Days Out- Hamerton Zoo {AD}

Over the Easter period we were kindly invited to Hamerton Zoo in order to give a review. Hamerton Zoo Park is just on the outskirts of Peterborough it is very well sign posted from the A1. So do not worry if you are like us and not local to Peterborough.  I have to admit I’d not heard of it before and speaking to the other people I am not the only one.

As we pulled into the car park I did think it looked more like a little farm. But it is actually a lot bigger than it looks. Hamerton Zoo is actually home to 100 different species of animals within the 25 acre zoo park. There are some which are exclusive to them in the UK. So there are going to be animals which you have not see at other zoo’s you have visited in the past. It may not be home to Lions, Rhinos, Giraffes and Elephants but do not let that put you off if you are thinking about visiting.

We arrived at Hamerton Zoo at around 11am we had planned getting there early but as you know with children this does not always work. We found it very easy to get into the zoo there was a short que but we did not have to wait for very long. Of course, because we visited during the Easter Weekend this could have meant that it was a lot busy than a normal weekend.  Hamerton Zoo is open every day except Christmas and boxing days and tickets can be brought at the gate or in advance online. Tickets are £14.99 for adults and £9.99 for 3-12 year olds. This is a fraction of the price we have paid for similar zoos and wildlife park.

One thing which I would recommend is purchasing a guide book. This is something which we did not do and we did not realise the only way to get a map of the zoo was to do this. In turn this did mean that we did miss some of the animals when we went around first.

One thing you will notice as you walk around is the space that the animals have to roam around. One thing Hamerton Zoo does try to make clear is that the animals are not shut in or out. They have the freedom to be either inside or outside if they choose. This does mean that some of the animals may not easily seen because they may be hiding in their houses.

Lemurs

When you arrive one of the first animals you will see are the ring tailed lemurs.However, there was a lot of people around this area. They could have been more people because there is more of a one way system in the zoo. The reason behind this is because if you turn left you would end up in the shop, cafe and play area.  They had just been fed which always attracts people. I noticed that one of the lemurs looked like it was pregnant as well. So in the future there may be more additions to this enclosure.

Wallabies

The first animal we spent a lot time at was the wallabies. As you can see they some Joey’s which is amazing because baby animals are so cute. There was a number of them which they looked like they could be pregnant. So if you manage to go in the next couple of months they may have even more babies. There was such number of wallabies they were a pleasure to watch. For sure I think they are one of my favourite animals on show at the Zoo.

Tigers

The big cats are always my thing when we are visiting a zoo. Hamerton Zoo is home to 2 beautiful Malaysian Tiger and 2 white Bengal Tigers.I found I learn at fair bit at Hamerton Zoo for example about the white Bengal Tigers. All white Tigers in the world are decedents from one called “Mohan” who was captured and kept in a Palace in India. It wasn’t until Mohan was paired with his daughter did they have more white cubs. The white of the Bengal tiger is just a colour mutation. This does mean that all of the white Bengal tigers are direct descendants from this pair. It a nice to see the shear size of the tigers. Usually you do not get to be up close and personal to a tiger.

Stroll through Safari

There is also a stroll through safari which allows you to touch the animals. This is home to Pygmy goats, Alpacas, Camels, Chickens and Sheep. You can pay 20p for a handful of feed which you can share with these animals. This is something we opted against because there was so many people feeding them we thought they would not be that bothered. Jess actually decided that she was going to stroke the Pygmy Goats.

Train

There is an Express Railroad Train which runs every weekend and everyday throughout the school holidays. You can catch it from the Donkey Enclosure  and it runs to the tiger enclosure and back. You can actually walk this route and it does not take that long at all. The train does not go that fast that you could walk next to it. We did see a mum who was walking alongside the train and her daughter was on the train. The train is £2 per person and I will be honest I found it a little overpriced for the length of time you are on there. It doesn’t cover the entire park, I think this would have been better if it had done.

