Princess & Superheroes With One 4 The Kids Events

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Last month we were invited by One 4 The Kids Events to have lunch with Cinderella and Iron Man at Browns Bar & Brasserie, Glasgow.

I decided to use this invite as an excuse for some one on one time with my eldest. So we hopped on a train to Glasgow Queen Street, took a hop skip and a jump across George Square, and arrived at Browns for midday.

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Awaiting us at our table was a little bag with sweet treats for the kids and some colouring sheets and crayons for the kids to colour, and enter in to a competition to win a prize from the special guests!

Next we were served lunch. I had pork belly and Little Squirrel had fish and chips. The staff at Browns were really lovely and welcoming, and the food was served promptly. Little Squirrel’s fish and chips was delicious, however I was a little disappointed with my pork belly as it arrived with noticeably undercooked skin. The meat itself and the trimmings were super delicious, but the skin was nowhere near crispy, and this made the food loving me a little sad!

During lunch Cinderella and Iron Man entered our dining room and made their way around the tables, introducing themselves to all the eager young diners and posed for photos with those who wanted to!

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There was also a face painter there, who could transform your little one in to the princess/superhero/animal… of their choosing. Little Squirrel opted for a Princess design, of course!

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Once everyone had met Cinderella and Iron Man, and had their chance to get a photo, the kids gathered around for story time, with Cinderella reading her own story. The kids hung on her every word as she recounted the tale of the stepmother and stepsisters and her fairy Godmother and Prince Charming. After story time it was time for musical statues, with prizes being handed out to the best participants. Finally Cinderella and Iron Man decided on the best colouring sheet and awarded a prize to the winner.

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It was now time to leave and it was clear that everyone had throughly enjoyed a wonderful couple of hours, judging by the big smiles on the faces of all the kids, and the parents!

One 4 The Kids Events use performers from Wish Upon A Star Entertainment, who I wrote about on my last post, about Little Squirrel’s 5th birthday party. I am a big fan of Wish Upon A Star Entertainment. As a family who love Disney, but can’t stretch to a holiday at one of the Disney Parks, I feel Wish Upon A Star Entertainment, along with One 4 The Kids Events bring a little bit of that Disney magic to Scotland.

One 4 The Kids Events have a huge line up of similar events, ranging from Lunch with Moana to a Jurassic World encounter with an 8 ft T-Rex, to summer craft sessions, on this Summer across Glasgow and Edinburgh. Take a look at their Facebook page for more information and booking. You are guaranteed a magical experience!

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Little Squirrel’s 5th Birthday Party with Wish Upon A Star Entertainment Scotland

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Regular readers will have noticed Little Squirrel turned 5 last weekend.
As this is her last year at nursery we decided to invite some of her nursery friends to her birthday party, which meant our numbers were too big for our usual house party.

Initially we were going to book a soft play party, but Little Squirrel requested a princess party instead…
So we booked a local church hall as our venue, and then the hunt was on for the entertainment.
I had a few recommendations for local businesses that could provide a princess for a birthday party, but in the end we decided to go with Wish Upon A Star Entertainment, who I was aware of through Instagram, and who were the most reasonable in terms of value for money!

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If you saw my last post featuring the birthday cake, you will know already the theme of our party was The Little Mermaid, so we booked for a mermaid princess (Ariel) to come to Little Squirrel’s birthday party as the entertainment.

So last weekend in a church hall in Kirkintilloch, Ariel came to entertain Little Squirrel and 15 of her friends as part of her birthday celebration.
She started by introducing herself to the children, and kicked things off by teaching them how to wave, smile, and march like a princess for their very own princess parade.

Next it was storytime; of course our princess read the story of The Little Mermaid… The kids were hanging off her every word. I was really impressed by how she involved the kids in different parts of the story, and injected some humour in to the story as well. She was engaging, and funny, and magical!
The performers at Wish Upon A Star entertainment are all trained to act, walk, and talk just like the characters they are portraying, and our princess really did just that! All the parents were asking me “is she really American?”.ArielstorytimeCollage.jpg

After the story was over, it was time for musical statues, which once again was executed excellently. The kids had to all pretend to be frozen, like when Anna from the movie Frozen turned in to an ice statue. After musical statues there was some time left for musical bumps, and then it was time for the cake presentation…

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Before it was time for Ariel to say Goodbye, we got a chance to have photos taken with her.

