Monday, 4 December 2017

Giuseppes a hidden delight

Italian restaurants Worthing
Since having our little boy, outings to restaurants have certainly decreased. So when the opportunity to go for a meal presents itself, it’s something to savour and really enjoy. It does however add to the pressure of finding somewhere really nice to eat.

Italian cuisine is a definite favourite of mine (Parma Ham, Olives, Gnocchi, Arancini, Rissoto, Spaghetti Bolognese,Tiramisu to name a few) so if I have the choice this will always be top of the restaurant list.
Italian food
When family get together we inevitably end up having a good meal, or maybe that's just us. During a recent trip to Worthing we found Giuseppe's a Southern Italian Restaurant hidden down a little side street.

Entering through a sliding conservatory door the restaurant has quite the unassuming entrance. But as I've come to find with restaurants looks can be very deceiving and as we soon understand, this is true of Giuseppes which is a hive of activity even on a Saturday lunch time in Worthing. 

Now anyone who has ever had dinner with a little person will know it’s a bit like Russian roulette, you never know what your going to get. You can have the most promising start to a meal only for it to turn to total chaos or vise versa. On the day of our visit Noah was being a boisterous and demanding little guest, so apologies in advance for a couple of the photos as they were taken whilst I was in a wrestling match with the little man.

On the plus side all the starters on the menu looked wonderful. 

I opt for Carpaccio di Manzo (£7.50): thinly sliced fillet of beef marinated in lemon dressing served on a bed of rocket salad and topped with Parmesan. 
The Carpaccio which was sliced a little thick was however delicious, with the perfect peppery taste from the rocket and beef in lemon juice. 
Giuseppes Restaurant
Other guests around the table choose the Salmone Marinato: (£7.45) Thinly sliced fillets of salmon in a balsamic glaze and dill, marinated in citrus dressing. Salmon Carpaccio
I'm reliably informed that the balsamic glaze and dill on the salmon was really refreshing; but a little less glaze would have been appreciated. 

Meatballs is always a favourite of mine so I was pleased that a member of the table chose this, Polpette Catanesi (£6.95) Traditional meatballs served in tomato sauce.
Giuseppes Restaurant
For a starter three meatballs is a great size, not too big or small. 

The last starter on the table was Arancini Siciliani,
Sicilian rice ball (£7.25) filled with mozzarella, peas and Bolognese sauce.
Giuseppes Restaurant
The breadcrumb coating was perfectly crisp, whilst the rice, mozzarella and Bolognese was wonderfully flavoursome and moist. This might sound easy but as a foodie I have had many that have been overcooked and incredibly dry.

The menu for mains is extensive and I was feeling incredibly indecisive so went for the safe option of Maiale agli Asparagi (£16.95), slow roasted prime pork fillet, red wine jus, asparagus and caramelised onion.
Restaurants Worthing
The pork was moist, the red wine jus had sufficient flavour, but not too much to over power the dish. It was delicious, I was only sad that it wasn't accompanied with potatoes. 

The other half continued the theme of fish with Salmone Cartoccio (£18.95), fresh grilled salmon cooked with king prawns, mussels, black olives and capers in a white wine sauce.
Giuseppes restaurant

The description for this dish just doesn't do it justice.  I think for the table this was definitely the showstopper; delicious. A seafood feast for the eyes and the belly. 

Next up was Pollo Funghi & Crema (£16.95), Chicken breast in a creamy sauce with mushroom and peas
Italian restaurants worthing
There is something about white wine cream sauces in chicken dishes that I am unable to stomach as it is so rich, so this wouldn't have been my first choice, but arrived as expected. The sauce I was informed as being surprisingly tasty.

Now I've said it before that you can really judge a restaurant by how well they cook Italian icon dishes. 

The last meal on our table is a classic, Vongole & Peperoncino (£10.50), clams with cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, parsley, tomato and a hint of chilli.
Giuseppes restaurant
The Vongole was up there with some of the best we have had. The pasta was cooked 'al dente' and the sauce had the perfect amount of chilli kick. 

Giuseppe's is definitely a hidden gem and I am very much looking forward to returning and working my way through their entire menu. Hopefully, when Noah is behaving a little better.

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Monday, 13 November 2017

Winter beauty treats

Whilst being pregnant I suffered with horrendous sickness, smells of any kind made me sick. So I waved goodbye to the majority of my beauty products, perfumes and bathing treats with any kind of scent.

But slowly, slowly I am bringing them back. Prior to pregnancy I loved Rituals products, so with winter upon us I decided it was time to mix things up and try some products I haven't tried.

As you know I like to put things through their paces before I share them, so I’ve been using these little beauties for a few months.

The Ritual of Sakura scented candle (£21.50). 