Cheetahs

There is also a number of cheetah’s I think we saw a three at least, however it is home to 7 cheetah’s.  Hamerton want to be one of the first zoo in the UK to actually breed cheetah’s most are unable to do this due to space. Hamerton actual have 5 enclosures which they have access to and then they are planning on building 3 more. This is going to help aid the breading programme which they have.

Another criticism I would have of the zoo is that it is does not tell you the name of the animals which you can see. It tells you where the animals are from and a bit about them however, I do like to know the name of the animals I can see in front of me.

Picnic/ Cafe

There is a lot of picnic benches which you can sit on and have a picnic. It is undercover should you not be as lucky as us when you visit and have nice weather. If you do not want to bring your own food like we did you can actually purchase food from the Cafe. Later in the day we did purchase a Ice cream which allowed me to look at the prices. I seem to remember that a rollover hot dog was around £3.90. It would cost you the same as meal out to eat at this cafe.

Play Area

I was unable to take any pictures of this area due to other children been around. There is a couple of parks on is aimed at under 6’s and the other over 6. However, Jess decided that she was going to play in the bigger one. There is a climbing pyramid,zip wire and a climbing frame. For sure this is an area which she spent a lot of time in. She loves the park and this is the way she burns a lot of energy. I think if we went back Jess would love to be able to go on the zip wire but she is a little bit too small.

Gift Shop

The Gift Shop sells a range of merchandise, cuddly teddies, toys, stationery and more. There is a wide range of products which if like us you do not mind purchasing a toy at the end of an amazing day out. They do have a range of items which could purchase. We did not actually purchase anything because we have enough cuddly toys. There was nothing that stood out which we had to purchase.

Toilets

Beware if you are going with little ones there is only one set of toilets. They are not that far off the enterance so it would be worth going when you pass them as there is no more. The toilets are old and really could do with a bit of an update. I think there are only 5 women toilets and a baby change. I seem to remember Joe said that there was one in the male toilets to.

Overall

We spent 5 and half hours at Hamerton Zoo. This was enough time to walk around the park twice. On the second lap we did it later and we saw animals which had not been out on the first time. This could have been as a result of it nearly been feeding time. Again we did have the a picnic and also we managed to spend a lot of time in the park as I have mentioned. I know Jess’ grandparents left after around 3 and half hours so we may have stayed longer than most people.

Have you visited Hammerton Zoo? If so what were your thoughts

 

Charlotte xx

Meal Inspiration Monday- Ham and Leek Cannelloni

Today I am going to share with you a meal which Joe and Jess ate at the weekend. Sadly I was not feeling very well which meant I choose not to consume the Ham and Leek Canelloni. As a result of this it did mean that they had it both days. Which says something for sure they must have enjoyed it enough. This is a recipe which I added to pinterest. I get a lot of my inspiration from there this is one of the reasons we have such a wide range of different meals every single week.  If you ever see a meal on my meal plan which you would like the recipe for leave a comment below. .

Ingredient- Serves 4

3 leeks sliced into 1cm chunks

300ml Vegetable Stock

85g Wafer thin ham ripped

8 Fresh Lasanga Sheets

200g Fat Free Creme Fresh

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

50g Grated Mature Cheddar

85g Breadcrumbs

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200c
  2. Simmer the leeks with the stock in a covered pan for 5 minutes until they are tender.
  3. Drain the leeks reserving the stock then mix the them with the ham and some seasoning
  4. Divide the mixture into 8 spooning it along the middle of each lasagne sheet roll them up and tuck into an ovenproof dish. Make sure the joined side is down.
  5. Mix 300ml of the reserved stock with the crème fraîche, mustard and most of the grated cheese.
  6. Season the mixture, then pour over the cannelloni.
  7. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese, then bake for 20 mins until the top is golden and crisp, and the leek filling is piping hot.

Have you ever made Ham and Leek Cannelloni?

Charlotte xx

Do you use comparison sites for your bills?

