Monday, 23 October 2017

Our BIG family announcement. There's a new baby on the way!!

Ok, so I didn't ever think that I would be sharing baby news from the Staying Sane house ever again, or at least not for a long while yet. 

However, Thing 1 and his girlfriend are making us grandparents, eeeek! 

It all came as a bit of a shock. I now know how my parents felt all those years ago when I announced I was expecting at the age of 17. Back then I thought my parents were 'ancient' and I didn't know what all the fuss was about when they grumbled at becoming grandparents at the ages of 39 and 42. Now I completely understand how silly my teenage thinking was and I know they were too young (and I was too young!). 

Thing 1 arrived the day after my 18th birthday and I had a lot of growing up to do and quickly! I lived with my parents for the first year and they were an amazing help with everything and still are now five babies later! 

So Thing 1 is going to be a Dad. Is he ready? No. Is he responsible enough? Probably not. Will he make a good Dad? Of course he will. 

Is any parent at any age really ready for the arrival of a new baby. Mentally, physically, emotionally, financially. Nothing can prepare you for the sleepless nights, the dirty nappies, the endless amount of washing, the crying and that small person completely relying on you for their every need. Honestly Thing 1 is still like that now! 

However, they will make great parents. They will learn as they go and they will have their families there to help them every step of the way. Everything so far is going well and it's time for their 20 week scan next week. 

I am super excited even though there is so much they need help with before the baby arrives. I have made myself official pram advisor although I have taught Thing 1 well, even though he won't admit it! 

So there we have it, the news I didn't think we would be sharing just yet but it's happening anyway! 

Now where's my rocking chair and my knitting needles??!! 

Taking a look at the wonderful Plae UK children's footwear range and a review of the Plae Max boots from their new intergalactic space range. Heading into the winter season with Plae.

Plae UK children's footwear has caught my eye for a while now. I am always on the look out for something different when it comes to footwear for the children and I found this great children's footwear brand last year. 

Plae has always had fun styles and bright colourways across all of the footwear on their website and we were spoilt for choice when it came to deciding on a new pair of shoes for Thing 5. 

From shoes to boots for summer and winter Plae UK has lots to offer. 

The Max boot was our choice for Thing 5 though. As it was getting cooler and towards Autumn/Winter time I wanted something a bit more robust for his feet. There are so many colours to choose from in the Max boot that I wasn't sure what to choose. 

From black, ribbon red, gold and even camo as well as so many more we opted for the Max boot in their, new for A/W 2017, space static black colour way. With its hi top giving extra ankle support as well as easy to fasten velcro straps the boot is made from nubuck leather and woven poly material. 

Thing 5 wanted to wear them straight away and they were so easy for him to put on himself. We haven't mastered laces as yet and even his older brother who has almost learnt how to tie laces really would prefer velcro just for easiness and because it is so quick! The boots were so flexible and soft and I love the extra protection on the toe area which is always the first place for wear on shoes with my children. The website even has separate velcro tabs to purchase to customise your Plae shoes and boots. 

These boots have been worn everywhere. They have seen so much wear already and yet still look fab. They are smart enough to wear with jeans and ideal for a run around in the park or to wear out to a party. 

The Plae UK Max boot is available in 11 different colour ways so you will struggle to choose from all the gorgeous colours available. The ribbon red is also a favourite of ours and they are made from napa leather. 

Whether you are looking for shoes like the Plae Nat or Ty styles or more robust boots like the Max boot or the Noel boot which look ideal for winter there is a style and colour to suit every occasion and purpose on their website.

We are now looking at more Plae UK purchases, if we can decide on what colours to choose! 

Their range is amazing and well worth a look so head over to the Plae UK website today to take a look at their full range of shoes and boots. 

Disclosure; We were sent a pair of Plae boots to review, all comments and thoughts are our own. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

What advent calendars are in shops for 2017 including Smiggle, Soap & Glory, Yankee Candle, Biscuiteers and many more

It's that time of year again where we are all starting to get ready for Christmas and one thing I am looking out for is advent calendars. 

Each year there are more and more advent calendars in the shops from beauty to chocolate, biscuits to toys and so much more. 

Last year in the Staying Sane house we had Smiggle, Thomas Minis, Yankee candle and Lego advent calendars as well as chocolate calendars. 

This year, amongst many other calendars, I have selected a few that have caught my eye whilst in stores and shopping online. 

First up I found this Wera advent calendar. Full of tools and bits for any DIY enthusiast. 

Next up is this beauty advent for tweens and teens. From Superdrug and currently half price at just £8. With lop glosses, nail varnish and more. 

Also from Superdrug is this 12 days advent calendar. Full of bath and beauty products and also half price at the moment. 

Lego advent calendars are always popular in our house. Thing 4 had the Lego Star Wars version last year. This Lego City one has a small Lego surprise behind each door. Priced between £19.99 and £24.99 from various retailers. 

This cheese advent calendar is set to be very popular this year. Available at Asda stores from mid November it is full of yummy bite sized cheesy goodness behind each window. 

This Swizzels Matlow advent calendar is the one that the Things have got their eye on this year. Thing 4 and 5 currently prefer chewy sweets over chocolate and after seeing this instore recently they have asked for this advent. Priced at £4 and seen in Sainsburys. 

I absolutely love the Yankee Candle advent calendar. With a small scented tealight behind each door. This years scents include Red: Sparkling Cinnamon Green: The Perfect Tree Tan: Candy Chestnut White: Winter Glow Pink: Snowflake Cookie Light Green: Macaron Treats. Priced at around £20 from various retailers it will add an extra special festive scent to your home each day. 

