Ultimate Date Night at The Leisure Exchange, Bradford

Date night is something my Hubby and I always try to make time for. Normally it will be a simple ready meal for 2 at home in front of the TV before we go and curl up in bed. (I know the exciting lives of parents)

But every so often our date nights become special. We will switch things up and instead of staying at home and watching another film that I know my Hubby will just fall asleep half way through. We will get dressed up and actually leave the house, the kids and actually Go Out.

The Leisure Exchange has always been one of our favourite spots for going out as my Hubby loves Frankie & Benny’s. He actually took me there on our second date and let me order as many pitchers of cocktails as I wanted. (To say I ended that date tipsy is an understatement!).

So when I was invited on The Leisure Exchange Bloggers Night Out, I knew straight away who my plus one would be. IMG_7816

We started our night in Pizza Hut, As some people may know from the ads on TV that Pizza Hut have made some changes to the menu by adding some new and exciting toppings like Texas Meat Melt Down, Philly Cheese Steak and Heavenly Veg. To go with these new pizza’s they have also created some luxuriously thick ice cream milkshakes that come in a range of mouth-watering flavours.

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New Salted Caramel Ice Cream milkshake in a frosted glass

It isn’t just the menu that has had a bit of  shake up, the restaurant has had a new makeover and is now sporting bright lights, funky art work and a fun designed ice cream factory, that makes eating in the new and improved Pizza hut more of an experience then just a meal out.

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We choose the New Orleans Cajun Sizzler with stuffed crust that is bruised with garlic butter. This new pizza topping is made up of highly seasoned chicken, mixed pepper, red onions and Roquito chillies that give it a lovely kick and leaves your lips tingling. We opted to share an individual pizza as it was more than enough for us 2, when you add in the unlimited salad bowls.

After a great meal we moved on to Hollywood bowl to have a “friendly” game of bowling. Any one who know me will tell you have a competitive streak, so when it came to bowling losing wasn’t an option and in my pursuit of winning I managed to get 3 strike in a row, which is called a Turkey so the staff at Hollywood bowl decided to do the Turkey Dance.

Which you can watch HERE.

We then moved on the Frankie and Benny’s to try out their new dessert menu. I was not prepared for all the new delicious puddings that were brought out but the one that stood out to me the most was The Can’t Decider was great for someone like me because when it comes to puddings I find it so difficult to choose just one.

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It made up of 4 small pieces of cakes, tarts and pies such as Smooth and rich chocolate fudge cake, a deliciously moreish Oreo cheesecake, a delicate Pecan pie and a mouth-watering Citrus tart all served with a bowl of vanilla ice-cream. If you choose this dessert you are bound you find something you will love and again there is more than enough for you to share.

We ended our date night in the Cineworld. Which I know it is a bit of a date night cliché but nothing really beats snuggling up in a dark cinema and having a smooch while watching Captain America : Civil War, which is the prefect sort of film for me and my hubby to enjoy together as he loves all the fighting, action and things blowing up, while I get to have a cheeky prev at the super heroes on the big screen.

It was the ultimate date night.

Nikki x

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#BlogCamp 2016 – What I learned & Why I love this event!

On Saturday I and hundreds of other bloggers descended on The Studio in Birmingham, so we could attend the Tots100 BlogCamp. It wasn’t just parent bloggers at this event there where also bloggers from Hibs100, Trips100 and Foodie100.

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This is my second year attending this fun, informative and best of all free event. I went to last years blogcamp, but since as it was my first ever blogging event I was extremely nervous and couldn’t properly relax. Which meant that I came away really doubting myself as a blogger and I lost quite a bit of my confidence in myself and my blog.

Thankfully this year was a lot different. I was more relaxed as I was becoming a bit of a dab hand at this blogging conference malarkey after BlogCamp and Britmums last year.

I had arranged to meet up with 3 bloggers that I had met and got to know at last years event at the train station. Sadly Kirsty from MissPorkPie had hurt her foot the night before the event and was unable to attend in the end :(. So I met Zara from Mojo Blogs and Rachel from Parenting Highs and Lows in the new and improved Birmingham New street station. Which is completely breath-taking since it has been renovated, the whole station has become very bright and extremely busy with commuters, families going on trips and shoppers just taking a stool through the train station.

Once we had all met up and remembered which way were heading and after a wrong turn or two. We arrived at the Studio just after 9am and the sessions didn’t start until 10am which meant I had time to mingle with other bloggers, it was then that I saw Sharon from TeenTweenToddler and Michaela from Two Little Paines.IMG_0076

After saying my hello’s and catching up with people I haven’t seen since last year. I grab a coffee and got myself happily situated as BlogCamp begun.

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While I was at BlogCamp I attended quite a few of the session that interested me and here is what I took away from those sessions.