Who doesn’t love a candle? From October onwards I love burning candles and if they have a wonderful scent all the better. Who would have thought rice milk and Cherry blossom could smell so divine in a candle. This beauty sends a wonderful floral aroma all around the house. The best bit is it lasts for over fifty hours. 
The Ritual of Sakura bath foam (£13.50). The first thing to say is you get a huge bottle. After a tough day this beauty is perfect for making the cosy bath. It smells lovely with cherry wafting through the room and creates luscious thick bubbles. 
My only complaint is with the packaging. The lid which has a wooden overlay within a week had completely come away, leaving behind it a white plastic lid with a horrible glue residue. The packaging just doesn’t work for a humid space like a bathroom. I had the delight of unscrewing it and getting sticky hands until it ran out; luckily I was in the right place to give them a clean. 

The Ritual of Sakura shower foam (£8.50). 

Foaming shower gels feel like a bit of a fad and I can never distribute the right amount; but I love how they feel silky on the skin, which is perfect for shaving your legs and the scent seems to last longer than traditional gels too. So if you are looking for something a bit more luxurious than a standard gel, then you will be pleased that you chose to try this.

The Ritual of Sakura body cream (£19.50). 

What can I say other than this is a wonderful find. A thick and luscious cream, a treat to apply and perfect at hydrating my skin leaving it super soft. A small amount goes a long way; it absorbs really easily and there is no greasiness so when I’m in a hurry I can get dressed straight away. Best of all I’m left with wonderfully moisturised skin with a subtle scent of cherries. 

I hope that this has given you some Christmas gift inspiration. Rituals have loads of gift sets so check out their website. 

What Rituals recommendations would you make? 

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Friday, 27 October 2017

How to develop your child's imagination

How to develop your child's imagination
Growing up I had a vivid and wild imagination; I was always spinning some kind of yarn about a magical fairy world under the floorboards, pixies at the bottom of the garden or my ability to fly off on adventures. I had a magical imagination and I wasn’t afraid to use it.
I could often be found with my nose in a book, reading my favourite stories like 'The Magic Finger' (Roald Dahl), 'The Chronicles of Narnia' (C.S Lewis), 'The Secret Garden' (Frances Hodgeson) and many of the The Famous Five (Enid Blyton) books.

There are so many elements in life that are trying to expedite childhood, forcing children to drop their childish ways and morph them into mini adults. Well I’m not buying in. 
Children deserve the right to be children, to do childlike things and most importantly have their imagination fed.

When little Noah was born I wanted to really encourage and nurture his imagination to help it to grow.

Last year saw the opening of 
Discover the UK’s first Children’s Story Centre. 
children's museums
A museum dedicated to the sole purpose of expanding and feeding a child’s imagination and curiosity. Last month the little man and I set off on an adventure to the museum and we are really pleased with what we found. 

The story centre is divided into story world, storytelling and a story garden. 

Story World - designed with the help of the talented Jim Field (children's illustrator who illustrates one of Noah's favourite books 'How many legs' by Kes Gray)

Discover museum
Story World is spread over two floors and offers an exciting creative play space, to inspire a little ones imagination and curiosity. On the ground floor you are greeted by a magical woodland with a giant tree. 
How to develop your child's imagination
Little ones can climb inside the tree which houses dancing lights and humming beats, with a hill on the side, to climb or crawl your way to the top. 

The wood houses a castle; follow the river and you are greeted by a beach with marooned wooden boat.

The first floor houses Hootah, the resident space alien. 
Discover museum
Hootah has landed on planet squiggly Diggly and needs your help to create some new stories, as everyone on the planet has run out of imagination. 

Storytelling- Stuck for some ideas Discover has storytelling workshops that you can sit in to get some inspiration.

Story Garden - A safe and creative outdoor space with lots to see and do.  Play with the giant musical instruments, climb up the pirate ship, master the sails and set sail.Tackle the monster slide to find the buried treasure, but watch out for the alien spaceship ready to land and carry you away. 

Discover museum
We had a wonderful day out and we're really looking forward to adventuring there again. Next time we will take the short cut through our wardrobe.

Prices: Children under one free, children one £2, parents and children over one £6.50, family of four £22

Looking for ways to develop your child's imagination here are my top tips: 

Limit the amount of Television your toddler/child watches

Read lots of books to them with brightly coloured illustrations and imaginative characters. Make up stories and let your child do the same. Visit your local library for free drop in events

Create a dress up box or area so that they can role play

Get arty- Let them create their own art masterpieces and when finished explain what they have created in a story. Visiting art galleries is also a great way to develop their imagination

Build dens and let them play. You can use old delivery boxes to build space ships, rockets, cars, palaces etc

Still not sure where to start, don't worry there are lots and lots of books on developing your toddlers creativity and activities to help you out. 
Developing your child's imagination

What did you love doing as a child and what imaginative stories did you use to tell? 