The Smiggle advent calendar is a favourite of Thing 3's. She has had it for the past couple of years and loves it. With a piece of stationery or fun accessory behind each door and the contents worth £40 the RRP is £25 from Smiggle stores and online. There are also 25 lucky tickets hidden in advent calendars and waiting to be found. Lucky finders of the tickets win a £500 shopping spree. 

Thing 5 had the Thomas Minis advent calendar last year and it is back this year exclusively at Asda. Priced at £35 it has a Thomas Mini train behind each window with special festive edition trains as well as lots of other designs too. 

This Biscuiteers advent tin has to be my best find this year. I would love to open this each day and have a gorgeously decorated biscuit to eat each day (with a cuppa of course!). Priced at £48 and available on the Biscuiteers website. It's definitely at the top of my advent list!! 

The ever popular Soap and Glory beauty product range from Boots has also produced an advent calendar this year. Exclusive to Boots in store and online it is full of Soap and Glory goodies including mascara, body wash and hand food plus much much more. Priced at £40.

So whether you want a bath time treat every day on the lead up to Christmas or something festively delicious to eat there is an advent calendar out there for everyone. 

Which advent would you choose? 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Visiting Taco Bell UK's newest restaurant in Woking. With tacos, quesadillas and burritos galore as well as Happy Hour every day. We will definitely be back for another visit!

The Things have been wanting to go to Taco Bell for ages. I think they are slightly influenced by the many US Youtubers that they watch and see them going to Taco Bell which is why it has become somewhere they have wanted to visit. 

I knew there were some Taco Bell restaurants in the UK but Thing 2 looked and found the nearest one to us was in Southampton, over an hours drive away. I told them it would have to be a specially planned trip out and quickly forgot all about it. 

Then at the end of August I found out that they had just opened a restaurant in Woking, a town not far from us and I knew we had to go and pay them a visit. I hadn't told the children that we were going there and luckily Thing 2 hadn't looked recently so she had no clue! 

So I told the children we were just popping to the shops in Woking as the younger ones wanted to go on a train ride anyway and it wasn't far to travel. When we get there the children were already saying they were hungry so it was a good thing I had food already planned! 

As we passed several other restaurants they kept asking if we could eat in those and I kept putting them off until they saw the Taco Bell sign and their faces lit up. I have never seen someone so excited over a restaurant before. 

When we arrived we were met by one of the staff members who helped us find a table. We were there to try out the Happy Hour menu which runs from 3-6pm every day (alongside their full main menu). This includes items such as the chicken sharing platter, loaded nachos, quesadilla nachos and dessert platter too as well as offers on cervezas and the Freeze drinks. 

The restaurant has a very relaxed atmosphere. You find your table, choose your meal and then go to the counter to place your order. Once your order is ready they call out your order number to go and collect your food. 

As I was there with the children, five of us in total, and each dish suggested a 2-3 person share option I went for the loaded nachos with chicken, the chicken platter and the quesadilla nachos for us all to share. The chicken platter consisted of chicken fillet strips, chicken quesadillas and chips topped with a cheese sauce and sour cream. The loaded nachos came with a choice of topping and we chose the chicken. 

Loaded nachos with salsa, guacamole and sour cream plus the extra chicken topping. Priced at 4.49

Quesadilla nachos with all the toppings. Priced at 4.49

This is the chicken platter minus the chicken pieces as the Things had stolen them so quickly I didn't get a picture in time! Priced at 7.50

The food was lovely, the chicken platter was a real hit with the children and also the nachos with the chicken topping. The cheese quesadillas were also enjoyed by them although they weren't keen on all of the toppings (although Mummy loved it!). They wanted more chicken quesadillas to bring home too! 

The children really wanted the Freeze drinks which are on offer in happy hour at 2 for 3 pounds usually 1.99 each. However the Freeze machine wasn't working at that particular time so they settled for some fizzy drinks which wasn't a problem. The drinks machine was a help yourself machine and offered various drinks with a wide range of flavours to choose from too. 

After they had completely demolished all of the food and were all extremely happy with everything that they had eaten they somehow managed to find room for the dessert platter. 

Oh the dessert platter. I could have eaten it all by myself but unfortunately the menu advised sharing!! Churros are my favourite and Chocadilla too, wow. The children really enjoyed this platter too as did I. It was all lovely and warm, the churros were delicious and the Chocodillas were oozing with chocolate as Thing 4's trousers and t shirt found out! 

The dessert platter. There were lots more churros and Chocodillas on there when we got it! 

The children had full and happy tummies and I was so pleased that they had eaten everything that we ordered. 

It's a thumbs up from Thing 5 and Thing 3!

The staff were attentive and polite and answered any questions that I had, which I did have a few! The restaurant was busy but orders were dealt with swiftly and everyone in the restaurant looked to be enjoying their meals. 

With burritos and taco meals on the menu too we can try those on our next visit, which is very soon according to Dad of Five as he missed out on this visit! 

I would just like to thank Irina and her staff for being polite and welcoming during our visit and a special shout out to Mim who ran around after us and probably had enough of us by the time we left!! He was very helpful with everything and made sure we had everything we needed including our extra chicken quesadillas and churros to take home, even though we had eaten plenty in the restaurant. 

I would highly recommend Taco Bell as a place to eat either for lunch or dinner and it's great if you need a quick snack or a full meal to fill your belly. Do visit the Taco Bell UK website for full menu details and to see if there is a Taco Bell UK restaurant near you. 

Disclaimer; We were at the Taco Bell restaurant for review purposes and we ate as part of the review process. All comments and thoughts expressed are our own.