Saving money is something which I love to do. You may have see that I have spoken about it in some of my goals post and I have even done posts about saving money. People think about putting pennies away and doing side hustle. People do not always look if they are getting the best deals on bills which they have to pay. This is something which we do often maybe ever 3 months. We always are using comparison site to get the best deals. We have found that we have been able to save a bit of money I think we save £100 this year at least.

Gas and Electric

There is a lot of compare sites which allows you to get the best deal on your gas and electric. Every year we lock in our gas and electric to make sure that we are getting the best deal.  I have the date our contract runs out on my phone and a month or so before I will check the deals. Usually I end up switching which means that I end up with more pennies at the end of the month. I am sure a number of you do this as well. Usually I end up using a comparison site in order to get the best deal.

Insurance

Of course, there are other bills which you can save money on. This year I am going to be checking our house insurance to make sure that I can not get a better deal. I have always checked Joe’s car insurance to make sure that he is not paying to much and have always managed to get him a better deal. Saving money is something which I love to be able to do. It can be time consuming however, you always feel better if you are able to save some money. Again I use a lot of comparison sites. This saves me having to go on every different company’s site to get the best deal.

Mobile

I usually look on comparison sites when I am looking for the best deal on my mobile. Then I do pop over to Sky Mobiles website because there not on there. I managed to save myself £3 a month on my contract when my last contract ran out. I even managed to get more data. Since I am now on Sky Mobile I am able to change the amount of data I get every month. This means that I can change how much my bill is and my data does roll over. Another bonus which I love about my contract is if sky offer a deal I can take it up and not affect my contract. This is something which I have done recently. I managed to save another £5 a month which is a huge bonus. Of course, all the £5 a months you save soon add up.

Broadband And TV

The bill which you can change that I did not have a comparison site for is for my‘ broadband and tv. Currently I am locked into a package however, I know this is not going to be the case forever. This was until I came across a site which allows you to compare broadband and TV deals. As someone who loves sports I always want to be able to keep a package which can have a the sports channels. I have found some deals which are cheaper than I am currently paying. Once my contract is over I think I may change to save money. For sure this is going to be a website which I am going to be using a lot.

Do you ever compare your bills to make sure that your getting the best deals. You could be saving a lot of money and they could go things such as Christmas for sure it is not too early to think about that.

Charlotte xx

 

Meal Plan 17th May

Today I am going to be sharing the meals which we have been consuming this week. Again this week we have been trying to use some of the things we have up this week. I had a look in the fridge and the freezer to see what we could use. This is how I have managed to come up with some of the meals which we have had this week. There are not too many meals which are a repeat which I always find great. You do not want to get stuck in a rut and have the same meals all the time. So on to the meals which we have consumed this week. Hopefully you can find something which inspires you.

Monday- Spicy Spaghetti with garlic mushrooms. I have some mushrooms which need using up so I jumped online to find a recipe which included them. As a result I came across this one it something which I would never have thought about making. Garlic mushrooms are something which I love but would never thought of teaming with spaghetti.  However, it is a meal which I am highly looking forward to. I may even share the recipe if I enjoy it enough so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Tuesday- Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya. Again I have gone with something which I never have made in the past. I wanted to do some different meals this week. Chorizo is something which we all love in this house so this is going to be a winner. Again this is going to be a meal which I may end up sharing the recipe with if I feel like it is a meal people should make.

Wednesday- Steak, Egg and Chips. I managed to pick up of the 16oz steak which Aldi do. We are going to half this and have it with the sides. This is something which we have done in the past and really enjoyed. Steak is something which we rarely have so this is going to be a good treat for us. I feel like we need a treat I have not been feeling that amazing recently since my knee started playing up.

Thursday- Spicy Sausage Chilli and Rice. This is a meal which I do not think I have made since November time. Originally this is a hello fresh meal but I have made it a number of times since stopping the subscription. This is a twist on a classic meal however, it is one which we still enjoy. I know there is some sausages in the freezer and I am going to use them up.

