Welcome to my latest giveaway, this one is exciting! By entering, you can win a children’s party to be held at one of Jump Inc UK’s trampoline parks which includes an hour of jumping, and then feeding up to ten hungry kids too! As a parent of two, I know how much stress and cost organising a party can create, so why not enter this giveaway and let Jump Inc take care of all the fun organising for you? All you need to do is book your party at your chosen location within a year of winning.
Jump Inc is a spring-loaded urban playground and here, up North there are three locations to chose from; Leeds, Rotherham and Sheffield with new locations Lincoln and Liverpool opening very soon. Jump Inc is a place where jumpers can literally ‘Get Some Air’ as the company’s popular # tells us, and bounce off the walls in a safe, controlled environment. Sounds like fun, yes?
The trampoline centres are packed with activities to suit everyone – from Open Jump to Slam Dunk to Walk the Wall. Whatever your age or bounce-ability, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time at Jump Inc. At Jump Inc, the interconnected trampolines are housed within huge, vibrant arenas, it can be as easy or as challenging as you like; a training ground for athletes, a place to kick back and bounce for fun or a hardcore form of exercise that puts you in the middle of a high-flying cardio workout!
Are you a newbie to the world of trampolining? Do not fear, there are always friendly, highly-trained staff ready to offer safety tips and show you a few moves along the way.
So, why is Jump Inc so great for children’s parties? Well, a children’s trampoline party at Jump Inc will literally have your little ones jumping for joy! (Sorry…) And, in addition to wall-to wall trampolines, party guests will be able to enjoy the use of a private party room complete with designated party host. Drinks and snacks are supplied too to make sure no one goes hungry! Packages starting from just £13 per child. Parents and carers can come and watch all the fun and go upstairs to the mezzanine viewing gallery and cafe. There is also FREE WiFi, so guests can grab a refreshing drink and a snack, whilst sharing snaps of the jumpers on their Facebook and Instagram accounts!
So what about the little ones? Well, for pre school children, Jump Inc offers ‘Toddler Jump! These sessions are designed especially for children five years and under. The Jump Toddler programme will get your little ones bouncing safely through well designed, fun activities. It’s also a great way to meet new friends. What’s more, parents can accompany their little ones for free. Willow and I are very much looking forward to reviewing the session, so watch this space for that too!
Jump Toddler runs every weekday in Rotherham and Leeds, 11am – 12noon.
Jump Toddler also runs in Rotherham on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, 1pm – 2pm.
The price for Jump Toddler is £3.50 and Jump grip socks cost £1.50
So, back to the giveaway! The prize is as shown on the Rafflecopter widget below and there are no cash alternatives. There are also some further terms and conditions, as usual so please have a read of them below before you enter, to avoid any disappointment:
*The party can be booked at any of the sites (Leeds, Sheffield or Rotherham), depending on availability
*The party is to be booked during off peak times only, (Mon-Fri, term time only).
*The party is for up to 10 children.
*If the birthday boy/girl is age 5 or under, adults will need to jump with them too (ratio of 1 adult to 2 children).
*The prize will be the regular party package of jump for 1 hour and 45 mins in room after for food and drink (for the children only).
*The winner will need to contact Jump-Inc to make their party booking and a phone number will be supplied to the winner by email.
*The party must be booked within the year of the competition closing date.
Just in case you missed it somehow, I have gone Vegan for January, or if you prefer, I am participating in Veganuary. I have several reasons for doing this and these you can read about here but for now I am going to talk to you about my first week as a real life Vegan.
Cast your mind back to New Year’s Eve, for me this year it meant a night out in Manchester with Jake and his friends and also, a lot of alcohol. Whisky shots, mainly and beers to be precise. Anyway, lets just say we woke up feeling a little hungover and food or cooking food was probably the last thing on my mind. Usually in these situations I will have a hot shower, a huge mug of tea and possibly a fried egg sandwich, a cheesy toastie or for when things were really bad, a McDonalds. Panic set in mid afternoon about what exactly I was going to be able to eat, in order to rid of the rank feeling I had awash myself with.
Luckily slightly prepared me, had considered this the day before with a quick trip to Tesco, I bought soya milk, dairy free cheese (Violife) and some avocado spread. Voila! A Vegan friendly culinary delight awaited. I made toasted bagels with cheese and chutney, and coffee (lots of) with soya milk. It was nice, and actually seemed to work. I spent the day drinking as much water as I could and once Jake finished work (I have literally no idea how he managed to survive the day) we order (cheese-less for me, but loaded with veggies) pizza and drank Prosecco. Day 1 was done and it was fairly easy. It was at that point I realised that I would probably find this challenge easier that first thought and perhaps, this was doable long-term?
