Moshi Monsters Weekend at The Sea Life Centre

July 23rd, 2014

One of my family’s favourite, all-weather attractions to visit in Birmingham is the National Sea Life Centre in Brindley Place. Home to all manner of deep-sea creatures, from Sharks to Stingrays, and all sorts of truly beautiful and unusual fish, the Sea Life Centre is the ideal place to add to your Summer Holiday must visit list, offering education and a whole lot of fun.

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This Summer the attraction is even more exciting due to the arrival of the Moshi Monsters. Katsuma, Poppet and Monstro City’s number one Moshling conservationist, Buster Bumblechops, are on a mission to save the amazing marine creatures that are housed in the Sea Life Centre, and this means a whole host of fabulous Moshi based activities to enjoy during your visit.

DSCN8335[1]On Sunday, I went along to the VIP launch of the Moshi Monster partnership, taking my shark mad 5-year-old Joe with me. We started the day by visiting the new penguin enclosure, and were totally enchanted by the very funny little fellows, who seemed to follow each other all the time, diving in and out of the water. While we were enjoying the penguins we were joined by Katsuma, causing Joe to get very excited!

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Just super cute.

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10429465_613109385453833_5276029386202170418_nWe then moved on to the main walkway, where you can encounter some weird and wonderful fish. Some of them were so big that Joe was convinced they must be sharks. We had been given a booklet to complete the Moshi trail, where you are tasked with finding the missing marine Moshlings who are all hiding at SEA LIFE. These are hidden within the tanks and if you find the whole gang you can unlock Lubber the Whimsical Whale – the brand new Moshling, exclusive to SEA LIFE. Joe was too excited to complete the trail, but this is a great activity for older children.

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Joe really enjoyed so many of the experiences at the SeaLife Centre. He loved stroking a crab, spotting the Hammerhead sharks in the water tunnel (his fave shark!), and he was so excited to see another giant Moshi Monster, this time Poppets, that he made us backtrack so he could ‘meet and greet.’ The very cute Beavers, and the 4d cinema showing a very special version of Happy Feet were also really popular with my little man.

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You can join the Moshi Monsters Marine Force at the SEA LIFE Birmingham until the 31st August 2014. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

Super Busy Mum

Boden new season dresses – are you a 50s or 60s girl?

July 22nd, 2014

Even though the school holidays have only just begun, and most of us seem to be basking in warm sunshine as I write, in fashion terms we are now looking to the new season, with the Autumn lines already beginning to appear in some stores and online. This week the focus turns to Boden, who are welcoming Autumn/Winter 2014 with the introduction of another, very English collection that once again (because I do seem to say this about Boden a lot) seems to be pulling influences from fashion days gone by.

I make no apologies for the fact that, once again, it was the dresses that I was instantly drawn to. I am a dress girl, and Boden always have designs that I love – with sleeves, with knee-length skirts, and in beautiful bright colours.  For the new season, the looks seem to be asking you a fashionable question;- ‘When it comes to your dress look, are you a fan of the 1950s or the 1960s?’

For fifties lovers, there are full skirts, nipped in waists and designs that look like pared down versions of the Dior New Look that so dominated fashion 60 years ago. But if the 196os is more your bag there are dresses that will thrill you, with Pucci style prints, simple shift styles so beloved of Twiggy, and a lovely mixture of jewelled brights and cool patterns.