Friday- Homemade Fishcakes and Chips, this is one which I got from Katy. Fishcakes are something which we have not had in a long time. For some reason I have really gone off the shop bought ones.  I fancied making my own version of these and hopefully these turn out to be really nice. These may end up been served with salad depending on the weather.

Saturday- Ham and Leek Cannelloni, this is a meal which I found on pinterest. I have some leeks to use up and thought this would be a good way to get them used. For sure it is something a little bit different to what we would normally make. I do not think I have ever had cannelloni so I think this is going to be interesting for me.If this is something which we enjoy I will be putting this up as well.

Sunday- Slow cooked butter chicken, this again was from pinterest. I love the sound of it for me it sounds like it is a creamy curry. Curry is something which we all love to consume in this house including Jess. I am sure she will eat it all up. This is going to be served with rice and maybe some nan bread.

Of course, like every meal plan this is linked up with the amazing Katy. I get a lot of the inspiration from her and the linky which she runs. If you are struggling consuming the same meals I would recommend checking it out. You may find a meal which you love.

What meals are you planning on consuming this week?

Charlotte xxx

Landal Sandybrook Review

Just before Christmas which now seems like a lifetime ago. We had a four-night break close to Ashbourne in Derbyshire at Landal Sandybrook Lodges. This is the first time we have taken Jess to a lodge usually we have gone on our own for a weekend to Forest Holidays. We made this choice because it was a fraction of the price which we would be paying. I feel like this holiday to Landal Sandybrook was around £350 for four nights. Where on the other hand a trip to Forest would have cost us around the £700 mark. We actually stayed in the Tissington Classic Skyline Spa 2.

Today I am going to be sharing with you our views about the our stay at Landal Sandybrook Lodges. They are described as luxury self-catering lodge holiday accommodation. I will warn you that if you want one of the hot tubs in your cabin you have to book a spa one otherwise you will just have a balcony and a table and chairs. For us the hot tub is something which we do want. I know this may not be the case if for everyone, of course,this does reflect in the price of your stay.

For me I would not describe the lodges as luxury for me there were elements which were missing. These may have made it more luxurious for us. I know I am comparing it to a very expensive cabin in Forest however, they do both claim to be luxury cabins.

The lodge itself was ok but quite small, I am guessing it would be a squeeze for 4 people. I would have liked more room which would have allowed us to spread out to relax. In the main room there is not a lot of space and the bed is not actually a full size double bed. For me it was not comfortable either however, we have a very good bed at home. I may just be being really pick.  One thing which I did not like was the fact that our bedroom looked straight to the road which people were travelling on. This meant anyone travelling early may wake you up. When we visited we could hear work men from 7.30am, not ideal on a relaxing week away.  At least there was a lot of storage which mean that we could put things away.

Jess had her own room which had two single beds in a wardrobe and a bedside table. She managed to sleep in there which is all that matters. This would be fine if you had two young children if you had teenagers they may struggle however, this did for us. I even slept in one of the beds one night and found it to be more comfortable than ours.

The bathroom had a shower over the bath. It was handy to have a bath in case Jess needed one because she is still not a huge fan of the shower. I am sure this is something which will change over time. We found that there was enough space for everything we needed. This included if we had all three of us in the bathroom. I have no faults when it came to the bathroom at Landal Sandybrook.

Of course, with it been self catering there is a kitchen and a table which you can easy eat at. We found that the kitchen was well stocked and this is something which we were glad about. We managed to do some baking as well as cooking meals there.  There was nothing which we would not be able to cook I am sure you could manage a whole week using this kitchen. There is also a fridge and a freezer should you need them this makes it so easy for semi catered people.

We found the lounge to be cosy however, the sofas were not that comfortable. I wanted to be able to snuggle up and watch films when there weather was rubbish. You had to sit more straight which is very annoying they were. Again they were pretty low and this is something which I did not love however, I am sure if you visited in the summer you would not spend much time inside.