The next day we went out for a walk and a few (Vegan friendly Peroni) beers, we discussed eating out and decided that Thai food would be the easiest option! I ordered Vegetable tempura and a fish-sauce-free Massaman curry with boiled rice. Simple choices, tasty and enjoyable. This made me happy as I had worried that it may be difficult eating out in restaurants as a Vegan. So far so good!
It was going back to work and settling back into a ‘routine’ of life that was actually the biggest struggle of the week for me. Essentially, when it comes to work, I rarely take a packed lunch; for two reasons, firstly because I am lazy and tired in a morning and my priority is usually making sure the kids are dressed and have not killed each other and secondly because I like to treat myself and chose what I feel like, plus it gets me out of the office! I thought about this and I realised that I am far better off taking my own lunches to work. After all, there’s probably only so many jacket potato and beans/salad a person can stand? So I prepared (again) and made falafel. Enough to last a few days and take me to my days off. I love falafel and do not make it enough, but it was so nice I even had some for dinner with sweet potato and polenta fries, which may I add are pretty amazing- try them!
On Wednesday night I went to Sainsbury’s and completed my first Vegan dare I say, ‘Haul’. By Thursday morning I realised that it’s a good idea to buy Vegan-friendly replacements for your favourite things such as mayonnaise, pesto, peanut butter (no palm oil, anyway) sausages (Linda McCartney, of course) snack bars (Nakd Bakewell Tart and Cashew Cookie) soup and yoghurt. It really does make life easier and makes cooking or adding ingredients to foods you already love more versatile. I also purchased lots of tofu, as I knew giving up Quorn was never going to be easy, despite their new Vegan range growing.
Thursday and Friday I mainly ate bagels, salad and then for dinner lots of vegetables, grilled with soy and ginger. Aubergines are absolutely my favourite vegetable so it was nice to eat lots of them (Aldi 49p each!). I ate rice to accompany it and felt satisfied. No craving for snacks later (like usual) but I did find that I am missing the odd biscuit here and there. Bourbons are usually in the house for the kids and actually ‘accidentally’ Vegan so I scoffed a few of those which helped. Speaking of Gabriel and Willow, I’ve had the kids on board to an extent; Willow and I made houmous together and Gabriel seems to be enjoying the dairy free yoghurt and milk!
I’ve plenty of meal ideas and snacks planned for the next week thanks to Pinterest and also Vegan blogs I have acquainted, including more baking (Vegan chocolate avocado cake) and also more houmous and falafel. I am also planning on soaking some lentils as I usually buy them ready to go, which is expensive. I want to try as many different grains as I can and hopefully squeeze in some cereal here and there, when I can deal with the soya milk addition fully! I am also hoping that I will grow to enjoy milk replacement in tea, because nothing tastes just how I like it, but perhaps for the sake of Veganism I will just have to accept that?
On positive note though, just as when I entered the world of blogging I feel, as though I have entered another world of Veganism. I have joined several forums, Facebook groups and also met lots of new people. So much support and ideas sharing, it’s also been pretty informative too, I like to think I am fairly clued up on nutrition to a certain level but I have learned so much more this week. Mainly about calcium and B12 vitamins!
Overall, I think the first week has been great. Much easier than expected and exciting actually. I feel good, I have more energy and I am sleeping better. I have,by proxy eaten more vegetables and also chosen to eat more fruit too. I also feel less bloated and feel, as my friend from Twitter Dan so well put it, ‘cleaner’. I just hope it continues! Anyway, until next week…
New Year, new challenges and new focus! It’s no secret that I’m vegetarian. I don’t preach about it though because I am a firm believer in choice but, I do have my own, personal reasons for living my life as a veggie and you may recall a few years ago I wrote about why we chose to raise Gabriel and Willow as vegetarian too. Well for a few years I’ve pondered as to how well dairy products actually sit well with me, both physically and ethically. Sure, by not eating meat I am playing a part to support my beliefs that animals should not be consumed, but what about the dairy trade and it’s often mistreatment of animals? I don’t say mistreatment lightly either. It’s fairly abhorrent. Calves being torn away from their mothers at birth, reproductive systems of animals being exploited through genetic selection. A cow’s natural lifespan is about 20 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are typically killed after about five years because their bodies wear out from constantly lactating (or being pregnant). Some are kept in cramped pens or tiny crates, where they’re prevented from moving much so that their flesh will stay tender, it’s grim. I could go on, but I won’t because I don’t need to.
Taking these issues into account, there are actually usually one of three reasons why people turn Vegan. Animal suffering, ecologicial detriment of raising animals and/or finally diet purposes. For me, it’s all three. I don’t repress my awareness of animal suffering, nor ignore the issues relating to the environment either but I also am keen to be healthier and to possibly feel better about myself and my diet too. When I sat and thought about these reasons logically, why wouldn’t I bite the bullet and try Veganism?
