Las Iguanas Oxford

I love food, I love trying new things and I’ll quite happily pick the ‘what on earth is that’ option on the menu when I’m abroad.  When I worked in Export and also when holidays took me to far-flung parts of the world, I would always enjoy trying the local cuisine. When I visit my parents in Spain, I’m always on the look out for something to eat that none of us have had before.  Daddy P has learnt over the last 8 years that I’m really not a meat and 2 veg kind of girl!  Well, not every day, anyway.  I hadn’t been to Las Iguanas Oxford since Monkey was born, and looking at the kids menu recently, I knew he’d be fine, it was time to introduce his father to the tastes of South America!

Las Iguanas Oxford

Las Iguanas Oxford is located on Park End Street, next to the river and the male members of my family would be enjoying their first visit, just as the company celebrates its 25th birthday.  With a new Spring Menu, we certainly had lots to choose from.  There was a lunchtime and general menu to look through as well as menu for children aged 12 years and under.  What could I tempt them with?

The restaurant is bright and airy, and there’s also a riverside terrace which I’ve enjoyed sitting out on in previous visits.  I’m always a little wary with Monkey and new environments but he relaxed immediately.  He had crayons and his menu doubled as an activity sheet – he was away, leaving Daddy P and I time to made our menu selections.

Las Iguanas Oxford

I’d heard good things about the Dadinhos – a recent addition to the Las Iguanas menu and knew I’d have to try them as my starter.  It’s a Brazilian snack of crispy smoked cubes of cheese, served with a chilli jam.  They were really very good indeed, the jam wasn’t too hot, but had a good warmth to it.  Even my son, the 6 year old who doesn’t try anything new, tried one and loved it.

Las Iguanas Oxford

Daddy P opted for the Quesadilla with garlic mushrooms, chilli, thyme and cheese. We all got a taste of these too, again full of flavour and another empty plate.

Las Iguanas Oxford

With the kids menu you get a main, dessert and a drink for £ 5.90.  It’s a shame there isn’t a starter option for children.  The main dishes come with crispy lettuce, cucumber sticks, carrot sticks, baby tomatoes and pepper and Monkey would have really liked this as a starter. He wasn’t too pleased to wait whilst we had food.  This would be my only criticism, of an otherwise, perfect meal.

There will be no surprise to anyone that Monkey went for Pizza as his main meal from the kids menu.  The waitress did tell us that some children find the tomato sauce base a little spicy, but Monkey loved it, I was allowed to have a bite, the sauce was full of flavour, but not too hot or spicy in my opinion.

Monkey even have eaten the lettuce!  This turn of events definitely brought a smile to the face of his greengrocer father.  Never before has lettuce been eaten in our presence.

I thought Daddy P might go for the Chicken Enchilada or the Havana Club & BBQ Glazed Ribs from the lunch menu, but no, he totally surprised me, and went for the Veggie Chilli option.  Packed with sweet potato, butternut squash & chickpeas braised with spiced tomatoes, served with spring onion rice, pink pickled onion & soured cream, it did look good.

Las Iguanas Oxford

Daddy P said that his choice was really flavoursome and perfect for him as he’s not a great one for anything too hot. I didn’t get a chance to taste test it for myself, it was gone.

I do love my fish so the Pan Fried Pescado was calling me, and I wasn’t disappointed.  It melted in my mouth and was a great choice.  Again packed with flavour.

Las Iguanas Oxford

As I’ve mentioned earlier Las Iguanas are celebrating their 25th birthday this year, and we all get to join in, with 2 for 1 offers on their cocktails.  Sadly with Daddy P driving I didn’t take up this offer, but I couldn’t let a Mojito pass me by could I?

Las Iguanas Oxford

Once I’d returned from my memories of sipping Mojitos on the streets of Havana, it was time to decide on puddings.  Not a hard decision for me as I’m a sucker for chocolate cake – this time in the form of Aztec Chocolate Fudge Cake.  Daddy P went for the Dulce de Leche Macadamia Cheesecake and Monkey had ice cream.  Three more empty plates and happy faces later.

The staff were really friendly, made Monkey feel really comfortable and helpful with menu selections.  We were asked as soon as we arrived if we required a gluten free menu. Although we didn’t, it was nice to know we could go with friends and they’d be catered for too without any issues.