The hot tub was also over looked which is not always great when your in your swimming suit. For sure this is not something which I liked. I would have had a little bit more private maybe this is just because I am not that confident. Plus it is supposed to be luxury I do not want to be over looked but hey.  The outdoor area would have been great in the summer for eating or having a BBQ. Something we may have done had we have gone in the summer months.

The site has some good facilities including a indoor swimming pool, restaurant, games room and also a playroom for children. This is a nice touch because it was nice to be able to take Jess somewhere to play. Of course, because we did not have a lot of toys with us. Also because we went in December it did mean that there was some days where we could not use the park because it was horrible weather. I think Jess managed to play in there for an hour our two during our 4 day stay. We did noticed that some of the toys had become broken over time, I understand that this is something which happens.

There is a nature walk however, it is really quite small. There are no trails which link to the park which is a little bit disappointing because we wanted to do some more exploring when we visited. Usually we would have a walk of an hour or a little bit longer. I know we could have drove and then gone for a walk however, we do not always want to be in the car when on holiday. For sure it would have been nice to be able to walk from the lodge and into the nature. I have read this is something which you can do at their sister site.

There is free wifi however, this is something which I wouldn’t recommend using. For it is kept disconnecting I found it a lot easier to use the 4G. I know you shouldn’t want to spend a lot of time on your phones when your away however, I wanted to be able to do a few bits. For example checking our food shop which we had done and what to do in the area. The day we actually checked out we went to White Post Farm and I needed to know the price and also opening times.

I would recommend doing a click and collect food shop this is what we did. There is a small shop which is part of reception. However, this only sells milk and drinks. Due to it been self catering we did not want to always eat out. We like to be able to have some meals which are home cooked. We did eat one night at the onsite restaurant and we was actually really disappointed. The meal was not that warm which is disappointing because for sure it was not cheap. Joe and I also both chose coke to drink and it was completely flat.  I would not recommend this restaurant I would go eat off site if I was you. Your more likely to have a better meal.  The staff seemed more bothered about their friends who were in the bar section than us the paying customers.

Overall Views

We enjoyed our stay at Landal Sandybrook however, we would not return. I feel like we had everything which there was to do. I feel like the park does need a bit of a fresher up if they are going to charge this price. We would not have enjoyed it even more if we did not have Jess. I do not think I would recommend this for December stays.

Have you ever stayed at Landal Sandybrook? If so what were your thoughts.

 

Charlotte xxx

Meal Inspiration Monday- Chickpea Buffalo Burgers

Today I am going to be sharing with you another meal which I have made as a result of Pinterest. Burgers are something which Joe loves however, they are not something which we have that often. I actually came across a recipe for Chickpea Buffalo Burgers now Veggie burgers are something which I love. I decided that I was going to make them a meal recently. I am going to share the recipe which I used to make chickpea buffalo burgers this is something which I would not have made if it was Pinterest.  For sure this is a burger which I would make again because they were full of flavour and spice.  They are not something which Joe would normally go for he instead would go for a meaty version of a burger.

Ingredience- Makes 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cubed red pepper

1/2 onion cubed

1 stalk celery cubed

2 garlic cloves crushed

125g rolled oats

425g chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 egg

4 tablespoons hot sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Method

  1. In a  frying pan, fry red pepper, celery, garlic and onion in olive oil for about 3 minutes until softened.
  2. While you’re doing this. Gently pulse oats and chickpeas in a food processor until chopped, not completely blended. I find it easier to do this in small bursts.
  3. Combine the veggies with the chickpeas mixture in a large bowl then mix in the egg and hot sauce.
  4. Make 6 patties with the mixture. Mould them into pattie shapes with your hands.
  5. Let them chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes if you have the time. We did this, however, e are not always that organised.
  6. Fry the burgers for a few minutes on each side until outside is crispy and insides are warmed
  7. You now can put them in the bread. You can even add salad if this is something you want to add.

