Just Charlie G

Once upon a zombieChloe recently received the above book, Once Upon a Zombie, Book One: The Color of Fear.

She’s read it and I’ve read so here’s what we think! My first comment is about the cover, I think its beautiful! It reminds me very much of the paintings by Margaret Keane. Actually, the official cover has been changed since we received this Cinderella version. The new cover is the equally gorgeous Alice in Wonderland.

Once upon a zombieThe book is part of the Once Upon a Zombie franchise which is kind of a big deal in the US, and as well as this book there are dolls and costumes available, here in the UK. The book is aimed at children aged between 8 and 14 ish but I’d say that depends on how sensitive your child is, Chloe, was quite nervous to read this, if you’re at all familiar with Monster High, I’d say this is a step up in age suitability from that.

I like reworkings of fairy tales and this is no exception.

The prologue explains  that fairy tale authors have been rising from their graves.

The story is based around a 14 year old girl, Caitlin Fletcher,  who is afraid of everything, and her sister Natalie who is bright and brave. Their lives change when Caitlin is tricked into going into a rabbit hole. It’s not just any rabbit hole though, it is actually Lewis Carroll’s grave and Caitlin ends up in the fairy tale universe…but its not pleasant, the world is decaying and teeming with zombies.

The plot is a rehash of Alice in Wonderland, mixed up with zombies and a touch of high school drama and of course a plot twist I can’t go into!

It was a great read, a real page turner, and its far more worthy than I’d expect a book of this sort (attached to a toy franchise I mean) to be. The characters are engaging, and all the fairytale favourites are present and correct, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella,  and Snow White and its an exciting race to the conclusion.

My only downside to the story itself is the beginning which is a bit annoying, but that’s short lived and before the zombie storyline really kicks off.

Chloe found the book an uncomfortable read but I tried to encourage her to read it regardless. The reason being, the main character, Caitlin, suffers with severe anxiety, like Chloe, which she works through in the book which I felt would be great for Chloe to read. The reason it was difficult was because of her sensitive nature, she read it afraid that on each next page would be something she was scared by, but actually, that really wasn’t the case, and she did enjoy it. Her issues weren’t to do with the gruesomeness of the story which was fine, but more that she was expecting there to be gruesomeness she wouldn’t like. Based on that, I’d say, proceed with caution if you have a sensitive child.

All in all a great read though and one I’d definitely recommend. Makes a nice dark change from Rainbow Fairies and My little Ponies.

*Once Upon a Zombie received free of charge for review purposes.

 

 

fireworks-574739_1920

Fireworks. So pretty to look at but the bane of my life during October and November. Near me, they started last weekend and I can expect them to keep going sporadically until after the 5th November. They wake up my kids, which is annoying, but worse than that, like many pet owners they terrify my dog. Poor Thor, its no fun but we do all we can to calm him. The first step in the process is getting a calming diffusers. As Thor is a sensitive doglet, we have had Adaptil diffusers on and off since he was a puppy.

99_Diffuser

The Adaptil Diffuser is a discrete plug in which diffuses a pheromone that calms dogs. Its not just good for firework season, but also for settling puppies into their new homes as well as any other instances where your pooch is unsettled. The results are proven and we’ve personally found it an effective tool. It lasts about four weeks, but you can buy refills for them which is great. I would absolutely recommend any dog owner have one on hand, even if only for fireworks season.

And so I’m delighted to be teaming up with Petshop.co.uk again to offer a Adaptil Diffuser worth £26.10 for one reader. All you need to do is follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below.

Full Terms and Conditions can be found at the end of this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

• Entrants will be signed up to the PetShop.co.uk newsletter.
• The winner will be selected at random within Rafflecopter.
• The winner will be contacted by email after the closing date by PetShop.co.uk, if they haven’t heard from you within a week, then another winner will be chosen.
• The voucher code will be sent out by PetShop.co.uk directly to the winner.
• JustCharlieG cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go missing and if any issues occur then the winner should contact PetShop.co.uk directly.

Good luck!

Delighted today to bring you something a bit different as well as a brilliant giveaway if you have kids.

Chloe and Lola were both lucky enough to receive one of the newest Bratz dolls from the Study Abroad range each. I’m going to do a review first  and at the end of the post you can enter my rafflecopter giveaway to win for your own child, or even you if you want!