I have to be honest, I’d not thought of Las Iguanas as somewhere to eat with younger children before, but I’m so glad we got to try it out, as we will definitely be back.  There were other families eating at the same time as us, with similarly aged children, all were enjoying themselves.

Las Iguanas Oxford

It was one of the nicest eating experiences we’ve had out with Monkey, which meant we were all very relaxed.  I can thoroughly recommend the food and service.  See you again soon!

You can find out more about Las Iguanas, where your nearer restaurant is and browse the relevant menus by looking at their website.

disclosure: we were given a voucher which covered the cost of our meal and drinks, in exchange for an honest review.

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The Koala Brothers launches on iTunes and Amazon – giveaway

I don’t know about your kids, but Monkey loves watching The Koala Brothers on CBeebies. Well I’ve got a treat to share with you today as The Koala Brothers launches on iTunes and Amazon with the release of We’re Here to Help this week. Featuring 12 episodes of The Koala Brothers, any fan is going to love this, and further volumes are going to be released in the weeks ahead!

The Koala Brothers launches on iTunes and Amazon

If you’ve not discovered The Koala Brothers yet on CBeebies, let me introduce you to Frank and Buster.  These caring Koala’s fly across Australia, patrolling the skies looking to help those in need. They have lots of adventures and there’s a lovely message behind each episode, friendship and being helpful and caring always wins the day.

To celebrate The Koala Brothers launches on iTunes and Amazon I have a special prize bundle to offer one lucky winner:

A Buster costume (in size 3-4 years), a Frank beanie, a Koala Brothers ‘ready to read’ book and a writing wipe-board.

The Koala Brothers launches on iTunes and Amazon

For your chance to win this prize bundle, just complete the Gleam form below – good luck.


 

 

Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 26th June 2016 at midnight.

The Koala Brothers gift bundle

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Photo memories with Cheerz

I’ve loved photography since I was a child, a camera has never been far from my side.  The one downside to digital photography for me, is it’s all too easy to not print photos out. Monkey loves looking through photo albums and when I was recently asked if I’d like to create some Photo memories with Cheerz I jumped at the chance.

Photo memories with Cheerz

I’d not heard of Cheerz before, but they have an app and website where you can upload your photos and turn them into all sorts of things, including photo albums, posters, boxed photos and magnets.  You have the option to upload from sites like Facebook and Instagram as well as taking photos from your phone, computer or Dropbox.  It’s very easy to use, even this techno dinosaur managed it.  Although I did overstep my budget, once a happy snapper, always a happy snapper!

I went for the Cheerz Boz which offers a box filled with Polaroid style prints.  You can select the colour of the photo borders and add text too.  I’d failed miserably at printing any photos from Monkey’s 6th birthday, his birthday treats and Christmas, so thought the Cheerz Box would be a great idea.

I added a personalised message for Monkey and we also received a lovely heart-shaped photo showcasing the photos I’d chosen. I was really pleased with the quality of the prints and Monkey spent ages, looking through them again and again, reliving photo memories with Cheerz. Looks like I still need to train him not to put his fingers all over prints though!

The Cheerz box with 30 photos costs £15.

I’ve been meaning to create a photobook of our Cornish holiday last year so took the opportunity to create one with Cheerz.  The 20x25cms photobook comes with a storage box and has a hard cover.  You can add a title to go along the spine, pick the colour and template for the front cover, add a photo and title to the cover box.

Once you’ve selected your photos, you can auto fill or control the display yourself and add text as required.  I couldn’t work out how many pages you got for £35 started and overspent at £37.50 but I love the results.  The paper is thicker than other photobooks we’ve got and I’m really pleased with the quality. I also love the inside black and white covers.

Overall I’ve been really impressed sorting out photo memories with Cheerz, you do pay extra for carriage, my order would cost £5.83.  Delivery was prompt but the items did arrive separately.  I’ve got a discount code to share with you all – when you place your order with Cheerz, use code MARPR7D and you’ll get £4.00 off your first order (you need to spend over £8.00).

disclosure:  we were sent the items sent in exchange for an honest review.  I also receive a credit for each referral from this post.

 

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Alpha and Omega: Dino Digs DVD review and giveaway

We’ve just introduced Monkey to the new Alpha and Omega: Dino Digs DVD, ahead of its national release on 30th May and it went down rather well.