1950s Influence

Milano Dress WH687 (Was £129.00 ) now £116.10 click to visit Boden

Milano Dress
WH687
(Was £129.00 ) now £116.10 click to visit Boden

Lindsey Ponte Dress WH718 (Was £89.00 ) now £80.10 click to visit Boden

Lindsey Ponte Dress
WH718
(Was £89.00 ) now £80.10 click to visit Boden

Wool Skater Dress BQ030 (Was £139.00 ) now £125.10 click to visit Boden

Wool Skater Dress
BQ030
(Was £139.00 ) now £125.10 click to visit Boden

Marilyn Dress WH722 (Was £89.00 ) now £80.10 click to visit Boden

Marilyn Dress
WH722
(Was £89.00 ) now £80.10 click to visit Boden

Amy Dress WH696 (Was £129.00 ) now £116.10 click to visit Boden

Amy Dress
WH696
(Was £129.00 ) now £116.10 click to visit Boden

1960s Influence

Ottoman Shift WH716 (Was £79.00 ) now £71.10 click to visit Boden

Ottoman Shift
WH716
(Was £79.00 ) now £71.10 click to visit Boden

Retro Tunic Dress WH726 (Was £79.00 ) now £71.10 click to visit Boden

Retro Tunic Dress
WH726
(Was £79.00 ) now £71.10 click to visit Boden

Dartmouth Tunic Dress WH688 (Was £99.00 ) now £89.10 click to visit Boden

Dartmouth Tunic Dress
WH688
(Was £99.00 ) now £89.10 click to visit Boden

Harriet Dress WH697 (Was £149.00 ) now £134.10 click to visit Boden

Harriet Dress
WH697
(Was £149.00 ) now £134.10 click to visit Boden

Yasmin Dress WH741 (Was £99.00 ) now £89.10 click to visit Boden

Yasmin Dress
WH741
(Was £99.00 ) now £89.10 click to visit Boden

Chiswell Shift BQ028 (Was £139.00 ) now £125.10 click to visit Boden

Chiswell Shift
BQ028
(Was £139.00 ) now £125.10 click to visit Boden

Currently Boden is offering 10% off all new in dresses and free delivery and free returns, so now is a good time to dip into the new season.

To view all new in dresses at Boden, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Afternoon Picnic at The Balcony, Selfridges

July 20th, 2014

Ever since I attended the opening party of The Balcony restaurant in Selfridges, Birmingham, last December, I have been itching to try out the Afternoon Picnic. The restaurant, part of the Searcy’s group, had shown guests their take on a traditional afternoon tea, but due to consumer copious amounts of food and scrummy cocktails on the night, I had not been able to sample any of the delights on offer. This was something I knew I had to put right.

So last Friday I took myself off the iconic Bullring Birmingham store with one of my favourite blogging ladies, the gorgeous Miss Emily Jayne, to sample the delights of an afternoon tea that promised to be a twist on the traditional. The Balcony’s afternoon Picnic certainly delivered on its promises.

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DSCN8197The Balcony offers a gorgeous modern fashion vibe for guests, with stylish table arrangements and a beautiful fashion mural which so suits the ethos of Selfridges as a modern, vibrant place to shop and dine. The dining experience began with a glass of Moet Champagne, the bubbles chilled and perfect for what was an exceptionally hot afternoon.

And then the tea was presented…on what is, quite possibly, the sweetest picnic table you will ever see. The benches were home to the sandwiches, which, in this case, were actually deep filled buns. There were three in total, Coronation Chicken, traditional cucumber with creme fraiche and smoked salmon. Each was flavoursome and delightful, with the Coronation Chicken my personal favourite – packed with flavour but not too spicy.

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DSCN8198With the buns finished it was time to turn to the cakes. This was also the perfect time for tea to be served. I opted for my usual English breakfast tea, which I love served very strong with just a dash of milk. Emily went for the fresh mint option which is very refreshing. We were both super impressed with the presentation – the fabulously rustic ironware teapots were so unusual and kept the tea piping hot. I enjoyed the tea so much I asked for a second pot, which was not a problem.

In terms of cakes/pastries, it has to be said that if you are a fan of macaroons, you are in for a treat. The thick chocolate inside the macaroons was rich and delicious. These were the best macaroons I have ever tasted, well worth the chocolate smears left all around my mouth. There was also a deliciously light lemon drizzle cake which was moist and had a real summery taste of citrus. And, of course, there were scones, with clotted cream and little pots of jam. I must admit I am not always a fan of jam served in the jar, but as this was part of a picnic, it fitted perfectly with the theme of the tea. The scones were large and so soft and fresh they crumbled when cut. They were so tasty they could’ve been eaten without any cream or jam, they were that good.

DSCN8204The whole picnic experience was a sheer delight from start to finish. The service was impeccable, and the staff professional; attentive, butnot to the point of being intrusive. The food was of a high standard and gelled well together as an afternoon tea. I loved this twist on the traditional and will certainly be paying another visit very soon.

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*With thanks to the staff of The Balcony, Birmingham and Alex Mansell of Waa agency for the review opportunity.