So we received Sasha who is visiting the UK and Yasmin who is visiting Brazil.

Firstly meet Yasmin.

Bratz Study AbroadBratz Study AbroadBratz Study AbroadShe’s so bright and vibrant and she comes with loads of accessories. (Please ignore the state of my table, its covered in old paint stains and glitter).

Bratz Study Abroad Bratz Study AbroadShe comes with a suitcase and stickers to decorate her suitcase. There’s a hand bag and cute pineapple, as well as a spare outfit, brush, sunglasses, earrings and two bracelets. Chloe LOVES her.

Bratz Study Abroad Then we have Sasha, which is Lola’s doll.

Bratz Study AbroadBratz Study AbroadBratz Study AbroadShe also comes with loads of great accessories.

Bratz Study AbroadBratz Study AbroadI especially love the accessories with this one. She has a suitcase and stickers to decorate it and in addition she has a full outfit, a brush, a bangle, a necklace, red phone box earrings and most importantly for visiting the UK, she has a teacup and some lovely biscuits on a plate.’

It’s far to say Lola loves Sasha as much as Chloe loves Yasmin.

Bratz Study Abroad So here’s what I think of them as a parent.

Firstly, I know that when I was little, if these were around I would have wanted them, no question, they are bright, fun and attractive. I also love the fact they come with loads of accessories. The accessories are such that they are prone to getting lost easily, but thats where the suitcases and bags come in handy, so you can keep all your bits close to your doll. I also like the fact that they come with a complete other outfit, its lovely for the kids to have that, you don’t often get that included with a doll unless you buy extra outfits. What I also loved was the easy opening to learning about other cultures, of course you can always do this with your children anyway, but I do love that it prompted the questions from my kids. We ended up looking up Brazil and what it looks like, where it is on the map, what things from Brazil are famous…. it was less the case with the Sasha visiting the UK as we live here already, but personally I loved her British outfit. It must also be said that the dolls seem to be really high quality. I will mention that Sasha’s hair has a greasy feel, I believe there is some product on her hair, and I’m all for that if it keeps it sleek and shiny. I am a mother who is tired of combing impossible tangles and knots and frizz out of dolls and toy ponies.

I know there are concerns about the unreal shapes and details of the Bratz dolls and while I do think this is an issue of wider concern, its not one that bothers me a huge amount in this instance because I think the positives outweigh that issue really, and I believe that if I’m teaching my daughters positive attitudes and being a good role model as well as surrounding them with good role models and messages then a doll won’t make a difference.

I am being honest when I say I really love these dolls and would recommend them as quality toys that won’t fall apart, and there is no doubt that there has been great attention to detail paid when they have been designed.

Bratz Study Abroad dolls are available now at all good retailers, including Argos, Asda, Debenhams, Smyths, Tesco, The Entertainer and Toys R Us and the RRP is £24.99.

www.bratz.com 

And with that glowing review I’m delighted to be able to offer you a chance to win a Bratz Study Abroad doll of your own. It will be one of the following and it will be a random selection, so unfortunately if you are the winner you will not be able to choose which one you win, but don’t fear, they are all fabulous!

Bratz Study Abroad

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All terms and conditions can be found within the Rafflecopter widget.

*Dolls were received free of charge for review purposes.

05. 10. 2015

Barkbeats

In case you haven’t met him before, please meet Thor. I’m showing you the picture above because for any pictures he appears in in the rest of this post, he’s a bit of a blur!

The Barkbeats Box is a lovingly curated selection of dog treats and toys from both small and big brands. The boxes are a subscription service, like Beauty Boxes. Each box contains 5-6 products and they could be anything from toys, treats, healthcare to grooming products.

There’s no commitment when you subscribe to the month-to-month plan, and you can cancel at any time, and there are no shipping fees, they are included in the subscription price. In addition, Barkbeats donate at least 10% of their profit to dog rescue homes and shelters in the UK.