Last year I attempted ‘Dry January’. I lasted around three days; for varying reasons but mainly the problem was that I didn’t actually want to stop drinking, I enjoy it.. I just felt like I should for a while! Veganism is different, it’s something I support, in its principle! So this January I have decided to give Veganism a try. A month of no dairy or animal products which may lead to a complete change in lifestyle. Who knows? As a complete coincidence from some research I came across the Veganuary page on Twitter and their website. It’s actually been a campaign to be Vegan in January since 2014! If like me, you fancy giving it a whirl they have some really cool information on their page, a newsletter full of recipe ideas, starter kits, FAQS and fact sheets and also, a huge list of well-known products that are ‘accidentally’ Vegan.
I’m pretty excited to have a new challenge for 2017, a little scared and overwhelmed about all the planning, researching and cooking I need to do, but most of all I am happy to be taking part. I have created recipe ideas boards on Pinterest for inspiration and I am really pleased to see that Quorn have in fact increased their Vegan range this last few months too!
So wish me luck! Follow my month’s blogs to see how I get on with this culinary adventure! Happy New Year dear readers!
Back in the 90’s Bob Hoskins on behalf of BT regularly told us ‘It’s good to talk’ We all remember the advert. Of course, this was to enable British Telecom to make a profit, by hitting those heartstrings of family members, encouraging them to pick up their landlines and make that call, and talk to those loved ones. Fast forward twenty years, into a world of smartphones, instant messaging and social media and that campaign, at first glance appears really dated doesn’t it? But is it?
Recent events in my life have left me questioning whether internet-based messaging, albeit fast, reliable, cheaper and more frequent is actually as lovely as a good old-fashioned chat with our nearest and dearest. I questioned myself, I do actually speak on my phone!? Or so I thought. I have, for the last decade or so had a contract mobile telephone contact that allows me unlimited minutes to call anyone at anytime, so surely I make use of them? I checked my usage, it was pretty shocking; often in a month I’d used less than an hour of my inclusive call allowance. Of course, when on Wifi, I usually make calls to friends and my boyfriend using Whatsapp or Skype, so it’s not entirely accurate. But, I suppose the point I am trying to make here is that these allowances and opportunities to connect with my loved ones are often being replaced by weekly ‘checking-in’ Whatsapp messages and emails or text messages and I want to make some changes.
I understand that sometimes it’s more convenient to type, sometimes it’s easier after a long day at work or when you are busy to resort to a quick email or Facebook chat to have those needed conversations; I am always online on Whatsapp, chatting with friends and family. But I just wonder if we cannot hear someone’s tone, the way that a sentence is actually said or the passion in which something is meant, will things get missed? Do we sometimes offer a false sense of interest by text, or come across less sincere or make someone feel like that’s the case? Do things get misunderstood and never resolved and do people actually feel like you have communicated, supported or cared about them? Having someone taking the time to ring you, for no reason other than to say hello, is actually quite flattering. A phone call is more intimate, meaningful and well, unpredictable (I appreciate this can go both ways, but let’s focus on the positives here..)
Perhaps having a conversation is, in the long run quicker too. NO waiting for a reply or pondering someone’s reaction. No considering if the message has been delivered or read! The conversation also ends and that’s that, until the next time usually, there’s no continuous typing and constant beeping whilst you’re trying to do other jobs etc either.
With all this in mind, I have decided that 2017 is going to be the year that I communicate with people more, in person and by talking. I can’t often leave the house on an evening, as can’t many of my friends, but what we can do is talk. Talk on the telephone, catch up, discuss plans and generally show willing, making that effort once in a while to share your life with them and vice versa. Friendship is precious after all, let’s celebrate the virtues of communication. I know for sure that I MUCH prefer to actually hear people laughing rather than stare at the laughing-crying emojis anyway…
Photo credit: The Building Workshop
Christmas is almost upon us and this week we headed over to Manchester’s Winter Wonderland VIP evening to help get us in the mood for Father Christmas, merriment and also to celebrate Willow turning 4! We have been to the event for the last few years and we always have a great time! It’s the perfect balance of rides, entertainment and fun without being too busy, overcrowded or cold!! The event is held at Event City, Manchester which is next to the Trafford Centre so it’s easily accessible too. Plenty of parking, hardly any queuing for rides and smiles ahoy; what’s not to like?!
Manchester Winter Wonderland is basically a super-large (and I mean large!) indoor, Christmas theme park. It’s filled with child-friendly rides and lots of entertainment including pantomimes, stalls, games, shows, live entertainers and even Santa! There is so much to see and do, there is something for all ages! There are even adult rides and lots of eateries for those who are not into white knuckle experiences!