Have you ever had Chickpea Buffalo Burgers? For sure this is something which we are going to be remaking soon. They would even work on the bbq if this is something you are having.

Charlotte xx

Tasty Plant-Based Meals for the Whole Family

Health experts have been saying for years that too much meat isn’t good for us.  And everyone would be healthier if we ate less meat and more vegetables. Trouble is, most people are used to eating meat with nearly every meal, and it can be hard to get kids to eat more veg.

Here are some ideas for how to put together easy, plant-based meals that all the family will enjoy. I have managed to introduce more vegetables into our family’s meals in the last year. 

Introduce Changes Gradually

This is the first step in getting the family to enjoy more vegetables. Most of us find it hard to make changes, and with diet it can be especially challenging. If your family isn’t used to lots of veg on the plate, suddenly serving such a meal might lead to a few protests.

Start gradually introducing one or two more veg varieties in ways that don’t change the substance of the meal too much. As the family gets used to more veg, everyone will be willing to be a bit more adventurous in trying new things.

The Hidden Vegetable

If your family enjoys sauce based dishes such as curries, Chinese, Thai , or Italian. It’s very easy to sneak a few veg in there. Instead of making the sauce part of the dish with mostly meat.  Try adding chopped carrot, sliced red peppers, a few peas, or a little chopped celery. Not only are you eating a few more veg than you normally would in such a dish, you’ve found an inexpensive way to make the meal go further.

Another way to be a little stealthy is to add vegetable rice to ordinary cooked rice. You can get cauliflower rice, sweet potato rice and broccoli rice that comes in pouches . It just needs just a couple of minutes in the microwave to heat up. Add some to boiled rice for a change of flavour and a bit of veggie goodness. Vegetable rice is also good straight from the pouch, as it’s already cooked and prepared. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s low in carbs and has no added preservatives.

Make Vegetables Fun for Kids

A plate full of soggy vegetables is never going to delight a child.  Offer some cucumber ribbons or make veg kebabs with cherry tomatoes, chopped peppers and cubed cucumber. A bit of apple or cheese adds a tasty extra. You can also make carrots more fun as a snack if you cut them into thin fingers then stand them up in a tub like fries. Include a savoury dip for an extra fun element. In fact, offering a bit of ketchup or mayonnaise for dipping give kids a familiar taste that can encourage them to try something new.

When you’re serving vegetables on a plate for kids, get a bit creative. Make smiley faces or animals by arranging vegetables into little heaps strategically placed on the plate. I know this is something which Jess would love. 

Baked Veggies

You can bake all kinds of vegetables, and they’re a tasty addition to any meal. Try arranging chopped or sliced red peppers on a baking tray, drizzling with olive oil. Then baking them until they’re soft and a little bit charred on the outside.

Baked carrots and parsnips are also delicious, and so is roasted butternut squash. A baked platter of veg such as parsnips, sweet potatoes, peppers and onions makes a tasty and varied accompaniment. You can toss them together with microwaved cauliflower or broccoli rice to create a single side dish. This is something which we may have to do in the future. 

There are lots of ways to make healthier plant-based meals for the family, including using convenience foods. That are healthy but save time chopping and prepping. Introduce changes gradually at meal times, without putting pressure on anyone to eat things they don’t like, and pretty soon you’ll be eating more veg every day.

Do you struggle to get veg on your child’s plates?

Charlotte xx

This is a collaborative post

Meal Plan 10th May

Today I am going to be sharing with you the meals which we have been consuming this week. I got a lot of inspiration this week from the meal plan linky last week that Katy hosts. Sometimes I would be lost without this linky. This week, of course, has a bank holiday in it which means that we have to feed Jess for another night. I think this is the only difference to a normal week. This weekend I am unsure what we are going to be doing so these meals could end up changing of course. For sure this week, I am looking for to all of the meals which I am going to be making. They are a wide range of different things and I feel like most nights are completely different. So on to the meals which I am going to be consuming this week.