Thor was lucky enough to receive a box for himself and its gone down a storm I have to say! I’ll let the pictures do the talking for the time being.

barkbeatsbarkbeats barkbeatsbarkbeatsbarkbeatsbarkbeatsbarkbeatsbarkbeatsbarkbeatsbarkbeatsbarkbeatsWhat a great box of treats. Most loved were the croissants, Thor loved them, he also really loves his Moustache! I tried so hard to get a photo of him with it in  his mouth but he kept moving. Thor was very dubious about the Sweet Potato chews, leaving the first one I gave him on the kitchen floor unloved, but he returned to it and now loves those too. Actually there wasn’t anything in the box at all that wasn’t great. And I also think the packaging was great too, the Barkbeats paper is so cute and everything seems high quality.

Money is quite tight for us at the moment and there’s is a lot of room for luxuries, but if we had a few extra quid a month I wouldn’t hesitate to have this subscription service monthly! I may do so at some point in the future as I think its great and I think you can see from the photos that the products are all great quality.

To order you simply let Barkbeats know whether you have a small, medium or large dog, then choose your plan, month-to-month (£19/box), six months (£14/box) or annual (£13/box), and as previously mentioned you can cancel or pause you subscription at any time.

There’s currently a £5 off your first box offer, to get it, simply enter Bark5 at checkout!

Take a look at the Barkbeats site. I think its fabulous and more importantly, so does Thor. I must also mention that the Halloween box looks really fab!

*Barkbeats box received free of charge for review purposes

Thor recently had the most exciting delivery courtesy of The Dandy Dog Company*. It was a large and very generous delivery, lucky boy.

The Dandy Dog Company are a company based in Dorset who hand make all their products with incredibly quality materials and a huge dollop of love and care.

Perched on top of one of the packages was this cute little present, complete with treats. Bear with me, this is going to be a picture heavy post, there’s so much to show.The Dandy Dog Company

Inside the little parcel above were these:

The Dandy Dog Company

The cutest Neckerchief and a personalised Dog Bowl Mat.

Starting with the Neckerchief, there are quite a few to choose from on the site, the one we have is the Nautical one, which is two-sided, with a check print on the other side. £8

The Dandy Dog CompanyThe Dandy Dog CompanyThe Dandy Dog CompanyThe Dandy Dog CompanyI love this so much, Thor looks awesome in it! I think its even better than his bow tie accessory, he’s just so dapper! The quality is lovely, and I suspect I’m going to end up buying a few more of these, the skull and crossbones one is a must have, along with a personalised version! Just love this so much and although I’m not massively into dressing up your dog, I think Thor ought to have a little wardrobe of these days so I can change him everyday into a new funky neckerchief!

Moving onto the Dog Bowl Place Mat £14.95.

The Dandy Dog Company The Dandy Dog Company The Dandy Dog Company The Dandy Dog CompanyUntil now we have always used one of those wipe clean place mats which are revolting, they trap food and moisture underneath and are just nasty, this polka dot beauty has totally changed my mind. It’s available in Small and Large, I think we have the Small. Embroidered on it is Thor’s name, and it’s available in Black, Green, Navy Blue (as we have) and a Lavender Grey shade.  Again the attention to detail is perfection, from the corduroy dog motif, to the gorgeous stitching detail and the corduroy backing. I’ll definitely grab another at some point so I can chuck this in the wash and still have one in use. Love it.

Moving onto the Handmade Pottery Dog Bowls, Prices starting from £20.

The Dandy Dog Company The Dandy Dog Company The Dandy Dog CompanyWe have the light blue shade but there are several shades to choose from and they are beautiful. Handmade in Dorset for The Dandy Dog Company these bowls are amazing, classic pottery, solid and beautiful. There are water bowls and food bowls available and difference is in the depth, the food bowls are shallower. Love these, and due to their weight they won’t move around as your pooch eats. Amazing quality.

Finally, Thor received the Dog Bed, £90. I’ll apologise now, I didn’t quite manage to get a picture of the bed by itself as it always had a dog on it!

The Dandy Dog Company The Dandy Dog Company The Dandy Dog CompanyThe Dandy Dog CompanyThe Dandy Dog CompanyI can’t even tell you how much I love this, and Thor of course. It’s beautiful for a start, its amazingly well made. It’s absolutely stuffed with duck feather, with a concealed zip meaning the cover comes off and is fully washable. I haven’t slept on it obviously but clearly its super comfortable as Thor, who has always preferred the floor to any bed, loves it as you can see in my pics. I’ve bought about three beds all of which have gone unused until now.  There can’t be a better recommendation than that! The shade we have, grey is gorgeous but there are other shades to choose from as well as various sizes, we have the Small for reference.

