A Strong Coffee

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Cards Against Maturity Review (Gifted)

Cards Against Maturity is the way to get the teens and tweens off the tech and enjoying some family fun.

With the summer holidays fast approaching, I have gone into a blind panic over how we will spend the 6 weeks off. All we currently have booked is a day at Alton Towers and I was thinking of using some Tesco vouchers to buy a pizza express meal.

I can absolutely guarantee that my boys will be playing lots of computer games. Is that wrong? I don’t think so. I have fond memories of spending my summer holidays watching lunchtime and evening showings of Home and Away and Neighbours. But, I also have fond memories of spending time with my parents.

Whilst I feel that a holiday abroad is off the cards for us this year, no matter what Boris and co suggest, I do want to make evenings a bit more family oriented.

This is where Cards Against Maturity comes in. I need some family games that I’m happy to play (as well as the kids) and that don’t go on for hours and hours.

Cards against Maturity is the perfect option for older children this summer. It is simple to play and can take as long or as little time as you like.

The rules are simple. Each player has 10 answer cards. The person with the hardiest knuckles begins.....

No, that is not me!

A question card is read out and each player lays their funniest answer.

The player that has the most funny answers wins. You could set this at 3,5 or 10 depending on how long you want to play - result!

We enjoyed playing the game and the only downside was that some of the answers are aimed at an American audience. I had no idea who Jon Cena even was.

If you are looking for a game to play with older tweens and teens this summer on your staycation the. You can purchase cards against mature from Smyths Toys Superstores.

What have you got planned this summer? Are their any games that you would recommend for tweens and teens?

We were sent a copy of cards against maturity in return for a review but opinions are my own.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Flight Of The Sky Lion At Legoland Windsor

Legoland Windsor have opened their new world this half term, known as Mythica. It consists of 2 new and 1 rebranded ride. Squid surfers is now known as Hydra. There are some drop towers called fire and ice frefall and the big draw is a flying theatre ride called flight of the sky lion.

I wouldn’t normally agree to wait such a long time for a ride (generally the queue ranged between 80-120 mins) but my boys are on the old side for Legoland and have been there many times so they wanted to wait for it as it was really something new they were looking to do.

You may have seen on Facebook (if you are in any Merlin groups) that people have been moaning about the lack of social distancing and the ride times at Legoland over half term. I’m afraid I have to say I agree. We knew and were prepared to wait for Sky Lion. However, all other rides had long queues too. When I say long I mean 45-80 minutes on average for most rides after midday. Even the advertised 15 mins for Mia’s riding adventure was actually around 45. Was social distance being adhered to? No. It was pretty disappointing to be honest and not like our trip last summer.

Anyway enough of the moaning and back to Mythica. If you are spending the whole day at Legoland, do not start with flight of the sky lion. The queue time will be 2 hrs and you are best off getting some of the other rides in early. By lunchtime the queue was around 90 minutes. Still long, but better. Unlike last year, there are barriers around the park not letting you enter the area until 10. Hotel guests will get there first.

Whilst we had the best part of an hour and three quarters wait for the ride, it really wasn’t as bad as I was bad expecting. In the outside queue line, you can scan a QR code in the Legoland app and it brings the Lego models to life through a magic portal.

Once inside it will take around 60 mins to get on the ride. However, there are screens explaining the story and introducing the characters as well as some Lego models. These all help pass the long queue time.

When it came to the loading bays, RAP had the first two rows. Then the normal queue had 5 rows on the day we went (one row was not being filled.) Groups were separated by 2 seats. Your number corresponds to your seat. We were on the top row of the ride. You have a little pre show and then sit down and strap yourself in. The ride starts and you are swung round to a massive screen and the experience starts.

If you have been to Walt Disney World then the ride is a cross between Soarin and flight of passage. The downside is that you can see the seats etc as in Soarin. The story is like flight of passage, in that you are flying around a mythical world. If you haven’t done anything like this before you will love it. It can make you feel a little motion sick, but it’s not too bad. My boys enjoyed it even though they had done flight of passage. They agreed that it wasn't quite as good. Another plus to the ride is that the queue line is undercover. As we went on a rainy day this was a bonus and kept us dry.

Overall we were impressed with the new Mythica area as a whole and flight of the sky lion is a fantastic addition to the park. Just be prepared for a long queue if you go at a peak time. 