Monday – Creamy Garlic Chicken, this is a meal which we had planned to have last week. However, we ended up going out for my brother’s birthday which I was unsure if we were going to do. This is a meal which I have got from the Pinch Of Nom cookbook which I mentioned in my April Favourites. This is one of the tastiest meals which I think I have cooked from this recipe book. I served this with rice and this is something we all enjoyed. Even Jess managed to eat it all which is always amazing. For sure this is another recipe which I will be making again in the future.

Tuesday- Quiche Lorraine Frittata and New Potatoes.  This is a recipe which I got from Kim. I thought that this was something different from what we normally make. I am going to be making my own quiche for the very first time. I always love to undertake a challenge when it comes to recipes and for sure I think this is going to be. There is likely to be leftovers for sure this is going to be a couple of lunches. For the evening meal, we are going to be having it with herby new potatoes. I will be actually having it with salad when I am going to be using it up.

Wednesday- Mixed Veg Rissotto and Spicy Chicken. This is another recipe which I got Katy’s Linky this one was from Joleisa. This sounds like something different for sure I have made risotto but I am not sure I would have thought of using mixed veg. I love finding new ways of making meals which I have previously. This is a simple meal and for sure this is going to be one which I can see me making again in the future. I can not wait to have this one it is going to be perfect for the summer I am sure.

Thursday- Chicken Fajitas, this is a meal which I adore. We have not had them for a long time so I thought I would add them to our meal plan this week. I am going to season them using spices which we already own instead of actually purchasing a kit. This is going to be interesting to see how this goes. This does mean that I am going to be saving money because the kits can be expensive.  This meal is one of my favorites it is such a classic. It is so simple to make as well and quick which is what we want towards the end of the week when we are tired.

Friday-Fish Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries. I know another week another burger, this is not something we have often. We still have a ton of fish in the freezer which we purchased a reduced price. I am going to turn these into a healthy fish burger which is another healthy alternative. For sure fish burgers are not something which we would order should we be in a restaurant but again I think it was Pinterest which made me want to make this meal. We have decided that we are going to make sweet potato fries instead of normal chips. I will let you know how we get on with this meal.

Saturday- Cheeseburger Pie.  This is a meal which I saw on Katy’s live a few weeks ago. This is something which I would not have seen had it not been for her live. It sounds so different because I know this is something which you would not normally get at a restaurant. If this is a meal which we really enjoy I will share the recipe for it. I feel like this could be the ultimate comfort food and this is something which I need at the moment. Due to my knee and a few other things which are going on I am not feeling amazing. Hopefully, this meal is going to to be one which the whole family enjoy.

Sunday- Taco Hotdogs, Fries and Corn on the cob. This is a meal which I found on Daisies & Pie meal plan.  For sure this is not something which I would have thought about doing either. We have made taco’s a few months ago however, these are on hotdogs. This is one which I am looking forward to and I am sure that Jess and Joe will love this one. I reckon this is another meal which we could see on our meal plans again.

Of course, like every meal plan this is linked up with the amazing Katy. I get a lot of the inspiration from her and the linky which she runs. If you are struggling consuming the same meals I would recommend checking it out. You may find a meal which you love.

What meals are you planning on consuming this week?

Charlotte xxx

 

 

 

Book Review- A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult

As you may remember way back in January, I stated I wanted to read more books this year. So far I have managed to read 7 I actually aim to read 24. I think I had read 6 by the middle of February so I for sure have slowed down. Today I am going to share with you a book which I have recently finished. It is a spark of light by Jodi Picoult. It was actually the Book Group book for March however, it has taken me this long to finish it. I told you I have seriously lost my reading mojo.