What’s not to love about The Dandy Dog Company? The products are amazing, and are priced accordingly, there are several products I will go and buy more of and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone at all, every dog deserves lovely things and these are truly lovely things.

If there’s a dog in your life that you want to treat, then please head over to The Dandy Dog Company, you won’t regret it.

*All products received free of charge for review purposes but this hasn’t influenced my opinion one bit, they are incredible quality.

 

It’s a bit of a weird thing writing a blog about multiple subjects and I’m not entirely sure that it works yet. I have got a lot of new followers lately (hi!) that I’m fairly sure are here for the beauty content (stay tuned for Urban Decay lushness, more Makeup Revolution, and some fab skincare posts) but I wanted to make this blog about something more, something about me, my family and my life, hence the posts about Aspergers, and Migraines and of course Thor based posts. I think those blog posts make my blog a bit more personal, rather than just being another beauty blog as I was before, not that there is anything wrong with that at all, I just wanted to be a bit different this time round.

I’m not sure what people think, but I’m hoping that if you are just here for the beauty posts, you’ll forgive these posts that seem to go off topic from time to time, and either read them or just skip them.

Anyway, short ramble aside, I thought it was about time for an update on Chloe and whats going on with that issue currently.

The short answer is that nothing much has moved on, we are still on the waiting list for assessment, but we now have a second referral in place with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) to look at the anxiety and panic issues Chloe has been experiencing. Although, thankfully, that is in a lull at the moment and the daily panic attacks have subsided.

A friend recently sent me this link and I am now suspecting this might be what we are dealing with. Pathological Demand Avoidance, but that said, I am not sure how likely it is that this is something that would only occur at home.

Behaviour wise things are still pretty bad and Lola still takes the brunt of it all and I worry about them both a lot.

I reached out again to the ASD team, stressing again how concerned I am about the long term effects on Lola and while they have said they will come back to me on this, they have replied in the interim saying they share my concern and that it may be a safeguarding issue…cue days of high anxiety and panic and waiting for Social Services to turn up on my doorstep. I’m calm and rational again but I still don’t know what they mean by that (although I understand the concept of safeguarding) or what it could mean for us.

I’ve lost my temper with the school, when I went in in my panic about the mention of “safeguarding” they were surprised and said that they didn’t realise it was that much of a problem. Clearly they have not listened to a word I’ve said or paid any attention to my tears over the last two years. The support worker they hooked us up with, the one who offered such promise as he seemed so fantastic has disappeared. He went off to do some kind of placement for a couple of weeks and we never heard from him again. No one contacted us, no one told us until I went in and asked, and they apologised because “they didn’t realise he was so involved with us”… so we are back to having no support at all again. With nothing offered in its place.

And then there’s the dental issues, last week, Chloe had six teeth removed, due to sensory issues she had five seriously decayed teeth and one wobbly one that had been wobbly for nigh on a year. Again, I’ve been flagging up to professionals since she was a baby that there were issues with her teeth and oral hygiene…and now this… and I don’t really see that we won’t be back again in another couple years having more out, because we’ve got no advice on how to help her with this. The operation itself was upsetting, as it would be for any parent, but it was short, the most frightening thing for her was being put to sleep, but for me the most distressing thing was her belief that she wasn’t real when she woke up, she was frantically pinching herself and crying “Am I real” “Am I here”…. awful, I hope we don’t have to endure that again. She’s had that reaction to bad dreams before, woken up and not believed she was alive, thought she was actually dead. It’s a horrible thing for any parent.

As always I feel like I want to stress that despite our issues, I’m truly appreciative of the fact that on a scale, our problems are fairly minor, and I’m thankful for that, so many have it so much worse.

So, time passes but nothing changes…but lets just have it on record, that its not for want of trying on my part! And sometimes, the girls actually seem to like each other.

Beefeater Grandstand review

 

Treaclemoon make beautiful bath and products at incredible prices with a range of delicious, scrummy scents.

I’m a regular buyer actually, the kids and I can’t get enough of the scents, the husband has even been known to have a go too.