Alpha and Omega: Dino Digs DVD

Anything mentioning Dinosaurs gets Monkey’s interest.  We meet Kate, Humphrey and their Pups who are looking for a new home.  Kate thinks she’s found the perfect den but it may not be quite what it seems.

As the pups, Runt, Stinky and Claudette explore, they come face to face with Amy the Raptor who has travelled forward in time 65 million years!  She’s running away from a T-Rex who was chasing her in her own time when a meteor landed in front of them, bringing an end to the age of the dinosaurs.  Monkey didn’t bat an eyelid at the time travelling idea!

There’s all sorts of action as the pups try to save their friend from the T-Rex, and there’s an underlying story of protecting the natural world.  Monkey seemed to enjoy the film.

With a run time of 47 minutes, the Alpha and Omega: Dino Digs DVD  will keep younger children entertained and is priced at £5.99.  I’ve included my Amazon affiliate link below so you can pre-order.

disclosure:  we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review


I have one copy of Alpha and Omega: Dino Digs DVD available for you to win.  Complete the Gleam form below, good luck!


Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 8th June 2016 at midnight.

Alpha and Omega: Dino Digs DVD

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The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight

You can’t beat a good tale involving knights and dragons as far as we’re concerned and we were looking forward to reading The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight when it arrived recently.

The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight

Published through Pan Macmillan earlier this month, The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight is the latest collaboration from author Elli Woollard and illustrator Benji Davies. We’d really enjoyed The Giant of Jum when we’d read that, what would this book bring?

We meet Dram, a 4 year old dragon, the youngest of the Dragons of Dread.  He’s reached the age when he needs to earn his keep.  His sent on a mission to nibble the knees of a knight.  The dragons love to eat knights!  But poor Dram gets caught in a thunderstorm and ends up catapulting to earth and landing in the great lake.  The lake where a young knight called James, just happens to be sitting watching out for ducks.

The Dragon and the Nibblesome KnightDram is in a bad way and needs to be rescued by James.  Will Dram realise that his saviour isn’t just any little boy, but a little knight?  Will James realise that this bedraggled creature isn’t some sort of strange duck, but in fact a knight eating dragon?

This is a lovely story of helping those in needs and of friendship overcoming obstacles. Another great picture book which gets a thumbs up here.

We were sent the hardback copy of The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight, but the paperback version is also available for £6.99 (currently on offer on Amazon).  I’ve included my Amazon Affiliate link below for your information.

disclosure:  we were sent this item in exchange for an honest review

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Monkey has fun with BKD Mini Bakers Club

Before Monkey started school we used to bake in the kitchen together a lot.  When an opportunity came our way recently, I realised that somewhere along the line our baking together had become a rarity.  That made me rather sad, and was something I was determined to remedy.  So last week, we finally had an afternoon with no homework, no activities and frankly an afternoon where we just needed to spend some time together without the TV interfering!  Monkey has fun with BKD Mini Bakers Club and it was just what was needed to cheer us both up after a night with little sleep.

Monkey has fun with BKD Mini Bakers Club

BKD are a London-based company who offer baking parties for children within the capital, as well as baking kits for children which are available to purchase online.  The BKD Mini Bakers Club is a subscription service, each month a new box arrives through your letterbox including a baking mix, recipes as well as craft ideas and stickers.

Monkey has fun with BKD Mini Bakers Club

The boxes are slightly too wide to fit through our letterbox, but I would imagine that that’s the idea.  I have to be honest and say that we received two boxes, and in both cases the baking mix bag had split.  With the first bag, the mix was everywhere, the second was only a small split so things were salvageable.  I’ve checked with both BKD and other bloggers and it seems we’ve just been unlucky.  But as the bag had split in different places on our deliveries, maybe the seals of the bags needs strengthening.

But leaving that issue to one side, in your box you receive a personalised message, listing the contents of the box, along with somewhere to write and draw.

Monkey has fun with BKD Mini Bakers Club

Now Monkey wasn’t in the mood for filling in forms, he wanted to get straight down to business, he’d heard the word Gingerbread and he’d got his apron on before I could sort out the ingredients.

Monkey has fun with BKD Mini Bakers Club

For this project we needed to provide unsalted butter, golden syrup and cookie cutters.  I think it would have been a great idea to include a cutter with this set personally.  Monkey called out what we needed from his check list and we got everything ready to begin.

Monkey has fun with BKD Mini Bakers Club

Then it was over to my little chef to get on with the mixing.  The recipe card is very easy to follow, although I do think larger text would make it more child friendly.