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Ariel with the Little Squirrels

For £100 we got a 1 hour princess party package. The whole experience far exceeded my expectations, and Jennifer who played the role of our mermaid princess was just amazing! She really transformed each element of the party from a traditional party game in to something unique and captiviting for her audience. I was really impressed with how well she engaged with all of the kids, with how accurately she played her role, and I think we all fell in love with Ariel a little bit!
I was a little concerned that a princess party would be too girly for some of our male guests (and we couldn’t afford to pay to have a superhero character attend as well) but  boys and girls alike were transfixed by Ariel, and it was clear to see how much the kids enjoyed the mermaid party experience.
I really couldn’t recommend Wish Upon A Star Entertainment highly enough. If you are thinking of hosting a princess/superhero party then check out their Facebook page, or email them with your enquiry at wishuponastarentertainment@yahoo.com

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Kids Fun Day at Darcy’s, Glasgow

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The weekend before last we were invited along to attend a Charlie & The Chocolate Factory themed afternoon at Darcy’s in Glasgow’s Princes Square.
On the last Sunday of every month, Darcy’s host a Kids Fun Day, where the children are entertained in their private dining room with face painting and arts & crafts, amongst other activities, while the adults get to enjoy some lunch in relative peace in the main restaurant.DarcysFunDayFlier.jpgWe had booked our table for 12 pm as we had been told this was when the event would begin. However, when we arrived we were told that the room wasn’t ready for the kids fun day yet, but our kids were happy to run around in the atrium area in the basement of Princes Square, and we were in no rush so this was not a problem for us.

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Darcy’s private dining area set up for the Kids Fun Day held on the last Sunday of every month

Once the room was ready the children were called through, and we were all really impressed with the set up of the private dining area for the kids fun day. There were seats arranged in rows in the centre of the room with cosy cushions on the floor at the front, creating a mini cinema with a large projector screen at the very front of the room showing Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (of course).

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Charlie & The Chocolate Factory themed treats & activities
Note chocolate fountain fail 😉

Around the edges of the room were tables offering different activities for the kids, from painting, to cake pop creating, to face painting and balloon modelling. There was also a huge quantity of sweet treats for the kids to indulge in. The chocolate fountain was a huge hit with all the kids, though it did take a while for the staff to figure out how to assemble it correctly.

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Little Squirrel requested a pink sparkly tiger from the face painter!
Note chocolate fountain success 😉

Just before 13.30 lunch was served for the kids. There was a buffet offering burgers, pasta, chicken burgers, and fish and chips. I wasn’t overly impressed with the standard of the kids food to be honest, and I think Darcy’s would do better (and would make life easier for themselves) with a buffet offering sliced meats and cheeses, fresh bread and butter, hummus, and a selection of fresh vegetables and fruits.

After lunch an Oompa Loompa made an appearance for the kids. I’d have loved to have shared some photos of this with you, but Littlest Squirrel was not such a fan of the Oompah Loompah, and we left soon after! She still talks about that Oompa Loompa, and not in a good way! 1f604.png

Whilst the kids were being entertained in the Charlie & The Chocolate Factory room Mr Hungry Squirrel and I were able to choose lunch from the main menu. I really enjoyed the coconut, chilli & ginger chicken curry, which tasted fresh and full of flavour. If your kids are attending the fun day (at £10 per child) you receive 20% discount of anything ordered from the a la carte menu.

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Coconut, chilli & ginger chicken curry from Darcy’s main menu

Overall, we really enjoyed our afternoon at Darcy’s Kids Fun Day.
My feedback to Darcy’s would be to make sure the staff are prepared for the event starting on time, and to make sure a designated member of staff introduces the event to kids and parents alike, and keeps everyone informed as the day progresses.
Most importantly the kids had a great time and we would definitely consider booking in for another Darcy’s Kids Fun Day! It is a great opportunity for parents to enjoy lunch out in a great city centre location, with somebody else entertaining the kids… happy kids = happy parents.

Keep an eye on the Darcy’s Facebook page for upcoming events. There will be some exciting Halloween and Christmas themed fun days coming up over the next few months, which your little ones are sure to enjoy! If booking make sure to book a table for yourself in the restaurant as well as the kids spaces in the private dining area.

