety and the price of the children's menu; £6.95 for 3 courses and a Bambinoccino to round off with at the end was great and neither of the kids could eat their dinner fast enough, which is always a good sign!

For starters James opted for the Bruschetta Originale 'PizzaExpress' and I had the Roasted Tomatoes; both of which were very tasty and a great start to our meal.  For our mains James chose the Sloppy Giuseppe; hot spiced beef and peppers and I went for the Pollo Pesto; chicken and pennette pasta in a béchamel and pesto sauce.  James' pizza was absolutely huge and, like the kids, he made short work of eating it.  I wasn't too enthused about the pasta, it was a little dry for my taste but that might just be my personal preference.

For dessert Meg and Eli both had sundaes from the Piccolo menu and as we were both pretty stuffed, James and I shared a PizzaExpress Chocolate Fondant which in hindsight may have been a mistake as we ended up fighting over the last mouthful.  It was absolutely delicious with a soft melting centre served with vanilla gelato.  Yum!

All the serving staff, and in particular Megan, were very attentive and although the restaurant was busy, we didn't feel like we were left waiting for our food.  As anyone with children will tell you, this is a very important thing!  Eli just does not understand the concept of waiting at all and expects his dinner to arrive like magic as soon as he has ordered it.  So anywhere which has fast service is a winner with us.

The kids were given crayons and an activity sheet to help keep them occupied, although they also enjoyed the fact that the kitchen area was open and they could see the pizzas being shaped and made.  We didn't manage to see one getting thrown in the air though which was a shame!

The restaurant is very well positioned in Formby and I can see it proving to be a very popular addition.  There was a real ambience and an inviting atmosphere; it'll definitely be our first choice the next time we pop over to Formby for the day.

Overall we had a very enjoyable evening, and are very pleased that a PizzaExpress has opened up so close to us!