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Teen And Tweens

Looking over at my tween today, it hit me. My babies are all big. No longer am I a mum of three little boys that think I am amazing. I am now a mum of tweens and a teen who barely grunt at me to tell me what they want to eat. 

Things are changing and I need to find myself again. I am so thankful that I returned to work a few years ago, to give me something to focus on and to help pay for the food bills that are growing by the second. Do you know how much teenage boys can eat!?!

But it’s not all bad. So I thought I would write a list of things I enjoy with my ever growing boys.

  1. We are getting rid of all the toys. Apart from a handful of games and a few crafty bits for school projects, we are saying goodbye to the majority of toys that have been cluttering the house. Of course it is only me that is doing anything about this and it’s taking forever, but I will get there. The house is so much tidier and that makes me happy.
  2. You can watch better TV. The highlight of my evenings over the last lockdown was watching Superstore with the teen. I know, I know, you could argue that this isn’t “better TV” but trust me when you have had to watch Dan TDM on you tube for years and feel like he lived in your house it is better.
  3. You can go out later. My boys have always wanted to stay up late, but have always been hell the next day if that is the case. Slowly but surely this is getting better.
  4. You can do more fun things. I have done my time sitting in play parks and soft play. Now let’s do Stealth, Go ape and water parks.
  5. You can have some good conversations with them. My youngest has more understanding about world affairs than many adults. They also all have a great sense of humour.
So if you are a mum of toddlers, pulling your hair out and seeking some adult interaction, trust me it will pass. All too soon. It won’t get easier. It will just get different. But different can also be good.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Low Carb Scotch Eggs

There is nothing quite like a soft boiled scotch egg. It is one of my favourites from Heston's Hinds Head. These are simple to make and only use three ingredients. Perfect for a delicious lunchtime treat.

I have fallen off the low carb wagon this Easter, but am keen to get back on it this week and being able to have scotch eggs and keto sausage rolls makes it so easy to stick to. 

Whilst I have adapted this recipe to suit me, my sons really like them too, so it is a winner for all the family. When it comes to the sausagemeat, it really depends on how low carb (or strict keto) you are on which sausage you like to buy. The Heck sausages are good and this works really well with Tesco Finest pork and jalapeno hot dogs. Generally, I have found that you need two "normal" sized sausages per egg, bit with the jalapeno hot dogs, you only need one per egg as they are bigger.

For the coating I use milled flaxseed, but another coating that low carb followers recommend are ground pork scratchings.

Low Carb Scotch Eggs

  • 4 eggs
  • 8 sausages (or 4 Tesco Finest pork and jalapeno hot dogs.)
  • Milled flaxseed

  1. Put 4 eggs in a pan and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the eggs from the pan and place in cold water. Carefully remove the shell from the eggs.
  3. Take the skin off two sausages and wrap the pattie around the egg.
  4. Roll in a dish of milled falxseed.
  5. Bake for around 20 minutes until olden brown.

Other low carb recipes you may like:

Low carb crackers for cheese and biscuits

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Turning 11 In Lockdown

Back in February middle man celebrated his 11th Birthday. Another lockdown birthday in the family.

It came as a shock to him that he still needed to do remote learning. Thank God that is behind us now. Clearly he had a day of playing his new Switch games planned!

As lockdown birthdays go, one in cold dreary February isn’t the best and so it all revolved around food. On his actual birthday we had afternoon tea for lunch and then he had ribs for tea. School work was completed and switch games played. Saturday, however, was our blow out day. A few years ago he joked that he wanted to do McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut in a day like the song. We shot him down with remarks on how unhealthy it was. This year? Let’s do it.

So it was McDonalds for breakfast, KFC lunch and Pizza Hut for tea whilst watching the masked singer final. My husband and I were stuffed. The boys? They thought we should have ordered more pizza!

Luckily his new fitness tracker has encouraged him to work off his takeaway challenge.

As an 11 year old, its been an odd year for middle man. SATs aren't happening - whoop whoop! But a lot of the rites of passage of primary have disappeared too. No residential trip away and not even sure if they will do a leavers play. They are hoping to do something "special" with them to try and make it a big deal but it wont be the same. Middle man however, doesn't seem too fussed and is looking forward to secondary school in September - mainly so he can do more drama.

Have you had a lockdown birthday? What did you do to make it memorable? 