I was offered the children’s spaces at the Kids Fun Day and lunch for myself and my partner at Darcy’s Glasgow for the purpose of this review. As always all opinions are honest and my own!

Smiggle Opening In Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries Aug 15 2017

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Australia’s most exciting and colourful stationery retailer, Smiggle is opening a new store in Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries tomorrow morning from 9am. I was invited to bring the Little Squirrels along to see the new store tomorrow, but unfortunately we can’t make the big launch due to other commitments, so they very kindly sent us a goodie bag in the post.

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Little Squirrel was very excited to open her goodie bag last night. Inside she got a beautiful handbag pencil case, which has two zipped compartments and a scented pom pom. She also got a pack of 12 scented markers in a colourful pencil case and a lockable notebook adorned with sparkling butterflies.

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She is over the moon with her goodies and is off to nursery this morning to show off her goodies.

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Smiggle is most definitely bold and bright and packed full of treasures for little ones (and stationery-loving adults alike) to explore. From multi-coloured backpacks, eye-catching pencil cases, sparkly stationery, gift packs, DIY kits and much more, there is a huge range to feast your eyes on. We will most definitely be paying a visit to the new Buchanan Galleries store soon!

#BUENOSHEROES – Win A Trip To Buenos Aires With CAU Restaurants

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Last week I was invited along to CAU Glasgow to try out their menu and to learn more about their summer-long campaign, #BUENOSHEROES, which offers diners the chance to win the trip of a lifetime to Buenos Aires.

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Fingers crossed for the Win!

The #BUENOSHEROES competition runs until August 31 2017. In order to enter into the grand prize draw to win a return trip for two to Buenos Aires you must order at least one HERO dish from the menu when dining at CAU restaurants, take a photo, upload to CAU Instagram and you could be on your way to Buenos Aires!

CAU HERO dishes celebrate the heart, soul and spirit of Buenos Aires all with a unique twist – CAU

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CAU Glasgow

This was my first trip to CAU Glasgow and I really loved the bright, fresh, modern interiors of the restaurant, which is situated in the heart of Glasgow City Centre on Ingram Street, within a stone’s throw of the Glasgow Gallery Of Modern Art.

Buenos Aires cuisine is a melting pot of delicious comfort food inspired by Italy, Spain and Argentina. From the mouth-watering steaks, burgers and sandwiches, to the tempting selection of sides and moreish favourites, each dish is served up with its own distinctive Argentinian twist – CAU

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Perusing the menu at CAU Glasgow

For starter I opted for Empanadas and chose the spicy beef and the Spanish Chorizo & cream cheese fillings. I really loved the Empanadas, which are a classic Argentinan filled pastry. On first glance the pastry looks like it could be heavy, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the pastry was beautifully light and both fillings were packed full of flavour. This is most definitely a dish I would order again. My dining companion for the evening, Alex, ordered the Shrimp Chicharron…

The prawns were nice, very tender, and the fresh coriander and chilli complemented them perfectly. The evaporated milk sauce didn’t really add anything to the dish though – Alex

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Left – Empanadas
Right – Shrimp Chicharron

For main course, I ordered the Classic CAU Chicken Burger and Alex ordered the Ultimate Steak Sandwich. The Chicken Burger came with lettuce and tomato, and I ordered onion rings and cheese to beef it up! The chicken itself was cooked perfectly and the onion rings were perfect. As for the steak sandwich, here’s what Alex said…

The steak sandwich was exceptional, the rump steak melted in the mouth and the salt beef was delicious as was the brisket, the crispy onions were perfect with it too. I’d say it was the standout dish! – Alex

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Left – enjoying the CAU Classic Chicken Burger
Middle – CAU Classic Chicken Burger
Right – Alex enjoying the Ultimate Steak Sandwich

As for dessert, I ordered Crème Catalana and Alex ordered a Dulce Volcano. We were both excited by the prospects of our desserts, as a good Crème Catalana or a molten dulce de leche cake is hard to beat. However, we were both disappointed with the desserts. My Crème Catalana was almost soup-like in consistency, really unpleasant and just not what I was expecting. Sadly the Dulce Volcano just didn’t quite live up to its reputation also, with the sponge hard and chewy and the molten middle just tasted like raw and uncooked cake batter, and not the rich and creamy toffee that we were expecting. We passed on our comments to our server who was very polite, and agreed that the Crème Catalana did not look quite right, and passed on our comments to her Manager.