I held a giveaway for tickets last month and I am pleased to report that I met the winner at the event and I can confirm that she loved the event as much as we did! If you’re local to Manchester or can make the trip, I really do recommend you give Winter Wonderland a whirl, I would be amazed if you were disappointed!
I aren’t going to go on and on about the event, I have already done that but what I will do is share some photos of our night and let you determine yourself if the kids look happy!
As you can see, two very happy and excited children. We even located some snow! We really did have an awesome time and even spotted a few celebs! Special thanks to Winter Wonderland for inviting us to enjoy the fun! We ended our night with a ride on the Waltzers, all three of us; what an experience! The kids loved it and I have not laughed as much in years. Definitely special memories made!
So that’s it, we were of course absolutely exhausted after three hours of rides and fun but we will definitely be heading back next year! Now quick, you have until 2nd January 2017 to get yourself there! Check out the Winter Wonderland website for booking or further information!
*Disclosure: We are working in collaboration with Manchester Winter Wonderland to promote the event, however all words and opinions are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy for further information*
Last week Jake and I headed over to Salford Quays to test out the all new festive menu that Beefeater Grill has to offer. Beefeater Grill? I hear you question! Surely that’s mostly meat-based dishes and pub food. Well, let me tell you I was pleasantly surprised when I checked out the menu in advance on the Beefeater Grill Quay House website. The menu covers a lot of bases in terms of taste and dietary requirements and the special Festive Menu is perfectly put together to suit everyone, even those picky eaters amongst families.
I have been to Quay House previously, when I lived in Manchester, but it was some years ago however it was nice to return to Salford Quays and to take a look at the changes that have been made in the regeneration process. Quay House is a pleasant-looking pub-restaurant on the waterfront and both Jake and I like the views from the front of the building across the water. We headed inside and were met with a clean, spacious pub area and were told that the restaurant was upstairs. Once in the restaurant, I was pretty impressed. Beefeater have done a good job at creating a restaurant feel, but kept the decor welcoming and relaxed too. The open plan kitchen area was a nice touch too.
To begin we decided to try the ‘Specialist’ gin and tonic. Jake’s idea! So a double measure of decent gin later, coupled with Fentimans tonic we had the taste for cocktails. It is the perfect aperitif after all! Then, in an attempt to get into the festive mood, we tried the Festive Mojitos! A standard mojito, rum, lime, mint, sugar…but with a cranberry twist. Pretty alcoholic and definitely warmed us up a little! (It was very cold out..)
Food wise, we both ordered and ate three courses. Rather unusual for us but we wanted to explore the whole festive experience! To start, Jake ordered prawn cocktail and I went for the crispy flat cap mushrooms. Both were very nice and were well presented. Jake’s prawn cocktail was served with good quality ciabatta bread and he said the prawns tasted fresh. My mushrooms were crispy and tasty! Perfect with the ranch dip, although personally I did find the bbq dip a little sweet. Other options on the menu included duck pate or a tomato and roasted red pepper soup.
Next up for our main course, Jake chose the Double Steak Festive Burger and I went for the vegetarian dish, the Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Tart. The tart was served with roast potatoes, sprouts, Yorkshire pudding, root vegetable mash and vegetarian gravy. I really enjoyed it and felt like i’d eaten a good, filling Sunday lunch! Jake enjoyed the burger, it involved two double stacked 1/4lb steak burgers topped with streaky bacon, brie and cranberry sauce and was served with fries and coleslaw. Overall a nice burger although Jake did feel though that perhaps a little less cranberry sauce may have improved the burger a little, as it was pretty sweet and rich.
Also available on the main’s menu are Grilled Salmon Fillet with Prawn and Lobster Sauce, Roast Turkey with all the trimmings and also the Festive 10oz Rump Steak.
Finally for dessert we both chose the Caramel Apple Betty. Sweet, but satisfying it was the perfect ending to our meal. Served with ice cream, it cut through the tartness of the apple and sweetness of the caramel perfectly! Other options for desserts include Christmas Brownie, ice cream, a Mint Matchmakers Sundae and individual Christmas puddings. There really is something to suit everyone!
Overall we enjoyed our experience and would recommend the Festive Beefeater menu to those wanting a relaxed but festive meal out with family, that doesn’t break the bank. For three courses, it’s less than £20 per adult, and with kids meals priced at just £6.99 it’s very affordable too!
We experienced kind and helpful staff, which was nice and the ambience in the restaurant was relaxed and calm but personal. In fact, as we pondered about where to move onto next, our lovely waitress suggested a glass of Prosecco and presented us with glasses decorated with strawberries. A super-cute ending to our evening out at Quay House.Special thanks to Beefeater for a lovely and festive ‘date night’!
*Disclosure: We were given vouchers to review the Beefeater Grill at Quay House, Manchester. All words and opinions my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy for further information*