Friday, 27 March 2015

Friday Reads: Blown Away - Rob Biddulph

Many of you have been following my reviews of the shortlist for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and last night was the very grand award ceremony. The overall winner of the awards was the gorgeous picture book "Blown Away" by Rob Biddulph.
Blue is a penguin who has a new kite, he decides that one windy day he should take it on a maiden flight. Unfortunately things go a bit wrong and he ends up flying across the land and sea, picking up friends on the way, until he ends up in the jungle. Of course the jungle is no place for a penguin so how can they get home?

This book is an amazing rhyming tale, one the kids will love that cover everything from counting to animals and places. Not to mention the GORGEOUS illustrations. Seriously I want to cover my walls in this gorgeous book (is that allowed? haha) as the pictures are so wonderful. 

I'm so pleased that this was picked to win the overall prize, it's one that we have been loving since the day it dropped in my lap about 6 months ago. Congratulations Rob! Can't wait for book 2. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Moors Valley Country Park

We love a good day out in the forest. Nothing beats grabbing some snacks, a drink and the camera and heading out for some fun and exploring. One of our favourite places is Moors Valley Country Park. Set just outside Dorset and Hampshire and just off the motorway, this park is full of everything from activities, to cycle paths, play trails and Go Ape the treetop course. 

The best thing about Moors Valley? It's free. All you pay for is the car park which normally ranges from £1.80 up to about £7 depending on how long you decide to stay for! As you can see below we love it, Max can truly be the king of all the wild things and we get a breath of fresh air to brighten our day. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Beanies Flavoured Coffee Review

I think a rite of passage for any parent is that moment you realise coffee or anything else caffeine based is your lifeline. I can definitely vouch for this family when we say that Scott can't function in the morning without a cup of the good stuff. That's why when we were offered some Beanies flavoured coffee to review he didn't need to be asked twice! So from here on the post is his, hope you enjoy it.

For those of you who are loyal fans of Maxandmummy blog, you will remember me as the writer of the FriDad posts that I abandoned like an old piece of gum whilst running towards the playground of…well, anonymity. If you’re unfamiliar with me, I’m the less busy half of the relationship.

To make you aware, I'm a coffee person. Every day is started almost definitely with coffee. I’m not a coffee snob, I enjoy my coffee, but I won't wait for my brew. I never get to enjoy great quality coffee, so when I was dropped this box of coffee on my lap by Laura (not a coffee drinker).

First impressions, I couldn't wait to give these flavours: Vanilla, Chocolate, Hazelnut and Amaretto. The package is simple, so I appreciated the surprised I would come across when eventually trying these instant coffees.

Hazelnut: Now. Here is where I tell you something that is true…no lies. This is one of the best flavours I’ve ever had of a coffee. This flavour made a strong resemblance to hazelnut, but blended with the coffee gives an experience that snuggles the taste buds and kicks in the endorphins. I highly recommend you give this one a go, it’s nearly too good to share, but spread the word it’s fantastic.

Vanilla: Maybe the most mellow of the flavours. It gently hits the palate and isn’t strong. I’d say this goes well for someone who isn’t a strong coffee lover. I always drink my coffee with milk and two sugars (coffee keyboard warriors brace yourselves) so I don’t replicate the barista experience. However, I have had a great coffee using vanilla syrup. It wasn’t my favourite, but it was calming. I actually relaxed and perked for my day.

Amaretto: I had a good chance to laugh with my mum saying that an alcoholic will enjoy this flavour no doubt. I’m not a fan of Amaretto, so I only have a biased opinion of the flavour. So, what did I do to get a good opinion? I gave my mum a cup on her visit. Her verdict remains to be that it is similar to amaretto alcohol, no resemblance to alcohol, nor coffee shop. This coffee was confirmed as a pleasurable jar based coffee.

Chocolate: This one is quite surprising. It may be the better seller of the group for this reason, it almost acts as a mocha. The texture of the coffee isn’t different, nor is the consistency thicker. It is much like an Americano from a coffee shop; however the flavour is richer and stronger on the chocolate side. I enjoyed it, not really because it’s chocolate, but because it’s so similar to a mocha experience.

In conclusion, I think this company got it very right. It’s not designed to act like a coffee shop coffee, so don’t expect that. However, this brand knows exactly how to blend the flavours into coffee to give a unique experience that would make any coffee drinker joyful and only two calories a cup. A brilliant coffee with a difference.