What I didn’t know though was that Treaclemoon is a brand with a heart. They are officially partnered with Bulliesout, a charity that provides help and information to individuals, schools, workplaces and communities to work against bullying and encourage young people to recognise their self-worth and potential. Treaclemoon make monthly donations and have pledged to help raise further funds. A great cause I’m sure you’ll agree.

Treaclemoon kindly sent us a couple of bottles of their Bath & Shower Gel* to try out.

TreaclemoonIced Strawberry Dream is a gorgeous strawberries and cream scent, almost like ice cream and is hands down the kids favourite, but I absolutely adore Sugared Almond Tart, which smells exactly as it sounds, sweet and almondy.

It’s hard to believe but these large 500ml bottles are a brilliant £2.99 each and they last for absolutely ages. We don’t tend to use them as bubble bath, but we all use them to wash with and they are gorgeously foamy and smell incredible. You just can’t lose with these, they seem considerably more expensive than they actually are. Great products and there are lots more products in the line available, from body butters, to hand creams, be sure to check them out.

Available in Tesco Stores and Waitrose, or you can purchase online and find out more information on the Treaclemoon website.

*Items received free of charge for review purposes.

Regular readers of my blog will know that Aspergers Syndrome, as well as other related conditions, are a subject very close to my heart. My daughter Chloe is currently on the waiting list for assessment, and we are also looking at another condition now that seems to fit with her concerns (and in some cases strengths!).

So as it stands at the moment we don’t know what label we can give Chloe, but what we do know is that there are definitely sensory issues.

Before having a child with these sorts of needs, I would have assumed a sensory need to be something like not liking the feel of a fabric, and that sort of thing certainly can be a sensory issue, but in reality, having sensory overloads can be so so much more. It’s hard to explain, but who better to explain what it feels like than someone who experiences them.

Louis Morel, is a young adult with Asperger Syndrome and has created a short video describing what Asperger’s is, and what a sensory overload feels like. The film has been made with Ambitious about Autism’s myVoice, an online space for young adults to connect and discuss issues they all face. It’s well worth a watch.

Although what Louis is describing is a more severe version of what Chloe experiences, her issues are quite mild compared to this, it has really helped me to understand, and I hope it helps you too.

For more information you can check out the Ambitious About Autism website.

 

Beefeater Grandstand

This Saturday, the whole family, (that’s Graham, myself, Chloe (age 8) and Lola (age 6)) were delighted to be invited down to the Beefeater Grill restaurant at Newton Abbot, The Grandstand. It’s not actually our local, as we have one in Exeter (currently closed for refurbishment), but the Newton Abbot branch has also undergone a recent refurbishment and we were invited down to see its new look and check out the newly launched Spring/Summer menu.

The kids were excited, I was excited, Graham was excited. We all love our food, but eating out is a real treat. With eating out, there’s always a little anxiety attached too, with Chloe’s inability to keep calm, and the way it rubs off her sister, there’s always the chance that our kids will be “those” kids in the restaurant. Fortunately they didn’t let us down, and aside from a talking too loudly a bit, they did us proud.

Be warned, this is a picture heavy post!

So on arrival, first impressions were great. The decor is fab, it looks modern, but cosy, and I love the new little logo!

Beefeater Grandstand Beefeater Grandstand Beefeater Grandstand Beefeater GrandstandWe were greeted very quickly, by a friendly member of staff who escorted us to our seats (a little booth), and told us our waitress would be with us soon. From where we sat we had a great view of the kitchen as well as a big cow which made the girls laugh on account of the thunder thighs and tasty bottom.

Beefeater Grandstand Beefeater GrandstandWe found our booth was in a great position but Graham wasn’t terribly happy he had to sweep a load of crumbs off his seat before he sat down… its a small gripe, but something that probably should have been looked at and taken care of before we sat down.

Our waitress was great, friendly and had whipped the kids (very sharp) steak knives away before we’d even sat down which I thought was a considerate touch, in fact they both had two new kid size sets of cutlery, along with a copy of a kids menu each.

Beefeater KidsOn request they were both provided with the obligatory kids activity packs, but I must just mention how good they were. The activity books had loads of pages and loads of activities. As most parents will be aware, you are often given a sheet of A4 with a couple of activities on it, along with a pot of pencils or crayons that are all broken and not much use, but Chloe and Lola both got a pack of crayons each as well as their activity books, which I must add, kept them occupied for the duration of the whole meal, before, between courses and after.