  • Collaborative Blogging
    This session was made up of 4 bloggers that run successful collaborative blogs. It was great watching how they interacted and listening to all the hints and tips they had. They all pointed out that collaborative blogging isn’t easy because sometime for one reason or another a collaborative blog can just not work and that you need to work with blogging you get along with and make the blog about something you are all interested in.
    Although the idea of a collaborative blog does interest me I know that it’s not the right time for me to start one as I have enough to do with just 1 blog.
  • Pinterest Tips & Tricks
    I am fairly new to Pinterest, as it was only march of this year that I finally set myself account up. I did however come away with some great ideas on how to make my blog more “Pinable” by adding a PinIt button on my page and all it took was for me to downloads a plugin. Sarah Barns from Taming Twins did a great presentation and really helped me to understand how beneficial Pinterest can be for my blog. But first I need to change my Pinterest account from a personal to a business and I need to start pinning things like Halloween, Christmas etc a few months beforehand because that is when people tend to start searching for idea, which will then mean my posts could be seen more and for a longer period.
  • Writing workshop
    I was excited to attend the work shop and I was eager to try to learn something new. While we were given some great advice and I tried my best to write something meaningful. I didn’t have the confidence to stand up in front of a load of people I didn’t know and read my jumbled up 5 minutes of scribbling. I did however because really inspired by the other bloggers who were brave enough to read out their work. I even ended up shed a few tears after listening to a woman story about her daughters birth.

Then it was lunch which meant more socialising as I walked around trying to spot bloggers I knew but also trying to meet new friends too. This year there were loads of beautiful babies and bumps at BlogCamp, so I was in my element snuggling all the babies and drinking in they new baby smell, it was complete heaven. I jumped at any chance to spend time with them and I even got to feed Sharon’s beautiful little boy. I had forgotten what it was like to sit and cuddle a baby as the stare up at you in complete awe as you feed them and they make you feel like you’ re the most important person in the world. It really made me miss when my kids were little babies.

After lunch there where more sessions, I attended:

  • Writing Awesome Reviews 
    Now this was my favourite session during the whole day. Even though Emma and Lindy where telling everyone basic common sense it really struck accord with me that there are probably bloggers and people out there that are polite to PR and that can be really rude. Their advice is always be professional, have fun and remember why you started blogging in the first place. But the most important information that I think everyone should live by, 

    PR’s don’t want to work with someone who is going to be rude or get snippy with them because at the end of the day they are just doing their job too.

I walked out of that session smiling, I was happy with all the things I had pick out of each session and I felt more confident in myself and my blog. I didn’t go to the last session but instead I sat snuggling Jamie’s from The Oliver’s Madhouse little boy and having a chat with her and loads of other bloggers.

I was a little bit sad when day ended and it was time to leave because this was the first time at a conference that I have felt comfortable while I was there. I felt like I belonged and that I wasn’t just putting on a brave face and muddling my way through it. I came away feeling positive and with some real insight in how I can make my blog better, instead of doubting myself. I am hoping it will be the same at the next conference I attend but I know that I’m probably not going to be at any until next year now.

At least I will have the memories from this BlogCamp to keep me going and hopefully inspire me and blog posts for the rest of the year.

Nikki x

 

 

 

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The Art of the Passive Aggressive Note

 There is a simple Art to writing a passive aggressive note. You have to get the words just right, so that you get your point across but also keep it light hearted and in some cases funny.

I know that over the last 7 years of my relationship with my Hubby I have left many passive aggressive notes or sent a snarky texts, when he has done something like eat the last of the bread and I have the kids packed lunches to make or when he unplugs my washing machine midwash to make a brew but then forgets to plug it back in afterwards. This normally happens when its full of the kid’s school uniforms or and outfit I need for the next day.

Passive aggressive notes between my Hubby and myself aren’t used to offend the other person but instead release the pent up irritations that arise during any relationship. Although I do normally tend to call him a dick in them.

But when I saw this infographic from Data Label that has also been featured on theCheer.org I couldn’t help but find The examples funny and the stats a little bit hard to believe.

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I think we all have this ability to send a passive aggressive note, text or even make a remark and not really realise we have done it.

But my question is what do you think?

Have you ever received a passive aggressive note?

Or where you the sender?

I would love you to leave an answer in the comments and let me know.

x Nikki x

*Collaborative Post*

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Review – #SomethingSpecial textured Mr Tumble with fun sounds

CBeebies Justin AKA Mr Tumble has been a part of mine and my families lives ever since T was a little. So during those 11 years Mr Tumble became a fun part of our daily routine.

Something Special became even more important to us after LM was born because of the fact Mr Tumble helped teach Makaton signing, which has been proven to be a great way for children with Down syndrome to help acquire language plus the show helped the world to see that children with additional needs are just the same as everyone else.

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That is why I almost jumped at the chance to review the Something Special – Textured Mr Tumble with fun sounds, from Golden Bear Toys. I knew instantly that having this toys would bring joy to LM and that I would be able to use the toy to hopefully encourage her to get into the show herself.