The Blurb

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

My Thoughts 

The beginning of this one was just that, an explosive, heart-stopping moment that immediately grabbed my attention. Unfortunately, for me, the main body of the book slowed considerably and was more about abortion than the hostage situation. I also enjoyed reading the individual stories about the circumstances that brought each person to the clinic that fateful morning. But the story line lacked the momentum to hold my interest throughout the bulk of the book . I really struggled to get to the end. I have a feeling that this could be why it took me so long to get this book completed.

The story is also written with the chapters in reverse order. The most recent events are at the beginning of the book and going back in time. I didn’t care for this format as we learn the story ends in chapter one. This could have been another reason it took me so long to finish the book. I knew the ending I was not that bothered how come it happened. I am unsure if I have ever read a book where we have been told the ending at the start of a book it seemed strange to me.

A few people have suggested that you should  try reading it backwards, starting with the last chapter headed by a time. Then maybe A Spark of Light will actually make a lot better. I have a couple more books by Jodi Picooult and this book does not make me want to reach for them.

It is very unusual for a book to take me 6 weeks to finish. When this is book is only around 350 pages. It would take me around a couple of weeks maximum. I found it to be very against the anti-abortion, pro-life people as well. I feel like these arguments could have been more researched. There was a number of characters in a spark of light who I felt where there so it had more characters. They needed some more development they felt like they had almost been rushed.

Another element which I was not a huge fan of was the characters telling us the same things over and over again. This occurred because the different characters within a spark of light did the different hours in the book. By the end I was unsure if I was bothered.  They had bored me that much repeating the same story.

These are just my thoughts, I know other people have loved this book. Have you read a spark of light if so what where your thoughts on the book?

 

Charlotte xxx

Meal Inspiration Monday- Spanish Paella Recipe

Today I am going to be sharing with you a recipe which we have used a couple of times. Paella is something which we have had a lot as ready meals when we used to live in York without a microwave. Recently we though we would make a paella dish because we used to love it so much. This made me search Pinterest for Paella because I want to save money instead of getting a ready meal. This Paella actually made was as nice as the ones which we used to buy.  It of course, is going to be healthier than picking a ready meal up. Today I am going to share the recipe which we used for the Spanish paella.

Ingredient – Serves 6

 

Large pinch saffron strands

1 Vegetable or Chicken Stock make up 600ML

 

3 tbsp olive oil

125g Chorizo roughly chopped

500g Boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped

1 Onion finely chopped

3 Garlic Cloves finely chopped

1 Red Pepper deseeded and finely chopped

 

2 tsp paprika

250g Spanish Paella Rice

4 Medium Tomatoes roughly chopped

75g Frozen Peas

250g cooked prawns with shells on

Method

 

  1. Stir the saffron strands into the stock and set aside to infuse while you prepare the rest of the paella.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large deep frying pan with a lid. Tip in the chorizo and fry for about 3 mins until crisp and the oil has been released.
  3. Remove the chorizo and drain on kitchen paper, leaving the oil in the pan.
  4. Stir the chicken into the pan and fry over a high heat for 7-8 mins until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Pour another 1 tbsp of oil into the pan, tip in the chopped onion and garlic and stir-fry for 4-5 mins, until softened and just starting to colour.
  6. Stir in the pepper and paprika with the remaining tablespoon of oil and stir-fry for a further 1-2 mins. The pan should have lots of crispy, brown bits on the bottom, which will all add flavour.
  7. With the heat still quite high, quickly stir in the rice so it is well-coated in the oil, then pour in the saffron-infused stock plus 450ml boiling water, scraping up the sticky brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  8. Return the browned chicken pieces to the pan, then add the chopped tomatoes.
  9. Cover the pan and cook on a medium heat for 10 mins, stirring once or twice.
  10. Scatter the peas, prawns and fried chorizo over the top, cover again and leave to cook a further 5 mins, or until the rice is just cooked and most of the liquid in the pan has been absorbed.
  11. Remove the pan from the heat, put the lid on and leave to rest for 5 mins. Stir a few times to mix the ingredients, season to taste.

Have you ever made Paella from scratch?

Charlotte xxx