Beefeater Activity packsQuick shout out for Lola’s chef version of Mr Happy!

P1170639

 

Getting onto ordering and menus, Chloe and I both ordered a coke which is bottomless, meaning you can have it refilled as many times as you like. Starting with the kids menu, one course is £4.49, two courses are £5.49 and three courses are £5.99. Each includes a drink of squash or a glass of milk. The girls opted for three courses and there’s a great range of choices, especially on the main courses, and they are customisable in terms of sides.

Chloe opted for the Cheesy Nachos to start which came with a tomato salsa.

Beefeater Kids StarterShe declared them delicious, and the portion size was generous, it took her ages to eat them and that’s with “help”. Lola opted for the Yummy Garlic Bread.  She wasn’t overly impressed, it was barely toasted at all on the bottom, and very dark around the edges on the top. I’d have happily still eaten it but if you read my post about how Lola’s a picky eater, you’ll know she doesn’t eat brown bits. As it happened, she painstakingly removed all the brown bits and declared all the rest delicious.

The adults menu was what you’d expect from a Beefeater restaurant, but has changed since I last visited. There are considerably more burgers to choose from and although none of us opted for the burgers they looked amazing as I saw them being bought out to other tables.

Anyway, Graham and I both opted for the Crispy Flat Cap Mushrooms (£4.79) to start.

Beefeater Crispy MushroomsThey came with one Ranch Dressing and one Barbecue sauce. I asked for no ranch dressing and got two Barbecue which was nice. They were absolutely boiling hot and really delicious. No complaints about these. If we hadn’t have had the kids with us though, we would have definitely opted for the Baked Camembert, but it comes with a 15 minute wait.

When it comes to main courses there was literally something for everyone.

Lola opted for Mr Perfect’s Popin’ Chicken (chicken nuggets basically!)

Beefeater Chicken PopsIt came with chips and beans, but again you can swap those sides out for anything, but Lola was happy with those. She said it was all delicious and the nuggets were chunks of breast meat in breadcrumbs. Good.

Chloe opted for the Create Your Own Pizza which came with Garlic Bread and Corn on the Cob.

Beefeater Kids pizzaThere are four topping options, Chloe opted for Mushroom and pineapple. We were impressed when it came out, it wasn’t lacking in topping and the base was perfectly doughy. Although she couldn’t finish it all (after her giant starter) she said it was delicious.

Onto the grown up main courses… vegetarians may wish to look away at this point, from this point on, there is MUCH meat 🙂

Graham opted for the Beefeater Mixed Grill (£15.59)

Beefeater Mixed Grill4oz Flat iron steak, chicken breast, gammon steak, two sausages, half a tomato, mushroom, onion rings, fried egg and triple cooked chips. This was a beast of a meal! Graham declared it all delicious, especially the steak and sausages. I personally was impressed by the fried egg, I’m really fussy about fried eggs, I can’t bear any soggy white at all, but this was cooked to perfection. Graham admitted defeat, but he left just a few chips on his plate so he didn’t do too poorly. A note about the chips, you have a choice of fries or chunky chips, as well as plain, spicy or lime, Graham asked for Lime, but got plain. They were delicious anyway so we didn’t bother to complain about it.

I must also mention that when asked if we wanted any condiments Graham asked for “all of the condiments”, meaning he wanted one of everything, they took him somewhat more literally and bought him out this!

Beefeater CondimentsMuch to the waitresses dismay he barely made a dent in it ha, but we were impressed anyway!

Now for the highlight of the whole meal, my main course! I opted for the 10oz Rump Steak (£13.49) with Herby Chimichurri Sauce (99p) and I can never resist a side of Onion Rings (£2.29)

Beefeater Rump (2)The meal came with Triple Cooked Chips, as with Graham’s meal I had the option of fries, chunky, spicy, lime or plain and I opted for the plain, chunky chips, and incredibly the portion of the chips that came with my meal was also bottomless, meaning we could just keep ordering chips to go with your meal at no extra charge. We took advantage of this at the waitresses suggestion so Chloe could have a few, but actually it was a bit wasteful as we were all so stuffed when they arrived! The meal also came with a small salad, half a tomato and a mushroom.