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Left – Crème Catalana
Right – Dulce Volcano

We both really enjoyed our HERO dishes from the menu, with the exception of the desserts. The Manager didn’t come to speak to us to explain if this was out of the ordinary, or offer any explanation, so I can only hope that the desserts were not up to their usual standard.

The #BUENOSHEROES campaign is a fun opportunity to be in with a chance of winning a fabulous prize trip to Buenos Aires, so why not visit CAU for yourself, order a HERO dish, and don’t forget to post your picture on Instagram with the hashtag #BUENOSHEROES

I was offered a 3 course meal at CAU Glasgow for the purpose of this review. As always all opinions are honest and my own!

Monty’s Bar & Restaurant, Glasgow – A Review

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Last week I was invited along to Monty’s Bar & Restaurant on Radnor Street in Glasgow’s West End to sample their menu.

Monty’s is one of Finniseton’s newest openings. It is open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. With a big focus on locally sourced products, the menu is Scottish-led, with some exotic additions! For the West End’s many dog-lovers, Monty’s restaurant is dog friendly til 6pm, and the bar welcomes dogs, and their owners, during all opening hours.

Housed on the site of what used to be Montgomery’s Cafe, the premises have been completely refurbished, with the addition of a mezzanine area (which seats up to 30 guests and is available for private hire).  The newly refurbished interiors are warm and welcoming.

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Interiors at Monty’s Glasgow

On arrival, Sonia (my guest for the evening) and I chose some cocktails from the drinks menu. I was driving, so opted for a virgin option of the Cool Monty – a fresh and fruity long cocktail with raspberry and kiwi, and Sonia went for the Island Rose – The Botanist gin shaken with rose liqueur, fresh raspberries and citrus.

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Beautiful Cocktails from Monty’s Glasgow

The evening menu offers a great variety of incredible sounding dishes to choose from. For starter I opted for black pudding with beetroot, pink peppercorn crumble and beetroot syrup and Sonia chose the pan fried mackerel with heirloom tomato salad and piquant dressing.

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Left – black pudding, beetroot, pink peppercorn crumble, beetroot syrup
Right – pan fried mackerel, heirloom tomato salad, piquant dressing

For me, the starters were beautifully presented, and just the right portion size. I particularly loved the velvety smooth texture of the black pudding, against the crunchy apple strips and delicious little bulbs of beetroot. This was a deliciously light start to our meal at Monty’s. Sadly, I don’t eat fish, so couldn’t sample Sonia’s starter, so I asked her for some words on her mackerel dish…

The mackerel was beautifully cooked, with tasty crisp skin and nicely complimented by the warm heritage tomato salad which was in a lovely slightly mustard-y dressing. Perfect size for a starter – I’d definitely order it again. – Sonia

For main course, I opted for slow roasted pork belly, roast fennel, pomme purée and calvados apples, and Sonia went for the Monty’s beef burger, with Barwheys cheddar rarebit, Ayrshire smoked bacon, onion ring, hand cut chips and bone marrow jus.

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Left – slow roasted pork belly, roast fennel, pomme purée and calvados apples
Right – Monty’s beef burger, Barwheys cheddar rarebit, Ayrshire smoked bacon, onion ring, hand cut chips, bone marrow jus

The slow roasted pork belly was cooked to perfection. It melted in the mouth with incredibly deep flavour, complemented perfectly by the beautifully smooth and creamy pomme purée, and the light aniseed of the fennel against the crunchy apple strips and the delicious calvados apples. This is a gorgeous dish for pork-lovers!
As for the Monty’s beef burger, this really was a special burger. Aside from top quality beef and Ayrshire bacon, the addition of the Barwhey’s cheddar rarebit really lifted this burger to another level. I have to make a special mention for the little jug of bone marrow jus that you can see in the picture above… liquid gold! Quite honestly the most perfect little jug of jus you ever did have the pleasure to taste. Dipping the perfectly cooked hand cut chips in to the bone marrow jus brought the hugest of smiles to both our faces – a very indulgent chips and gravy!

To round off our meal we had the difficult task of choosing from the dessert menu. For me, I was instantly drawn to the Black Forest ganache, macerated cherries, Chantilly cream and chocolate soil. Meanwhile Sonia chose the cranachan crème chiboust, raspberries and raspberry sorbet.