Lets hope that as we slowly have more restrictions removed tomorrow, this is the last lockdown birthday we will see.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Perfect Potato Recipes #cookblogshare Week 9

Welcome to #cookblogshare Week 9. Over the last year, I have followed a low carb diet and the one thing that I really miss is potatoes. Every now and then I "treat" myself with a day off and when I do, I make sure that potatoes are on the menu. This weeks round up features some recipes that make perfect sides as well as main meals. 

If you love cooking then #cookblogshare is a great place to share recipes and ideas as well as commenting on each others tasty posts. Last weeks link up was over at Mellisa Traub Plant Based Nutrition. There was a meat free round up and loads of fantastic recipes in the link up.
Here are a few of my favourite recipes containing the humble potato.

Perfect Potato Recipes

Hassleback Potatoes

I have been thinking about purchasing an air fryer for some time now and Sandhya may just have convinced me with these air fryer hassleback potatoes. Easy to make with only 5 ingredients, I am sure they would be a hit with all the family.

Welsh Onion Cake

Karen's Welsh onion cake is my perfect idea of comfort food. Thinly sliced potatoes and onion layers baked with butter and some Caerphilly cheese. Perfect!

German Fried Potatoes

I do love fried potatoes, the recipe I usually use, contains spices and is served with a curry. This german recipe from "My Dinner" uses bacon and herbs and would make a delicious lunch accompanied by a fried egg. 

Potato Galette

Lost in food give us a step by step guide to making this potato galette. A simple dish which looks so comforting. I am sure that my boys would be happy if I gave this dish a go.

#Cookblogshare 2021 Week 9

Want to join in with Cook Blog Share this week? Here is how: Link up your recipe, sweet or savoury, or any foodie post to the #CookBlogShare link party.  Just click the blue Add your link button below and follow the instructions. You may add up to 4 posts.
Include this party’s link in your post (so everyone else can find it).
Add the #CookBlogShare badge to your post (see the code below).

Next weeks link up will be over at The Rare Welsh BitFor GDPR purposes, please make note that by joining in you are giving the #CookBlogShare hosts permission to use your pictures in a round up and on social media, if your recipe is selected to be featured! Thank you for sharing your recipes with #CookBlogShare!

Cook Blog Share

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Sunday, 7 February 2021

[Ad] Looking Ahead To The Summer Holidays

In collaboration with Hotels.com, but all views are my own

I can safely say that our travel plans for this year have once again changed. When the pandemic hit last year we moved out holiday to Mexico to Easter 2021. Maybe we were being naive at the time, but I think we can now safely say that Mexico is on hold indefinitely. This year a holiday at home or a staycation as some may call it is most likely to be on the cards for us. All our plans will depend on the current government guidelines at the time and no one really knows what they will be.

I am optimistic that this summer we will see some ease of restrictions and hopefully we will manage a few days away, so we can see somewhere different. Top of my list on places to visit is London. I should probably add here, that I live about an hour away from London, but would love to stay for a few nights. Walking around the city can be exhausting and I think a hotel for the evening would take some of the stress away and make it more enjoyable for us as a family.

I don’t really know what to expect. I mean I know what pre pandemic London was like with all its hustle and bustle and tourists. However, I think a stay there this year may be different. But that is not to say that different is not good, it is just likely to mean some booming in advance.
Something we are all used to having to do these days.

So what would l like to do?

I am hoping that by the summer we will see some of the fantastic restaurants in London are able to open their doors. A few years ago we took the boys for afternoon tea at One Aldwych which they loved. So an afternoon tea would be a great choice.

I would like to take the boys to the Tower of London. I haven’t been since I was 14 and have usually stayed away from the tourist attractions like this as they are so crowded in the school holidays. This summer may be a great opportunity to experience it without the usual hoards of tourists.

A few years ago, I went on a RIB down the Thames and absolutely loved it. A tour from the river is so much better than an open top bus. We got to see loads and it is an experience I would love to repeat now the boys are old enough to experience it.

A little further out, I have always fancied Up at the O2. I know they had smaller groups last summer and is something I would like to look into.

I have now accepted that this year will be a little different to the one I had planned. I have accepted that things can change at the drop of a hat. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t plan and get excited about the future. Different can be good.  Have you made any plans yet? Have you got any more recommendations for places to visit in London? I would love some more ideas to get me excited.