The Herby Chimichurri sauce was a little different to chimichurri I’ve had before in that it was more liquidy, but I’m assuming thats so you can pour it over your steak. It was, however, delicious. Such a nice change from bearnaise or peppercorn.

Beefeater ChimichurriI ordered my steak to be cooked medium. There’s nothing worse than getting an overcooked or undercooked steak, but this came just as I requested. It was perfect. Cut easily, melted in my mouth and tasted perfect.

Beefeater Rump (1)Special mention to the onion rings for being delicious too.

Desserts! The kids had desserts as part of their meal. Chloe opted for Carnival Cookies and Ice Cream.

Beefeater Kids DessertAs you can see, she was very happy with it.

Lola opted for the Ice Cream Sundae, but since she refuses all sauce, its basically just vanilla ice cream.

Beefeater Kids DessertYou can’t go wrong with vanilla ice cream and she was very happy with her generous portion.

I couldn’t manage a dessert, but opted for a Costa Latte, however Graham managed to squeeze in a Chocolate Rum Melt (£4.49), unfortunately no photograph as he got to it too quickly. Vanilla Ice Cream, topped with crispy set chocolate (remember ice magic), and it was supposed to come with a jug of rum sauce, warmed, that you pour over the top so the chocolate and ice cream start to melt but Graham’s came with rum syrup on the top already and it wasn’t terribly generous. That said, Graham was more than happy with it and he really enjoyed it, so who am I to grumble!

All in all, we were absolutely thrilled with the service and the food. The restaurant looked fantastic, the food was amazingly good, the service was also great. The girls were so happy this even happened…

Beefeater Grandstand reviewYes, thats right, Chloe kissed Lola. It’s unheard of. So thanks Beefeater!

We were provided with vouchers to go and have our meal, but we went over this by some way, amazingly though, our bill was considerably less than expected because kids eat free on Saturdays!  What a treat! So not only are the soft drinks refillable, as well as the chips, but on saturdays kids food is free. I find that incredible that the kids eat free on Saturday, usually businesses try to get the most they can out of you at peak times, its really unusual to find a business that gives things away at peak times. There were a few little things that weren’t perfect, but the things were great totally made up for it, more than, so our final impressions were excellent despite the little imperfections.

We can highly recommend the Beefeater Grill at Newton Abbot, The Grandstand, a really family friendly environment, with great decor and who do the food they sell, exceptionally well.

And with that we set off back to Exeter, still with excited kids in tow, along with a couple of helium balloons, planning to go to the Exeter branch when they reopen at some point.

Thanks for having us!

You can find your local branch and have a look at the menus and book a table on the Beefeater Website.

*We were provided with vouchers towards the costs of this meal for review purposes.

 

 

Me and Lip Smackers have a long history! Back in the 90’s there was a chain of stores called Bow Bangles here in the UK, it was bought in the mid nighties by Claires Accessories, and thats how it still is today.

When Bow Bangles arrive in Exeter it was a treasure trove the like of which we’d never seen before and my friends and I were particularly addicted to Lip Smacker lip balms. Prior to learning about Lip Smackers, your only flavoured lip balm options were Chapsticks and this was a whole new world of lip balm pleasure and quite possibly the reason I still have more lip balms than I really know what to do with these days!

These are the ones my friends and I were totally into.

Lip-SmackersAt some point in time I forgot all about them but over the last year, having daughters, they have crept back into my consciousness and in fact I bought some as stocking fillers this Christmas.

I was really pleased to be sent a Lip Smacker Coca-Cola Party Pack* to try out.

Lip Smacker Coca Cola Party PackI’ve managed to try them all but theres been a bit of a battle with the Chloe and Lola over ownership. That’s the magic thing about Lip Smacker lip balms, they just appeal to all ages!

My absolute favourite is the Grape Fanta, with Cherry Coca-Cola coming second, but they are all lovely! Chloe likes the classic Coca-Cola flavour and Lola likes Pineapple Fanta. They don’t just taste and smell good, they are very moisturising and protective too.

I’m happy to see the Lip Smacker brand going strong, they will always have great appeal to all ages I think.

This Party Pack is £12 and available from Claires along with lots of other Lip Smackers…. I’ve got my eye on the Disney Frozen ones (Blueberry for Elsa and Coconut for Olaf) but again I think it’ll be a battle with Chloe and Lola!

*Product received free of charge for review purposes