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Left – Black Forest ganache, macerated cherries, Chantilly cream, chocolate soil
Right – cranachan crème chiboust, raspberries, raspberry sorbet

This Black Forest ganache with macerated cherries must be one of my favourite desserts I have had. The ganache was deep and rich, yet not too heavy, and the intensely fruity macerated cherries worked perfectly against this little slice of chocolate heaven! The cranachan crème chiboust was a lighter dessert, yet still packed full of flavours and textures. The crunchy, caramelised clusters of oats lifted the mousse-like creamy smooth crème chiboust, and the raspberry sorbet was packed full of tangy sweet raspberry flavour.

I hope you can tell how much we enjoyed our meal at Monty’s. I couldn’t fault a single thing from our evening here. The service was friendly and relaxed, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and the food was incredible, and completely exceeded my expectations.
I hope to return very soon, and I am sure the Little Squirrels would love to try out the kids menu while Mr Hungry Squirrel and I sample the Weekender Brunch!

Huge Thankyou to Ross from Monty’s for looking after us on our visit. Keep up the good work! We wish you and the rest of the team at Monty’s the greatest success – you deserve it!

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Cheers!

I was offered a 3 course meal at Monty’s Glasgow for the purpose of this review. As always all opinions are honest and my own!

Monty’s Bar & Restaurant Promo from Kris Kesiak on Vimeo.

The Italian Kitchen Glasgow

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Last week I was invited, along with four other bloggers, to try out the new menu at The Italian Kitchen in Glasgow’s Merchant City.

The restaurant has been part of Merchant City’s landscape for over ten years now but has recently undergone a complete refurbishment. The interiors are welcoming and inviting with warm lighting, and the menu is extensive, with something to suit everyone.  All food served in The Italian Kitchen is freshly made daily, using quality ingredients, and this really reflects in the dishes I tried.

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Image courtesy of www.italian-kitchen.co.uk

We were served an amazing array of breads, including freshly baked bread with oils & olives, and three different foccacias with rosemary & garlic, chilli & garlic, and with cherry tomatoes, basil & garlic.

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An array of Italian breads

I love a foccacia bread, and the highlight of this selection for me was most definitely the Foccacia Al Pomodoro with the freshest, sweetest little cherry tomatoes.

For starter I ordered the Crostino Con Funghi E Dolcelatte.

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Crostino Con Funghi E Dolcelatte

This was a stunning starter, with delicious garlicky Portobello mushrooms dripping in melted dolcelatte and crunchy pine nuts. The flavours were beautiful, and the contrasting textures worked perfectly to make this  a 5 star dish!

For main course I ordered the Bucatini All’Amatriciana Con Sardon E Crema – a hollow spaghetti with pancetta, spicy sardo sausage, and onions, in a creamy tomato sauce.

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Bucatini All’Amatriciana Con Sardo E Crema

I had never tried Bucatini before, but really loved this as an interesting alternative to spaghetti. The sauce was well seasoned and not too creamy, the Sardo sausage was deliciously herby, and the crispy pancetta on top really finished this dish perfectly.

After a healthy serving of bread, and a generous starter and main course, I questioned if I would have room for dessert, however I find it hard to pass on Tiramisu, so I didn’t…

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Tiramisu

The Tiramisu was beautifully presented and did not disappoint. Beautifully light and fluffy mascarpone mousse, complemented by chocolate and light sponge soaked in coffee – this was a winning combination of flavours executed really well.

As well as being served a delicious meal we were also given a demonstration of how to make our own ravioli by chef Raphael. I have to say he made it look incredibly easy, but until I get myself a pasta maker and get to grips with it, I will most definitely be returning to The Italian Kitchen for their fresh ravioli… We were given some to take home with us, which I thoroughly enjoyed the following evening after a late shift at work. The spinach and ricotta filling was light and herby, and the pasta was perfect!

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Chef Raphael demonstrating  how to make the perfect ravioli

Thankyou to Marco and his team for entertaining us and serving us a delicious meal. I look forward to my next visit very soon…
If you find yourself in Glasgow’s Merchant City and are looking for somewhere inviting to eat a fresh, tasty Italian meal then please check out The Italian Kitchen and let me know what you think…