Once our gingerbread dough was ready, I wrapped it in clingfilm and set it aside in the fridge for an hour whilst we had our dinner.  Once the hour was over, it was time to roll out the dough and decide which shapes Monkey wanted to make.  We’d been through our supply of cutters and he decided on a Snow Dog, Gingerbread Man and a Star.

When the biscuits had been baked for 8 minutes I took them out of the oven for Monkey and he decided which ones he wanted to turn into biscuit pops. As the pop sticks needed to be pushed into the biscuits whilst they were still hot, I took control of that part under Monkey’s supervision.

Monkey has fun with BKD Mini Bakers Club

Once they had cooled down, it was back to Monkey for some decorating using the Icing Pen provided.

He even wrapped one up for Daddy with one of the bags and some stickers that came in the pack, so Daddy P could decorate his own gingerbread man!

The set also came with a sheet with things to colour in and cut out so you could have your own bakers shop.  We’re saving this for a time when Monkey feels like playing shop, right now he just feels like eating!  I have to say that the biscuits taste marvelous!

There are various different subscription packages available with the BKD Mini Bakers Club, from 1-6 months and at the moment they have a promotion offering the first month of any package half price.  To see full details and pricing structures, and to sign up, pop over to the website.

I think for us, Monkey would be more interested in the baking, rather than the arts and crafts accessories, so going on the taste of these biscuits I think we’d be tempted to buy one the BKD baking kits.  The Chocolate and Raspberry Pirate Cupcake Mini Baking Kit sounds right up his street.  This and many other kits are also available to buy on the website.

disclosure:  we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review

 

Posted in Food and Drink, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Hot is Lava? giveaway

Any Volcano fans out there?  Do you remember that we reviewed How Hot is Lava? a few weeks ago? It’s a great source of information, full of facts, figures and photographs of volcanoes and their causes.

How Hot Is Lava?

Written by Kelly Smith and distributed in the UK by GMC Distribution, this is a must have read for any geography fan.

Today I have 3 copies of How Hot is Lava? to offer you.  Just complete the Gleam form below for your chance to win.  Good luck!

 


Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 22nd June 2016 at midnight.

How Hot is Lava? book

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Spring Crafting with Baker Ross

Monkey has been kept on his toes recently with lots of Spring Crafting with Baker Ross. We were sent a bumper delivery from our favourite kids arts and craft kit company and have spent spare moments over the last few weeks painting, drawing, sewing and more besides.

Spring Crafting with Baker Ross

Monkey loves wild animals and visiting Whipsnade Zoo is always a highlight.  When we’re there, his first port of call is almost always to see the Giraffes, so I knew he’d make a beeline for the Jungle Animal Plush Toys.

It’s fair to say that the little Giraffe is now a constant bedtime companion.  We’ve barely had any free time later, but I’ve promised Monkey that once we’re back from holiday we will sit down and make some card zoo animal puppets using this fab Safari Tissue Paper – don’t the sheets just look great!

Spring Crafting with Baker Ross

Carrying on with the wild animal theme, Monkey’s been busy painting.  This time he’s been using the Hobbyline Brights Porcelain Paint Pots again, to decorate an Elephant Ceramic Coin Bank.

Now whilst my son clearly goes for a splash dash approach, which sends my toes curling, he loves this activity.  We may not get neat lines and any particular pattern, but he’s always so thrilled with the results, it’s a joy to watch his masterpieces come alive.

Moving on to Unicorns as you do, I was delegated to make up the Unicorn Cushion Sewing Kit.  Although Monkey would actually have been more than capable of completing this activity himself if he’d been so inclined.

These sewing kits are great, everything you need is provided, including a plastic needle and easy to follow instructions.

We’ve made some pom poms before, and Monkey gets a little frustrated with making the pom pom himself when it gets a little trickier to thread the wool through the hole.  So this Farm Animal Pom Pom Decoration kit was a two-man collaboration.

Now I had an image in my head of what our Wooden Beach Hut Key Holder kit would look like when it was finished.  I had visions of pinks and blues and memories of strolling along the prom at Bournemouth.  But I’d forgotten one small fact, I’m a girl, Monkey isn’t.  He’s not about pretty, and dainty, he’s about something all together different.