Because honestly LM doesn’t really like TV. I think this is because she is only 2 and because she would much rather play with her toys and completely destroy my living room by emptying out the toy box for the teddy or dolls at the bottom. Which is why this sore plush doll was prefect, she loves to play with dolls, even at nursery she spends her time in the home corner feeding, playing with and putting her dolls to bed before then taking them out and climbing in their bed and then repeating the process while talking to them and shaking her finger. (This is extremely cute to watch I must add)

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Because I have been teaching LM Makaton for a while she has already learned some great signs such as “Tree”, “Bed” and “Hello”. I am really grateful for shows like Something Special because it is fun to watch as well as being educational.

The Mr Tumble doll stands at 36cm tall and the box that it come in has 5 different phases printed on the back to help teach the children these signs. If you press the doll hand he will say certain phrases such as “Hello”, “Friend” as well as giggling and chuckling. The toy comes with its very own spotty bag which doesn’t contain 3 special things for Justin and his friends to find but it does contain a mirror which you can use to help show the kids children to pronounce words and show them how to shape their mouths to form the letters sounds as we speak. His body is made up of soft stuffing, as well as multiple different textured fabrics which gives the toy a sensory feel as well as lace tying shoes to help the children work on their fine motor skills.

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This fun toy gets in touch with the children musical side by playing the theme song the Something Special show, which I will point out you will find yourself singing all day long. While the stars on his waist coat lighting up and flash which helps draw in the children’s attention.

LM completely loves this toy and Mr Tumble has now become a favourite of all the toys in our house. It has even been the Geronimo festival with us in hope of us meeting the real Justin Fletcher. But unfortunately the weather wasn’t 2 year old friendly and we had to leave before Mr Tumble came on. That hasn’t stop this toy been taken everywhere else since.

I love that fact that this toy and show it helps give LM and children like her a voice, where normally they wouldn’t and I love the fact that it teaches other children and their families (like ours) to learn and communicate, as well as bring joy to children lives.

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I would highly recommend this toy as well as watching Mr Tumbles – Something Special as it will help your child understand that sometimes people, communicate differently, look differently or even behave differently but in the end it is those differences that make use great and they are nothing to be afraid of.

x Nikki x

*We were sent this toy for the purposes of this review but all the thought and opinions are my own.

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Lalaloopsy Style N Swap Review

I have always loved Lalaloopsy dolls. I love the bright style of each doll and how each one has a similar but also unique and colourful look, I love the fact they are different from most other dolls and the fact they are a plastic version of a rag doll.

I have spent ages waiting and hoping that E would get into these dolls and want one of the bigger versions just so I would have a good enough excuse to buy one and maybe have a little play with it when she was in bed. Sadly though she has never really taken that much of an interest in them and i think that was because of her age.

So when I was offered the chance to review the Mini Lalaloopsy Style n Swap dolls assortment, I thought E wouldn’t be interested and that it would be A who would want to play with them.

I am happy to say I was wrong (saviour this moment, as it’s not often I admit that!)

Soon as the dolls arrived E was drawn in by the bright and fun packaging and wanted me to open them soon as I got them out of the postage packaging. So she was very excited.

Lalaloopsy Style n swap dolls are the new collectables that are out this spring and a miniature version of the your favourite dolls. There is whole range in which you can collect, so you can swap and change from assorted pack to help give you Lalaloopsy mini character a fun and new look.

We were sent the Peanut Big Top play set who is preparing for her next big show and when picking the prefect costume for her show there is one must have – sleeves to hide the tricks in! Ta-Da!

There are 4 different Assortment packs costing £9.99 and each one comes with one doll and over 10 removable pieces such as clothes, shoes, wigs and an adorable pet or fun accessory to complete every outfit and fits the chapters personality. You can also get the  Mini Lalaloopsy Style n Swap multipack at £16.99 and because it’s a multipack you get double the amount with 2 dolls and over 20 accessories. this range doesn’t just have dolls though it also has Mini Lalaloopsy Style n Swap playset Assortment £14.99, so your little ones can set the sense as they play

When I first saw how small the Mini Style n Swap dolls actually were I wasn’t sure how we were suppose to get the clothes and outfits on them and I though that because of how thin and rather flimsy the legs looked that they might break if you were too rough with them. I was pleasantly surprise that this wasn’t the case and the legs actually bent slightly to help accommodate the fact that they were suppose to be dressed in plastic clothing.

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E absolutely loved being able to change the clothes and coming up with a story for each outfit. we spent ages talking about all the different things Peanut was getting up and in E’s imagination, she went on loads of fantastic adventures in her circus life before being the star of the show. and since then E has asked if we can take to Peanut to the circus so she can learn some new tricks. It was great watching her enjoy and engage with a toy that could change into anything your imagination wanted it to be by simply changing its outfit.

These toys are recommended for children 4+ as they contain small parts.

 

Nikki x

 

*  I was sent this toy for the purpose of this review all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

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