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Friday, 6 October 2017

Ultimate Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies
I have been making chocolate brownies for as long as I can remember. I have a fond memory as a child standing on a chair making brownies using my mums favourite cookery book. I was so small I couldn't even reach the worktop or the cookery cupboard for that matter to collect ingredients, so I have no idea what age I was. Small!

I love brownies as there are so many variations that you can make both in what you put in them, but also additions you can add to them post cooking with toppings. Whether you like a fudge/gooey consistency or a drier more cake like mix I have learnt over time that brownies get better with age, the longer you leave them before eating them the better they get. Don't be tempted to go with the masses and have them hot out of the oven, the only thing that this is likely to give you is ragging heartburn.

Today I'm sharing my favourite brownie recipe that is gooey with the addition of chopped Hazelnuts and Maltesers.

200g Unsalted butter
200g 70% finest Dark Cocoa Chocolate
125g Plain Flour
50g finest Cocoa
3 Large Eggs
250g Golden Caster Sugar
100g Hazelnuts (optional)
37g Maltesers Bag (optional)

Chocolate Brownies
1.Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) conventional oven, 160C (325F) fan oven or Gas Mark 4.

2.Take 200g of unsalted butter, cut into cubes and place in heatproof bowl.

Chocolate Brownies
3.Break up 200g of dark chocolate into small pieces, add to heatproof bowl with the butter and melt gently over a pan of simmering water stirring occasionally. Make sure that the water does not come into contact with the chocolate.
Chocolate Brownies

4.Once fully melted set the chocolate mixture aside.
How to make brownies
5.In a separate bowl sieve 125g plain flour and 50g of Cocoa. Set the flour and Cocoa aside.
Chocolate Brownies
6.In a bowl break three large eggs. Add 250g of golden caster sugar to the eggs, with a mixer gently beat until light and fluffy.
How to make Brownies
Easy chocolate brownie recipe
7.Taking the chocolate mixture fold into the eggs and sugar mix. It’s important to fold the chocolate in so as to not beat the air out of the mixture.
8.There are many additions that you can add to the mixture, my personal favourite is hazelnuts and Maltesers.
Brownie Recipe
9.Spoon the mixture into a pre-lined tin and place in the oven for twenty five minutes. 
10.Check the brownies with a skewer when the time is complete. The skewer should have some mixture on removal but not raw cake mixture.

11.Set aside to cool for a few hours, remove from the tin. Cut into small squares and store in an air-tight container. Enjoy with a lovely cup of tea or coffee.

What’s your favourite type of brownie? What would you like to see cooked next on FoodieForce?

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Monday, 25 September 2017

Creating the perfect playroom

Playroom ideas
We're lucky to have enough space in the house that Noah now has his own playroom. It's been a while in the making, there is never any spare time with a little one to plan, organise and buy. But I'm really happy to say we are finally finished and we love the end result. 

As soon as Noah was on the move he has been into everything. He loves playing with my makeup, perfume, pulling my books from the shelves, oh and chatting on the phone that he has only recently pinched.

He is incredibly inquisitive and loves exploring his surroundings, nothing is safe, he has no fear so will climb on anything to reach something that sparks his interest. 
Playroom ideas
His favourite pastime over the last few months has been emptying out all his toys over the floor, me dodging the minefield and spending many an hour constantly tidying them up. So I knew finding the right storage would be important.
Playroom ideas
I deliberately waited over a year to create his playroom, so I had a better idea of his character and personality. I have tried to create a space that gives him the opportunity to explore, play and inspire his creativity with defined zones so that we don't have total chaos! The room will also grow with him. 

The room is lovely and light so I have left the walls white, they are decorated with pictures of Noah out on adventures enjoying himself. 

The playroom has a dedicated area for reading, where I have kept books at Noah's height on small shelves with perfect bookends (OrangeTree £19.99) and a book stand at his height (KidKraft £49.95) 
Playroom ideas
Playroom Ideas
He has his own bean bag (Asda £20) to sit on, to relax and read. It's a lovely blue with white stars which runs through to his storage (Similar £5.49) for toys and rugs on the floor (Stars Asda £16 and Rocket Similar). The storage unit is from Ikea and the table is perfect for arts and crafts. 
Playroom ideas
Playroom ideas
For the reading area I also bought some lovely bits from Etsy: Personalised metal sign £11.53.
Playroom ideas
Playroom ideas
The play area has a colourful Dwinguler playmat £145 perfect for avoiding bumps and scrapes. 
Playroom Ideas
The mat has also helped Noah play imaginatively, he can often be found with characters marching along the playmat on some adventure. 

His love for creative play also extends to his teepee tent (WayFair) and kitchen (Tildo £79).
Playroom ideas
Playroom idea
He loves whipping up a FoodieForce storm in this kitchen. It's true what they say that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. 

What was your favourite space when you were little? Share your ideas for the perfect playroom in the comments below.

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