The joy of these kits is that children can run free with their imagination.  There is no wrong or right, just fun.  He loves the finished article and that’s all that matters!

Monkey certainly loves the Rainbow Colour Clay Multi Bars and has lots of fun making all sorts of things.  When his play time has ended I’ve stored the clay away, it doesn’t dry out, and he’s used again.  Hours of creative fun.

We’ve had the Self Portrait Blanks before and this time around Monkey decided to make some Alien faces!

Spring Crafting with Baker Ross

With Fathers Day looming just after our holiday, Monkey is well prepared and he has made Daddy P a selection of key rings with the Wooden Key ring set.  Apparently he’s keeping the ‘Ferrari’ for his book bag though.

As you can see Spring Crafting with Baker Ross has certainly kept Monkey busy, and with a wide range of activities too.

disclosure:  we were sent the items mentioned in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Arts and Craft, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Family at Rest – Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 220516

Last Sunday we went out for lunch and got to see this lovely family of swans, taking a break, enjoying the sunshine.  No ugly ducklings here.

A family at rest - Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 220516

OneDad3Girls

Posted in Family Life, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Project 366 2016 Week 20

Project 366 2016 Week 20 Day 136-142 with The Boy and Me. From signets and croquet, to a boiler that wasn’t condemned and a back that doesn’t like me!

Sunday 15th May – Day 136

Project 366 2016 Week 20

We were spending the day in the Cotswolds.  We’d been invited to review a pub for lunch and then headed to Chastleton House for the rest of the afternoon.  We had a lovely time, I’m really loving Monkey aged 6, he’s such a wonderful little chap, growing in so many ways and mostly, a joy to be with.  Love this expression.

Monday 16th May – Day 137

Project 366 2016 Week 20

I’ve felt pretty bluergh all week, but this little chap can always bring a smile to my face.  He got to wear his badges on his top for the first time at Beavers today. I think the smile says it all.  Smart new haircut too, his hair grows so damn quick.

Tuesday 17th May – Day 138

Project 366 2016 Week 20

We’d had a bad night and Monkey and I were both shattered today.  After school we both needed a bit of quiet tome together and it was lovely watching Monkey take control in the kitchen.  We’d been sent a baking set to review, and I realised how little we’ve baked together since Monkey’s been at school. We both had fun, something we need to do more often again.

Wednesday 18th May – Day 139

Project 366 2016 Week 20

Our boiler is ancient and has been getting louder and louder recently.  The gas man was due out to look at it, and I was so worried he was going to condemn it.  Current regs would mean we would have to totally re position a new one, redesign the kitchen and pull up the floorboards in our bedroom.  It’s not something we can afford to do.  Thank god he fixed it, one new fan and you hardly know it’s even running.  Result.

I had a nice catch up with a friend I haven’t seen for a while and after school it was time to get Monkey to finish his homework.  He needed to write about 4 different things related to the Great Fire of London from photo prompts.  I’d asked him what he wanted to write earlier in the week and written the sentences down myself.  Now it was time to get him to put pencil to paper and complete it himself.

Thursday 19th May – Day 140

Project 366 2016 Week 20

Not a great shot, but a rare selfie with my son.  What a day.  Hormones, hormones, hormones.  The rollercoaster is tiring me out at the moment.  I clearly spent the day in la la land, as I was happily typing away, glanced up at the clock.  3.12pm.  Monkey finishes school at 3.15pm.  You have never seen me move so fast.  Thankfully we live close to school but I still had to run all the way.  Monkey was very pleased to see me.

Friday 20th May – Day 141

Project 366 2016 Week 20

So my back went this morning whilst I was my hair, so Monkey was in charge of breakfast duties.  I’m not feeling the love today, shattered, full of cold and if I bend down I won’t be able to get up.  Thought I’d cheer myself up with a cuppa in the garden when I spotted this. On Saturday Monkey and I planted out 10 sunflowers in different spots in the garden.  Not one has survived this attack.  Stalks is all we have left.  Monkey’s going to be so gutted.

Saturday 21st May – Day 142

Project 366 Week 20 SatOk so I’m cheating and I got Iona to take this photo for me but I’ve just not concentrated on taking photos myself today.  This is a group shot of the Oxfordshire Bloggers who attended Blog Camp in Birmingham today.  They’re a lovely group  of ladies, and along with Iona, they kept me company today. I was fuelled on coffee and pain killers and am now heading home and off to bed!

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

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